Some of this is based on simple reality. Under most circumstances you can get away without much of a sight, but as we all know, handgun shooting doesn’t always take place under easy or ideal circumstances. Mediocre sights are also a way of keeping price point on a gun down. Cheap sights make for a more affordable gun (think Glock).
Three dot sights are designed to guide the shooter’s eye into a natural sight picture and make acquiring a target easier. We’ll go deeper into that idea later, but suffice it to say, they are extremely popular, but not all guns ship with them. We are going to look at a few different brands and styles for popular handguns.
Here are our recommendations for the four best 3 dot sights on the market:
Trijicon 3 Dot Night Sights
- Trijicon Glock Night Sight Set, (Orange)
- Price: $136.49
- Price as of 09/28/2020 05:49 PDT(more info)
It is only natural we’d include Trijicon sights when looking for the 3 three dot sight (the above is for Glocks, see the other gun models here). Not only do they make a fine daytime use three dot sight, but Trijicon is famous for their high quality night sights. When you combine the two, you get a real winner that is suitable for use in all light conditions.
Now, of course, when buying night sights, you have to remember that the slightly radioactive tritium in them will fade over time, and give you a practical life of about 10-12 years or so depending on how bright you like your sights. However, not only is that a long time to use a set of sights, you still get perfectly functional daytime three dot sights out of the deal if you decide to not replace them when the tritium goes dim. And because these are a Trijicon product, you can enjoy the quality that only comes from a masterfully crafted American made product.
Ameriglo Fixed Three Dot Sights
- AmeriGlo Classic Series 3 Dot Sights for S/W/M/P, Green
- Price: $63.99
- Price as of 09/28/2020 11:05 PDT(more info)
This particular example of the best 3 dot sights is designed for the popular Smith and Wesson M&P pistol (see the rest of the gun models here). A classic example of a high quality, elegant, and highly effective 3 dot night sights, these Ameriglo three dot sights are probably the quickest and cheapest way to upgrade a gun with mediocre sights.
As you can see, they are a pretty competitive with Trijicon three dot sights, and of equally high quality. In fact, some folks even think they might be a bit better. There is only one way to find out—get them yourself and test them out!
TRUGLO TFO Tritium and Fiber-Optic 3 Dot Sights
- TRUGLO TFO Tritium and Fiber-Optic Handgun Sights for Glock Pistols
- Price: $74.95
- Price as of 09/28/2020 10:33 PDT(more info)
Whether three dot sights or otherwise, fiber optic sights are generally brighter during the day and easier to see than tritium sights. They draw your eyes toward the front sight like a Pavlov’s bell to dogs’ salivary glands. Fortunately, once it gets dark—and “dark” doesn’t even have to be that dark—fiber optic sights become dull and nearly as hard to see as standard handgun sights.
Fortunately, you can get the best of both worlds with these Truglo Tritium and Fiber Optic 3 Dot Sights (besides Glocks, they’re made for tons of other gun models). By day, you have the advantage of glow-in-the-light sights, and, at night, you have the glow-in-the-dark sights. Of course, such a combo might cost a bit more, but if you want the very best 3 dot sights that always stay at maximum brightness all the time, these are it.
Fusion Firearms Adjustable Rear 2 Dot Sight
- Fusion 1911 Fixed Green Fiber Optic Sight
- Price: $44.95
- Price as of 09/28/2020 11:05 PDT(more info)
OK, OK, this one actually is 2 dots (and only for 1911’s), but that’s because a good many handguns already have some sort of colored dot or post on their front sight, but not always on the rear sight. So what do you do when you have a one dot sight? Well, you buy a rear sight with two more dots, and get the best three dot sight picture available.
However, this isn’t just a simple replacement rear sight with a couple of dots on it. No, it is a fully adjustable rear sight that is windage and elevation adjustable, making it perfect for target shooting or dialing in your sights just right for your favorite carry or target shooting round. Basically if you need two more dots to get to a good three dot setup, this is the kind of solution you are looking for!
Why 3 Dot Sights?
Well, really, why not? Do you have a handgun handy? Take a look at it. How are the sights? I just picked up my old everyday carry and was reminded why the best 3 dot sights are so important. My former CCW gun didn’t have three dot sights, and I had to paint the front and rear sights with my wife’s nail polish to make them more visible, and, to my wife’s chagrin, periodically retouch the “paint.” If I could, I’d install some three dot sights on it, but the gun has fixed sights milled into the slide.
Another gun has removable sights of a higher quality, but again no 3 dot. Sure the factory red colored front sight is great, but the rear sight is plain old, hard to acquire black. I had to paint that one white to give me a contrasting sight picture that was easier to pick up. Guess what I’m ordering soon? If you guessed a rear sight with two dots on it, you guessed right.
Maybe your favorite handgun already has three dot sights on it. Maybe you have a 1911 with those horrible stock USGI style sights that were already barely adequate in 1911, let alone the present day. But it should be very easy to see (or imagine) how much nicer a gun with three dot sights on it would be.
For one, rapid target acquisition is important for self defense or target shooting. Two rear dots quickly focus your eyes on the rear sight and allow you to then quickly acquire the front sight and place it on target. What could be more natural? As an added bonus, sight dots are usually a highly visible and reflective color like white, or a fluorescent shade. This makes them useful in some low light conditions, so that you can actually use and see the sight. And of course real night sights make great use of the three dot design feature for day and night use.
As a general rule, the best 3 dot sights should be easy to install with few or no special tools. Some guns, like Glocks, require a single tool to remove the sights and install new ones, but if you’re even mildly mechanically adept, this is very easy to do. Others might require some sort of sight press. If you don’t have the tools or don’t feel comfortable messing around on your gun, most gunsmiths can swap out sights in a few minutes for a reasonable price. And in the end, you get a nicely upgraded gun that offers superior performance. Sounds pretty good to me! Good luck!
Owner of Reloaderaddict.com, Boyd Smith is a major handgun enthusiast, and although he owns Glocks, he prefers the revolving wheel type. His go-to guns are a Smith & Wesson 642 Performance Center for carry and a Ruger GP100 in the nightstand biometric safe (he has kids). He loads both revolvers with old-school 148-grain Federal Gold Medal .38 wadcutters. It’s OK if you think he’s a wimp. Email him.