Night Sights on the Way

Yeah I’m kind of slow but I’ve finally ordered a set of night sights for my carry gun. This is probably the first thing people usually do with a carry gun but I’ve waited for quite some time because I couldn’t figured out what sights I wanted to use. I’m a picky person and also one who has trouble committing to a plan of action until I’ve gained as much data as possible. I’m also incredibly picky but I think the wait was worthwhile since I finally found a set that I believe has all the features I want. When it comes to night sights there are plenty to chose from. This post is going to be a list of my findings on different sights I looked into.

First some criteria that I set forth. I was looking for sights for my standard carry gun, a Glock 30SF. It’s a sub-compact (by Glock’s definition not everybody else) pistol that shoots my favorite round, the .45 auto (I like big fat slow moving rounds that have a trajectory closer to that of a grenade than a real bullet). Obviously being night sights whatever I found had to glow in the dark which pretty much meant tritium lamps were a must.

Although not required I preferred having the front sight to be green and the rear sights to be another color. This aids in quickly finding and focusing on the front sight as green is the color the human eye is most sensitive to and in a self defense shooting the front sight is usually what you need. After some digging I found out that green and yellow tritium lamps will keep glowing for roughly the same amount of time (tritium gas will eventually stop glowing meaning the sights will need to be replaced) while other colors tritium lamps (think orange and red) will stop glowing sooner. That meant I wanted a combination of green front and yellow rear if possible.

Then we have the issue of sight radius. The Glock 30SF is like a short air craft carrier. It’s wide, flat, and doesn’t give a lot of room for jets to stop on when landing. This means the sight radius of the gun isn’t great (in fact it’s crap). Every millimeter helps when it comes to additional sight radius so another options criteria were rear sights that extended all the way to the back of the slide (as opposed to being flush with the rear of the dovetail the sight sits in like the factory Glock sights are). Like the color selection this criteria wasn’t a deal breaker just a preferred option.

The final requirement I had was quality construction. The last thing I wanted to happen was something to impact my firearm, crack the tritium vial, and allow the glowing gas to leak out leaving me with not-night sights. Almost all major night sight manufacturers make pretty sturdy bad guy finders so this was the easiest of the criteria for me to meet.

Before I begin I’m dropping a disclaimer. Obviously I didn’t research into every night sight system out there, I only looked at well known ones. The reason for this isn’t anything nefarious, those are just the sights I could find the most data on. I also didn’t have physical access to most of these sights therefore I was mostly going off of data and reviews. It would be quite impossible for me to hunt down and try every sight I mentioned and I can’t afford to buy a set of each and try them. Hence much of what I state could be wrong. Likewise all the stuff I mention are things important to me. You may not agree with anything stated here and that’s fine, I didn’t do this research for you. There you have it people so without further babbling let’s briefly talk about the sights I looked at.

The first sights I looked into were XS Big Dot sights. I heard about these via the Handgun Podcast and thought the idea was quite good. What’s the idea? Simple you have a large dot front sight and a rear sight with a vertical line. You “dot the i” and pull the trigger. It’s supposed to be a very fast mechanism for target acquisition which I liked. After reading various reviews I found a lot of people liked them but there seemed to be two issues regularly reported. The first was the size of the front sight created problems with some holsters. Apparently the front sight could get snagged on some holsters during draw and simply did not fit in other holsters. The second issue reported was the sights aren’t good for any kind of distance shooting because elevation judgment with the XS Big Dot sights isn’t very easy. That’s not really an issue for a self defense gun but I wanted a set of sights that was as versatile as possible.

The next set of glow in the dark bad guy finders I looked into were Heinie Straight Eight sights. These signs are similar to the XS Big Dot sights in that you align the front sight with a glowing dot in the rear sight in essence “dotting the i” (except in this case you’re making an ‘8’ not an ‘i’). They are similar to the stock sights found on a Beretta M9 which I’ve heard a few people refer to as snowman sights. This type of sight is supposed to be faster to line up than three-dot sights since you only have two dots to worry about. I’m not so sure about that since two of the dots on a three-dot sight are horizontally fixed to one another and you really only have to concern yourself with getting the front sight between the two rear dots. Either way beyond having only two dots the Heinie Straight Eights are constructed like most three dot sights meaning you have a notch rear sight and a blade front sight. I did like the fact that these sights extended to the rear of the slide giving a bit more sight radius than the XS Big Dots.

Of course my journey didn’t stop there. The next sights I looked at were Trijicon Night Sights. There were several things I liked about these sights. First they offer more protection by brining you closer to God. Sorry I couldn’t pass that up when talking about Trijicon. The main things that caught my eye with the Trijicon sights were how bright they were reported to be and how clear the dots were. Trijicon makes their sights by putting a tritium vial inside of a steel sight housing and then slapping a sapphire lens over the vial and painting a white circle around the lens to aid in daytime shooting. The sapphire lens supposedly focuses the light from the tritium vial so you see clear circles instead of slightly blurry dots. Trijicon also offers different colored rear sights which I found as a plus. Unfortunately they don’t make a sight that extends to the back of the slide (that I found at least) meaning you get roughly the same sight radius as factory Glock sights. As I mentioned this wasn’t a deal breaker by any means but it would be nice. They other thing I didn’t like about the Trijicon sights was the white circle around the tritium tube was painted on. Theoretically that means the circle could come off if you used certain solvents when cleaning your gun. In practice I didn’t find a single instance of that happening to somebody and if it does Trijicon will repaint the sights for free. It’s really a non-issue and is mostly psychological for me.

The fourth type of sights I looked into were Meprolights. These sights hail from Israel which is a country known for making good guns and accessories (they know warfare). Like the Trijicon sights Meprolight sights are three dot style and otherwise similar. Meprolights offer different color rear sights as well which is another plus. What they offer over Trijicon sights is the white circle surrounding the tritium vial is actually an inserted sleeve which means it can’t be washed off by solvents. That’s a nice plus in my mind. Most reviews I read also say that Meprolights are slightly brighter than Trijicon’s offerings. Where they fall short in comparison is in the lens department. Meprolights don’t use sapphire lens meaning they dots aren’t as sharp in the dark. Instead of nice crystal clear circles you see slightly blurry dots. Not a big issue in my book. I also read a couple reports stating that the Meprolight lenses are curved inwards meaning if your shooting during the day and have a very bright source of light behind you (like the sun) it can reflect rather harshly off of the sights.

The final sights I looked at, and ultimately settled on, were Ameriglo Pro night sights. The Pro night sights are they standard three dot sights with white circles surrounding the tritium vials. I decided to stay away from their aperture style rear sight because it’s bigger and isn’t legal in GSSF matches (as I said I like versatility). The sights are actually made by Ameriglo but contained Trijicon tritium vials in them (from what I research there are only a handful of companies that actually make tritium vials for night sights). The main difference I found was Ameriglo places the vials in white sleeves like Meproslights meaning the white circles surrounding the tritium vials isn’t painted on. I like that. Likewise they use Trijicon’s sapphire lenses meaning the dots should appear more crisp when using them in the dark. The Pro sights also extend all the way to the rear of the slide giving a slightly longer sight radius which I also like. Finally they offer yellow rear sights which are the set I ordered. Overall the Ameriglo sights seemed to have all the benefits of the Trijicon sights while correcting the only two issues (construction of the white circle around the tritium vials and the sight radius) I found with the Trijicon sights. Finally to seal the deal I found a coupon code for 25% off of my order when buying directly from Ameriglo (I won’t post the coupon code here simply because I’m not sure if it’s supposed to be for GSSF members only or not but if it is I respect that desire).

I received notification that the sights shipped out today so after I get them installed and tested I’ll write a review on what I think.

But since their post is about night sights in general I’m going to post a couple other tips involving installation. First make sure you have the correct tools to install aftermarket sights for your gun. In the case of Glock pistols you need a next nut driver (which is supposed to be included with the Ameriglo sights) to remove the factory Glock front sight (unlike in the past modern Glock front slights all appear to be screwed on instead of staked on) and install the Ameriglo front sight. A good tip I found is to get some Loctite threat locker (that’s the blue stuff, don’t accidentally get the liquid weld) and apply that to the front sight screw. This will ensure the screw doesn’t come loose during regular shooting but won’t be on so tight that you can’t remove it should the need arise.

For the rear sight you can either take off the old one with a punch. This isn’t recommended if you want to keep the factory rear sight as Glock’s factory sights are made of plastic and will mar and deform under the pressure of a punch. Likewise it’s not recommended to install a new rear sight with a punch as you can easily fuck up the new sight (hammers on a tritium night sight can crack the glass making up the vial causing the tritium to leak out and leaving you with a not-night sight), the slide, or both. Since I got 25% off of my entire order I also nabbed a rear sight tool for Glock pistols from Ameriglo. These are supposed to make rear sight removal and installation easier and since I own a number of Glocks I’ll probably be doing this operation in the future.

Finally sometimes rear dovetail sights won’t fit into the dovetail on the slide properly. This can be corrected with a little filing (of the rear sight, not the slide). So it’s smart to have a small metal file on hand and the patience to use one.

Anyways more to come after I get the sights installed and tested.

One thought on “Night Sights on the Way”

  1. Great, detailed article. I ended up choosing the XS Big Dots for my 30SF after weighing similar Pros and Cons.

    I look forward to your review of the Ameriglo Pro’s.

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