What Makes Trijicon Night Sights So Unique

For defensive shooters it is important to be prepared for threats in any type of environment, including low-light areas.

Shooters pulling out their gun for the first time at night are often surprised by how difficult to see, let a lone aim, the sights that are just an arms length away. Aftermarket upgrades like Trijicon Night Sights can help in these situations.

How Trijicon Night Sights Can Help

Fast and accurate handgun shooting depends on how quickly and precisely the shooter can get their rear sight and front post lined up right on target. Its a skill that takes a lot of practice at the range to do repeatedly at an efficient pace.

However, this process gets much harder in low light situations, where the matte finish of most iron sights will blend into dark backgrounds, making it near impossible to see. It doesn’t need for it to be especially dark for this to happen. Anything from shadowed areas indoors to late evening light can make aiming difficult.

While you can equip handguns with small dot sights that are visible in all conditions, that option is impractical for every day carry guns that need to be holstered and maintain a low profile. The best solution then is to use a set of illuminated night sights.

Dedicated night sights have illuminated front posts and rear sights that put them in contrast to the background in low light conditions. With these, the aiming becomes as simple as aligning 3 glowing points, much easier to catch with the eye when bringing it into the sight line. The increased contrast even helps out in daytime shooting as well.

There are a handful of different night sights on the market but above all we recommend Trijicon Night Sights due to their unique features and reliable shooting. Below we’ll discuss what makes them speical and look at our favorite Night Sights.

Tritium Powered

All sights designed to work in low light conditions have to provide some sort of illumination source to make the front and rear sights highly visible. The most basic way to do this is with photoluminescent paint. However, Trijicon Night Sights employ a unique, more effective power source that still doesn’t require any batteries.

trijicon night sights greenEach Night Sight contains small glass tubes of pressurized tritium gas, a radioactive isotope of hydrogen, within its front blade and (sometimes) rear sights. Tritium is a colorless, tasteless, odorless gas that humans react to in the same way they do normal hydrogen.

The tritium is perpetually going through a radioactive decay in which it is constantly releasing beta rays outward. These rays impact an internal colored phosphor material creating fluorescent illumination.

Decay is a naturally occurring process and is perfect for sighting applications because it provides a completely passive power source. There is no on or off switch here, the tritium will always be decaying for its entire lifetime.

Following the laws of physics, tritium loses its decay potential according to its half life, which is 12.5 years. Meaning it will take that long for the sights to lose half their power and half of their original brightness.

Night Sights aren’t the only Trijicon products that incorporate tritium. Their ACOG rifle optic uses it in the same way to produce a continuous illuminated reticle.

Quality Build

Trijicon Night Sights come with both front and rear portions that are precision machined out of metal to fit specific handgun models. There are versions for everything from 1911s, Colts, and Glocks, to Sig Saurs, S&Ws, and Walthurs.

setupWhile shooters can attach these sights themselves, it is recommended to have a professional gunsmith do it to ensure that they are secure and lined up just right.

The sights are built to be durable enough to last as long as the tritium itself. Each tritium glass tube is housed within a protective aluminum cylinder that protects it from heavy recoil. There is also silicon rubber cushioning between the sight body and gun frame that gives added shock protection.

To achieve the best illumination possible, a polished sapphire window is capped over each tritium lamp. This helps diffuse the illumination into a consistent brightness, and gives it sharp edges that pop against the sight body.

Each tube is inlaid with with white paint rings that work as the reticles during the day. The white color gives high contrast against any background and makes the transition from high- to low-light environments easy on the eyes.

Trijicon Bright & Tough Night Sights

Trijicon nsTrijicon’s Bright & Tough series of night sights are their flagship model which has all of the features we’ve talked about above. They all sport white rings for daytime visibility and have a square rear notch for sight alignment. This is common between all the different handgun models they are made for.

The option shooters will most be concerned with is which tritium color combination to get. There are three choices for the rear lamp color: green, orange, and yellow. The front lamp will always be green, but deciding on the rear color is up to the shooter.

Some shooters find that the contrast between either an orange or yellow front lamp to green rear lamps is easier to pick up with the eye than having both be green. Each combination has their own advantages that really boils down to the preference of each individual shooter.

One variation is also sold specifically for Glocks equipped with surpressors. This version has extended base heights on each portion to allow visibility over the surpressor. These sights also come with a limited lifetime warranty on the lamps illumination, promising 5 years on orange lamps and 12 years on green and yellow lamps.

Trijicon HD Night Sights

trijicon hd sightsTrijicon HD ‘Heavy Duty’ Night Sights are the next step up from the Bright & Tough sights, having a few more features to improve visibility and speed.

One of the main differences is a lack of white rings surrounding each lamp for daytime visibility. Instead, the HD sights use a photoluminescent paint ring over the front lamp only. This paint stands out in the day but also glows-in-the-dark for a short time period after being exposed to light. Without rear white rings the eye is naturally drawn to focus on the front sight.

Front and rear lamps are only available in green, but the front paint can either be yellow or orange. This contrast of yellow or orange against green makes the illumination really pop against dark backgrounds.

trijicon hd sights 2There are also modifications to the rear sight shape. The back face of the rear sight is set on an angle and has serrated groves in it to cut out any glare or reflection which ensures high contrast for the rear lamps. Bright & Tough rear sights have a flat back face where a bad lighting angle can cause glare and wash out the illumination, so this is definitely an improvement.

The HD’s rear notch is cut into a ‘U’ shape which is a change from the Bright & Toughs ‘square’ notch. The benefit of this change is in target acquisition speed and getting a quick alignment of the front and rear lamps. The circular shape of the front sight more naturally fits into a curved ‘U’ shape and easily falls into place as the gun is brought into sightline.


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