As we age and our eyesight worsens, it can be hard to shoot as well as we used to, especially with pistols.
We want to make sure that everyone has the ability to enjoy their handguns, and also defend themselves, even if their eyesight is less than perfect, so today we’re going to talk about the best handgun sights for folks with vision that isn’t quite as sharp as it used to be.
If you’re looking for the sights, you can check them all out right here:
2 x 1.25 x 1.25
CR2 3V Lithium
TACTICON Laser Sight
3.7 x 3.2 x 1.6
6 LR44 batteries required
Lasermax Guide Rod
8.12 x 4.62 x 1.50
12.5 x 11 x 6.75
2 Lithium ion batterie
Sig Sauer Romeo3MAX
7.1 x 4.8 x 2.7
Trijicon RMR Type 2
1.8 x 1.2 x 1.0 in
Holosun HE507C-GR-V2 Elite
1.78 x 1.15 x 1.15
1 Lithium Metal batteries
Nikko Stirling NS433
12.07 x 9.53 x 5.08
Ade Advanced Optics Crusader 8 Reticle
5.6 x 3.9 x 3.1
1 Lithium ion batteries
Trijicon HD Night Sights
5.85 x 5.75 x 0.3
AmeriGlo Night Sights
1 x 1 x 1
8 x 5 x 1
Meprolight Tru-Dot Pistol Night Sights
8.5 x 4.35 x 0.7
Kensight DAS 1911
1 x 1 x 1
Let’s dive right in.
Why We Need Better Handgun Sights As We Age
The best handgun sights for old eyes take into account the gun and the shooter along with vision problems.
Presbyopia happens to everyone as they age. It means you can't quite focus on close objects, like both pistol sights and the target, as well as you used to. This can present a problem with most factory sights or other plain black sights.
Tips on Choosing Pistol Sights for Aging Eyes
Before you even start looking at the best pistol sights for aging or bad eyes, take this word of advice from a lifetime shooter:
Use the same glasses you wear every day to practice. In a home defense situation, if you even have time to grab your glasses, it will be the ones you wear most often. If you hunt, you will wear the same glasses in the woods that you wear doing everyday chores.
Using special shooting glasses to practice makes no sense because you learn to shoot with them, but do your real-world shooting with other glasses.
It's like this:
You can take a .22 revolver to the range all day and practice. You will learn how to handle a revolver. More critically, you will learn how THAT revolver acts.
Then you take a .44 Mag to go hunting. The basics are similar: load, cock, squeeze. Recoil, bullet performance and the muzzle blast of noise and escaping gases are different. At close range, you'll probably hit the target on the first shot.
After that, who knows? If you shoot at a distance, you'll probably miss.
The biggest problem with handguns and older eyes is getting focused on the front sight. Anything that helps draw attention to that, whatever gets your eye on the sight is ideal.What are the best handgun sights for old eyes?
Laser Sights for Pistols
Hands down, the best handgun sights for aging eyes are laser sights. All you have to do is aim and look for the dot on your target. You don't have to search for the sights. You just pull the laser to the target. The drawback to lasers is they can be hard to see in very bright sunlight. They excel, however, in low light conditions. Lasers come in green or red.
Laser sights can be mounted on a bracket, as part of the grip, or on a picatinny rail. Try several models to see which best suits your shooting style. Some handguns today come with integral lasers.
Lasers that fit on the grip are make-and-model specific. Some go under the barrel and sweep back to the trigger guard. Others fit over the grip. Grip sights are generally best for wheelguns. Some lasers are replacements for the guide rod in autoloaders.
Lasers that mount to a picatinny rail are universal fits, as long as the rail has enough space to hold the laser.
Best Pistol Sights For Old Eyes
1. Crimson Trace
Crimson Trace leads the pack for the best handgun sights for aging eyes. The company offers a lifetime warranty for the original buyer and free batteries for life, also for the original owner.
If you’re mounting under the barrel, you'll need a compact model like the Rail Master. One version comes with a light as well as a laser.
2. TACTICON Laser Sight
Tacticon produces a bunch of different products including laser bore sights and reflex sights. This Tacticon laser sight appears on the list because of the picatinny rail under the sight.
Mount the laser to the frame under the barrel, then you get another picatinny rail section to attach something else. In the case of underslung mounts, attach a light or something equally useful.
3. Lasermax Guide Rod
If the idea of adding external items to your autoloader isn’t appealing, the Lasermax Guide Rod is one of the best pistol sights for old eyes.
It comes with these advantages:
- Not permanent. The Lasermax guide rod can be replaced at any time. If you can field strip your gun and remove the guide rod, you can install this rod.
- Fixed alignment. The laser can't be knocked out of alignment. It’s fixed by the factory.
- Uses standard holsters. No need to wonder if your laser-equipped handgun will fit in the original holster. With the Lasermax, it will.
The biggest drawback is the limited range, Lasermax says it’s good to 20 yards. For home defense, that is ideal. For range work, that's not good enough.
Streamlight offers a selection of laser and flashlight combinations that mount to handguns with picatinny rails and without rails. A big ambidextrous on-off button on the side makes this even better. The battery compartment is on the bottom, making replacement possible without removing the laser.
After laser sights, the best pistol sights for aging eyes are red dot optics, more specifically the reflex red dot sights. Red dots can be tube-type sights as well, but those are a bit harder on old eyes. Red dots offer a nice open sight picture that doesn’t obscure your target.
Using a red dot is easy. Turn it on. Look for the red dot, or crosshairs in some cases, in the viewfinder and line that up with the bullseye. It's not quite as easy as a laser, but it’s far ahead of using iron sights.
Since these almost always mount to picatinny rails, putting them on a handgun is easy. You may have to set up a picatinny rail first. Getting a rail on a handgun may require a gunsmith or special clamps.
5. Sig Sauer Romeo3MAX
Leading the list of reflex sights is the Sig Sauer Romeo series. The best handgun sights for old eyes from these models is the Romeo3MAX.
This competition-ready optic has a generous 30mm lens and a choice of a 3 or 6 MOA red dot. The big dot is much easier to see, but also hides a lot of the target, making it less useful at longer ranges.
The click value is 1 MOA. An MOA is so close to an inch at 100 yards as makes no difference, especially with handguns under 50 yards.
The red dot is motion-activated, so you don't have to worry about finding the “on” button when it’s time to shoot. Sig says the battery will last up to 20,000 hours of continuous use. If you hunt with a handgun, change the battery at the beginning of every season.
It’s waterproof to one meter.
6. Trijicon RMR Type 2
The Trijicon RMR Type 2 is our second pick for the best handgun sights for old eyes because it comes with a whopping 6.5 MOA dot.
Adjustments are 1 MOA. Trijicon says the battery will give you four years of continuous use. Reality says the battery will not last that long, especially when you set the brightness to maximum.
7. Holosun HE507C-GR-V2 Elite
Red dot sights need a battery. Some do not. The Holosun HE507C-GR-V2 Elite makes it into this list because it comes with a solar panel. In this case, you could potentially make it to a whopping 50,000 hours of battery life.
Adjustments are one MOA and the dot in this one is green. It comes with a motion-activated on switch. When you draw your gun, the sight is waiting for you. That's especially handy when hunting because you don't have to find the on-off switch.
Another reason I like this reflex sight is the reticle options. The lighted ring provides another frame of reference when looking at the downrange target.
8. Nikko Stirling NS433 1x33 Dual Illuminated Reflex Sight
If reticle choices are your thing, one of the best handgun sights for aging eyes is a Nikko Stirling NS433. It has four options in red or green in the same scope. Pick a dot, dot in a circle, floating crosshairs or crosshairs with a circle and then a dot.
This kind of scope is excellent for moving targets. The last three options provide a reference point for leading a target. Very few of us can shoot as well as Jerry Miculek, who could nail a moving target easily with this scope, but we can practice and hope.
9. Ade Advanced Optics Crusader 8 Reticle
When it comes to reticle choices, the Ade Advanced Optics Crusader is the undisputed king in reflex sights.
Someone at Ade also has a universe-sized sense of humor. One of the choices is a spade with the red or green dot in the center. Then, oh yes THEN, is the skull option. The red or green dot is centered in the middle of what should be the nose opening in the skull. (Santa, if you’re reading this...)
Imagine going to the range and a buddy asks to shoot your iron. Flip the sight to skull and hand it over and watch the reaction.
Click values are one MOA. Ade promises a "long battery life" without specifying. If you use the skull option at max brightness, you will run down the battery in a hurry. It's worth it.
If you’re a purist, then iron sights are the only sights worthy of a handgun. They’re harder to use, but for shooters who are used to iron sights, sighting still may be more comfortable since it’s more or less than same as they’ve been doing.
Mounting Iron Sights
Unfortunately, the handgun industry has not made universal cuts in autoloader pistols for replacement sights. You have to pick the handgun you have and then find the sights that fit it. Ribs, if the revolver has one at all, are also not universal.
Some iron sights can be removed. Some can't because the sights are integral to the barrel and frame or slide. If that’s the case, you will either need a gunsmith or find a way to mount a rail to the gun.
A Note About Tritium
In the world of handgun iron sights, the best handgun sights for old eyes are Tritium based.
Tritium is a radioactive version of hydrogen. The amount of radiation and the amount of hydrogen in the sights are tiny. The sights appear green or white during the day. This helps give old eyes something to focus on. For night time visibility, they glow in the dark. The glow diminishes over time as the radioactive hydrogen decays.
A notched rear sight with a Tritium tube on each side and then the front blade with a single tube is the most common offering. Some are front sight only.
10. Trijicon HD Night Sights
Trijicon is the leader in the self-glowing gun sights with about 172 products in 671 different models. Their Trijicon HD Night Sights are some of the most popular around.
They’re the company to beat when it comes to tritium pistol sights for old eyes. Most of the sights are paired, front and rear, sight sets, with a rear notch sight and a front sight post. A few Trijicon offerings are only for the front sight.
If you shoot suppressed Glock pistols, Trijicon has a series of elevated sights to let you see over the can. The Trijicon HD line is good for shooters of all types of pistols.
11. AmeriGlo Night Sights
AmeriGlo is in second place to Trijicon because it has fewer offerings, 175 products and 332 models.
This company offers sights similar to those offered by Trijicon. One set of sights that is different from Trijicon is the Ghost Ring sight. The rear is a ring and the front sight post has a single tritium lamp.
AmeriGlo also offers a series of elevated sights for shooting a Glock with a can.
12. Night Fision
Night Fision has less than a quarter of the sights offered by the big two we just talked about. Night Fision's line of elevated sights for the suppressed Glock is more limited than Trijicon and AmeriGlo.
What they do offer, however, is still very high quality.
13. Meprolight Tru-Dot Pistol Night Sights
Meprolight has a small lineup, nine in total, with most of them for Glocks. It has three sets for H&K handguns, one for the S&W M&P and one for the Springfield XD.
14. Kensight DAS 1911
If you’re a 1911 fan (and if not, why not?), Kensight offers a unique rear sight for your slabsider. Instead of dots, this rear, adjustable sight has three Tritium bars; a bar to either side and one on the bottom.
15. Fiber Optic
Fiber optic sights are another excellent choice for iron sights. A bunch of makers offer fiber optics sights, such as TruGlo and AmeriGlo (the AmeriGlo Pro line is particularly good).
Like with tritium sights, you will have to find your make and model handgun and then choose from the available sights for that particular gun. Also like tritium iron sights, you can buy just a fiber optic front sight or a pair that includes both a front and rear sight.
The advantage of fiber optic is the small bright plastic parts can be replaced in many of these sights. You can get different colors to match or contrast with your gun if you have a color coating on it.
A disadvantage is the exposed fiber optic lines break easily. If you’re in the middle of a competition and a tube breaks, you may not have the time or the parts to replace it. If that happens, you have to line up the empty tube, which takes you back to iron sights' original problem, finding and focusing on it.
Some sights combine tritium and fiber optics together, often indicated with the “TFO” designation.
When my editor, Matthew, assigned me this article, he added, "not trying to call you old or anything, I promise." Ahem.
While that was diplomatic of him, the fact is, my eyesight is quite bad. Because of this, I like rifle and shotgun scopes with lots of magnification. I prefer iron sights on my handguns, but admit a laser or a reflex sight is what I should be using.
Before you decide on the best handgun sights for your old eyes, think about what you’re doing with the gun.
If you’re strictly after home and self-defense, get a laser. The laser does not announce your presence like a flashlight, but offers high visibility. It works in complete darkness. Home defense ranges are almost always under 20 feet.
If you shoot competition, get a reflex sight. Ultra-fast target acquisition can shave hundredths of a second off your time, which may be enough to put you in the money. If you hunt, I also recommend a reflex sight.
For recreational target shooting, you can just go with whatever you’re comfortable with. As we’ve seen, there are plenty of good sight options out there, even for shooters with poor vision.
Whatever you get, the key to good shooting is practice.
What do you think of these handgun sight options? Do you have another option that you think we missed? Let us know in the comments below! And be sure to check out our