October 19, 2020
By Jim Angell
Having the ability to flex your firearm’s capabilities to meet changing shooting conditions, situations or just the gradual shifts in personal taste is what makes the AR platform so likeable. One company that has done its best to keep up with the demands for flexible targeting products is XS Sight Systems.
The XTI2 DXS Ember 45-degree offset tactical rifle sight set is their latest in a line of products that date back more than 20 years. Designed with the 3-Gun competitor in mind, the second-generation XTI2 set comes with taller bases for easier sight alignment without having to break a cheekweld.
This ability to hold your cheekweld while transiting from a scope to iron sights to engage targets at pistol-caliber distances is a huge time-saver. Due to the distances intended for the set’s use, XS recommends setting up the rear sight in front of the rifle’s optic and closer to the front sight.
At first, this may seem counterintuitive if you’ve been round rifles most of your life. Usually for the best accuracy, we’ve been told the longer the sight radius the better. But in 3-Gun, all the targets are not at rifle-caliber distances.
To see the difference in targeting ability, I purposefully setup the rear sight under my new Leupold VX-Freedom AR 1.5-4x20mm scope’s ocular lens. I then mounted the front sight to the front of the handguard. What I got was a great sight radius, but awful results.
Transitioning from the scope to the sights was a lot harder when I had to line up anything within 25 yards. Where seconds can mean the difference between winning and losing, a longer sight radius was definitely a no-go for close targets.
Now when I moved the rear sight about half way between the scope’s objective lens and the front sight —wow, what a difference that made. Not only did the orange dot appear like it was stuck atop the line at the bottom of the rear sight’s subtle V-notch, but its high-contrast color also made it stand out on a variety of targets.
To see how well the tritium material helped with low-light targeting, I moved into some shade. Having been exposed to full sun, the dot glowed like it was on batteries. So for those stages where shooting is done from a car or truck, the sights will work just fine.
The blade-style front sight is easily adjusted for elevation with the handy adjustment tool XS provides. It also has the flexibility to allow shooters to unscrew the standard dot and replace it with one of the company’s other dot and/or blade replacements, like the Big Dot tritium.
The rear sight is windage adjustable, and XS provides a small (I do mean small) Allen wrench. Once the rear sight is set and its two tiny screws are secured, make sure to use the provided tube of blue Loctite to set the rear sight in place.
Made of steel, a XTI2 sight set retails for $138, with replacement front blades/dots selling at $71. An offset duo featuring a Big Dot tritium front blade retails for $212. All the sights come with a lifetime, no-questions-asked warranty.
If hanging a sight set off the side of your gun isn’t your cup of tea, consider XS’s Samson flip-up iron sights for backup duty. With bases made from aluminum and clamps made from stainless steel, these hardcoat-anodized sights are rightfully named. They’ll take a beating and still be ready to go.
Attaching to any 1913 Picatinny rail, the Mil-Spec front sight features a .105-inch-wide XS Tritium Stripe post. On the post is a vertical tritium stripe inside a white painted outline.
The rear sight is a XS CSAT featuring same-plane apertures. It enables the shooter to be zeroed at 100 yards and also at 7 yards when using the notch at the top of the sight for close-in targets. The shooter can also select a larger battle aperture.
They are a bit spartan, but you can’t beat their ruggedness. Don’t expect springs flipping up the sights into firing position; you’ll have to use your thumbs. But they will stay in place until you push a button to lower them. The knurled windage-adjustment knob and available hashmarks made zeroing pleasant.
The one thing I didn’t care for was the rear sight would not lay flat. No matter how the apertures were turned, there was not enough clearance with the scope’s eyepiece allowing for the scope to be secured to the receiver. Now this isn’t a problem with an electro-optic mounted on an AR using a AR-height base.
A Samson flip-up sight set sells for $250. Individually, the CSAT rear sight goes for $132, while the front sight sells for $128.
XS Sights XTI2 DXS Ember Sight Set Specs
- Material: Aluminum bases, steel sights
- Dot material: Photoluminescent orange
- Windage: Drift adjustable (rear)
- Elevation: Adjustable (front)
- Weight: 4 oz. (set)
- Cost: $138
- Manufacturer: XS Sight Systems, xssights.com
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