When it comes to handgun sights, the better the visibility, the better the sights. For many years, handgun sights were small nubs on the barrel. (Rifle sights were little better.)
Those who really needed the handgun wanted better sights and eventually designed them. Bat Masterson ordered a Colt with a special, tall custom front sight.
In the 1920s, Tom Threepersons had a special squared front sight fitted to the Colt SAA .45. These men were gunfighters in the truest sense of the word and appreciated a well-defined aiming point.
This is a counterpoint to ridiculous claims of point shooting and instinctive aiming. These men used their sights. I will never be the instructor that teaches a student to shoot without using sights!
Of course at contact range, the pistol is shoved into the adversary. The pistol may be fired from the retention position at a few feet. A flash sight picture or a coarse sight picture is good for five to seven yards.
Past that range, and at any range you are attempting to hit a small target, the sights are used. We don’t aim for the whole target, that is area aiming. We aim for a finite point that will do the most good.
Those who teach under the ensign of morality with respect to the modern technique developed by Colonel Jeff Cooper, teach front sight, front sight. Use the front sight!
Our protein fed ex-con criminal class is a large and busy class, and you had best be prepared to face them. Pocket pistols and casual training isn’t the way to do so.
Another peace officer that understood what is needed in a gunfight, is Julio Santiago. Most of us consider him the father of self-luminous iron pistol sights.
Santiago developed several types of sights including a battery-operated illuminated sight that was turned on during the draw by a magnet in the holster.
Tritium-equipped sights grew to what we have today from his research and development.
The company has exploded dramatically with many well thought out and effective new additions. The original Big Dot is very popular.
This sight features a larger than average front sight with a white outline and tritium center. The rear sight is a typical express sight.
Over time, more conventional three-dot sights were added. I appreciate the original Big Dot sight and feel that it is a great option for home defense.
For all-around use, especially for longer range fire, I appreciate the newly introduced XS RAM sights. The RAM (radioactive material) night sight features a three-dot option.
The result is a fast and accurate sighting system for use in dim light. It doesn’t suffer when used in bright lighting conditions. Accuracy potential is excellent.
The sight differs from the original XS sights in using a traditional notch-and-post type sight picture. The sights are designed to offer maximum contrast for fast shooting.
The front sight uses an XS-designed Ember Glow Dot sight. The front dot may be ordered in bright orange or green. When you run drills with these sights in the dark, you will note the front sight offers the greater focus as it is brighter.
This is the preferred setup for low-light use. I ran dry-fire drills with the sights using a triple-checked unloaded handgun. There is always some light in the home, and the RAM sights are good sights for use in dim light.
A singular problem with some designs is reflection of bright light off of the rear sight. After all, the personal-defense handgun may be used in a variety of conditions.
Bright light, dim light, and any number of conditions are encountered. The XS RAM sights are remarkably well-designed and versatile in pistol shooting.
The rear sight features a slight overhang designed to reduce glare and increase sight definition. I have experimented with both the orange and green-outline sights.
It seems the orange front sight offers the greatest visibility in bright light, while the green light is best in very dim light. Colors affect each shooter differently.
Each color scheme is versatile, but some thought should go into ordering the sights. In common with other GLOCK sights, the RAM sights are easily installed, simply push out the front sight and screw the new sight tightly in place.
The rear sight will require a sight pusher. Most shops have these.
Benefits of XS RAM Sights
When you consider the total design features of the RAM sight, they are impressive. Let’s go over the issues the three-dot tritium RAM night sight is designed to address. According to XS Sights—
RAM night sights were designed to overcome three common issues with three-dot tritium sights:
- Confusing the front dot with one of the rear sight dots when under stress
- The brightly-colored Ember Glow Dot in the RAM front sight is a much larger and brighter, which differentiates the front dot from the two rear dots.
- The two-dot tritium rear sight glowing brighter than the front sight, drawing the eyes there instead of towards the downrange threat.
- The Ember front sight is significantly brighter than the rear tritium lamps.
- Tight sight pictures
- RAM night sights use a notch that is 15% wider than the front sight, allowing more visible light around the front sight. This makes it easier to see the front sight in changing light conditions and when shooting on the move, aiding in sight alignment and increasing accuracy.
XS RAM night sights are CNC machined from bar-stock steel and treated with a hardening and rust-preventative coating, making them extremely durable and reliable additions to your firearm.
The front blade width is 0.145” (3.68 mm) and the notch width is 0.170” (4.32 mm). While height varies by model, all models fit standard holster options.
XS sights are designed for simple installation by hand or with a sight-pusher tool. All XS sights are backed by a 10-year, no-questions-asked warranty and supported with world-class customer service.
I mounted a set of RAM sights on my personal, long-serving GLOCK 9mm longslide. Much of the dry-fire work was done in the home, dry firing in dim to very dark light.
The sights are bright and they draw the eye to the front sight as designed. This preliminary is essential to training. At the range, I test-fired the pistol using SIG 115-grain FMJ ammunition.
The sight picture is somewhat superior to the original GLOCK white-outline sights. I regard GLOCK factory sights as throw-away types that should be replaced by the owner after study and research.
The results were good. After installation, I found the pistol was properly sighted for the 124-grain SIG Sauer Elite V Crown duty load using the six-o’clock hold.
XS RAM sights are a good option that will be serving the author for some time.
Editor’s note: Due to a trademark issue, XS Sights has renamed the RAM sights to R3D Night Sights.
Other XS Sights
Among the most fearsome personal-defense firearms is the shotgun. Yet, many shooters get by with the same old bead front sight in use for several hundred years.
XS offers simple tritium Big Dot inserts for most shotguns. These XS sights simply screw in to replace the factory bead. I was pleased to find they also offer an option for my long-serving Remington 870.
This shotgun is fitted with factory rifle or slug sights. XS offers a tritium front sight blade that increases the tactical efficiency of this shotgun.
This simple pump-action shotgun is reliable and makes for a great go-anywhere, do-anything shotgun, whether you are keeping it at home ready, travelling or deploying it with slugs for animal defense.
Another shotgun that is heavier and not taken out of the safe as often, but it is arguably the finest battle shotgun ever fielded.
The Benelli M4 also wears an XS tritium front sight. These sights render the shotgun truly useful in 24-hour duty.
I am only scratching the surface of what is available from this innovative maker. AR-15 sights are also available. A set that has been a lifesaver for the author are the Winchester 1892 rifle sights.
My modern Winchester 1892 is among the finest lever-action rifles I own. It is fast into action, smooth and accurate. A problem was, that I simply could not see the sights well enough to fire accurately.
I ordered the XS aperture rear sight and the white strip front post. I was immediately much more accurate, not only at extended range, but in rapid-fire at short range as well.
It wasn’t difficult to properly sight the Winchester for the SIG Sauer V Crown JHP. This .45 Colt loading is plenty accurate for most chores.
This is among my most valued rifles and one I use often. Loaded with the SIG Sauer Elite 230-grain JHP, I often have this rifle at the ready for personal defense.
XS Sight Systems is a great company with many good products. There is no need to struggle with less than stellar sights when XS has so much to offer.
Have you ever tried XS Sights? What did you think of them? Let us know in the comments section below!