In general, I prefer “partridge” type (post ‘n notch) type of iron sights on self-defense handguns. Of course, this is what I have used for over 25 years of speed pistol shooting competition, so naturally I an somewhat un-objective.
I also prefer uncolored front and rear sights for outdoor shooting and I especially dislike three dot systems or any color or design on the rear sight. I have found that anything on the rear sight draws the eye(s) attention toward it which means loss of attention to the front sight which is of paramount importance to speed shooting.
I have, at times, painted a color on the front sight like fluorescent orange or green. You can use fluorescent model airplane paint with a base coat of gloss white. For up close and quick shooting, on especially dark colored targets, a colored front sight can be very useful.
A lot of self-defense guns have nuclear “nite sights” installed that cause some glare problems when shooting outdoors in bright light. They also suffer from the same problem as dots or outlines on the rear sight as they tend to draw the shooters attention to the rear sight. However, for dark or night shooting, they are a great asset to the shooter.
One solution to having an optimum sighting systems for daylight and night shooting is having uncolored sights on the pistol coupled with companion “Crimson Trace” laser grips. The laser is incredible for night shooting and doesn’t even require the pistol at eye level. The laser is not intended to replace the iron sights but is an auxiliary sighting system for times when the use of your iron sights isn’t practical. These grips are extremely high quality that are easy to adjust and have proven to be very desirable. They don’t require any modifications to the pistol as they simply replace the grip panels on most pistols. The Glocks must be sent to the factory for installation because of the one piece polymer frame. In general, I have found nothing better for night or low light shooting then the Crimson Trace laser grips.
How about aperture sights for pistols? There are a number of companies offering optical metallic style sighting systems for pistols. I personally don’t have enough experience with any of these to give a reliable opinion. I have shot a couple of shots with a student’s gun during a class because he wasn’t able to group his shots during a slow fire exercise. It hit consistently for me at that time but a couple of shots isn’t a real test. Bruce Gray, a top competitor, spent a lot of time and ammo testing an optical sighting system about a year ago. He found it worked good but not noticeably faster than post and notch system but sometimes shooting fast on steel plates he would miss shots that looked good. He stopped experimenting and is back using regular sights.
Optical metallic sights may work for you but the only way to really find out is to purchase them and try them for yourself. Unfortunately, you might go to time and expense that may not pay any dividends. So until I really try out some of these new sighting systems that prove more effective, I will stick to post and notch metallic sights. by Mike Dalton, International Shootists Institute