July 13, 2022
The two hottest trends in self-defense pistols are reflex optics (red-dot sights) and suppressors. Both these items can be beneficial to a shooter, but both also pose the same problem: They make it difficult, and sometimes impossible, to use factory-installed iron sights on your firearms.
XS is offering a solution to the problem with their new R3D Suppressor-Height night sights. Since their inception, R3D sights have been one of the top options among self-defense sights because they provide day-or-night sighting thanks to the photoluminescent Glow Dot charged with tritium and ambient light. The front sight blade measures 0.145-inches across, wider than most competing sights. The photoluminescent Glow Dot ring on the front sights has a diameter that is almost equal to the width of the sight blade itself, and that makes it easy to see your sights in full or dim lighting. Glow Dot color options include green and orange.
The convex front dot is always brighter than the rear sight, which is important for fast, accurate shooting. Because the front sight is always brighter, it immediately attracts the attention. There’s no temptation to divert attention between the front and rear sight. This promotes consistent and proper sight alignment. When the R3D sights are raised, the eye naturally focuses on the front sight, providing a fast and reliable sighting system for day or night shooting.
The R3D rear sight has a square notch design and dual tritium lamps. Anti-reflective lenses and a matte finish on the rear sight help reduce glare in bright light. The rear notch measures 0.170 inches wide and the front sight naturally aligns within the notch, allowing for rapid-target acquisition.
XS R3D sights are precise enough for shooting at extended ranges, too. I found while testing firearms at 25 yards from a bench, XS R3D sights are consistently more accurate in any light than factory sights. They’re also versatile enough for competition shooting. During IDPA matches, R3D sights have proven to be accurate enough for me to consistently score on the farthest targets without having to sacrifice speed on close targets. That same level of flexibility that makes these sights suitable for competition also makes them ideal for personal defense.
Both the front and rear R3D sight are made of steel with a rust-preventative coating, and this ensures long-life and rugged reliability. Everyday carry handguns are exposed to heavy abuse, which can damage factory sights, even metal ones. This is especially true if you are an active person who carries a pistol while hiking, biking or jogging. XS sights have built their reputation on the durability of their products, and there’s a reason law enforcement and military professionals choose their durable metal sights for daily duty.
R3D Sights for Use with Suppressors and Reflex Sights
There are more suppressors in use today than ever before, and that’s great news for sustaining hearing. Suppressors have long been vilified as a tool of the assassin; instruments engineered specifically to stifle the roar of gunfire. That perception of suppressors is a Hollywood myth (crime statistics show that very, very few murders involve suppressors), but what suppressors can do for shooters is reduce the volume of each gunshot by 20 decibels or more—enough to preserve your hearing and prevent irritating the neighbors while target shooting.
Most suppressors are so large in diameter that they interfere with factory iron sights. If you’re going to add a suppressor to your pistol, you’ll also need to add a set of suppressor-height sights, and the XS R3D is a natural option. The Glock 43X MOS R3D sights I tested measures 0.275 inches from the base to the top of the sight and about 0.2 inches from the base to the center of the dot. Compare that to the factory Glock front sight, which measures 0.175 inches high and 0.09 inches to the center of the front dot, and you’ll realize the XS sight offers a lot more space for sighting over a suppressor.
R3D sights also co-witness with reflex optics (red-dot sights). After mounting a SIG Sauer RomeoZERO red-dot optic on the Glock, I found the factory sights wouldn’t co-witness properly with the optic. I could see the top of the front sight, but just barely, and aligning it with the rear sight was impossible. With the XS R3D sight in place, however, I could use the reflex sight or the iron sights.
Red-dot optics are popular, but they are also battery-operated and that means at some point you’ll have to remove the optic to replace the battery. We must hope that never happens in a gunfight, but it could, and the reflex optic could lose zero or be damaged and become inoperable. In these instances, having iron sights that co-witness with your optic isn’t just a luxury, it’s a lifesaver. I wouldn’t carry a defense pistol with a reflex sight that didn’t have some form of a fixed co-witness sight that I could use in case of emergencies. The XS R3D sight solves that problem for me, and I never have to worry about battery life impacting my life.
If you elect to remove the reflex optic from your carry pistol, there’s no need to change sights. I used the XS R3D sights on my Glock pistol with and without the red-dot optic in place. Most modern carry holsters offer elevated sight channels, and the two holsters I used during evaluation accommodated the elevated sights without modification.
Whether you’re using the R3D Suppressor-Height sights as a primary optic or a backup, you’ll be well-equipped to face any dangerous situation in any light conditions. Because violent encounters frequently happen in low-light conditions, it’s important to utilize a sighting system that offers full visibility day or night. With a set of R3D Suppressor-Height sights, your firearm can accommodate reflex optics, suppressors, or both without issue. That’s just one of the many reasons why XS sights have been installed on countless everyday personal defense pistols.
XS R3D sights are available for many popular modern pistols on the market and are offered in two colors for the Glow Dot, orange and green. Retail prices will vary depending on handgun brand and model. The Glock 43X R3D sights used for this review retail for $127. All XS Sights are backed by a 10-year, No-Questions-Asked Warranty, and XS’s 30-Day Satisfaction Guarantee.
For more information about the new XS R3D Suppressor-Height Sight or to purchase a set for your handgun, please visit: xssights.com.
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