Can’t See Your Small Bead Sight? Upgrade To An XS Big Dot!

Are your eyes having a hard time picking up that small factory bead sight? Installing a larger front sight from XS Sights is easy and painless with the right tools. Now you will be able to quickly find that front sight day or night with the new tritium Big Dot.

Many thanks to Brownells for sponsoring our Modification Minute videos. The parts and tools we used were:

Apex Tool Group 6″ Chain Nose Pliers – $15.99

Loctite Medium Strength Blue #242 Threadlocker – $14.19

Brownells ACRAGLAS GEL Non-Flammable 4 oz. Kit – $34.95

XS Sights Shotgun Big Dot Tritium Front Sight – $63.90


Patrick R

Patrick is a Senior Writer for The Firearm Blog and TFBTV Host. He likes guns and has liked shooting guns for as long as he can remember. You can follow Patrick on Instagram @tfbpatrick, Facebook, or contact him by email at

The above post is my opinion and does not reflect the views of any company or organization.


  • PK

    Tritium shotgun beads are an absolute must for home defense shotguns. It’s easily the first thing I change out on serious use shotguns, same for pistols/rifles… easier to see, and nice and bright in all conditions. My personal favorites are from Marble Arms and Metropolight. I haven’t tried the XS Big Dot due to my preference for smaller beads.

    A tip, however – the vial is usually set in a cavity drilled all the way through, on most brands. A dab of black paint on the non-user side completely blocks that, and you no longer have a little glowing dot pointing the wrong way.

    • Flounder

      I wouldn’t say a must have… But very nice. It depends too heavily on tactics, or the tactics a person will employ. And flashlights, and ambient lights. And if you have an optic on your shotgun. etc, etc, etc,

      As for personal preference, I use optics on rifles/shotguns and tritium and fiber optics on pistols. That way the pistols irons always look the same, middle of night or the middle of the day, or at dawn or at dusk. I tried straight fiber optic, and didn’t quite like it, (much more than black or a white dot) but when I tried pure tritium the changing picture between the day and night threw me off. So I settled on the TFO or TFX from truglo, although I blacked out the white circle on the front sight. My preference will probably change over time.

  • Veteran for Trump

    A dab of fluorescent green paint will do.

    • PK

      It’s absolutely not the same, and when an inexpensive tritium sight is all of $30… well, how many shotguns do you have to swap sights on? In a pinch, all you need the sight plus the right size tap and bit, a few minutes to drill/tap, install the sight, file the post to the right height inside the barrel, and you’re done.

      It really is a five minute job that can be done for under $40, all in, with the tools useful for many more projects.

      • Veteran for Trump

        And if one doesn’t want to go through all that trouble, fluorescent green paint.
        It’s on all my C&R rifle’s front sight posts.

        • PK

          “All that trouble” gives this, in a matter of a few minutes.

          I can see doing it on fun guns, range guns, absolutely. Why bother with the expense? But for defense pistols/rifles/shotguns, tritium is the green standard – and for good reason.

        • Flounder

          What paint do you use?

          • jonp

            Brownells sells a kit with several colors in it and they glow in the dark.

          • Flounder

            Link? I can’t find it on their site. Maybe my google-fu is just weak.

          • jonp

            There also is not one that glows in the dark but the kit I bought a number of years ago did. The orange and the green glow. Not great but they do.

    • Flounder

      kinda, I have done both. Tritium is infinitely superior.

      It self illuminated, no dicking with flashlights

      It can look normal or even good during the day. as in not a blob of paint.

      It will always be ready to go, for like the next 10 years, if not 20. And you will probably move to something else or change the sight by that time.

      But the price difference is definitely in favor of the paint. which leads me to the next point, I have yet to find paint that is worthwhile, they either come off, or arn’t bright, or kinda just suck. I haven’t been able to find a quality glow in the dark paint.

      And the price some people are asking for those paints! They are into tritium prices.

      • iksnilol

        After 24 years it’ll be a quarter of its original brightness. Which is still usable considering how bright some vials are by defaul.

  • Flounder

    Patrick, can you explain the gel? It looks like a two part epoxy… at 4x the price of what it should be.

    The pliers, meh, not gonna compare prices on pliers

    The tritium bead… About market

    loctite… I guess you could use superglue but the loctite isn’t crazy priced…

    So I guess your modification minutes are becoming slightly more reasonable!?!?

    • Patrick R. – Senior Writer

      You have to keep in mind, Brownells is sponsoring these videos. If they recommend a product or there is a product specified by the manufacturer, that is what we use regardless of cost. I TRY to do everything correctly and by the book in the mod minutes, sure there are cheaper ways to do some of it, but I would rather put a video out that is correct to the best of my abilities.

      Generally everything used in the videos is as I would buy it if I didn’t have the tools already. Every video is done to show the guy that hasn’t taken a small project on himself that it isn’t that hard to do WITH THE RIGHT TOOLS.

  • Destro Yakisoba

    Put a light on that blaster!

  • jonp

    XS has been in business for some time now and those of us advancing in years love their products not just for shotguns or rifles but for iron sights on revolvers

  • CMonster 556

    Am I the only one that uses an actual wrench instead of pliers on beads? And I have never had one come out, never bother with the loctite.

  • Other (even cheaper) ways to improve a bead sight:

    ● Glossy white paint
    ● Glossy day-glow nail polish
    ● Heating it up with a lighter and pushing a standard white or day-glow airsoft pellet down onto it until it melts in place
    ● Wrapping it in a tiny strip of teflon thread tape
    ● Tying a day-glow zip tie around the barrel in front of it and clipping the tail flush to make a large diamond bead

  • Sand

    Personally, I prefer Loctite 243. It’s more tolerant to surface contamination, especially oils, so you get a better bond without having to degrease.

  • valorius

    I have an XS tritium big dot on my Ruger SP101 bed stand gun. Gives a great big point of aim for tired, sand filled sleepy eyes.

    • 22winmag


      Just a little filing and and an undersize 1/16th drill bit, and my Speed Six is a whole new gun.

  • DW

    Is there even a reason why some defense oriented shotguns still have bead sights instead of rifle sights or ghost rings?

    • 22winmag

      Perhaps because self defense typically takes place at short range?

    • Flounder

      So you can shoot buckshot? Or so you can shoot birdshot, when you take it to the range at least.

      I find people who use ghost rings underestimate their spread and try and be more precise than the shotgun will actually allow. A bead is also a touch faster for most people. Less accurate sure, but the difference is not between a hit and a miss; it is the difference between a hit and a slightly off center hit.

      Some people love slugs. For those people a bead is not preferable. But I think for all others the point isn’t important.

      Also, a bead is much cheaper than ghost rings. which is why manufacturers would opt to use beads or just front sights.

      • Dan

        Yep I went from ghost sights back to bead. If i was stuck shooting slugs or buck shot at close ranges ghost sight would have been ok. So much quicker with the bead for me.

    • The bead is faster, and some people prefer to use their shotguns as scatterguns in lieu of ersatz rifles.

    • Ebby123

      Cost would be my guess. That little bead is probably $.008 to produce, whereas real sights would add a few dollars to the bottom line.

  • Destro Yakisoba

    LOL you can get this sight with a tube of JB weld on Amazon for $63 and FREE SHIPPING. Thank you Google for hacking the Money Extortion Minute.

    • 22winmag


      Soon to reside on my Norinco 98.

      • neckbone

        Thought you were gonna say firearms, not sights.

  • neckbone

    You don’t seem to get it, Brownells pays them money to allow this it sounds like. They do as the deal was proposed. Most slightly competent humans can figure out another way to skin this cat. You could always offer to support the costs on here by yourself, and we could all avoid the videos that we only have to watch IF we choose. You wasted a lot of time complaining about such a trivial matter. Go do something productive please.

    • iksnilol

      Yet you did the very same thing, and now, so did I.


  • iksnilol

    No thanks, I just zeroed a Surefire Hellfighter 5 to match my shotguns zero. Where the light points, it hits.

  • Patrick R. – Senior Writer

    It isn’t an article. It is a 90 second long video showing that it isn’t hard to do.

    The content was sponsored by Brownells, their sponsorship keeps the lights on as well as allow us to make videos like that show people who might not be as into firearms that modifying their guns the correct way isn’t hard and all of the tools and parts are available at the same place.

  • Bloody Bucket

    I have XS tritium big dot on both of my Mosberg 590A1s (one a 14″ SBS). Both built by Vang Comp Systems. Put big white dot on center mass, press trigger, pump, repeat as needed. To easy.

  • Hyok Kim

    Try ‘soft focus’ technique. It works better than those fancy tactical sight. I picked it up from Jerry Miculek.

  • I put a XS Sight Systems rail with ghost ring rear sight and matching Big Dot front sight on my Mossberg 590A1, and I REALLY like this setup. The gun came with a cheap ghost ring rear sight and a dovetailed front sight blade. Mounting the rail and new sights took just a few minutes, and it is a vast improvement. I don’t generally believe in entertaining those “if you had to have just one gun” scenarios, but if I had to reduce to just a pistol and a long gun, the 590A1 with those XS sights on it would be a viable choice …..maybe not the best choice, but a viable one.