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View Full Version : Fiber, Tritium, or White


Strongarm6R
September 13, 2011, 08:06 PM
I'm looking at some different sights for a 1911. I have white 3 dot on it now but I'm considering fiber optics or tritium. I have some questions though. What's the durability of fiber optic sights? What's the lifespan of tritium? Which do you prefer and WHY?
My primary use for this gun is mainly what I'd call a "mountain gun" that I carry while I'm out trying to be mountain tiger prey. Lol. I'll also be using it for everyday carry as soon as I get my CCW.

Timbow
September 13, 2011, 09:37 PM
For a defensive gun, I wouldn't consider anything but tritium. You can see tritium in complete darkness without using any artificial light. This can be a life saver if you are in a dimly lit situation and do not have time to activate a flashlight or access to one. In daylight situations they just look like white dots. The average life is about 10 years, some go a little longer, some not quite that long. For a price of around $100 you're looking at about $10 a year so when you look at it that way, it's pocket change. My job requires I carry a gun daily, often at night, and I would not consider a firearm without tritium sights.

OcSpeed
September 13, 2011, 09:44 PM
Tritium-about 10 years
Durability of fiber optic- the sights will last longer than you will, the fiber optic inserts that are dirt cheap may need to be replaced every now and again (months to years). These, imho, are far brighter than tritium during the day light.

Bedside gun has tritium sights, brush side arm has fiber optics, green in back-red up front.

zucchi
September 13, 2011, 10:35 PM
I put tritium sights on my ParaOrd LDA 14.45; blue rear, green front. When the green is in the middle, I'm good to go.

Strongarm6R
September 14, 2011, 03:14 AM
I'm leaning towards tritium. But trying to figure out which ones to get is pretty challenging just in itself. Kimber cut, Novak cut, Colt cut, Chain saw cut. I know front sights are cut pretty specific, but are rear cuts pretty standard? I've made the mistake of buying wrong sights before and since money doesn't grow on trees (Even though the Feds seem to think so)...

Timbow
September 14, 2011, 09:06 AM
What make/model gun are they for?

TunnelRat
September 14, 2011, 09:11 AM
@Strongarm
Some sites like http://www.opticsplanet.net/ allow you to choose what model the gun is for at checkout so you know you're getting the right ones.

bikerbill
September 14, 2011, 09:35 AM
I have tritium sights on my nightstand gun and would not have a home SD gun without them ... with carry guns, I prefer white sights ... no experience with fiber tubes ...

popplecop
September 14, 2011, 05:57 PM
I have put fiber optics on 2 of my 1911s that I had sight problems with, one is an old Colt LW Commander and the other a nickled 1911 that had GI sights. Have one that has nite sights a Para PDA great in the dark and low light, but I don't care for them in the daylight.

BigJimP
September 14, 2011, 06:10 PM
I've used Tritium for a long time ...but as my eyes get worse and worse ...I must admit, I'm leading toward some fibre optics ...especially in the front
( probably green ) ....

and over the last couple of yrs --- it seems like we have more and more options ...which is great ...but it is confusing....

Personally, I'm going to switch one gun at a time and test them ...or its going to get real expensive, real quickly ..../ unless you can find a gunsmith that will install some used ones for you to try - before you pay the money to have your gun re-done.

Jason_G
September 14, 2011, 06:21 PM
Sights that work best will vary from person to person, but fiber optic is a "daytime only" setup to me. The FO is not visible in dim conditions. They don't hold a candle to tritium in low light. At least not IME.

If it's a carry weapon, the only setups I would consider for my personal weapon are:


Plain black rear with green tritium front
Green tritium rear with green tritium front
Yellow tritium rear with green tritium front
Plain black rear with gold bead front


My favorite so far is the yellow/green tritium setup.

I have fiber optic on some guns, and they are awesome in good lighting, but a pistol sight is generally too small for the little FO tube to collect enough light to be useful in dim situations, so I don't carry them.

Jason

Mrgunsngear
September 14, 2011, 07:40 PM
I'm going to agree with most of the posts; I think defensive handguns should have at least tritium on the front sight, but all is better. The XS Big Dot sights are great for quick target acquisition (I was really skeptical of them having grown up with 3 dots, but they really do work) and work well on a defensive handgun as well.

I have put fiberoptic sights on a couple of my 1911's that have plain black rear sights and they work well. I've never had the tube come out (knock on wood). I just use a lighter to seal the tube in after I trim it which is probably the most common method...

KyJim
September 14, 2011, 08:37 PM
Can't argue with anything said. I have one dedicated range gun with fiber optic front sight and adjustable rear. Visibility is great for these middle aged eyes. Tritium sights are a real plus in a carry/defense gun but not always strictly necessary; better but a lot of folks have carried for a lot of years at night without night sights.

There is one more option -- a gold bead front sight. I just got my first one recently. Not quite as bright in full daylight as the fiber optic sights but it is better in low light.

RickB
September 14, 2011, 09:09 PM
Unless you're hiking in total darkness, get fiber-optic. The glow is visible any time there's any light, and though they don't glow in the dark, tritium allows you to see only the sights, not what you're shooting at, so you'd need a white light for night shooting, either way. Somebody is making a fiber-optic that is illuminated by tritium, so you get the glow day or night, and that might be a good all-around choice.

Strongarm6R
September 14, 2011, 10:03 PM
For those that asked it's a colt 70 series 1911. I'm gonna go with Novak lo-mount tritiums. I'll probably go with FO on another gun in the future, maybe on one of my M&Ps. Thanks all for the great advice.

Jason_G
September 14, 2011, 10:56 PM
Unless you're hiking in total darkness, get fiber-optic. The glow is visible any time there's any light, and though they don't glow in the dark, tritium allows you to see only the sights, not what you're shooting at, so you'd need a white light for night shooting, either way. Somebody is making a fiber-optic that is illuminated by tritium, so you get the glow day or night, and that might be a good all-around choice.

I don't know, that has not been my experience at all. I took the following photos to illustrate my point. In the first few photos is a H&K USP45 with a Hi-Viz front sight and Novak plain black rear. Notice that the lighting is dim, but still more than ample to identify a target, especially if it is backlit. The fiber optic dot is not even visible in most of the photos, nor was it to my eyes when taking the pictures. The lighting is not so bad that the sights couldn't be aligned without the FO dot being visible, but alignment would be slow and uncertain at best in a stressful situation with such low light.

The next photos are of my carry weapon, a commander sized 1911, with tritium sights. I think the pictures speak volumes.

USP 45 with red FO Hi Viz front, plain black Novak rear:
http://i36.photobucket.com/albums/e15/itsthewhitmans/jason/IMG_1277.jpg
http://i36.photobucket.com/albums/e15/itsthewhitmans/jason/IMG_1278.jpg

1911 with Trijicon tritium lamps, green front, yellow rear, 2008 date code.
http://i36.photobucket.com/albums/e15/itsthewhitmans/jason/IMG_1279.jpg
http://i36.photobucket.com/albums/e15/itsthewhitmans/jason/IMG_1280.jpg

Which would you rather have in a low light engagement?

Trust me, I've shot both weapons at night fairly frequently, and the tritium speeds things up drastically.

Jason

RickB
September 14, 2011, 11:29 PM
I've shot both FO and tritium in low- and no-light. The FO is still glowing when ambient light is low, but even low levels of ambient light are too bright to see tritium. FO sights work under all conditions except darkness, while tritiums generally work only in darkness (and they often saddle you with awful white dots in daylight). I actually like FO as a shoot/don't shoot indicator; if I can't see the FO, then it's probably too dark to be shooting at something that hasn't already been lit with white light for ID. Tritium can encourage you to shoot because you can see the sights, even when you can't ID the target.

Jason_G
September 15, 2011, 08:11 PM
I've shot both FO and tritium in low- and no-light. The FO is still glowing when ambient light is low, but even low levels of ambient light are too bright to see tritium. FO sights work under all conditions except darkness, while tritiums generally work only in darkness (and they often saddle you with awful white dots in daylight). I actually like FO as a shoot/don't shoot indicator; if I can't see the FO, then it's probably too dark to be shooting at something that hasn't already been lit with white light for ID. Tritium can encourage you to shoot because you can see the sights, even when you can't ID the target.

Well, all I can say is that my experiences don't mimic yours. There have been plenty of times where I've gone out to eliminate some pest animals at dusk, with enough light to be sure of the target, and not be able to see a FO rod. Tritium in the same situation is lit up like a Christmas tree. Just like the pictures above. Also, when using a white light in the dark, tritium makes sight picture acquisition much quicker than trying to line up just based on the silhouette of the sights. I know everyone has their own preferences for a carry weapon, and I'm not arguing with you at all, just saying that my experience has been very dissimilar to yours.

Jason

BeachHead
September 15, 2011, 08:36 PM
Good timing with this thread. A few days ago I threw on a Dawson black adjustable rear and FO front on my Glock. Took it to the range today to zero.

Even though my lane had decent lighting, I never saw the red FO rod on the front sight. It was as if the gun was wearing a plain black front blade.

My point... FO are great when there's plenty of light -- i.e. perfect for a range toy or to be used in outdoor competition. You stated that the gun will more or less be a backpacking gun, and later a concealed piece. My suggestion is to spend a little more on tritium night sights as they are always visible.

They may be a little more expensive, but if you divide the cost by the 10-12 years the radioactive vials reportedly last, you're talking about spending roughly $10/yr. To me that's easy to justify.

Roland Thunder
October 5, 2011, 03:15 PM
Tru Glo now has a product called TFO that has the benfits of both Tritium and Fiber Optics.

Skans
October 5, 2011, 04:43 PM
Tritium.

The fiber-optic sights might be good for target shooting, but from what I've seen, they tend to be long (to capture the light), somewhat sharp and may pose a problem for concealed carry.

Big Shrek
October 5, 2011, 07:18 PM
Tritium sights, and a Laser. The Combo is Unbeatable.

The tritium sights give you greater useability in dark situations, the laser gives you quicker target aquisition.
Between the two, you are covered for every night-time situation possible.

Crimson Trace has a new vid out that's free at local gun stores, I'd HIGHLY suggest watching it.
I think its on Utube somewhere as well.

Green Laser gives you the best of both laser worlds...day and night speedy target aquisition.

All that being said, there is NO substitute for proper weapons training...the Basics MUST be solid to get the most out of any sighting system.

Cowboy_mo
October 5, 2011, 07:49 PM
I settled on Tritium sights by Meprolight. I picked them up for my Kimber from Optics Planet @ $80 delivered. A gunsmith friend will install them this week.

I have FO sights on my bow and I can tell you they are pretty invisible in really low light conditions and invisible in "mo light". That's why I put a small light on the the sight (it was designed for one) to use in very early morning and late evening hunting.

According to Meprolight, the sights will last for 13 years.

Hope this helps you.

RsqVet
October 5, 2011, 07:54 PM
i like tritium green front sight and plain wide U notch rear -- Novak, or the 10-8 rear sight for 1911's.

For me this works well, and I like the fact it forces greater focus on the front sight where it belongs.

Boatme98
October 5, 2011, 11:18 PM
I have tritium on my edc, but I can shoot with anything. Sights aren't a deal breaker when I buy a gun. I do get a lot of practice with all my guns.