For several years I’ve carried my Glock 19 equipped with Trijicon HD sights. The HD’s offer a large-bright dot on the front sight with a tritium insert, and a wide notch in the rear with a small tritium dot on each side. In daylight I can quickly and easily pick-up the front sight for rapid target engagement. The wide-cut rear notch allows for both rapid sight alignment and precision shots, whereas the more narrow rear notch of the factory sight slows quick sight alignment. The Trijicon rear sight sits higher than the factory sight and features a ledge on the front which allows the user to snag the sight on clothing for one-handed manipulations.
While Glock pistols as a whole are generally considered to be of high quality, their factory sights leave much to be desired. They’re made of plastic which I’ve seen break or work loose on several occasions. If you’re planning on using your Glock for self defense, I highly recommend replacing the factory plastic sights with a good set of steel sights like the Trijicon HD’s.
Unfortunately, Glock doesn’t include the option to buy their handguns with Trijicon HD’s factory installed. If you want them, you have to install them yourself. Fortunately, Glock has made the installation of aftermarket sights a breeze. You will need two specialized tools to accomplish a successful sight swap, or you can call upon your local gunsmith to do the install for you. I prefer to do it myself given how easy the task is. Plus, owning the tools gives me brownie points with my friends as they often times swing by to use the tools.
The first step in this process is to buy the sights, of course. My first stop for firearms accessories online is always OpticsPlanet. They have a large inventory of just about anything you’ll ever need and their prices are tough to beat. The sights I prefer are model number GL101O which feature an orange front sight and cost $130. You can also opt for a yellow front sight, it’s a matter of personal preference. Here’s a bonus, the guys at OpticsPlanet are kicking in a 10% discount for TBS readers that’s good through the end of the year and is good for any model of the Trijicon HD’s! (code: NGHTSGHT)
While you’re on the OpticsPlanet website buying sights, you might as well pick up the outstanding MGW rear sight tool. OpticsPlanet sells a kit that includes both the rear sight tool and front sight tool for $126. The front sight tool suppled in the kit allows you to remove both older front sights which are staked in and newer front sights which are attached via a small screw. My G17 used in this article is a Gen 3 gun with the newer screw type front sight.
To install your new HD sights, first make sure the pistol is clear. Once cleared, field strip the gun and remove the barrel and recoil spring from the slide. Set the frame, barrel and recoil spring aside as you won’t need them again until it comes time to reassemble the pistol.
I start off by removing the front sight. If you have a screw type sight, such as mine, then simply unscrew the sight by turning the screw counter-clockwise. Once the screw is removed you can pull the factory front sight from its perch and insert the Trijicon sight in its place. Now comes the part where you’ll require some patience as you attempt to thread the tiny screw that comes with the HD front sight (don’t reuse the factory screw) into its proper place. Be patient and you’ll eventually get it. I recommend you put a dab of blue Loctite on the screw before seating it. Snug the screw, but don’t over tighten it. The front sight is now good to go.
Next you will need to drift the rear sight out of the slide. Be sure to put a drop of oil on the threads of the MGW tool before starting this operation, a lot of force will be required to seat the new rear sight. Seat the slide on the MGW’s guide and tighten it down to hold the slide firmly in place. The MGW directions tell you to do this with the logo facing away from you which puts the T-handle on the left side. I prefer to reverse this so that the T-handle is on my right side as I’m right handed. I’ve not found this to cause any problems with using the tool. Now comes the fun part, turn the T-handle counter-clockwise which draws the sight to the right and out of the dovetail.
The rear sight wont come completely free of the slide before you run out of travel with the pusher. That’s ok, back the pusher off a few turns, loosen the guide handle and remove your slide from the MGW tool. You will be able to pull the factory sight out of the dovetail without much force.
With the muzzle end of the slide facing away from you, slide the new Trijicon rear sight into the dovetail and push it until it stops. Place the slide back into the MGW tool and tighten it back down. Begin turning the T-handle clockwise which will start to push the rear sight into place. This will require considerable force, don’t be alarmed. Do not attach any additional tools to the T-handle to provide more leverage, you can break something. If you can’t turn the T-handle with hand-force, back the pusher off and look for signs of trouble, you don’t want to damage your slide.
Push the rear sight until it’s perfectly centered in the dovetail. You will likely want to head to the range with the MGW tool in hand and fine tune the rear sight adjustment by test firing the pistol to confirm zero.
That’s it, you’re done! It only takes about 15 minutes to perform such an operation. Now your Glock is ready for daily carry. Get out to the range and wring out those new sights. I think you’ll agree with me, the Trijicon HD’s are tough to beat and make an outstanding addition to a carry gun.