I’m in the process of upgrading the sights on a few of my pistols so I figured I’d get a variety of sights and do a quick once over on all of them. In this round I have access to a set of Ameriglo (GL-115) sights, a set of Meprolight (ML-10224) sights and a set of TruGlo TFO (TG131GTIY) fiber optic sights; all are for standard GLOCK pistols (9mm, .40, etc) and are Tritium powered night sights. And if you’ aren’t familiar with the whole tritium thing . . .
Tritium is a radioactive isotope of Hydrogen that emits electrons that can cause phosphors to glow and be used as self-powered lighting devices called betalights. This is used in many things, like watches and night sights. Tritium is very expensive costing around $30,000 USD per gram.
Lets see how they stack up.
It’s worth noting that the Ameriglo sights are marked as Trijicon sights; from what I’ve read the metal portions of the sights are made by Ameriglo, but the Tritium inserts are designed and made by Trijicon.
All three of these sights have a metal foundation with tritium for night time illumination. The Ameriglo and Meprolight sights have a small white ring around the tritium for use during the day where the TFO sights are fiber optic with no ring. The overall construction of each of these sights is good, as you would expect. They are well made, and the housings are quite robust and should be very durable.
The Ameriglo and Meprolight sight styles are the same as the gun they are going on, in this case GLOCK pistols. So they have the standard front sight post with a dovetail rear 2-post sight with 30° angles on the sides. The TFO sight, front and rear, are elongated because of the space needed for the fiber optic components. All three of the sights have slightly different lengths, but the TFO is a whooping 0.965 inches (25.51mm) long, opposed to 0.497 inches (12.62mm) for the Meprolight (the next longest). So the TFOs are definitely a different look in that respect.
I’ve heard that the TFO sights have had issues in the past with the fiber optics coming loose or actually falling out, but the ones I have seem pretty durable. I smacked them around a bit and nothing seemed to move or come lose. I’ll be using them on one of my training guns, so it will get beat up and I will report back if I have any issues. There have also been reports of various Trijicon sights having issues with the white paint on the sights coming off if you get any solvent or cleaning fluid on them. I haven’t seen this happen, but again, I will report back if I run into any issues with the Ameriglo or Meprolight sights.
|Ameriglo||Meprolight||TruGlo TFO||Glock Factory Sights|
|Front Sight Length||0.451in (11.47mm)||0.497in (12.62mm)||0.965in (25.51mm)||0.301in (7.66mm)|
|Front Sight Height||0.164in (4.18mm)||0.172in (4.39mm)||0.194in (4.94mm)||0.153in (3.90mm)|
|Front Sight Width||0.139in (3.53mm)||0.160in (4.06mm)||0.141in (3.59mm)||0.159in (4.04mm)|
|Rear Sight Length||0.311in (7.91mm)||0.276in (7.01mm)||0.966in (24.55mm)||0.256in (6.51mm)|
|Rear Sight Height||0.167in (4.24mm)||0.187in (4.76mm)||0.218in (5.55mm)||0.206in (5.23mm)|
|Rear Sight Width||0.740in (18.81mm)||0.692in (17.59mm)||0.717in (18.21mm)||0.903in (22.95mm)|
|Rear Sight Aperture Width||0.151in (3.85mm)||0.140in (3.57mm)||0.147in (3.74mm)||0.140in (3.57mm)|
Note: All measurements exclude the dovetail on the sights. All measurements are overall size, based on the tallest or largest area. The GLOCK factory rear sights are integrated with the dovetail, so measurements like the width are a little different since there is no real reference point.
For daytime use, the Ameriglo and Meprolight sights act, more or less, as normal white 3-dot sights. You can’t see any of the illumination under normal lighting conditions. Actually, even in lower light conditions, you can barely see any of the illumination. However, the TFO sights, because of the combination of fiber optics and tritium, are pretty bright in direct sunlight. The color of the fiber optics shows through clearly.
Here is a picture of what the sights look like under normal light. They are all lined up, reading left to right, Ameriglo, Meprolight, TruGlo TFO.
The Ameriglo and Meprolight sights are very similar; The Meprolights seem to have a larger tritium insert with a little less white around the insert. The TruGlo TFO sights are quite a bit different since they also have the fiber optic dots. In bright light, their green and yellow fiber optic tubes are very clearly visible. In moderate light, they are a little hard to see, and with no white area surrounding them, can be slightly harder to see. That being said, they are just much better in direct light.
For night time use I prefer a sight set with a front sight that’s a different color than the rear sights. The reason for this is that in a pitch black environment, or in minimal light, it’s tough to keep track of the sights if they are all the same color. Your depth perception can become confused and things can go a bit crazy. I find it’s best to take the guesswork out of it.
The Ameriglo and TFO sights have a green front and yellow rear sight and the Meprolight sights are green and orange. Each manufacturer typically offers one or two variations of sight colors, so you have some options.
In the picture below you can see what the sights look like in the dark. They are, left to right, Ameriglo, Meprolight, TruGlo TFO.
I prefer the orange and green sights vs the yellow and green sights. I find the orange is a better contrast to the green. In the picture it’s a little hard to see the yellow, it looks more green. In reality it’s more clearly yellow, but it is a little closer to the green than the orange.
The installation of the sights is pretty straightforward if you have all of the right tools. You will need a 3/16″ nut driver (or GLOCK Front Sight Installation Tool). I use a standard 3/16″ nut driver, it works great, and is much cheaper. You can pick one up here). You will also need a sight pusher tool, something like the MGW Sight Pro Tool for rear sight removal and installation.
Installation is pretty simple for GLOCKs. Basically you knock the stock front sight out (using a small punch) then push out the factory rear sight (often times the factory plastic sights get damaged during removal). Then you simply press in the front sight and attach it with the screw and a little thread locker. Then push in the new rear sights. Make sure everything is aligned and do some test firing to see if any adjustments are needed.
The Ameriglo and Meprolight sights fit perfectly. I didn’t have to do anything and they all fit together very well. With the TFO sights on the other hand, I had to do some sanding on the front sight post to get it to fit into the notch in the GLOCK slide. It was just a little too large. Once I sanded that down a bit, everything went together OK, but I wasn’t that happy that I had to do do some work to get them to fit. I don’t know if every TFO sight will have that issue, but be prepared if you are installing them yourself.
I’ve been a long time user of Meprolight sights. I don’t think there is a heck of a lot special about them, they just seem to work, but the same could be said about many brands. The variance in these kinds of sights really comes in with their brightness, the sight gap (the distance on each side of the front post when looking through the rear sight), and the overall height of the sight posts. Brightness and the sight gap are mostly matters of personal preference, but the sight height can change point of aim and impact.
As far as brightness, you don’t want something super bright, you just want something you can see. It’s not a flashlight, it’s to aid in sight acquisition and aiming.
Of course, there are other variations out there, products like the XS Sight System. It’s mostly a matter of figuring out what you like and what works best for you. I personally prefer standard 3-dot sights over other types of hybrid versions or red dots. Your mileage will probably vary.
Also, remember, any time you make a change to a firearm like adding new sights — especially a defense weapon — put in some range time to ensure that everything is working the way you want and is still reliable, accurate, and most importantly safe.