Thursday, June 25, 2009

Pick My Carry Sights! Fiber Optic for Carry?

I'm thinking of changing my carry sights. I'm thinking of something radical. Should I switch to an iron rear-fiber optic front carry configuration?

Here's the deal. I shoot competition with a full-size Glock, I carry a compact Glock. I'm committed to the platform because common ergonomics translate into proficiency when I switch between the guns.

But the sights are different. For competition, an iron rear with fiber-optic front works better than any other configuration I've seen. But I carry with a different set-up - TFO Tritium Fiber Optic Sights. I'll illustrate the spread of options here.

These are the "dot and bucket" factory Glock sights - the picture gives them more credit than they are probably worth because the front sight caught all of the flash. In a low-light defensive situation they probably wouldn't be worth that much.

Here are my competition sights - Heinie iron rear, Dawson Precision fiber optic front.

With a good amount of light the single red dot in front is very precise; it tracks, traverses, and stands out well against most any background.
The picture doesn't do them justice - the front sight really catches the light and focuses your vision. I've shot the Smith & Wesson IDPA indoor match with these sights; if you're using a flashlight or have a reasonable amount of ambient light the difference between this and a tritium sight is huge and in the fiber optic's corner.
Here are my current carry sights.

They are TRUGLO Tritium Fiber Optic (TFO) sights - a bit of tritium and a fiber optic rod to pick up the light the tritium puts off. Theoretically, they should be the best carry sights available. However, the big dots aren't very precise, and the front sight is fainter than the rear sights after a few years. Plus, I'm used to looking at one dot in a slot, not aligning three dots. I'm seriously considering moving to one dot made of fiber optic, one dot of tritium, or Heinie's top & bottom dot alignment.

If I switch to a new sight setup, what should I use?
Here are the options:
a. Be edgy! Heinie iron rear (ledge configuration for carry cockability) with fiber optic front sight
b. Heinie iron rear with tritium front sight
c. Be two-dotted! Heinie top & bottom dots
d. Be three-dotted! Meprolight three-dot
e. Do something else. I'll explain...
Please give your feedback in the comments.


  1. Get the Heinie Straight-8 sights. I used them on one of my competition 1911s, and they're actually a really good sight. The two dot stand right on top of each other an are very fast to pick up.

  2. e. I just put a set of AO 24/7 express sights on my Glock 19 and so far am very favorably impressed. They take a little getting used to but my accuracy is as good or better than it was with the OEM plastic sights. My speed is way better (2+ seconds faster)on the Farnham drill I've been practicing.
    If you wish to stick with a traditional notch & post sight, I'd pick the Heinie "Straight 8s".
    Let us know what you decide.

  3. I use TFOs on my XD that I shoot IDPA with. It's also my main carry gun.

    Not being a gamer like Ahab, I compete with what I carry. :)

    Unfortunately I think you're just gonna have to try them and see which works best for you.

  4. If your competition setup works great and lets you shoot fast and accurate, why not just use that same setup for your carry gun? Why complicate things with 2 different sight pictures?

  5. @hsoiblog: Because in competition, he'd never have to shoot in the dark. I understand where you're coming from, but it's sort of like saying "use this tiny jeweler's screwdriver for all screwdriver jobs." Different tasks call for different sights.

    Dave, I think if the complaint about the TFO sights is that they are not very accurate and that they are dimming, I'd say you just need to replace the TFOs. Either with new TFOs or maybe something like Novak tritiums. I know we don't want errant bullets but at the same time, won't you be flash sighting anyway for S/D? Accuracy shaved off from competition-level shooting is probably not such a big deal. I just did a low-light S/D class and I have to say that getting flash sight picture from those tritium sights was just about foolproof. Maybe your experience leads you to shoot in a different style than most, though.

  6. That's what a flashlight is for.

    If you can't see your sights, it's too dark to properly identify the target. If you have enough light to identify the target, you have enough light to see sights. And if there's not enough light then you need to introduce the light, thus flashlight techniques.

  7. Well, you make excellent points, although I'd say it's very possible that your sights and the target would be in different light. If you're far enough away to need sights, you could easily be in a shadow while your attacker is not. I should have said "shoot from the dark." Absolutely one cannot be shooting into the dark. Certainly if the BG is in enough light that you can silhouette the sights, which a flashlight should do, you're set if you have trained that way. But I'm not clear if Dave is carrying a light or not - that really changes things. Night sights just help the odds. They may be completely useless, even a hindrance since they are not so easily seen in daylight.

    All that said, I think you're absolutely right about the two sight pictures thing. Whatever they are made of, I would think he wants something very similar to his competition sight picture.

  8. I like the Sevigny competition and Sevigny carry sights. They are made by warren tactical. The extra wide notch in the rear sight and the thin front blade allow more light/target to be seen. This makes for faster/easier sight pictures. Especially during stressful situations. They come in either all black or red/green fiber optic front. That's my 2 cents. Aaron