Somebody went and did it. Somebody upset the cosmic balance in the gun community by questioning ancient scripture. Via the Firearm Blog I came across a post that argues against night sights being a necessity. This is much more interesting than the caliber wars because you don’t often see people arguing over whether or not night sights are a must, their necessity is usually taken as a given. I encourage you to read it and keep an open mind because the author makes some good points. With that said, I’m going to explain my primary purpose for having night sights on my defensive firearms.
I’m not a fan of spending more money for night sights. But I have a condition which makes night sights handy. That condition is shitty eyesight, namely myopia. Without corrective lenses I can’t see fine detail out further than six or so inches. The notches that make up my rear sight blur together to create a rectangular blob sitting on top of my handgun, which makes picking out a black front sight practically impossible. But make the sights glow, specifically make the rear sights glow a different color from the front sight, and I can distinguish front from back and do a halfway decent job of aligning them. While my nearsightedness makes it practically impossible to distinguish the black rectangular blob on the rear of the gun from the black rectangular blob on the front of the gun I can distinguish the two orange blobs from the green blog.
Fortunately my nearsightedness doesn’t make seeing gross detail nearly as difficult. I can see well enough to determine if the person in front of me is holding a weapon and acting in a threatening manner. My low light vision is also surprisingly good (the light from a digital clock is usually enough for me to make out notable detail in a room). So my primary limitation in a low light self-defense situation is seeing the sights because they’re really tiny.
I do carry a flashlight on me because being flooding an aggressor with a 200 lumen light will probably blind him for a bit and will certainly make him very visible to me. A good flashlight or weapon mounted light is more valuable, in my opinion, than night sights when dealing with low light defensive situation. Laser sights are also good tools in my opinion since I can see a green blob on a target even better than two orange blobs and one green blob on top of my gun. The only reason I don’t have a laser/light combination mounted on my defensive firearm is because I can’t find a combination of a holster and sight with a green laser that I like (and I need green specifically because my eyes don’t pick up the wavelength most red lasers use very well). For my needs night sights are very useful, green laser sights are greatly appreciated, and really bright lights are awesome. But as always your situation probably differs from mine and your mileage will vary.