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Contrasting red and green fiber optic sights, like those on this Kel-Tec PMR-30, essentially gather all available light and give an enhanced sight picture.

Oddly, many shooters focus more energy on the shape and design of the rear sight than the front. The fact is, in order of importance, the front sight is your priority. Think about it for a moment—the front sight is aligned directly above the muzzle of the gun. Index the front sight on the target and you are thereby indexing the muzzle on target. When we are discussing fighting with a handgun, aligning the front sight with the target is paramount.

xs-sightse28099-big-dot-tritium-front-sight
XS Sights’ Big Dot Tritium front sight combines a light-reflecting white ring and self-luminous Tritium dot.

Tritium
When the subject of night sights is raised, the word Tritium comes into play. Tritium is actually a low-grade radioactive material. Rather than pretend to be a scientist I will merely quote from the website of the Environmental Protection Agency: “Tritium is a hydrogen atom that has two neutrons in the nucleus, in addition to its single proton, giving it an atomic weight near three. Although tritium can be a gas, its most common form is in water, because, like non-radioactive hydrogen, radioactive tritium reacts with oxygen to form water. Tritium replaces one of the stable hydrogens in the water molecule, H2O, and is called tritiated water (HTO). Like H2O, tritiated water is colorless and odorless. Tritium has a half-life of 12.3 years and emits a very weak beta particle.”

Because Tritium is a controlled material with HazMat properties, there are only two companies in the United States that handle it from a manufacturer’s standpoint. Therefore, all Tritium vials are installed by one of two manufacturers despite the myriad of sight makers out there.
The natural benefit of Tritium is that when it mixes with phosphors, they naturally create the glow you see. No batteries, no wires, no outside light source to charge it up. Of course, as to be expected when working with material that has Haz-Mat properties, Tritium is extremely expensive.

low-light-front-sight
Some ideas are timeless—a genuine gold bead front sight reflects light well and will not rust or tarnish.

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Contrasting red and green fiber optic sights, like those on this Kel-Tec PMR-30, essentially gather…