Setting Your Sights

Enhanced pistol sights for CCW and self-defense

If the cartridge is the beating heart of a combat pistol and the mechanical bits are the muscles and bones, then the sights are the brains of the thing. You might have the most devastating rounds imaginable stuffed into the most reliable action mankind might contrive. However, if you don’t have an effective way to align it all with your target you’re destined to become somebody’s dinner.

The standard sights on many popular stock handguns rate a solid decent. Those on the otherwise superlative GLOCK line of pistols in particular are uninspired, dark after sunset and plastic. I have seen a few that were actually abraded down after a lot of hard use. Nowadays we can do better. Let’s take a look at some great options available today.

The .380 ACP GLOCK 42 is a wildly popular concealed carry pistol.
A new set of premium night sights from HIVIZ substantially enhances the gun’s effectiveness.

HIVIZ Litewave H3

I installed a nice set of Litewave H3 Tritium/Litepipe sights for my GLOCK 42 for a little hands-on evaluation. HIVIZ has been building aftermarket sights for more than 20 years, and their products are some of the finest on the planet. The Litewave H3 combines the best of both worlds.

Litewave H3 sights offer rugged all-steel construction and duplicate factory sight heights. The rear sight features dual litepipes in either green or orange. The front sight offers the same color choices with or without a surrounding white ring. Both front and rear sights are powered by their own tritium vials.

The tritium in the Litewave H3 is guaranteed for 12 years. The Litepipes suck up light in the daytime, while the radioactive bit drives the system after dark. Using the aforementioned tools installation took maybe 15 minutes.

The front component of the XS DXT sighting system is a generous glowing dot.
Just stack the front ball on the rear stick to align the weapon.

XS Sights DXT

DXT stands for Defensive Express Tritium. These sights are optimized for speed. XS DXT sights are all steel and can be had with tritium inserts, both front and rear.

The rear sight is a wide shallow V-shape with a luminous vertical line facilitating an accurate flash sight picture. The front sight sports a tritium-illuminated center surrounded by a generous white dot. To engage a target you simply dot the “I.” The XS DXT excels in high-stress defensive applications.

The radical rear sight on the Dead Ringer Snake Eyes handgun sight
mimics the peep design on modern military combat rifles.

Dead Ringer Snake Eyes

The U.S. military determined a generation ago peep sights were the most effective manual sighting systems for combat weapons. The large rear aperture subconsciously orients the weapon to the target, while the front post provides a precise reference. The Dead Ringer Snake Eyes sighting system offers the same benefits for a combat handgun.

Both front and rear sights are available with tritium inserts. The solid steel rear sight fits into a standard dovetail and features a generous round aperture with a red polymer inner ring. There are tiny pointers at the 3, 6, 9 and 12 o’clock positions for precise alignment. Snake Eyes sights will accommodate most standard holsters.

The Trijicon HD rear sight features shock-mounted armored tritium vials in an indestructible steel chassis.

Trijicon HD GLOCK 22

My cop-surplus .40-caliber GLOCK 22 sports a set of tritium-powered luminous HD sights from Trijicon. These simple indestructible steel sights remain reliable combat multipliers after dark. Trijicon is a seminal name in modern combat optics.

Trijicon pistol sights offer true MilSpec toughness. The window is made from sapphire with a tiny silicone rubber cushion to guard against recoil. Little aluminum cylinders keep everything in place, and a protective clear coat protects against environmental insults. The rear sight is left square on the front to assist in one-handed charging if life goes truly sideways.

This custom aluminum-framed 1911 pistol was a homebuilt creation from TRUGLO TFO night sights round out the package perfectly.

TRUGLO TFO Night Sights

TFO stands for Tritium/Fiber-Optic Sights. The TFO is a true all-hours, all-weather sighting solution. Fiber optic light tubes channel in ambient light, while tritium inserts power the sights after dark. TFO sights are all steel.

The front sight is a generous long blade, while the rear sight is low profile, contoured and snag-free. The rear unit also includes a series of grooves to help minimize glare. TRUGLO TFO sights are ideal additions to modern combat heaters whether factory-made or homebuilt like mine.

The AmeriGlo ProGlo front sight on the Vickers Tactical GLOCK 17
co-witnesses with the Wilson Combat rear unit to synergistically maximize performance.

AmeriGlo ProGlo

Larry Vickers is a former Delta operator and one of the most familiar names in today’s tactical community. His personal series of customized GLOCK handguns is distributed by Lipsey’s and reflects an optimized take on the classic GLOCK platform. My Vickers Tactical GLOCK 17 features an AmeriGlo ProGlo front blade along with a Vickers Elite Wilson Combat U-notch Battlesight rear sight.

The AmeriGlo ProGlo front sight features a green tritium lamp surrounded by luminescent orange paint that glows of its own accord for 10 minutes or so after exposure to light. The tritium lamp shines constantly independent of ambient conditions. The Wilson Combat Vickers Elite Rear Battlesight features a deep, wide U-notch optimized for low-light dynamic conditions. The synergistic result is fast, accurate engagements in all lighting conditions.

The rear tritium-fueled Kimber Tactical Wedge sight is raised for use
with a sound suppressor and incorporates a generous cocking shoulder
should you be forced to run the gun one-handed.

Kimber Tactical Wedge

Kimber makes superb 1911 pistols. Their working-man guns are designed to go to war. The Kimber Tactical Wedge sighting system on their top-end Warrior SOC 1911 pistol perfectly complements John Moses Browning’s classic combat pistol.

The Kimber Warrior SOC is a variation on the 1911 pistol used operationally by the LAPD SWAT. Featuring elevated steel tritium night sights, this is the perfect suppressor host. The enhanced front blade has an integral tritium insert, while the rear unit features two tritium vials of its own, rear serrations for glare mitigation and a generous fixed cocking shoulder to help you charge the gun one-handed in a crisis. Kimber 1911 pistols are a system, and these sights are designed to be an integral component of this overall package.

The SIGLITE rear sight is driven by tritium lamps and set into a
removable unit that can be easily exchanged for a micro red dot optic.


The M17 Modular Handgun System is the new combat pistol currently being issued across all U.S. armed services. The sundry tactical attributes of the gun were established as the result of an absolutely grueling selection process. SIGLITE Tritium night sights come standard.

The front SIGLITE sight features a rugged tritium vial set into a steel blade. This front sight is small enough to be snag-free but large enough for easy and fast acquisition. The rear unit is built into a removable sight plate that can be exchanged for a micro red dot sight. The rear sight offers a generous square notch as well as a cocking shoulder if needed. This sighting system was adequate to impress Uncle Sam. It’s more than enough for normal guys like me.

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