Ruger Ready Dot Review: A Quality Fiber Illuminated Optic

Ruger is now making the Ruger Ready Dot, which is a fiber-illuminated optic for the Max-9 pistol. I love Ruger’s Max-9 pistol, and for the price, it’s still one of the best deals out there. It comes optics-ready and has a fiber-optic front sight. For a while now, I’ve been using my Veridian green dot on the Max-9, and they have proven to be an excellent pair. I prefer green over red because it’s just a little easier for me to see. The color of the dot, however, isn’t a make-or-break issue, so it really comes down to a few other things.

Ruger Ready Dot for Max 9 pistol.
The Ready Dot is a fiber-illuminated optic, meaning it doesn’t use batteries. [Photo: Jason Mosher]
The size of the window, size of the dot, brightness, and, most importantly, durability and battery life are all important factors. Because this is a fiber-illuminated optic, there is no battery. No battery means no power adjustment, which means you get what you get. The dot could be bright or dim, it all depends on the ambient light from around it. There are good and bad things about fiber-illuminated optics, and we will talk about those today.

I’ve heard some complaints about this optic when comparing it to other optics. It does have some big differences, but it’s made for a specific purpose. Its purpose is to be as simple as humanly possible for the user. It’s cheap, easy to mount, doesn’t use a battery, and is factory-zeroed. By factory zeroed, I mean there are no elevation or windage adjustments. It’s a plain, simple optic that is ready to use once installed. Because Ruger made it for the Max-9 pistol, the optic will co-witness with the iron sights.

Ruger Ready Dot Fiber Illuminated Optic

One of the biggest benefits of using a fiber-illuminated optic is that it doesn’t use batteries. If you are not familiar with this type of optic, it collects ambient light from around you. Very small strands of glass are put together to make fiber strands. Exposed on one end, the light travels through these strands and transmits the light to the other end. A dot appears when the light travels through a different colored lens. In this case, you end up with a light-red dot.

Anytime something new comes out, we compare it to something else we are familiar with, right? That’s kind of how we base our opinions on most things. If you compare the Ruger Ready Dot to a battery-powered optic, you find night and day. Most other optics can be zeroed in and have a ton of features to choose from. But sometimes, those features are distracting and cause issues when needed quickly. For self-defense, you need something fast, simple, and reliable.

Ruger Ready Dot.
Because the Ruger Ready Dot is fiber-illuminated, there are no batteries. The brightness of the dot depends on the amount of light available to the optic. [Photo: Jason Mosher]
Mounting the Ready Dot on the Max-9 was easy, but that’s not going to surprise anyone since Ruger made it for that pistol. It will work with other handguns, so it’s not limited to their firearm if you don’t own a Max-9. This is a small, round-shaped optic, so if you want a large window, it’s not there. But the point is to fit on a CCW gun, which is why Ruger made it small on purpose. It also only costs $99, which is about as cheap as they get for an optic from a reputable company.

Does it work in all light conditions?

When you think about how a fiber-illuminated optic works, you may start to wonder what happens when there is no light. The simple answer is no light, no dot. With a traditional optic, you have power from a battery, so a dot is available in all lighting conditions. But it also takes batteries, which run out at some point. This is where comparing one to the other becomes muddy. The Max-9 pistol has a fiber optic front post and co-witnesses with the Ready Dot.

Ruger Ready Dot.
The dot is easy to see as long as there is some type of ambient light for it to collect. [Photo: Jason Mosher
I view it as an additional aiming device, not a replacement. If there is even a little bit of light, the dot can be seen, which makes it operable in most conditions. When aiming at a target, look for your iron sights, and the dot will hover just above the front post. If it’s dark and there is no dot, your sights will still be there because the dot light collected from its surroundings causes an auto-adjusting feature naturally. I found the brightness of the dot to be adequate until there is no light, and you lose the dot.

Is the factory zero setting sufficient?

This feature will be considered positive or negative, depending on the person. For those who shoot regularly, the ability to zero in an optic is important. People who do not shoot regularly or have easy access to a range may consider this a benefit. The deciding factor for me depends on how accurate the factory zero is. After all, it’s designed for self-defense at close ranges, not competition shooting.

In my state, people must qualify at 7 yards before obtaining their CCW permit. This is because the average shooting takes place at less than 7-yards. To be on the safe side, I decided to back it up to 12 yards and see how the Ready Dot performed. I used 9mm 124-grain Igman ammunition (provided by Global Ordnance) for the test. When looking through the optic, the dot hovers just above and to the left of my front post. I was surprised to see this is not where it was hitting.

Target group using the Ruger Ready Dot.
A full mag out at 12 yards using the Ruger Ready Dot on a Max-9 pistol. The factory zero wasn’t too far off. [Photo: Jason Mosher]
Except for two flyers, all my shots were on the lower right side of the bullseye. I fired two magazines from this distance with the same results. From 7 yards, the grouping got closer to the bullseye, and at 15 yards or more, it continued to get further away. I’ll admit I was surprised at how well the optic did. It would be interesting to see if all Ruger Ready Dots were this close to the center or if it fluctuates. The grouping was 1 to 1.5 inches from the bullseye, making it acceptable as a self-defense weapon. When I fired from 20 yards, it was hitting about 3 to 4 inches from center. I didn’t go any further than that with the Max-9.

What’s the verdict?

I like to zero my optics so they are centered and on target. But when I consider the purpose of this optic, I’m warming up to the idea of having something this simple. I’ve had it to the range on two different occasions, one of which was a cloudy day in the woods. On both days, the dot was easy to see. Again, you can’t see the dot at all if there is no light.

But how often will someone need to shoot a long distance in complete darkness? Because the backup sights co-witness, this isn’t a big issue for me. If someone wants the most simple, easy-to-use optic for their Ruger Max-9, this would be the best choice. No batteries, no adjustments, no hassle.

Sheriff Jason Mosher is a law enforcement generalist instructor as well as a firearms and tactical weapons trainer. Jason graduated from the FBI-LEEDA (Law Enforcement Executive Development Association) and serves as a Sheriff for his day job. When he’s not working, he’s on the range, eating steak, or watching Yellowstone.

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