July 26, 2021
By James Tarr
There have never been more choices in handgun sights, and there have never been better choices in handgun sights. And they keep getting better. Newest in the “Hey, I want those on my gun!” category of pistol sights are the Trijicon DI (Dual Illuminated) Sights. Day/Night sights—pistol sights just as usable in daylight as in low and no light—are what’s hot, and Trijicon’s DI sights feature both fiber optic and tritium illumination. These feature a serrated steel rear sight with standard tritium inserts on either side of a U-shaped notch, but it’s the front sight that’s interesting.
The front sight is longer than usual. The front half is a fiber optic rod, much of it exposed to light, so to the shooter’s eye it will be a very bright green dot in just about any lighting conditions. Forward of the fiber optic rod, hidden in the steel sight body, is another tritium insert, but its illumination is only visible through the fiber optic rod in very low light.
Before anyone can shout at me, yes, I’m aware of the TruGlo TFO sights. For over a decade TruGlo has been offering their TFO (tritium fiber optic) sights, and in fact, they’ve been standard equipment on some factory pistols (certain versions of the SIG P226 for example). Their sights feature protected tritium inserts behind fiber optic rods—sound familiar? HIVIZ LiteWave H3 sights offer the same setup, tritium behind fiber optics.
Much like handgun design, handgun sight design has been far more evolutionary than revolutionary, and everybody seems to be borrowing each other’s homework. It seems clear Trijicon was aware of competitors’ sights, but instead of directly copying them they instead took the concept and did their own thing with it. They improved it, actually, in my opinion, as they got rid of the fiber optics in the rear sight that you find with both TruGlo and HIVIZ designs.
Brief rant so you have an idea why this is important—the rear sight is a window frame. You look through it, not at it. You are supposed to be focusing on the front sight. Anything on the rear sight which draws your eye away from the front sight (like fiber optics) you don’t want. I can’t quite consider the Trijicon DI rear sight “plain black” with the tritium inserts, but they won’t distract you from the very bright fiber optic in the front sight. To my mind this “focus on the front sight” design automatically makes them superior to competing designs.
Interestingly, the fiber optic rod is held in place by a hex-head screw that goes in and out the front of the sight body. Unscrew it and you can swap out your fiber optic with a replacement. It’s a little cleaner than cutting and burning a rod to fit, which is the traditional way. These aren’t the first user-replaceable fiber optic rods I’ve seen, HIVIZ did that a few years ago with their LitePipe models, and I love that consumers keep getting more and more for their money. Currently these sights are available for most sizes/models of Glock, S&W M&P, and the Springfield Armory XDM. MSRP is $150.
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About the Author:
James Tarr is a former police officer and private investigator, and is a nationally ranked competitive shooter. He has been writing professionally for 20 years, both magazine articles and books.