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Having put about 500 rounds through my SA XD45, I decided to upgrade the factory sights. I had been kicking around the idea for a couple of months and with my trip to Front Sight just a week away, I decided to get it done. I stopped by Lone Wolf (where I purchased the XD) and ordered a set of TruGlo Tritium Fiber Optic sights. They arrived the following day but since their gunsmith was off for the week, I had them installed at another local shop just a few miles away.
TFO refers to the patented combination of Tritium and Fiber Optic technologies. The Tritium maintains the brightness level of the sight in low light (or NO light) conditions. That means you can see your sight even in complete darkness with perfect transition through all light conditions. Tritium does not need batteries and does not need to be charged with light, it simply glows!
Here is my XD45 with the TFO rear sight installed. Tritium is a radioactive isotope of hydrogen and is used as the light source to illuminate the optical fiber. Tritium has a half life of slightly over 12 years and so you will be looking at replacing the sight at that point in time. During the day time, when the sun washes out the tritium light source, the exposed sections of optical fiber gather the sunlight and create a bright green dot.
The front sight is set up the same as the rear sight assembly. It too contains a small vial of tritium gas and the fiber optics provides you with a glowing front sight, day or night. The XD is noted for the tight fitting dovetails that hold the sights in place. The gunsmith even commented about how tight the front sight fit (both the factory and replacement sights). I had read on a couple of the gun forums that this was the norm and so let the gunsmith put the sights on my XD. For just $20, it was money well spent, in my opinion.
Sorry for the low quality shot....my digital camera can't keep both sights in focus for a photo. But I think you can see how things look from this end of the XD45.
One thing I noticed immediately after racking the slide a few times....the new rear sight is much easier on my weak hand. The factory rear blade sight was unforgiving if you happened to position your hand improperly while doing malfunction drills. The new rear sight has a smoother profile and is easier on the hand.
I'll add some more comments after I get back from Front Sight and had a chance to see how the TruGlo sights worked on the range.
The Front Sight class has come and gone and I had a GREAT time! We had 39 folks from work participating in the same class. A great bunch of shooters that I would happily share the range with again.
As for the TruGlo TFO sights, they were everything I hoped they would be. A friend at the class had an XD45 with TFOs mounted on his as well. We both agree that they are a great sight.
I recently read a thread on a gun forum that was discussing the TFO sights. The original poster was looking for feedback on them. One slower than average participant pipes up and says that since night sights can't be used 24x7, there was no way he would put them on his gun. Well, what can I say? Some folks, usually those that haven't tried it, are quite uninformed to say the least. Let me tell you, TFOs will work 24x7 without any problem at all.
In the bright daylight, they glow like crazy. The brighter the sunlight, the brighter the fiber optic inserts. You can't go wrong with that, in my opinion.
We stayed late one day so as to have the opportunity to practice in low and no light conditions. The TFOs really come into their own in the low light situation. In a situation where you can ID your target good enough to know it is a bad guy, but regular iron sights wash out when you bring them to bear on the bad guy target, the TFOs were like a torch out there. I was able to precisely place my hits exactly where I wanted them.
In no light situations, the TFOs still did a good job. Obviously, you can't shoot what you can't see and TFOs are not going to help you find your target. I used a tactical flashlight to illuminate the target. Once acquiring the target, I was using those glowing sights again.....easy enough to line up on the target and squeeze off a couple of shots.
TFOs are NOT magic. They do not make up for a bad sight picture, poor trigger control, or anything else that will contribute to poor placed shots. They do provide the shooter with an easily acquired front and rear sight picture that is usable in any lighting condition. If you intend to shoot in the dark, get yourself a quality tac light and practice with it!
I would recommend these sights for a defensive handgun sight upgrade.