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Old November 7, 2017, 11:13 AM   #1
TrueBlue711
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Trijicon & other tritium sights lifespan

So I never really looked deep into this before getting my Trijicon RMR, but how long does tritium really last before you need to send it in to get the tritium replaced? 5 years? 10 years? A lifetime? Would constantly having it in the sun/light affect it's lifespan? Would keeping it stored in the dark extend it's life? Just general knowledge about tritium would be appreciated. Thanks!
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Old November 7, 2017, 12:03 PM   #2
Sharkbite
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Ive used tritium sights since they came out. I noticed dimming at about the 5 year mark. I have 10 year old sights that dont glow at all anymore.

Out in the sun or stored in the dark, wont make a difference. Its a radioactive isotope that is decaying to cause the glow. Not exposure to light.
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Old November 7, 2017, 12:15 PM   #3
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Light or dark has nothing to do with how bright it is. It's a breakdown/decay of a nuclear process over time. It simply has a certain length of life and then it's over.
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Old November 7, 2017, 12:33 PM   #4
TrueBlue711
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Great info, thank you.
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Old November 8, 2017, 03:36 PM   #5
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I believe Trijicon says it'll last 10-12 years... but you can also send your sights back to them to be 'recharged' when the isotope dims. Their 10-12 year claim is when it'll go OUT... so you'll likely find it too dim to be super useful before that.

Its something to keep in mind when buying dusty clearance products too, might already be a couple years old!
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Old November 9, 2017, 07:56 AM   #6
MTT TL
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12 Year warranty on Trijicon.

Mine died like clockwork at 12 years.
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Old November 9, 2017, 09:04 AM   #7
NoSecondBest
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Quote:
12 Year warranty on Trijicon.

Mine died like clockwork at 12 years
Atomic decay is extremely precise. No mystery to the manufacturer at all.
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Old November 9, 2017, 10:00 AM   #8
TrueBlue711
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Quote:
12 Year warranty on Trijicon.
Good to know. I'll send mine in to get recharged at the 11 year mark whether it's still good or not. Thankfull I'm the first owner, so I'll know when that is.
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Old November 11, 2017, 10:35 AM   #9
berettaprofessor
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The half-life of tritium is 12.3 years. At 12.3 years after manufacture, give or take how long manufacture takes from when the tritium is created and how long the gun sits on the shelf before its sold, the amount of tritium remaining is half what it used to be. Just as predictable as an atomic clock (in fact, it is!). That would suggest that the sights would be half as bright as original at 12.3 years as well, but it's not the tritium remaining actually glowing, it's the phosphor that the tritium activates so it might in fact be that there is some minimal amount of energy that the phosphor needs to luminesce at all.

Wiki states that the entire commercial use of tritium annually is 400 grams for all uses, which seems trivial, so you can bet there's only a very very small amount in a sight. That and it's $30000 a gram.

Last edited by berettaprofessor; November 11, 2017 at 10:41 AM.
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Old November 11, 2017, 10:45 AM   #10
Ricklin
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Excellent^

Good stuff berettaprofessor.
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Old November 13, 2017, 12:02 PM   #11
ZuluWarrior
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Quote:
Originally Posted by berettaprofessor View Post
The half-life of tritium is 12.3 years. At 12.3 years after manufacture, give or take how long manufacture takes from when the tritium is created and how long the gun sits on the shelf before its sold, the amount of tritium remaining is half what it used to be. Just as predictable as an atomic clock (in fact, it is!). That would suggest that the sights would be half as bright as original at 12.3 years as well, but it's not the tritium remaining actually glowing, it's the phosphor that the tritium activates so it might in fact be that there is some minimal amount of energy that the phosphor needs to luminesce at all.

Wiki states that the entire commercial use of tritium annually is 400 grams for all uses, which seems trivial, so you can bet there's only a very very small amount in a sight. That and it's $30000 a gram.
Dang! $30k/gr?!?

Yikes!

I like your reference to an atomic clock. In a sense, our sights really are similar.

Thx,
Todd
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Old November 13, 2017, 04:14 PM   #12
k4swb
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Trijicon & other tritium sights lifespan

At this point in time, probably longer than mine.

Sorry, I couldn't help it.
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