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Thread: Optimal night sight colors?

  1. #1
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    Default Optimal night sight colors?

    There have been plenty of anecdotal comments here at HKPRO and in other enthusiast forums regarding the “optimum” tritium night sight colors.
    It pretty much boils down to "They came with the gun" or "Joe gun doode said "get _______ rears and a green front"... so I did" or "I like the way the red rears and green front remind me of Christmas time!" (OK... I made that last one up)

    Has anyone done a scientific study of what colors are the best possible choice...
    1. Considering the sight radius.
    2. Considering the stress aspect and…
    3. Considering the variables of the user’s adaption to changes in prevailing light… or lack of it?

    The 14 year old, orange rear-green front, PT night sights on my P7M8 have long ago gone to sleep, and aside from the curiosity aspect, knowing this information might have a bearing on the replacements. (This is assuming of course that I can ever get PT/MMC to return my e-mail inquiries)

    Any optometrists or eye surgeons on the forum that have a better insight (pun intended) into this than I do?

    Thanks,
    C
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  2. #2
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    I'm not an expert but common sense tells me... Since you are suppose to focus on the front sight I would think it should be a more vivid color, with something maybe less vivid/bright for the rear. I don't know if this actually works but I'm sure someone here knows "how it should be."

    At the same time, the advertisements for those gosh darn blue halogen headlights are completely wrong, blue is one of the worst colors in respect to "loosing your night vision" while red is the best. Why are chart rooms in ships lighted red at night? Gee I wonder... 100's of years of experience or some headlight commercial for something no one needs anyway... I guess I don't care too much for those lights. lol

    All that said I would stay away from blue and consider red for the rear. But then again they aren't that bright anyway.

    My USP came green on green, it looks nice and I'm not stalking around at night and keep a flashlight by my bed so I'm in no hurry to change them.

    I know that red is the best color to use to preserve night vision, and yellow isn't too common in nature/buildings (at least not school bus yellow) and grabs your attention. (Off topic, school buses were once largely orange, being one of the most "un-natural colors" but they found that the color yellow was more "alarming" so they switched, according to the History Channel anyway.)

    So my vote for the most affective combo would be yellow front red rear. Your all set unless you're in a field of daisies...
    Last edited by HK_Lova; 04-19-2008 at 06:15 AM. Reason: Whew.. should have payed more attention in English class
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    Day glo Green is the most visible color to the human eye. Some cities are changing the color of their fire trucks from red to bright green because of this. A lot of pedestrian signs are also changing to this color. In Europe the police cars are white with green reflective stickers, and police vests, or jackets are that color for this very reason.

    Thankfully most night sights are this color as well. I have held many combinations of night sights and I find green on green works very well.
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  4. #4
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    Quote Originally Posted by HK_Lova View Post
    I'm not an expert but common sense tells me... Since you are suppose to focus on the front sight I would think it should be a more vivid color, with something maybe less vivid/bright for the rear. I don't know if this actually works but I'm sure someone here knows "how it should be."

    At the same time, the advertisements for those gosh darn blue halogen headlights are completely wrong, Blue is the worst color in respect to "loosing your night vision" while red is the best. Why are chart rooms in ships lighted red at night? Gee I wonder... 100's of years of experience or some headlight commercial for something no one needs anyway... I guess I don't care too much for those lights. lol

    All that said I would stay away from blue and consider red for the rear. But then again they aren't that bright anyway.
    Thanks for responding Lova... interesting about the blue. I also understand that it can cause distorted vision in a night scenario.

    I've been looking into light wave-lengths, what the human eye sees best in the dark and a few other things... and came up with a similar conclusion.

    Red color tritium, being not as bright, but also not doing any damage to the night-adapted eye would be the best choice for rears.
    Green color tritium, being the brightest and also in the wave-length of highest sensitivity to the night adapted eye would be optimal for the front sight.

    At least, this is what I've discovered so far... I invite others to comment.

    C

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    Quote Originally Posted by HighGear View Post
    Day glo Green is the most visible color to the human eye. Some cities are changing the color of their fire trucks from red to bright green because of this. A lot of pedestrian signs are also changing to this color. In Europe the police cars are white with green reflective stickers, and police vests, or jackets are that color for this very reason.

    Thankfully most night sights are this color as well. I have held many combinations of night sights and I find green on green works very well.
    Yes... it's pretty much a given that green is best for the front... but what, given the options available would be "best" for the rear?
    I hate using the word "best" as there seldom is a best for everyone... but in the case of sight color, there might be a best, given the average human eye.

    At the present, because "red light is used to preserve night vision in low-light or night-time situations, as the rod cells in the human eye aren't sensitive to red"... we're leaning towards red as a possible "best".

    C

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    I don't think the ammount of light given off by the rear sight is sufficient enought to destroy any night vision.

  7. #7
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    http://www.vickerstactical.com/Tips/nightSights.htm

    I also read that Larry Vickers recommends dimming the rear sights with a sharpie for easier acquisition of the front sight. Take that FWIW, I've never tried it, but I'd imagine an ex-Delta operator knows a bit about what works and what doesn't. He recommends green for the front and yellow or orange for the rear (less bright).

    Makes sense to me since red is the least damaging to night vision, right?
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  8. #8
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    Quote Originally Posted by HighGear View Post
    I don't think the ammount of light given off by the rear sight is sufficient enought to destroy any night vision.
    In a round-about way, you may be right.

    I've just started reading an article I found called "Night Vision, The Red Myth"... and it apears, after a quick skim of the article, that intensity is more the concern than color.

    This is one of the paragraphs from the linked article:

    "It takes a while for true night vision to be recovered. About 10 minutes for 10%, 30-45 minutes for 80%, the rest may take hours, days, or a week.
    The issue is the chemical in the eye, rhodopsin - commonly called visual purple, is broken down quickly by light.
    The main issue then is intensity; color is only an issue because the rods (responsible for night vision) are most sensitive at a particular color. That color is a blue-green (507nm) similar to traffic light green (which is this color for a entirely different reason).
    It would seem that using the lowest brightness (using this color) additional light needed for a task is the best bet to retain this dark adaptation because it allows rods to function at their best".


    Interesting stuff... I'm off to read the whole thing now.

    C

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    Default I have discovered the answer!

    When you can shoot like Bob Munden you don't need sights... lol ;)


    I checked out that green color, "WOW it's noticeable!" is about all I can say.

    The only thing I would stray away from on purposely going for any single color, like green on green, is how do you know which dots belong to what sight. In a split second that is, it's easy once you look at it for a second.

    Just for comparison I would like to see some images of other's sights. Particularity green since I think mine are a bit dim. I took the photo in a blacked out room, normal exposure, about 12 inches from the rear sights. (They look much brighter in person, thats why image comparison would help, I think)

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    Quote Originally Posted by Creeper1956 View Post

    The main issue then is intensity; color is only an issue because the rods (responsible for night vision) are most sensitive at a particular color.

    C
    Sort of, depending on what application you are talking about. If you walk up to a brake light and stare at it then yeah... you won't be able to see that well afterward, but we are assuming intensity is the same (because they are all night sights powered by the same amount of the same chemical). You go with the lowest intensity and most insensitive color. It's a balance, like everything else. Given a blue light and red light of the same intensity, the red will do less, much less, to diminish night vision.

    But yeah, for night sights, I don't think it would matter too much.

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