It doesn't matter how good of a shooter you are if you have no reliable way to sight in a target. Most pistols these days ship from the factory with a rather cheap set of sights that, although functional, are anything but optimal. In fact, arguably the most prolific pistol in the world comes out of the box with a cheap set of plastic sights. Why? Because gun manufacturers know that sights are a matter of personal preference and almost every shooter will replace the standard factory irons with something more fitting to their taste and mission. That being the case, there are a ton of great aftermarket options out there. I got my hands on one of them recently, the new F8 Night Sights by XS.
Night sights aren't a new concept. Manufacturers have been adding tritium tubes to iron sights for decades. What has changed is the way they mount to the gun, the sight plane, type of steel used, and especially the layout of the sighting indices. The first thing I noticed about the new F8s was the robust steel construction. Installation was rather easy with a set of good sight tools. XS claims the rear can be installed without a sight press but mine was so tight it required one. Once it was centered I applied a little thread locker to the two set screws and I have no concerns about it moving. The front was even easier and centered itself well with the single screw. The whole process took about 5 minutes.
The rear sight in my example was cut for a standard Glock rear dovetail but the bulk of the sight was far thicker than that and extended back toward the shooter, creating a slightly longer sight plane. The rear notch is large, which allows for quicker front sight post acquisition and allows more daylight between the front and rear in the sight picture, something I actually prefer.
There is a single, small tritium dot centered below the notch that aligns with the much larger front sight dot by stacking the front on top of the rear. The front tritium dot is encompassed by a large orange ring that is nearly impossible to miss, even when shooting quickly. Both sides are very tall, something not common in most other sights I've tested aside from suppressor-specific sights, but the rear notch is deep enough to keep the sight plane relatively low. This rather deep notch seemed to help my accuracy and I found it very easy to get used to. Illumination in low light was superb.
The new F8 sights are available now for a wide variety of pistols and come with an impressive 10-year, no questions asked warranty. My set is on my Glock 19 Gen 5 duty pistol and they're not going anywhere. Check them out at www.xssights.com.
A.J. George is a sergeant with the Scottsdale (AZ) Police Department assigned to the Technical Operations Unit, Special Investigations Section. He has more than a decade of law enforcement experience in patrol, field training, and traffic enforcement.