Glock-Compatible Sight Upgrade: A Comprehensive Guide to Precision Installation and Customization

How to Install Your Own Pistol Sights
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Glock-Compatible Sight Upgrade: A Comprehensive Guide to Precision Installation and Customization

Working on your own firearms can be intimidating beyond the regular maintenance, cleaning, and installation of essential accessories that most firearm owners should try to get comfortable with.  But what about modifications such as changing pistol sights on a pistol? 

It can seem intimidating, especially if one lacks specialized tools like a sight pusher.  But what if you could install Glock-compatible sights without the use of specialized tools? 

Well, you can! And I will show you how!

Understanding the Importance of Sights Upgrade

The choice to upgrade your pistol's sights is driven by various factors, including improved accuracy, better visibility in low-light conditions, and personal preference for sight picture. Glock-compatible sights offer a wide range of options, from fiber-optic sights for enhanced daytime visibility to tritium night sights for low-light conditions. Each type serves a distinct purpose, and selecting the right one is as crucial as the installation process itself.

But First, Our Gun: The Taurus G3C

The gun we're working on, a TAURUS G3C and G3C T.O.R.O., is what I consider an extreme bang-for-the-buck value pistol that can serve dual roles as a self-defense, everyday carry gun, and home defense weapon.

The Taurus G3C comes with serviceable Glock-compatible sights installed but could be improved upon with the addition of night sights. The Taurus G3C T.O.R.O. is an RDS (red dot sight) compatible version of the Taurus G3C that also comes with serviceable GLOCK-compatible sights but benefits significantly from the installation of sights high enough to co-witness with the RDS when installed.

The Taurus G3C and RDS-ready Taurus G3C T.O.R.O.

Before You Start

But before I dig into what you need and how to swap out pistol sights, I want to preface the work with a couple of important points. 

One is it is actually easy to change Glock-compatible sights on most handguns that use them. On the other hand, it’s also very easy to do it incorrectly and cause damage to a pistol and/or sights if you don’t take your time and do it correctly. 

I’ve seen people break the rear of Glock slides off, just behind the rear sight dovetail installing rear sights, even with a sight pusher. It’s also very easy to break the glass tritium vials in the rear sights by pounding on them too much. And you can mar up your slide and the sights if you don’t use the proper tools and take your time to do the job carefully.  

Gather Your Tools and Materials

So, now, on to the tools and materials.  You might not exactly have all of these tools, but they are readily available and very easy to source (and much less expensive than a sight pusher tool). You will need:

  • Hammer - Preferably a hammer with a hard plastic and/or brass head, but a regular hammer will work in a pinch.
  • Brass Drift Punch -  You can source a nice kit of punches like the REAL AVID/REVO ACCU-PUNCH MASTER SET or just source a single punch to get the job done.  I prefer a ¾” diameter brass drift punch because the size lends itself well to fit into the rear dovetail on pistols that take GLOCK-compatible sights.  It’s also crucial that the drift punch you use is brass, as brass is softer and won't mar your firearm or the sights.
  • 3/16” Thin-Walled Nut Driver/Socket  - (Or a Glock front sight specific tool).  I use an inexpensive generic nut-driver tool I sourced from Amazon while I worked as a law enforcement firearms instructor and GLOCK-certified armorer that worked perfectly for me.  But there are some excellent Glock front-sight-specific sight tools out on the market, such as the RIVAL ARMS GLOCK FRONT SIGHT TOOL that includes a magnet in the driver-head that makes retaining the front-sight hex head screws a breeze.
  • Shop/Table Vice - You will want something to carefully clamp your slide into while you remove the rear sight and tap in your new sight.
  • Delrin Vice Blocks or a Towel/Rag - You will want something to protect the finish on your slide while it’s in the vice.  In the absence of having delrin vie blocks, I have had a lot of success wrapping the slide in an old section of towel that I use as a rag for when I work on and clean guns.
  • Blue Threadlocker - You will want a little thread locker on the front-sight hex screw so that it doesn’t shoot loose from your gun!
  • Glock-Compatible Sights - You want to source a set of quality Glock-Compatible sights.  I prefer night sights from TRUGLO and AMERIGLO.

For the most part, the tools are easily sourced, and if you don't have them already, they are inexpensive and nice additions to your collection of tools.

For this project, we're installing a set of quality TruGlo night sights on the Taurus G3C.

Optional Tools

In addition to the basic toolkit mentioned, consider the following to enhance your preparedness:

  • Digital Caliper - Precision is key when installing sights. A digital caliper can measure the width of your slide's dovetail and the sight base, ensuring a perfect fit.
  • Non-Marring Hammer - Upgrading to a hammer specifically designed not to damage firearm surfaces can be a wise investment.
  • Torque Screwdriver - For those sights that require a specific torque setting, a torque screwdriver that measures in inch-pounbds can ensure you're applying just the right amount of force without risking damage to your fasteners. 

Getting Started

Before you start working on any firearm, you must ensure that it is in a clear and empty condition, without any ammunition. After you have ensured the gun is clear and empty of all ammunition, remove all ammunition present from the room/work area.

Next, lay out your tools and make sure to keep your work area clean and organized.  Doing so makes working on projects more manageable and less stressful.

Let’s Dig Into the Job - The Rear Sights

We’ll start on the rear sight.  Remove the slide from your pistol and carefully chuck the slide into your vice, careful not to mar it up.  Either use a set of Delrin vice-blocks or do what I do - wrap the slide in a piece of old towel or rag to protect it from the jaws of the vice. 

Then, using the brass drift punch and your hammer, tap the rear sight out the rear sight dovetail on the slide.  Doing this will require several careful hits to slide it all the way out.  Be careful to keep the brass punch lined up correctly on the old rear sight and ensure you don’t hit your slide with the hammer.

The rear sight is easily removed from the slide (which is secured in the vice) by knocking it out using the brass drift punch and a hammer.

Once your old rear sight is successfully uninstalled, prepare your new rear sight for installation.  Some aftermarket Glock-compatible sights have a set screw and include an Allen wrench.  Make sure the set screw is turned out so as to not interfere with installation.  

Some rear sights, like the TRUGLO Tritium Handgun Sights we are installing here, come with a set screw that needs to be backed out with the included Allen-wrench before installation.

Next, make sure the back of the new rear sight is facing towards the back of the slide, and use your fingers to press the new rear sight into the rear sight dovetail as far as it will go.  Then, place the end of your brass punch against the rear sight, and use the hammer to firmly tap the rear sight into place, centered in the rear sight dovetail.

It is crucial that you don’t just wail away on the rear sight with the hammer and brass punch, as many night sights use tritium encased in breakable glass vials.  It is best to place the end of your brass punch firmly against the rear sight and tap it into place carefully.

As you get close to getting centered, slow down your work even more and tap the sight in smaller increments, stopping when you believe it is centered.  Typically, I can eye-ball them close to perfectly centered, but on occasion, I verify with a measuring device. 

If you go too far in or not far enough, that’s okay; just make small adjustments as needed!  Once you think the rear sight is all centered up, tighten down the set screw if applicable.

Press the new rear sight in with your fingers as far is it will go before carefully tapping it into place, centered in the rear dovetail, with the brass drift punch and a hammer.

Time For the Front Sight

Glock-Compatible front sights are typically easy to swap out, as easy as unscrewing the old sight, removing it from the slide, and screwing in the new sight.  You can easily access the hex-head screw through the inside of the slide and use a 3/16 thin-walled nut driver bit to get the job done.  It can be rather tight in the front of the slide on most pistols, so a thin-walled driver or Glock front sight-specific tool will likely have to be used.  

Use a 3/16 hex nut driver bit to remove the front sight screw through the bottom of the slide.

Once the old sight has been removed, index your new front sight on the slide so the rear of the sight faces the rear of the slide, apply a drop of medium/blue thread locker to the hex-head screw, and tighten the 3/16 hex fastener from the inside of the slide.  Snug it down firmly, but do not go overboard and break the screw off in the front sight.

A drop of thread locker on the threads of the new sight's screw can help ensure that the front sight doesn't loosen while shooting and fall off the slide.

Snug the 3/16 hex head screw down firmly, but do not go overboard and break it in the sight by overtightening it!

Troubleshooting Common Installation Issues

  • Tight Dovetail Slots - Some aftermarket sights may fit more tightly than OEM parts. If you encounter resistance, consider lightly filing the base of the sight. Remove material gradually, testing the fit frequently to avoid overdoing it.
  • Loose Front Sight Screws - Should the front sight screw loosen over time, remove it, clean the threads on both the screw and the sight, reapply threadlocker, and tighten. This should resolve most looseness issues.

You're Almost Done!

Now that you’re all done installing your parts, double-check that everything is lined up perfectly.  Sometimes, there can be looser tolerance on the fit of the front sight, and it might need a little realigning and tightening. Sometimes, the rear sight can be off just a touch, and need a gentle tap to get it perfectly lined up.

Once you are happy with the sight alignment, take a moment to clean up your work.  I’ve found Hoppes #9 and a cotton swap are sufficient for removing any marks left on the slide and sights by a brass drift punch.  Clean up your work, and carefully reinstall your slide on the pistol’s frame. 

Also, function check your weapon to ensure everything works to spec.  Then get out to the firing range and enjoy those new sights!

The front sights are installed andare a significant improvement over the satisfactory stock Glock-compatible sights that come installed on the Taurus G3C.

The brass transfer on the rear sight and slide clean up easily with Hoppe's #9 and a cotton swap.

The new TRUGLO night sights make it easier to quickly acquire the sights during daylight shooting, as well as at night with the tritium vials to provide a visual callout in the dark.

Advanced Tips for Precision and Maintenance

  • Laser Bore Sights - After installation, using a laser bore sight can help verify the alignment of your new sights with the barrel, providing a preliminary check before live firing.
  • Periodic Checks - Regularly inspect your sights for looseness or wear, especially after extensive use or exposure to harsh conditions. Early detection of issues can prevent loss of functionality at critical moments.
DIY Installation of Glock MOS Compatible Night Sights on Taurus G3C T.O.R.O. - No Sight Tool Needed!
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