Iron Sight Specifics

Sights have been touched on in numerous threads but I failed to find what I was truly looking for. I'm looking to replace the sights on my 509 and eventual 19X and before I go burning through money trying different sights I was looking for input. I saw a lot of "I use these..." but not as much "this is why" attached. I understand that there is a large portion of this forum that gets issued sights and that's what they get to roll with, but for those that have run with other sights what are your preferences and WHY? Where do you like your point of aim to be in relation to point of impact? What yard line do you like them to zero at? What manufacturers are there to avoid? Are there factory irons you don't feel the necessity to replace? I spend more time around gamers now than I do gun toting professionals now, so if my questions are too granular let me know. My scope for iron sights is very narrow. I've used Truglo TFX sights and played with Trijicon HDs, everything else has just factory, including my 509 sights. For reference, I have no leanings toward nights sights or fiber optic, I just prefer green/yellow in regards to color if there is color added to the sight. I don't use NV and I have a white light attached to my gun.
I personally just went back to all black AmeriGlo Defoor sights on my G19.4s.

Why? I find that I’m more precise with that particular setup than any other. I also don’t find that I’m that much slower with them vs. other higher visibility sights. They also give me the most consistent sight picture in all light situations including if I use my own light. I also find them a little easier to work with than the narrower default dimensions of Dawson Precision sights.

I used Dawson Precision Charger sights (fiber optic front/blacked out rear) prior to making the change. I really liked them, but there were a few things that bugged me. The narrow dimensions just seem to force me to use more effort to see as crisply as other sights. The light bars and front sight are just simply smaller. It’s not bad and I was able to do good work with them, I just simply prefer something slightly more coarse.

If I’m using fiber, I prefer green fiber. It blooms less to my eyes in direct bright sunlight.

I don’t typically prefer tritium as I see it as a dubious expense with limited utility for my specific use case (armed civilian with no LEO or MIL experience).

If there’s paint on the sights, I prefer orange or white, in that order. Green paint for whatever reason seems to blend into too many things all to well for my vision.

I prefer nothing on my rear sight including blacked out tritium vials. I prefer to use light bars as my reference, not anything on the rear sight. It’s distracting and I generally find it to be not very useful.

I prefer my POA be the top edge of the front sight and that it be zero’d at 25 yards. Top edge still gives me visual reference to what I’m shooting at and 25 yards is a good reference standard for shooting with a pistol.

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On my duty glocks( 19 or 23) I’m running ameriglo UC sights, which come stock on talos model Glocks. It’s a serrated blacked out rear with a u notch, the front is a pro dot/ trijicon HD front with the orange ring with a tritium vial in the center of the dot. During the day it’s drop the orange dot in the notch and do work, at night I’ve only gotta decipher one glowing dot instead of fighting with 3 like the Trijicon HDs. On my 17 I’ve got trijicon hd with orange dot setup ( when I changed the sights on my 17 I didn’t have the time to wait for the ameriglo uc’s I’d ordered, the local shop had the HD’s in the basic same configuration but about $50 more than the aneriglo


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XS Big Dot for 15 years. Went to 10-8 trit front only, just as fast, more precise. Currently Trij 3dot issued on duty. I want POI/POA at 25 which those are not.


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At 25, POI with the Trij is "in" the dot. But i tend to use the top of the front sight except at close quarters, so i tend to aim for the neck (top of the sight) which puts the dot in the "right" place.

The Big Dot, 15 and in, center of dot is POA/POI. At 20 plus, same sight pic but impact is top of the front sight. Fast but at distance harder to line up for me since the dot sits in the V.
This turned into a long post, I hope it is off use to someone and can get cleaned up and made a paw or sticky or something. I have been meaning to write a post about iron sight characteristics.

I have been swapping out sights on my 19 somewhat regularly for like 5 years. During that time I was also working at a gun shop and shooting range as well as shooting a fair amount of USPSA and some 3 gun. I got to observe, sell, install, use etc a variety of stuff.

Glock OEM plastic sights: too tight of a sight cut (skinny light bars) very breakable, and too much highlight in the rear.

TruGlo TFO: I have seen lots break and am not impressed with materials or dovetail dimensions after installing a bunch of these. Too much brightness in the rear too.

Heinie straight 8 ledge sights with the quick cut: I think these were a 140 front and a 156 rear. I left these ONLY to get a neon bright front.

Trijicon HD yellows: 144 front 169 rear I do not like U notches now, but the light bar width was ok, but the u notch rear makes the light bars curve to a point at the bottom which I don’t like. bright front and dull rear were good. also, the rear is sharp like a box off razor blades. It will eat holes it your shirts. I don’t care about my skin, but I know people who wear undershirts because of these sights.

Ameriglo Pro-I dots. Straight 8 style tritium like the Heinies. Not sure if I prefer 3 dot (1 dot front 2 dots rear) vs 2 dot (1 front, 1 rear, aligned vertically). .140” wide front and .180” wide rear might be fast, but might also be giving up precision at distance.

Glock OEM Night Sights: 150 front 133 rear. Only sights on the market I could find that has a wider front sight then the notch in the rear. The light bars are so thin, in some like conditions I couldn’t make out the light bars at all. I also hate the equal size white outlines of the tritium in the rear as the front. Not optimal. Also, generally too much attention was drawn to the rear and it was hard to track the front sight in recoil.

Ameriglo CAP orange front .125 with ameriglo operator rear .150” I really like the right angles. Steve Fisher mentioned this in a mod cast. That got me experimenting. I just flash sight picture better with rectangles. I figured if that applies to the cut of the steel, then that could apply to the shape of the highlight in the front, so I got the square fill CAP front.

Skinny front sights. This was a topic in a mod cast or two, and was universally deemed desirable and produced greater accuracy. I don’t really notice it while I'm shooting buy the skinny cap is my first skinny front. I have shot STIs and race guns with skinny fronts and fiber but not slow at distance to see of i get more accuracy. On my first and only try with the skinny .125 ameriglo cap and .150 operator rear on a B8 at 25 I shot a 95, beating my 90 average with the Glock NS. Ammo was different though too.

Light bars ie how much wider the rear sight notch is than the front. Academically i would think a tighter fit would lead to more accuracy and a looser fit would lead to greater speed. That was the case with my 19s with Ameriglo Pro I dots vs Trijcon HDs vs my 17 with Glock NS. that was not the case with my ameriglos on my 17 or my buddy’s gen 5 G26. I am hoping someone with a more definitive answer can chime in here.

What I like and why:
I really like a neon orange front sight and a dull rear. I pick up a bright front sooner in a press out and track better during recoil.

I really prefer tritium front and rear: I don’t prefer fiber optics because we did a fair amount of light off stuff at the indoor range. That usually resulted in more twilight lighting then dark. You could see the targets, but steel or fiber sights were tough. Most folks didn’t bother with lights because you could identify targets and navigate ok. Night sights with tritium front and rear, filled the gap well. My house at night is usually pretty similar lighting. Chuck Haggard had a pretty good story about a OIS posted around here some place crediting a shot being doable because of tritium front and rear. That said I think a lot of the household name well respected folks (whom I respect too) are recommending fiber front black rear like Dawson Precision.

I also really prefer a square notch rear sight and not a U notch. Something about the human eye lining up right angles being quicker than the curve at the bottom of the u notch.

I also prefer a rear sight gap in the ball park of 25k wider then the front, but if someone can show me something else is better i am all ears.

If possible different colors of tritium front and rear but that’s last on the list of priorities.

Poa/poi: I prefer 25 yards poa/poi with the front sight cutting the target in half. That can be hard to get. I am living with a 6:00 hold on a B8 at 25yards right now. I HATE covering the target with the front sight to hit it.

Value of aftermarket sights: Personal I put a pretty huge value on good sights, but it depends on the shooter too. A great shooter can make do with lesser gear and shoot better than average. A poor shooter must overcome human challenges before hardware things will matter.

I will see if I can take a picture of my notes of other sight dimensions and post it here from my phone.
Use: uniformed patrol and CCW
Pistols: Glock 17/19/21/30, Sig P226/228/320 (multiple variants)
Sights used: Trijicon B/T & HD's, Glock NS, Sig NS, Ameriglo hack & all black, Heine straight 8, warren tactical rear/trit front, VTAC, Truglo front/Sig NS rear, XS big dots & standard dots and finally, Dawson fiber front/black rear

Instead of going over each sight I'll just say that I've switched all my pistols over to the Dawson's. I prefer the .100 wide front with the .125 rear, red fiber front and all black rear.

After doing quite a bit of reading here, P/S facebook group and pistol-forum I decided to ditch tritium and see how it went. Surprisingly the experts were right, using a WML the Dawson's looked exactly the same at night and I still haven't found a situation where I wish I would have kept the trit. Granted I work in a large urban city so there is usually a lot of ambient light, but even searching houses/buildings I haven't found a situation where the trit would have provided a benefit.

That covers the night/low-light aspect of what I use a pistol for. During the day i want something that I can pick up quickly, which is why I was using HD's. Huge front dot that I can pick up quickly. The problem is the front post is wide (for me) at distance. The .100 front is much better at distance for me and I pick up the red fiber just as fast (if not faster) than the HD front.

As far as durability, I haven't broken a single fiber in any of my pistols duty or carry. Any questions about any of the sights I've used feel free to ask.


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After years of going from Trijicons, to Big Dots, to Trijicon HDs and everything in between I have finally settled on Dawson adjustable plain rears with red fiber fronts. I have reached a point where I can regularly put down 3 inch groups at 25m and the lack of adjustability prevents me using the handgun to its fullest potential. The only other option to avoid the adjustable rears (I know some guys are scared of them - even though I have a 4 year old set with over 10k rounds and 3 deployments on them) would be to get custom height front sights and swap them out until the POI/POA works.

As for FO fronts - I have broken a grand total of one fiber optic in 4 years across 6 sets. The sights worked perfectly fine and it was a 20 second fix after getting off the range.

Right now I have the Trijicon HDXRs on my 509 because Accusport going under created a bunch of awesome blowouts. The thinner front sight is better that the standard HDs to me but I'm still not crazy about them. I've been really considering going to a set of Dawsons. I work with a bunch of rather serious competitors that all run fibers and the only time they break is when they cut them out to put in a new one. I don't dislike the U notch but I'd just as soon do a normal square notch. I've found my poa/poi is dot covering the target ("combat hold") at 15 yards and cut the target in half at 25 with the top of the post.
Part of me feels like I'm overly concerned about the sights but at the same time we go on ad nauseam about different rifle optics. Of course ideally I'd just go with an rm06 on there but I ain't got that money. Keith03 your notes are awesome btw.
Update to my previous post. I just swapped in my Dawson Chargers on both G19s. Running green fiber front, blacked out rear.

The fiber is just so much more useful than a flat black front and green fiber does not wash out the top edge of the front sight in any light like the red fiber does.

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