Musings on Night Sights


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cslinger
October 1, 2003, 12:08 PM
Seems to me if you are using a firearm in light low enough not to be able to see the sights you are very likely to mess up the orientation of the sights by using night sights that are all one color.

For example your average night sights are green. If you are looking at those three green dots it is not hard to align the front sight to the left or right of the two rear dots but if light is low enough it still appears as if your sights are lined up.

Am I making sense?

Wouldn't having either just the front sight glow or having a different color for front and rears really be the way to go?

Just a musing and a question for those who understand my cryptic rantings.:uhoh:

Chris

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KMKeller
October 1, 2003, 12:16 PM
Motion of the front sight would be significantly different than the rear. Two moving in unison, one moving out of sync would be a pretty good indicator. In addition, the gap between the front blade offset to the right or left and the rear sights, depending upon the sight type, should be significantly different than the sights properly aligned.

Bartholomew Roberts
October 1, 2003, 12:18 PM
If you are looking at those three green dots it is not hard to align the front sight to the left or right of the two rear dots but if light is low enough it still appears as if your sights are lined up.

Its been my experience that you can't have a good grip on your pistol and achieve the condition you describe above without being aware of it since you'd have to bend your wrist considerably to one side to achieve it.

QuarterBoreGunner
October 1, 2003, 12:58 PM
The concern you have noted is, I believe the reasoning behind multiple color dots for night sights, also for the different combos of bars and dots- I never really considered it a concern for the reason Bartholomew Roberts stated; you'd have to have the firearm cocked so far over in your hand to miss-align the sights in that way, that you'd feel it instantly.

Within the realm of the possible? I suppose so, but I'm not going to lose any sleep over it.

Soap
October 1, 2003, 01:12 PM
What you are saying can, and does happen at the night shoots I've been to. To overcome this, I just get in funky positions (standing, behind cover, kneeling, rollover prone, etc.) and bring my gun up to eye level. But I do so with my eyes closed, then open your eyes and see if your sights are perfectly aligned. If they are, good job, keep practicing. If they aren't, keep practicing.

PackingHeat
October 1, 2003, 01:28 PM
I find that my wrist would have to be so twisted to misalign the front sight to one side or the other that I can only do it if I intentionally try to. It is totally unnatural.

10-Ring
October 1, 2003, 02:34 PM
If you're in conditions so dark that you can't tell front sight from rear, how do you ID your target? I like the green on green sights because they are the brightest & easiest for me to pick up. If I have the proper grip, alignment of my sights is pretty intuitive. I can understand what you're saying, but you may just be looking for a problem where one doesn't exist.

Zak Smith
October 1, 2003, 02:37 PM
I've thought through this question a lot over the last four years - since I got my first handgun that had night sights.

Green tritium sights are easy to pick up and align, but it's possible to get the dots mixed up.

Green front / amber rear makes it easier to pick up the front sight.

After all that, though, I find the "dots" that comprise most common night sights to be distracting when shooting "at speed." They're just too busy.

Now I prefer a simple sight picture that looks more or less like a BoMar or Heinie, with a single tritium dot without white outline on the front post.

Shots at 7 yards or less don't really need to be "aimed" using the sights. If you practice enough, you can just use your body's "index." Confirm index on target and shoot. It's what we do in IPSC.

-z

Correia
October 1, 2003, 02:57 PM
Personally I like the Ashley Expess system. At night you have a big green dot in front and a green line underneath. Impossible to get it confused, quick, and it really works.

GSB
October 1, 2003, 04:10 PM
Now I prefer a simple sight picture that looks more or less like a BoMar or Heinie, with a single tritium dot without white outline on the front post.

I've kind of been converted to the bar-dot system on my Sig 220 for that reason. Didn't like it at first, as I was used to the the three dot system. But I've found over time that I can more quickly acquire a good sight picture with the simpler bar-dot configuration. I'm sure it's a very subjective thing, though.

Z_Infidel
October 1, 2003, 04:29 PM
On the one handgun I have night sights installed on, I have a vertical bar on the rear sight instead of two dots.

But is this really an issue anyway? I would think if you were that far off on your alignment then one side of the rear sight would actually come between the front dot and your eyes, thus you wouldn't be able to see the front dot at all. Am I missing something?

444
October 1, 2003, 04:43 PM
I agree with those that say you would have to have a very bizare grip on the pistol to have the sights aligned as you describe. I have done it on purpose and can't imagine making that mistake.
That being said, I only own one handgun with night sights. They have a horizontal bar on the rear sight and a dot on the front sight. This serves at least two purposes that I can think of. One is that at close range where you are just using a flash sight picture, you simply put the dot on the target and the dot on the front sight is easy to distingish. Second, if you are taking a more careful precision shot, you put the dot on top of the bar. The horizontal alignment of the sights takes care of itself because if the front sight is off to one side or the other, it is obscured by the dark portions of the rear sight (rear sight blades ??).
I have used this handgun/sights doing some night varmint hunting. They seem to work good enough. Shooting at night with night sights isn't going to give you pinpoint accuracy no matter the sights. But I am fairly satisfied with the bar/dot combo. I wish I had the three dot set up to try a few times to see which I prefer. Trying them all would be a good experience. I would like to add night sights to several other handguns, but am always in a dilema as to what configuration to buy.

DMK
October 2, 2003, 12:05 PM
If you are looking at those three green dots it is not hard to align the front sight to the left or right of the two rear dots but if light is low enough it still appears as if your sights are lined up. That's why I also use Novak Bar/Dot sights on my gun. There's a dot on the front sight and a bar at the bottom of the rear sight. Center the dot over the bar and shoot.

My CZ-75 has three dot phosperous sights. These are useless tactically, but I did play with them a bit in low light by "charging" them with a flashlight. I agree that quickly aquiring sight alignment can get confusing in low light on a black pistol. I much prefer the bar/dot system.

Bowlcut
October 2, 2003, 12:14 PM
Well since my gun is beside my bed everynight, and has night sites ive kinda experamented. even with my contacts out i can still line up the sites pretty well. Main thing is that the rear is WIDE. Also natural pointability of the gun helps alot. If the front dot is outside the back .... it looks very weird. Maybe my eye picks up patterns easy cause i see the uniform spacing of the rear very easily.

m14nut
October 2, 2003, 12:28 PM
try these (http://www.ptnightsights.com/color.html) for multi-colors....

wish I found them before I bought the Meps....:banghead:

Skunkabilly
October 2, 2003, 02:40 PM
Regarding lighting, perhaps you are in a completely dark area such as your bedroom and the suspected BG is coming from another area in the house within your line of sight that is partially lit.

Skunkabilly
October 2, 2003, 02:40 PM
Regarding lighting, perhaps you are in a completely dark area such as your bedroom and the suspected BG is coming from another area in the house within your line of sight that is partially lit.

triggertime
October 4, 2003, 07:29 AM
Thoughts....The probability of misaligning the dots in low light or complete darkness is very real, especially if you are visually impaired or if you suffer from a convergence insufficiency.

Convergence is your eyes ability to rotate inward to maintain proper binocular eye alignment as objects approach from distance to near.

A cross dominant shooter or even those of us who shoot with both eyes open can experience a convergence insufficiency while aligning the sights in low light, complete darkness or even under stress.

To reduce this possibility, it is only logical to avoid night sights of identical dot color or better yet, avoid sighting systems that work on the principle of 3 dots altogether.

I find that XS sights or even Heinie Straight/Slant Eights are far superior to the 3 dot systems for this particular reason.

But beyond that, I've come to the conclusion long ago that traditional night sights are more detrimental than beneficial and that we would probably be better off employing a tactical light in low light situations rather than placing our fate in the hands of tiny little tritium orbs regardless of their orientation.

Texas Bob
October 5, 2003, 08:34 PM
I believe your ccw or nightstand gun should fit your hand so well you can keep five shots inside a 4" circle at 7yds with the sights removed from your handgun. When you have found whatever works for you, then add the nightsights, and with the fit that works for you, never worry about anything like misalignment. I use the dot front with bar rear that comes up naturally for me evertime because I found what fits my hand-eye combination.

eldomatic
October 6, 2003, 12:15 AM
Just curious....
after the muzzle blast of the first shot destroys your night vision, isn't it impossible to see the tritium sights anyhow?

444
October 6, 2003, 12:24 AM
The muzzle blast of neither my AR15, Shotguns, or 1911 destroy my night vision. This has been confirmed by actually firing them fairly extensivley at night.
If it did, you could see the nightsights anyway because they are lit up.

Rich357
October 6, 2003, 10:08 PM
With three dot, same color night sights if you wink your "off" eye it is easy to see which is the front sight as you move the muzzle (or your head) a little.

Rich

Charles S
October 6, 2003, 10:16 PM
I think more people with night sights should go out and actually shoot their guns at night.

I think that everyone who is serious about the use of a handgun for night encounters should seek out professional instruction that includes actual shooting in realistic situations at night.

I think that the above two suggestions would correct an enormous amount of misconceptions about what does and does not work both among the shooting public and among the shooting press.

My thoughts,

Charles

eldomatic
October 7, 2003, 02:39 AM
Yes, Charles, I agree with you totally.

Part of the training I received for my concealed carry permit consisted of firing in low light and nearly no light situations. The trainers would have the range officers dim or turn off the interior lane lighting.

The trainers from PlusP Technologies who taught me believe that you can be trained to "SHOOT BETTER IN THE DARK THAN YOU WILL IN DAYLIGHT" at typical "combat distance" of up to 7 yards using a variation of the U.S. Army's "Quick-Fire Point Shooting" method. They taught us darkness is your friend and to use it to your advantage.

http://www.plusp.com/classroom/lesson28.php

In other words, training to shoot defensively in low light situations is more critical than relying only on night sights which in a life or death situation are nearly physiologically impossible to concentrate on.

That being said, I'd love to put a set of Trijicons or PTs on my Beretta 8040, but I know enough to trust repeated training more than glowing dots for my night-fighting survival.

Blueduck
October 7, 2003, 10:20 PM
Tried on both Glock and 4006 with night sites to duplicate this "error". Could not manage it even trying...

Island Beretta
October 8, 2003, 09:10 PM
Thoughts....The probability of misaligning the dots in low light or complete darkness is very real, especially if you are visually impaired or if you suffer from a convergence insufficiency.

Convergence is your eyes ability to rotate inward to maintain proper binocular eye alignment as objects approach from distance to near.

A cross dominant shooter or even those of us who shoot with both eyes open can experience a convergence insufficiency while aligning the sights in low light, complete darkness or even under stress.

To reduce this possibility, it is only logical to avoid night sights of identical dot color or better yet, avoid sighting systems that work on the principle of 3 dots altogether.


Triggertime, are you for real? :scrutiny:

444
October 8, 2003, 09:48 PM
To me, this gross misalignment of three dot sights has nothing whatever to do with vision. You would have to be holding the gun sideways to do it, AND not be aware of it.
I personally am not an advocate of point shooting, but there are many out there. These people simply point the gun at the target and hit it. If they can do that, with no sights, how could someone hold a gun in such a way to have the front sight off by more than it's total width and not realize it ? I am sure we have all done at least a little point shooting or hip shooting just playing around or seriously. I know over the years I have done it many times; just pointed the pistol at a target and fired. Sometimes I hit, usually I missed, often it was a close miss. But never did I point the gun at the target and have the gun pointed 10 or 20 degrees away from the target.

igor
October 10, 2003, 04:49 AM
Situations where night sights would be needful would inherently be very stressful as well, wouldn't you agree? Consider for a moment what mayhem acute stress will wreck on your fine motor skillz and senses.

Those here who say that there really can't be any confusion as to which dot is the front one, should in my opinion get more real pressure on in their training. Especially the ones who recommend "checking" which dot is up front by moving the head etc. If it is for real, there most probably will be no time nor actual capability for any of that.

Not happy with what I have either, I'm looking into these bar-dot -configs next.

dgg9
October 10, 2003, 08:49 AM
Seems to me if you are using a firearm in light low enough not to be able to see the sights you are very likely to mess up the orientation of the sights by using night sights that are all one color.

All I can say is to try it. I've shot in zero light settings in training classes and had no problem knowing which sight was which. Try it; you'll see.

Bartholomew Roberts
October 10, 2003, 09:59 AM
Those here who say that there really can't be any confusion as to which dot is the front one, should in my opinion get more real pressure on in their training.

I wouldn't pretend that what is true for me is true for everybody since I've seen that individual differences in eyesight can often have profund effects on the usefulness of some sighting systems.

I can say that for me, I do not get the dots misaligned and not know it since you can't have a proper grip on the pistol (either one hand or two) and still be able to misalign your sights.

To emphasize this point - look at your wrist. Now show me how to misalign the sights without breaking your wrist dramatically. I shoot a fair amount and even among neophytes, I've never seen the amount of looseness in the wrist that would be necessary to misalign the sights to the degree it would take to confuse the front dot for a rear sight dot.

Show me the level of stress it takes not to immediately realize your wrist isn't locked when firing. I can't pretend to speak for others; but my own body's natural response to fight or flight stress is to clench fists and lock the wrist in prepapration for a fight. These traits make it less likely to misalign your sights in the manner described, not more. This is the same response I've seen in every other human being I've witnessed in that state.

I've done my fair share of shooting under pressure and time stress. I've made errors as a result; but I've never misaligned my night sights or seen any other person do it. To those who would advise me to "get more real pressure in my training" I have to ask what kind of background or experience do you have that you've seen what I haven't in several years of formal and personal training?

Island Beretta
October 10, 2003, 01:20 PM
Guys, just a clarification here!! My previous post was a quote of triggertime's post. My own comments were made in the last sentence..

CWL
October 10, 2003, 04:17 PM
I just pulled my Wilson Combat out of the drawer at 5:00AM last night because the dogs were going wild (racoons were on the roof again). In near darkness I was again surprised at how bright these 2-color sights were, they didn't glow, they shined so I could clearly distinguish between yellow back and green front.

Having excellent quality 2-color tritiums certainly wouldn't hurt if having to make shot in low-light situations. Always being instantly certain of which is the front sight is far from a disadvantage.

-Yes, I've been trained in low-light, flashlight and no-light shoots.

ShaiVong
February 23, 2004, 11:27 PM
What brand do you guys recomend? Novak, Trijicon, Millet...

I'm kind of drawn toward the Novak 'dot the I'

QuarterBoreGunner
February 24, 2004, 12:00 PM
All my SD guns wear Trijicons- simply because that's what I had available at the time. Green/green three dot.

I kind of like the Novaks also, my Kimber CDP wears PTs I think, and they seem a little dim. I'll probablt get around to changing them out some time soon.

Skunkabilly
February 24, 2004, 01:27 PM
Novak dot the I? I thought they just had the bar-dot??

Don't forget Heinies. I like them, but have Novaks on my Beretta.

ShaiVong
February 24, 2004, 04:36 PM
Novak dot the I? I thought they just had the bar-dot??

Hrm. I thought Novak was the one with the dotting of i's going on. I must be confused. :confused:

ShaiVong
February 24, 2004, 06:06 PM
How much of a pain is it to install the sights yourself? Any special tools needed for the front sight on a Glock?

QuarterBoreGunner
February 24, 2004, 07:11 PM
If you take their armorers course, Glock will be more than happy to sell you their sight pusher. And it does help with removing/installing their stock sights, 'cause the rear has a leaf spring that needs to be compressed to ease it in and out. If you don't care about pranging the rear stock sight you can just tap it out which usually snaps it off of the leaf spring. Then you can tap out the leaf spring. To install all you need is a brass punch and a padded vise for the slide.

The front sight requires a thin hex driver, though what size escapes right now. It was pretty small.

Oh yeah, and blue locktite for the front.

ShaiVong
February 24, 2004, 07:15 PM
Leaf Spring. Poop.

I saw that tool on sale, only costs about $100.. The same ammount as the night sights :banghead:

QuarterBoreGunner
February 24, 2004, 07:24 PM
Yeah but if you don't care about destroying the rear sight (and replacing it with night sights) then you're still good to go.

Heck, when I did night sights I usually destroyed the stock front sight by grabbing onto it with a pair of pliers and pulling it out. Since I was installing new night sights, and unless the customer specifically asked (and I always asked them 'do you want to keep your stock sights?'), why worry about it?

ShaiVong
February 24, 2004, 07:33 PM
So it will only wreck the stock sights? Bah, I don't care about those things! I could buy another set for a fraction of that silly tool!

QuarterBoreGunner
February 24, 2004, 08:05 PM
So it will only wreck the stock sights?Correct. If you just use a brass punch to remove the rear sight, most likely you'll destroy them. You can remove the front sight without destroying it, but why bother?

You'll need padded vise for the slide, but that's easy. Then all you need is the right sized hex driver to tighten the itty bitty screw that holds in the front sight.

Use a little blue locktite on the threads of the screw, not on the tip of the screw- waaaaaay back when I did my Glock armorers course, they told us that it was possible to have the locktite get up in around the tiny vial holding the tritium gas inside the front sight and then when you tighten the screw you'd create enough hydraulic pressure to force out the tritium vial. Sounds far fetched, and I’ve never ever heard of it happening, but I figure why take a chance?

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