I don’t normally use iron sights. Not when I can mount a red dot. But AMERIGLO offered up some of their iron sights for review and I opted for the AMERIGLO Tritium MBUS Pro front sight as well as optic height compatible tritium sights for my Glock 19X. Normally tritium and night vision do not go well with each other but you can use them and I will share with you how. The Friday Night Lights, this series is sponsored by ATN Corp, manufacturers of night vision and thermal optics like the THOR LT. As with all of our sponsored series, Friday Night Lights will continue to bring you unbiased news and reviews from a variety of companies.
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AMERIGLO Tritium For Optic Mounted Glock
When I got my 19X slide milled for an optic, I ditched the iron sights because they were not tall enough. But they are nice to have as a backup. I opted for the AMERIGLO Tritium GL-330. The tritium vials have a large white circle around them for better contrast in daytime use.
As some of you know, I like to shoot with night vision and shooting with iron sights is not ideal plus tritium adds an additional complication. Night vision has an extremely shallow depth of field. This is due to the objective lens design. PVS-14 objective lenses are 25mm f/1.2 which makes them relatively fast and lets in a lot of light. The trade-off is the wide open aperture cannot be changed unless you use a refocus lens, so objects will be out of focus. If you set your objective focus to infinite to see your target, the iron sights will be out of focus as seen in the photo below.
In a TNVC/Greenline Tactical Night Fighters course, I learned that one can still aim with iron sights if you have tritium. See the photo above? You can see one glowing circle above two overlapping glowing circles. These are the front and rear AMERIGLO tritium sights. Don Edwards instructed us, in his Night Fighters course, to super elevate the front sight and get it into your field of view. Then lower it to place the front glowing orb between the two overlapping glowing orbs (rear sights).
Do you see the three circles above? If not I traced them below. The brighter smaller circle is the front sight and the larger circles are the rear AMERIGLO tritium sights.
While this works, it is not ideal. It is a last-ditch effort but it can work. But is there a different way? What if you adjust the focus of your night vision goggles for hard front sight focus? The picture below is what you will see. You still see the glowing orbs from the AMERIGLO tritium rear sights, you do see a crisp tritium front sight but now you cannot see your target. This is where having dual tube night vision can help. You can shift the focus of your dominant eye to focus on the front sight while your left eye is focused at infinity. Your brain will overlap the two mages and you can aim like this. The same goes for shooting red dots that do not have night vision compatible brightness settings. If you have articulating bino night vision you can roll the pod of your dominant eye out of the way and aim with your unaided eye while your other eye feeds your brain with night vision.
For those who are curious, this is what the AMERIGLO Tritium sights look like through the Holosun. This is the Primary Arms 507C with Vulcan reticle. Night vision objective lenses are closer to the optic than your naked eye so the large 250 MOA circle is in your field of view.
Aiming Passively With Tritium MBUS Pro
At the Red Oktober After Dark shoot the match director ran a PVS-14 and Gary Hughes’ STG-44. He had no way of aiming so he missed a lot of his shots.
Then it dawned on me: “how could one aim without a red dot or a laser?” So that is when I realized the answer was staring me in the face. The AMERIGLO tritium front sight for an MBUS Pro. You could use their regular AR-15 tritium front sight as well but I prefer the MBUS Pro. The tritium front sight post even works with the offset MBUS Pro sights. I used the offset ones so it could clear the red dot and magnifier I normally have on this rifle.
I decided to try a couple different methods I have seen used in the past for aiming with iron sights. The first step was simple which was to aim with the iron sights while focusing hard on the front sight. As mentioned above with the pistol, you can adjust the focus of your dominant eye to look at the front sight while your other night vision objective lens is focused downrange. With the pistol, it was easier to line up the Ameriglo Tritium iron sights since the rear sights also have tritium vials inside. But that is not the case with the MBUS Pro. So I recalled a 3Gun rifle setup back that I saw many years ago when I was an RO for the FNH 3Gun Championships. A shooter had an interesting offset irons setup. It looks more like a set of pistol irons mounted on a plate that was about 5 inches long. He had this rear sight system mounted at an offset and way forward of the ejection port, about equidistant to where one would present a pistol. That got me thinking about getting the rear MBUS Pro sight somewhat into focus. I have to move it forward closer to the front sight so that it will be partially in focus.
See the photo below. I took a picture through both tubes of my night vision goggles. The right eye objective lens is set to focus on the front sight. With the rear sight only a few inches away from it, you can see the silhouette and place the AMERIGLO tritium front sight in the peephole. The left eye is still focused downrange. If you cross your eye like a Magic Eye picture, you can simulate what my brain shows me.
Here is a photoshopped approximation of what the two images look like when combined in your mind.
Final Thoughts On Passive Aiming With AMERIGLO Tritium
Like anything firearm-related, practice makes perfect. While aiming with tritium sights and night vision goggles is less than ideal, it can be done. I was surprised how well I was able to get a sight picture by having one objective lens focused on the front sight while my other eye feeding information and imaged focused downrange. I have heard some people run binos this way so they have one eye giving them information at close range focus while the other objective is set to infinite. You get both close and far information. Could you use a refocus lens? Absolutely, but the holes in the Butler Creek caps or the adjustable iris, like the Tarsier Eclipse, limit the amount of light entering the image intensifier. The image will become darker but now you are focused near and far. This can work if you have a healthy amount of ambient lighting.
Thanks to Ameriglo for sending out these iron sights.
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