The M&P Shield is one of the best carry guns around, but the stock sights are kinda...meh, right?
Really, most people who buy a Smith & Wesson M&P Shield are buying it as a defensive tool, not a range toy, so having a good set of combat-style sights on it is important.
Let’s talk about how to choose the best sights for your M&P Shield, and then we can take a look at some recommendations. And if you just want the recommendations, they’re right here at the top.
Alright, so why upgrade your sights in the first place? Well...
Every Carry Gun Should Have Defensive Sights On It
Most stock carry guns come with sights that are okay at best. Glock’s OEM white dot and notch rear sights are famously bad, for example, and the stock M&P options you can get for the Shield aren’t much better. Upgraded handgun sights make shooting faster and more intuitive, which is a big help in a defensive situation.
When you’re in a self-defense situation where you have to draw your gun, your pulse is going to be about double, adrenaline is going to make your hands shake, and it’s likely going to be dark out. Not ideal shooting conditions, even for the best shooters.
In that kind of situation, sub-par sights are the last thing you need. True defensive sights or night sights are wider for close-range, combat-oriented shooting and have either tritium lamps or fiber-optic inserts in the rear sight and often the front sight as well.
These illuminated sights can drastically improve your target acquisition, especially on follow-up shots where the sights are moving and you have to reacquire your sight picture. Shooting without them in low-light conditions can be very difficult indeed. The tritium options will glow even in complete darkness.
Can your stock sights do that? Probably not.
They also help in brighter lighting conditions when it comes to combat-style shooting. The brighter orange or green dots make tracking your sights under recoil easier even when it’s bright and sunny out.
Finally, many sights designed for self/home-defense are low-profile so they are less likely to snag on a holster or clothing during your draw, which can save you valuable seconds during an altercation.
Oh, and you don’t need to take your Shield to your local gunsmith if you want the best night sights. You can install dovetail sights on your pistol with just a few basic (and very cheap) tools without an issue.
What M&P Shield Defensive Sights Sights Should I Buy?
There are a few things you should consider when buying night sights. First and foremost, you want to make sure you’re buying high-quality sights from reputable manufacturers.
That may seem obvious, but firearms accessories are copied by shady manufacturers all the time, especially sights and optics, so it’s easy to accidentally buy a Tragic-on instead of a Trijicon if you aren’t careful.
Second, decide what kind of illumination you want. Fiber-optic inserts are cheaper, but not by much and they don’t work if there’s not enough ambient light. Are they better than your stock polymer sights? Absolutely.
Are they as good as tritium lamps that will glow even in pitch darkness? Not really.
Next, we have to talk about materials. CNC-machined metal sights are going to be the strongest and what you should go for with tritium sights. Polymer sights with tritium lamps can flex under impact and break the little glass tube that holds all the tritium. Not great.
Many metal sights also have little serrations on the faces that cut down on glare as well, which is excellent for shooting in daylight. Polymer sights are fine with fiber-optic inserts, but they are a little more likely to break off.
Makes sense, right?
Finally, it’s time to pick some colors. With most sights, you can mix and match front and rear illumination colors to your heart’s content. Do you want a green front and rear? Green front and orange rear?
Personally, I like having a front sight that is a different color from my rear lamps which can really cut down on your split times (the time between shots) because it’s easier to track the different-colored front sight under recoil.
It also helps with close-range defensive shooting because sometimes you just need to get the front sight on the target, without worrying about getting a perfect sight picture each time.
Alright, with all that out of the way, let’s take a look at some sights that meet these requirements.
Black outline rear for Glocks
Pro Glo Orange
Meprolight S&W Shield
Solid fit, sleek look
Trijicon HD Night Sights
Truglo TFO Fiber-Optic
green or yellow
XS Sight Systems Big Dot
1. AmeriGlo Spartan Operator Sight Set
The AmeriGlo Spartan Operator sights are a great option to start with.
AmeriGlo actually makes a lot of the OEM night sight options you find available on guns direct from the manufacturer, and while I don’t know that they make the ones that Smith & Wesson put on their guns, I strongly suspect that’s the case.
Either way, these are a great option if you’re looking for something that’s an improvement over standard iron sights. These are machined from US-made bar stock and use Swiss-made tritium lamps.
I really like the design personally, and I think the green front and rear with the orange ring of photoluminescent paint around the front sight is great. You can also check out their I-Dot sight which is similar and also excellent.
Both options have a very prominent front sight that is easily distinguishable at night which is absolutely key. I love that AmeriGlo put thought into what actually makes a sight more useable in a defensive scenario.
That big tritium dot up front really is easy to use during rapid-fire shooting at close range, which is what you need for self-defense.
2. Meprolight S&W Shield Fixed Sight Set
The Meprolight S&W Shield Fixed Sights are Israeli-made and are another great option for an M&P Shield. The self-illuminating tritium lamps are super bright and the sights themselves are machined out of steel.
These are a bit narrow in the rear as defensive sights go, but they’re still very quick off the draw. The tritium lamps are easy to see and come with a 12-year warranty (the best out there, to my knowledge). They’re also the exact same size as your standard irons so you won’t need to adjust your point of aim at all.
I also like that you can mix and match front and rear sights so you can get whatever color combination you desire, or just swap out the front sight if you’re trying to save money, making this potentially the cheapest option on the list for getting a good defensive sight on your gun quickly.
3. Trijicon HD Night Sights - Best m&p Sight
Trijicon is one of the premiere names in optics so it should come as no surprise that they make good night sights for the M&P Shield. The Trijicon HD Night Sights come in several different configurations so you can mix and match as you please.
Personally, I like the orange ring around the green front sight, but you can look at the options and decide what you like best. The rear sight is fairly low-key on all of them and comes serrated to reduce glare in bright light.
The extra-bright tritium lamps are high quality and make target acquisition quick and easy, day or night. Many people also find the notch-and-dot design of the sights very good for quick, reactionary shooting.
I actually had these on a USPSA gun for a long time and they worked extremely well for rapid-fire strings, and for transitioning from target to target.
Overall, you can’t go wrong with Trijicon and while they are a little more expensive, they’re certainly worth it. They're one of the most popular Glock night sights for a reason.
4. Truglo TFO Fiber-Optic Night Sights - Best Night Sight For Shield
Truglo TFO night sights are a pretty popular recommendation for night sights in general and with good reason. The simple fact is they make good stuff and these sights are no exception.
The TFOs are CNC-machined steel with Truglo’s Fortress finish for extra protection from wear. The fiber-optic inserts are shielded from the front and are contrasted so you have a green/yellow rear with a differently colored front for faster target acquisition.
You also get a sloped front sight that helps eliminate snags on the draw which, I cannot stress enough, is something you do not want to have happen to you. The best sights in the world are no good if they’re going to snag on your pants or something and slow down your draw.
Another thing to note with these is that they use the more affordable fiber-optic inserts rather than tritium lamps. The open-top design takes advantage of all available light, but they aren’t self-illuminating so they aren’t as great for very low light shooting as tritium lamp options.
5. XS Sight Systems Big Dot
We’re going to end on something that’s a little bit different. The XS Sight Systems Big Dot is a non-traditional sight that many shooters (myself included) really love on a defensive pistol. At close ranges, all you really need to do is get a clear view of the front sight and put it on the target, so a bigger, more prominent front sight can be a huge help.
As the name implies, you get a really big dot up front that has a white ring and a tritium insert that glows in the dark. The “Express” rear sight has vertical white stripe and a shallow v shape to it. Just put the dot on top of the white stripe and pull the trigger.
Easy enough, right? This is not a precision target sight after all. This is a sight that is designed to help you put shots on target quickly and with enough accuracy to get the job done. Can you hit that 4” square at 25 yards with this? Sure. But that’s not what it’s for.
This is a sight that is designed purely for the types of shooting you have to do when you draw your weapon to stop a threat, and that is perfect for an M&P Shield. When you need to protect yourself, it’s essential to have the right tool for the job.
This sight, along with all the others on this list, will give you just that.
Having a good sight set on your carry gun is crucial. If you own an M&P Shield and aren’t happy with the sights, hopefully this will help guide you to the best sights for your S&W M&P Shield. The options presented here really are the best M&P Shield night sights around, and I’d trust my life to any of them (and have, in most cases).
Which of these night sights do you like best? Do you carry any of these yourself? Let me hear from you in the comments! And if you want to check out more sight options, check our guide on best pistol sights for poor vision and maybe think about putting a red dot on your carry gun. All the cool kids are doing it.