Upgrade Your Ruger 10-22 with Hi-Viz Sights

If you’re like a lot of folks who have lived in the gun world for a long time, chances are you learned how to shoot on a Ruger 10-22. I did when I was 16 years old. A friend owned a farm with a pond, and a couple of us took 10-22s and set up targets across the water. We also did a bit of squirrel hunting in the woods. Throughout it all, I learned gun safety, loading, aiming, trigger press, and all other firearms-related things while not worrying about recoil or paying much for ammunition. (One thing I didn’t learn, unfortunately, was the importance of good ear protection, which I’m paying a bit of a price for today. I’m just glad it was only a .22 and nothing louder.)

Fast forward to a few years ago, and the guy whose Ruger I borrowed was getting rid of it and asked me if I would like to have it. I quickly said yes and snatched it up for a mere $100, a bargain not only for a 35-year-old Ruger 10-22 in excellent shape but also for the one that held such sentimental value. He even threw in some spare magazines. My three kids have since learned to shoot with the same gun, and I hope their kids do, too. May the tradition continue for generations.

With all the greatness that comes with a Ruger 10-22 — and there are many reasons to love this gun — one of the biggest criticisms of the design is the sights. Like the .22LR ammo it shoots, they are tiny and can be difficult to see. The factory front sight is black, with a polished brass-looking rear tip facing the shooter. The rear sight is basically all black with an elevation-adjustable U notch. This is fine if you’re shooting under ideal conditions and have plenty of time to aim at a static target or something not moving very fast. But if you need to pick up the sights quickly, the factory aim-finders are often lacking.

But there’s an easy way to fix that with the Hi-Viz Litewave Sight Set with Interchangeable Litepipes for Ruger 10/22, a complete set of front and rear sights that directly replace the factory sights with no modifications to the rifle.

Hi-Viz Litewave Sight Set with Interchangeable Litepipes for Ruger 10/22.
Hi-Viz Litewave Sight Set with Interchangeable Litepipes for Ruger 10/22.


Like most of the Hi-Viz line, the Litewave Sight Set front sight features a polymer fiber optic tube in three colors: glowing green, red, and white. The rear sight comes in green and red only. The green and red are translucent and glow when light shines down on them, whereas the white is opaque and doesn’t glow but is definitely brighter and easier to pick up quicker than the original polished brass tip.

Often, upgraded sights don’t retain some of the nicer features of the factory originals, but these do. For instance, the original Ruger rear sight includes features that are still nice while not critical to a shorter-range rifle like a 10-22. The first is elevation adjustment with lines on both sides. These replacement sights have more adjustment lines than the original factory rear sight. Chances are, you won’t find this adjustment necessary most of the time, but it’s nice to see that Hi-Viz carried it over from the original.

flip down rear sight on ruger 10/22
The rear sight folds down like the original Ruger sight, getting it out of the way of a mounted optic.

The second is a fold-down function that might seem unnecessary until you try to add an optic. Then it becomes clear why Ruger — and Hi-Viz — engineered the flip-down feature into the design. Folding down the rear sight allows for more scope mounting options, especially for optics with a larger diameter front end. You won’t need the rear sight with an optic anyway, so it might as well tuck down out of the way,

One cool feature of replacement sights is that you can customize the colors in both front and rear. I chose green for both, but I could easily flip out the front fiber pipe or the rear fiber U notch and throw in the red or white and leave the green in front if I wanted a higher contrast difference in my sight picture. Instead of three green dots, I’d have a green center dot for the front and two red dots in the back, for example. I don’t find that necessary, but if you like that setup, these sights let you choose whatever combination of the provided colors you like.

Installing the Hi-Viz Sights

Like most replacement sights, the Hi-Viz Litewave Sight Set is designed to be a straight swap with the original factory sights. Simply slide out the old and slide in the new. At least, that’s how it’s supposed to work. And in many cases, it does. I’ve swapped out other Hi-Viz sights with zero issues, removing and installing. A vice to hold the gun steady, a brass punch, a rubber mallet, and some good old-fashioned elbow grease (and not much of that) were all it took to remove the old and add the new.

I took the gun to the range where I work because we have a complete gunsmithing workshop with all the aforementioned tools. (I had to supply the elbow grease.) Before I tell you how the process went, let me preface it by confessing it wasn’t Hi-Viz’s fault. As mentioned above, this particular Ruger 10-22 is nearly 40 years old. It’s been a few days. And the sights have been bumped around quite a bit over the year. Plus, back when it was made, most gun makers didn’t hold to the tight tolerances of today’s computer-aided design and manufacturing.

Hi-Viz front sight on Ruger 10/22 barrel
Replacing the front sight proved a bit of a challenge, but it was more because the rifle is almost 40 years old, and the original sight was installed so well by Ruger.

Getting the old front sight was a bit of a challenge because it had never, ever been taken out. After all these years, it was stuck inside the dovetail notch. After much frustration, pounding, and consternation, it finally broke free. Ironically, that turned out to be the easy part.

Theoretically, the new site should have just slid into the old notch. Sometimes, theory and reality don’t agree, as was the case here. Between the gunsmith and me, we figured out the old sight had gotten slightly misshapen over the decades. When I say slightly, I’m talking maybe a millimeter. But that’s all it takes with a part so small. Using a tiny file, we whittled down the inside of the notch and could finally slide the front sight into the notch and seat it firmly in place.

I tell this story only to say that you might run into a similar challenge if you have an older Ruger 10-22 that’s been used a lot over the years. Don’t give up. And don’t blame Hi-Viz. It’s not their fault your gun has taken some wear and tear.

Hi-Viz rear sight on Ruger 10/22
The new Hi-Viz sights glow nice and bright with ambient light, helping these middle-aged eyes see my sight picture faster.

Now that the sights are on, it’s easier for these 50+-year-old eyes to acquire my sight picture faster than with the original setup. Shooting my 1980s Ruger 10-22 has always been fun. Now it’s…funner? Today that’s a word.

The Hi-Viz Litewave Sight Set for Ruger 10-22 retails for a modest $48.99, a relative bargain as replacement sights go. Many competitors sell for a lot more, some close to double. Would I recommend this set? Most definitely. Hopefully, one day my kids will teach their kids to shoot with these sights.

David Workman is an avid gun guy, a contributing writer to several major gun publications, and the author of Absolute Authority. A logophile since way back, Workman is a quickdraw punslinger and NRA RSO and Certified Pistol Instructor. He helps train new shooters on basic handgun skills and CCW requirements and is a strong advocate for training as much as practicable. "Real-world shootouts don't happen at a box range."

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