The only upgrade I’ve found necessary for my Ruger American Competition is a new set of sights from XS Sights. While I do like fiber optics on my rimfires, I wanted night sights on this 9mm pistol. XS Sights was able to supply me with their DXT Big Dot Night Sights. These popular sights are one of the few options I’ve found for this somewhat uncommon Ruger, and I was pretty stoked to try them out. They definitely improve on an already awesome pistol.
XS Sights DXT Big Dot Night Sights
Although my pair are designed for my Ruger, the specs are pretty much the same on this design, regardless of which pistol they’re for. Each set of these sights are CNC machined from steel. Up front is the Big Dot, a high-contrast dot that combines a 0.188″ white circle with a tritium-powered center. At the back, there is a simple vertical tritium vial resting in the middle of a shallow V. Rather than lining up three dots, it’s a matter of “dotting the i”. In keeping with modern (and smart) trends, the rear sight has a nice ledge for one-hand racking.
These sights are low-profile enough to work in standard holsters. They’ve also got a ten year warranty, and 30 day money back guarantee. And one of the better features is that they are easily installed with a hammer and punch. No need pay a gunsmith or invest in fancy tools to swap your sights. Sort of. But that’s not on XS Sights.
Installation of the XS Sights DXT Big Dot Night Sights
Before they can be installed, the old sights needed to be removed. And I pictured someone at Ruger using an impossibly huge hydraulic press to install the factory sights. After 20-30 minutes of pounding with a punch and hammer, I finally cut it in half with a Dremel and abrasive disc. Even then, I had to hammer a bit to get the pieces out. The rear sight gave me no such trouble.
On the bright side, the front sight went in with only a little fitting (some minor filing) and the included thread-lock. And then the rear sight went in and was locked down via two screws using the included wrench. Overall, the entire process took close to an hour. I don’t think this is typical, but the bulk of that time was removing the original sights. It was probably 15 minutes of obsessive filing to get the front to fit, but that was because of my OCD. A few passes, test fit, and repeat until it was almost there. Then clean, apply threadlock, and tap the rest of the way in. Full instructions here.
A little practice before hitting the range
Once the sights were installed, I had to wait for some free time to get to the indoor range, or fair weather to shoot outdoors. During that wait, I practiced with the DXT Big Dot Night Sights. And I learned that it’s easy to become proficient with them very quickly. I feel like I can line them up much faster than a traditional three dot set. This may be because I am right-handed, but left eye dominant. Unlike a three dot set, the front sight is never blocked by the rear sights. At least, not with a proper grip and some practice.
Of course, I also practiced in everything from a well-lit room to complete darkness. That huge front dot is easy to pick up with minimal light, and as things get darker, the tritium does its job. Going from a light room to dark, or dark to light was a smooth transition. In complete darkness, the sights are plenty bright, but of course I couldn’t see my “target”. Needles to say, by the time I got to shoot, I was very comfortable with them.
As luck would have it, I got to shoot outdoors to try out the new sights. It was a little cold, very windy, and what most would call miserable. Except that any time spent shooting is usually a good time. I set up a couple of 4″ gongs at around 7 and maybe 15 yards or so. No fancy drills (I hate wind more than cold, and it was windy), just going from low ready to hitting them both. My goal wasn’t to burn ammo as quickly as possible. It was to see how quickly I could get on target, and then hit another target at a different distance.
The design of the rear sight, coupled with that big front dot, made this really easy. I’m going to need more targets, because I had no trouble keeping both gongs spinning. I’m not the greatest marksman, nor am I the fastest. But being over 50 and wearing glasses, I might be the demographic that most appreciates the DXT Big Dot Night Sights. That’s not to say that they are for older folks, or the vision impaired. But I’ll certainly take any edge I can get. I really do need to get a timer, and start working on speed vs just accuracy.
It was very satisfying to use these sights. I’ve got plenty of other pistols with fiber optics, or reflex sights, neither of which are this handy in low light. And that was the main reason I wanted to try them. They work great during the day, no question there. But they are equally quick and easy to use on a “nightstand” pistol, should something go bump in the night. The whole “dot the i” sight picture became intuitive without spending too much time practicing.
XS Sights are definitely high on my list now for a few other firearms I have. If you’re looking for big and bright sights that are visible day and night, you owe it to yourself to check them out. The ease and speed at which you can acquire your sight picture, regardless of the level of lighting, makes them invaluable on competition and defensive firearms. Plus, they have options for pistols, rifles, and shotguns. Check them out at XSSights.com.
I’d like to thank XS Sights for sending their DXT Big Dot Night Sights for this review. It’s always great to try out something new and innovative, especially when they deliver as much, or more, than promised.