As a carry handgun, the Glock is rugged, reliable, and combat worthy. About the only modifications that actually improve the Glock are the addition of a better trigger and a set of aftermarket sights. We dealt extensively with the issue of trigger replacements in the April 2014. There, we installed a Zev Technologies’ GlockWorx Ultimate kit from Brownells ($250, #100-006-566WB, Mfr. Part: ZTFULULT4G9BLK) into our Glock 17. We gave the Ultimate Kit an A grade, saying it “was the upgrade that produced the biggest difference in performance all by itself, increasing the accuracy of the Glock 17 from an average grouping of 2.3 inches down to 1.6 inches.”
Also in the April 2014 issue, we looked at two sight-upgrade kits, both from Brownells. One was the Brownells Glock 17 Sight Upgrade Kit ($200, #080-000-919WB), which included a Meprolight (Kimber) ML-10224 Tru-Dot Night Sight System for Glock 17, 19, 22, 23, 31, 32, 33, 34, 35, 37, 38, 39; an MGW Glock Sight Adjustment Tool, and an Ed Brown Front Sight Tool for Glock. Since we had the installation tools handy, we also ordered a set of TruGlo tritium fiber-optic Brite-Sites ($90, #902-000-107WB, Mfr. Part: TG131GT1Y), yellow rear and green front. We chose to put the TruGlo sights on the Glock 17 and the Tru-Dots on a G34 so that we could shoot them side by side.
With the Ed Brown Front Sight Tool for Glock ($20 sold separately, #087-017-001WB, Mfr. Part: 952) and the MGW Glock Sight Mover ($100 sold separately, #584-045-017WB, Mfr. Part: MGW309) for the rear sight, we started the switch with a disassembly of the slide to get access to the front sight. With the Ed Brown front sight tool and a small crescent wrench, we loosened the screw beneath the sight and removed it, then replaced the white dot with the new TruGlo front sight and tightened with the crescent wrench. Once the front sight was swapped, we hooked the slide into the MGW. The device came with some thin plates to raise the slide up the right height. We did not need them. The old sight drifted out with relative ease, going left to right pointed away from us. The new rear TruGlo sight did require some minor fitting with a file and a little more strength to slide in, but with the MGW tool, leverage was not a problem. We used the same process to put the Meprolite sights onto a factory Glock 34.
Despite the new TruGlo sights being fixed like the originals, we found them to be much clearer and easier to acquire and reacquire targets. We took to the range with the TruGlo sights installed, using all other original parts, and we cut our average group size down by almost half an inch, from 2.3 inches with the standard Glock to 1.9 inches with the TruGlo sights. We turned down the lights over the shooters, leaving the targets illuminated to check out how much the tritium would glow in the fiber-optic sights. The green front sight was quite bright, while the rear yellow sights were significantly dimmer, although still visible.
The Meprolight Tru-Dots provided an even more impressive change on the G34. We shaved just over a full inch off our average group size at 10 yards once we installed them.
Upgrading fixed sights can seem like a challenge to someone who hasn’t done work on pistols previously, but with these tools and the simplicity of Glock’s designs, this upgrade is a great place to start if you want to attempt a DIY project. You can drift the sights out with a punch, which will save $100 for the MGW tool, but you risk rupturing the tritium capsules. The MGW mover requires oil on the crankshaft, but it made drifting the dovetail sights in and out so easy we quickly misplaced our punch set. Overall, we found the TruGlo sights to be a nice upgrade and would recommend putting them in place of the standard non-tritium sights on any factory Glock. We gave them a Grade: A ranking, along with the Meprolight Tru-Dot tritium.
Naturally, readers asked about other sights, so we began looking at more replacements we could test head to head, rather than as a general Glock upgrade. So, again working with Brownells, we assembled a sextet of night sights suitable for installation on various Glocks. Also, we believe you can broaden our recommendations to include other firearms of similar size — the visual presentation won’t be appreciably different on different platforms — though the installation process may differ gun to gun.
The factory Glock sight features a rear sight with a .150 wide rear notch coupled with a .140 wide front, leaving very little light between the front post and the rear sight notch. When fitting a quality aftermarket front sight, the thinner front sight with a .115 to .125 front post offers better precision. When choosing a set of sights to improve the sight picture, you may as well go ahead and invest in tritium sights. Night sights, as they are called, add a greater dimension to the utility of the firearm. When choosing sights, another reason that we discard factory Glock sights is fragility. They do sometimes get knocked out of alignment or even off the gun — after all, they are plastic. Glock changed the front sight’s anchoring a few years ago, but just the same, steel sights are better. Most night sights consist of steel sights with a tritium insert in a sleeve mounted in the steel sight.
The first step is to choose the proper sights, which we will cover shortly. Next, before you change the sights, mark the exact position of the sights that are presently mounted on the pistol. This will allow centering the replacements, and if done properly, only minor adjustment is needed after they are mounted. Then, mark the center of the sights, and when you install the sights, this will be aligned with the mark on the slide.
Use the sight pusher to remove the rear sight. The slide is locked into place with the sight pusher on either side of the sights. The screw handle is turned to move the sights from the frame. The front sights were once simply pulled out, but (finally) Glock began using a screw attachment with the Gen 4 guns.
Next, clean the rear dovetail of the slide and begin to press the replacement rear sight in the dovetail, right to left, using the Glock Sight Mover. Remember to use the registering marks to be certain that the sights are properly aligned.
We rated the sights on several points, including ease of installation, quality of fit and finish, and visibility in both daylight and dim-light firing. We also viewed the sights in a dark storage room with no interference from light of any type. The sights were mounted on various Glock 40 S&W pistols. During the firing test, we used Black Hills Ammunition 155-grain JHPs and Winchester 180-grain FMJs to offer both a quality defensive load and a practice load while we ran the sights. The after all the firing was done, our team assembled and tried to choose the aftermarket part we liked best. Here are the results:
TRUGLO Tritium Fiber-Optic Sight Sets For Glock TG131GT1, $100; 902-000-083WB @Brownells
GUN TESTS GRADE: A/Best Buy
As we noted above, these received a Grade: A ranking in 2014. We start with them as a baseline for scoring the other sights. The TruGlo sights use a combination of tritium installed in fiber-optic tubes. This is a contrast to the standard night sights installed in an ampule and mounted in an aluminum sleeve in a steel housing. These sights gave the brightest glow in the dark room. During firing tests in the daylight, the TruGlo sights gave excellent, accurate results. Firing in dim light conditions, the sights also gave good results. The combination of good accuracy in all conditions, excellent luminosity, general good manufacturing quality, and a fair price makes this set a great value. Fits Glock Models: 17, 19, 22, 23, 24, 26, 27, 33, 34, 35, 38, and 39.
AmeriGlo Pro Tritium Night Sight Sets for Glock GL235, $85; 100-004-207WB @Brownells
GUN TESTS GRADE: A
The AmeriGlo three-dot sight caused some interesting discussion and provided some insight into the differences in how humans perceive light and color. The AmeriGlo sights feature tritium surrounded in a white outline. So do others, but the small dots give a different appearance. Some raters saw three green dots, others felt that the rear dots were white. In any case, the sight picture was good. In dim light conditions, our shooters said the sights were not as bright as the TruGlo. The sight picture in daylight conditions was as good as any tested, save the Battlehook. The AmeriGlo sights are good low-profile designs that conceal-carry well. We like them better than the Glock factory type sights. The green/yellow combination 100-004-207WB fits Glock Models: 20, 21, 29, 30, 31, 32, and 36. The green/yellow combination (Mfr Part: GL229) 100-004-206WB, $100, fits Glock Models: 17, 19, 22, 23, 24, 26, 27, 33, 34, 35, 37, 38, and 39.
Henning Battlehook Sight Set Tritium Front for Glock HKB03, $115; 100-014-869WB @Brownells
GUN TESTS GRADE: A (Front & Rear)
Henning Battlehook Sight Set Tritium Front & Rear for Glock HKB09, $150 100-014-870WB @Brownells
GUN TESTS GRADE: B (Front Only)
This sight set is made by Henning’s Shop, LLC of Longmont, Colorado, telephone (720) 325-7890, or email to: email@example.com. We ordered this set with only the front sight in tritium to see how it performed as a contrast to the others and with three-dot tritium night sights for $150. The Battlehook sights fit more snugly than the others, but they pressed in without difficulty. Two #6-32 steel screws in the rear sight gave additional insurance it wouldn’t shift in the dovetail, since part of the sight’s appeal is one-handed racking of the slide. The rear sight includes a 10-degree forward angle, greatly assisting in operating of the slide. The rear sight also extends to the rear of the slide, allowing for a longer sight radius. Machined from 4140 steel, the front and rear sight feature a mil-spec parkerized finish, and 40-LPI serrations further cut glare. The rear sight is designed to give operators a surface for snagging the rear sight to rack the slide (thus the name Battlehook) or clear a malfunction when only one hand is available. With a wounded hand or a hand busy with other gear, the Battlehook works as designed. This extra option certainly is worth consideration. The front sight was bright and offered a good aiming point in darkness. The single dot offered a fast sighting option. When testing the single dot in dim light, however, if misaligned, the broad rear sight posts covered the front sight. We could carefully realign the sights and see a dot. This isn’t the night sight for the average person, but is instead better for a well-trained shooter. This isn’t the fault of the company; it was delivered exactly as we specified and told us what we needed to know.
We would instead recommend ordering the three-dot option. This is the design that all raters agreed gave the best daylight sight picture for absolute accuracy and was also the most “tactical,” to use a term that three of the four raters mentioned. The sight actually increases the sight radius slightly due to the overhang on the rear of the slide. All liked the serrated rear-facing side. If you are headed to the sandbox, our military intelligence officer said “get this one.” This sight set was the most expensive tested, but the machine work was excellent, in our view.
XS Sight Systems 24/7 Big Dot Tritium Express Sight Set for Glock GL0001S5, $115 006-115-002WB @Brownells
GUN TESTS GRADE: B
This sight design is simply known as the Big Dot or Express system. Patterned after the old-style Express sights found on dangerous-game rifles, the big dot was highly visible in dim light conditions, we saw. The sights were easy to install. The front dot was held with a retaining screw, same as the other sights. The rear sight, however, slid into the Glock dovetail easily. It was then tightened with the supplied tool and two set screws in the body of the rear sight. The front big dot was visible, but the tritium dot itself was fairly small, being centered in a white-outline post. In daylight conditions, we got very fast hits at 7 yards. As a trade-off, the big dot covered a portion of the target, but we’d take that for some uses because recovery was rapid during firing strings. The problem was accuracy. At 25 yards, it was difficult to make a good group with the big dot sight. Repeatability was not good. As an example, our best shot fired a 4-inch group at 15 yards. He then reloaded and fired another four-shot group about the same size, but an inch and a half from the original group, despite using the same aiming point. Therefore, we’d gauge the Big Dot sight as a good choice for home defense. If your personal preference is for short-range practice with little time spent beyond 10 yards, then the Big Dot sight has merit. Fits Glock 36 and all 9mm, 357 SIG, and 40 S&W models in the company’s line.
Glock Factory Night Sights Glock Front Night Sight w/Hex Screw NF17G24, $40 Glock Night Sight Rear 6.5mm NR17G24 @ $45 @Glockparts.com
GUN TESTS GRADE: B
If the old sights go dead, or you simply wish to keep the stock look, Glock factory sights are an option. These sights gave a better daytime sight picture than the XS sights, we felt, but not as good as the TruGlo. On the other hand, they are a great improvement over the standard factory Glock non-night-sight version. We liked the three-dot picture. We have seen writers describe students who misaligned three-dot front sights, but our trainers on the team have never seen this. Since body positioning and a firm grip and hold are vital in night shooting, we fail to see how a trained shooter could misalign the sights so badly. The Glock night sights were fine, and there was nothing wrong. While we learn toward the bright TruGlo, the factory Glock sights have seen much rugged service. Also, it’s worth noting that factory Glock sight installation in late-model versions features a staked-in-place front sight. These require considerable effort with a punch to remove. The prices are right, and the product is easy enough to install. The sight was graded down a slot simply because it isn’t as bright as the TruGlo. Fits all Glocks.
Advantage Tactical Glock ATS Sight ATS00125, $98 ATS00126 with Firefly, +$130 @AdvantageTactical.com
GUN TESTS GRADE: B
The Advantage Tactical sight isn’t a night sight and does not claim to be. So, the test was undertaken with that understanding. However, they do make claims that the glow-in-the-dark Firefly front sight is as effective as a night sight once it is charged with a pocket flashlight or some such light. The company points out that tritium has a finite life, while their material does not. However, the problem is that the sights need to be charged from a light source, and they are only available with the large front sight. This sight kit includes five differently colored front sights, five differently colored rear sight inserts, .044 inch of elevation shim, a front-sight tool, and rear-sight set-screw hex key. It was possible to hand-press the rear sight in and then tighten the set screw. We found the Advantage Tactical sight offers a pyramid-type design that proved quite fast and accurate in daylight firing. Speed was comparable to the XS, but with better repeatability.
Confirmation of the aiming point was excellent. It would be difficult to impossible to misalign the Advantage Tactical front sights. In dim-light testing, the front sight was big, bold, and bright. Once charged with a minute or so of light, it holds the charge for an hour or so before going dim, and a few seconds of light again brings it back up. The system is interesting, but we feel that it is not as viable as a true night sight.
Combat accuracy, however, was excellent, which is why the system is only rated own a single grade. Also, there is an ability to snag the sight and rack the slide. However, this function isn’t as good as the Battlehook because the Advantage Tactical sight is plastic. We put it down another half grade for the need to replenish the glow-in-the-dark functionality. Fits all Glock models, including the G41, G42, G43.
Written and photographed by R.K. Campbell, using evaluations from Gun Tests team testers.