Tritium is an extremely rare radioactive element produced artificially for use in a variety of applications. And in the late 1980s, it sparked a revolution in low-light shooting skills. My first encounter with tritium night sights was after the Whitehall Police Department adopted the 9mm SIG Sauer P226 with three-dot tritium night sights. Though great for low-light shooting, tritium sights do have one weakness. The radioactive luminescence decays to zero in about 10 years.
Adding Tritium Sights to My Beretta M9
I’ve owned this particular Beretta M9 since 2005. It’s still one of my all-time favorite full-sized combat pistols. The original white three-dot factory sights were upgraded to a set of standard size XS “Express Sights,” as they were called back then. These featured a front tritium dot set in a white background and flattened, V-shaped non-tritium rear sight for alignment. A tritium rear stripe was and is available. But I wanted to keep things simple for potential tense conditions.
Now called “DXT” sights, they are currently available in standard with white outline, big dot with white outline, big dot with orange outline and DXT2 with bright yellow dot outline. The yellow dot outline really enhances the visibility of the front sight under daylight conditions. The rear sight is still available with a plain white vertical stripe or a tritium insert.
As a Glock armorer, I have installed various XS Sights on my Glocks with ease because I have the correct tools. I didn’t have the right equipment to change out my M9’s sights myself though. I sent the slide out, with a request to mount the yellow DXT2 big dot. That is the most visible sight option available.
Testing the XS DXT2 Tritium Sights
After getting the slide back, I drove over to Briar Rabbit Shooting Sports, which now boasts a 540-yard rifle range, eight pistol bays with steel targets, a USPSA competition area and more. It was a perfect, sunny fall day. My shooting companion and senior pastor, Mark, and I set to work in a pistol bay. He brought his Glock 17 with factory plastic sights for his first steel target experience.
Though Mark also had success with his Glock 17, he found the yellow/green color of the front sight outline stood out vividly against the white steel plates. He also said the “front dot on rear stick” sighting concept of the XS DXT2 was very easy to grasp. I also found the big dot front sight easier to pick up than the previously mounted standard dot. Younger shooters might prefer the standard dot due to the possibility of even more precision.
I’m just as sold on the XS DXT2 sighting concept as I was 15 years ago. If you find yourself in a situation where your factory Tritium sights have given up the ghost, consider trying something different as a replacement. XS also offers the fine F8 and R3D options for those who want a more conventional sight picture. And XS is currently offering a fall rebate of $20 on all sights. Prices range from $104-$148 depending on sight type and model of gun.
XS Sights: XSSights.com