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Old May 19, 2008, 02:08 PM   #26
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I have them on my SP101 and while they aren't essential they can provide an extra edge in some SD situations. Since they are relatively inexpensive, last 10 years, and I have to carry a front sight anyways it might as well be one that could provide that extra advantage.

Targets can also be verified verbally in addition to visually. Only my wife and I live in my house. Our family is all 1300 miles away. Nobody but us have keys to the doors and the doors and windows are all locked at night. If there is someone in the house and my wife is next to me in bed then I have just identified the target.
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Old May 19, 2008, 02:33 PM   #27
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Off topic but . . .

How about a laser sight instead if you are going to spend the money? Red dot falls on target in anything below normal daylight levels no questions asked. The down side of laser sights are that others can see it to, but in the scenarios mentioned, no ones going to notice a red dot in a fire fight.
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Old May 21, 2008, 04:23 PM   #28
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I have tried meps and tijicons, and both work very very well. I would never carry a defensive weapon without them.

The advantages are many. Obviously, they aren't going to illuinate in all sitations, but I find that if I have the target illuminated with a surefire, and I am in the dark, the sights are glowing.

They can be used to quickly locate the gun in the dark whether on the dresser or closet or safe.

I can't imagine one good reason not to have them. It's kinda like a laser. You know there are limitations.

Use it when you need it, don't when you can't. There is no loss in utility to the weapon.
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Old May 22, 2008, 09:26 PM   #29
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I've noticed that although iron sights and targets are visible in daylight, practical shooters like the fiber optic sights because the bright red or green dots are easier to acquire than a dull iron sight.

Then why wouldn't it be desirable in low light situations to have bright green dots on your gun? Wouldn't it make it easier and faster to acquire a sight picture under stress?

As a matter of fact I got to experience this, and saw empirical evidence. We started shooting some of our IPSC matches at night in an indoor range in which the lights were set at the firing line and at 25 and 50 feet. We were shooting from in front of the firing line where it was relatively dark. I was shooting my Glock 30 with night sights and other shooters had their guns with fiber optic sights and plain old iron sights.

I placed significantly better in those darker matches with my sights glowing. My performance was better in relation to the other shooters because I could see my sights better.
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Old May 22, 2008, 09:33 PM   #30
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Looking back at my post I hope my point is not missed. Night sights are not necessary, but they are advantageous. Some may think their utility is not justified by the expense. For those I say great. Whatever floats your boat.

You can shoot anything you want with a $300 used glock or a revolver. Surely a glock or even a revolver is all that is necessary. Bullets come out and hit the target. But some people will spend the extra money for a good 1911, sig or h&k. Some wish to shoot better, by a certain margin for an added expense.

And lights are necessary, with or without night sights, IMO, any time it is too dark to see your target.
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Old May 26, 2008, 11:43 PM   #31
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Shooting in the dark

After a training class (I've started quite a few posts like that in the few days since I took it) I have a new way at looking at night sights and low light shooting. We had a three hour low light/dark shooting session to wrap up day one of training. We all had mini-lights and a few guys had night sights.

Before using the lights we did an interesting drill, our instructor told us to draw to ready, close our eyes, then present from ready and shoot (eyes still closed). Not one student in the class shot outside of the middle circle on the training target (about 6-8 inch circle in the upper chest area, not like most CHL targets). We repeated the drill four times from ready. We had a few people shoot some fliers but for the most part all shots were within that circle. We then repeated the drill from the holster a few times. Same results. Eyes closed every time.

We pasted targets and were taught how to use our flashlights. Results were not much different, in some cases worse because it took a little more thinking to get used to using the light in the manner we were told to (light in non-dominant hand, under non-dominant ear low enough not to get in peripheral vision) and shooting strong hand only.

To wrap up the night he had two guys with night sights and two guys without night sights go for head shots on the targets. There was absolutely no advantage to having the night sights, very little gained from having the flashlight.

In either case muzzle blast did not stop or slow down my shooting a bit, in fact it allowed me to adjust my shot a little bit (it was pitch black and I was shooting a .45 loaded with 225 grain bullets and 5.4 grains of 231).

In cases such as clearing the house and needing to identify targets a good light is invaluable but if you already know a target is a BG and you know the approximate location of the BG I don't think nightsights give you any advantage, in fact if a BG is behind you they know where you are and you likely don't know where they are.
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Old May 27, 2008, 12:02 PM   #32
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A large number of shooters never get a chance to shoot in low light at all, and so we can discount their posts on this thread. If you haven't, you haven't -- and that's no slight, simply an acknowledgement of the world for what it actually is.

Among those who have shot in low light, most have done it only once or twice, in extremely controlled and limited circumstances, with all the time in the world to shoot an unmoving cardboard target. This is light-years better than never having done anything in low light at all, but is still a long step from reality.

Some few folks have had a chance to work with moving targets in low light; others might have had a chance to engage multiple targets; others might have had a chance to move while shooting in low light. Each of these is a little closer to reality than shooting at a cardboard target while standing still, and each still leaves crucial elements out.

Rarest of all is the fortunate person who has a regular opportunity to practice in low and uneven lighting, with moving targets, while they themselves are also moving. There are two variants of this basic deal. You can use a true firearm to practice against a moving but unrealistic target such as a slider or swinger. Or you can practice against a living, breathing opponent using an unrealistic firearm such as Simunitions or Airsoft. Whichever variant you use, there's still an element of unreality.

The awful truth is that only reality is reality. Practice is not reality, and never will be. But we all try to get as close as we can.

What I know and have observed on the range:

1) Most folks who have solid basics do just fine in low light, when they are working with a static cardboard target on a static range at a distance of 4 or 5 yards.

2) Bad trigger pulls suck, whether in low light or full daylight.

3) A surprising number of people have no idea how to use a flashlight. I don't mean, how to use a flashlight plus a firearm; I mean, they don't know how to use a flashlight, and don't direct the beam at the target but instead splash the floor, walls, ceiling -- everywhere but the target. Probably early training from parents: "Cut it out! Never shine that thing in someone's eyes!!" I dunno. All I know is that it's amazing, the number of people who apparently have a mental block against directing the beam of light at the target.

4) In full daylight, everyone's trigger pulls go south the first time they try to shoot a moving target. In low light, that problem is even more pronounced. Most people suck at moving targets in low light. I mean, really and truly suck.

5) Almost nobody practices in uneven lighting, which is really what you can expect to deal with in real life. This one is worth thinking about.

6) It's all great to get a smooth silhouette of the gun on a smooth cardboard target, but in real life, the bg could be wearing anything from solid black to who-knows-what, zebra stripes maybe, or anything in between, and might be hiding behind a flowered couch or a textured grey curtain. Even if the lighting is even, and the bg in the open, there's still little chance that the visual cues you have on the range will be there when you're dealing with a moving target wearing normal human clothing. Again, this one is worth thinking about.

Me, I'll take every advantage I can get: I practice whenever I can, including getting together with range buddies to do FOF stuff in realistic surroundings. My gun is equipped with a laser and I know how to point shoot too. Night sights are "just another tool" -- but I hate that word just, because it implies that having another tool is not a valuable thing. This particular tool has no downsides and several potential upsides. So what's the deal?

Even though training is not real life, most people haven't even begun to push the limits of what can be practiced realistically. If you've practiced shooting in low light even once in your life, you've done scads better than folks who've never shot in dim lighting at all. But your experience is still a long way from reality, and that's an important thing to remember.

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Old May 27, 2008, 02:27 PM   #33
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I found only the front sight needs to be tritium and the rears need no white dots. But that's just me.
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Old May 27, 2008, 02:31 PM   #34
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I found only the front sight needs to be tritium and the rears need no white dots. But that's just me.
Same here, Chui. I don't even want them on the rear.
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Old May 27, 2008, 07:33 PM   #35
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I definitely see where you're coming from, and I am sure that my little weekend of playing commando has not prepared me to take on an army of BG's at night lol. In fact all it did was really open my eyes up to how much work I need to do to survive a "normal" defensive scenario.

I am going to try to get my club to invest in some kind of moving target (laterally at least) to give us all practice shooting at moving targets at all times of the day.

I'm not knocking night sights at all but I'd rather have a good bright flashlight any day of the week. Held in my non-dominant hand in brief flashes around shoulder/eye level to maybe give you an advantage. I think the brief flash part is important because you don't want to telegraph your position, and moving after shining it is a good idea to get out of dodge too.

I did have the pleasure of shooting a gun equipped with a laser during this night session and can honestly say I don't want to do it again. I'm sure I just need more practice and training with it but the natural tremor of your hands (I think everyone shakes just a little bit) and the way the light jumps around during recoil (again, this was probably my weakness, not the technique) actually slowed me down quite a bit. Not to mention I found myself focusing on the dot and the target vs. the handgun and the threat.

I guess my only point is that instead of investing in a set of Trijicons I think money would be better spent buying a good flashlight and ammo (if there's any change left that is) and heading out after dark. For me that is. Also working on your draw and presentation so that your sights are consistently aligned (left/right up/down) will eliminate a lot of uncertainty shooting at night so you know when you draw and present ABOUT where you're pointing (assuming you have identified the target and know the backdrop...if you can do that without light). At least within a 6 to 8 inch circle at up to 5-7 yards.

I also make a point to practice with silhouettes that are not white/black. I prefer the ones with scoring rings that fade into the background when you're not focused on them (rings are around the upper chest and window of the head around the eyes and nose only).

I will say that I think the disadvantages of night sights are:
1. They are bright. You align them on a target, your eyes are drawn to them. In pitch black it's worse, then comes the muzzle flash, then you're looking for that glow again instead of trying to align your sights by the muzzle flash.

2. They are bright. People behind you and beside you can see them just as well as you can. Hopefully you've made sure you are not in that position but hey, it is dark and you're not walking around with a flashlight beaming all over the place.

3. You get dependent on them. Until they are a factory accessory standard on everything but Sigmas and High Points you will have to make sure that you equip every weapon you might use in self defense with them.

But if the advantages outweigh the disadvantages in the eyes of the individual then great. I know a lot of older guys who have to use them because their eyes just don't focus right on black/white standard sights. So I guess what I'm trying to say is that I see their value but I'm afraid that a lot of people who have them believe that they are the end all be all solution for low light shooting. And as you said they are a tool, probably not the most important tool (my opinion only), but if they give you an advantage you'd be crazy not to use it.

WHEW. For anyone who bothered to read all that, Pax I'm interested to hear more about uneven lighting. Are you talking identifying targets in shadows (or you are in a shadow shooting into a light area)? That's an interesting twist that I never considered. Thank you for your in-depth response, you gave me a lot to think about. I'm still not ready to buy some night sights but I am looking at them from a different perspective. Not to mention I got some good ideas for some drills I'd like to work on.
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Old May 28, 2008, 01:56 PM   #36
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As stated before they have no down sides and several up sides. I want every advantage I can afford from night sites to tactical training. For me the ability to engage a silhouette in total darkness without giving away my position is worth the 60 bucks. There are times when one knows that the dark mass is bad and in need of being stopped without using lights. You can have a positive id situation despite having to fire in total darkness.
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Old June 10, 2008, 12:31 AM   #37
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'night sights' for cheapskates

Filled the little divots on my .45 sights with Liquid Paper. Let it dry, scraped off the excess with my fingernail--warla! (as they say in France) Doesn't help in the absolute dark of night, but if there's any trace of light behind me, they do show up better than without. And it's cheap!!

Maybe I'll try glow-in-the-dark Silly Putty next!
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Old June 10, 2008, 01:24 AM   #38
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I did that exact same thing with my Colt .45 when the little dots flew out of the sights after the very first shot. Seems to work, and you're right it reflects light surprisingly well.
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Old June 10, 2008, 01:53 PM   #39
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Night Sights

I have night sights and find that I can aquire the sights much quicker in low light not just in the course my eyes are approaching 50 years of age....your experiance may differ. The missus and I shoot at an informal competition once a week and sometimes they turn the lights down low, so we do have some "practical" experiance using them.
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Old June 10, 2008, 06:06 PM   #40
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Basically, it seems that they are useful in a narrow range of lighting levels where a target can just be made out but it's too dark to align the sights, and also when you have a dark target against a light/lit background. Adding them to the pistol does provide improved capabilities in those situations, but really doesn't do anything for you if you have a flashlight or weapon light or if it's really dark.

I think that most folks would probably be better off buying a good quality flashlight and learning to use it properly. It's usually less expensive and offers more capability and versatility.
I agree.
Tritium night sights have a narrow ambient lighting range of usefulness.
They're certainly not the be-all and end-all of in-the-dark sighting that some have heralded them to be, but they're not useless either.
I can certainly live without 'em, and may well not replace them as they lose illumination on those guns I own which do have them (tritiated front sight only).
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Old June 12, 2008, 06:43 PM   #41
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I recently found a very good deal on night sights. At $52 for a set and free shipping, I jumped on it.
the "glow" feature of the sights wasn't visible,

Well there’s yer problem. My tritium Novak sites on my 1911 are CLEARLY visible in zero light. As are the tritium MMC sites on my Vang Comp 870.

I understand the point of not being able to see the target, what difference does it make if you can see the sites. I also know if the BG gets behind you he can use your sites to identify YOU as a target. That said I’d take my night sights ANY time over non-tritium.

All I know is when I was on the night shoot at Gunsite for my AZ CCW, I was the only one in the class with tritium sites, and I was the ONLY one in the class who got ALL his shots on target.

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Old June 13, 2008, 01:45 AM   #42
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The sights glow plainly in zero light--even in dim light. What I was saying was that when the target was clearly illuminated with a bright flashlight, the glow feature of the sights was swamped by the brightness of the light reflecting off the target--the sights looked like they were plain black.
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Old June 13, 2008, 08:10 PM   #43
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My bad. I thought you we’re saying your night sights didn’t glow very well, which of course I attributed to the $52 price. That’s what I get for skimming instead of reading.

During the night shoot I could BARRRELY see the target edges, but the tritium sights made all the difference in the world for me. When we shot with flashlights, they were never used to illuminate the sights. They we’re used to identify and “blind” the target.

One tactic they taught I found interesting was to fire one shot at the target and use the muzzle flash to get a quick silhouette of your sights and then use that silhouette to adjust your fire.

Of course I didn’t find that lesson very useful.
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Old June 28, 2008, 11:36 AM   #44
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I live alone, and all my friends and family know to call before they come over. And I lock my doors and windows securely.

Therefore, if there's a creature larger than a cat moving around in my house at night, it gets shot. Whether I can identify it or not.
Does: Be sure of your target and what's beyond it mean anything to you?

As a firefighter/EMT, this scares the hell out of me. If you're in a deep sleep, and we can't wake you by pounding on your door, your neighbor's house is on fire, and we know you're home (Someone tells us, we see your car, etc.) we might be the ones coming through your door to save your tail!

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Old June 29, 2008, 10:00 PM   #45
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Wouldn't it make it easier and faster to acquire a sight picture under stress?

it seems alot of folks hear "night sights" and think "being able to see your sights in the dark".for me much of it isnt if i can see my sights,but how fast.i find i can acquire my sights much faster in low-light with the tritium...before im even in position to fire.

Me, I'll take every advantage I can get: I practice whenever I can, including getting together with range buddies to do FOF stuff in realistic surroundings. My gun is equipped with a laser and I know how to point shoot too. Night sights are "just another tool" -- but I hate that word just, because it implies that having another tool is not a valuable thing. This particular tool has no downsides and several potential upsides. So what's the deal?
sums things up nicely.
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Old June 30, 2008, 07:00 PM   #46
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Night Sights

I've had many pistols with night sights. I have not liked any. All have been inferior to just a simple white or gold bead. I consider them a total waste of money that would be better spent on ammo, holsters, targets etc. I have spent more removing night sights and replacing them than I care to think about. To me night sights are proof of the herd instinct in humans. I can't believe the market exist. It may just be me, as I feel the same about rails on pistols. Seems counter to common sense to have a finely balanced, quick, defensive pistol. Then think of hanging heavy weight off the business end. Not to mention the target aspect of a light on the firearm. I'm old enough to remember schools teaching a light held in the off hand at arms length. Still makes sense to me. Just the thoughts of an old curmudgeon.
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