I can easily identify an out-of-place person in my house without the need to see exactly who it is. I don't need to see facial features or colors to see a firearm, knife, or crowbar in someone's hands in near-dark environments. I can easily see that my truck is a medium shade of color under full moon conditions, and see 1/4 mile down the road just fine. However, I can NOT pick up non-tritium sights in these conditions.
Since the use of scotopic vision is required under dim light, you will never physically be able to pick up the sights without light of some sort. The rods in your eye are absent in the fovea, so anything in the dead center of your field of view is not able to be seen. However, the rods will usually pick it up peripherally. With small objects like sights, that will be difficult at best. Try it at night when your night vision has kicked in (20-30 min). Stare at an item hanging on the wall, and it disappears, but look to the side and you see it.
Even with a light, tritium is easier to see than non-lit sights; it is just part of the nature of sight. Having used both lights with and without tritium sights, I can agree with it. The dark sights still take longer to acquire.
Furthermore, tritium allows you the ability to look "over the sights" at the target area without even thinking about exactly where the gun is pointed. If needed, they can be acquired instantly.
Is tritium necessary? No. You may not even get time to attempt a sight picture, but they sure can help any other time.
Proudly shooting guns in: .40 S&W, 9mm x 19, .38 Spl, 357 SIG, .45 Auto, 10mm, .22 LR, .22 WMR, .204 Ruger, .223 Rem, .300 Win Mag, and 12 Ga.
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Last edited by G31; 10-13-2012 at 22:22..