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Night Sights:
Do I Need Them on My Self Defense Handgun?

By Dan S. Defense

Night sights are simply sights that emit a low light in the dark. In other words, night sights glow in the dark and allow you to identify the rear and/or the front sight.

Night sights typically have tritium gas in tiny capsules. The radioactive decay of tritium is the "fuel" that makes night sights glow. Since the light emitted from night sights is weak, it can't be seen during the day, and to compensate for that fact, night sight makes typically have while circles around the tritium tube.

Given this treatment, night sights are usable in day or night. As an aside, since tritium based night sights can't "glow" in day light, you'll see some folks installing fiber-optic sights, which work really well during the day, but not at night, since there's no light to amplify. It seems that combining night sights and fiber optics sights would be ideal, but let's keep on topic and look at that option some other time.

Now that we understand what night sights are, let's look at the original question -Do we need night sights on our self defense gun? I think that we do. It was shown that most shootings happen at low light, or at night. That means we need to assume darkness, since we can't trust on a full moon or a street lamp, to give us the light that we need. I think that's a good case for night sights. Still not convinced?

Well, as you know, most operators (expert warriors aside) need to see the front sight in order to hit the target. I'd submit that since that is the case, the answer to-do we need night sights on our self defense gun is a big YES. In fact, I'd say that having the ability to see your night sights-your front sight (assuming you have night sights), at night and under pressure will only increase your odds of surviving the encounter that was forced on you. That in my mind is the reason every self defense handgun needs night sights. That clearly also applies to your home defense handgun. Night sights are a good thing to have on any self defense gun!

If you think my thoughts make sense for you, and that night sights are good, you ought to look into which night sights are best for you. Focus on the night sights that are available for your self defense handgun, and have the features you want. Some night sights have both tritium and Fiber optics. Some night sights are bigger than others, and some model of night sights only provide a front sight.

A shortcut involves a look at night sights that come with high end or high quality handguns-it's a good sign to see a given brand of night sights riding on a strong brand of handguns. Even better, see if a shooting buddy that has night sights, will allow you to test it out-see how those night sights work with your eyes, in low light and in the dark. Whichever set of night sights you choose, make sure you train with them to gain confidence in hitting what you aim at. I hope that you'll never need to test your night sights in the real world!

Until next time, stay safe by staying alert!

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