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Visual Aids

The fast target acquisition provided by Tritium night sights can give you the edge in a gunfight.

February 01, 2004  |  by Dave Douglas


TRUGLO’s TFO system combines tritium and fiber optics for sights that stand out in daylight or low light and are often mistaken for battery-powered systems.

Dallas-based TRUGLO is best known for its fiber-optic sights, but it also makes tritium sights and a new line of TFO (tritium fiber-optic) sights. The TFO sight is available for selected Glock, SiG, HK, Kimber, and Springfield handguns.

This is a truly innovative product. The TFO sight's fiber optics provide superior bright-light performance. During the day, the sight really jumps out and provides the shooter with an outstanding sight picture. In low light, the fiber optics seem to amplify the available light, and with the tritium as a "kicker," the sights are easy to see and automatically draw the eye. At night, the combination of the two systems gives you an exceptional sight picture. Most people who shoot using these sights think the illumination is battery powered.

21st Century Technologies

MMC’s sights are adjustable for shooters who don’t aim for point of impact because of eye problems or eye dominance concerns.

Innovative Weaponry Inc. (IWI), a subsidiary of 21st Century Technologies, is one of the leading manufacturers of night sights. The company has contracts with some of the largest gun manufacturers and has installed its P-T (Practical-Tactical) Night Sights on weapons of federal law enforcement teams and on the weapons of U.S. military spec ops units, including the ones that don't officially exist.

IWI's P-T Night Sight is a fixed system that is extremely robust. It is machined from bar stock steel and designed with the front sight brighter than the rear sights since the key to acquiring a target in low light is the ability to locate the front sight quickly and accurately.

P-T Sights come in a variety of colors. The front sight is always green, but the rear sight is available in orange, yellow, blue, green, or red.

Miniature Machine Corp. (MMC) is another subsidiary of 21st Century Technologies that makes night sights. The MMC sights are similar to IWI's P-T Night Sights, but with one pretty significant difference: MMC sights are adjustable. If you are not shooting point of impact, point of aim because of your eyes, eye dominance, or technique, or if you frequently change the ammunition you shoot, you really need to consider what adjustable sights can do for your shooting.

MMC sights carry a lifetime guarantee on workmanship and materials. The tritium tubes contained in the MMC sights are produced by IWI and warranted for 15 years. The standard finish is a fine black oxide, but MMC night sights are also available in Teflon-coated and stainless steel/Teflon-coated finishes.

XS Sight Systems

XS Sight Systems’ 24/7 sights feature a shallow V rear blade design and a large tritium dot on the front post.

Fort Worth, Texas-based XS Sight Systems makes the 24/7 Express Big Dot Tritium System, the sight system I have on my duty gun, my off-duty gun, my home defense pistol, and my home defense shotgun.

I first used the XS Sights at the Gunsite Academy in Arizona. My eyes just aren't what they used to be, and I found that I was having real problems quickly picking up the front sight and the target. The 24/7 Express Big Dot Tritium System made that problem disappear.

The philosophy behind the XS system is nothing new; express sights have been around since the early 1800s. That's why many of the fine old double guns introduced by the English aristocracy in Africa to hunt lions or Cape buffalo and other highly dangerous game were equipped with express-type sights characterized by a rear blade in a shallow V design and a front sight consisting of a fairly large ivory or gold bead. When you have 2,500 pounds of evil attitude and horns or 1,500 pounds of claws and really big teeth charging you there is no luxury of acquiring a fine-precision sight picture. The same is true when some street punk is drawing on you in a dimly lit alley.

That's why the XS 24/7 sight features a modern variation of the tried-and-true express sight design. The rear blade on the 24/7 is a shallow V design with a small vertical tritium post. The front sight is a large precision white dot with a tritium tube in the center.

The benefits of this system are startling. It is the fastest gun-fighting, self-defense sight system I have ever used in both daylight and low-light conditions. With little practice, my speed improved by half and I continued to be accurate from the up-close gun confrontation distances all the way back to more than 25 yards. All you have to do to acquire the target with the 24/7 is simply line up the stick on the rear sight with the dot on the front.

The 24/7 Express Big Dot Tritium System is available for more than 20 different makes of handgun. XS also makes a great system for the AR series and for HK carbines, and its ghost ring shotgun sights will enhance any tactical shotgun.





21st Century Technologies

XS Sight Systems

Sgt. Dave Douglas is the rangemaster of the San Diego Police Department and a Police magazine contributing editor.

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