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Old January 3, 2014, 12:25 PM   #1
southjk
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Cleaning night sights?

I've got an M&P Pro with the night sights and I'm having a little trouble seeing the front sight. I've checked it at night with the lights out and they glow great so no problems there. The problem is at the indoor range. The front sight is not very white and I can barely see it while on target. When I bought it back in March I don't recall having any problems seeing it and it's only been the last couple of range trips that I've noticed a problem.

I've considered going with aftermarket night sights but dangit, it already has night sights. I just want to be able to see them in the day. I tried a little Ballistol on a soft brush but it was really hard to get the bristles in there so I didn't try too hard.

Do you think it's just dirty and I need to scrub harder? Might I damage the "glowy" part? Or should I just replace them?
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Old January 3, 2014, 02:34 PM   #2
plouffedaddy
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Fireclean markets their product as a night sight cleaner but I've never used it in that role so I can't speak to the effectiveness.
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Old January 3, 2014, 04:09 PM   #3
GJSchulze
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I've never been able to see my night sights on my carry gun under light as well as I could with regular sights. They aren't going to glow in the daytime and as you said, they aren't white. Would a little white paint on the top of the sight help?
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Old January 3, 2014, 04:43 PM   #4
Sharpsdressed Man
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If denatured alcohol won't do it, you have a problem.
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Old January 3, 2014, 04:43 PM   #5
vkeith
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Rubbing alcohol (92%) on a Q-tip swab. Twirl the end of the swab around the sight and dry thoroughly when done. You can even use a hair dryer set to warm to evaporate any alcohol that seeps into the sight. 92% rubbing alcohol (available at wallyworld) evaporates quicker than the generic 70% stuff most stores sell.

If the surrounds of the night sight are painted, or if the sights contain any plastic, test before applying significant amounts of rubbing alcohol.
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Old January 3, 2014, 05:03 PM   #6
Sharpsdressed Man
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Rubbing alcohol is denatured alcohol. The 70% stuff has glycerin in it, intended to soften it for use on skin. Not as effective for cleaning as the higher octane stuff.
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Old January 5, 2014, 10:27 AM   #7
Walt Sherrill
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Night sights that don't come with a "white surround" -- a factory-installed colored area around the tritium inserts -- are a pain to see in daylight.

There's not much you can do except PAINT some white around the tritium vial, and then cover that paint with clear nail polish (which should protect it from solvents, gun cleaning, etc.)

Chances are, that'll solve your problem. If you can't paint around, put some white paint above and below the front sight; chances are that'll work for you. And at night, it won't matter.

I learned a few years ago, that if I get night sights to get the ones that come with the white borders...
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Old January 6, 2014, 10:19 AM   #8
southjk
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Thanks everyone. I cleaned the front sight with alcohol and a q-tip but it didn't help. It looks like the rears have white around the tritium inserts but not the front. I may have to see what it would look like if I tried to put some white paint on the front. It would probably look pretty bad though so I may have to just replace them.

Last edited by southjk; January 6, 2014 at 05:26 PM.
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Old January 6, 2014, 05:11 PM   #9
Walt Sherrill
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Just replacing the front sight wouldn't be TOO costly. Look into the XS sights; they offer both LARGE or SMALL front sights, and you can send the slide by U.S. Mail, (insured, priority mail, etc.) for just a few $bucks, and XS can install it for you.

Here's a link with installation instrutions, etc: http://www.xssights.com/Content.aspx...ation%20Videos
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Old January 6, 2014, 11:48 PM   #10
vkeith
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southjk,

You'd be surprised at how much difference a bit of white paint can make in sight acquistion, especially on the front sight. I've used white out and paint pens with good results.

The wife recently bought one of those phosphorescent paint pens that I borrowed to retouch the factory markings on my Glock. The phosphorescent part is useless because the paint has to be left in bright light for several minutes just to faintly glow, but it still made my sights easier to see than the faded factory markings. In your case, however, the tritium in your nightsight should cause the phosphorescent paint to glow a bit, but even if it doesn't, the light color of the paint should help you see the front sight better.

If you want to have the best chance of getting good results, hit a local hobby store and pick up the paint of your choice and a detail brush. Take your time, and have some solvent/water (depending on the paint type) handy in case you mess up.

Last edited by vkeith; January 7, 2014 at 12:15 AM.
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Old January 7, 2014, 12:47 AM   #11
TunnelRat
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The Trijicon night sights for the M&P have a very thin outline around that front vial. I know what you mean. I would find that at the range after a few rounds the outline would be completely covered by powder residue.

The way I see it you have two options. Option one that has been mentioned is a dab of paint. Model paints works well as it is typically bright and has a small applicator. The second option is a different set of sights. I like the Trijicon HD sights. They sound like they would be right up your alley as they have a large front sight with a ring of phosphorescent paint in bright orange or bright yellow. Damn near impossible to lose that front sight. If it was me I'd try the paint first.
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Old January 7, 2014, 11:38 AM   #12
southjk
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I have no aversion to painting as I successfully painted the front and rear dots on my Shield when the dots fell out. Looks pretty good too. The problem with painting the M&P FS front is that the tritium insert is recessed in the front sight. If I were to try to paint around it, I'm afraid I would get paint IN the recess and cover the tritium.

So, I think I may go with the Trijicon HD.
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Old January 7, 2014, 01:11 PM   #13
Walt Sherrill
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If you get paint in the recess, you just wipe it out, using some paint thinner on it before it dries. (You can get any paint off AFTER it dries, too, but it's just easier doing it while it's still wet.) It's not going to hurt the sight.

None of this is magic. A small modeling kit paint brush (most hardware stores have them) should give you good control. If you can't find a brush, use a toothpick and dab the paint on.

It MIGHT save you having to buy another front sight.
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