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How To Read Night Sights

Night Sight Age
Night sight markings can be found on the sight or near the sight.

If someone never told you, how would you know? And when it comes to night sights, many people don’t seem to know this: Night sights generally have a “born-on” date stamped on the sight, or near the sight. 

In the example shown, the born-on date is the last two digits of the year: In this case 2003. 

The internet says night sights have a half-life of 12.5 years. Read that as 50% dimmer. I don’t personally know if that is true. Our old rule of thumb was 10 years; and the sights need to be replaced. 

Why 10? Maybe the gun sat in inventory for years? Or maybe 10 years is easier to recall than 12.5? 

When would you use this info? For me it would be in negotiating a sale or trade. If the gun in question has night sights at or near a decade of life, the gun’s value goes down. Or the seller will need to replace the sights. 

And don’t think this just applies to used guns. How many times have you looked at higher-end pistols in your local gun shop only to discover that expensive 1911 or SIG has sat unsold for 4-5-6 years? 

How to tell? What’s the date on the sight? If the gun has sat for a long while, there might be room to move on the price. 

My point is when you pick up a gun, actually look at it. Read the markings. Read the serial number. Check to make sure the city and state spellings are correct (Yes, really!!!). How old are the night sights? By date, not just cupping your hand over the vials looking for life. 

Now you know.




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