Its first foray into 3-dot sights, the new XS R3D Sights design is well-thought-out and easy to see in any light.
For the past 20 years or so, almost every one of my defensive handguns has had its sights replaced with XS Sights. As far as XS Sights are concerned, R3D presumably stands for “Radio Active 3 Dot.” The R3D sights are the first 3-dot sights the company has offered.
I’ve never been a huge fan of 3-dot sights. The front sight is the one that deserves your focus; and, with many 3-dot sight systems, all three dots are the same size. This could—at least theoretically—lead to confusion.
To test these new sights, I installed them on my son’s Gen-4 Glock 19, which was already wearing a set of Trijicon HD XR night sights. But, before making the switch, he and I both fired several practical drills so we’d have a baseline of performance for comparison with the new XS Sights.
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No ‘Dot Confusion’
After a good bit of range time, I don’t think “dot confusion” is a realistic concern with the R3D sights. This is partly because the front R3D sight has the common tritium vial but is surrounded by a large circle of photoluminescent material. It’s extremely visible; you’d have to be blind not to see it. It very effectively serves its purpose of attracting your eye to it as soon as the handgun enters your field of vision. It’s also partly because the two dots on the rear sight are very small. During all daylight and moderately low-light shooting, I never noticed the rear dots. The only time they got any attention was when it was nearly dark, and then, they were more of a confirmation of the rear sight than an actual tool to help me put a sight picture together.
Another aspect of these sights we both really liked was that the rear notch is 15 percent wider than the front sight. This allows for enough light on both sides of the front sight to make sight alignment fast. Due to presbyopia, I (ideally) need to wear prescription shooting glasses for the best accuracy with a handgun. This notch and front sight size relationship allowed me to shoot well, even without the aid of corrective lenses.
How did the XS R3D sights compare to the Trijicon HD XR sights?
The goal of the exercise was not to discover which sight was best; it was only to see if the new XS Sights could perform as well (I don’t know how many shooters and how many rounds would have to be fired in order to make a definitive claim that one sight is better than the other). Based on the drills we fired, both sights performed about the same. I shot infinitesimally better with the XS Sights, and my son’s performance was practically identical with either sight.
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We both did agree we liked the smaller rear dots on the R3D sights. In addition, the R3D rear sight has a slight overhang that, combined with the anti-reflective lens vials on the two rear dots, reduces the glare on the face of the rear sight in brightly lit conditions. There’s also some science at work with the front sight: It’s what XS calls “Ember Glow Technology.”
The tritium vial or lamp in the front sights charges the colored dot that surrounds it. This makes the front sight much brighter than the rear and helps direct your focus on the front sight—where it needs to be.
XS R3D Options
The R3D sights from XS are available with a green or orange front sight and retail for $109.99. Currently, XS is offering its R3D sights for a variety of Glock, Sig Sauer, Springfield, FN and Smith & Wesson handguns. They come with a punch and LocTite for self-installation, but I’d suggest you get a gunsmith to do this for you. Also, in addition to XS’s no-questions-asked warranty and world-class customer service, if a customer tries one the R3D night sights and is not completely satisfied, XS will swap them out for a different model or, if the sight is purchased directly from the company or participating partners, it’ll even offer a refund.