Recently, while looking for something new, I contacted J&L Gunsmithing for advice. As usual, Jim had the advice and expertise to handle the build I wanted. Among the recommend upgrades to the stock GLOCK was TruGlo Brite-Site TFO sights. The build was for a GLOCK 22 and mimicked the upgrades from the majority of J&L’s SWAT customers.
When I received my upgrade, I greedily opened the package and inspected the G22. I was pleased with the sight, but not overwhelmed. Of course the inspection was under fluorescent lights of the shop while processing the customary 4473 paperwork. Having been an archer for many years and a long time fan of TruGlo’s fiber-optic products, I thought the new sights felt comfortable but lacked any personal wow factor. The same cannot be said for customers looking over my shoulder. While inspecting the sights and discussing their merits with a friend, a group of patrons quickly formed. Before I knew it, just about everyone in the shop was handling my new GLOCK. And within the hour, three more customers purchased TFO sights.
Under natural light at the range, the sights really popped and showed significant advantage over competing night sights and traditional three-dot models—even though it was in daylight. However, it was at home in the dark that the TFO sights really shined and proved their worth. In the dark, I’d put these sights against any other model in the TFO’s class. Take a look, and you will understand.
TruGlo constructs TFO sights using fiber-optic rods that collect ambient light to provide bright, clear aim points under any conditions, with natural or artificial light. They feature a sealed Tritium cup that provides artificial light to the fiber-optic in complete darkness, which gives the shooter a reliable aiming solution under any condition. Even under the darkest conditions, the TFO’s sight picture was bright, without being so bright they overpower the shooter’s night vision or create a halo effect around the fiber-optic that would degrade the sight picture.
The Tritium cup is well seated into the CNC-machined housing to ensure it will not give away your position in an emergency. Tritium is a radioactive isotope, which sounds scary but is not. Tritium has been used in sighting systems and wrist watches for decades. If you feel a compelling desire to eat either one, well …
The important part is that tritium is not dependent on ambient light to recharge. That means a firearm equipped with TFO sights and stored in a bedside safe still will be ready for action anytime.
The GLOCK 22 is a full-sized pistol. The combination of the G22 and TFO sights make sense for a SWAT team member entering a dark environment as much as they do for someone relying on TruGlo’s TFO sights at night for home defense. That logic made my decision a no-brainer for the GLOCK 22. Somehow, inexplicably, I did not immediately apply the same logic to pocket pistols.
I have often regarded subcompacts as guns with sights that were not as important. The loss of a couple inches of sight radius degrades accuracy significantly by comparison. The short-engagement-distance subcompacts are for left me with the impression that rudimentary sights were sufficient. Then, someone brought it to my attention that since when is “sufficient” the standard by which we should gage equipment on which we were going to depend in a life-threatening situation?
If a subcompact pistol were going to be the only gun I was carrying, or even the backup, why would I want less than the best? What would happen if I was carrying and forced into a dark environment when I needed to engage an active shooter to defend my family? Take the scenario of a movie theater, a smoke-filled room or other environmental factor, how much value would you place on self-powered night sights then?
I guess that is why pocket pistols, such as the GLOCK 42, are now wearing TruGlo’s Brite-Site TFO sights in record numbers. Shooters and self-defense enthusiasts do find value in solid, reliable aiming systems—regardless of the size of the platform.
At the range, the TFO sights proved their worth in a head-to-head comparison test. Leaning from my experience of the past, I choose green/green fiber-optics, although TruGlo offers other combinations. In my experience, green fiber-optics simply offer the best light transmission under natural light and when powered by Tritium. Other colors do perform better under fluorescent lights; so do not be too quick to judge.
Do you have a pistol wearing TruGlo TFO sights? Is it a GLOCK 42? Share your favorite sighting systems or experience in the comments section.