XS Sights has been well known in the industry for their Big Dot sights dating back to their Ashley Emerson and Ed Pastusek days in the late nineties. While I could always appreciate why some shooters liked the Big Dots (including our Managing Editor, Matthew Maruster), I didn’t personally prefer them to more traditional post-and-notch options.
The F8 Night Sights Have Been a Favorite For a While
Then they came out with the F8 Night Sights a few years back, and I have been a user of them ever since. I have them installed on several of my Glock and Sig Sauer pistols.
My favorite features of the F8 Night Sights are the high-contrast Glow Dot front sight that is large and visible without being too large. It's available in both Orange and Green colors that gives the end user an option to match their preferences.
In addition, they have a taller profile that’s somewhere between suppressor-height and standard-height sights. I have found this profile enables me to pick them up quickly, even when using a target-focused sight picture.
The traditionally notched rear sight is “blacked out” with a tritium dot tube just below the notch. I think this feature is nice to have. Tracking the sights throughout the shot process is easy and allows for fast, accurate shooting.
The F8 Night Sights have been quite popular. Still, one limitation prevented them from going more mainstream with law enforcement officers and agencies—various departments’ policies require sights to be of the traditional 3-dot post-and-notch variety.
Enter the R3D Night Sights
These new sights utilize many of the same features as the F8 Night Sights—the high-contrast front sight, blacked-out rear notch—are all still present. But the R3D Night Sights bring a more traditional 3-dot sight picture in the tritium night sight arrangement. They also feature a lower-height profile. This profile is similar to many sights on the market, including those from the factory.
This 3-dot design means that XS Sights can compete more directly for law enforcement contracts, but many non-law enforcement gun carriers may find they prefer this new design better as well.
Testing the Sights
I tested the R3D Night Sights over 10,000 rounds on two different pistols—a Glock 17 (on a chopped P80 G19-length frame) and a Springfield Armory Hellcat. As I only had a couple of magazines for the Hellcat, it took a while to get through the 2,000 rounds I fired through it. After that, I wanted to test it more, but I decided to complete the rest of the 10k round test on the Glock due to how long it took.
I still found this to be a practical test of these sights on the very fast slide speed of the Hellcat. Tritium sight vials can be susceptible to breakage under extremely violent shock, but in this case, the tritium tubes remained intact and functioning on both the Hellcat and P80 Glock throughout testing.
Both guns–and especially the Glock–were exposed to numerous cycles of extreme heat followed by cool down periods. Typically this was a process of pre-loading dozens of magazines and then firing 500 rounds through the gun in about 3 minutes. This was more difficult to do on the Hellcat due to my magazine limitations, but we still got the Hellcat plenty hot on numerous occasions.
One concern with such things where sights are concerned is that temperature swings from cold-to-hot and then back to cold with its accompanying expansion and contraction of the materials is that the sights may eventually work themselves loose. The sights remained exactly as they were installed through these live fire tests, but it's important that they are installed correctly to achieve results like these.
Following the installation instructions that XS Sights makes readily available on their YouTube channel ensures that the sights stay put and not drift. I have installed 5 sets of these on various guns and haven’t had one come loose. Using the provided red thread locker is one of the most critical steps that I think gets overlooked by some owners.
I also cleaned the pistols numerous times using various solvents and was not overly careful to prevent the solvent from coming in contact with the sights. They were not affected even in the slightest by any of the cleaning solvents.
These sights are practical, effective, highly visible, versatile in ALL lighting conditions, and incredibly tough.
XS Sights assembles every part of the R3D Night Sights in-house in a fully licensed production facility in Fort Worth, Texas. If you care about supporting American manufacturing jobs, this is something to consider.
Check out the new R3D Night Sights as well as their complete lineup of products at: www.xssights.com