Optics

Self-Defense Handgun Sights: Novak and Wilson Combat Win

Where is no end to debate concerning handgun sights and their use. Personal preference plays a role, but a poor choice in a defensive handgun may have serious consequences. Good enough and bargain basement dont cut it. Even the use of sights is debated. Some argue for point shooting or instinctive fire at close range. Unsighted fire sounds like a disaster waiting to happen. The keys to accurate fire include smooth trigger compression, proper sight alignment and proper sight picture. Area aiming or aiming for the whole target is not going to get the job done.

For most gun-buyers, sights are a make-or-break part of the purchase, as important as the cartridge. Sights can-and should-influence which guns you buy. Also, on guns you already own, you can upgrade the sights, especially 1911s and Glocks-if you know what works, and what doesnt. A person who purchased the best pistol he could afford at the time may wish to upgrade to better sights at a later date, but how does he know what to choose?

We wanted to compare the execution of several sights found on existing factory guns and as aftermarket products to see which one offered the best combination of sight quality, ease of presentation, and durability. This is a tricky job description for a sight, because those requirements can be contradictory. In the past the shortcomings of pistol sights were understood. A universal fault was the round front sight. Where was the top of the sight? Sight pictures were not repeatable. About 1923 a Western peace officer named Tom Threepersons had a square and tall front sight added to his 4.75-inch-barrel Colt Single Action Army. Better sights followed.

Among the first practical high-visibility handgun sights were Kings Hardballer sights. They raised the sight picture and offered an improvement over small GI sights. The problem with fitting combat sights on a self-defense gun is the height of target-type sights. Too-tall front and rear sights became so obtrusive the handgun became difficult to holster. If you use a rear sight that sets tall above the frame, then the front sight must have a correspondingly high profile. The revolution came with Wayne Novaks Lo Mount sights. Designed like a pyramid, these sights require a special mounting cut in the slide to ride low. The front sight may be as low as .200 inch, although a .249 sight is also used.

Reducing the vertical profile of a sight is important because adjustable sights are exposed to all manner of insult and are relatively fragile. If you visit a police department, you notice that the area around the door jamb of the squad room is often beaten up. This is because that is hip level, and cops guns, especially the sights, take a beating on doorways. And, of course, sights are rubbed on by holsters, and they may impede drawing the weapon when you need it most.

To consider these issues, we looked at nine different common sight styles on a host of guns. GI sights, Mil Spec sights, Trijicon sights, XS big dot sights, Novak sights, Heinie sights, McCormick sights, Para Ordnance sights, and Wilson Combat sights.

Self-Defense Handgun Sights: Novak and Wilson Combat Win

Where is no end to debate concerning handgun sights and their use. Personal preference plays a role, but a poor choice in a defensive handgun may have serious consequences. Good enough and bargain basement dont cut it. Even the use of sights is debated. Some argue for point shooting or instinctive fire at close range. Unsighted fire sounds like a disaster waiting to happen. The keys to accurate fire include smooth trigger compression, proper sight alignment and proper sight picture. Area aiming or aiming for the whole target is not going to get the job done.

For most gun-buyers, sights are a make-or-break part of the purchase, as important as the cartridge. Sights can-and should-influence which guns you buy. Also, on guns you already own, you can upgrade the sights, especially 1911s and Glocks-if you know what works, and what doesnt. A person who purchased the best pistol he could afford at the time may wish to upgrade to better sights at a later date, but how does he know what to choose?

We wanted to compare the execution of several sights found on existing factory guns and as aftermarket products to see which one offered the best combination of sight quality, ease of presentation, and durability. This is a tricky job description for a sight, because those requirements can be contradictory. In the past the shortcomings of pistol sights were understood. A universal fault was the round front sight. Where was the top of the sight? Sight pictures were not repeatable. About 1923 a Western peace officer named Tom Threepersons had a square and tall front sight added to his 4.75-inch-barrel Colt Single Action Army. Better sights followed.

Among the first practical high-visibility handgun sights were Kings Hardballer sights. They raised the sight picture and offered an improvement over small GI sights. The problem with fitting combat sights on a self-defense gun is the height of target-type sights. Too-tall front and rear sights became so obtrusive the handgun became difficult to holster. If you use a rear sight that sets tall above the frame, then the front sight must have a correspondingly high profile. The revolution came with Wayne Novaks Lo Mount sights. Designed like a pyramid, these sights require a special mounting cut in the slide to ride low. The front sight may be as low as .200 inch, although a .249 sight is also used.

Reducing the vertical profile of a sight is important because adjustable sights are exposed to all manner of insult and are relatively fragile. If you visit a police department, you notice that the area around the door jamb of the squad room is often beaten up. This is because that is hip level, and cops guns, especially the sights, take a beating on doorways. And, of course, sights are rubbed on by holsters, and they may impede drawing the weapon when you need it most.

To consider these issues, we looked at nine different common sight styles on a host of guns. GI sights, Mil Spec sights, Trijicon sights, XS big dot sights, Novak sights, Heinie sights, McCormick sights, Para Ordnance sights, and Wilson Combat sights.

10X42 Binoculars Test, Part II: Zeiss Beats Swarovski, Leica

We examined six pairs of optics ranging in price from $260 to nearly $1,700 to see if price really has an impact on ease of use and performance. This time, models over $1100.

Binoculars Test, Part I: Leupold 10x40s Beat Bushnell, Steiner

We examined six pairs of optics ranging in price from just under $300 to nearly $1,700 to see if price really has an impact on ease of use and performance. First up, models under $900.

Laser Range Finder Binoculars: Bushnell, Wind River, NewCon Optiks Tested

In a comparison of optical quality, user-friendly features, and prices, we find these units can quickly and accurately answer the questions of "Where?" and "How far?" with precision.

Nikon 20X Spotting Scope A Best Buy For The Shooting Bench

The evolution of spotting scopes seems to have maintained pace with other advancements in the firearms and shooting accessory industry. This fact was strongly realized when we compared the equipment in this test to the spotting scope one of testers has mounted in his pistol box. It's an O. F. Mossberg & Sons Model A "Spotshot" 20x. In 1963, its list price was $29.95. It has a 38mm objective lens. Its 10mm ocular lens is mounted at the end of a sliding tube, which is pulled in and out to rough-focus, then rotated to fine-focus. Considering inflation, we certainly get a lot for our money today, in quality, warranty, and advances in manufacturing and the science of optics.

However, the Mossb...

Burris Signature 6-24x Tops Other Varmint Rifle Scopes

For most kinds of deer hunting, a 3-9x rifle scope is a good choice. It provides a fairly wide field of view, which makes acquiring the target relatively easy, and a good range of magnification. However, when hunting varmints at long distances, a much more powerful scope is needed. A 6-24x scope with at least a 40mm objective lens is generally considered to be a good varmint scope.

However, this rather limited definition of a varmint scope promptly expanded when we started buying scopes for this test. We found two 20x scopes that outperformed most of the 24x scopes, and a 44mm scope that was smaller than most 40mm scopes. Our final choice of optics for this evaluation included the eight...

Variable Power At Your Fingertips: Tasco Gets Our Best Buy Nod

Shooters of many different stripes enjoy the flexibility 6-20X and 6-24X variable riflescopes give them. These products' extended power ranges allow them to be used at their low settings for indoor air rifle or rimfire and centerfire hunting use. Dialed up, they allow shooters to shoot spots on silhouette targets or pick their spots on long-range game animals with .300 Win. Mag-class beanfield rifles. With the right glass and mounts, a shooter can easily make one of these variable scopes work in several scenarios, assuming its owner has the skills and steadiness to use the high-mag settings.

Ideally, such products should provide crisp looks at targets and accurate adjustments to compensat...

‘Background Check’ Rule Is Coming For You

On April 11, 2024, the Biden Administration’s Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms, and Explosives issued a new rule to expand background-check requirements for private...