Do you paint your sights?

This is a discussion on Do you paint your sights? within the Concealed Carry Issues & Discussions forums, part of the Defensive Carry Discussions category; I carry an XD subcompact and I've been debating night sights ever since I started using this gun. I have read a lot of mixed ...

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Thread: Do you paint your sights?

  1. #1
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    Question Do you paint your sights?

    I carry an XD subcompact and I've been debating night sights ever since I started using this gun. I have read a lot of mixed reviews on which night sights work well with the subcompact, so I've never pulled the trigger, so to speak, on any of them. It seems that there are some conflicting opinions on if changing the sights changes the aim point of the gun. Anyway, I realize I could re-learn, even if I had to adjust to a change, but I really like the way my firearm performs now, so I don't know if I want to mess with what works well for me...

    My question is, how many of you use some type of phosphorescent paint on sights and how well does that work for you? I've never painted a sight before so I'm looking to learn from everyone else (mistakes or successes) before I go and do something to my favorite carry piece! I realize that these paints require light to "charge" so how do you get around that in dark environments? Or do you even have to?

    Thanks in advance for the input and advice!

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    Member Array SteveCollins's Avatar
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    Go with the night sights and you won't have to worry about it. Even if it's just the front sight, which for some is the preferred option.
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    VIP Member Array Stevew's Avatar
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    Not yet. I have a few guns that I would probably carry more if I did, like my Colt Gov 380. Great gun in good light and the right back ground.
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    Member Array Tireboy's Avatar
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    I have painted the sites on a couple of my guns. It works OK, but it seems wears off easily & I had to reapply the paint often. I recommend installing night sites. Both my wife & I have XD9 Subcompacts. She went with the "straight 8's" & is VERY happy with them. (she has issues with double vision). I went with the truglo TFO bright site. Green front & yellow rear. I think it was the best thing I ever did for sites! works well for me as my vision is declining as I get older.
    What SteveCollins said about just replacing just the front site is valid. and worth trying.
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    Quote Originally Posted by punk rocka View Post
    I carry an XD subcompact and I've been debating night sights ever since I started using this gun. I have read a lot of mixed reviews on which night sights work well with the subcompact, so I've never pulled the trigger, so to speak, on any of them. It seems that there are some conflicting opinions on if changing the sights changes the aim point of the gun. Anyway, I realize I could re-learn, even if I had to adjust to a change, but I really like the way my firearm performs now, so I don't know if I want to mess with what works well for me...

    My question is, how many of you use some type of phosphorescent paint on sights and how well does that work for you? I've never painted a sight before so I'm looking to learn from everyone else (mistakes or successes) before I go and do something to my favorite carry piece! I realize that these paints require light to "charge" so how do you get around that in dark environments? Or do you even have to?

    Thanks in advance for the input and advice!


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    Senior Member Array boatail's Avatar
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    I did on my Airwieght since there's no sights to speak of. Red on the front and I outlined the rear with black. It helped with faster sight pickup. Thats about all I could think of doing with that gun.
    Light travels faster than sound...thats why some people appear bright before they speak

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    I painted the whole surface of the front sight gloss white, and in certain lights it really helped me pick up the front sight, but in dim lighting would blend into the background and in backlighting the face of the front sight would disappear.

    Then I painted over the white with flourescent orange, and I find I can pick up the front sight in a much wider variety of lighting conditions, from dim to bright and from front to side to back lighting, and that it never blends into the background light the white sight did, but that there are still conditions under which there is ambient light but the face of the sight is invisible (e.g. when the ambient light is dim and the sight is backlit).

    What I've learned from this is that I really like the flourescent orange color, but that a painted sight is not reliable: sometimes I'll see if and sometimes I won't.

    I like the idea of the TruGlo TFO sights, where you get the benefits of both fiber optic and tritium, but they only make them in green and yellow (limited by the tritium), and I would prefer a red or orange.

    I also wonder about a small red-dot scope, but they're too expensive to buy just as an experiment.

    I'm still thinking about what to try next.
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    Member Array Orange Boy's Avatar
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    I have painted black on black sights a fluorescent orange color in front to pick up more easily. I found a really bright orange nail polish in the drug store and a really bright white one too. I gave a few base coats of white and a few of the orange after that. You have to let each coat dry thoroughly first. It really helped with the color brightness to do the white undercoat first. The only problem is that one of my gun cleaning steps involves non-chlorinated brake cleaner. The stuff is not very friendly to nail polish. I hold a small rag over the front sight when I spray the gun down. Even so, I still have to touch it up after every 5 or 6 cleanings. I did all this for use at my local, dimly lit indoor range. My eyes aren't what they used to be. A front fiber optic sight would give me the same (or better) effect and has the advantage of being able to be removed for cleaning. Now if this were for an EDC, I would without a doubt go for the tritium night sights. I would not trust the glow in the dark paint to work for the simple fact that it needs light to charge the particles. My EDC is concealed, so there is no light to be charging it.

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    Painted sights look 'purrrrrty', but the paint quickly wears off, and they are useless in dim light. A waste of time and $$.IMHO
    I now have Trijicons on all my carry guns.
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    I have painted several of my guns with several different kinds of paint. It seems to work ok but in no way will it take the place of night sights and the paint comes off as you clean your gun.

    Not real happy with the process.
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    Quote Originally Posted by retsupt99 View Post
    Painted sights look 'purrrrrty', but the paint quickly wears off, and they are useless in dim light. A waste of time and $$.IMHO
    I now have Trijicons on all my carry guns.
    I agree with that.
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    VIP Member Array TedBeau's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by ABC111 View Post
    I have painted several of my guns with several different kinds of paint. It seems to work ok but in no way will it take the place of night sights and the paint comes off as you clean your gun.

    Not real happy with the process.
    I use bright whight nail polish. It last for at least 5 or 6 cleanings. I painted the ramp on my front site and the sides of the notchs in the rear site channel. I like it.

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    I did on my J frame
    Used a flo orange craft paint I bought at Wally world.
    I have gotten solcent on it and it still seems to stay on.
    I7/8 inch barrel j frames have limitations. If I had my druthers Id have an XS big dot but it would require milling ans mounting.
    I may add crimsons later.

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    Quote Originally Posted by dawei View Post

    Very nice! What ammo are you using that has red and blue primers?
    Vermont does not issue Permit/Licenses to Carry a Concealed firearm. Vermont allows anyone
    who can legally own a firearm to carry it concealed without a permit of any kind.

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    I painted the sights on my LCP .380 with green glow paint.

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