Almost every new handgun comes with some form of white painted three-dot sights. And I think they’re terrible. So terrible that I want everyone to join in my anti-three dot campaign so together we can force all the handgun makers to quit putting them on their pistols.

I’ve spoken in passing of my disdain for plain white 3-dot sights in just about every handgun review I’ve written, but have refrained from going into much depth. A few people have asked me to elaborate, so in honor of that request I’m going to let you, the readers, guide this conversation with another make-believe 100% authentic Q&A session.

Q: You think we should get rid of all three-dot pistol sights? Even night sights?

A: No, I should clarify. I don’t have a problem with all 3-dot pistol sight configurations — just the miserable little non-illuminated white-on-black 3-dot sights that come stock with almost every new handgun.

Q: So what’s actually wrong with three-dot sights and what’s the alternative?

A: The main issue that I have with white three-dot sights is a lack of contrast. All three dots are the same color, and they’re usually about the same size, too. There’s too much competing for my attention.

This isn’t good for quick sight acquisition or sight tracking during rapid fire. I want some visual aid to help my eyes distinguish that front sight from the rear. Ideally, that means a front sight with some kind of bright, contrasting color to help it stand out.

Q: The front sight is the one in the middle, dummy.

A: Thanks for the tip. When I’m pulling the trigger five times per second on a rapid fire string, my eyes need as much help as they can get to see what’s going on. Following the front sight because “it’s in the middle” is a whole lot easier when it doesn’t look identical to the rear sights. In fact, plain black sights would even be preferable to the dots. If they all look the same, they’re more of a distraction than anything.

“When I am shooting, I want to see sights and not a geometry problem.”
– Wiley Clapp

Personally, I prefer a two-dot setup with a bright fluorescent front sight and a small dot in the middle of the rear sight notch. There are a couple of companies that make this style, like the Pro i-dot from Ameriglo. The front sight is a tritium insert with a bright orange ring around it that really stands out in almost any lighting condition.

Ameriglo Pro i-dot sights
Ameriglo Pro i-dot sights

But really, I’m not all that picky about sights. Three dot sights are just fine as long as there is contrast and something that will stand out in low light. Something like the Trijicon HD Night Sights are excellent, but even a fiber optic front sight with a plain black rear is a huge improvement over the white three-dot style.

Q: Well I like the white three-dot sights that came with my gun. It’s just a personal preference. This is America and you can’t tell me what to do!

A: Sure, you can have whatever sights you want, but I have to ask; are you sure you really like those white three-dot sights? What have you compared them to?

The thing that really chaps my caboose about white three-dot sights is that their prevalence as the industry standard has led so many gun owners to accept them without question.

fiber optic sight
Green fiber optic sight on a S&W revolver

I think a lot of people claim they “like” three-dot sights because they’re such an obvious upgrade over the old-school tiny post and notch sights. Or maybe they haven’t even shot an old gun and every pistol they’ve used has had three-dot sights so they don’t have any frame of reference.

If you practice regularly, track your performance with different sight setups and then tell me that you shoot better with white three dot sights than any other style, then I’ll believe you.

Q: Three-dot sights are a cost-saving measure. Gun manufacturers use them because not everyone can agree on a better option that wouldn’t increase the cost to make the gun. What do you expect?

A: There are a couple of viable options that I’ve seen manufacturers try as an improvement over white three-dots.

First is fiber optic rods on the front sight. They aren’t as cheap as the white painted sight, but would add far less to the production cost than tritium night sights. Springfield Armory has done this with some of their XDm and XDs pistols, and I’ve also seen it on some inexpensive .22LR pistols.

The other way to go is to follow Glock’s lead and use the absolute cheapest excuse for sights they can come up with as the standard factory option. That lowers the manufacturer’s cost and the savings is passed to the customer who pays less for the pistol so they can afford to upgrade the sights on their own.

Glock sights
Glock’s plastic factory sights… not as durable as the pistols.

Q: I don’t like cheap factory sights either, but I can’t afford a fancy pair of night sights to upgrade my pistol.

A: I’ve been there. Fortunately, there are plenty of cheap ways to improve your factory sights. Fluorescent model paint on the front sight works well, especially if you start with a coat of white primer. I’ve also heard good things about reflective tape like 3M Scotchlite. A black sharpie can help tone down the bright white paint on the rear sights, or use a paint marker if you want to black them out entirely. I’ve modified several pistols like this, including the mil-surp CZ-83 pistol I wrote about a few months back.

Thanks for joining me for another reader Q&A. I hope you all found it as productive as I did. Feel free to keep those questions coming and I’ll keep making up my own answering them!

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Leave a Comment Below

  • Shawn Sponenburgh

    Five rounds per second my ASS!!!

    • Anthony Bellofatto

      That’s called the LEO mag dump…

    • John Benge

      Anthony Bellofatto , as a former LEO… I’ll be the one to say.. it’s not called that.

    • Anthony Bellofatto

      I know, I was just being goofy. I am not knocking on LEO’s, you guys have a really tough job and I respect that. Just something as simple as a traffic stop can turn deadly for LEO’s in a second. Thank you for your service. I was just saying it because it seems lately LEO’s just dump their magazine as fast as possible lol. Sorry, I did not mean any offense, my bad if I did offend you that was not my intent.

    • John Benge

      Anthony Bellofatto , Its a reactionary thing these days. No offence taken.

    • Anthony Bellofatto

      Ok cool I’m glad I didn’t offend. I also believe you are correct about the reactionary thing. Plus a shooting scenario is an intense situation so I don’t blame them for going wild with rounds sometimes. Adrenaline surging and your taking fire you want the threat stopped fast. That said, I believe the uniform police officer should be a better marksman these days and be forced to go to the range often. What department did you serve and what was your rank and job Sir, if you don’t mind me asking. Also, when did you serve, I’m just curious as to what you carried for firearms, from a professional standpoint.. Thanks, always good to talk to a real LEO, I have a lot of respect for what you do.

    • John Benge

      Anthony Bellofatto, heres the thing… LEOs are typically required to qualify quarterly, sometimes more. And they shoot in their off times as well, I know it did. One of the things I speak on is the NYPD, and the city of NY requiring all LEO’s handguns to have a about 12 pound trigger pull… Now, I’m not sure how much shooting you do, but to put it into context…. My STOCK Glock 22, which is what something like %60 of LE Departments use out there… comes with a 5.5 pound trigger. Its decent, most people reduce it to 3.5 for better and cleaner resets, and follow up shots. 12 pounds… every time they pull the trigger. Think about that, go try and lift 12 pounds with just your index finger as many times as you can. Those cops that shot like, every civilian by the empire state building over the ONE suspect who was firing back at them… yeah. They sprayed everything because of that trigger and lack of discipline.

    • Anthony Bellofatto

      Thanks for the reply, very interesting. So they have Glock 22’s with a 12 POUND trigger pull! That is crazy heavy for a constant pull. I have been shooting with my father since 9. I have a 1911 he technically owns until I get my license. That’s a S&W 1911 full size that breaks at about 4.0 lbs and is very crisp. My father’s Beretta 92fs on double action has a decently heavy pull. I remember it is not how I would want to consistently shoot the gun and it is without a doubt under 12lbs in DA. I can’t imagine having a consistent 12 pound trigger pull, that SUCKS! I understand why more shots are missed now. I’m not a fan of the 40S&W either, I don’t know how you feel. Any one I ever fired I did not like and was never as accurate as I usually am. The 1911 is the one that works best for me. I rather have a 9mm or 45ACP. A 1911 or a HI-Power, my two pistols I shoot the best. Did you carry a back up gun with the Glock 22? What’s up with the heavy trigger pull as a minimum too, so there are less negligent discharges?

  • Shane Gunter

    Sounds like me you need to pray ice more or learn how to aim because I can hit you at 50 yds every shot with over 20 different hand guns

    • Rob Taylor

      It’s a good thing this isn’t a toilet Q&A or you’d be pissing on the author.

  • MaryLu Duffy

    tritium came stock on my Kimber– on all Kimbers I think… I prefer them–

    • John Markos

      I bought my 2 Kimbers 3 yrs ago and they came all black rear white dot front.

    • MaryLu Duffy

      John Markos — oh– wow– I stand corrected– 🙂

  • John Burger

    5x a sec you’re not even letting the firearm recover from recoil… therefore sight picture is completely irrelevant in that case.

    • Paul Dragotto


    • LG Chris

      At that speed, the sights are still very much relevant. Your eye can track the movement of the front sight and achieve a flash sight picture before the trigger breaks.

      Five shots per second is .2 second splits in between shots. As someone mentioned in a comment below, competitive shooters routinely achieve faster split times during a match. It wouldn’t make any sense for me to lie about .2 second splits when there are guys out there who can nail .14 second splits, probably with more accuracy than me.

    • Jimmy Green

      You guys are so sharp to not have any sense of humor.

    • David Lelievre

      No way you get accurate 5 shots in under a second using anything less than a competition class weapon at which point you are not using fixed three dot whites. Come on, if you can’t afford to

    • Daniel Leifer


      Chris, you keep killing ’em, brah.

    • Brooks Brinson

      You can track the front sight…..but it takes LOTS of training. You won’t hit a 10 ring at 25 yds but at 3-7 yards it is possible if you are good enough……

    • Jacob Miheve

      “5x a sec you’re not even letting the firearm recover from recoil”
      Tell that to Jerry Miculek.

      • Dave Algonquin

        He’s using a custom weapon, special ammo, etc, etc. Even Jerry couldn’t do what he does with a stock weapon.

    • John Burger

      Jacob Miheve, jerry miculek is different. he’s clearly a magical wizard

    • Derek Lebeau

      John Burger jerry miculek is the bruce lee of the shooting world.

    • James Groce

      LG Chris Thanks for the article.

      Can’t believe the number of negative comments on here by people I am certain never shoot competition of any kind. Now, I’m likely to get some negative comments because I commented on the negative comment commentators. Sad world these days.

    • John Burger

      LG Chris , I stand corrected. I’ve actually looked into speed shooting competitions, and 0.2 splits aren’t overly uncommon in speed shooting at all. Granted, that speed is reserved for professional speed shooters, you’re average home defense, or even most tactical shooters won’t reach near that speed, but nevertheless it’s clearly possible. I was wrong.

  • Brandon Knapp

    Hmmm…. never had a problem with three dot sights. As a matter of fact I shoot very very well with them. Different strokes for different folks I guess

  • Bob Sacamano

    this may be the stupidest review I’ve ever read. I never heard anyone complain about the three dot system. Works for me

    • Mike Loveall

      NIGHT SIGHTS ONLY NOT JUST WHITE THREE DOT SIGHTS, I LIKE HIM WAS BROUGHT UP WITH RED NAIL POLISH ON THE FRONT SIGHT, WORKED VERY WELL, I still have a couple of guns my dad gave be with the red nail polish on the front sight 70 years old!!!and they still shot great!!!

  • Dennis Harrison

    for 12 bucks you can get a bottle of fluorescent paint on ebay and do 2 dozen or so 3 dot sights , not as good as tritium, but for the price you can’t beat it and you can get it in different colors

  • Bob Liebner

    Glock is perfection

    • John Hubbard

      I personally like the Glock style with the rear U and front dot. Granted, the plastic ones are a little cheap, but steel can be had as an upgrade.

    • Dave Algonquin

      You should tell that to the guys on the Glock forum. 90% of them broke off the factory sights with a hammer and threw them away.

  • Dale Keller

    I found that unless the sights are true night sights, having straight black is the best/fast (for me) to get sight alignment–the dots served as a split second distraction, so I either turned them around (on one Glock) or just blackened them in. Of course, each to their own and it comes down to how you were trained and what kind of shooting you are doing.

    • LG Chris

      Dale, I also prefer plain black sights over the dots, but I often have trouble seeing the front sight against a darker colored target, or if there’s a dark background behind the target. But there’s something to be said for the visual simplicity you get with plain black sights.

  • Dan Atwater

    I hate 3 dot sights too but I’m cheap so I just take a sharpie to the rear sights and call it a day

    • Brady Hayden

      You should try it. I have an M&P 9mm and hated the 3-dot system. So I tried electrical tape on the back sights to make absolutely sure it was what I wanted. After that I took a sharpie to them. It looks exceptional. I have just under a thousand rounds with the “sharpie sights” and I’ve never had to reapply it. Works phenomenal for me.

  • Ron Hatfield Jr

    My most accurate gun has no dots on the sights.

  • Jeff Parker

    Most top level USPSA and idpa shooters are breaking shots in .2, 5/second is legit.

    • Douglas Fisher

      I call bullshit… prove me wrong n ill believe you and admit you were right tho

    • Jeff Parker
    • Jeff Parker

      Read the second passage. Between .18 and .22 Check out some you tubes under idpa and USPSA. Even faster is steel challenge.

    • John Burger

      If you’re a top level USPSA champion, why would you still be dealing with factory non-illuminated 3-dot sights… I’m sure you’d have sponsors that could spot you an inexpensive fiber optic

  • Paul Anthony Rios

    In moments of high stress, it is not hard to have the front sight on the outside of the rear sight and have it appear to be properly lined up. High stress and low light with 3-dot sights are a bad combo.

    • Lee Little

      I agree. If you’re not seeing the front sight, then you’re not hitting your intended target. Any knowledgeable instructor will always tell you that in close quarters or combat type shooting situations to only worry about seeing your front sight and to shoot by it. Target shooting is totally different.

  • Tom DjDc Ross

    XS Big Dot Sights is where it’s at. My favorite.

  • Paul Dragotto


    • Patrick Payne


    • Jimmy Green

      Lol. Do you even all cap, bro?

  • Ron Cre

    It is a personal preference, I have no problem shooting, and hitting what I shoot at, with either sight.. if you don’t like 3 white. paint the ones over you don’t’ like… Paint them orange. .. geez. it isn’t’ a life changer.. Get a life fool

    • Ron Cre

      I look at it like this.. If three white dots bother you. never try to fire an M-16.. no dots, and no V back sight.. just a round peep hole, and if you have trouble getting past three when dots.. You would never survive the military. Not a single weapon in my home has dots period. and I can shoot every one expert. If you depend on dots. not much of a shootist in my humble opinion.. So do all of us a favor, pull your big girl panties up, and grow a pair.

  • Lloyd K Leverett

    I have the 3 white dot sights on my SIG and have nothing to complain about.

  • Mike Loveall

    my tritium sights came with my favorite Colt Commanders!!have two one in 38 super and one in 45 acp!!!

  • Mike Loveall

    And i like the two dot Ameriglo pro i dot sights too

  • William Highfield

    Since I don’t do competitions, and practice with my carry weapon for defense purposes, I never use the sights anyway. “Excuse me, mugger? Can you stand still why I get a sight picture?”

    No, I practice pulling and shooting at a target between 7 and 20 feet away from muscle memory, since I will have no time to stare down the barrel and acquire the perfect shot …

    But hey, to each his own.

  • Robert Delahunt

    “The thing that really chaps my caboose about white three-dot sights is that their prevalence as the industry standard has led so many gun owners to accept them without question.”

    The problem with this statement is that you think that everyone did something. You have no idea why people either keep or like or prefer three dot sights. You’re not God.

    “The other way to go is to follow Glock’s lead and use the absolute cheapest excuse for sights they can come up with as the standard factory option.”

    Again, speculation. LE/Police are their main customer, it seems, and most those get their Glocks with metal stock sights.

    My Glock stock sights work good. It’s almost like a sewing machine: I know that everything should look a certain way, and I take sight picture like I’m stamping the outline and dot of my sight onto the target.

    Way to go, passing your preference off to the masses as if it is truth. Good thing not everyone’s a sheep.

  • Chad Reynolds

    I agree with Dennis. Besides if you are firing a 5 rounds in 5 seconds, you shouldn’t be using the sights, you should be aiming down the side of the barrel. Its the fastest recovery, if you are using tacticle sighting. Which you should always do with a hand gon.

  • Kurt Rusnak

    Shot better with blacked out vented rear sight and a hi-vis front. Tighten my groups immediately!

  • Firearms U

    3 dot sights work to learn on and if ya like them, keep them. However in a defensive pistol application they are inferior to other systems, period. If you have aging eyes, aren’t experienced, or need to get on target FAST to protect your life then a set of Dawson. 10-8, or Vickers are the way to go. I run 10-8’s FO .115 front with the blacked out serrated .140 rear on my daily carry gun and love them. There isn’t a 3 dot sight Academy for a reason, but there is a Front Sight Academy that is world renowned. Get some paint and a Sharpie and see the difference for yourself. It just plain works. Gun companies do what doesn’t get them sued not what is superior in the field. If you need three dots to keep your gun level and on target then by all means use them.

  • Eric Yoder

    Black marker guy here. Black in back. White/fiber optic in front.

  • Denny Rector

    Maybe one should learn to shoot with sights that are provided, before changing out. All guns are different and that encludes the sights too

  • Tom Corkery

    Thanks for the article. If nothing else, it’s something to consider and opens the doors in my mind to find cheaper/alternative ways of improving my pistol. I’m still intent on stippling my EDC after a range master let me hold his M&P stipple job. I’d love to convert to the 9mm from .40 with a reliable barrel (I have the threaded barrel, but that’s not practical for EDC because it slides up out of the holster more than it should due to the extended barrel) and now a few ideas for sights, as well. Thankfully you’ve mentioned fluorescent paint, markers and some commentators here mentioned even nail polish for the front sight.

  • Robert L. Spangler Sr.

    A friend of mine, shoot five bowling pin off the table in 4.7 seconds, three times in a row, no bull shit.

  • Chuck Barker

    Hobby paint, glow in the dark paint, and even nail polish. Customize the sights to your own liking.

  • John Drum

    What ever the person on his weapon that works for them

  • Jarrett Metcalf

    I also dislike th 3dot white sights, I like the X/O Big Dot it has the small whit dot under the notch at the back with or without a tritium insert or a Ghost ring set up with a Large White circle surrounding a tritium insert. I have also seen the white circle on the large ones or “BIG DOT as they are called different colors than just white. I personally like the New Heinie sights that have the 2 dot tritium system but is set deep into the slide on your 1911to allow for cycling. I’m unsure if he makes them for other guns but I would imagine someone does as it is a brilliant and needed function of a sight but these sight can be used to cycle the slid one handed in case your other are is unavailable due to ANY reason. These sights are set into the slide so far that you can literally use one hand and a counter or other handy ledge and press the sights against it without fear of losing zero or fear of breaking the sights off of the gun…This is a great improvement in any sight especially ones so well made as Heinie sights.

  • Douglas Peters

    I can understand your point now…and to be honest, I like that Pro i-dot configuration even though I’ve always been a Trijicon night sight guy. Things to consider and hey, Christmas is coming up, right? Offering any demo packages for the Glock 22, Chris?

  • James R Hines

    I bet my life every day on XS Big Dot Sights on my Glocks. These are the best I have found.

  • Stanton Olsen Sr.

    Thanks for your newsletter.

    This information is valuable to the new and seasoned shooter alike. For many years I’ve advised new shooters and other folks that Black on Black with a front sight trimmed to about 0.105″ is very efficient for combat shooting and self defense. It is America and there are many opinions on sight and gun preference. To the doubters 0.20 sec splits are rather common among the top shooters Amateur and professional. Now the author’s skill is something only he can attest to. Shoot safe, Shoot often and try hitting the target as much as you can!!


  • Greg Gone

    It’s not the bow and arrow, my friend, it’s the Indian.

  • Joel Postma

    ever try to focus on sights after waking form a deep sleep at 2am? Dang… just switch on the laser.

  • Steve Graves

    The guy that wrote this article needs a REAL job, writing is not his forte.

  • Jim Pacetti

    What a stupid review

  • Neal Holifield

    Boy, there sure are some girly men reading this article. Crying about content, crying about the butthurt that comes when someone dares to speak with anything but worship for Glock Almighty. Jeez, sack up. If you want only praise for a certain brand, go to a dedicated forum (GlockTalk for instance). You Glock fanboys kill me with that crap. They are great weapons for sure, just not the only one. As far as content goes, if you want something meaty to read, pick up One Fish, Two Fish or something that may be a little more entertaining and informative for you. In regards to the subject, feel free to make your own website and write about what YOU want. Maybe Pulitzer Prize winning, earth-shattering journalism such as ‘How to Survive Wit Battling Unarmed’ or “The Best 5 Ways to Beat Up People on the Internet (Without Getting Beat Up in Real Life)’. Come on man, sack up.

  • Neal Allen

    I was one of those guys who did not know any better so I would say that I liked 3 dot sights.

    Then I bought a nice handgun with a tritium dot front sight and a 10-8 wide notch rear sight.

    I was amazed at how effortless it was to instantly pick up the front sight with that contrast: super fast front sight focus and on target. It was a night and day difference.

    I will never say “I like 3 dot sights” again.

  • Roger Culver

    I used a sharpie on mine. Problem solved

  • Joe Johnson

    I like Trijicon HD sights or a dot in front with a plain black rear sight.

  • Marie Herd Brooks

    This is why I love my Springfield XDs with the red front sight. Much easier to line it all up.

  • Hernán Moreno

    Interesting. The only three-dot-sight new gun I’ve bought was a 1911. The rest had plain black, orange black, or white square white dot. If I were ever to buy another gun I’d look for it to have night sights or even day and night sights. Personally, when I did have the 1911 with three dot sights, I didn’t find it problematic.

  • Jim Mccallister

    Who needs sights when you Fire the gun sideways……lol

  • Andrew Tyler Crouse

    The sights are irrelevant when put into action during an actual combat type incident. The normal shooter is pointing the weapon and squeezing the trigger because they are to scared and to full of adrenaline to aim, there for the sights pointless, and your article pointless

  • Craig Cox

    all you need on a pistol is a visible front sight – you should be shooting with both eyes open at under 5 meters…

  • Garry Higgins

    Thanks, as I get older the sight picture gets harder. I am retired living on a fixed income so I will try some of these suggestions. Again Thanks!

  • Joe Liberty

    LOVE Ameriglo’s front sight with the orange ring. I run it with factory Glock rear night sights on all my Glocks.

  • Whitney Parks

    In my mind if you want to contrast the front site just use a neon sharpie if you don’t car about the fluorescent paint to see it at night. But neon sticks out well in different lighting and it’s cheaper.

  • Mark Foor

    The only use for sights on a handgun of any kind is for target practice. During an actual fire fight, you are so focused on the bad guy that is trying to kill you, you don’t even realize that you have sights on the gun at all…’re using point -and- shoot tactics where you aim at the largest part of your assailant that he presents to you as a target. This is why a shotgun is so effective……combined with multiple projectiles, you almost can’t miss!

  • James E Burke

    Battle sights are battle sights I use the sight that had come on my Glock 30 for over 10 years and there just as good now as they where then but then I am a good shooter, 8 inch target 50 yards all day.

  • Steve Wilson

    Seriously? FACTS show the majority of armed encounters with LEO, Military (and self defense situations) do not not even recall using their sights. The majority point their firearms and shoot at the threat/s.

    I think the ‘article’ is lacking and the author uses it to promote him an ‘expert’ yet I find no studies or proof to support his claims. Here are some problems I see with this article…

    1. He states that all non-illuminated 3 dots need to go – however non-illumination is a non-issue because what matters is threat identification. Never has there been an illuminated sight of any kind that helped in identifying a threat! The author’s claim falls apart when real FACTS are given.

    2. He states that the main reason is that there is lack of contrast – however since the majority of shootings are in low or no light environments that claim falls apart and again goes back to threat identification. What is needed is a light source to first identify the threat then there is contrast with the sights. When you attend a low light shooting class or train in low light with flashlights or rail mounted lights you would know this.

    3. “First is fiber optic rods on the front sight. They aren’t as cheap as the white painted sight” I would have to partially disagree. If you keep super good care of your guns and never run and gun, rack your rig via the sights (i.e. play hard) etc then fibers are good but again they do not assist in identifying a threat in low/no light situations. However if you do play hard they can break – I’ve taught many classes and the sights that break the most are fiber optics.

    Now do I believe you should try some other sights and find what you like best for the majority of situations you find yourself in? Yes. I know guys who are outstanding shooters that uses non-illuminated sights. Guys with no illumination sights. Heck there are guys I know who don’t care what sights are on the gun and they rock ’em. Heck I remember taking a handgun 1 & 2 class with Chris Costa and he shot a gun with no sights and impressed everyone at long distances. So with that said, sights are perhaps overrated and what really matters is training to standard with what you have.

    IMHO find a sight that works for you and stick with it. Practice with a flash or rail mounted light and do some serious night training (if you don’t have a range that allows that get a SIRT or airsoft and clear you house with a light). If you like the two dot sights the author likes, thats cool but don’t try to pass yourself off as an expert just because you like one sight over another. IF there were some studies that showed otherwise I would pay more attention but this doesn’t so I have to stick with what I know which is based on facts. If a new study shows up and shows that I need to change, then I will rethink my position at that time.

    Till then Strike Fast, Hit Hard, Put ’em Down and Reload!


    • LG Chris

      Hey Steve, I was out of town when you posted your comment, but I wanted to come back and give you a quick reply since you obviously put a lot of thought into this.

      First, just to clarify — I’m not an expert and I’ve never claimed to be one. As I’ve stated many times on the blog, I’m just sharing the things that I’ve learned from people with more knowledge and experience than myself.

      Second, I’ve taken multiple low light shooting classes and I completely understand the importance of using a light source to ID the target (another topic I’ve written about more than once), but having a light and having high visibility contrasting sights are not mutually exclusive. I would prioritize a light source over good sights, but both are important.

      As for whether sights are actually used in armed encounters, I recommend reading this article by Dave Spaulding (who, unlike me, is an actual expert on fighting with handguns) where he shares information he’s gathered after interviewing hundreds of gunfight survivors:

  • Colby Weihe

    i agree all my Glocks adopt XS BIG DOTS thanks for the great read

  • Richard Cook

    You should look at the Steyr M series sights. They are awesome!

  • Craig DeMouy

    I totally agree the rear sight needs to be blacked out and the front sight to be as bright as possible.

  • Bob Wanless Sr.

    First off, in a personal defense situation the range is statistacly speaking, 7-25 ft. Your not going to be concerned about what kind of sight is on your hand gun. If your in a distance shoot out , use a scoped rifle.

  • Steve Aumiller

    When I first seen your post without reading it I thought ” wtw”! But a wise man told me not to have “contempt without investigation”! So after reading it I find myself agreeing with you 100 percent! Thanks

  • Andrew Baer

    I thought I was original with the fluorescent paint on the front sight. Been doing that for years. I recently just put a Green Hi-Vis Fiber Optic front sight on my Glock 26, and what a difference that makes… Whatever works, and whatever you have, doesn’t mean anything unless you practice.

  • Paul Hamilton

    At 5 shots per second you can’t use the sights on any hand gun, at that speed your gun will never be able to find the target.

    • Jason

      Well experienced speed shooters can put 5 shots on target in under a second. They are using their sites to do so.

    • David Lenzi

      In fact, if the first shot your break is at 0.0 and number five is 1.0, that’s a split of .25 seconds. That’s nowhere near world class. Get a shot timer and get busy! The harder your sights are to find and align, the more challenging this becomes. Certain sight setups work much better than others.

  • George W Teetzel

    XS Big Dots… “nuff said

    • MrApple

      Trijicon HD…

    • Webjak

      Never trust anyone who says “nuff said”, they usually live in a ten wide trailer, only own one gun and have a dirty gray beard.

    • OG Mudbone

      Hated em. More for point shooting than target anywho. I’ll stick to Trijicon HD.

  • Jim Ronning

    Good place to buy Ammo

  • Ed Cocks

    I’d love to replace the front sights on my regular carry firearms. Are there any red/green fiber optics you would recommend for front sight replacement on a CZ-75 and a S&W M&P?

  • Rich Gordon

    New TFX sights on all my guns

  • OldRed

    If you live long enough and your eyes get old enough the rear sight of the XS system gets to fuzzy in day light for me. Then an XS Big Dot on the front and a Ghost Ring on the back works in almost every kind of light for my old eyes, with or without glasses. When they don’t work a Crimson Trace Laser grips does.

    It took me about a thousand rounds of ammo and 5,000 shots of laser ammo to get used to completly covering up the traget at close range.

    I don’t know what I will do in real tight spot, But if I have time to think I will use sights. At least I have the last couple of hurndred thouseand shots I have fired. Non were at men but some were awully hurried and tense.


    “Any man who thinks he can be happy and prosperous by letting the government take care of him better take a closer look at the American Indian.” – Henry Ford

  • Jason Adams

    I am a gun leather manufacturer. I set up at gunshows a lot and just about every gun show I go to I have some guy wanting a special holster made for his gun because he or she can’t find a production holster to fit their gun. 50% of the time it is something like the Kimber with its over sized front fiber optic sight or some stupid lazer or flashlight. So before you go and start hanging all kinds of gizmos all over your guns to improve your shooting that some simple practice will do, remember, can you holster it without whining about having to pay to have a custom holster made for the junk you hung on your gun.

    Run some ammo through your gun and quit trying to buy accuracy with gimmicks. A truly good shot can take most any gun and shoot it about 6 times and hit with reasonable accuracy after figuring out where it hits, no junk needed. And listening to people like this author is just about as bright as burned out light bulb.

    It ain’t the gun pal… It’s the guy or gal holding it… The only thing he said right was you need to see the front sight if you even need to use it… End of story!

    • the guy

      It’s all about sight picture in a gun fight. You might be able to look down your sights all day at the gun range but when it’s time to shoot at someone shooting at you, then It becomes different. 95% of people won’t think clearly, you’ll forget to check your sights for proper acquisition of your target and merely just point the gun in that direction. This article is hitting a nail on the head and you sir have just gone and acted like a complete idiot. BLAH BLAH BLAH, it’s the GUY or the GAL BLAH BLAH BLAH. They have sights that make life easier and apparently these sightsmake your life harder, POOR YOU. BUT WAIT!!! You have a business and people are coming to you because you have a product that they want. “Oh Hello sir, how can I help you” Man with newly bought sights on gun then says “Hi, I have my gun with new sights, but I can’t find a holster that it will fit. Can you make me a custom holster to fit my gun”? You then say, “PROBABLY NOT, YOUR AN IDIOT FOR BUYING AFTERMARKET SIGHTS, LEARN TO SHOOT” as holster maker turns to laugh with his overstimulated, over inflated, button popping buddies, High fives all around “WE ARE AWESOME”

      Now this is only how you sound and is just merely my interpretation on how I hope 75% of your interactions with your customers go. I don’t care to hear how well you do with business, because I said This is my interpretation of what YOU have spewed from your mouth!!! Go do research about gun fights and aiming in general. I don’t care what self defense classes are trying to teach about target acquisition. It takes too long to pull your gun and get a sight picture on someone that is doing the exact same thing. THERE ARE SIGHTS THAT HELPS WITH THIS, this article was trying to help with that. STUPID PERSON…..

      • EndangeredNJRepub

        In a gun fight? Really? The average person that even has the chance to draw and fire their gun should that dark day ever come isn’t looking at their front sight, rear sight, web site, or anything else. They’re drawing, pointing with whatever degree of speed and effectiveness as they can in this most highly stressed moment, and they’re firing. That simple. They’re not aiming, because they’re not breaching and clearing a room with the SEALs. They’re average people that are only half as good as their best day of training at this particular moment.

        The only people who whine about sights are people who have actual reason to, like competitive shooting types, and *MAYBE* guys who pursue the two-legged game. Three dot sights have worked plenty good on my SIG P229 and so have the crappy factory sights on my G19. I can still nail a pie plate with either pistol at 15 yards with boring regularity, and that’s really all you need, because you’re not drawing and firing your pistol to shoot at guys 15 yards, or frequently even 15 feet away.

        And as much as I train with them, doing all manner of drills and exercises, should that dark day ever come where I need to defend my or my loved ones’ lives, I’ll be relying on my time behind the trigger, where I learned how my guns point and how they recoil, and not whatever super duper cool looking sights some guy on the internet says I NEED TO or SHOULD have. Jason Adams is right. Shoot your damn gun, and train until you shoot it well. No amount of devices on your gun will save your life: You will.

        You shouldn’t call other people on the internet stupid when everything you believe comes from other people’s mouths…

        • coonass

          well I think the man was just saying he would rather his front sights distinguish itself from the back sights that’s about all I got out of it but hey there’s always someone that has to be a dick about everything instead of allowing that man to his opinion instead of bashing that man’s opinion how about you post a constructive one yourself something better to add to the convo

          • EndangeredNJRepub

            Learn to read. I did post an opinion, and it is a damn sight more productive than worrying about which fancy sights to put on your gun when you won’t even remember using them should you have to in a bad situation. Every man has a right to their opinion, that doesn’t make their opinion right. So instead of showing up drunk with no punctuation, let’s hear you contribute something to the convo. Elsewise, the only dick here is you.

      • Justsayin69

        Too true. Great scene description!

  • MrApple

    I’ll take Trijicon HD (orange) all day every day.

  • David Lenzi

    I wish more people shared the author’s view point. I will expound on a couple points of concurrence pertaining to both the author’s content as well as some of the responses here in the comments sections.

    First, it took me a while to truly appreciate the genius of Glock putting those little hunks of plastic on their pistols. You don’t need to feel even a shred of guilt, the way I will when I change my P320 sights, as you discard a little hunk of plastic. Second, speaking of the P320, I was disappointed to see SIG go from a Von Stavehagen “Bar-dot” style sight setup to three dot. To my eye, bar-dot is much less mental effort to align.

    Concerning visual excess, that is certainly true of three dot sights. If you shoot with both eyes open, that’s a whole lot of little white dots and it can take some extra time to sort them out, particularly if the pistol doesn’t necessarily present to your natural point of aim. This becomes an extra challenge when shooting at speed – when you’re looking for a “flash” sight picture, just enough to break a shot, having one single, high contrast visual reference for the target makes that much easier.

    Once upon a time, 3-dot sights were billed as a means to increase the functionality of sights into limited/low light situations. I would argue that their utility in this role is exceptionally limited, and to the extent they offer any at all, that role can be filled with a high visibility front sight only. I would further state that a gold bead or fiber optic front is a better choice than a simple white dot (without the expense of a self luminous sight). Concerning the idea of durability – sights are cheap. Replacing a fiber optic front sight, for example, costs about as much as 150 rounds of factory ammo (depending on caliber). If you’re training enough to break front sights in general, the problem is the inconvenience of having one go down during training – the cost is a fraction of what you’re spending on a day’s instruction and ammo. Regardless, that does not justify handicapping your shooting performance or training – the same logic applies: if it’s worth spending money to be the best shooter you can be and train the best you can, then it’s worth getting the best equipment for that purpose, even if you need to replace it occasionally.

    Lastly, the idea that people don’t use their sights in deadly force altercations must be addressed. That is unquestionably true in some shootings. It is also unquestionably false in some shootings. The idea behind training is to provide a tool set that allows the shooter to be as effective as possible if they must deploy their weapon to save a life. Aimed fire is an essential part of that tool set and must not be neglected. Training to allow the use aimed fire through a controlled reaction to life threatening stress might be a separate issue, but it certainly does not justify failing to train to employ a weapon effectively and with the best enabling tools (sights, grip, holster, etc.) available to the shooter.

  • Michael B. LOVE

    Trijucon Tritium Fiber Optic is on my carry gun. Best on the market. Easiest on my old blind eyes.

  • kyle sundell

    If its a problem like the glock sites black them fully out with sharpie black marker the when its dry use a whiteout pen to draw a dot or what have you and if it works well being able for 2 bucks to be able to customize it the way you want us a small amount of super glue to keep it in place,or use nail polish or isop to remove it.

  • Frank Rice

    I just read through a bunch of comments. What amazes me is how many people comment about happens in a gun fight. WOW A lot of gun fighters here. It’s like back to the old west!
    Anyway having contrasting sights never hurts. Hey regardless what you have for sights I highly recommend that you have a flashlight with you. I recommend something blinding bright light and with strobe capability. It most likely won’t be mounted on your hand gun so learn how to hold it and your gun.

    • Doran

      I agree with this comment and some of others.
      I added a laser to take it off soon after. It was something I had to accommodate in a holster….no IG deal but also for me personally it was more of a distraction than asset though I admit to not shooting more than a hundred rounds with it.
      The inexpensive contrasting paint made sense for me and it does work better in my case.
      Preference is the word here.
      I am a pilot with 20/15 corrected vision so that is not an issue . Practice is the thing that matters as most of God willing WILL NEVER be in a fire fight. Also no one and I mean no one knows how they will react in any situation UNTIL IT OCCURS.

  • Dave Liperote

    I’d really like for you to do another review in 20 years when you’re eyes aren’t what they are in your twenties and thirties. And if you have color deficiencies like me (1 out of every 4 men have color issues), you’ll understand why your arguments just doesn’t hold water for me.

    • I’m suggesting contrasting colors and brightness between the front and rear sights. How would three identical white circles be easier to distinguish for someone with diminished eyesight?

  • Jack Ryan

    Gold dot/post/bead.

  • MichaelCrackMonkey

    Buy new sights. The manufacturer provides the best option for the money. If you need better sights you can buy upgrades. What you suggest will only increase costs and not everyone has the same opinion as you. I and many others have little difficulty distinguishing between the three dots.

    • I’m suggesting contrasting colors and brightness between the front and rear sights. How would three identical white circles be easier to distinguish for someone with diminished eyesight?

  • Doran

    I had yellow on the front and red on the rear. I bought a can of fluorescent orange and green and with a modelers paint brush put the green on the front and orange on the rear. Big difference for me.
    D. Jaffas

  • RB

    It is a mystery to me why three dot sights are used on so many high quality handguns. It certainly isn’t because of accuracy; the reference points to be aligned
    are too large. The Gun Pro Delta 1 sights design make much more sense to me. Even the old fashion v-notch sights are better than the 3 dot sights.

  • Wolfgang

    Glock isn’t passing savings on to the customer, look at the MAP policy and their Blue Label pricing.

    • Dave Algonquin

      Exactly. They’re selling pistols at a premium to the civilian market, and putting the “savings” in their pockets.

  • You lost me at praising Glock sights… bleh… 😀 Actually I love three dot sights, but hey I’m not competition shooter so I’m not feeling offended by some subjective issues with three-dot sights. My next gun is going to be M&P Shield with three-dot factory tritium sights and they are awesome. My fullsize has only white dots, no tritium and it’s fine.

  • Joe Lovell

    Revlon makes a wide range of colored sight paints.

  • Dave Algonquin

    “The other way to go is to follow Glock’s lead and use the absolute cheapest excuse for sights they can come up with as the standard factory option. That lowers the manufacturer’s cost and the savings is passed to the customer who pays
    less for the pistol”

    Yeah, right! A Gen4 Glock 19 runs $550 (and up) now, while S&W sells M&Ps (with steel sights) for at least $100 less, usually more. The M&P Shield is $150 less, and comes with decent steel sights. Glock even went up $50 when they introduced the Gen4 models, still shipping with the same POS sights. The XD is also cheaper than Glock, and comes with real sights. There is no savings passed on to the customer when buying Glock. Unless you’re getting a LEO discount, you pay a premium for the pistol, then you pay up again for decent sights that should have come on the gun from the factory.

    • Of course, no matter what sights they ship it with, Glock is going to charge you a little something extra for the brand name on the box because they can. But if they came with a decent set of sights, you can be sure they would add another $50-100 to the MSRP on top of that.

  • bobfairlane

    Great article. I’ve tried Kahrs, with the “bar dot” sight, vs the 3 dots on some other things. Even the Block plastic sights are better than the 3 dot system, unless the front is really bigger and brighter than the rear. The Kahr was a hoot to shoot. The front dot just burns into you it’s so bright.

  • valorius

    I like 3 dot sights just fine.

    I also really like a front only tritium or FO sight, and a plain black rear sight.