I’ve been experimenting with different iron sight options for fighting pistols here lately. As you all are probably well aware, I’ve used XS Big Dots for about the past nine years and recommended them in my classes and on this blog since starting Appalachian Tactical Academy. Don’t get me wrong: I still think that XS Big Dots are a pretty good option for fighting handgun sights for the Armed Citizen. The thing is that as I continue to develop my skills as a shooter, I’m starting to realize that they have certain inherent limitations.
Specifically, I’ve found that accuracy is hindered not by the extremely large front sight as many claim, but by the rear sight. The V-shaped rear sight makes it difficult to attain perfect (or good enough) sight alignment for the shots that require more precision – especially when shooting at speed. I really started to notice the issue when I was practicing for our boy’s “gender reveal” party a few months ago. I was going to draw and shoot a little powder-filled ball at seven yards, so I decided to go practice a little bit the day before we had the party. The ball was about two inches around, so I printed up a page of two inch circles and started practicing. With my Big-Dot-Sighted Glock 19, I was having some trouble hitting the dots with any amount of speed from the holster at seven yards. When I switched over to a gun with more traditional sights, it was like I couldn’t miss.
For that reason, I’m going back to trying some traditional notch-and-post sight configurations. I’m still applying the lessons learned from using Big Dots – make the front sight stand out over the rear sight. So the main sight setup I’m working with is a plain black rear sight paired with a high-visibility front sight (either fiber optic or painted tritium). I’m still searching to find the exact front/rear combination that I like the best, but I’ve been trying all different kinds. Once I’ve gathered all the data and drawn my conclusions, I’ll publish a longer, more detailed post to let you know what sights I settle on and list out things I’ve learned to help you make the best decision on sights for your fighting handgun.