Gear Review: TruGlo TFX Pro Tritium/Fiber-Optic Day/Night Sights [Contest Entry]

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By MikeyCNY

With most defensive gun uses taking place at night, it’s important to train appropriately and have the necessary gear to help you survive. Flashlights are likely the most common tool in this instance, either separate from your firearm or affixed to it. Another option is aftermarket night sights, which commonly use tritium-filled vials to “glow-in-the-dark” and allow for proper sight-alignment. A few months ago I did a bunch of research on the most popular night sights for handguns. These include such names as . . .

Trijicon, Meprolight, AmeriGlo, XS Sight, TruGlo, and others as well. After looking at specific reviews including plusses and minuses, I decided on the TruGlo TFX Pro Tritium/Fiber-Optic Day/Night Sights for my M&P Shield 9mm.

 

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I chose this particular model because I wanted night-time capability with the added bonus of daytime fiber-optics. A few of my other firearms have factory-installed fiber-optics and I find them quite helpful. TruGlo has a long line of available sights (for firearms and bows alike); The TFO line is their basic Tritium/Fiber-Optic sight, however I ran across reports of the fiber-optic tube falling out.

The TFX line solves this issue by encasing the sights in CNC Steel, and the ‘PRO’ models add an orange ring around the front sight.

TFX-PRO_Parent_N

This allows you to quickly line up that front sight and distinguish it from the rear. All three dots have tritium for that sweet, sweet glow, however in low- and no-light the orange ring on the front is not visible since it’s not tritium. I’ve noticed in some low-light situations it is still barely visible. Also since the sights are ‘encased’ in a steel ‘fortress’ (to borrow their marketing terms), it is hopefully better sealed against the use of cleaning solvents and the weather.

TruGlo recommends a professional gunsmith installation, and for a carry-gun who am I to argue? (Mainly I don’t have the tools and experience to do so.) The difference was, as they say, like night and day.

Factory sights:

shield_sights1

TruGlo TFX Pro:

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It’s difficult to see in that picture, but the front sight is slightly less than one inch long, about the same as the rear sight. At first I had concerns about it possibly catching on a holster draw, or snapping off during drills, but the steel construction seems quite solid. Here is a link to the product literature which gives a better idea of what I’m talking about.

The day after I picked up the handgun I attended an IDPA-like event at my local range. I barely had time to shoot a few rounds to check point-of-impact and make sure nothing was going to fall out, but I immediately loved how the sights stood out. I’m relatively new to the shooting world, so I’m still reminding myself to focus on the front sight. The orange ring helps immensely. The event was held indoors in medium-level light, and while my shooting itself needs some work, the sights performed well.

While shooting and reloading I came across a potential negative that I wanted to include here. The rear sight is angled and not totally smooth to allow one-handed racking on a belt, shoe or other surface. While racking after a reload, the sight actually bit me.

sightbite

I had quickly cleaned/lubed the Shield before attending the event, and apparently the slide was slicker than I through. I quicked racked, slipped, and my hand caught on the sharp front edge of the rear sight. The above picture was taken the day after and was already healing, though I did bleed a little at the time. (My first, and hopefully only, range injury to date.)

When I got home I checked the rear sight, and it does seem very sharp at the front corners of the rear sight. Are they too sharp? Thoughts of racking and ripped shirts come to mind.

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I did some more research looking for references to ‘sharp edges’ and found a few other people with similar concerns. I decided to contact TruGlo and see what they recommend; maybe I received an anomaly, maybe it’s normal.

I sent them the two above images and they said I can bring it to the gunsmith who installed them and they might be able to do something, or replace the sight if they can’t. If neither of those options is possible I can contact TruGlo again and look into other options.

I mainly wanted to know if my sample is indicative of the ‘sharpness’ of the model, or if I received a sharper-than-usual lot. I haven’t contacted the gunsmith as I don’t think that is his responsibility; I’m definitely not going to make him replace it (the TFX Pro is a new model and I had to special-order online, wasn’t available locally at the time). I have not contacted TruGlo back but I think I’ll wait and see for now.

Specifications: TruGlo TFX Pro for M&P Shield 9mm

•       CNC Steel Construction
•       Tritium front and rear vials
•       Fiber-optic tubes on front and rear
•       Bright orange ring on front sight
•       Available for many popular models
•       12-year warranty
•       MSRP is $186, however you can find for less than $140 online

Ratings (out of five stars):

Build Quality * * * * *
Steel construction, tritium is Swiss-sourced, sights are assembled in the U.S.A.

Function * * * *
Fiber-optics work great in even medium-level light, tritium glows reliably and brightly. Sharp edges on the rear sight are a possible concern, hence only four stars.

Reliability * * * * *
With professional installation and a 12-year warranty, I don’t foresee any major issues.

Overall Rating * * * *
For those not content with the standard factory sights, this is an excellent choice

comments

  1. avatar Geoff PR says:

    Sharp enough to draw blood seems like that would be sharp enough to hang up on clothing, or is that not a concern?

    I’d be tempted to dress that edge with a jeweler’s file and a spot of black paint…

    1. avatar OODAloop says:

      Yeah well, the latest from Trijicon, the Trijicon HD, are just as bad. I had to take a Dremel (a Dremel I tell you!) to all the edges to keep them from shredding my shirts when I carried concealed.

  2. avatar AlanInFL says:

    You get to glow in the dark three different ways.

  3. avatar MikeyCNY says:

    Apologies for grammatical mistakes. Apparently three proof-reads weren’t enough.

  4. avatar Coffee Addict says:

    CNC steel.. that’s ridiculous. You think some craftsman is making them one by one with a hammer, on an anvil brought up to temperature in a coal forge? I hate marketing speak. of course it’s CNC’d. Jeez. almost as bad as “Space Age Plastic” as opposed to what, stone age plastic?

    1. avatar Geoff PR says:

      A coal forge?

      Why, sonny, back in the day we used a wood fired forge with a gang of slaves manning the bellows!

      And the slaves LIKED it!…

    2. avatar RandallOfLegend says:

      No, but you could easily make these sights non-CNC in on a 3-axis Mill. People still makes parts this way, even in production.

  5. avatar Ray says:

    Is anyone else concerned about an irradiated front sight next to their junk carrying appendix? I mean the radiation is minimal and cell phones do the same thing but I was just wondering out load if anyone else had a similar concern about that…?

    1. avatar Old Coot says:

      “Tritium is a low energy beta emitter, it is not dangerous externally (its beta particles are unable to penetrate the skin)”
      The radiation likely will not exit the plasti/glass it is contained in, and the actual light is produced not by direct radiation, but by the radiation stimulating fluorescent materials/coatings akin to UV blacklight making other surfaces glow with visible wavelengths. Unless you break a tube and directly inhale the contents (even then the halflife is fairly short) there is no health concern – probably more cumulative effect from inhaling years of gunsmoke.

  6. avatar Tile floor says:

    I got the Shield model with factory night sights and three magazines.Your article mAde me curious so I ran my hand forcefully Into the rear sights quickly and repeatedly. No issues and the sights are fantastic and can still be racked on a belt.

    I got the Leo price of 400, which is 81 more than the standard model with stock non night sights and with only two magazines. Definitely worth the extra money.

  7. avatar Mac says:

    I have them on my LC9S Pro Luv em. Get a Crimson Trace laser too.

  8. avatar TR says:

    I had these same sights installed on my 9mm Shield, but not too fond of the results. I always keep my point of aim by holding the front sight dot ON the bullseye and did the same with these sights, but the point of impact is 2-3 inches below the bullseye at 10 yards. Comparing the front dot of these to the factory, it appears the factory dot is a little higher off the barrel. Anything I can do other than buy new sights or hold the front sight higher in some awkward sight picture?

  9. avatar Bill says:

    The sights are angled like that for one handed slide manipulation against an edge/surface like a table edge, pocket, belt, tree etc etc if one hand is disabled. I’m sure a slight filing to knock down the sharpness a bit would still retain its functional purpose.

  10. avatar PaulMotul says:

    Pro are great in full sun due to fiber optics also great in deep dark tritium rules but completely sucks in the shadows or poor light. For tritum is too much light to be seen covered fiber optics do not supply enough light. What a wonderful and completly useless product totally not worth almost 200 usd.

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