Sights for concealed-carry guns

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Sights for concealed-carry guns

As readers know, we do not own, keep, or carry guns for personal protection. On the other hand, we are occasionally forced to carry guns as part of our professional obligations, and therefore shoot every day. We tend to carry one of two handguns, depending on the circumstances. The first is a 9mm ASP and the second is a .45ACP Smith & Wesson 625-3.

The ASP came with the famed Guttersnipe sights, which we felt to be inappropriate for most work. We had them replaced by more conventional sights which worked as well or better at close distances as the originals, and worked much better at greater distances. Because the ASP tends to shoot where we point it, and has much less perceived recoil than a conventional 9mm, we are less concerned with its sights for short distances, or in conditions of darkness.

However, because of personal bias we prefer .45 ACP to 9mm. Therefore, much as we admire the ASP, unless there is some legal or logistical constraint, given our choice we will always opt for the .45ACP S&W 625-3. The 625 came with standard red ramp S&W front sights. These are excellent sights for many purposes – we shot the Secret Service match with this configuration, in spite of the fact that it has a totally inappropriate 3” barrel, and did not score at the bottom of the heap. Nonetheless, in a carry pistol our interest is not in shooting at one of the great ranges of the world, but in shooting in the dark at a target which is somewhere between next to us and ten feet away.  For a number of reasons, we felt we needed to look at other alternatives in terms of sights for this gun.

In this situation, our interest is in sights that will help us get off the first shot when we have some leisure, not when shooting has started. We decided on a tritium front sight so we would have at least some vague idea where the front of the gun was in relation to the target. Why not get tritium rear sights as well? Because in this situation we need to know where the target is and where the front of the gun is. Rear sights simply don’t contribute much in this situation.

Our choice was the XS Sight Systems Big Dot Tritium Express Set, shown here on a Smith & Wesson 686. The big dot is really big, and easily picked up when it is light enough to see. As it gets darker, the tritium capsule in the center of the sight becomes visible enough to be seen for that important first shot. What about the remaining shots? There will be so much fire flying from the barrels of the guns being fired that this will not be a significant issue.

The sights we got, the SW-0004S-3, retail for a modest $90, and are well worth it. XS sights are among the best in the world, and if you carry a gun for work you should be speaking with them. If not, we believe you are doing yourself a disservice.

XS Sight Systems ( are at 2401 Ludelle Street, Fort Worth TX 76105. Their phone number is 1-817-536-0136.

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