Wayne Novak, owner and proprietor of Novak's in Parkersburg, WV, has a hard-earned reputation not only for his company's high-quality custom firearm work, but also for his development of a wide range of accessories and parts for self-defense firearms. First and foremost of these is his excellent carry-gun sighting systems.
Wayne's story goes back to the early 1980s when he first opened Novak's. The fact that his name is now synonymous with sights in the minds of many gun enthusiasts should provide an accurate assessment of his success. Choose just about any type of quality pistol today and you will have an extremely good chance of seeing either a Novak's-manufactured Fixed Sight System or a licensed variant.
The Low Down
The hallmark of Novak's sight systems is its "LoMount" profile, which refers to its low, smooth, snag-free and streamlined shape that does not snag during the draw or print as easily through clothing. As should come as no surprise, due to their intended use on carry guns, the sights are fixed units that can only be drifted for windage.
Over the years, Novak received requests for an adjustable variant of his sight design from both customers and major firearm manufacturers. The issue for Novak would be how to develop a sight both rugged and low profile—no small feat with an unavoidably more complex adjustable rear-sight mechanism. His answer was the Novak Extreme Duty Adjustable Sight.
A Higher Profile
Although Novak cautions that the Extreme Duty Adjustable Sight is by its nature more of a target sight than a duty sight, the new CNC-machined solid-steel sight does feature a very similar exterior design and shape to the Novak Fixed Sight System. In fact, other than a bit taller height and the elevation adjustment screw on its top face, it is hard to distinguish it from a standard Novak sight. The system is available in a choice of all black or with three dots in white, tritium or fiber-optic.
The entire sight assembly can be drifted in its dovetail slot on the slide for windage adjustments. To adjust elevation the user simply turns the micrometer adjustment screw to dial in the sight to the proper point of impact. Each click represents 1 inch of movement at 25 yards with a 5-inch-barreled pistol. Once it is dialed in, a set screw on the left side of the rear sight can be tightened to lock the setting.
Installation of the Extreme Duty Adjustable Sight varies in complexity based on the firearm in question. The system is available for 1911 pistols from Colt, Springfield, Kimber, Smith & Wesson and Taurus, and installation can be as simple as swapping out the factory sights (as on Kimbers) to as complex as requiring full milling on a pistol not initially equipped with Novak sights. However, if a pistol does require machining, the owner can simply strip the pistol down and ship the slide directly to Novak's for the work.
I tried out the tritium version of the Extreme Duty Adjustable Sight system on my Springfield TRP 1911 pistol, which was originally equipped from the factory with a set of fixed Novak's sights. As the installation required a small milling cut in the front of the existing rear dovetail slot, I shipped the slide for the work. Normal turnaround time for installation is one to two weeks.
When the slide was returned, apart from the taller height of the Trijicon front sight and Novak's rear sight, it was extremely similar to my original set of sights. The quality of the sight and its installation were excellent, and Novak assured me that if I wanted to switch back to fixed sights, he has a fixed unit that would neatly fill in the new slot that was milled in the slide.
Combining the positive attributes of Novak's Fixed Sight System with the flexibility of full adjustability, the Novak's Extreme Duty Adjustable Sight makes for an excellent addition to any 1911 pistol.