How to Make a Tritium Night Sight

by Sean Lancaster
Make your own night sights for your gun out of tritium.

Make your own night sights for your gun out of tritium.

The sights on a firearm serve to provide a way to aim the gun, but at night, they aren’t very useful if you can’t see them. Many weapons use lasers to paint their target and make it easy to see where the bullet will strike. The expense of laser sights is enough to steer many away from acquiring them. A less expensive alternative is to equip your weapon with tritium sights. Tritium is a radioactive isotope of hydrogen and gives off a phosphorescent light. The dim light given off by the tritium is just enough to make the sights useful for targeting. Make your own tritium sight for your gun so you can use it in the dark.

1.

Strip the gun and lay out the pieces on a clean towel. Use a degreaser to remove any gun oil or lubricating grease from the slide or frame of the gun. The presence of oil or grease will prevent epoxy and bluing from adhering to the pieces of the gun.

2.

Use a rotary tool to remove a small amount of metal on the front of the slide. Making a tritium sight for an automatic pistol is the example used for this process. The process for a revolver is similar but requires a bit more work. Use a cutting wheel disk to mark off the area that will accept the tritium tube. Acquire the tritium in capsule format to simplify the placement of the sight on the slide.

3.

Switch to a 1/16-inch diamond rotary cutter to finish the preparation of the slide for the acceptance of the tritium capsule. Continually check the fit of the tritium capsule in the depression at the end of the slide until the fit is correct.

4.

Degrease the slide again to remove the cutting oil. After cleaning the slide, color the bare metal at the end of the slide. Allow the bluing to dry.

5.

Mix the two-part epoxy. Most two-part epoxy products mix with a one to one ratio of each part. The two parts of the epoxy are the resin and the hardener. Select the strongest epoxy you can find. For aesthetic purposes, choose an epoxy that dries clear.

6.

Use a toothpick to place a small amount of epoxy on the tritium capsule and seat the capsule in the small depression you created.

7.

Place a second capsule at the location of the rear sight. Epoxy the capsule in place and align with the front sight.

8.

Allow the epoxy to dry before proceeding.

9.

Use a bottle of black fingernail polish or black paint to prevent the glow of the tritium from being observed by anyone in front of the weapon.

Items you will need

  • Clean towel
  • Degreaser
  • Tritium capsules
  • Rotary tool
  • Cutting wheel disk
  • 1/16-inch diamond rotary cutter
  • Two-part epoxy
  • Bluing pen
  • Black paint

About the Author

Sean Lancaster has been a freelance writer since 2007. He has written for Writers Research Group, Alexis Writing and the Lebanon Chamber of Commerce. Lancaster holds a Doctor of Philosophy in chemistry from the University of Washington.

Photo Credits

  • Comstock/Comstock/Getty Images