"Night Sights" v. "Big Dot" v. Painting Sights

This is a discussion on "Night Sights" v. "Big Dot" v. Painting Sights within the Concealed Carry Issues & Discussions forums, part of the Defensive Carry Discussions category; What is the best option for SD purposes? I have a S&W Shield. It shoots great, but I'd like to improve my groupings. Thanks!...

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Thread: "Night Sights" v. "Big Dot" v. Painting Sights

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    Member Array CigarStix's Avatar
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    "Night Sights" v. "Big Dot" v. Painting Sights

    What is the best option for SD purposes? I have a S&W Shield. It shoots great, but I'd like to improve my groupings.

    Thanks!
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    Distinguished Member Array Rcher's Avatar
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    My 1911's have Tritium night sights and I also have CT laser. I want it as easy as possible if the SHTF.
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    Senior Member Array KBSR's Avatar
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    Without night sights, you can not aim your pistol accurately in low light, period.

    Night sights, IMHO are a necessity on any gun that will ever be used for self defense or home defense. Spend the 100 bucks, and forget about it.
    " But if you are authorized to carry a weapon, and you walk outside without it, just take a deep breath, and say this to yourself... Baa." Col. Dave Grossman on Sheep and Sheepdogs.

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    Member Array Crestwood1001's Avatar
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    "Night Sights" v. "Big Dot" v. Painting Sights

    I have a set of Green/Green Tru Glo TFO's on my gen 4 glock 19, absolutely love their performance in daylight and low light.
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    Member Array NorthernVandal's Avatar
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    I'd say for COM (Center of Mass) defensive shooting, you are best using Big Dots for simplicity, however the caveat to that is that you are not going to improve your groupings. Night sights are not necessarily the must have, however are always a plus. Practice retains your muscle memory and hones your accuracy, proper practice and drawing from your holster to target. I have night sights on my new Sig, they came with it, if they didn't I probably would eventually put Big dots on it after I became intimately familiar with the weapon.

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    I painted the "whites" of my Glock sights with DayGlo-Orange paint and find them surprisingly visable in dim light situations, that in which I could still see a target well enough to aim at it. If it's dark enough that I can't see the sights, I couldn't see the target. For the $3-$4 it costs for the paint, give it a try. you might like it.
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    My HK 45c came with a kind of 'night sight' that glows. If given adequate exposure to light, they are awesome! But what usually happens is the rear sights are bright like flashlights and the front sight is nowhere to be seen. Bad. What was it Jeff Cooper said? "Blessed is he who, in the face of death, thinks only of the front sight!" Or something to that effect.

    I have been waiting for a few months for the new Trijicon HD sights to become available for my model. They're showing up on the websight now and HKparts says they'll be arriving soon!

    Having said that, I think there's a lot to be said for learning point shooting. If your kinesthetic memory is solid, you have a better chance of hitting your target than somebody with fancy sights and no training.

    Good luck!

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    No matter what the firearm good sights can make all the difference sometimes.

    The choices you have listed each kind of perform a different function generally speaking.

    Again generally speaking to improve groups a target style sight is best like BoMar. A solid black square rear with a precision cut, for whatever works best for you, square front. These type sights give the most precise sight picture for target work but would be hard to see in low or no light. For the ultimate in precision the sights would need to be adjustable.

    The purpose of night sights is to allow you to see your sights in low or no light but they do not aid in target identification. There are dozens of styles of night sights available with dots, bars, fiber optics and so on a lot of it depends on your personal preference. In daylight you would not really notice the dots so you could acquire a good set of target type sights with inserts but as I will mention at the bottom do you need them for a gun like the Shield.

    The SA Operator has the best of both worlds. Precision adjustable target sights with tritium inserts.




    XS big dots are one of my favorite on a defense guns. Patterned after the Safari Express Rifle Sights the simple rear line and big front dot are very fast to acquire and use. They also come in a night sight version. In the end most all of my guns will have the big dots on them and depending on the gun you can usually install them yourself. Just to mention if someone says they are not accurate at longer ranges James Yeager did a youtube video of him shooting them out to 100 yards on a pepper popper. One of the reasons I like them so much is my vision is not what it used to be and they are very easy to pick up quickly.

    That is what is on my Glock 19



    Painting the sights is normally done in order to see/pickup the sights better and would/could not really improve the sight picture, again all depends on you. Some sight paints do glow in the dark but only after being exposed to sunlight and only last for so long so if you chose this type of option you would have to find the time and the place to set the gun out so the sights could recharge so to speak.

    I have different sights on different guns but as I stated I would like to consolidate to one type on most of them and that would be the XS Big Dots they simply work best for me.

    Keep in mind though that the Shield is a self defense pistol so the whatever sights you choose need to go along with that line of thinking. Shorter ranges, good sight picture that is easy to acquire, and the ability to see them in low/no light. I recently have acquired several M&P pistols of varying sizes, including a Shield, that I have not even had a chance to pick up or shoot yet so I will have to see how the gun/sight combination works for me before changing them out.

    Hope this helps.
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    Distinguished Member Array kelcarry's Avatar
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    They all have their purposes but for fairly close SD, which is my only way I can presume imminent danger, point shooting is the best of all. Any time you have external aiming you are losing that second or millisecond that will make all the difference within the 15-20 feet that I consider as imminent danger. You watch any of these "sharpshooters" you do not see dots or lasers or any of that--you see point shoot and, if learned is, IMHO the ultimate SD for a firearm.

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    Member Array CigarStix's Avatar
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    Great feedback, gang. Thanks.

    After all I've seen regarding the Big Dots, everyone seems to swear by them for self defense.
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    I used the Glow-On paint on my sons Glock 22. And neither one of us is really to happy with it. If its to dark you can see them.
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    Member Array CigarStix's Avatar
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    Sight replacement question: When repacing sights, how do you know your new sights are Perfectly Centered?
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    Member Array Jdunn217's Avatar
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    In my opinion, night sights are the only way to go. Don't know why the front sight appears so small in the picture because it is bigger in person. But you get the idea of why fluorescent paint is inferior to them.


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    "Night Sights" v. "Big Dot" v. Painting Sights

    Quote Originally Posted by CigarStix View Post
    Sight replacement question: When repacing sights, how do you know your new sights are Perfectly Centered?
    On the glock (can't speak for others) you just make sure the rear blade is centered in its slot relative to the sides of the slide, then if you go shoot and need adjustments you can make your adjustments


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    Once the rear is installed I usually use a micrometer and simply make sure it is centered and go from there. You may still have to adjust it left or right depending on the POA/POI of the particular gun.
    "A first rate man with a third rate gun is far better than the other way around". The gun is a tool, you are the craftsman that makes it work. There are those who say "if I had to do it, I could" yet they never go out and train to do it. Don't let stupid be your mindset. Harryball 2013

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