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Upgrade Your Glock: XS Fiber Optic Sights

XS Sights recently introduced a new option for Glock shooters pairing a high-contrast green fiber-optic front with a black serrated notch rear. The set's precise sight picture and steel construction represents a significant upgrade.

Upgrade Your Glock: XS Fiber Optic Sights
Don't settle for cheap, plastic, Glock sights. Be awesome, and check out the new fiber-optic options from XS Sights, designed and built in Texas. (Photo by Joe Kurtenbach)

Glocks are great. They are durable, reliable, affordable, and easy to maintain. When you pull the trigger, they go bang, and their out-of-the-box functionality is completely serviceable. Where I tend to take issue with Glock’s marketing team is the slogan, “Glock Perfection.” One of Glock’s greatest selling points has nothing to do with the products coming from the company’s U.S. and Austrian facilities. Instead, it is the robust aftermarket of Glock-compatible parts. Whether it’s triggers, sights, magazines, grips, springs, slides or barrels, there is a flourishing industry of manufacturers whose products can make a great gun even better. Too, there is no shortage of gunmakers leveraging old Glock patents to build their own rendition of the handguns. Why? Because the Glock design works. It’s not pretty, it’s certainly not perfect, but it is enduring and effective. I kind of wish Glock would just own it — “Glock, the perfect foundation.” But I digress.

One of the stock elements of the Glock pistol that needs to be addressed with some urgency is the sights. The company is doing a better job these days of cataloging models with factory upgraded sights, but if you’re in possession of the standard configuration, you’ll want to make the swap as soon as possible.

XS Gunsmith Sight Tool
The Gunsmith Series Sight Tool from XS Sights has become a go-to for the author. A polymer wedge brilliantly secures the slide, a brass pusher protects the sights during install, and because the pushing screw is on the same plane as the dovetail, the force required is way less than competitive tools. (Photo by Joe Kurtenbach)

The problem with the stock option is two-fold. First, they are plastic, and should not be relied on to endure hard use. Normal wear and tear will take their toll, and they aren’t likely to stand up to one-handed manipulations, such as racking the slide off the rear sight. 

The second issue is the sight picture. Glock’s standard sight configuration is intuitive, and includes a rear sight that looks like a three-sided box, open on top, and a simple front dot. To align the sights, simply put the ball in the box. However, it’s not precise, and it relies on simple white paint. There are no additional light gathering or light emitting elements.

XS Front Sight Tool
Doubling as the lever arm for the sight pusher, the front sight tool includes a magnetic head to securely hold the small Glock front sight screw. (Photo by Joe Kurtenbach)

Thankfully, there are ready solutions, and one recent addition to the aftermarket is XS Sight’s Fiber Optic Sights for Glocks. In comparison to the stock Glock sights, the XS Fiber Optic sights are both precise and durable. The front sight housing is made from steel, and the green fiber-optic rod is long enough — about 0.55 inches — to effectively gather ambient light and produce a bright, high-contrast aiming point. It is also narrow enough for precision shooting; the housing is 0.125 inches wide, and the fiber-optic rod has a diameter of 0.06 inches. (A red user-replaceable fiber-optic pipe is also included to suit any shooter's preference.)

Brownells Glock Slide
The Brownells aftermarket Glock slide is a great option for refreshing an old gun. Options are available for Gens 3-5, and this Glock 19 Gen 4 model added both front slide serrations and an RMR optic cut that the original component did not include. (Photo by Joe Kurtenbach)

Paired with the fiber-optic front is a serrated, blacked-out rear. This is my preference for rear-sight configurations because I don’t like the clutter of additional dots or references. I prefer the rear sight to help facilitate a front-sight or target focus. The serrations help cut down on glare that might be reflected back to the shooter’s eyes, and the rear notch measures 0.145 inches wide to provide good visibility forward and enough room to refine sight alignment for precise aim.

To test out the new XS offering, I used a Brownells Glock 19 Gen 4 slide, which is another great example of an aftermarket improvement. Unlike the stock component, the Brownells slide adds forward cocking serrations and an RMR-compatible optic cut — it’s an easy solution for updating an older Glock pistol — in this case a Glock 19 Gen 4 I’ve had for more than a decade. As you’d expect, the front sight mount and rear dovetail on the Brownells slide both follow Glock specifications, so sights from makers like XS will work without issue.

XS Fiber OPtic Sights
The length of the green fiber optic rod allows it to gather light efficiently, and the blacked-out rear will not distract or clutter the sight picture. (Photo by Joe Kurtenbach)

Since its release, one of the heroes of my workbench has been XS Sights’ Gunsmith Series Sight Pusher. It’s lightweight, easy to store, includes everything you need for installing front and rear sights, and it’s incredibly easy to use. Every time I put it to work, I’m surprised by how little force is required to push the rear sights across the dovetail, especially compared to the larger sight-pushing apparatuses I’d been using. The front sight tool, which doubles as the sight pusher’s lever, is very durable and well-constructed. Especially helpful is its magnetic head which ably holds on to the small front sight mounting screws. If you are a Glock tinkerer, the tool kit is a worthwhile investment and makes installation a breeze.

Rear Sight
Notice how in bright, direct sunlight, the serrated rear does not reflect light or distract from the front sight and target. (Photo by Joe Kurtenbach)

With the XS Fiber Optic Glock Sights mounted, I was off to the range to confirm alignment. As expected, the sight picture was a huge upgrade from standard Glock fare. The green dot stood out both in direct bright sunlight and beneath the awning of a covered shooting bay. The rear sight did a good job of knocking down glare and allowed my vision to concentrate forward on the front sight and target. My first 10 shots from 7 yards cut the “A” out of the center of a silhouette target, and that was proof enough for me that the sights were mounted correctly and dialed in.

Front Sight
The green front sight is bright and easy to see. Because the front sight is so narrow, there is plenty of forward visibility and room in the rear notch to refine aim for precise shots. (Photo by Joe Kurtenbach)

XS Sights is well known for high-visibility and tritium powered iron sights, but I think the new fiber-optic products are going to be a great addition to the lineup. They offer and level of precision that bold, multi-component sights can’t always provide. Too, some people just prefer the look, simplicity, and easy maintenance of fiber-optic sights. For example, if your tritium starts to fade, you need a whole new sight. Replacing a fiber-optic rod, by comparison, is easier, faster, and less expensive.

Target
Anytime you change sights on a handgun, it is important to confirm alignment at the range. Shooting the "A" out of this target at 7 yards is a good start. (Photo by Joe Kurtenbach)

I know the new Fiber Optic Glock sights are just getting off the ground, but it’s never too soon to start requesting more options. I’m sure additional gun fits are coming, but I’d love for XS to expedite some suppressor- or optic-height models in this Fiber Optic configuration. I think the blacked-out rear and fine, green front would provide the perfect to a slide-mounted red-dot optic.

In the meantime, if you’re still using Glock’s standard plastic sights, please stop. The XS Sights Fiber Optic Sights for Glock pistols are an excellent, made-in-the-U.S.A. alternative that will surely improve performance. At just $70, they also offer a lot of value.

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