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The best night sights are a great addition to any hunting arsenal. There are many types of night sights available, including those mounted on the rifle or handgun itself. You can also get them in different colors and styles, so they match your hunting gear perfectly.
For example, there are models with a red dot sight that allows you to see at night without using a flashlight. This type of sight is ideal for hunters who want to spot game from a distance and shoot accurately at night.
My number one choice is XS Systems Big Dot. XS Systems provide what I believe is the quickest way to obtain a clear sight picture in a self-defense scenario, which makes these sights an ideal match for this Military and Police (M&P) oriented Every Day Carry (EDC) pistol. I have used various night sights for my hunting expeditions and find that XS systems is one of the top models right now.
7 Best Night Sights For M&P Shield
I’ve reviewed three and two-dot sights options, one red dot, and one laser sight. Which is best for you will depend on your specific intended use. Three dot sights are often preferred for target shooting, but two dots give a better field of view (FOV), assisting rapid point shooting.
1. XS Sight Systems Big Dot M&P Sights
This XS Sight Systems night sight is my overall winner for price, build quality, ease of installation, and all-around usability. The ‘express’ rear sight features an indented rather than notched rear sight, a broad and shallow v shape, illuminated with a white stripe that lines up under the large front dot (bright white with a tritium core) sighted. This low rear sight means the front dot is always visible, which you may find speeds up target acquisition.
Designed as a defensive sight for EDC pistols, these sights are a perfect match for Smith and Wesson’s (S&W’s) M&P Shield. XS System’s Big Dot design concept is rooted in the broad field of view provided by big game rifle open sights, with the same aim of providing both accuracy and a wide FOV to place shots precisely while keeping your whole target in view. While many shooters prefer a three-dot configuration for target shooting, the Big Dot setup can be just as precise once you get used to it.
The rounded front and rear sights reduce the potential for draw snags. The sights are nicely machined from high-quality steel bar stock, with smooth edges and a solid, quality feel.
- Fast sight picture acquisition
- Quality materials and build
- Large, bright, highly visible front dot
- No tritium core in the rear sight
- Wide FOV and low back sight may reduce target shooting accuracy
- Machined from solid steel bar stock. Light filing may be needed to fit.
- 10-year warranty
- Easy installation
2. Trijicon Night Sights for M&P Shield
This Trijicon night sight pairs white, orange, or yellow rings with self-illuminating tritium lamp (all green, all white, rear yellow, or orange options) center inserts. The tritium inserts, which come with a 12-year warranty, provide high visibility in low light and darkness. The lamps are protected from recoil shock and cleaning solvents by aluminum casings and sapphire end windows.
Trijicon offers these simple but effective sights in 3 flavors – Bright &
Tough, HD, and HD XR.
The Bright and Tough variant is cushioned with silicon to absorb shock. The tritium lamps are surrounded with white rings front and rear.
The HD rear sights feature matt paint on an angled, serrated surface to reduce reflection and glare and a smooth U-shaped rear sight notch that funnels your sight to the front dot. There are various illumination options for the colored front and rear dots.
Related Article: 21 Best Red Dot Sights for the Money (AR-15s, Pistols & Rifles)
The HD front orange or yellow outlines use photoluminescent paint for enhanced visibility in transitional light, while the front and rear green tritium inserts provide illumination in the darkest conditions. This combination gives the HD model greater flexibility in changeable lighting conditions. The larger front ring provides excellent visibility.
The alternative HD XR front sight gives you a thinner post. A thinner post allows more space between the front and rear sight sights for a wider FOV, which assists target acquisition and engagement at longer distances and makes it easier to see where the rounds hit. The tritium dots are bright enough to stay visible even after muzzle flash ruins your night eyes in dark conditions.
The steeply angled front sight rear reduces the chances of drawing snags, while the hooked front edge facilitates one-handed slide drawing in an emergency. The U-shaped rear notch provides a good FOV.
- Wide range of color and design options
- Sapphire caps enhance tritium brightness and clarity
- Higher than factory sights, which may cause an issue with some holster types
- Trijicon sights are used by the US military, a good indicator of the toughness and reliability of their products.
- 12-year warranty on tritium inserts
- Wide range of color and other design options
3. AmeriGlo Tritium I-Dot Shield
The U-shaped design on this AmeriGlo Tritium night sight increases FOV, assisting shot placement. Green tritium dots are centered in a high-visibility white outline. Some shooters may prefer a three-dot system for greater precision in target shooting, but the potential advantages of a two-dot (straight-eight) system can be leveraged for fast shooting.
However, if you’ve only ever used three-dot sights, using this system may take a little getting used to. If you’re not used to this kind of single-dot design, you might find yourself obscuring the front dot with the rear u-notch at first. You’ll see what I mean when looking through the notch at the rear. Once used to this, you may find that lining up the two dots speeds up your target acquisition.
- Low price
- Great FOV
- Fast point shooting
- Steep learning curve for shooters used to three-dot sights
- Made in the USA
- Lightweight polymer construction
- Wide FOV
4. HIVIZ MPSN321 Sight Systems, Litewave H3 Sight
The Hiviz sight system combines tritium with their own ‘LitePipes,’ providing sighting dots that are bright in all light conditions, and they work pretty well. The injection-molded pipes transmit work well in daylight hours, giving you visible dots on the range, and at night the large tritium inserts provide clear illumination.
The front sight of this pair is probably the hardest here to fit. If you fit these yourself, you may need to apply a few strokes with a light stone before they fit right. Too much or too little filing, though, and you might end up with a problem; note that the metal is a bit soft and so can be bent or dented. Light taps with a light hammer using a nylon punch, or a dedicated sight pusher, may be good options for DIY fitting.
On the plus side, Hiviz is known for excellent customer service, so you can be confident of a quick and helpful response if you have any issues.
Related Article: 10 Best Reflex Sights for Pistols, AR-15s, and Shotguns
A downside of these sights is that the long front sight reduces sight radius. This short radius may hinder precision target shooting on a pistol as short as the Shield. A shorter sight radius makes it more challenging to perceive small movements of the front sight.
- Great visibility in all light conditions
- Excellent customer service
- Front sight fitting can be tricky
- Short sight radius
- The steel used is a bit soft
- Strong visibility day and night
- 12-year warranty on the tritium inserts
- Range of LitePipe color options
5. Meprolight FT Bullseye Sight Kahr Rear Sight
The innovative design of Meprolight’s FT Bullseye sight does away with the need for a front sight, giving your M&P Shield a lower profile and eliminating any possibility of snagging the front of the pistol when drawing.
The Bullseye features a green circle with a floating dot in place of a front sight dot. Center this dot as you would the front dot on a standard two-piece night sight set, and you’re good. It does take a bit of getting used to, but sight acquisition can be speedy once you do.
A bit of a novelty, maybe, or an idea that needs a bit more developing to be truly epic. This sight is a love or hate option, in my opinion. It doesn’t offer the brightest illumination in the dark and may not be the best option if your eyesight isn’t great.
The real advantage of moving the dot to the back is that shooting with both eyes open becomes marginally easier as the action takes place on one plane. The dot centers without any possibility of being obscured by the rear sight, which may shave nano-seconds between raising the pistol and acquiring a clear sight picture when compared to a three-dot setup. Meprolight calls it a game-changer. Worth a try, but possibly not for everyone.
- Potential for speedy target acquisition
- No holstering/drawing issues
- The unique design is not for everyone
- Not as bright as some other sights
- Unique front-sight free design
- Fast target acquisition is possible
- No sight radius issue
6. LaserMax Centerfire Laser
The tap on/off switch on the LaserMax Centerfire Laser sight can be fitted to suit left or right-handed shooters. The battery won’t give you more than a couple of hours of continuous use, but the auto shut-off helps. You’ll need a small Philips screwdriver to remove the battery cover.
This reinforced nylon sight comes with a five-year warranty. Windage and elevation are fully adjustable if a little fiddly. The additional bulk on the trigger guard might be an issue with some holster types.
Note that the laser dot won’t show up on some surfaces, fabrics, or other surfaces need to have a minimum of reflectivity for the dot to be visible in any lighting conditions. Some users may find it difficult to see the dot in bright sunlight.
Related Article: 10 Best Red Dot Magnifiers
Mounting is a little bit tricky. The sight comes in two pieces, left and right, and it’s necessary to keep these pinched tightly together when fitting the screws to avoid misalignment. Once mounted, the LaserMax widens and marginally reduces room within the trigger guard, which users with thicker fingers might find problematic.
Tip 1 – it’s a good idea to note the serial number before mounting. Otherwise, you’ll need to take it off again if you need it.
Tip 2 – if you find it shoots to the left or right and windage adjustments aren’t working, try moving the elevation out to loosen the windage adjustment screw.
Tip 3 – There are also some sharp edges left over from the injection molding process, but these can be smoothed down with a fine file.
- Aids precise shot placement
- Matches Shield design aesthetic
- Very lightweight
- Some shooters find the trigger guard fitting confining
- Laser dot not visible in all shooting conditions
- Red and green options with the option of a steady or pulsing dot.
- Nicely designed to look like an integral part of the pistol. Compatible with 9mm and .45 (and older .40) models.
- Very lightweight (0.5 oz) but rugged.
7. Trijicon RM06-C-700672 RMR Type 2 Adjustable LED Sight, 3.25 MOA Red Dot Reticle
The Trijicon RM06-C-700672 adjustable LED sight is hard to beat for build quality and features if you like a red dot sight. Toughness is built-in not only through the use of military-grade aluminum alloy but by design also. The forged frame is cleverly shaped to ensure the housing and not the lens absorbs the impact of any dings.
Windage and elevation screws are well made and not easily snapped or stripped as on some cheaper models. The battery provides four years of continuous use and sits snugly against ruggedized contacts and electronics under an easily removed dustproof and water-resistant cap. The upgraded contacts eliminate the dot flicker on recoil in an earlier model.
The automatic brightness adjustment is pretty quick but can be overridden with eight settings, including night vision compatible and super-bright modes. The sight also has some useful power-saving features to extend the battery’s life and a lock mode to prevent accidental adjustments. The 3.25 MOA dot for my money is an ideal size for a handgun, facilitating fast and accurate target acquisition.
All of this adds up to an extremely clear, always ready sight that provides a consistently visible dot in all lighting conditions and can handle anything you throw at it. If you haven’t used a red dot sight on a handgun before, this one might get you hooked.
One possible downside of the rugged build is that the sighting window is slightly smaller than similar sights. I say possible because the relative size of the window may not matter to all users, and the difference is slight.
Mounting is simple, remove the slide cut cover ahead of the rear sight fix the sight in place with the supplied screws, with a bit of blue or red locktite as preferred.
- Bright targeting dot in all lighting conditions
- Rugged construction
- Easy mounting
- High price
- Green tinted glass (subjective con)
- Smallish sighting window
- Five-year warranty
- Water, dust, and shockproof body.
- No flickering dot on recoil, solid zeroing is solid under multiple recoils
- The glass has a green tint, which some shooters might not like.
- Night vision compatible.
Depending on the model, there are a few options; standard sights, fiber optic sights (shield plus), and the optics-ready version, which can be supplied with a fitted 5 MOA red dot sight.
The factory-installed sights that come with your M&P Shield are designed by Novak and built by Smith and Wesson. Smith and Wesson send the machined sights to Trijicon to install the tritium dots.
The red dot sight, which can be supplied with the optics-ready version, is made by Crimson Trace.
For starters, prices vary a great deal by model type and iteration. Also, as the M&P (Military and Police) is aimed at that market, the lack of federal excise tax for Law Enforcement personnel also brings the price down for some buyers.
A more universal reason is that the Shield is considerably smaller than many other handguns, meaning that less material is used in its construction. Coupled with the polymer body being cheaper to make than a metal body, this further lowers the price.
The Shield Plus has fiber optic front (green) and rear (red) sights. The optics-ready version can be supplied with a Crimson Trace 5 MOA red dot sight.
There are a lot of incredible sights here. Choosing an overall winner was hard, and it may be that one of the other sights meets your particular needs better.
XS System’s Big Dot is my winner for overall ease of use, build quality, price, and design. The standout for me is the speed and ease of target acquisition, assisted by the neat ‘dot the i’ design and the wide FOV provided by the shallow V of the rear sight. The large dot with its tritium core is highly visible in transitional and low light.
Add to that solid, high-quality steel construction and relatively easy mounting, and XS System’s Big Dot is a solid option for self-defense and sports applications.
Travis Pike is a former Marine Machine gunner who served with 2nd Bn 2nd Marines for 5 years. He deployed in 2009 to Afghanistan and again in 2011 with the 22nd MEU(SOC) during a record setting 11 months at sea.
Pike has trained with the Romanian Army, the Spanish Marines, the Emirate Marines and the Afghan National Army. More experience added to the long list of accolades, he serves as an NRA certified pistol instructor and teaches concealed carry classes.
He prides himself on his insatiable supporter of the second amendment and enjoys helping others find the right gear to excersize their freedom at the highest capacity!