Fiber Optic Sights - Are they worth it? thumbnail image

Fiber Optic Sights - Are they worth it?

5D Tactical - 15th Nov 2022

Fiber optic sights have become an incredibly common feature or upgrade on today’s weapons. But are they worth it or are they just a gimmick? With so many sight options available on the market currently it can seem very difficult to determine why we’d want to spend a little more for fiber optic sights. Let’s dive into these sights and see what we can come up with here.

What is a Fiber Optic Sight?

So what are fiber optic sights? A fiber optic is a flexible, colored fiber that transmits light down its length and is a blend of plastic polymer and glass. The fiber is very thin and is encased in a sheath that surrounds it called a “fiber cable”. Fiber optics do not reflect nor bend light - they absorb and trap the light and then the sheath it is encased in reflects it.

Fiber optics come in a wide array of colors but with firearm sights it seems the most common are usually red, green and orange. Fun fact: yellow and green fiber optic occupy more of the visible color spectrum. Without boring everyone to tears too much, this is because the human eye picks up light due to wavelengths and green/yellow is more in the 400nm-700nm range of the eye. Red is towards the top of that spectrum (650nm) which is why some people can’t see red at all due to color blindness and the majority don’t see red as brightly as green and yellow.

Advantages of a Fiber optic Sight

When we think about the advantages of fiber optic sights on a weapon we must first think about how we shoot and what we hope to achieve by changing our sights. Fiber optics create an extremely bright and unmistakable glow that the eye comes to naturally. Let’s take a look at some advantages of fiber optic sights:

  • Enhanced accuracy
  • Faster target acquisition
  • Bright even in direct sunlight
  • Easy to replace the Fiber optic itself if necessary

Disadvantages of a Fiber Optic Sight

There are not many disadvantages overall to choosing to run fiber optic sights on our weapon of choice. Either way let’s be objective and check them out:

  • Fiber optic sights can be more expensive
  • Fiber cable can break if it’s impacted
  • Not the optimum choice for work at night as they need light to absorb

Fiber Optic sights on Pistols

Pistols are by far the most common type of weapon we see fiber optic sights installed on these days. At bare minimum the front sight on many new handguns are fiber optic. Fiber optic sights can be an excellent choice for an everyday carry gun. One thing to keep in mind when selecting a fiber optic sight for a carry gun is to find a design that is built around the fiber cable. The purpose for this is to protect the fiber optic during use. Other than that we are starting to see fiber optic sights pop up on more competition and pro shooters guns as well so you can be certain they are at least somewhat protected on those guns.

Fiber Optic Sights with Iron Sights

What are the benefits of using fiber optics sights with regular iron rear sights? Well, in addition to what we mentioned above, some shooters prefer the blacked out rear of irons because of the serious contrast with the extremely bright fiber optic in the front. For certain shooters the contrast makes target acquisition extremely fast!

Blacked-Out Iron Sights vs. Fiber Optics

Of course, some of us simply shoot better with simple iron sights and there is nothing wrong with that! This writer personally knows a person that has a hard time shooting fiber optic sights specifically because they are so bright that they make this shooter squint. We don’t want our sights to actually interfere with our shooting and become a hindrance. If this is the case, then we must shoot what works best for us as shooters. Perhaps that is a fiber optic front sight with a blacked out rear iron sight or something else entirely. Find what is best and stick with that!

Fiber Optic sights on Shotguns

Shotguns are one type of weapon that benefit greatly from the high visibility and speed of target acquisition of fiber optic sights. Shotguns are often used to skeet/trap, bird hunting and home defense - all of which require exceptionally fast target acquisition. Because of this we often see fiber optic sights on shotguns of all types and it makes perfect sense why!

Fiber Optic sights on Rifles

Rifles also have many options for fiber optic sights. Rimfire and lever-guns specifically are prime choices for many fiber optic sights on the market. These can be excellent choices for plinking, hunting small game and even make teaching newer shooters much easier. AR15 owners rejoice! Many fiber optic replacement sights are available for the AR-15 platform as well.

Hybrid Fiber Optic/Tritium Night Sights

Quite possibly this writer’s absolute favorite option is the hybrid fiber optic/tritium sight. Useful for day and night shooting, the tritium will glos for use at night and it rings the fiber optic cable which is used in the day! Best of both worlds! The only downside is that these sight sets can oftentimes cost a good chunk more than tritium or fiber optic sights by themselves. Keep this in mind when shopping around!

Oh you have new sights? Guess you have to get a GST-9 MOD1 for it!

Thanks for hanging out with your buddies here at 5D Tactical. We hope this article helped point out why fiber optic sights may indeed be a good choice for you! Whichever option you choose - make sure to train and train as often as possible. Hone your skills and become deadly and proficient with your weapon. While you are here why not check out the GST-9 Mod 1 and consider building your own custom handgun? Until next time!