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Why You Need Night Sights On Your Handgun

Why You Need Night Sights On Your Handgun

Posted by XS Sights on Jan 3rd 2024

Understanding Night Sights' Role in Shooting

  • Key Question: "Should I have night sights on my gun?"
  • Ideal for self-defense scenarios, where 65-70% occur in low light.
  • Night sights: Essential for low-light shooting, enhancing accuracy and confidence.

Welcome! In this blog, we’re going to dive into the question that probably got you here, “Should I have night sights on my gun?” We’re a little biased, but the short answer is probably! The semi-long answer is what are you using your handgun for? Is it self-defense (if so, you need them), is it bullseye shooting, or is it a gun just to have? How you answer that will give you a better understanding of if, and why, you need them.

So, what are “night sights”? Night sights are transformative tools and easy first upgrades for firearm owners, enhancing accuracy and confidence in low-light conditions. You are probably thinking, “But Jeff, why do I need to be able to shoot in the dark?” Well dear reader, according to multiple sources, including the Armed Defense Training Association, 65-70% of self-defense scenarios happen in low or no light. So, being able to align your weapon on target in minimal lighting is important.

Often night sights are underrated, but as you start to think about the applications, these vital handgun accessories play a crucial role when shooting in dim environments. The next section will introduce what night sights are, how they work, and why they are significant for extending shooting capabilities beyond daylight.

Night Sights: Revolutionizing Low-Light Shooting

  • Made from durable CNC machined steel, often in the USA.
  • Equipped with photoluminescent and tritium elements for visibility.
  • Color options studied for optimal visibility and shooter response.

Let’s dive into what makes night sights different (and better) than factory sights. First, many night sights are CNC machined from steel. (Shameless plug time, our sights are machined right here in the US of A out of US steel). This means they are EXTREMELY durable compared to plastic factory sights. If you want to get into the nitty-gritty of all the differences between our sights and factory sights check this blog out.

They are then equipped with photoluminescent and tritium elements (i.e. what makes them shine!) and then BOOM, they’re ready to be installed on your gun.

“Okay, but Jeff, I see a bunch of assorted color options. Is it just to look cool and match my gear?” Well, I’m glad you asked. Although some will argue that rule #1 is “Always look cool.” Our team of engineers and product developers have done extensive studies into colors, light, and human tendencies when people draw their firearms.

Let’s start with the human factor. Our bodies go through crazy waves of biological responses when we go into fight or flight (Check this blog out), of which, we contract our vision to see only what is important. Some describe it as seeing through straws and when this happens you need something to stand out to grab our attention. Enter the light aspect of night sights (even in daylight).

People’s eyes are attracted to light, that’s a proven fact. So, the bright minds (little light pun) here at XS wanted to see what light was the most visible in certain conditions (via wavelength if you’re a nerd like me and think that’s cool). What we found was that “Optic Yellow” is the most intense and absorbs the most light. This gives shooters the brightest night sight option. Green and Orange, both have different properties, but both perform better in natural lighting or daytime.

After figuring that out, the rest is up to finding the fastest sight picture to line up. We are not getting into that fight here. (It’s the v-notch rear, fight me in the comments.)

Now that you know a little more about how the sights are made, what makes them glow, and why people choose certain colors I hope you can see why night sights revolutionized the shooting world. Now, let’s dive into the actual applications of them.

Real-World Applications: The Edge of Night Sights

  • Critical for self-defense in low-light conditions.
  • Night sights provide a tactical advantage over standard sights.
  • ADTA: 80% of decision-making is based on sight, emphasizing the need for visible sights.

I know we’ve touched on it a few different times already in this blog, but in real-world scenarios, especially in self-defense situations, low-light conditions are common. Here, traditional sights might not be as effective. Night sights come into play as essential tools, offering a tactical advantage, in these scenarios.

Night sights obviously stand out in the darkness, which is a stark contrast to standard sights. Most standard stock sights are white outlined notch and post-style systems which lose a lot of visibility in dim light, not to mention when your body starts going into fight-or-flight. And, according to the ADTA, 80% of the information our brain receives & makes decisions on is based on vision, so being able to see your sights is, again, important.

Poor lighting conditions don’t just happen at night, either. Think about the first 30-40 minutes after sunset or the 30-40 minutes before sunrise. Not to mention walking into your house at the end of the day or walking into a building after being in bright sunlight for a while.

Parking garages tend to be a prime place to have an encounter that can lead to defensive use of a firearm. Not only that, but they tend to have lighting that can best be described as “meh,” making night sights beneficial in a defensive situation.

How about something even more mundane? Have you ever shot on an indoor range? A lot of the indoor ranges I’ve shot on leave a bit to be desired when it comes to lighting conditions. While it may not be quite dark enough for the tritium to glow, our Glow Dot front sights sure do make it easier to see the sights on those ranges.

We’ve all been in a weird feeling scenario, especially in the dark, that caused us to be on our toes and have our heads on a swivel. Now, thinking about that situation and knowing what we just discussed about night sights, do you think you need them?

Exploring the World of Night Sight Options

  • DXT2: V-Notch rear, tritium front, quick alignment for high-stress situations.
  • R3D 2.0: Notch and post style with tritium dots, balancing speed and accuracy.
  • F8: Figure 8 design for easy front sight focus.
  • Minimalist: Simplified design with a blacked-out rear and tritium front dot.
  • Reminder: Personal preference plays a big role in sight selection.

The market offers a wide array of night sight designs, each tailored to different shooting styles and preferences. From compact, easy-to-conceal designs for personal defense to more advanced models for tactical use, these all aim to ensure these sights remain effective and reliable.

Let’s quickly go through our offerings to give you a good understanding.


V-Notch rear with tritium and a Glow Dot tritium front, this sight style is designed to be the fastest to align and acquire in high-stress scenarios. Fun Fact: this style of sight was first adopted by safari hunters when animals would charge them. So, yea. We also offer DXW2s without tritium in the rear sight.

R3D 2.0

Our notch and post style solution for those who don’t want to give up any accuracy for fast acquisition of the DXTs. These are the second generation of our R3Ds and feature three tritium dots, two in the rear and one Glow Dot in the front. Our engineers have still found ways to make these just as fast as other options but check out our sight pages to learn more about that.


These stand for Figure 8. They were designed to increase front-sight focus. A single tritium dot in the rear and a large tritium front sight make acquiring these sights incredibly easy.


Pretty much what the name implies, these are pretty minimalist. They feature a blacked-out anti-glare rear sight with a front tritium Glow Dot.

Although these are our offerings, it’s important to know that people have preferences, and something that works for you may not work for someone else and vice versa!

Embracing the Night with Confidence

  • Essential for enhancing handgun capabilities in low-light conditions.
  • Variety of options available for different shooting styles and needs.
  • Choosing night sights is about preparedness and confidence in any lighting condition.

In conclusion, night sights are not just a fancy accessory, but a critical enhancement for any handgun, especially in low-light conditions where traditional sights fall short. Their importance becomes particularly evident in self-defense scenarios, where being able to align sights quickly and accurately in dim lighting could be a lifesaver. The various options available, from the rapid alignment of DXT2s to the clear focus of F8s, cater to a wide range of preferences and needs. The choice of colors, based on rigorous research into visibility and human response, further underscores the thoughtfulness behind these designs. Whether you're a seasoned shooter or a novice, understanding the value and application of night sights can significantly impact your shooting experience. Remember, the decision to equip your firearm with night sights isn't just about enhancing its capabilities; it's about ensuring your readiness and confidence in any situation, day or night. As you reflect on the information provided, consider how night sights align with your specific needs and scenarios, and choose the option that best complements your shooting style and requirements. Stay safe!