Gear Review: Meprolight FT Bullseye Sight

Meprolight recently released its new FT Bullseye day and night sight. Notice I said “sight” not “sights.” Meprolight’s system eliminates the front sight, relying on a single unit with a fiber optic channel with a circle and dot alignment. The claim: the FT Bullseye performs better than traditional front and rear sights, offering the advantages of the increasingly common red-dot reflex sight. Needless to say, we put that claim to the test. First, a little history . . .

Meprolight bills the FT Bullseye as “a revolutionary design.” In fact, Smith & Wesson’s ASP — a 9mm pistol wth a single channel florescent rear sight called the “Guttersnipe Site” — beat Meprolight to the punch by 41 years. While basic idea was the same, S&W’s pistol used three equal trapezoids instead of a dot inside a circle. Having shot both the old and new versions of The One Sight to Rule Them All, I much prefer Meprolight’s dot and circle configuration.

Deploying the Meprolight’s sight is simple enough. Align the gun until you have a bright green dot inside a green circle. Good news: that circle is much brighter than I expected. I did most of my shooting on a cloudy day; I was impressed with the sight’s brightness and clarity. It’s impossible to miss that large green dot the instant you press the gun forward.

Back in the shop, under the florescent light of my work table, the sight didn’t have quite the same pop-out glow. But it was still bright and easily recognizable. It’s certainly better than the vast majority of similar-sized tritium front sights I’ve seen on the market.

To run your gun, you need to see the whole dot and the whole circle. If you can’t see the whole circle around the dot, your aim is off. While that circle is absolutely required for fine aiming, it’s not needed all for fast shots into centermass-ish from 15 yards and under. Like XS Sight Big Dot system, just position the large dot on the target and press play. That feature was intuitive and easy to learn.

To decide whether or not the FT Bullseye is a game-changer compared to three-dot traditional sights, I ran it back-to-back on a GLOCK 19 with a GHOST trigger upgrade. I used the same pistol with the same KMFJ holster and the same CapArms ammunition with the same magazines on the same range at the same targets.

To start, I shot the G19 from bags at 25 yards, taking my time, using standard tritiums. Of the five five-round groups, my average was 2 1/2 inches. I then shot from the same distance from the kneel, averaging three inches.

The next rounds weren’t so leisurely. From the 15-yard line, aiming at an 8″ circle on a standard silhouette, I drew and fired one shot. I repeated the drill for 15 rounds. My average time was 1.17, with my best time as .82.  Admittedly, there wasn’t a whole lot of consistency there. For the next 15 rounds, I drew and fired two rounds into the same target, at an average time of 1.64, with an extremely consistent .17 split time.

I took the GLOCK 19 back to the shop, broke it down, removed both front and rear standard sights and installed Meprolight’s single-piece FT Bullseye.

As I wasn’t as used to the FT Bullseye sighting system, I zeroed the pistol and put a few rounds downrange for familiarization. Then stopped. My groups were horrible. As I paid more attention, I realized I wasn’t seeing the ring in its entirety when shooting quickly, only the dot. Seeing the dot inside the ring — not just the dot — takes practice. So I broke out 50 rounds and spent the rest of my time on the range getting used to the sight.

When I went back to the range the next day, I was intrigued by the results. Fired in exactly the same manner as the three-dots, there was no significant difference. To be precise, there was a total of .2″ difference in the average group size from bags at 25 yards, with the Meprolight being .2″ larger than the three-dot.

At the kneel, the Meprolight shot an average of 2 1/2-inch groups, as opposed to the three-dots’ three-inches. The variance was actually much closer, with no fliers spoiling the group. Still, nothing to write home about. At the 15-yard line it was more of the same. Literally. Shot standing in slow fire, the Meprolight averaged the exact same two-inch group as the three-dots.

When I shot fast fire, differences emerged. My single-round draw-and-fire with the FT Bullseye averaged 1.24 seconds (there were no sub-one second shots). My pattern inside of the target was considerably wider. For the two-round shots, I racked-up a total time of 1.8 seconds, with a .29 second split time the revealed a wide variance. With no frame of reference, it took longer to find that dot on the target, and the timer showed it.

I thought the 3-Dot sights would be the clear winner in long range, and maybe they would give up a little time to the Meprolight in fast fire. In fact, there was little difference at all in long range or slow fire, the three-dots being slightly better in fast fire. The real head scratcher: how little difference there was between both systems.

Which begs an interesting question: how well would the Meprolight sight do on a pistol with a shorter sight radius? The FT Bullseye shot about as well as the GLOCK 19, with a six-inch sight radius. Would it offer an advantage on a G43 or a Kahr PM9, guns with around five inches between the sights? It stands to reason that the shorter the sight radius, the better the Meprolight would stack up.

Bottom line: while the FT Bullseye is more than a gimmick, but this shooter rated it no better than traditional three-dot sights. It looks cool and your mileage may vary, but revolutionary it ain’t.

Specifications: Meprolight FT Bullseye Day/Night Sight

Sight color: green or red
Models: GLOCK or Springfield
MSRP: $199.05

Rating (out of five stars):

Overall * * * *
It’s innovative — and about as good as traditional two-piece combat sight sets. But it’s not any better and a little more expensive than standard three-dot tritiums. The FT Bullseye has an extremely low profile. That’s great if you don’t want it to snag anywhere, but a non-starter if you want to use the sights to rack the slide in an emergency. New shooters may find it easier to learn with than traditional sight sets.


  1. avatar Sunshine_Shooter says:

    Practical application: ALG Defense’s Six Second mount, since the mount is non-compatible w/ front sights, which this Meprolight seems uniquely suited for.

    1. avatar Devils Advocate says:

      The ALG 6 Second mount is incompatible with rear sights. In order to reinstall the slide after mounting the ALG 6 Second mount, the rear sights must be removed first.

  2. Might put Front Sight Academy out of business.
    Another thing, us middle aged far sighted guys had a hard enough time focusing on the front sight. Now we have to focus on a closer object. No thanks.

    1. avatar No one of consequence says:

      I hear what you’re saying re focusing. I’m very nearsighted so thick glasses and bifocals. Sigh.

      However, this at least puts both things you’re trying to keep lined up (ring and dot) on the same plane, so you can in principle see both clearly with the appropriate head-tilt bifocal alignment … Which I cannot do with conventional sights.

      I’d like to give them a try.

      1. I just target focus. I refuse to train with readers or bi-focals because I won’t be wearing them when I need to shoot someone.

        1. avatar Curtis in IL says:

          Me too! I can’t even focus on the front sight of a rifle without cheaters. I train like I intend to fight, which means following my instinct (and everyone’s instinct) to focus on the threat.

          This will limit my accuracy potential, but I think if you’re training for self-defense your “10 ring” should be about the size of a paper plate.

        2. The only time I focus on my front sight is when my wife takes a slim lead during one of our shooting games and I start feeling the pressure. Turns out that I am more accurate target focusing than when I try to focus on the sights. I just have to trust it.
          A blurry front dot perfectly aligned with blurry rear dots aimed at a clear target is perfectly accurate. When I miss, it is always because of poor trigger press.
          Sighting is the easiest part of shooting.

    2. avatar Anon in CT says:

      Actually, I think this might help. At least you don’t have to waste effort commanding your eyes not to focus on the rear sights.

      And as noted in the article, in theory at least this should shine for short-length guns.

      Navy pilots should find this approach familiar.

    3. avatar strych9 says:

      Far sighted, near sighted, astigmatism… one word: Lasik.

      The couple hours afterwords kinda suck but it’s totally worth it.

      1. avatar IdahoBoy says:

        I had Lasik, and it’s wonderful. But as we age, the lenses in our eyes stiffen, and we lose the ability to focus on close objects. Lasik doesn’t help with that.

      2. I’m not that bad yet. I have good days and bad. Depends on how much sleep I get. How much coffe. How much bourbon. How long I spend staring at TTAG on a computer monitor.
        Haven’t nailed down the best combo of those activities as far as eyesight is concerned.
        I have seen benefits from doing eye exercises.

  3. avatar gargoil says:

    yet more gimmicks

  4. avatar Dylan says:

    I can’t believe this thing works at all.

    Not worth $200, but pretty cool nonetheless.

  5. avatar TommyJay says:

    Thanks for looking at new/unconventional sights. I think red-dots are awesome though a bit bulky and not as rugged as iron.
    What’s with the targets?? Why don’t you spend a few bucks and buy some real ones?

    1. avatar jwtaylor says:

      Because printer paper works great and I go through them every day.

  6. avatar Dan in CO says:

    This may be okay for range rats; but if you may be running in to a light restricted environment, this is not the sight for you.

    1. avatar Mark Schindel says:

      The FT Bullseye is dual illuminated, fiber-optic and tritium which allows for immediate transition between lighting conditions. No worries about seeing it. Meprolight is pretty much the world leader in tritium sights.

      As a disclaimer, I work for their marketing/ad agency, which has also allowed me the opportunity to use it.

    2. avatar jwtaylor says:

      Dan, I should have been a little more clear, I was testing these sites against 3 dot tritium night sights. For low light shooting, this sight works as well as the tritium three dots.

  7. avatar Steve says:

    I have the same concern about this sight on a handgun as I did with the ‘See All Open Sight’ – when you don’t have a cheek-weld point of reference for your head, finding the sight quickly is nearly impossible. Even with practice, it will never be as quick as looking at a front + rear sight or an tube-shaped red-dot.

    Having reviewed the Meprolight – would you agree with this?

    After trying the See All Open Sight at SHOT 2016 (maybe 2015? time flies…), my concerns were validated. The owner of SEOS was the nicest guy in the world, but he just couldn’t convince me that his product was reasonably usable on a handgun. On a shotgun, it was AMAZING!

    The problem with sights like these (Mepro and SEOS) is that they are functionally similar to looking through a security peep-hole from 6+ inches away rather than having your eye right in front of the lens. Getting a little off center makes a HUGE difference in how easily you can find the dot. Another analogy would be sitting in the passenger seat of a car and having the driver move his/her side mirror into alignment for you – since the driver’s-side mirror is flat, you’ll get the “looking through a peep-hole from a distance” effect and quickly realize why the passenger’s-side mirror is convex.

    What all of these sights are attempting to do is create an optically-extended sight radius via magnification. The longer the sight radius, the longer it’ll take to find the reticle/dot/etc.

    The main benefit of the Mepro is the low-profile; I personally see this as an evolution of the guttersnipe from the old ASP 9. I’d have no problems putting one of these sights on a sub- or compact or carry gun that has garbage sights otherwise (LCR/LCP come to mind) – but for anything larger, I’d keep the normal sights.

      1. avatar Steve says:

        He summed it up best in the comments by saying the SAOS was awkward on a handgun… it is.

        Oddly enough, the owner of the company told me a German firearm manufacturer (he alluded to H&K but wouldn’t confirm it outright without a signed order in-place) was talking to him about putting the SAOS on a factory pistol. Given this was 1-2 years ago, it doesn’t sound like it panned out very well…

        If I were selling either of these products, I’d push the SAOS for long-guns and the Mepro for subcompact carry guns. Beyond that, I feel like you’d just be asking for the negative reviews to pile-up.

    1. avatar Asamurai says:

      Awesome observations. But, then your comment totally threw me. I have observed, the broken and changed at least 6 side mirrors from both sides of various cars and one motorcycle, throughout my life. Every one of them was a flat piece of glass, a few were even interchangeable (you bought one part and it could be installed on the driver’s or passenger’s side). Where did you ever see a factory installed convex passenger side mirror?

  8. avatar Al says:

    I’ve been shooting these on a Glock 19 for 6-8 weeks. So far I like them. I decided to try them because I shoot inside as well as out. With traditional night sights I had no problems in good light or darkness but in poor/low light (think of the inside of a poorly lit warehouse, too light for the tritium to work but too dark to see the iron sights) I couldn’t see the sights at all. So far with these FT Bullseye sights I haven’t found any lighting conditions where they “disappear”. So far so good but they do take some getting used to the new sight picture.
    As an aside, I wonder if anyone can tell me if these would be IDPA legal. I lack the patience to wait for a reply from the folks in AR.

  9. avatar Mark Schindel says:

    Some background on the FT Bullseye. The original fiber-optic sight was developed a few years ago by TAS. Meprolight saw potential and purchased the design from them. They added tritium, added a lens and enhanced the reticle. The sight is built for combat and can be used to rack the slide.

    Here is a link to one of the videos.

    As a disclaimer, I work for their marketing/ad agency so I’ve had the opportunity to use the sight and also a hand in the videos. Latest will be out in the next few days.

    1. avatar jwtaylor says:

      I attempted to rack the slide on my pocket many times, and failed every time.

      1. avatar Mark Schindel says:

        So the low profile prevented you from racking it on clothing, I can understand that. I know they tested it in Israel. My guess is that it was racked against a hard object or something hard/raised on a belt. Everything Meprolight makes can pretty much be racked, since in Israel, they do not carry a round in the chamber as normal practice.

  10. avatar B says:

    How does it work with a can vs. regular height 3 dots?

  11. avatar TexTed says:

    Hey JWT,

    The concerns raised by the guys above about old eyes are a serious concern; I know I can’t focus on a small pistol’s front sight at all, it’s too close for my eyes. I have a laser on all my carry guns for that reason, and have been interested in a red dot because it’s always focused at distance.

    Does the Meprolight have any sort of lens in it or other arrangement so that it’s focused “at distance” like a red dot is? Can us old coots actually focus on it? If so, I’m way sold. If not, it’s useless to me (of course).

    1. avatar jwtaylor says:

      No sir. There’s no focusing lens. The way it comes is the way it is. But it’s pretty bright like a big dot front sight.

      1. avatar TexTed says:

        Oh well. If you have a chance to pass feedback on to them, might want to let them know that this is a segment of the market that doesn’t have a good option. Like I said, I’ve had to spend a fortune on lasers; a big blurry front sight doesn’t do much good.

        1. avatar Mark Schindel says:

          TexTed, did you have a chance to look at the video I posted a few posts above? In essence, the FT Bullseye is a micro red dot sight. Your sight picture is the circle with the dot in the center, i.e., a bullseye. When you have that, you’re on target. Older shooters have given positive responses to it. Hate to admit it, but I fall into the older shooter category.

        2. avatar TexTed says:

          I saw that video, yes. And I like the look of it. But could I see it? I can’t focus on close distances. I can see anything from, say, 4′ to infinity just fine, but not up close. If my arm was a good 2 feet longer I could see the front sight perfectly! heh.

          So have you tested it with folks who can’t see close, but can see far? I don’t wear glasses in my daily life for anything but reading. I can focus on the front sight if I have reading glasses on, but — that’s ridiculous; if I have to use my firearm, I can guarantee you I won’t have glasses on.

          That’s why a laser works great; it’s out front on the target. And a red dot works fine because the optics in the sight render it as distance focus. So that’s what I’m asking about this FT sight — can someone who can’t focus up close, still focus on this? Is there any magic or optics happening that mean that us farsighted can use it? I’d buy it in a heartbeat if that was the case.

    2. avatar Ralph says:

      @TexTed, I’m also a old (really old) guy who has a problem focusing on the front sight because it’s too far away! Go figure.

      I shoot in a modified Weaver Stance with both elbows well-bent simply to shorten the distance from sight to eye.

      1. avatar TexTed says:

        I used to have that problem, could see up close great but couldn’t see distance at all. Laser eye surgery “fixed” that; now I can see distance great but can’t see closer than about four feet. Sigh.

        Y’all younguns out there don’t know how good you’ve got it…

        1. avatar Ralph says:

          Yeah, laser surgery won’t do me much good. I had cataract surgery on both eyes. I got the first done when I was 50, and the second when I was 52.

          When I was a younger man, my vision was 20/10 with no glasses, and I could shoot a gnat’s testicles at 50 yards with my Nylon 66. Good times, man. Just not good times for gnats.

        2. avatar TexTed says:

          That caused a legitimate LOL, I must say.

  12. avatar John says:

    Is this better than straight up optics?

  13. avatar C.S. says:

    Compared to a red dot, there’s no battery and the sight sits at the same height as traditional sights. On the downside, it still doesn’t have the same “focus to infinity” as a red dot, for those older people with presbyopia near distance focus issues. In fact, I couldn’t use it at all if this was right in front of my face (so a no-go for central axis relock), whereas a red dot was usable at any presentation distance. I’ve also noticed that the way the sight sits on the gun, my sight picture of the target is more substantially blocked by the sight housing itself vs traditional sights.

    The other thing I’ve noticed, because of the two part circle+dot is on different alignment plane, is that it’s very obvious when your sight alignment is off even just a little, and I _suspect_ it would be a very useful tool to self diagnose poor trigger control and shot flinching… to an expert like JWT who obviously has great shooting fundamentals and sight focus, it wouldn’t make a difference. But that’s currently just my speculation, I need to find a beginner to test it on.

    I like it, but it’s on the expensive side for what it delivers.

  14. avatar Fred Frendly says:

    They better stick with making night sights. This has stupid written all over it. On a gun with a short sight radius, i.e. a “bellygun” whats the point for high end sights anyway? On a full size pistol, who is going to retrain themselves to carefully put a dot inside a circle for mediocre accuracy? Plus it looks like it will interfere with certain holsters.

    Meh. DoubleplusMEH.

    1. avatar Mark Schindel says:

      Not all products made by manufacturers are ideal for everyone. That’s a fact of life. I don’t care what sight, grip, etc you put on your gun, you still need to train with it and keep training.

      Mr. Friendly above doesn’t like it, that’s fine. Prototypes of the FT Bullseye were displayed at SHOT this past year. Program Managers from NSW and AFSOC looked at it and requested samples for testing. One shared that after testing they put the sights on “work guns”. Feedback has been positive. On the consumer side, several individuals who had already put them on a gun ordered more during the Black Friday Sale for other guns.

      I put them on my Glock, I liked them. I prefer the green over the red as I picked up the green bullseye much faster. I adjusted to using only the rear sight without too much hassle. I’ll keep them on it. They work in all of my holsters so that’s a plus. I’ll probably put them on one of my 1911’s when the sight is available.

      All of this to say, find what you like and if it works for you, continue using it.

  15. avatar Nanashi says:

    Would be more useful on a shorter gun I think.

    Definitely would have few purchases from movie armorers if they could be rigged on something more exotic looking

  16. avatar Sledgecrowbar says:

    I like that we’re coming up with more rear-sight only options like the See-All. As long as it allows fine aiming for long-distance along with quick target acquisition for close range, not having to deal with a front sight has advantages. No more worrying about sight radius and putting long forearms on guns when you want something to be light-handling, no worrying about knocking around said front sight, and one distance for your eyes to focus (or at least acknowledge) on two images for alignment.

  17. avatar Josh says:

    What about .45 and 10mm guns? Why is no one discussing that. There is only one size?

  18. avatar Josh says:

    ….and it’s not adjustable. I have one on my G30s, but it shoots low. Still haven’t been to a proper range to run it through its paces, but outside, shooting at the ground, it appears to shoot very low……

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