Most serious shooters who’ve bought a factory Glock handgun equipped with OEM sights will immediately swap out those “irons” for a better option, and let me tell you, pretty much anything out there is a better option. Fortunately, the need for solid sights on one of the world’s most-popular handguns provided an opportunity for a dizzying array of aftermarket providers to offer solutions. One of the latest options to hit the market in 2019 comes from XS Sights, famous for its Big Dot lineup of irons.
Speaking of the Big Dot, XS rolled out a new model of this popular optic in the form of the DXT2 Night Sight, which takes the dot into darkness, thanks to a combination of photoluminescence and tritium illumination. The setup of the sight in daylight is similar to the company’s other Big-Dot options, with a large, circular dot in the front sight and a V-notch rear sight. Well, as much of a V-notch as the rear sight offers anyway.
If you’ve never used a Big Dot-style of sight before, the system uses a “dot the i” strategy for aiming, where the rear sight features a vertical stripe that acts as the body of the “i”, while the dot itself is…well, the dot. Pretty self-explanatory. To balance the front-sight dot directly over the rear stripe, the rear-sight notch isn’t so much of a notch as it is a shallow depression. If the dot is off to one side or the other, the upward slope on either side of the depression will partially obscure the circumference of the dot, providing a visual cue that you’re aiming off to one side or the other.
Basically, the idea behind this aiming system is that, thanks to the huge dot on the front sight, you’ll be automatically drawn to that front dot, strengthening the front-sight focus that’s essential to accurate shooting and hopefully getting a faster sight picture and a faster first shot on target. The “Big” part of the Big Dot also helps when shooters shift focus toward the target, which is admittedly a bad habit to have, but at least there’s still a large, easily seen reference point in the front sight when viewed from the periphery. I’ve never been in a gunfight, but I imagine it takes more discipline and training than most people have to focus on their front sight rather than on whoever’s trying to kill them. In that case, having a pretty huge front sight that grabs your attention even when you’re not totally focused on it doesn’t seem like the worst thing in the world.
The “Night Sight” portion of the new DXT2 irons from XS Sights brings the same daytime-sighting elements found in this unique aiming system to a low-light environment. Two tritium lamps work together to provide an easy-to-see aiming picture that replicates the same “dot-the-i” sight picture in darkness. The vertical tritium post on the rear sight matches up with a circular tritium lamp in the middle of the front-sight dot to create this intuitive aiming setup.
One of the added benefits is that this aiming system avoids some potential downfalls seen in low-light sights. For example, tritium-illuminated sights will often have a single lamp in the front sight with two matching lamps on either side of the rear sight. It seems easy and natural to place the illuminated front-sight lamp in between the rear-sight lamps, but in darkness and under stress, it’s possible to have the two rear lamps off to one side, and that sight picture will not put the bullet where it needs to go, to say the least. With a vertical post at the rear and a circular dot at the front, the two tritium lamps in the XS Sights DXT2 Night Sights are distinctive enough to avoid confusion, even under stress.
One of the other popular features found in today’s sights is the “tactical ledge,” which allows for one-handed racking off a thick belt, boot lip, table ledge or any other flat surface. The flat-faced surface on the leading edge of the rear sight provides this capability, for those who find it necessary or useful. One of the other elements I particularly appreciate about the rear sight on the DXT2 Night Sights is that all of the edges are de-horned and smoothed. I’ve had aftermarket sights before with edges sharp enough to tear clothing and car seats before, so I particularly appreciate the attention-to-detail on this particular sight.
To test out the XS Sights claim that the company’s sight setup allows for faster, more-intuitive aiming, I swapped out the factory sights on my brand-new Gen 5 Glock G19 with these DXT2 sights. Installation was a breeze, since the sight doesn’t require the use of a sight pusher. The front sight installs with the same style of threaded bolt as the Glock OEM sight, and the rear sight is secured into place through two set screws on opposite sides of the rear-sight leaf. Loctite is your friend during this install process.
With the new sight secured, I headed to Justified Defense Concept’s Defensive Pistol Skills I course in Culpeper, VA, a class I reviewed here. At close distances, 7 yards and in, the benefit of the large front sight was clearly evident, as I felt confident in my front-sight focus and immediate acquisition during the draw process. I even found that making precision shots on small circles at these distances was pretty easily done.
However, then the course moved back to the 15- to 20-yard line, and I started seeing the downside of the Big Dot. That great, big front sight is awesome for fast acquisition up close, but the problem with having a front sight that size is that it’ll start obscuring large portions of the target the farther back you go. At 20 yards, I found that the front sight covered most, if not all, of the silhouette-style paper, and as a result, accuracy suffered. All the fired rounds, save for a stray shot or two that was the fault of your author, were on the silhouette, so it wasn’t unusable at those distances, but don’t think you’ll be making precision shots.
For its intended use, though, which is rapid sight acquisition at close ranges, the XS Sights DXT2 Big Dot Night Sights certainly do the job, and I can attest to its tritium illumination as well, since the lamps glow like a light when sitting on my nightstand. The suggested retail price on the night sights is $176, and for that, you’ll get the front and rear sight, along with a generous tube of Loctite and all the tools you need for installation.