Night sights are cool, however they are also extremely useful when the light go out. Most of us are familiar with the typical form of night sights with two rear and one front tritium illuminated dots which never require batteries or photoluminescent charging. What is a bit unique is the new R4E ODS (Optimized Duty Sight) offering from Meprolight which combines two unique features into one heck of a sighting system.
There are several night sight competitors out on the market, but Meprolight is considered the global manufacturing leader of night sights. The company offers more models and color options than any other competitor backed by up to a industry leading 15-year warranty. Their sights are also the most highly regarded by militaries around the world.
Mepro was approached by a two highly experienced U.S. Special Forces veterans with a different idea for night sight which addressed two needs noted by more than just these two veterans. The two main features were to improve one-handed charging/clearing of a Glock and also to make the sighting more precise.
Whether you subscribe to the Israeli Mossad method of empty chamber carry or a round in the chamber, at some point the pistol needs to be reloaded, cleared, or charged. For those of us who have taken advanced pistol training courses, there typically comes a point in the course where students are required to charge and or clear their gun single handed simulating an incapacitated arm. This task usually requires the student reload and clear malfunctions single handed which of course requires a slide rack. The typical method taught is to rack the slide down a belt, pocket, or some other edged fixed object to charge the gun. The problem is that most sights are designed not to snag. Other simple 90 degree sights often lack enough real estate to reliably snag the belt and execute a full pistol slide rack. During this training it is typical to find that the method is very difficult and produces unreliable results mainly due to the sights not having anything to catch on. The reality is very high you will be shot in a gunfight and having the ability to fully manipulate the firearm with just one arm is likely.
The Meprolight R4E ODS night sights are angled forward on both the front and rear sights optimized for this charging method. The result are a set of sights which can be very easily and reliably used to catch on just about anything to charge your full sized Glock. The design works incredibly well.
The veterans also recognized that both typical iron sights and night sights did not deliver on the accuracy potential of the Glock format pistol - a better sighting system could deliver more accuracy and higher hit potentials. The design of the R4E ODS (Optimized Duty Sight) has five sighting elements which form a very precision reticle-style sight. Three vertical features and two horizontal lines produce the reticle type sight picture that improves target acquisition time. All sighting elements/lines on the rear sight are tritium illuminated. Only the dot is illuminated on the front sight. The result of this sighting system is that even at night the shooter can deliver tremendous precision. The side benefit of the sight is that in a high stress situation at night the shooter cannot mistakenly mis-order the illuminated dots - a situation where the front sight is aligned to the left or right of the rear sight and is grossly off target.
Simply put, I believe these are the best combat and defensive sights made. After receiving basic and advanced pistol training from some pretty bad ass Israeli Special Operations folks, I fully understand the value of these sights. As I ran through all the training methods to execute single handed pistol manipulation, reloads and cleaning I thought these sights were freaking awesome and performed perfectly. They worked so good that I am a little concerned that they are going to make me a bit lazy and sloppy when I move over to another Glock that does not have the R4E sights. The sighting is extremely precise and far easier to deliver smaller groups more quckly than the standard dots. I have always felt the plastic Glock “U” rear sight and from dot are faster for me than dot sights, however this is right up there with the speed of the stock Glock sight for me.
Here is the downside. All those forward angles and sharp points which allow the sights to do their job of catching on stuff during single handed weapon manipulation also make it the single most uncomfortable CCW inside the waistband gun sight I have ever used. The rear sight can work a hole in your bare fleshy side faster than a Cuisinart. If you have this sight, you must have a full coverage holster that provides leather between your carcass and the gun otherwise there is pain and actually blood involved. During testing I actually broke out the Dremel to take off some of the points on the outsides of the rear sight so that I could carry and test my G19 the sights were mounted to. I had no issues when testing this pistol with an outside the waistband holster.
I am not super hard core, nor am I some badass army SOPMOD military dudebut I do carry a firearm every day and definitely have some opinions on what I like. If Meprolight knocked off the exterior (flesh eating) corners on this sight and left all the other corners, this sight would be the most perfect set of combat sights I have ever tested. In the current version, I would not install these sights on my CCW IWB (Inside the Waistband) Glocks. The exception being carry in a Crossbreed SuperTuck Deluxe which includes leather between the entire gun and my skin. Otherwise for CCW I would choose a standard Meprolight three-dot sight. Now for a OWB (Outside the Waistband) carry option the sight is perfect as it sits.
The design is excellent depending on your carry method, the sights are very fast and deliver more precision than typical sights. I think Meprolight just needs to knock off the sharp edges off the sight to accommodate a comfortable CCW carry. The only other downside is that at $174, it is “the” most expensive night sight set on the market. This is a hard core sight designed by hard core folks… and despite its price and “edges” is the best sight set I have tested.
The design does what it is intended to do which is to improve sighting and greatly improve single handed charging and gun manipulation for clearing and reloading. Currently the sight is exclusively distributed by The Mako Group in the US.
Glock Large/Full-Sized Format Pistols only - such as Glock 19, G17...etc.
MeproLight - http://www.meprolight.com