Miller Custom .125w front sight with .020 fiber optic
So, as I’ve been told, time and time again, “Fiber optics are unreliable and have no place on a carry/duty/work/hard use gun. That shit will get you killed!” Pump the brakes there Hondo.
The image here is from my Miller Custom 1911, in .45 ACP. This was my primary carry AND competition gun for a fair bit of time. At 40,000 rounds the barrel cracked and needed to be replaced. The rifling was close to non-existent. Yet, THE ORIGINAL fiber optic rod, the one I received with the gun when I picked it up, was/is still there! Undamaged, unbroken, etc.
Lots of people truly believe the only acceptable sights on a carry/duty gun are night sights. That’s fine. This has not been my experience, nor that of many, many, many, others. Most will start off with the premise that “They glow in the dark so I can shoot without a light.” Why are you shooting without a light? How are you identifying your target?! Are you seriously just shooting “where you think the bad guys are?” (Actual quote from an instructor.) If you don’t see all the things wrong with these statements I implore you to seek better training immediately!
Tritium (night) sights have an advantage over fiber optics (and blacked out sights) for approximately 30 minutes a day. This is the time where the intended target is well enough lit to identify it as a threat but it is too dark to refine your sight picture. Some will say that this time is extended exponentially in homes and buildings. My friends Todd Green and Spencer Keepers would argue with me time and time again about this. Admittedly, the potential exists, but I have not found this to be as prevalent as some would believe.
Here’s the trade off for opting for the tritium sights. With the majority of manufacturers, during the day you are essentially shooting blacked out sights. That’s not very beneficial in my opinion. Yes, some have a white circle around the front vile, and hi-visibility options like the Trijicon HD’s exist. All have their own issues. To my knowledge, no manufacturer produces any of these with a front sight smaller than .125-ish width. Ok, let’s say you don’t care about that. How about this: The majority of individuals carry their guns almost all of the sunny hours of the day, and about half or less of the dark hours of the night. That puts an advantage to what works best in the day for me.
“Bad guys attack at night.” While not an absolute, it is more statistically correct than saying they attack during the day, but bad guys attack when they think they can win. Day, night, doesn’t matter. What we’ve seen is that an overwhelming majority (read almost every) civilian/patrol LEO involved shooting has happened in an area where the ambient light was so prevalent that night sights were of no advantage, along with weapon mounted lights. (Check out John Correia’s research from Active Self Protection as well as Aaron Cowan from Sage Dynamics white paper on Red Dot use).
“My fiber optic rod broke after 100rds. It’s not durable enough for a carry/duty gun!” This one gets thrown out a lot. Here’s how you fix it: LEARN HOW TO INSTALL A FIBER OPTIC ROD PROPERLY! Yes, there is a right and wrong way to put fibers in. There are several videos out there demonstrating proper installation, and they make the difference. Along with this, some sights are just better than others. Caveat Emptor. I have had excellent results from Dawson Precision and 10-8 Performance. Most of my fiber optic sights however are custom made with smaller fibers and a little more protection for the rod. Up until this past year (2017), I had never broken a fiber optic rod in one of my guns. A couple of months ago I noticed one was not installed correctly and I did a hasty fit (read improper) of the rod trying to salvage the .02 cents worth of rod. Sure enough, it broke about 1,500 rounds later. First one since 2012…on almost every single gun I’ve shot…
So, you want to run Fiber Optics because you can see them better? Do it. Want to run Tritium sights because there may be a point where they’re more beneficial to you? Do it. Bottom line, choose what works best for you in your reality. Fiber optics are not going to get you “kilt on da streets” nor are night sights going to save you.