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Night Site Brightness

Discussion in 'Sights, Optics and Lasers' started by Farmalljon, Feb 15, 2011.

  1. Farmalljon


    Feb 19, 2010
    I'm looking for the consensus on which night sights are the brightest and which are the most durable for my G21? I realize that this is a "Chevy Ford Dodge" question, but there must be a general consensus on which is brightest/best?????
  2. Steel Head

    Steel Head Tactical Cat

    Jan 1, 2010
    A cat box in WA
    To me Mepro's are the brightest.
    I stay with Trijicons and Ameriglo's(which have Trijicon lamps)
    I don't like super bright sights and the above two brands have treated my well.

  3. abraves


    Mar 20, 2001
    Meps are the brightest I have found. They also seem to very cleaning solvent resistant as well.
  4. fivestar


    Oct 15, 2004
    I too have found Mepro's to be the brightest. They're my personal favorite.
  5. Search


    Feb 20, 2009
    All night sights seem to be bright enough at night.

    My problem has always been finding night sights I could actually see during the day. Will never buy Trijicons again because I absolutely cannot see them.

    Plus, a year and a half later the back right tube has dimmed very noticeably.
  6. hoffy


    Jun 12, 2007
    I only use Mepros or Trijicons, and Mepros do seem a little brighter, not by much, but in my mind, brighter = longer lasting, though again not by much. 8-10 years maybe 11 is the longest either seem to give useful light, but had a set of Trijicons that could be discerned in total darkness 14 years after installation, in practical terms, useless. I have bought guns with other sights on them and just was not satisfied, can't recall the brands. The Ameriglows fiber optic almost went on my latest carry gun but mepros prevailed due to $ and an angry wife...... Also, any color other than green has a much shorter life, like half, so for me that is not an option.
  7. Dude, tritium is an isotope of hydrogen, with two neutrons in the nucleus along with the one proton and one orbiting electron you'd expect. The hydrogen really doesn't like them, and will get the neutrons to leave as soon as it can. It can, on average, get half of them to leave in just over fourteen years. In the next just-over-fourteen-years, it can manage to slough off half of the remaining. Next 14+, half of the balance again. That's radioactive half-life. The tritium (three things in the nucleus) radioactive isotope of hydrogen will become half as radioactive every just-over-fourteen-years.

    The whole while, hydrogen is getting those pesky neutrons to get out of town. It happens every microsecond, not just a big trainload every just-over-fourteen-years. Every time one leaves, it's energetic. It's pissed, if you will. If you stick the tritium in a glass tube with phosphor compounds coating the sides of the tube, their exit will be through phosphor molecules and they will (as phosphors are wont to do when excited) phosphoresce. That means light up. That's how it glows. The radioactive decay of that tiny bit of screwed-with hydrogen, surrounded by phosphorus glows like crazy for mostly ever. But for our eyes and shooting purposes, the useful life is about fifteen years.

    Tritium is tritium. If it's tritium, then it will last in night sights for about fifteen years before it gets half as bright as when you bought it. Most of us replace it around then. Nobody makes a different isotope of hydrogen for night sights. They're all the same. Just over fourteen years from whenever the tritium is constructed, they all are ready to replace.

    And aren't all the tubes made by Trijicon, anyway?
    Last edited: Feb 17, 2011
  8. RayB

    RayB Retired Member

    Dec 2, 2005

    1) What a fun and informative essay on tritium! :thumbsup:

    2) No. A Meprolight Rep at the OEM Plant in Israel told me Meprolight manufactures its own tritium lamps, whereas Trijicon imports and distributes theirs.

    We've got both Glock OEM (Meprolight) and Trijicon sights on two of our Glocks... Here's a snippet from my well-received night sight review...


    Meprolight Night Sights are rugged, well-made, low profile, combat-type sights, with a wide front blade to rear sight notch aspect. Israeli-made Meprolights were the first tritium night sights marketed for use on popular pistols and rifles. Their large lamps appear brighter than other night sights, partly because the interior of the lamp housings has a bright-white coating to increase internal reflection. The lamps and white plastic o-ring markers appear to be embedded in polished epoxy, which resists solvents and makes for easy cleaning. By design, the front sight appears brighter than the rear sight.

    Trijicon Night Sights offer tritium lamps surrounded by an aluminum sleeve, pressed into the sight housing, and covered by a sapphire lens. This lens makes the sight markers appear very sharp in the dark, Vs. Meprolight's glowing orbs, and protects the lamps from external damage. The narrower front blade to rear sight notch aspect will be appreciated by sharper eyed shooters at the range. The quality is excellent, but care should be taken when cleaning to avoid harsh solvents and aggressive scrubbing, as the white o-rings are painted on.

    AmeriGlo offers the best selection of night sights available. Quality is first-rate, as the sights combine Trijicon lamps with white PVC O-rings for markers. A combination of sight profiles, blade and notch widths, marker configurations, sizes and lamp colors, offers something for everyone. I really like their Operator sights with a green front and yellow rear lamps!



    P.S. I was also told that green and yellow tritium lamps have similar lamp life.
  9. Ray, that was a great explanation. No wonder it was well received. You got me to take out my contact lenses and get up close with the only two pistols I own which have night sights mounted: a 26 with factory sights and a Kahr P9 with XS not-so-big-dot. I also checked out the Trijicon site.

    It looks like the Glock factory sights are manufactured by Meprolight. You probably already knew that. The XS use Trijicon lamps, at the least. Might even be manufactured by them. They say Trijicon all over them in white and the XS is engraved and not highlighted at all. From what I can see, the Trijicons are epoxy coated, too, protecting the white ring paint (at least on the newer models.) They suggest not using harsh solvents (steer clear of the Barkeeper's Friend, too. Don't ask how I know that.) as they may remove the paint. I believe they mean the black finish on the aluminum and the Trijicon, TT, H3, 10, etc. painted in white on the exteriors.
    Last edited: Feb 16, 2011


    Dec 20, 2002
    IME, Meprolights are the brightest, but they are too bright for me.
    I bought a set for my G-35 and they were just ridiculously bright.
    In a dark room you can see their glow on the shooter's face from across the room. They're bright enough to degrade your night vision.

    I like Heinies, not too bright, not too dark, just right.
  11. Angry Fist

    Angry Fist Dehumanizer® Lifetime Member

    Dec 30, 2009
    Hellbilly Hill
    I like my green front and orange rear Mepros. Perfect for me. Had 'em for a year, but I haven't done a night shoot yet.
  12. nelsone

    nelsone rank amateur

    Apr 10, 2008
    Beaverton Oregon
    Ray, that WAS a great explanation!
    One minor quibble: phosphors aren't made with phosphorus.

    Now subjectively, I can tell you that my Mep orange-colored rear sight dots appear much dimmer than the green-colored front one, almost certainly because of my eye's spectral sensitivity.

    That's why it's likely that the orange ones will dim to uselessness in less time than the green ones: because they start out dimmer.
  13. crazyfarmer


    Jan 29, 2011
    I have trijicons on my 21 and those are ok, but the tru glo TFO's are MUCH brighter. Some say they are to bright. I love them. My only hiccup about them are the higher front sight profile and I could see one snagging and breaking. But no issues yet. If you want bright, those TFO's will get the job done. I would say they are about 20% brighther than the trijicons new
  14. margo


    Jul 19, 2000
    Savannah, Ga USA
    I thought meps were the brightest, but when I got out my mep equipped glocks yesterday I thought the lamp had died. I have truglo fiber optic/tritium sights on my nightstand gun, G23, and there is simply no comparison.

    I am thinking about putting them on my G26. I should post a side by side pic of them both. Maybe I will take one tonight.
  15. You are absolutely right. I was absolutely wrong. We all know how that feels, but I get to feel it right now!

    I fixed the original post to reflect the facts. Phosphorus, under the right CHEMICAL conditions, will phosphoresce. Phosphors phosphoresce when their molecules are excited by electrical- or radio-activity.

    Thanks for catching this. I wouldn't want to be responsible for disinformation. You saved me.
  16. RayB

    RayB Retired Member

    Dec 2, 2005

    Well, that's fine and dandy for you! But I, for one, feel that I was deceived--misled--by your erroneous post and its misinformation! :sadangel:

    The pox on you and your house! :fred:

    Seriously, accuracy matters--even if the correction does a flyby past the average GT member! :headscratch:

    We need and want the ability to self-correct as we go! ;)

  17. gh0st614


    May 4, 2003
    Columbus, OH
    I ordered the night sight set they use on the Talo EXO for my new gen4 19. I was able to check them out at a gunstore on the gun and I really liked them alot. When I went to the last gun show I did not see very many guns with night sights, I really wanted to check out the XS big dots and the mepros to really see how 'orby' they are.

    I never got to check out the mepros but I fell in love with the sights on the EXO and they were 90 shipped with the GLOCKTALK coupon code. $90 is much more preferable to the Trijicon HDs which were around $150 + shipping..
  18. I am so very, very ashamed. I will now kill myself in shame...
    Or not.

    Man! Now my house has been poxed, too!

  19. La26


    Aug 2, 2008
    When looking at Nite Sites for my G19, I read on one of the websites of the company I was looking at (sorry-can't remember which) that they intentionally have the front site brighter than the rear site. The idea behind this is that you should concentrate on your front site when aligning your sites and obtaining a site picture, and having the front site brighter makes it easier to do this. The reason I am posting this is because if someone notices that their front site is brighter than their rear sites, they could intentionally be made that way, and not defective. Sorry I can't remember which brand that was, maybe someone can recall reading it somewhere. :dunno:
  20. I vaguely remember the yellow/green part being for the purpose of differentiating and focusing on the front sight... but it's late and I can't remember which brand, either. But I'm pretty sure you're right. One color was naturally brighter than the others, in addition to the color difference.