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Making a Good Front Sight Better

The business end of my SDI Capstone project. Skeletonized TG-H3 with a super bright green fiber bundle. Works much better in less than desirable lighting.

I purchased a set of TRUGLO® fiber optic front and rear sight sets for one of my 5″ 1911’s several years ago. The front sight was red fiber with a pair of green fiber optic “bundles” at rear of the slide. They worked very well at outdoor, ranges, but there were times when I shot on indoor ranges that had less than desirable lighting, that… well, the front sight was somewhat difficult to pick up from the back ground clutter. I eventually purchased a set of Dawson Precision fiber optic sights with a green front sight and a pair of red dots on the back of the slide. This worked much better for me in most lighting configurations. My only complaint was that the Dawson fiber diameter was about 50% less than the TRUGLO® and, of course, 50% less bright. That particular 1911 ended up on a shelf for the next couple of years as I moved on to other projects.

One of those projects was the Sonoran Desert Institute, Associate of Science in Firearms Technology degree program. Upon application for acceptance into the program, all students are asked which particular Capstone project they want to complete at the end of their studies, the 80% AR-15 or 80% 1911 build. I chose to go with the 1911 as that is one of my favorite platforms. Okay, let us fast forward to building my Capstone project. It is an aluminum frame with a steel slide, chambered in 9mm Luger and has all of the other normal 1911 parts one might expect to find on a normal 1911, 9mm Luger. After all of the initial cutting, fitting and blending was completed it was time to head to the range and see how this gun was going to run. It worked just fine, not great, but just fine. My biggest complaint was the fact that I kept losing the front sight due to the less than desirable range lighting. Oh by the way, the front and rear sight were standard black NOVAK®  post and notch style sights. What was I going to do?

After looking around for and “affordable” Tritium or fiber optic front sight (it was really all I needed), I began rummaging through my bin of pistol sights from years (and projects) past and found that “old” TRUGLO® red fiber optic front sight that I was not terribly crazy about in the less than desirable lighting situations.

Un-Modified TRUGLO TG-3H Front Sight with red fiber.
Un-Modified TRUGLO TG-3H Front Sight with red fiber.What was I to do? After giving it some thought I decided that I would modify it, skeletonize it, so to speak, as well as, changing the color of the fiber optic.
Customization of a TG-H3 Front Sight at C+R Shooting Specialties LLC.
Customization of a TG-H3 Front Sight at C+R Shooting Specialties LLC. I started by setting up the sight in my trusty X-Y machinists vice and center punched three centers for the pilot holes of my prototype Frankensight(C). Easy peasy, on to the next step. Oh by the way, the process of cross drilling also takes care of the old fiber optic rod removal.
Modified TG-H3 front sight frame fresh out of the drill press vice.
Modified TG-H3 front sight frame fresh out of the drill press vice.The three cross drilled holes were located in such a way as to increase the ambient illumination of the fiber optic rod by over 50%. I purposely left the cross drilled surface area unpainted for higher surface reflectivity and a coat or two of clear matte DuraCoat for corrosion protection.
The newly modified TG-H3 Skeletonized Front Sight from R+C Shooting Specialties, LLC. Nice.
The newly modified TG-H3 Skeletonized Front Sight from R+C Shooting Specialties, LLC. Nice. The newly modified prototype sight is sitting on top of the white metal, steel slide which is riding on an aluminum frame. A two tone DuraCoat finish is in the works.
TRUGLO TG-H3 fiber optic sight set I purchased several years ago. It worked well in most lighting conditions, but not all.
TRUGLO TG-H3 fiber optic sight set I purchased several years ago. It worked well in most lighting conditions, but not all. This shot is under very bright lighting conditions.
New sight picture with the modified (skelotonized) TG-H3 front sight with bright green fiber. Rear sight is the classic NOVAK notch. Less busy than the TRUGLO Red/Green combo I had.
New sight picture with the modified (skelotonized) TG-H3 front sight with bright green fiber. Rear sight is the classic NOVAK notch. Less busy than the TRUGLO Red/Green combo I had. As long as I can see this simple sight picture, I shoot tighter, more consistent groups by spending less time trying to decide if my 3-dot is properly lined up. This works well for me, but may not work well for others. The front sight is much brighter than the photo depicts. The lighting conditions for this photo are what I would consider to be as “less than desirable.”
The business end of my SDI Capstone project. Skeletonized TG-H3 with a super bright green fiber bundle. Works much better in less than desirable lighting.
The business end of my 5″ 1911, 9mm Luger SDI Capstone project. Skeletonized TG-H3 with a super bright green fiber rod. Works much better in the dreaded “less than desirable lighting” scenario, and makes shooting my special project pistol a whole lot more desirable.

If you have a sight that you would like to modify, and are not afraid to give it a try… by all means go for it. We have replacement fiber optics rods available on our Handgun Sights page.  On the other hand, if you are a little skittish about cutting into gun parts, click on our Shop page and check out this particular service that we offer under Custom Firearms Services. The pricing is very reasonable, work scope can be negotiated with special pricing and free shipping is always the standard method.

Enjoy!

Chip Bulkeley

Co-owner, C+R Shooting Specialties, LLC

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