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9 Best Pistol Sights For Old Eyes (2022 UPDATED) Must-Read

Best Pistol Sights For Old Eyes

At a certain age my shooting buddies and I started commenting on how difficult it was getting to sight in our targets properly. As we contend with age-related vision changes, we all agreed, just because our eyesight is changing, we don’t have to give up on protecting our family and we don’t have to leave our favorite pastime in the past.

After 40, most people have trouble seeing up close, a condition called presbyopia [1]. While this is corrected with reading glasses for most everyday activities, that just doesn’t work well for shooting. So what can you do? Our group set out to test different handgun sights for old eyes to find what helps. 

Our list is split into three types of pistol sights recommended for aging eyes: High Contrast Tritium Iron Sights, Red Dot Sights, and the trusty Flashlight/Laser Combo. Read on for our list of the best pistol sights for old eyes.

EDITOR’S CHOICE: TRITIUM SIGHTS

Trijicon HD XR Night Sight

EDITOR’S CHOICE: RMR RED DOT SIGHT

Trijicon SRO Adjustable LED Red Dot Sight

EDITOR’S CHOICE: RMSc RED DOT SIGHT

Swampfox Sentinel Ultra-Compact Micro Reflex Red Dot Sight

EDITOR’S CHOICE: FLASHLIGHT / LASER

Streamlight TLR-6 Weapon Light and Aiming Laser

High Contrast Tritium Iron Sights

1. Trijicon HD XR Night Sights

  • Rear Sight: Green and black steeply hooked “U” notch
  • Front Sight: Green with choice of orange or yellow; Glow-in-the-dark painted outline; thin front post
  • Compatible with select models of: Beretta, CZ, FN America, Glock, H&K, Sig Sauer, Smith & Wesson, Springfield Armory
  • Material: Tritium Phosphor-Filled Lamps, Protective Aluminum Sleeves with Silicone Rubber Cushioning, Sapphire Jewel for Evenly Distributed Light

EDITOR’S CHOICE: TRITIUM SIGHTS

Why We Picked It: 

The Trijicon HD XR Night Sight is our top choice for high-contrast tritium fiber optic sights for old eyes. The steeply hooked “U” notch in the green rear sight makes it easy to align with the thin front sight post which is green with your choice of an orange or yellow photoluminescent-painted front outline. This contrast quickly draws your eye to the front post in all lighting conditions.

We found this option helped us perform better at longer ranges. The thinner front sight post provides a larger field of view helping you identify targets and increasing your speed of engagement. The tritium phosphor-filled glass lamp illuminates the sights for high visibility in all lighting conditions. Plus the tritium lamp is capped with a sapphire jewel that helps evenly distribute the light for easier target acquisition.

As a bonus, this option the steeply hooked front surface allows helps with one-handed slide manipulation in case you need to use your pistol in an emergency.

PROS

CONS

2. XS DXT2 Big Dot Night Sights

  • Rear Sight: V-notch Yellow or Orange
  • Front Sight: Yellow
  • Compatible with select models of: Beretta, Bersa, Browning, Canik, Colt, CZ, FN, Glock, Glock Suppressor/RMR Height, HK, Kahr, Kimber, Para Ordnance, Ruger, Sig Sauer, Springfield Armory, Smith & Wesson, Taurus, Walther
  • Material: CNC machined from steel bar stock 
  • Degree of Protection: Protected from drops, racking off barricades. Steel surface is blued to resist rusting with a regular cleaning and oil schedule. Chemically resistant to acetone-based cleaning solutions and ultrasonic cleaners. Convex dot is gun powder residue resistant.
  • Included: Red Threadlocker, Allen Key, Hex Front Sight Tool
  • Warranty: 10 Year Warranty

Why We Picked It:

XS DXT2 Big Dot Night Sights are a long-time sight for shooters with bad eyes. As the name implies, the biggest front sight on the market employs a big, bright yellow dot that all but ensures speedy sight acquisition.

We were worried the large front sight would hinder target acquisition, but once we were used to it, it was easy to find and quickly look past to the intended target. The i-Dot style sight prevents confusing the front and rear sights in high-stress situations by driving your focus past the V-notch rear sight to the front sight. We actually felt like this style worked best across all lighting conditions because the Ember glow dot front sight absorbs light and glows in low light levels before it is dark enough to see the tritium. The increased surface area makes the dot brighter in daylight and low-light.

The file to fit installation is straightforward with the included red threadlocker, allen key and hex front sight tool. Steel construction makes these sights seem durable and reviews show they are long lasting. The steel surface is blued to resist rusting with regular cleaning which is made easy because they are also resistant to acetone-based cleaning solutions and ultrasonic cleaners. The convex dot is gun powder residue resistant and can be easily wiped off with a cleaning cloth.

PROS

CONS

3. Meprolight Tru-Dot Self-Illuminated Fixed Pistol Sight

  • Rear Sight: Green, Yellow, Orange (Yellow or Orange for selected models only)
  • Front Sight: Green tritium dot
  • Compatible with select models of: Sig Sauer, Glock, IWI, Armscor Rock Island 1911, Beretta, Bersa, Browning Hi Power Mark III, Canik, Colt Government And Commander, CZ, FN, HK, Kahr, Kriss Sphinx, Magnum Research Baby Eagle (Pre-2007), Para Ordnance LDA, Remington R1, Ruger, Smith & Wesson, Springfield Armory, Walther
  • Degree of Protection: Certified to ISO-9001:2008

Why We Picked It:

The Meprolight Tru-Dot Sight boasts improved rapid instinctive aiming. While we weren’t sure these sights improved our accuracy by a large margin, we did find that the three dot sight did contrast well with a green front sight and choices of yellow or orange for the back sight. The sights were bright in most lighting conditions and allowed for quick alignment and target acquisition. Most of the testers felt like this was the quickest set up to get used to.

PROS

CONS

4. AmeriGlo i-DOT Tritium and Fiber Optic Night Sight

  • Rear Sight: Tritium Green with white outline. Undercut. Dovetail.
  • Front Sight: Green with orange outline. Tritium vile in the center of the front site. Fiber optic orange center around tritium front site for daytime.
  • Compatible with select models of: Glock, Walther, S&W, Sig Sauer, Springfield Armory
  • Material: Machined from US-made bar stock steels and assembled using Swiss-made tritium light sources
  • Mount: Dovetail Mount

Why We Picked It

The contrast between the front and rear sights on the AmeriGlo i-DOT and simple, dot over dot design made for quick and easy vertical sight alignment. These sights were really easy to see in many lighting conditions, but some users wanted the tritium to be brighter for using at night. These durable sights are machined from US-made bar stock steels.

PROS

CONS

5. TRUGLO TFX Pro Tritium and Fiber Optic Sight Set

  • Rear Sight: Fiber Optic Green; Orange Day/Night Sight; U-notch Design; Angled rear sight edge for emergency one-hand operation
  • Front Sight: Fiber Optic Green; Contrasting orange colored Focus-lock ring for faster focus
  • Compatible with select models of: Canik TP9, CZ 75, FN FNX40, FN FNX9, Glock, HK P30, Kahr, Kimber, Ruger, S&W, Springfield Armory, Sig Sauer, Steyr, Taurus Millenium, Walther, 1911
  • Material: CNC-machined alloy steel is protected with a rust-resistant Fortress Finish
  • Mount: Dovetail Mount
  • Warranty: 12 year limited

Why We Picked It:

The TRUGLO TFX Pros receive high marks for being consistently bright. It’s longer sight radius and contrasting focus-lock ring made this one of our favorite sights for precision. The compact snag-free design means you may be able to use this on your EDC. The tritium vial and fiber-optic elements are inside a hermetically sealed  oil, chemical, solvent, and shock-resistant TFX capsule making them virtually indestructible according to TFX. While we haven’t used these under such extreme circumstances, that promise coupled with the CNC-machined alloy steel construction makes this pick seem like it could stand up to a lot of abuse and continue to perform.

PROS

CONS

Red Dot Sights

6. Trijicon SRO Adjustable LED Red Dot Sight

  • Compatible with: RMR Footprint; designed to fit many red-dot-ready brands; If mounting on Glock MOS, Springfield OSP, Walther PDP, or H&K VP9 Optics Ready, a Trijicon SRO mounting kit (AC32085) required; Compatible with suppressor-height iron sights.
  • Sight Window (inch): 0.98 x 0.89
  • Parallax Free: Yes
  • Night Vision: Yes
  • Lens Magnification: 1x
  • Reticle: LED 2.5 or 5.0 MOA Red Dot
  • Material: 7075 T-6 aircraft grade aluminum housing; Tempered glass lens
  • Weight (oz): 1.6 oz (with battery)
  • Dimensions (inch): 2.2 x 1.3 x 1.4
  • Mount: Mounts with same base as Trijicon RMR
  • Power: Top-loading CR2032 battery
  • Battery Life: 3 years
  • Degree of Protection: Waterproof up to 10 feet
  • Brightness: Manual / automatic LED; 8 settings, including 1 super bright and 2 night vision modes.
  • Boresight Adjustment: Tool-less adjustable Windage and Elevation; 1 MOA per click; 150 MOA total travel
  • Included: 2 #6-32 Flat Head Torx Cap Screws 1/2″ Long; Torx Head Key

EDITOR’S CHOICE: RMR RED DOT SIGHT

Why We Picked It

The Trijicon SRO Red Dot Sight is the highest priced option in our recommendations, but if you are serious about ensuring your vision issues don’t interfere with shooting, especially in situations where speed is a factor, this is a great option. This option has the largest sight window of those we recommend providing a large field of view. The illuminated reticle red dot and clear front lens made for a clean and crisp red dot even for our old eyes. Fine-tuned, , coupled with exceptionally, offers a with a crisp dot. Most reviewers reported a clear sight picture and found the dot easy to find and track, helping to improve shooting accuracy and speed. Of all of the options, we felt these would be the best competition pistol sights for old eyes in open divisions where electronic sights are allowed.

The manual and automatic LED brightness modes provide 8 brightness settings, including a super bright and two night vision modes. A button “lock-out” feature ensures your auto-brightness setting feature remains where you set it. Also, it was easy to set windage and elevation without tools.

According to Trijicon, the aircraft-grade aluminum forged housing was engineered to protect the lenses and electronics and tested to survive typical pistol-mounted drops. Reviewers who had used this sight for a period of time reported favorable on their longevity.

PROS

CONS

7. Holosun Open Reflex Red Dot Sight

  • Compatible with: RMR Footprint
  • Sight Window (inch): 0.63 x 0.91
  • Parallax Free: Yes
  • Night Vision: Yes
  • Lens Magnification: 1x
  • Reticle: Multi-Reticle System (MRS); Circle Dot: 2 MOA Dot, 32 MOA Circle
  • Eye Relief: Unlimited
  • Material: 7075 T6 Aluminum; Optical glass with multilayer coatings facilitate maximum light transmission and wear resistance while reducing glare
  • Weight (oz): 1.5 oz
  • Dimensions (inch): 5 x 4 x 4
  • Power: Super LED high-capacity lithium ion CR1632 battery; Solar Failsafe allows sight to remain powered when battery fails, automatically adjusting brightness for lighting conditions
  • Battery Life: Up to 50,000 hours
  • Auto Power Off: Shake Wake feature shuts LED off during periods of inactive movement
  • Degree of Protection: IP67
  • Brightness: 10 DL & 2 NV Compatible
  • Included: T10 L Key

Why We Picked It 

The Holosun Open Reflex Red Dot Sight is a classic multi reticle red dot sight featuring the Holosun Multi-Reticle System (MRS). The 12 brightness settings including two night vision settings, plus the Multilayer reflective glass offers maximum light transmission and reduces glare, which is must for a shooter with eyesight issues. A large viewing window helped to get on target.

This option has the longest battery life boasting up to 50,000 hours. Several features make this a great option if you want to make sure your red dot sight is always ready no matter what. In addition to the battery, the Holosun uses a solar failsafe allowing the sight to remain powered when the battery fails. This feature also adjusts brightness to lighting conditions. Shake Wake shuts the LED off during periods of inactive movement. Even when you do have to change the battery, the battery tray slides out from the side, so you don’t have to take the optic off your gun.

When Lock Mode is activated, buttons cannot be pressed by mistake so your settings won’t change if a button is accidentally bumped. This sight is a long-time favorite of ours and it’s nice to point out that this model has been redesigned to place the buttons lower and more out of the way.

PROS

CONS

8. Swampfox Sentinel Ultra-Compact Micro Reflex Red Dot Sight

  • Compatible with: any factory or gunsmith cut slimline slide with an RMSc footprint like: Glock 43X and Glock 48 MOS, Sig P365XL, Springfield Hellcat OSP, Canik Elite SC, S&W Shield 2.0 Optics Ready, Walther PPS M2 Optics Ready
  • Sight Window (inch): 0.63 x 0.63
  • Lens Magnification: 1x
  • Reticle: 3 MOA red dot
  • Material: Hard-coated 7075 aluminum; Multi-coated glass
  • Specialty Coatings: Anti-fog, hydrophobic, anti-scratch
  • Weight (oz): 0.62
  • Dimensions (inch): 1.61 x 0.91 x 0.94
  • Mount: Slide mounted
  • Power: CR2032 battery
  • Battery Life: 2 years
  • Auto Power Off: Choose from Always On or Shake Wake
  • Degree of Protection: Shock rated to 1500 Gs; 1 Meter/ IPX7 waterproof when installed using the included flexible seal that fits between the optic and footprint
  • Brightness: Choose from Automatic or Manual (Ten manually adjusted brightness settings accessed via digital push buttons)
  • Boresight Adjustment: Dial; +/- 35 MOA; Total 70 MOA Range
  • Included: Screwdriver and three screw sets: M4 x 0.7 x 10.1mm, M4 x 0.7 x 8.6mm, M3 x 0.5 x 12.0mm
  • Warranty: If it stops performing within 50,000 rounds of live fire, Swampfox will repair or replace it 

EDITOR’S CHOICE: RMSc RED DOT SIGHT

Why We Picked It

The very affordable Swampfox Sentinel is an ultra-compact micro reflex dot sight made for every day carry on slimline pistol slides. This is a top pick for defensive shooting situations. We were able to carry comfortably in most holsters with this installed. It’s small footprint does have its drawbacks, like a smaller viewing window and having to remove the sight to replace the battery, but we found those drawbacks were acceptable compared with the pros offered by this inexpensive option.

Although small, it isn’t dainty. It is made with hard coated 7075 aluminum and multi-coated glass. The high efficiency emitter projects a 3 MOA red dot that was sized just fine within the smaller viewing window for precise target shooting. We felt we were able to focus on the target rather than the dot itself. Reviewers thought that the lens was clear with very little tint or fish eye. One reviewer said, “The red dot is easy to pick up. This is my first red dot sight and my old eyes are really liking it.”

The Swampfox Sentinel offers multiple options to fit your preferences. First, you can choose between automatic or manually adjusted brightness. You can also choose whether you want to have “Always On” or preserve battery life with the Shake ‘N Wake motion sensing that will turn the sight off it has been motionless for about 4 minutes. When motion resumes, we found the manual model went right back to the brightness level we had selected; and automatic brightness immediately adjusted the dot to current lighting conditions so it was ready when we were.

PROS

CONS

Weapon Light and Laser Combo

9. Streamlight TLR-6 Weapon Light and Aiming Laser

  • Compatible with select models of subcompact handguns: Colt, Glock, Kahr, Kimber, M&P, Para,  Remington, Sig Sauer,  Springfield Armory,  Smith & Wesson
  • Luminous Flux: 100 Lumens
  • Material: Durable, impact-resistant polymer construction; 1m impact resistance tested
  • Weight (oz): 1.16 oz. with batteries
  • Dimensions (inch): 2.2 x 1.2 x 1.47
  • Mount: Rail
  • Power: Two 3 Volt CR-1/3N Lithium Ion Coin Batteries (included)
  • Battery Life: 1 hour (LED only or LED/laser combo); 11 hours (laser only)
  • Bulb: LED
  • Auto Power Off : 10 minute auto shut-off
  • Degree of Protection: 1m impact resistance tested
  • Boresight Adjustment: Windage. elevation adjustment screws mounted in brass bushings
  • Warranty: Limited lifetime warranty

EDITOR’S CHOICE: FLASHLIGHT / LASER

Why We Picked It

The Streamlight TLR-6 Weapon Light and Aiming Laser is our pick for best laser sights for old eyes. Shooters who have difficulty seeing iron sights or experience a starburst effect from a red dot sight will appreciate this long range laser. The bring light did its job to illuminate the shooting environment. Push-button switches on both sides make this easy and intuitive to operate for both right or left-handed shooters. The contoured housing is designed to securely attach to numerous subcompact handguns. Another bonus, the batteries can easily be replaced while the device is mounted.

PROS

CONS

Your Guide to Buying

buying guide

Purpose

Whether your nickname was Eagle Eyes or Four Eyes, as a more seasoned, older shooter, you will likely have to contend with vision changes that cause challenges with shooting like nearsightedness, farsightedness, astigmatism, night blindness, or presbyopia (where our arms never seem to be as long as we need them to be). Luckily, quality solutions are out there. The good news is that these challenges can be overcome. This guide outlines expert recommended advice to help you find the best pistol sights for old eyes.

Types

Iron Sights

  • Iron Sights are physical markers that rely almost exclusively on the shooter’s naked eye and ambient lighting to align and accurately aim at a target. Typically iron sights are comprised of two pieces, a rear sight typically mounted on the slide and a front sight situated near the muzzle. The most common is post- or blade-type where the front sight is centered in a notch on the rear sight and then leveled along the top. Skill and practice are necessary for the shooter to align all three focal planes – rear sight, front sight, and target – to successfully hit the target.
  • Tritium and Fiber Optic Night Sights: Useful in almost all lighting conditions, tritium and fiber optic night sights are a great solution for those of us with older eyes. In the past, you may have preferred a matte black finish on your sights because it keeps glare to a minimum. As your eyes age, it becomes increasingly difficult to differentiate low-contrast colors, especially in low lighting. Tritium and fiber optic sights solve this in three ways. Contrasting colors on the front and rear sights help you quickly find the front sight and take aim. A tritium phosphor-filled glass lamp illuminates your sight in low or dark lighting conditions while fiber optic dots pick up ambient light so they appear slightly brighter, helping you quickly acquire your sight in brighter conditions.

Optical Sights

  • Reflex Sights employ a lens and illuminated projection of a reticle superimposed on a screen. These sights rely on battery power that generally lasts for years before needing to be replaced. This type of sight can be held at any distance from the eye and almost any angle with no distortion.
  • Red Dot Sights are a type of reflex sight that employs a red LED to illuminate the reticle.
  • Laser Sights: The shooter looks through a screen to aim and a laser projects a beam on the intended target. They are prized for being easy to use, increasing accuracy, and reducing time for follow-up shots. Laser sights can be an excellent option for aging eyes because they rely less on aiming and more on hand/eye coordination to make the shot. One drawback is that they are more difficult to see in bright lighting conditions.

Related: If you’ve never used a red dot sight, read this to learn how.

Co-witnessing

Iron sights are often used as a backup or failsafe alongside optical sights to ensure the shooter can properly aim their weapon if the optic sight fails. It’s important to ensure that you train with the iron sights to ensure you are confident in their use. You may be in a high stakes situation compounded by the stress of your optical sights failing. That situation will be far less stressful if you have practiced with the iron sights and are comfortable using them.

Reticle 

Reticles, often referred to as crosshairs, are a pattern of intersecting lines, dots, or other markings build into the eyepiece of an optical sight to help with aiming. Some devices will have adjustable sizes (MOA), patterns, and colors to accommodate preference and conditions. For older eyes, larger reticles 3-8 are easier to see but are small enough that they don’t distract from the target.

Installation

Iron sights are generally made for specific makes and models of guns. They don’t generally require a gunsmith to install, but if you aren’t confident about changing them out yourself, it’s a good idea to have a professional handle it. Most sights have the tools you need for installation included in the package. Some sights require a specific mounting kit purchased separately so be sure to check that when you make your purchase.

Related: Learn how to change the sights on a Glock.

Material & Durability

Iron sights are typically very durable but you way wonder how long tritium phosphor lamps last. Tritium phosphor lamps work because of the radioactive decay of the tritium, which causes the phosphor to glow. These do have a set life, usually around 12 years.

The best optical sights, like red dot and laser sights, are waterproof and have some type of shockproof protection that will stand up to EDC, recoil, and slide handling. The lens should have multi-coated glass. These are the types of features that withstand regular cleaning and the occasional, accidental drop.

Price

The most budget-friendly sights are usually iron sights. Laser Sights and Tritium and Fiber Optic Night Sights can be found for around $100 to $200. Miniature Red Dot Reflex Sites start at $200 and go up, depending on features.

Our Team's Selection Process

selection process

Overall Performance

Our team tested both iron sights and optical sights at a variety of price points to give you options that will solve your unique vision challenges while also taking into consideration your preferences and budget. Each sight was rated first on its ability to solve the vision changes that affect older shooters.

Weapon Compatibility

Iron sights are specific to certain handgun models. The options we recommend have options available for a variety of pistols so you can find those that work for the guns in your collection.

Optical sights are more universal and the ones we recommend fit the more common RMR and RMSc footprints.

Product Quality

We gave a lot of weight to durability, ensuring each option we recommend can withstand repeated slide handling, and recoil.

Because we believe that a great product is worth every penny, we also looked at value in terms of the features and quality for the price point.

FAQs

People with old eyes need the best pistol sights to ensure they will be able to continue to carry for self-defense and use their weapon safely should they need it to defend themselves, their family, or their property. It’s also important to be able to continue to train and enjoy target shooting without being impeded by the frustration of poor eyesight.

What's Our Choice For The Best Pistol Sight For Old Eyes?

Our choice as the best pistol sight for old eyes is two-fold. We recommend co-witnessing sights, so that if your red dot fails, you are still able to use the iron sights to safely and quickly get on target. A combination of a red dot or laser, along with high contrast tritium night sights will work best to overcome many age-related vision issues.

We recommend pairing the Trijicon HD XR Night Sight with one of these options:

EDITOR’S CHOICE

Our #1 Recommendation

Trijicon HD XR Night Sight

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