Comparing Trijicon Bright And Tough Vs Trijicon HD Night Sights

Many shooters are well aware of the benefits that come with equipping their handgun with a set of tritium night sights. Built with embedded tritium lamps that stay naturally illuminated, these types of sights are great for anyone who may find themselves in low-light shooting environments.

Trijicon is well know for putting out quality night sights that are some of the best reviewed in the industry. They have a handful of different features that make them unique among their competition and a favorite for defensive shooters.

They manufacture two different models, Trijicon Bright and Tough Night Sights and Trijicon HD Night Sights, which have some key differences and similarities which we’ll compare here.

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Core Similarities

Both of these models share some base features that are then built off of into different products. Each is constructed out of the same quality materials and have a common illumination source.

  • Tritium Phosphor Lamps – Both models used embedded capsules of pressurized tritium gas and phosphor to create their illuminated aimpoints. This process is completely passive, requiring no batteries, and lasts for years.
  • Metal Body – The sights are constructed with metal bodies that are created to fit a variety of handgun models.
  • Sapphire Window Caps – Each tritium lamp is capped with a sapphire window to distribute light evenly and create sharp edges that pop against dark backgrounds.
  • Protective Aluminium Cylinders – Tritium capsules are protected from heavy recoil by being contained in aluminium cylinders.
  • Silicone Rubber Cushion – Additional shock protection is provided to the tritium capsules with rubber cushioning.
  • Limited Lifetime Warranty – Tritium lamps have warranty of 5 years for orange lamps; 12 years for green/yellow lamps.

Tritium Color Combinations

color combination trijiconOne of the biggest differences between the two models is their available options for different tritium lamp colors. The combination of colors between the front and rear sights can increase visibility and make sight alignment easier.

Both models are three dot configurations, with two tritium lamps flanking the notch in the rear sight and one in the front post. Aiming with these becomes a matter of aligning these three dots horizontally in a row, with the center dot on target.

Trijicon Bright & Tough Night Sights have three options for color combination. In each case the front post is always green, but the rear lamps are available in green, orange, or yellow. A lot of shooters prefer to have contrast between front and rear sights because they can be easier to differentiate with the eye when bringing it into sightline.

In comparison, the Trijicon HD Night Sights are only available with green lamps in both front and rear; there are no contrasting color options. So, if you’re looking for yellow or orange lamps, the Bright and Toughs are the way to go.

Paint Highlights

The tritium illumination in both models is great for low-light shooting but tends to get washed out in the brightness of daylight. To compensate, these models include high-visibility paint rings that aid in daylight shooting.

Trijicon Bright And Tough Night Sights include paint ring highlights around all three of their embedded tritium lamps. The rings are painted with highly-reflective white paint which is in perfect contrast to the black matte finish of the metal body, and stands out against any bright backdrop.

The difference in Trijicon HD Night Sights is they include a paint ring only around the front post lamp, and the paint isn’t white but instead a photoluminescent orange or yellow. The paint works like other glow-in-the-dark materials which absorb incoming light then re-emits it later in the dark.

Typically the paint will glow for 10-12 minutes after being exposed to bright light, giving a good amount of additional illumination during the transition time it takes for eyes to adjust from bright to dark surroundings.

With only the front post highlighted in the HD Sights the shooters eye will naturally focus on it as it is brought into sightline.

Rear Sight Design

equipped sightsFast and accurate handgun shooting requires the front post and rear notch to be lined up on target quickly and efficiently. This process takes plenty of practice to do reliably but is also influenced by the sight design itself.

There are two key differences between the rear sights of these Trijicon models: notch shape and back surface design.

Trijicon Bright and Tough Night Sights utilize a rectangular notch between the two rear tritium lamps that makes for an odd fit with the circular front lamp.

The Trijicon HD Night Sights have an improved design that sports a ‘U’ notch whose lower half better matches the front lamp’s circular shape. With this change shooters will notice that the front post naturally ‘falls into place’ within the notch and leads to faster target acquisition.

Another improvement Trijicon HD Night Sights have over Trijicon Bright and Tough Night Sights is their subdued back surface. Its features include being set on an angle, serration marks, and black paint rings around the rear lamps. These features work together to reduce glare and diffuse light thereby enhancing the shooters focus on the front sight.

Trijicon Bright And Tough Vs Trijicon HD Night Sights – Which One To Buy?

These two sights have more in common than they do differences, but we think there is an advantage to owning the Trijicon HD Night Sights. These have all the functionality of the Bright and Tough Night Sights but with some added features that edge them to the top when comparing the two. Their high-vis front post paired with a unique rear sight design makes them ideal for both bright- and low-light conditions.

That said, either of these Trijicon sights would be a marked improvement over stock iron sights that come on most handguns. Just that added ability to take accurate shots in low-light makes an investment in night sights worth it.

Trijicon also produces the Rugged Miniaturized Reflex (RMR), which is a red dot that’s small enough to use on handguns. Its illuminated reticle is perfect for low-light shooting and has all the performance benefits that come with using a dot sight.


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