View Full Version : Tritium sights....can they be detected.!

July 11, 1999, 11:17 PM
I am posing the following question:
If we take the current popularity in recommending the Trijicon/Reflex II site, and it's current popularity because of it's incorporation of a tritium light source with a forcasted life expectansy of 20yrs, and no need to replace batteries..
I can see why so many people think they are great, and recommend them to other firearms owners on these bulletin boards.

My Question is :
The idea is to choose a weapons platform to rely upon when a situation arises, and the SHTF, and taking the probable/possibilty of a well funded goverment agency might be looking for you.
Is it wise to have on your weapon a site that is powered by a radioactive light source that can be located quite easily, using the sophisticated surveilance equipment available to these organizations (ie- satilite tracking) or ground hand held units.),or easily developed in the near future ( the technology is available to construct them easily)..with this your location can be pinpointed quite quickly...and you can be tracked day or nite......(and I do not beleive we will be carrying pockets full of tritium pellets to create false echos by dispersing them to mask your actual location.
I see no great advantage over a battery powered, red dot-site.
If a conflict extends beyond a length of time, were your supply of replacement batteries is exhausted or your ability to aquire more is jeopordized. I do beleive you will have much more to worry about than the decision you made on which red-dot site or wich scope you chose to mount.

What do you think.?

July 12, 1999, 05:59 AM
I think one should stick to either straight iron sights, or standard (non-electric) scopes. I'm no technophobe; I love fancy el-gadgets, gizmos, & toys, but when it comes to my guns, I'm a traditionalist. Iron sights don't fade or run out of power, and aren't detectable by anything other than direct observation with proper light levels. Passive NVD's are OK, IF you've got an extended supply of batteries. Of course, on a really DARK night, NVD's aren't effective at any great range, and someone behind you can see the glow of the screen, if he's at the right angle (same for tritium sights.) IR illuminators on NVD's help some, but are easy to spot...just shoot at the little red light.

Shoot straight regards, Richard
The Shottist's Center forums.delphi.com/m/main.asp?sigdir=45acp45lc (http://forums.delphi.com/m/main.asp?sigdir=45acp45lc)

Jeff White
July 12, 1999, 05:19 PM
You can see tritium sights through passive night vision equipment. I don't think you need to worry about being tracked by the radiation they emit though. Tritium is used in watches, compasses and many other applications besides gunsights.

I'd worry more about being tracked with your cell phone or other electronic emission you might have (family radio, cb etc.). Even thermal imagery can be spoofed. Remember that for every measure there is a countermeasure.

Mal H
July 12, 1999, 06:42 PM
WOLF - I'm not sure if you wanted a scientific answer to your question, but here it is anyway.

Tritium decays by emitting a beta ray (essentially an electron). Beta radiation is easily stopped by most metals and plastics. So it probably would be impossible to detect over the background radiation from even a short distance. The beta ray energy is roughly .02 million electron volts which is very low. By contrast, radon which occurs naturally emits beta rays with 15 times that energy (it also emits alpha rays, but that's another story).

Also, the life expectancy of 20 yrs is relative to the time the tritium was produced. It has a half life of a little over 12 yrs. So in 12 yrs it would have half the tritium remaining, in 24 yrs it would have 1/4, etc. It won't go out all at once, it just gets dimmer as time goes on. I dare say you could still use them in dark rooms 50 years from now.

July 12, 1999, 06:47 PM
tritium is all over the place. a scope will look like a watch to a a bird in the sky tracking me. honestly, if they want to track me they are welcome to, cuz that means that the have less resource to use on targets doing more important work

It ain't mah fault. did I do dat?

July 12, 1999, 06:58 PM
Thanks to you all, I can see that you are all very knowledgeable on this subject and I learned a great deal. As for myself I am personally not worried about gunsite selection at all, my Bushmaster currently has mounted a new Aimpoint comp/ml. And a nice optical scope may also be in the future, perhaps something with an iluminated reticle.
But - I am sure if my balls were to the wall, I would be back to my iron sights in a heart beat. I look forward to trying this red-dot out on the Eastern woodland coyotes, that are overpopulating my favorite hunting sites in the catskill mountains of NY state. They are huge,crafty,and about to have there year riuned this coming winter.

"Honor Is the only gift a man may give to himself" , Fred

July 14, 1999, 09:38 AM
Wolf - If you carry a mobile phone you are easy to track because your phone is sending it's signature always when you have it on. If the guys in black suits want they of course can listen to all your phone conversations, and the NSA has computers to break and read all your e-mail (if they know what to search). But then what? Why would they use a lot of resources just to keep track of you (or me)?

I think if you might get to a long lasting survival situation it is better to keep things simple, or at least have foolproof secondary stuff. In extreme cold batteries run down really fast, and some gimmicks get electric problems when it rains etc. I keep iron sights on top of my pistols so I never "run out" of sighting, and wouldn't install to my rifle a sight that doesn't work at all without batteries.