Readers of this blog should know by now that I am a big fan of the various Glock models in 9mm caliber, especially the Glock 19. My “primary Glock 19” is the one I have taken to and used in almost every firearms class I have taken to date (I have played around a bit with my other Glock 19 equipped with a Trijicon RMR, my Glock 26, and even used my Glock 17 in one carbine class), and as of this writing it has about 4000 rounds through it.
When I initially purchased the pistol, it came with the standard Glock plastic “place holder” sights. When I picked up the pistol from my FFL, I had them install Meprolight Tru Dot night sights (yellow rear, green front), which seemed to be more or less cutting-edge at that time. They seemed to work for me well-enough at the range, which at that time meant that I could shoot really well with them at 7 yards. I liked them enough to install a set on my Glock 17 as well. I used that same setup in my first few classes (no AARs of those classes are on the blog. While that is partly because I didn’t take my now-normal copious notes, I will leave the readers to figure out the other reasons.), it was not until I took the Sentinel Concepts “Critical Handgun Employment” class with Steve Fisher that I came to realize the shortcomings of these sights. Because Steve had us shoot quite a bit at 25 yards, I found the sight picture of these sights on the Glock 19 tough to work with. What I found was that the front sight was so wide that it obscured too much of the target. It also completely filled the notch in the rear sight, so that the old mantra of “equal height, equal light” did not apply. Since then I have found that these sights work pretty well on my Glock 17 due to the longer sight radius; the front sight looks just a bit smaller in the field of vision, meaning I can get “equal light” with these sights on that pistol. What I felt like I needed for my Glock 19 was a sight that offered a narrower front blade or wider rear notch so that I could get a better (for me) sight picture.
My best friend always says that I am not cheap, I am merely “careful with money”. Because of this, I like to test “proof of concept” before pouring a lot of money into something new. Some research online introduced me to the Defoor Sights produced by Ameriglo. These are plain black sights, front and rear, with a narrow, serrated front blade that is .115 inches wide (Ameriglo subsequently started offering a version with Tritium in a slightly wider front sight blade; see John’s review here). I used these black Defoor sights in every class I have taken since, usually to good effect. The only modification I made to them was painting a thin, day-glo orange/red stripe on the top two serrations of the front sight using Model Master enamel paint.
There was really one major exception to my satisfactory performance in classes with these sights, and that was in the CSAT Advanced Individual Tactics class taught by Paul Howe. The sights provided great contrast in all of the other classes (conducted outdoors in daylight), but A.I.T. was a course with a primary focus on night tactics. Here, despite what I had read about black sights being fine at night due to your flashlight either illuminating the sights or illuminating the target enough to acquire a sight picture, my experience did not reflect this. I found myself often shooting “blind”, no matter my flashlight technique (Harries, temple, neck, weapon-mounted light, etc.). While I can acquire a sight picture on targets in my own basement, I found that, at the distances we were shooting (sometimes out to 60 yards) and with targets that do not necessarily reflect back a lot of light (think bad guy in a black hoodie), I could not get a reliable sight picture. Paul Howe, like many instructors who are former members of special operations, places a huge emphasis on accuracy, and I was, frankly, embarrassed about much of my performance (accuracy-wise) in that class.
I continued to use the Defoor sights in classes and for carry purposes while researching other options. I considered going with a night sight front with plain black rears, and explored this with a standard Glock front night sight but with the Defoor rears. I know many out there use a similar arrangement (night sight front, blacked out rears), but some basic testing at night in my yard revealed I still could not get my sights quickly and properly aligned. In addition, the Glock front night sight was wider than the regular black Defoor sight, so now I was back to the lack of “equal light” on both sides of the front sight.
I decided to go back to the Tru Dot sights and see if maybe my skills had improved over the intervening two years. Unfortunately, one trip to the range revealed the same old problem: I just could not get any real light on either side of the front sight when viewed through the rear notch. I was also starting to shy away from the “busy” rear sight, with its two dots, as just too distracting for me to get good focus on the front sight.
I have neither the time nor money to try out the many variations of sights that seemed to have sprung onto the market since I first bought my Glock 19. Trijicon continues to make their classic sights along with their very popular HDs, then there are sights that carry the names of big name instructors out there; it seems a rare case when an instructor does NOT have some sights named after him. Thus, we have the Redback One sights, Vickers Elite Battlesights (John gave these a look here), Hackathorns, the Proctor Y-Notch, Warren, Sevigny, the newer Travis Haley sights, etc. I felt like my only solution was to turn to……..math!
I looked up, on the web, the dimensions of every sight in which I had even a remote interest. What I was searching for was a night sight system that would have a similar relationship between the width of the front sight and the width of the rear notch as the Defoor sights that worked so well for me. The Defoor sights have a front sight width of .115 inches and a rear sight notch width of .150, for a difference of .035 inches. So that would be my target (Note here: the thinnest front night sight I could find is .125 inches, and my understanding is that it is actually the Nuclear Regulatory Commission that limits the width to that dimension, as tritium is radioactive and, per their guidelines, requires a certain amount of metal on all sides of it). The Trijicon HDs, so popular with so many, have a front sight width of .144 and a rear notch of .169, so the difference there is just .025. The Vickers Elite Battlesights (which John did an initial review on here) have a front of .125 and a rear of .145, so the difference there is just .020 inches. These weren’t the numbers I was looking for, plus I found that the Trijicon HDs and Vickers Elite Battlesights just sit a little too tall for me (though I liked the look of the HDs’ front sight with the big orange ring).
A funny moment soon arrived when John messaged me asking, “Have you looked at the Ameriglo I Dot Pros?” It was funny because I was on the Ameriglo page at that exact moment! These sights offer a similar–though lower–front sight as the Trijicon HDs, and with the .140 inch wide front sight and .180 inch wide rear notch, the relationship between the front and rear would be .040 inches, which is an even wider disparity than the Defoor sights. For bonus points, the Ameriglos lack the two dots on the rear and instead use a single dot beneath the rear notch, thus making for a less “busy” rear sight. Perhaps best of all, for someone like me who is “careful with money”, the sights retail for considerably less than the HDs and some of the other sights.
The Ameriglo website said that these sights were sold out, which is typical for my luck. So I checked the website of one of my favorite retailers, Primary Arms, and found that they were not only in stock, but on sale for $69.99! I ordered them posthaste and had them in hand in just under one week, easily installing them myself with my MGW sight pusher. I hit the range the next day and discovered that, even off a rest, they were shooting a little left (very tight group at 25 feet, but just a little left), so I tweaked them just a bit and now they are spot-on.
The rear sight stands proud of the slide, though less so than Vickers or HD sights. Its relationship with the top of the slide is 90 degrees at the front, which makes them useful for one-handed manipulations. The rear of the sight is reverse-angled a bit to reduce glare.
The tritium vials are actually manufactured by Trijicon. The front green tritium is surrounded by a prominent day-glo orange ring (a green-yellow is also available), and the rear tritium is surrounded by a very thin white circle. In some ways, shooting with them reminds me of shooting my first pistol, a Sig Sauer P229 with the standard Sig “dot the I” sights.
So far, I love these sights. In daylight or at the indoor ranges I frequent, the uncluttered rear sight and high visibility front sight allow me to track the front sight much more easily than any other sights I have ever tried. I have not yet fired with them at night, but dry-firing indoors and outdoors at night reveals that the tritium lamp in the front sight is a little smaller/dimmer than the rear (presumably they are the same size, but the front sight being further away makes it appear smaller/dimmer), but that is fine with me as their relationship to each other is easy to determine.
Some may worry that the two-dot system only allows horizontal alignment, leaving one to guess at vertical alignment. However, what I have done is take the pistol into an area of my house with low—but not NO—light, just enough to see the glow of the tritium while still allowing me to see the outline of the sights themselves. What I found was the exact relationship of the two tritium dots that is needed when the sights are properly aligned. I now just have to ingrain that into my memory and I should be good to go.
I will continue to test and evaluate them based on my own needs. I have a one-day class approaching in a few weeks when I will give them a better test than my typical range visits. If I like them as much as I believe I will, I may soon purchase more—as funds and sale prices permit–to mount to my other Glocks for commonality of training.
Well, I have been using these sights for a number of weeks now on my Glock 19 and been pretty satisfied. Also, they worked great for me in this class, so I have decided to invest in a few more sets of these for—so far—two of my other Glocks (and, as of this writing, I have another set on its way to me). If that’s not a ringing endorsement, I don’t know what is (and keep in mind I am not being compensated in any way for saying this!)!