When I first learned about XS Big Dot sights, what I liked the most about them was the fact that they’re nothing new and fancy. Express sights have been used in dangerous game rifles for over a century. A “V” rear notch and front round bead, usually gold, was the best sight for hunting fast moving dangerous game. Their intended purpose isn’t fine accuracy, but quick shots at close range against tigers, elephants or charging water buffalos. Since bad guys can be considered pretty dangerous and fast, and the encounters occur at close range, in theory this all makes a lot of sense. There was a little inconvenience though. The tried and true Patridge type sight, with its square rear notch and front post has been ruling the market for almost as long in the handgun world. The reason for this is simple, the Patridge type sight is just more accurate. Yes you can shoot a popper at 100 yards with your XS Big Dots, but at the end of the day you just can’t squeeze as much accuracy out of the system. Yet self defense shooting is often fast, and you need sights that are made for quick target acquisition with an emphasis on the front sight.
If you’re already good with your standard sights, making the change will be difficult, honestly, it may not make sense at all for you. In spite of these doubts I went for it and installed XS Big Dots on my Glock 31. The installation is very simple and it makes it easier knowing you can uninstall them just as quick. Small piece of advice: Before installing, mark with a pencil the exact center of preexisting front and rear sights. Do the same with the new XS Big Dots you’re about to install. This makes precise installation much easier and all you have to do is make the marks match. Keep in mind that a +-mm will ruin your accuracy.
After installation, I went to the range with a few boxes of ammo. The first couple hundred rounds where disastrous. Of course I hit the center at 7 yards, but head shots at 20 yards were a different story. What the heck had I done to my gun? I can see how someone that aren’t very picky may not be that concerned, but I had been shooting more than often lately and was actually getting pretty good at it, keeping shots in the same ragged hole at 7 yards in the center of the target.
“These are sights for fighting, not target shooting” I was told. Yes dude, but I kind of like hitting what I’m aiming at, and while at contact or very close range you don’t aim much, it doesn’t make much difference what sights you have, now does it? Also, I kept thinking of the hostage shots we practice sometimes, where you have an couple inches worth of bad guy to shot.
Little by little I got better with them. I’m not as good as I am with the standard Glock sights but I’m getting better. Last Friday I used them for some Action Shooting stages where you have to draw, run, reload, shoot as quick as possible, and I did feel the front XS big dot sight was acquired faster than regular ones.
XS Sight Systems 24/7 Big Dot Tritium Sight Glk 17,19,26,34,22,23,27,35,31,32,33,36 Green/Green 2 Dot GL-0001S5
The advantages of the XS Big Dots are fast target acquisition. The tritium inserts are very visible in low light situations. Another advantage is that they are made of steel, very solid, and the rear sight is square enough to be used in single handed reloading, something the fancy aerodynamic sights seem to forget and are not capable of doing. I never understood why manufacturers ignore this issue.
The disadvantage? Not as accurate as Patridge style sights when you need more precise, fine shooting. Which one is better for defense? Id say that all things considered, in most cases you’ll need that fast shot on target rather than a fine, highly accurate shot. That’s the logic I used myself when I chose to buy and install them.
Still experimenting with the XS Big Dots. Some people like them, others don’t, but I think they’re worth trying out to see if they work for your. After a few more months I’ll write a bit more about them, once I have more experience.
Take care folks and good luck!