Besides tritium night sights, fiber optics sights are the best types of everyday carry or home defense handgun sights. For those who practice the front sight press, a fiber optic sight set (or at least a fiber optic front sight) is a highly-advised upgrade. Likewise, it’s a good feature to look for in either a carry gun that will go in a concealed carry holster or a nightstand gun. But which one to get?
Some are fiber optic sights are green, some are red, others orange and some yellow. Rule of thumb: go for for green or yellow sights. Green and yellow fiber optic sights have advantages over red that go beyond preference. Because science!
Yellow and green light occupy more of the visible spectrum. Light comes in many colors, determined by its wavelength. White light, which is the color we usually perceive, is actually a combination of all the colors across the entire spectrum. That’s why when light is sent through a refractory object (such as a prism) it splits into the various colors of the spectrum and looks great on album covers.
Green light has a wavelength of anywhere between 510 nanometers (where the wavelength of blue light ends) and 570nm, the wavelength at which yellow light begins. Red light starts at 650 nm and goes up from there; wavelengths of red light that can’t be seen by the human eye due to a too-high wavelength are the infrareds.
The human eye picks up light with wavelengths between 400 nm and 700 nm. Red light, therefore, occurs closer to the limits of human vision — the reason some people find green lasers more visible in low light conditions. Yellow light occurs at close the same wavelength – at 570 nm to 590 nm – which means you’ll see it better than red as well.
However, some people are better off with yellow over green.
Colorblindness isn’t a common affliction; fewer than 10 percent of adults globally are colorblind. It’s more common in males than females and much more common among people of European descent.
Very few people have achromatopsia, which is complete and utter colorblindness. In other words, all scenes of “Wizard of Oz” look the same. (You can still totally put on Dark Side Of The Moon though.) It’s one of the rarest forms of colorblindness, occurring in only 1 in 40,000 births worldwide.
The most common form is red-green color blindness, of which (there are several kinds) being deuteranomaly. Deuteranomoly is an insensitivity to green, affecting less than six percent of males worldwide and less than 0.01 percent of females.
People who suffer from this condition (like RF) don’t pick up green colors very well. But they do perceive brightness. So a bright green object (in good light) will appear bright though the shade is hazy.
Other forms of colorblindness reduce the color that can’t be seen to black or grey. Several forms of colorblindness affect the ability to pick up yellow, but they’re much rarer as less than one percent of males worldwide (no more than 0.01 percent of females have a form of yellow colorblindness).
For those who have a form of colorblindness, a yellow fiber optic is more easily seen than red (disorders preventing the eye from picking up yellow are rarer than those interfering with green).
Bottom line: if you’re going to go fiber optic, green and yellow fiber optic sights are better than red — unless you’re not color blind and reckon you’re better red than dead.