Four Reasons Why You Should Be Using Tritium Sights

One of the most effective upgrades you can make to a stock handgun is switching out its default iron sights for something with more capabilities. This one little change can make a huge difference in a shooters performance.

When looking to upgrade, a great option to consider is a set of tritium sights. Below we’ll discuss our top reasons on why you should be using them.

1. Increase Your Low-Light Shooting Performance

Many shooters who practice outside during the day, or use a well lit indoor range, don’t quite realize how hard it is to aim in low-light conditions until they first try it. Even at a few feet infront of your face the front and rear sights start to blend into the darker surroundings, making it near impossible to aim properly. The last thing any shooter wants to do is be pulling the trigger blindly.

Tritium sights have embedded tritium lamps within their front and rear posts which are consistently illuminated, making low-light aiming possible. Where before you couldn’t see the notch from the post, these sights provide three brightly illuminated tritium dots that stand in contrast to any dark background and are easy to align. The tritium lamps typically have a green illumination that is easy for the eye to catch and focus on, but manufacturers also make yellow and orange versions as well.

2. Don’t Worry About Batteries

tritium sightsForget batteries. Tritium sights are self illuminating and require no outside power source, they are completely passive in that regard. These sights use small capsules of pressurized tritium gas, a radioactive isotope of hydrogen, embedded within them. Tritium is a colorless, odorless, gas that humans react to in the same way as normal hydrogen.

The tritium is perpetually decaying, releasing off beta arrays into its surroundings. These rays collide with a phosphor compound that lines the inner walls of the capsule, exciting phosphor particles which produce visible light which the shooter sees. There’s no off switch here, this process continues for as long as the tritium is active.

With a half life of 12.5 years, tritium will take that long for it to lose half of its illumination potential, resulting in sights that are half as bright. This means years of constant illumination before you’ll notice any fade.

3. Be Effective In Dynamic Shooting Environments

trijicon night sights greenIf you’re a self defense shooter then you know that the possibility of threats and engagements is dynamic, with tons of different variables that can come into play. As such, its important that you and you’re handgun can perform effectively in any type of defensive scenario that may occur, in any environment, day or night.

Even though tritium sights can be used in the dead of night, the low-light conditions they excel in aren’t just limited to that. Low-light situations can include anything from densely shadowed natural surroundings, to dimly lit indoor areas. Anywhere that the lighting conditions effect sight visibility, tritium sights can help out.

They’re great for daylight shooting as well. Bright daytime lighting typically washes out the illumination that the tritium puts off, but they are highlighted by reflective or photoluminescent paint rings that act in the same way. These rings work as contrasting aimpoints that sick out against day time backgrounds for increased visibility.

4. Speed Up Target Acquisition

Accurate and fast handgun shooting depends on lining up the rear and front sights on target quickly and with precision. Drawing from holster, raising the gun into the sightline, and aiming is a skill that shooters should be practicing routinely until it becomes natural. However, the process gets more difficult in low-light unless you’re using tritium sights.

The contrast between dark background and brightly illuminated sights allows for the eyes to pick up on them extremely quick when the handgun is being brought into the sightline. Eyes will naturally focus on the front post lamp, especially when using contrasting colors for the rear sights.

Our Top Picks for Tritium Sights

Now that  you know why to use tritium sights, we’ll delve into which ones you should consider using. There are a handful of manufacturers that put out these types of sights, so we’ve highlighted our favorites that we recommend to shooters everywhere.

Trijicon HD Night Sights

trijicon hd sightsSome of the most unique sights on the market are Trijicon’s HD ‘Heavy Duty’ Night Sights, which feature front and rear green tritium lamps.

The front lamp is highlighted by a photoluminescent paint ring, in either yellow or orange, whose added contrast makes it pop against any low light backgrounds. The paint itself has glow-in-the-dark properties that keeps it illuminated for a short time after exposure to light.

The HD’s also feature a subdued rear sight design that helps the shooter focus in on the front post. Its back face is set on a pitch and it sports serrated grooves, which both work to reduce any glare or reflection. A ‘U’ shaped rear notch fits the circular shape of the front lamp much better than the square notches that other sights use, resulting in a natural fit as it is brought into sightline. This design makes for quick target acquisition, even in low light.

XS Big Dot Tritium Sight

big dot tritium sightsXS Big Dot sights are built to take as much complexity out of aiming as possible to make for fast and reliable target acquisition.

They’re not meant to be the sights that will provide pinpoint accuracy or ranged shots. Big Dots are designed for close range defensive shooting where getting a round on the target quickly can be a matter of life or death.

The sights look like their namesake, a ‘big dot’ that’s highly visible acting as the front post, with minimal rear sights. The idea is that, in close ranges, aiming the dot to cover a target’s center mass will be accurate enough for a hit. With the addition of a tritium in the front post, these sights work just as well in low-light. Read our full review of these sights here.

Trijicon Bright & Tough Night Sights

Trijicon nsTrijicon also produces another model of sights known as their Bright & Tough series. While is doesn’t have all the features of the HD’s, it still provides similar shooting enhancements.

Shooters have the option to pick from a few different lamp color combinations. The front post is only available in green but there are yellow, orange, and green versions of the rear sights. Contrasting colors between the rear and front tritium lamps can help for quick sight alignment.

The lamps are highlighted with a white reflective paint and capped with a sapphire window. These additions give the illumination a crisp edge that stands out against the matte sight body.

These sights are built tough to last through repeated use at the range and every day carry. The tritium lamps are house within an aluminum cylinder that protects them from recoil, and there’s silicon rubber cushioning for additional shock protection.

Meprolight Tru-Dot Sights

megproMeprolight Tritium sights are well know in law enforcement and civilian self defense industries. The company is known for putting out quality sights, and these ones live up to the name.

The Tru-Dot sights are a three dot design, with colors in either green or orange, which can mount onto a variety of different handgun models without the need of a gunsmith.

Their price point is better than the other sights we’ve looked at, but it still has comparable quality. Tru-Dots are known for having some of the brightest illumination out of any tritium sights on the market.

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