Night sights on pistols have become standard issue on many service pistols in use today. In fact many people would not think of using a pistol without night sights. Contrast this to just 10 years ago and it would be safe to say that night sights have taken the market by storm.
There are many excellent night sights on the market but my personal favorite is the Heinie Straight Eight night sites. The Heinies only have one tritium dot on the rear sight which allows you to focus more easily on the front sight vs. types that have two dots which tend to overpower the front tritium dot. Novak’s also offers a wide variety of sights with tritium inserts and between these two vendors you pretty much have your bases covered. The overwhelming majority of my personal handguns have either Heinie or Novak sights installed with most of them having tritium inserts.
As far as a recommended supplier of tritium inserts my personal experience has led me to favor Trijicon tritium inserts. Trijicon has a very good reputation of long lasting durable tritium vials that are easily adapted to different types of sights.
A couple things to remember with night sights are as follows:
1) You need to practice at night with your night sights to determine how well you can shoot with them. Many shooters have the attitude that with tritium sights on their pistol they are ready to go for night fighting. Not quite. I have seen many shooters who struggle shooting at night with tritium sights. Two factors that are often overlooked are having to shift focus from the target to the sights with the resulting loss of target definition and eyesight limitations at night. Both of these can lead to bad hits and complete misses at night. Pistols lasers such as those offered by Crimson Trace offer a distinct advantage at night vs. just night sights. This topic will be covered in a separate Tactical Tips article.
2) During the day completely ignore the night sights and use them as standard black pistol sights. The reason is very rarely do the dots correspond with a traditional sight picture of standard pistol sights. What can happen under stress is a shooter lines up the dots and not the iron sights meaning they will have shots grouping low, high, left or right depending on how the tritium sights line up in contrast to the standard sights. This is another reason why I like the Heinie Straight Eights as this is not as much of a factor with this type of tritium sights. Remember night sights are for low light conditions; ignore them in good lighting.
Tritium night sights are like any other accessory attached or installed on your weapon with distinct pros and cons. I feel the pros greatly outweigh the cons but as always failure to understand the cons of night sights can come back to bite you when you least expect it.