Robbery…murder…the New York State SAFE Act…let’s face it bad shit happens at night. That being said if your gun isn’t equipped with highly visible night sights then you’re not as prepared for a threat as you might think that you are. Throughout the years sights have been getting bigger and bolder, posing the question of “when is enough?” If you ask the folks at XS, they’re likely to say, “no such thing”.
XS sights are best known for taking the features that we love and cranking it to an eleven. Its sights are all about massive dots, monstrous notches, and enough tritium to make your sperm count so low it better represents a Joe Biden Rally. Nearly everybody who is anybody in the world of self-defense has an opinion on them so I set out to take a closer look and get some range time in to see what the fuss was all about. After all, everything looks good in a blister pack but what’s it like getting them onto the gun and what might be lost through their use?
To answer these questions I rallied up some of the most popular guns in my collection. These included a Walther PPS M2, a Walther PPQ M2, and a Canik TP9. These also just so happen to be the guns that I carry, teach and compete with, so I am intimately familiar with how accurate they should be and can easily spot enlarged groups due to an accessory change. XS sights come in over a dozen different variations so I boiled it down to just three to give me a decent taste of the buffet. I chose the RAM Night Sights for the TP9, the DXT sights for the PPQ, and the F8 sights for the PPS.
My first foray into swapping handgun sights didn’t go so well, as I learned when I first attempted to install the RAM sights into the TP9. Now while many sights can be put on with a punch and hammer, you have to be very careful when you are working with anything that houses a tritium vial. Of course, I absolutely destroyed the rear sight when I tried to install it and this lead to my first-hand experience with their “no questions asked” warranty… About a week later a new pair showed up and at just about the same time so did a Lyman AccuSight sight tool. With the proper tools in hand, I went ahead and completed the task. The sights needed a little bit of filing but nothing too crazy. After a few rubs, they were still a very snug fit and I had to utilize a socket in place of the hand crank on the Lyman tool to get the leverage to drive them home. Some might bitch about the effort, but to me, that means that the sight is staying put, just as it should. I like doing sight installs at the range so I can adjust zero as needed right on the spot and get a feel to see if I like the new aiming system right away. The RAM sights were a hit for my eyes for sure. These consisted of a traditional three-dot system with the enveloping dots being substantially smaller than the central dot which is the front sight. This forces concentration on the front sight and turned the TP9 into a fantastic training aid. Through my test fire, I didn’t notice any loss of accuracy through the enlarged aiming surfaces, which is always a concern.
Next up was a facelift on my carry gun, the Walther PPS. The factory sights are okay on the PPS but it would be nice to pick them up in the dark of night a bit easier. The F8 sights give you that little bit extra without being too busy in the rear. Up front is a similar tritium lamp to the RAM sights and back in the rear is a smaller one nestled slightly below the notch. In the dead of night, you just make a “figure-8” and you have a sight picture that is going to be lightning-fast and good enough to get you home. Installation was a bit smoother on these, as the front sight was secured with just a screw. Swapping was a breeze and only took about a minute. The rear sight needed to be pushed out, but honestly, I could have handled it with a brass punch and hammer, as it wasn’t nearly as tough to seat as the TP9. Shooting the PPS after the upgrade was just about as accurate as it was before, but boy was it fast to find those sights, even at the indoor range where I was able to shoot in complete darkness.
While tritium sights are nothing new, the last sight from XS that I had was quite revolutionary, the DXT. The DXT Night Sights flatten out the rear notch into a very shallow “V” and add a vertical tritium line right in the center. Up front is an enlarged tritium dot, just like the other sights that I tested that day. Instead of forming a typical sight picture you simply dot the “I” and you are good to hit a man-sized target out to 25 yards. Installation took about 10 minutes for the entire job and was nearly tool-less. Once I had them installed I fired three-round groups at five, ten, and fifteen yards at a cardboard IPSC with the first sight picture I was able to pick up. I am proud to say that all nine shots were in the Alpha and it happened without me even thinking about how the sights “should” look once I threw the gun up. The rear sight all but automatically centered the front sight and my eye just seemed to know what was supposed to look right. Sure, the gun wasn’t a bullseye pistol anymore, but it was never intended to be one. In “Q” in PPQ stands for quick, and now with the XS sights, it can live up to its name.
XS sights have solutions for not only pistols but some of the most common rifles and shotguns as well. I liked that the company even includes a 30 day trial period, allowing you to shoot with them for a while and if not completely satisfied, return for a refund or exchange. After working with them on this project I am thinking about reaching out to try some of their long gun products. Let us know below if that interests you and if so which ones you want us to test next!