By Virgil Caldwell
Self luminous night sights are required equipment for any handgun relied on for twenty-four hour protection. Accurate fire is a necessity for personal defense. We don’t aim for the whole target. That’s area aiming. We aim for a finite point that will do the most good. The modern technique teaches that the front sight must be the primary focus of our aim.
There are a lot of choices in modern night sights with tritium inserts that offer a superior sight picture in low light conditions. A great deal of research and development goes into these sights. Among the makers I’ve trusted is XS Sights.
I have used XS sights since their inception. The original big dot sight was designed as a modern version of the express big game sight. It wasn’t designed for precision, but for reasonable accuracy and to be very fast on target. Fast shooting and delivering hits quickly is a prime consideration.
The express-style sights work well for home and personal defense at close and moderate ranges. The rear sight is a shallow V with the front sight a big dot with a tritium center.
Now XS has introduced some well thought-out and effective new additions. Their new RAM night sights are more conventional three-dot sights. For all-around use, especially for longer range fire, I appreciate the RAM sights.
The RAM (radioactive material) night sights feature a three-dot arrangement with a contrasting front sight and run about $100 retail. The result is a fast and accurate sighting system for use in all lighting conditions. Accuracy potential is excellent. The sight differs from the original XS in using a traditional notch and post type sight picture.
The sights are designed to offer maximum contrast for fast shooting. The front sight uses the XS-designed Ember Glow Dot sight. The sights are available with either a bright orange or green front sight. The rear sight blade has two small white tritium vials to complete the three-dot arrangement.
When you run drills with these sights you’ll notice the front sight offers the greater focus as it’s brighter. This is the preferred set-up for low light use. I ran dry fire drills with the sights using a triple-checked unloaded handgun. There is usually some light in the home and the XS RAM sights allow a good sight picture for use in dim light.
The XS RAM sights are designed to be accurate and effective in all lighting conditions. The rear sight features a slight overhang designed to reduce glare and increase sight definition. I have experimented with both the orange and green outline versions.
To my eyes, the orange front sight offers the greatest visibility in bright light while the green light sight is best in dim light, but colors affect each shooter differently. Both color schemes are versatile, but some thought should go into ordering the sights.
The XS RAM sights are easily installed. Simply push out the front sight and screw the new sight tightly in place. The rear sight may require a sight pusher. Most shops have these or you can order one online.
XS designed the 3-dot RAM sights to address three common issues with some night sights
- Confusing the front dot with one of the rear sight dots under high stress
The brightly colored Ember Glow Dot in the RAM front sight is much larger and brighter which easilly differentiates the front dot from the two small rear dots. Your eye is naturally drawn to it.
- The 2-dot tritium rear sight glowing as brightly as the front sight drawing the eyes there instead of towards the downrange threat.
The front sight is significantly larger and brighter than the rear tritium lamps.
- A tight sight picture
RAM Night Sights use a rear notch that is 15% wider than the front sight, allowing more visibility around the front sight. That makes it easier to see the front sight in changing light conditions and when shooting on the move, aiding in sight alignment and increasing accuracy.
RAM Night Sights are CNC machined from bar stock steel and treated with a hardening and rust-preventative coating making them extremely durable and reliable additions to your firearm. The front blade width is 0.145” (3.68 mm) and the notch width is 0.170” (4.32 mm). While height varies by model, all models fit standard holster options.
All XS sights are backed by a 10-year warranty.
After mounting the sights on a long-serving GLOCK, I first practiced some dry fire in varying light conditions. Much of the work was done in the home, dry firing in dim light to very dark light closets. The sights are bright and they naturally draw the eye to the front sight as designed.
At the range I test fired the pistol extensively using SIG 115 grain FMJ 9mm ammunition. Results were good. The pistol was properly sighted for the 124 grain SIG Sauer Elite V Crown duty load using the six o’clock hold.
XS Ram sights are a good option that will be serving the author for some time. There is no need to struggle with less-than-stellar sights on your carry or home defense gun now that these are available.
1 XS RAM, orange dot option.
2 XS RAM, green front dot option.
3 The author chose the orange dot option.
4 Recently XS expanded their offering to the popular CANIK pistol.
5 The XS RAM rear sight offers an anti glare finish.
6 The bright XS RAM front dot offers excellent visibility day or night.