Top 5 1911 Iron Sights

If you have a stock 1911, you might have considered a few minor modifications along the way. It isn’t just the grip panels or external safety you should consider changing, though. Many factory 1911 sights are less than ideal, especially for low light/no light situations, and you might be surprised to find just how much it can help to give your eyes a better object to focus on.

Upgrading your sights can improve target acquisition, accuracy, and follow-up shots. We’ve put together a list of our top 5 iron sights for 1911s to make it easier for you to choose a new set for your favorite gun.

trijicon night sights
Trijicon makes high-quality night sights for the 1911 platform. (Photo: Trijicon)

Trijicon HD Night Sights—1911 Novak Style Low Mount Dovetail Cut

Although Trijicon is well known for its red dot sights and rifle scopes, the company also manufactures high-quality iron sights. The Trijicon HD Night Sights are a fantastic option for 1911s that are compatible with Novak-style sights. These three-dot tritium night sights are designed specifically for tactical applications. The front sight features a photoluminescent paint ring and a tall blade to draw the eye and aid in aiming while the rear sight is outlined in black and has a wide notch. This design is meant to speed target acquisition and can be a fantastic improvement over many factory iron sights you’ll find on 1911s.

The Trijicon HD Night Sights—1911 Novak Style Low Mount Dovetail Cut front sight has a .330-inch x 65-degree dovetail. The rear sight, which is a Fixed LoMount Carry design, has a .495-inch x 65-degree dovetail. The rear sight has a steep hook that helps facilitate one-handed manipulations during emergencies. Trijicon does recommend a gunsmith install these iron sights and states that the tritium lamps have a 12-year warranty (from the date of manufacture). These sights are made with a bright yellow or orange photoluminescent ring on the front sight. If you want sights for low-light scenarios, this set might be ideal for you.

nighthawk sights
These Nighthawk sights have a fiber optic front sight. (Photo: Nighthawk Custom)

Nighthawk Custom 1911 Sight Combo

Many handgunners prefer fiber optic front sights. This set from Nighthawk Custom is incredibly well-made and created to enhance performance across the board. The Nighthawk Custom 1911 Sight Combo with Heinie Ledge Rear and Fiber Optic Front is designed as an all-in-one, versatile iron sight setup. The rear sight has a .125-inch wide notch and is blacked out—there aren’t dots. This is a solid system, as it encourages the shooter’s eye to focus on the bright front sight. In addition, the rear face of the rear sight is serrated to reduce the risk of glare and is smooth at its front side to reduce the risk of snagging. Nighthawk states the rear sight is also made for one-handed slide manipulations.

The Nighthawk Custom 1911 Sight Combo is available in several heights, including .150 inches, .180 inches, .190 inches, and .200 inches. Installation requires custom machining, so a qualified gunsmith should install these sights. The front sight is a red fiber optic Novak cut with a .330-inch x 65-degree dovetail. The rear sight is Novak cut with a .500-inch x 65-degree dovetail. These sights are made to excel in high-stress situations and are designed to make sight alignment faster.

wilson combat gold bead
Gold bead front sights can be great for both daylight and low-light situations. (Photo: Wilson Combat)

Wilson Combat Front Sight, 1911, Snag Free Gold Bead

Wilson Combat manufactures a wide variety of sights, including green and red fiber optic front sights and blacked-out rear sights, but we’re going to focus on their gold bead line. The renowned gun maker offers their Wilson Combat Front Sight, 1911, Snag Free Gold Bead as a stand-alone product so gun owners can choose to replace only the front sight (or only the rear sight). This front sight has a black blade with a bright gold bead inset at its center. It has a height of .160 inches, although if you’d prefer a taller front sight, there are other heights available.

This Wilson Combat Front Sight has a serrated shooter-facing surface for reduced glare. The gold bead helps front sight acquisition and visibility regardless of the light—or lack thereof—and the bead itself is .080 inches. This sight is a Wilson Combat standard front sight dovetail that’s .300 inches x 60 degrees. Because those dimensions are specific to Wilson Combat, it’s a good idea to check your front sight’s dimensions before trying out this one. Like most 1911 iron sights, this one also benefits from being installed by a gunsmith in case machining is required.

xs sights 1911 sights
XS Sights makes durable 1911 sights, and you can also install these yourself. (Photo: XS Sights)

XS Sights DXT Standard Dot Night Sights

Prefer white dots, but still want night sights? The XS Sights DXT Standard Dot Night Sights are tritium sights but with a photoluminescent ring painted white. They’re designed to reflect ambient light and to function well in defensive situations. XS Sights designed the DXT sights specifically for superior visibility. The rear sight is a shallow V, not a notch, which guides the eye to the front sight. These are “dot the I” style sights with a narrow, upright tritium bar in the rear sight that aligns with the front dot.

The XS Sights DXT Standard Dot Night Sights are CNC machined using solid steel bar stock for incredible durability. The front sight is tritium powered, of course, and the dot measures .140-inches. As for the rear sight, it’s a ledge style, so it’s easier to execute one-handed manipulations if you’re in a situation that warrants it. XS Sights includes installation details with the sights, and it is possible to install these on your own, which is a nice plus.

night fision 1911 sights
These tritium sights are great for low light/no light. (Photo credit: Night Fision)

Night Fision Standard Height Sights

For a blacked-out rear sight and highly visible front sight, there’s the Night Fision Standard Height Sights. These iron sights are made for low light/no light use and utilize tritium vials for visibility. They feature Night Fision’s patented domed lenses and house the tritium in ballistic polymer for longevity. The front sight has a white phosphorescent pigment to facilitate daytime use and to make it easier to see in the dark. Serrations are strategically placed to reduce the risk of glare.

The Night Fision Standard Height Sights have a nitride finish for improved resistance to wear and tear and are CNC machined for precision. These are Novak-style iron sights. They’re offered with either a .160-inch or .180-inch blade and .330-inch x 65-degree front and .495-inch x 65-degree rear. The front sight is available with either a white, orange, or yellow dot around the tritium insert. The rear sight comes fully blacked out, black with tritium inserts, and black with white dots surrounding the tritium inserts. These sights offer a lower 1/3 co-witness with most brands of red dots. Night Fision lists them as needing to be installed by a qualified gunsmith.

What’s your favorite style of iron sights for 1911s? Share your thoughts in the comments.

Kat Ainsworth Stevens is a long-time outdoor writer, official OGC (Original Gun Cognoscenti), and author of Handgun Hunting: a Comprehensive Guide to Choosing and Using the Right Firearms for Big and Small Game. Der Teufel Katze has written for a number of industry publications (print and online) and edited some of the others, so chances are you've seen or read her work before, somewhere. A woman of eclectic background and habits, Kat has been carrying concealed for over two decades, used to be a farrier, and worked for a long time in emergency veterinary medicine. She prefers big bores, enjoys K9 Search & Rescue, and has a Master's Degree in Pitiless Snarkastic Delivery.

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