Allow me to provide some background before getting into the meat of this post. I don’t go to the movies that often because I generally despise large crowds and paying ridiculous amounts of money for butter laden popcorn (although it is delicious). I do make an effort to go when a decent movie comes out, as nothing at home can replicate the experience a theater provides. Last week’s movie happened to be Lone Survivor, I took the entire family and highly recommend it. I was a bit skeptical going in as I had read the book (it was awesome) but I have to tell you the movie did not disappoint. It’s a great tribute to the bravery of all who fought and died that day and on a broader scale a tribute to the amazing dedication, courage and toughness it takes to serve our nation while truly being at the tip of the spear.
My primary carry weapon is a Glock 19 but there is one glaring deficiency that my gun had: it did not come equipped with night sights. It’s just one of those things I had not got around to changing and as such any time I would be out and about with the sun down I’d be taking a huge risk. I did make an effort to switch guns when attending movies as I have a few others already equipped with night sights, but they aren’t the platform I’m the most comfortable with.
Think about having to make a well placed shot at 20 yards in a dark theater during the scene of a movie where it’s also dark. It would be tough enough to line up the sights with screaming people diving for cover and a crazed lunatic (e.g. Aurora, CO) firing off a shotgun. Without night sights that shot would be almost impossible, you’d barely make out the silhouette of the shooter and most definitely would not be able to see the sights on the gun itself. That shot might be possible at 5 feet but anything beyond that distance would be guess work and put innocent lives at risk.
I decided to make the switch to night sights on my G19 but still faced a few obstacles. All of the local gun shops did not carry what I wanted for my pistol which meant waiting for them to order (usually at a premium) and most required that I leave my pistol behind so the work could be done. Yes that’s exactly what I would like to do, leave my EDC gun in your shop for a few days so that when your part time “gunsmith” comes in he can spend less than 5 minutes swapping my sights out and charge $25 to do it. No thanks.
I have more than 1 Glock pistol and like doing work myself when it’s feasible, so given the situation with the local gun shops I decided to purchase the tools necessary to swap out sights myself. Sure I would be laying out more cash initially but I would always have the capability to swap sights which meant that I would not have to rely on outside providers and if a friend needed assistance I’d be able to help out.
I decided to go with a sight pusher made by MGW, a fine piece of craftsmanship which makes removing and installation of the rear sight a snap.
If you do a search on YouTube for DIY sight removal you’ll see a few interesting techniques, one of which involves beating off the sight with a wood punch and hammer…no thanks.
The front sight is held on by a tiny nut and requires a tool for removal, so I went OEM and purchased the Glock front sight tool. This device makes swapping out the front sights easy, just don’t forget a little bit of loctite for the threads. I should note there are cheaper tools out there but some reviews suggest that the quality can be hit or miss.
As for the sights themselves the choice was easy, I went with the Trijicon Tritium Steel 3 dot variety. I’m sure there are other models out there which perform well but I have Trijicon’s on several other guns and as such wanted to keep things consistent.
I’m not joking when I say that it took me just as long to set up my work station, open all the boxes and read the instructions as it did to actually perform the installation. The MGW sight pusher is very well built and locks the slide into place firmly. A few twists of the handle and the old sight is off, reverse the procedure and the new sight is on. The front sight was even easier, if you know how to turn a screwdriver you’ll be in business. As I previously mentioned don’t forget a drop of loctite on the threads to keep things in place once the rounds start going downrange!
Once everything was installed the last step was to make sure the sights were aligned properly. I’m pretty sure that step requires no explanation.
You can’t shoot (accurately) what you can’t see, especially at distances of over 5 yards in low light conditions. If you don’t have night sights on your primary carry gun make sure to get some on there. If you can afford to buy the tools I listed above that’s a bonus, or if you do have a local gun shop which will do the work for you that’s also an option. The main thing is this: if you have to draw and present your gun to a threat when it’s dark, you still need to be able to put that front sight post on the target and take the shot with confidence.