Truglo Tritium Fiber Optic Combo: TG-H3 Review

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The TG-H3 is a rather simple looking front sight, but don't let it fool you. It has a trick up its sleeve.

The TG-H3 is a rather simple looking front sight, but don’t let it fool you. It has a trick up its sleeve.

I’m not one to preference good looks over serious performance. But this is getting to be one ugly gun. A couple of years ago, I needed a break action shotgun for a review I was planning. I’d lined up some multicaliber 12 gauge barrel inserts that promised to turn ol’ Betsy (or whatever you’ve named your break-action clunker) into a versatile survival piece capable of firing anything from a .308 to a .22 short. So I picked up this beauty–a rusted out Ithaca Model 66. The old girl locks up tight, and has a clean, shiny bore. She wasn’t much to look at, but she shot straight. And that’s all I needed.

If she wasn’t much to look at before, I surely didn’t help make things better. I tore the gun down, completely, and cleaned everything up. I sanded out all off all of the rust. I cut the barrel down to 18.5 inches. I even Duracoated the whole thing, just to see how well the finish worked. It was all well and good, but missing a front sight. Enter the Truglo  TG-H3.

The  TG-H3 looks a bit out of place on this beastly shotgun. If I were more vain, it wouldn’t be my first choice for a lever action. But I wasn’t concerned about the aesthetic. If the barrel inserts do come in for review, I’ll need a sight. And the TG-H3 is a bad-ass sight. It is long, and wide. It installs on a 12 gauge barrel fairly easily. There are two holes that need to be drilled into the top of the barrel, and it may be best to have a gunsmith do it, but it can be done at home.

What would posses someone to paint Duacoat an entire shotgun in tan? Beats me, and I'm the one that did it.

What would posses someone to Duacoat an entire lever action shotgun in tan? Beats me, and I’m the one that did it.

The real appeal of the sight, though, is the fat glowing tube. As we’re talking shotguns here, a wide front sight isn’t a detriment. At seven yards, the glowing dot is still smaller than a birdshot pattern and buckshot pattern. That pretty much covers the defensive end fairly well.

The  TG-H3 glows, even in full darkness, thanks to the tritium in the tube.

The TG-H3 glows, even in full darkness, thanks to the tritium in the tube.

The insert glows well, thanks to the miracle combination of Tritium and fiber optic. The dot is visible even in full darkness. Not that I’d advise shooting anything in full darkness, but it is nice to think you could. And because the business end of the sight’s frame is solid, the glow can’t be seen by anyone (or anything) in front of the gun. The side view is a different story, as the frame is cut to allow ample light transmission. But the tube isn’t visible from the side in the dark, only from the shooter’s perspective. Genius. Truglo calls this TFO (Tritium Fiber Optic) and it is the best of both worlds.

All told, I’m thrilled with the sight. I moved recently, and threw the gun, as you see it here, into the moving truck in a rather unceremonious fashion. The ride was long, and somewhat brutal for the finish on the Ithaca. Yet the sight remained in place, intact, just as I’d suspected. It can take a beating. And I’m hoping it can dish one out, too. I’m looking for a rear sight now, one that will compliment this giant front sight, and one that will make this ridiculous shotgun look even more ludicrous.

And I’m still waiting for the inserts. That’s the reason for this gun’s continued existence. When they arrive, the  TG-H3 will get a full on workout, and I’ll post a follow up to this one. Until then, check out the  TG-H3. The MSRP on this dude is $114. That’s a lot more than I paid for this Ithaca, but it is worth it. This is just the first of a couple of Truglo reviews we have lined up, so stay tuned.

The dot on the  TG-H3 is wide, and the base of the sight is as wide as some rear sights, but it is ideal for a scatter-gun.

The dot on the TG-H3 is wide, and the base of the sight is as wide as some rear sights, but it is ideal for a scatter-gun.

The frame itself has been milled and contoured to protect the insert and gather light.

The frame itself has been milled and contoured to protect the insert and gather light.

The tube slides into the milled frame, which pins in place on the barrel.

The tube slides into the milled frame, which pins in place on the barrel.

This is all you need to hold everything in place.

This is all you need to hold everything in place. The screws attach the frame to the barrel, and the pins lock in the insert.

Now it is time to address the rear sight on this ugly old gun.

Now it is time to address the rear sight on this ugly old gun. This one would suffice if I had a riser.

Because I'd shortened the barrel, I need a new sight.

Because I’d shortened the barrel, I need a new sight.

I obviously need to adjust the rear sight. With no riser, I'm shooting way high from 25 yards.

I obviously need to adjust the rear sight. With no riser, I’m shooting way high from 25 yards.

From 7 yards, the shotgun is performing much better. How well with the sight work when we run rifle rounds through the shotgun? Time will tell.

From 7 yards, the shotgun is performing much better. How well with the sight work when we run rifle rounds through the shotgun? Time will tell.

The front end of the sight is solid, which protects the insert even more.

The front end of the sight is solid, which protects the insert even more and keeps the beacon like sight from showing your position.

It fits the contour of the barrel perfectly, and makes target aquisition much faster than a typical bead.

It fits the contour of the barrel perfectly, and makes target aquisition much faster than a typical bead.

{ 2 comments… add one }
  • Blackhawk 45 September 8, 2014, 6:50 pm

    Have a set of these sights on my Glock 23. Very happy with them.
    Waiting for Tru-Glo to make a set for a 1911 with Novak sight cuts.
    They make them for the Kimber, but not for the Novak or LPA cuts.
    Heard a rumor, that Tru-Glo was going to indeed make a set for the
    Novak cut, sometime later this year. I read this in a review from the
    Shot Show. So far, I haven’t seen the new sights. I really hope Tru-Glo
    makes this, seems there would be a huge market for them.

  • roger mason September 8, 2014, 1:05 pm

    would you please expose the fact that a 9 year
    old girl in az did NOT shoot a gun instructor with
    a submachine gun. this is more anti-gun disinformation.
    the internet has countless exposes of this FRAUD.
    the video is so ridiculous, and so badly photo-
    shopped, ray charles and helen keller can see it.
    NO GUN INSTRUCTOR WAS SHOT IN
    ARIZONA!!!!! another government anti-gun hoax.

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