Join Date: Dec 2005
Tritium Night Sights
Here's my well-received night sight review...
My Take On Night Sights...
Self-Luminous Tritium Night Sights incorporate small tritium-charged lamps as sight markers. The hermetically sealed lamps consist of glass ampoules coated internally with phosphor and charged with tritium gas (Hydrogen 3). Free electrons in the decaying tritium gas strike and excite the phosphor coating, emitting light, much the way a CRT (Cathode Ray Tube) monitor or older television does. Tritium gas is a byproduct of nuclear fission. Tritium poses no health hazard unless it is ingested or inhaled. On average, you can expect 12+ years of useful light from tritium sights.
Glock OEM Night Sights utilize Meprolight lamps, and when purchased with the gun, are about the best deal going! The OEM models are combat-type sights, which typically had a staked-on front sight that dedicated that sight to one gun; but recently, we’ve been getting reports of a threaded-on front sight being the new standard for this set up. They are excellent bull's-eye sights out to 30-feet or so. We’ve also been hearing that Glock now offers Trijicon night sights, installed by the factory.
Meprolight Night Sights are rugged, well-made, low profile, combat-type sights, with a wide front blade to rear sight notch aspect. Israeli-made Meprolights were the first tritium night sights marketed for use on popular pistols and rifles. Their large lamps appear brighter than other night sights, partly because the interior of the lamp housings has a bright-white coating to increase internal reflection. The lamps and white plastic o-ring markers appear to be embedded in polished epoxy, which resists solvents and makes for easy cleaning. By design, the front sight appears brighter than the rear sight.
Trijicon Night Sights offer tritium lamps surrounded by an aluminum sleeve, pressed into the sight housing, and covered by a sapphire lens. This lens makes the sight markers appear very sharp in the dark, Vs. Meprolight's glowing orbs, and protects the lamps from external damage. The narrower front blade to rear sight notch aspect will be appreciated by sharper eyed shooters at the range. The quality is excellent, but care should be taken when cleaning to avoid harsh solvents and aggressive scrubbing, as the white o-rings are painted on. The new Trijicon HD sights rival AmeriGlo's Operator-style Sights in concept, and have a protective coating over the front sight marker.
AmeriGlo offers the best selection of night sights available. Quality is first-rate, as the sights combine Trijicon lamps with white PVC O-rings for markers. A combination of sight profiles, blade and notch widths, marker configurations, sizes and lamp colors, offers something for everyone. I really like their Operator sights with a green front and yellow rear lamps!
XS Big Dot sights are high quality combat sights, designed for SHTF situations. Place that big white dot on center mass, and if your trigger control is good, you will hit your target, out to 30-feet or better. The night sight picture is pleasing and easily picked up. These are a specialty sight, and many will find them wanting for range use; conversely, others will master them for target use too. More than any sight I know of, people like them or they don't.
Note: Lamp colors are often mixed today, combining the familiar green with yellow or orange, even red or blue tritium lamps. The brighter appearing green, always goes to the front... I personally like the two color set up, using yellow or orange rear lamps, with the green front. Note that green and yellow have a similar lamp-life, while other colors such as orange or red, may have half the lamp-life.
Summary: These are just a few night sights we've had first-hand experience with. There are other quality products, and some not-so-quality products out there to try. Some are innovative and novel--like TruGlo TFOs. Some are known to be problematic--like TruGlo TFOs. Any of the premium brands--i.e., Novak, Heinie, Dawson Precision, Bomar, etc.---should be excellent. The warranty is a good indicator of the manufacturer's confidence in their product.