Good morning everyone and thanks for reading yet another edition of TFB’s Silencer Saturday, a safe space for common people preserving their hearing, not government-backed movie assassins. Today we will be talking about a peripheral issue effecting suppressed shooters: sight picture. The question (or comments) regarding the use of suppressor height sights on pistols is common – with most silencers sporting a diameter of 1.25” to 1.375”, shooters are faced with a new sight picture. While the urge to swap out sights is strong, I maintain that adding suppressor height sights is not a requirement; you can still take those hostage shots with that new silencer attached to your .40S&W Hi-Point.
SILENCER SATURDAY #71: Suppressor Height Sights Are OVERRATED
Despite my click-baity title, my thoughts on sights actually mirror my thoughts on other people’s carry guns: choose what is best for you and carry on. This isn’t a knock on sight manufacturers, either. There are many solid sight choices to pick from, either in standard or suppressor-height form.
Ok, let’s lay it out:
- The problem: your large diameter silencer blocks your sight picture.
- Proposed solution: install taller sights to see over your silencer.
- Actual solution: stop and realize that your sight picture is actually better being blocked by the silencer.
To understand this principle, let’s go back to the fundamentals of pistol shooting with defensive/combat style “dot” sights. Sitting atop the boreline are (usually) three dots or other artifacts that are used by the shooter to line up an accurate shot. When aligned properly, the dots will align the bore of the weapon to the shooters line of sight. And as long as the shooter keeps those sights aligned in the same plane, the pistol can be moved on the target for perfect shot placement.
The perceived problem of adding a suppressor is that the sight picture is now blocked, preventing proper shot placement. The reality, however, is that as long as the dots are properly aligned, the shooter can place accurate shots on target even though the sights are blocked by the silencer, the shots will be equally accurate with a nearly imperceptible offset. In fact, with a consistently dark backdrop to line up the dots (the silencer) the sight picture is easier to line up than a dynamic target.
The key is to remember that the difference between standard height sights and suppressor height sights is between .175” and .250”. And for defensive targets, the offset of a 1/4 of an inch is basically imperceptible.
Lets take a look at some comparisons.
Ignore the fact that suppressor height sights are basically a requirement when using a mini red dot or reflex optic like the RMR. The difference between Trijicon’s models is about .225”.
GLOCK Factory Night Sights – .256” height
GLOCK factory sights actually make an awesome sight picture when backed by the dark background of the SilencerCo Octane 45HD.
My measurements on XS suppressor sights showed slightly less than .2” difference in height over factory.
Beretta Factory Night Sights – low profile silencer.
The Dead Air Odessa 9 is the current leader in low profile designs.
Beretta factory night sights – large diameter silencer.
As expected, a full sized silencer fully blocks the sight picture of the Beretta M9A3 factory sights.
Suppressor Height Sights – Wrap Up:
Ok, let’s hear it – who feels the opposite and installs tall sights on all their suppressed pistols? Do you need that sight picture to lay on top of your target? Or is the sight picture on a dark backdrop (the silencer) and a quarter inch offset enough to make consistently accurate shots? Sound off in the comments section below.
Have fun, be safe and we’ll see you right here next week at TFB for another edition of Silencer Saturday.
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