What is Wrong with Stock Sights?
I hear you… you paid good money for that pistol and don’t see anything obviously wrong with the stock sights it came with. Well, maybe wrong isn’t the right word… Let’s just say there is room for improvement - perhaps a lot! ;-)
Let’s look at the details.
The post header image shows a stock Glock pistol. Glocks are, if you did not know, a very popular option for personal protection. There are a number of reasons for this, but the stock sights are not one of them. Why?
For starters, they are plastic. Your pistol may see some hard use in a fight (or, hey, you may just accidentally drop it or snag it on something) and the stock sights have a reputation for breaking off.
Now, while I do advocate learning to shoot without using your sights for very close distances, it is another matter to have no choice. Unfortunately that is not the end of the negatives…
Another issue with the Glock sights is that they use a non-standard sight picture. WHat I mean by that is that the “ball in a bucket” method of aligning the sights is almost exclusive to Glocks.
Is that bad? Well, it is at least less than ideal if you shoot other types of pistols, but I am also of the opinion that it is harder to be accurate with this type of sight at speed unless you are extremely familiar with these sights on your particular pistol.
This is because the sights do not give you any real feedback on vertical alignment when lining up the front and rear sight. How low in the bucket does the ball go? You don’t know unless you can clearly see the outline of the sights and you ignore the markings. Obviously this is not something you will always have the luxury of doing, especially when shooting under duress.
Many consider these stock Glock sights placeholders for the aftermarket sights they intend to buy and have put on the gun. I suggest you view them the same way.
Well, wait now, you say, I don’t even have a Glock. My sights are steel, not plastic and they use a 3-dot system for alignment. I’m good, right?
Let’s say you have something like this:
Well, right off the bat, yes. They are made of something more durable than plastic. That is an improvement.
The 3-dot sighting system does give you both vertical and horizontal feedback on alignment, since you line up the dots vertically and then center the front sight dot equally between the rear two dots. You are two for two!
However, there are some other issues to consider.
First up, look carefully at the picture. There is little difference in how the two rear dots appear compared to the front. Similar in perceived size, same color. That is certainly an opportunity for improvement.
Also, with 3-dot sights like this, there is a very real possibility of misaligning the sights by placing the front sight to one side or the other of the rear. You still get three dots in a row but that shot is not going anywhere near where you intended. Note that this can also be a concern with tritium night sights.
3-dot sights like this are certainly serviceable and you can make good hits with them, just like with the Glock sights. The real issue I see is that neither sight system is really helping you shoot more accurately or faster. They do you no favors.
There are better options and, best of all, they are not a terribly expensive upgrade. We’ll start looking at some of those in the next post.