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Cover & Concealment

Cover & Concealment

Cover Less with your Pistol Irons, and You’ll Conceal Less of the Threat

Without question, the speed with which LE agencies have adopted optics is testament to the advantage they offer: more visual information that yields better decisions. It’s no surprise that optic window size is a major part of the selection process. But often, there is less attention paid to the co-witness sights that can sometimes occupy half of the entire optic window.

Suppressor height sights are often still paired with optics. To understand why the suppressor height sight is still often front of mind when choosing co-witnessing sights, we have to rewind to when shooters—both professional and non-professional—started taking what was a solution for CQB rifle work and using it on pistols. Around 2009 the Trijicon® RMR™ started to show up on pistols. The little electronic optic was a great solution to the larger optics seen on competition pistols (optics on handguns is absolutely not a “new” thing–but durable, compact optics were), and more durable in some ways than the options at the time. The smaller footprint meant more holster options, less to get caught on while in the field, and a less delicate window and housing. So many of the complaints addressed for professional use, the firearms community began to move towards an optics sighting solution, led by individuals in the military, LE, defensive firearms instruction, and competition professionals. Performance increased, accuracy and speed developed sooner with new shooters, the intuitive and instinctual focal plane response to stress no longer needed to be trained out—and instead, the threat-focus could now be an asset used by Firearms Instructors working with students who had optics on their pistols.

As optics popularity grew, the aftermarket and firearms manufacturers responded with support for this “new” sighting system.  However, one vital piece to the system was left by the wayside: the back-up sights.


The stark difference between what can be seen with the threat focus and iron sight focus is hard to deny. The graphic above approximates a threat focus versus an iron sight focus.

Initially, the cycling slide of a pistol was not expected to be the dominate use of the RMR™, and in the early days, it was not uncommon for failures that necessitated a back up system on a professional use firearm. What was tall enough to present over the battery deck at the time? Suppressor height sights! They were the tallest non-bespoke solution available, and often for users who had millions of presentations under irons, they were a friendly face on a new sighting system.

Unfortunately, suppressor height sights had two drawbacks: feeding into old habits during presentation, and blocking the lower half of the window. The absolute co-witness of suppressor height sights can become an obstacle for the seasoned iron sight shooter. “I saw my irons first, then looked for my dot, then looked out to cover my dot over my threat,” is a profoundly inefficient (and incorrect) presentation of a pistol with an optic. The second major issue, is the loss of the lower half of the optic window. A response to the latter can sometimes be “let’s get a bigger window!” But where glass is gained above the ears of the sights, visibility does not return to the lower half.

Long gone are the days of Absolute Co-witness as the only option. The current preferred co-witness by many experienced shooters is a lower 1/3. Night Fision offers a wide variety of blade heights so most shooters, despite firearm and optic combination, can achieve a lower 1/3 co-witness


So what is the solution? Sights designed from their inception to co-witness lower. The preference of “how low is too low” is not a galvanized rule, but seeing the irons above the battery deck to use them is. This could result in an overwhelming product selection, but Night Fision™ has stepped up to solve this with their Optics Ready Stealth Series sights. A company run by people more than familiar with tritium, their sister company Cammenga has been producing the U.S. military’s lensatic compass for over 30 years.

The Optics Ready Stealth Series sights are offered in a number of different blade heights to allow the user to truly tailor their perfect co-witness. These blade heights have given many their optics window back, yet continue to function as high-quality night sights should they need them. With the unconventional shooting positions many LEO’s have found themselves in, it’s no wonder that iron sights are still providing much needed reference points to realign pistols, or fight parallax. Professional grade kit demands professional materials and attention to detail—sights must be able to endure extreme circumstances and still perform. Night Fision CNC steel sight bodies have no trouble surviving what’s thrown their way. Housed in their serrated, beveled sight bodies is the highest grade of tritium available; sourced from Switzerland. All vials are inserted into a ballistic polymer sleeve with precision. They have even engineered a solution to hazy night sights with a patented dome technology that creates an incredibly crisp sight picture.

Different height examples of Night Fision’s Optics Ready Stealth Sights mounted to offer a lower 1/5 co-witness on a Glock with a Holosun 507c, and a lower 1/3 co-witness on a Glock with an Trijicon® RMR™ and Leupold® Deltapoint Pro®.

Don’t let your back up sights take away from your sight picture. They should be there for you when you need them most—to stay in the fight, and win. To learn more about Night Fision, visit

(Originally published in Kroll Magazine)

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