XS Sights: Just Say No

6-Dec-09 – 11:48 by ToddG

I get asked about XS pistol sights all the time, and keep meaning to write something in-depth about them. But the issue came up at HKPRO again today and my quick response there seemed like a reasonable start:

I would not recommend the XS sights. Some people have a religious fervor about them which borders on the frightening, but in general here’s the thing to keep in mind:

  • No top-ranked competitive shooter uses them.
  • No military unit in the U.S. uses them.
  • No major LE agency in the U.S. uses them.
  • No major SWAT team in the U.S. uses them.

xsIf they’re really so great and fast and “instinctive,” why are none of those groups using them?

In fairness, I’ll admit that I’ve had two students in classes this year who were pretty good with the XS sights on their gun (both managed to score an Advanced rating on the F.A.S.T.). But I’ve watched far more struggle with the XS system in the same time period…

The main issue is that the rear sight simply does not provide the kind of visual feedback necessary to get acceptable hits under the wide range of circumstances that matter in a practical setting. Their claim to fame is that they’re fast on wide open close targets… but even point shooting is fast on wide open close targets! Everything is. As soon as you start to require tougher shots, the XS sights slow you down more than traditional notch and post sights will.

Train hard & stay safe! ToddG

  1. 52 Responses to “XS Sights: Just Say No”

  2. I used the XS Express sights on my two G23’s back when they were still sold by Ashley. I used them in several classes in the late 90’s up to around 2002. Over 20,000 rounds through those two G23’s in training. I went back to plain black on black Heinie Slant Pro sights when I switched to G19’s. No loss of speed from 0-20 yds, and my level of precision at 25 yd shots is much better using plain old fashioned black notch and post sights. To paraphrase Brian Enos, I see what I need to see anyway. Just one guy’s opinion who was using XS sights before they were cool.

    By Clay on Dec 20, 2010

  3. I’m from Finland, and I don’t have a good English skills. I just wanted to say that I have Big Dots on my service Glock 17 and those sights made very easy for me to keep my eyes focused at the front sight at all times, especially when using flashlight in search and same time climbing stairs or something like that. In Finland half of the year is very very dark and in long winter it’s very slippery outdoors… and don’t forget it’s dark too, even in mid day. When it’s hard to stand and you have very limited visibility, it’s hard to shoot precise shots. And then I would like to have even more simple and more visible sights than Big Dots, but batteries on red dot sights can’t stand the freezing temperatures below -30Celsius, XS sights do. And they don’t get easily glogged with the snow when skiing or driving a snowmobile. With these things in mind, can anyone point a better sight for me?

    By FlyingFinn on Sep 7, 2011

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