Some of you may know that I have been a huge fan of XS Sights since 2006, particularly the DXT2 Sights (formerly known as Big Dot Express). The DXT2 takes the express-sight design and brings it into the 21st century.
The original design was based on the “express sights” used on African big-game rifles, consisting of a rear sight with a shallow “V” trough — which allowed the shooter to keep an open field of view — and a brass-bead-type front sight. The shooter set the brass-bead front in the shallow “V” and fired. While not quite as precise as a standard rifle sight, it is more than precise enough, especially in dangerous close-range hunting conditions.
XS upgraded this design, improving the front sight while leaving the rear sight mostly the same. More importantly, the company realized that, with a bit of tweaking, the express-sight concept could be applied to handguns. As it turns out, handguns used for close-quarter battle are the perfect place for the use of express sights.
To the rear sight, XS added the option of a white ceramic stripe or a tritium insert stripe for the center of the trough. The front sight changed significantly from a brass bead to a tritium-dot insert with a white ceramic outline. The ceramic outline — combined with a larger overall size — made the front sight very easy to pick up under daylight or lower-light conditions. The proper sight picture with the DXT2 is obtained by aligning the sights to form a “lollipop” — placing the big round dot on the rear stripe in the center of the “V.” Quick sight alignment couldn’t be simpler.
This setup is beyond par for use on a close-quarter combat pistol, although it is also effective at all practical pistol distances. For distances less than 20 yards, a dead-center point of aim is taken; beyond that, a “6 o’clock” hold is needed. I have been able to fire effectively with the standard XS Express Sight on my Beretta 92 out to 100 yards. That ought to be good enough.
Our 727 Counter Terror Training Unit adopted the original XS Express Sights alongside Crimson Trace Lasergrips as our official handgun sighting system. The combination of the two systems excelled in situations for which we were training — taking back buses, trains and aircraft from terrorist takeovers. Because there are hostile threats packed among innocents, it is precisely this type of situation — just like in an active-shooter situation — during which the open rear “V” allows optimal identification of friend versus foe.
I was thrilled to find out that XS would be expanding the DXT2 Sights to include Optic Orange and Optic Yellow front-sight-insert options. I asked for a pre-production Optic Orange to test since I had previous experience mounting an Optic Orange insert to the XS F8 sights on my Glock 17. I was sure that the same color insert would work out very well on the DXT2.
The timing was opportune, as I was due to qualify my Chief of Police on his .357 SIG Glock 33 for off-duty use. Chief Tussey is a certified police firearms instructor but has no experience with XS Sights. I requested an Optic Orange with tritium-stripe rear-sight set for his pistol.
XS Sights are easy to mount on a Glock, although you will need a rear-sight pusher to remove the factory sight. Installation only takes a half-hour or so, which includes time needed to let the included Loctite Red begin to dry. Other guns may require factory or gunsmith sight-mounting.
Once the sights were mounted, Chief Tussey worked with his unloaded Glock 33 to get a feel for the new sight system. The first thing he noticed was how easy it was to pick up the Optic Orange insert. We agreed that the Optic Orange color and the DXT2 sight as a whole are especially helpful for shooters of a certain age.
At the indoor range, Chief Tussey gave the new DXT2s a workout under lighting conditions that allowed the new Optic Orange inserts to, well, shine. While conditions weren’t dim enough to observe the tritium glow, they did show how well the new insert stood out. Chief Tussey was able to qualify easily out to 50 feet on even the quickest stages of the 25-round qualification course, proving the advantages of the XS system under rapid-fire conditions, when there is no time for perfect alignment of traditional sights.
If you are looking for a new set of tritium sights for your defensive pistol or revolver, consider a set of XS DXT2 Big Dot sights, available Dec. 1. You won’t be disappointed.