Editor’s Note: The following is a post by Mark Kakkuri, a nationally published freelance writer who covers guns and gear, 2nd Amendment issues and the outdoors. His writing and photography have appeared in many firearms-related publications, including the USCCA’s Concealed Carry Magazine. You can follow him on Twitter @markkakkuri.
Read Mark’s previous articles in this “Top Five” series:
- Top Five Unique Handguns
- Top Five Things I Wish I Knew Before Carrying a Concealed Handgun
- And Top Five Pieces of Gear for an Individual First Aid Kit
- Top Five Outside-the-Waistband Holsters
- Top Five Magazine Holsters
In the world of duty and defensive handguns, consumers have a variety of sighting technologies at their disposal – from low-tech “iron sights” to high-tech lasers and reflex optics. Right in the middle of that range are night- or low-light sights. These types of sights contain small, sealed vials containing a radioactive, glow-in-the-dark material known as Tritium.
Variations of night sights have been around for decades and many handgun manufacturers offer a night-sight upgrade for whatever model of handgun you might be purchasing. But some guns come only with standard sights (perhaps a three-dot or dot-in-groove setup), leaving the consumer to purchase and install night sights if they’re desired.
Night sights are a good idea as they help with aiming in low- or no-light conditions. But even night sights lose their strength over time. After about 10 years or so, they’ll start to fade significantly. And so they’ll need to be replaced eventually. So, whether you’re replacing the standard sights on your handgun or an aging set of night sights, you have options.
With that, here are my top five night sights for handguns, in no particular order. Just for the sake of comparison, the sights listed are all for a Glock 19. If you have the proper tools, you can install these yourself, but professional installation is recommended.
1. Ameriglo Glock Classic Tritium Set, $99
One of the lower-priced options in this collection, these Ameriglo night sights feature a white-outlined green Tritium dot-on-the-front sight and two of the same on the rear sight (a feature for the Glock version of these sights). So, it’s a typical three-dot setup.
In normal lighting conditions, your eye will probably pick up more white than green, but as the light lessens, the green glowing dots become more pronounced. If you use a suppressor or an optic on your handgun, you can get these sights in a “tall” version. Ameriglo offers a handful of variants for Glock night sights – rear blade with no dot or Tritium, rear blade with single dot/Tritium, Ghost Ring rear, etc.
I’ve used Ameriglo night sights and would say they’re virtually as good (visible, durable, stable) as the night sights that come from the Glock factory.
For more information visit Ameriglo.com.
2. Trijicon GL01 Bright & Tough Night Sight Set, $125
One of the most popular names in sighting systems, Trijicon is known for innovation and excellence. The company’s Bright & Tough line takes a standard three-dot Tritium night sight setup and adds brightness (by capping each lamp with a sapphire jewel) and toughness (by containing the lamps in an aluminum cylinder and mounting them in silicone rubber cushions).
The added sapphire helps to evenly distribute light, and the upgraded mounting helps protect against solvents and puncture, shock and heavy recoil. Green lamps come with a 12-year warranty from date of manufacture.
I’ve used Tritium night sights (but not the Bright & Tough version) and am nothing but impressed with the brightness and durability. As such, I think some kind of torture test using the Bright & Tough version is in order.
For more information visit Trijicon.com.
3. Truglo TFX Pro Tritium/Fiber-optic Day/Night Sights, $186
Several Truglo sights have made their way onto my Glock 19 over the years, and every one has proven to be excellent. And more so in daytime shooting conditions than in low-light. That’s because the light-gathering fiber optics are excellent at gathering light and directing it into the sights. They glow brightly in the daytime. They’re good in low-light conditions too because fiber optics not only gather whatever light is available – even if there is very little – but also work in conjunction with Tritium tubes.Working together, they provide virtually the same sight picture no matter the lighting conditions.
The TFX Pro version of the Truglo sights offers a couple of unique features. First, the rear sight offers a U-shaped channel in which to view the front sight. This allows for your eye to make a quick acquisition of the sight picture. Second, the rear sight is shaped at an angle to maximize its usefulness in grabbing an edge when you need to rack your gun’s slide and have only one hand available to do so.
For more information visit Truglo.com.
4. Meprolight Glock TruDot, $72.80
The lowest priced night sights in this mix, the Meprolight Glock TruDot night sights represent a tremendous value. Like the Trijicon sights, they come with a 12-year warranty, but only to the original purchaser.
Meprolight brags that these night sights have “unequaled low-light performance,” and they’re the “brightest night sights available today.” I can’t really qualify those claims – it’s difficult to measure the relative brightness of night sights – but they are bright and work well.
For more information visit Meprolight.com.
5. HiViz NiteSite, $141.95
Finally, HiViz comes in with its NiteSight technology, which is very similar to the Trijicon night sights in that it features a laser-sealed Tritium in an aluminum sleeve and a sapphire lens cap. So it’s similarly durable and bright and tough – just like a handgun sight ought to be. The green Tritium vials are surrounded by a white ring, making the sights very visible in bright and low-light conditions.
As far as warranty goes, “HIVIZ Tritium sights are covered for a period of 10 years, according to the date stamp on the product, against tritium failure resulting in total loss of illumination due to defects in the workmanship or material during normal use.” But only the original owner can get a replacement of the sight if not misused.
For more information visit HiVizSights.com.
Now, stand by for a “Top 5” article about lasers as well as one on reflex optics. In the meantime, let us know your thoughts on these (or other) night sights – whether you use them, whether you think everyone should and what kind you prefer the most.
In fact, I’d like to know if you’ve been through multiple sets of night sights and how you handled the installation. Let us know how long your original set of night sights lasted and when you started to notice the fade.
Discover how you can join more than 200,000 responsibly armed Americans who already rely on the USCCA to protect their families, futures and freedoms: USCCA.com/gunsamerica.