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
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.