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Musings on Night Sights

Discussion in 'Handguns: General Discussion' started by cslinger, Oct 1, 2003.

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  1. cslinger

    cslinger Member

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    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
     
  2. KMKeller

    KMKeller Member

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    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.
     
  3. Bartholomew Roberts

    Bartholomew Roberts Moderator Emeritus

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    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.
     
  4. QuarterBoreGunner

    QuarterBoreGunner Member

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    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.
     
  5. Soap

    Soap Member

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    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.
     
  6. PackingHeat

    PackingHeat Member

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    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.
     
  7. 10-Ring

    10-Ring Member

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    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.
     
  8. Zak Smith

    Zak Smith Moderator Emeritus

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    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
     
  9. Correia

    Correia Moderator Emeritus

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    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.
     
  10. GSB

    GSB Member

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    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.
     
  11. Z_Infidel

    Z_Infidel Member

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    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?
     
  12. 444

    444 Member

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    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.
     
  13. DMK

    DMK Member

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    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.
     
  14. Bowlcut

    Bowlcut Member

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    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.
     
  15. m14nut

    m14nut Member

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    try these for multi-colors....

    wish I found them before I bought the Meps....:banghead:
     
  16. BerettaNut92

    BerettaNut92 Member

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    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.
     
  17. BerettaNut92

    BerettaNut92 Member

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    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.
     
  18. triggertime

    triggertime Member

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    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.
     
  19. Texas Bob

    Texas Bob Member

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    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.
     
  20. eldomatic

    eldomatic Member

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    Just curious....
    after the muzzle blast of the first shot destroys your night vision, isn't it impossible to see the tritium sights anyhow?
     
  21. 444

    444 Member

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    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.
     
  22. Rich357

    Rich357 Member

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    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
     
  23. Charles S

    Charles S Member

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    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
     
  24. eldomatic

    eldomatic Member

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    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.
     
  25. Blueduck

    Blueduck Member

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    Tried on both Glock and 4006 with night sites to duplicate this "error". Could not manage it even trying...
     
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