While we muddled on for untold thousands of years and learned pretty quickly that you can’t really put a lamp or candle on your rock or bow in order to use it better, we yearned for something better. Something brighter. Something like say, vials of radioactive tritium gas mounted on self loading handguns.
Because this is the 21st century AD, and not one million years BC, we have those night sights and handguns, and we are going to take a look at what the brightest night sights are. Because several companies dominate the field of night sights, and because the designs for sights vary from handgun to handgun, we are going to use the Glock sights of several manufacturers for our comparison (with another link afterwards for all the other gun models those particular sights service). Sound good?
Here are our recommendations for the 3 brightest night sights on the market:
TruGlo Night Sights
- TRUGLO TFO Handgun Sight Set - Glock High
- Price: $78.97
- Price as of 10/22/2020 15:15 PDT(more info about ad)
TruGlo (see all gun models here) makes some of the brightest night sights on the market. Not because they have some magical source of tritium that somehow is brighter than everyone else, but because they take the time to really make their sights useful day or night.
By combining fiber optic sights with their tritium night sights, TruGlo TFO offers superior daylight performance and enhances night use. This puts TruGlo night sights on par with many high quality standard iron sights, with the added benefit of true night sight capability.
Are there other, better daytime iron sights? Sure. But you won’t find a better combination of day and night sights than the ones from TruGlo. As always, the standard disclaimer about the useful life of tritium sights apply here.
Meprolight Night Sights
- Meprolight Glock Tru-Dot Night Sight fits G17,19,20,21,22,23. Adjustable set with green rear and front sight
- Price: $139.00
- Price as of 10/22/2020 11:57 PDT(more info about ad)
Modern night sights using vials of slightly radioactive tritium all suffer from the same problem, which is to say the laws of physics. All radioactive materials have a half life, which means over a certain period of time, the radioactivity of the substance will drop by half. Tritium has a 12.3 year half life, which means after 12 years, the brightness will decrease by 50 percent, and in another 12.3 years by another 50 percent, and so on.
Meprolight advertises up to 15 useful years out of their night sights (see all gun models here), which arguably makes them the industry leader for brightest night sights. However, you cannot escape the laws of physics (and if you can, do you really need night sights?), so you really need accept that after 12 years or so your night sights have already lost half their power, regardless of brand.
Is Meprolight the brightest? From an objective sense, no night sight maker can make the claim, but it is certain Meprolight is willing to push the limit on what they stand behind, trading reputation for reality.
Besides, this isn’t to say a Meprolight is a bad night sight. Quite the opposite: it is a great night sight, and their extra tall front sights are perfect for suppressor users. In fact, if you need night lights with a suppressed firearm, these are among the brightest night sights for the money.
Trijicon Night Sights
- Trijicon GL601-C-600836 Night Sight,HD XR Orange Front Outline
- Price: $226.84
- Price as of 10/22/2020 13:35 PDT(more info about ad)
Trijicon pioneered night sights and are famous for many other products, including the widely acclaimed ACOG rifle sight. Like all tritium sights (see all gun models here), they suffer from the drawbacks of radioactive half life. However, some of Trijicon’s design features really make them stand out as some of the brightest night sights on the market, Buy making a narrow front sight post, Trijicon night sights can be quickly acquired, and the orange dot on the sight post aids in target acquisition day or night, and really helps in daylight or well lit conditions.
Trijicon night sights are industry leaders partly by virtue of creating the industry, and partly because, well, they are really high quality sights. As with any night sight, buy the newest made ones you can find. Reputable dealers will not ship or sell stock more than a couple years old. Remember, even the brightest night sights fade with time, so you are racing the clock if you want the most bang for your buck.
Choosing the Brightest Night Sights
We’ve repeated it already, but might as well do so one more time. All things being equal in terms in age of the tritium in a night sight, you really won’t find any appreciable difference in brightness among major, reputable brands. What you are left working with is price point and extra little features.
Sights that have less machining work are going to be cheaper than more complexly machined sights. But really, the market for these largely standardized sights is so competitive and producing basically identical products, you might as well pull a brand out of a hat unless you care for a particular aesthetic or minor design tweak.
Meprolight makes great, tall sights for use with suppressors or for those who like a taller sight. Of course not all holsters will work with these sights, but that isn’t an insurmountable challenge. There are plenty of commercial holsters that will fit Meprolight equipped guns, or getting a custom holster made up isn’t much more difficult these days than buying an off the shelf holster.
Trijicon brings reputation and industry history with them. It is really hard to go wrong with the company that basically invented the modern night sight industry, and their prices are surprisingly affordable for the quality. Of course when you are a high volume producer, you can sell a better quality product at a lower price.
TruGlo offers a great line of affordable sights with built in human design features that just make sense. White dot sights for daytime with bright night sight features for low-light shooting or self defense really just combine to sell themselves.
Regardless what brand of night sight you choose, you can be certain that they are among the most advanced, highest-quality, and brightest night sights ever sold for handguns! 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.