Fiber Optic Front Sights: Sturdy Enough for Carry?
Dr. John Woods 05.09.16
Trends come and go in the world of firearms development. Way back in the day, a sixgun had a groove cut down the center of the top strap of the frame and a half-moon sort of front sight blade. That front sight could be filed down to change the gun’s shooting point of impact. Pretty crude for sure by today’s standards.
To paraphrase the old advertisement, “We’ve come a long way, baby.” Iron sights on both revolvers and pistols have undergone a tremendous course of development and refinement since those early handheld weapons. Some would say in some regards the trends have reversed effectiveness, but such is in the eyes of the beholder and the user.
I never will forget the first Smith and Wesson revolver I bought with what I considered at the time to be truly fine, fully adjustable rear sights and an excellent trademark front ramp with the red-orange insert. Those iron sights were the sights to end all sights. Well, hardly.
Today, what is in vogue are open iron sights on handguns with modern optical enhancements. The far extreme of these are the day-glow inserts put into holding mounts on the front end of the barrel. Some of these glow sticks are red, but others are bright florescent green. Indeed, these newfangled sights are easy to see and pick up in low light conditions. They work for that.
There is some reasonable concern about the sturdiness of these plastic inserts. While I have not heard of these breaking or falling out, the possibility is certainly there. Users of guns with these sights will have to determine their true value.
Regular black iron handgun sights have served well for decades of course. There is something unique in the engineering that just works. The thinner front sight is positioned into the rear sight half square leaving some light around the edges when the front is centered. Some rear sights are also fixed with a white perimeter around the open sight for further help in front sight alignment. These can be fixed or adjustable sights.
I have held up handguns with the glow sight inserts in gun shops and gun shows and they definitely do gather the light. One assumes they would perform the same out in the field. My only initial concern is how fragile they would be in active use. Have any of you had them fall out on you in the field? If so, please share your experiences in the comments.