Gear Spotlight Sights
and Optics


It wasn’t that long ago changing sights required the services of a gunsmith. If you were lucky, it was a replacement job. If not, it was time to break out the files, milling tools and re-bluing kit.

Fortunately, we’re in the glory days of sights and optics now because we have a plethora of custom sight and handgun optics from which to choose. Better yet, a very large percentage of them are user-installable with a bit of patience and know-how. This is all great news, because we each have our own preferences on the type of sighting system that works best. Young eyes, old eyes, colorblind eyes and a host of other unique physiology differences create the need for customizing the sighting system on our handgun. And that doesn’t even consider factors related to our intended use. Plinking? Hunting? Concealed Carry? Home defense? Competition? You get the idea.

Here are some options worthy of consideration for your next handgun upgrade.

Trijicon SRO

Special Projects Editor Roy Huntington jokes about handgun optics being “TV sets” on the pistol. Sticking with his analogy, the Trijicon SRO must be one of those 80″-wide wide screens you see in Sam’s Club. While most handgun red dots feature a rectangular lens, the SRO is built around a near-circular viewport. The result is a large sighting window offering a huge field of view. The more important benefit is the red dot itself doesn’t get lost or hidden behind the protective frame. When raising a pistol with the SRO attached, you quite literally cannot miss the dot and tracking moving targets is easy. This translates to … fast.

The SRO is built with legendary Trijicon reliability and battery life, offering three years of runtime from its CR2032 battery. You can choose from eight brightness settings (two night vision compatible) or allow the SRO to auto-select brightness based on current conditions. Models come with 1.0, 2.5, or 5.0 MOA dot size options.

HiViz Lightwave H3

Perhaps it’s my aging eyes, but I love fiber optic sights when shooting in any reasonable lighting conditions. Outdoors, they leap into view by collecting ambient light. Even indoors, in daylight conditions, they shine more brightly than standard sights.

HiViz offers the Lightwave H3 to provide a best of both worlds approach by combining their proven LightPipe technology with Tritium illumination. The front and rear sights are steel for durability but feature top side “cutouts” allowing light to enter the fiber optic LightPipe tubes. With any reasonable ambient lighting, the dots will glow brightly. The Tritium vial is placed behind the fiber optic tube, so in dark conditions, its light is also visible through the LightPipe.

Holosun HE508T-RD X2

Holosun has come on strong in the durable handgun red dot category with models ready and well-suited for hard use, in part thanks to Titanium bodies surrounding the more delicate electronic parts. The HE508T-RD X2 model I’ve been testing has been residing on a new Walther PDP full-size 9mm pistol. It’s proven to be a fine match.

One of the standout features of this optic is the “target” reticle — a 32 MOA circle surrounding a 2 MOA center red dot. It’s an addictive sight picture once you try it. You can also run with just the outer circle or center dot only.

The side-mounted battery tray means no change of zero when swapping the battery every 50,000 hours or so and its Shake Awake technology ensures the dot is on and ready to go when the gun is moving. Last but certainly not least is the solar panel mini-farm on the top. If you do manage to run a battery dry, the unit still runs on solar power.

Springfield Armory HEX Wasp

The folks at Springfield have been busy rapidly expanding their product line. To go with their popular new Hellcat and XD-S micro-compact pistol models, they’ve released the HEX Wasp — a small footprint red dot optic right at home on ultra-small pistols.

The compact optic is designed for direct mounting and fits the Shield RMSc footprint (think Hellcat) and will run for about two years on normal brightness settings. It’s an always-on model that auto-dims when not in use to extend battery life. It’s a perfect design for ready-to-go concealed carry. If you have a larger pistol, check out the HEX Dragonfly.

NightFision Sights

One of my favorite parts of this job is learning something new every day. One of my peers turned me on to NightFision, maker of all manner of handgun and AR-15 iron sights and components. The nifty thing about this company is they produce a variety of styles so you can choose the sighting method you like best. For example …

Want to upgrade the factory white dot sights to the same style, but night-compatible? Choose the OEM Replacement models. Prefer a two vertical dot “figure 8” style? Check out the Accur8 line. How about a serrated rear sight with a horizontal bar under the notch? Consider the Costa models. Be sure to check the different designs for suppressor-height and optics ready pistols too. You’ll find a wide variety of styles for many popular pistols including GLOCK, CZ, S&W, Canik, SIG, H&K, Springfield Armory, Walther and more.

Novak LMA & Mega Dot

Charlie at the Novak shop talked me into upgrading my old, tired and dimming factory Tritium night sights for a well-used Springfield Armory TRP 1911. Wow! What a difference.

I wanted to see if I could find the perfect balance between new, bright, easy-to-acquire sights and the traditional precision of relatively small and blacked out 1911 sights. An impossible task? Nope.

The Mega Dot front sight isn’t oversized but does come close to filling the 0.140″ blade width on the 1911 model. It features a Tritium center surrounded by your choice of bright orange or alien green outer circle. The rear sight features a low profile ramped sight housing with an interior floating notch assembly that allows simple elevation adjustment. Using rear sight body drift for windage and the elevation feature, you can dial in your preferred load precisely. The LMA/Mega Dot combination is available for a variety of handgun makes.

Leupold DeltaPoint Micro

In the “And now for something completely different” category, check out the new Leupold DeltaPoint Micro red dot sight. As I write this, you can get models for the S&W M&P and GLOCK pistols.

The DeltaPoint Micro goes the opposite direction to solve the problem of “finding the dot.” Instead of a huge window, it uses a tiny one — about 1/4″ diameter. Huh? The concept works because the ~ 1 3/4″ sighting tube acts like a ghost ring. The slender tube is low profile by design and works because the Micro hangs the battery compartment off the back of the slide. Clever design.

As for shooting, I’ve been using this on a GLOCK 43X and I … love it. The dot is always on, but if it isn’t the system works perfectly well as a non-powered ghost ring. Finding the dot is also fast because the system encourages you to look for iron ghost ring sights and the dot just appears on its own.

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