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Old October 4, 2002, 07:25 AM   #1
AndABeer
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Fiber vs. tritium?

For several years I thought night sights were "must haves" on a defensive pistol but in the past year I have reevaluated them to "nice to have". I have many handguns with night sights but none set up with fiber sights. My PSE bow and my in-line muzzleloader do have fiber sights and they are very easy to pick up even lower lit conditions. It seems to me that there is a very narrow band of lighting conditions were tritium is useful, just as they come into play you are already loosing the ability to ID your target. The fibers seem useful in both well lit and lower light condtions and they seem to loose effectiveness as you loose your ability to ID your target. You might even use that as a rule of thumb for shoot/no shoot decisions. They do look a bit tacky to me but if they have a valid use then I can deal with tacky as I have throughout my life. It seems that only in the specific case where you are in shadow and the target is decently lit that the tritium would be a great advantage.

I know that there was a recent thread were the tritium thing was done to death and I really don't want to go over that ground again but I would like to hear from people who have or have had both types of sights installed on their handguns. What advantages do you see of one over the other for defensive purposes?
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Old October 4, 2002, 07:38 AM   #2
kbear38S
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If the light is very low, you can't see a fiber optic sight at all. Also, the fibers tend to fall out of the sight with some frequency.
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Old October 4, 2002, 07:51 AM   #3
M1911
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At our indoor range, the targets are lit up well with lights close to the backstop. But there is little light at the firing line. With my nightsights, I can pick up the sights just fine. But I get essentially no light from the fiber optic front sight on my S&W 317 kit gun. While some may see this as an unlikely scenario, in the unlikely event I am in a confrontation, I will be seeking the shadows and trying to force my opponent into the light. I consider fiber optic sights to be unsuitable, based on my experience. YMMV.

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Old October 4, 2002, 09:09 AM   #4
Onslaught
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I have a TruGlo fiber optic "clip-on" on my Winchester Defender. It glows in even the very dimmest light... TV only, nightstand light only, etc... BUT, it is almost 2" long, so I'm sure that helps quite a bit.

On a pistol, I have tried Aero-Tek fiber optic fronts on a Glock, and wasn't happy with the amount of light it gathered. And I'm sure that, in the scenario M1911 layed out, even my shotgun FO would be lacking for illumination.

The TruGlo "fiber optic/tritium" sight would have been GREAT, and I'd put them on ALL my pistols, but they aren't available any more... Some sort of EPA problems. It had a tritium vial installed by IMI (PT night sights) UNDER the fiber optic, so it was lit under all conditions. If they ever do get it running again, they need to offer "front sight only" on all their pistols. I am not fond of the FO rear on any pistol. It takes away from the "eye catching" effect of the front FO.

Aero-Tec makes a FO/Trit. sight too, but it's a hollow fiber optic tube with the tritium vial INSIDE the tube, rendering the FO nearly useless, even in daylight.
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Old October 4, 2002, 09:32 AM   #5
Eric Larsen
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Ive played with the fiber optics a tad..not much. I rented a S&W mountain gun at a range about 6 months ago and its front sight gathered light very well. Better than my nights in certain lighting situations. This is gonna sound weird but my sons BB gun has the same front sight and works better than any of them Ive seen.
In all but the very dark light levels it shows up well.
The theory with fiber optics is they gather any light thats around and send it to the end, which you sight with....the cheap sight on my sons gun seems to do just that.
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Old October 4, 2002, 12:45 PM   #6
stick
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A slight thought correction. Night sights are great when YOU are in the dark or low light. If you can't see the TARGET (it's in the dark), that's a discussion about ID-ing your target (and flashlights) before firing not about what sights are on your firearm.

As for the sighting systems, tritium sights have a wider envelope of utility than fiber optics. Fiber optics are fine in normal to low light. Tritium works when it's totally dark where your gun is as well as low light. So for overall: go tritium.
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Old October 4, 2002, 01:01 PM   #7
AndABeer
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no thought correction required, i have taken various low light training courses and used a number of different techniques with flashlights, in each case the night sights were rendered useless thus lowering my opinion of their practicality
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Old October 4, 2002, 01:55 PM   #8
Onslaught
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Quote:
in each case the night sights were rendered useless
Maybe I do it wrong, but it works for me... When I align the sights on a pistol in the daylight, I use the "dots". In low light situations, I can't see those dots unless they glow. So there is no thought correction required by doing it that way. I can still see those dots up against the big bright beam of a surefire. Without the tritium, the "dots" disappear in the shadow of the flashlight, and all I can see is black.

It's comfortable for me, it's accurate for me, it's quicker for me, it just works for me. Of course, if you line up the black front post inbetween the black rear notch during the daytime, I can see where that would be a transition, and require thought.

As I've said before, if we all did it the same way, we'd have nobody to honk at in traffic
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Old October 4, 2002, 06:45 PM   #9
Shawn Dodson
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None of the fiber optic type sights I've seen are ruggedized for battle. Hence I don't recommend them.
Quote:
...in each case the night sights were rendered useless...
To each, his own. Personally, I've found tritium sights useful in low light conditions.
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Old October 5, 2002, 09:11 AM   #10
JIH
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I have had good luck with tritium in low-light situations as well, with flashlights. Don't hold the flashlight behind the gun.
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Old October 5, 2002, 09:20 AM   #11
Kermit
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I prefer tritium sights.
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Old October 5, 2002, 09:23 AM   #12
AndABeer
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i dont, i prefer the rodgers method (Surefire) but it takes a bit of dexterity so i also use the harries method, in both cases the muzzle of the flashlight is forward of the sights, the sights are nicely backlit and their is a crisp sight picture but the tritium is uselss, for me anyway
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