Commonly Asked Questions
WILL YOU EVER OFFER TRITIUMS? Richard Answers, we will not and this is why…
Thank you for your question. We have been asked about this before. Unlike tritiums, our Fireflies will last for decades. One’s great grandchildren will find that our Fireflies will hold the same glow as they would currently do for the original owner. You'll never need to replace them and, like all night sight systems -- thermal, tritiums, etc. -- you just need to work within the parameters of that particular system. Though most police departments require tritiums, we have not been able to uncover credible evidence that they have been useful in police shootings. We do know that if enough officers on any department are using our sights, the overall qualification scores for that department will go up and, by extension, liability will go down.
Most that have tritiums allow them to age and grow dimmer, rendering them useless in high stress situations. Tritiums are good for a limited amount of time, depending on the product, then they get dim enough that they cease to be quick in intense situations. Anyone can bring dim tritiums into a bathroom and turn out the light and still see them; but can one efficiently see and track dimmer ones in high stress situations.
Most tactical situations, even for police, are at very close range. Truly darkened ones are even closer -- at arm’s length or not much beyond. With the Firefly, just put the largest glowing front sight in the industry on the target and go. Aligning tritiums, especially dim ones, is time consuming and may dangerous because of that fact.
As a CCW holder, when I go out for the evening, I charge my Firefly before I leave home. When I return home six hours later, they are still visible. If I feel they are not bright enough, I take a second (one second) to refresh the charge with a small key chain UV flashlight. They immediately pop back to a strong glow. With less than new tritiums, you can’t do this. You are stuck with whatever amount of remaining glow you may have.
If one likes tritiums, he/she should pony up for new ones every two years. However, most don't. Most let their tritiums extend way beyond usefulness, before they trade them out for new ones. In fact, the percentage of time that useless tritiums are on most pistols, far exceeds their useful time on those pistols. That means that most of the time the tritium owner utilizing an unsound system. If Fireflies are used correctly, they will never be useless, as they’ll last for decades.
Richard Nasef, President (ATS)
A FIREFLY REAR SIGHT ????????
Recently, several have emailed and asked about the possibility of a rear sight Firefly. Though I've talked about this in individual responses, and posted this once before, I thought I'd again present our reasons for not having a glow rear sight.
When we tested prototypes with a rear glow insert, we found that the clothing worn during holster carry -- shirts, jackets, etc. -- could obscure portions of the rear sight from the sun and other light sources. That situation would produce an unevenly lit rear sight. We also found that in dim light (not darkness) our florescent rear sight inserts could be seen, depending on the chosen rear sight insert color. One would then have a dim pyramid with a glowing top for most truly darkened tactical situations. This would certainly speak to a front sight oriented response, while still maintaining a complete pyramid sight picture. Even a partially charged firefly will spike bright again with a one second charge from a good tac light or a small UV key chain flashlight. That short duration of charge will give the shooter a strong glow for the duration of most tactical events. The charging of both a rear and front sight, depending on the situation, may take too much time and may not give equal saturation to both.
Almost all tactical situations occur at very close ranges. Truly darkened situations occur at the closest distances. Taking time to align both front and rear glowing sights, at those distances, may not be a prudent use of one's time. In addition, the ATS firefly is the biggest glowing front sight in the industry. We believe that most would be able to orient the big glow on to the target, more instinctively and quickly than any other iron sight adaption, and certainly faster than aligning front and rear sights,at those close tactical distances. We believe that the firefly is the quickest and most efficient answer to truly darkened encounters in real world tactical situations.
WILL ATS EVER HAVE A RED FIREFLY?
The answer is that we are working on it. A red Firefly is the most challenging, as red does not always lend to being luminescent. However, we are making progress and as we near completion, we’ll announce it everywhere.
HOW TO GET THE LAW ENFORCEMENT / MILITARY DISCOUNT?
Though we have previously posted about our law enforcement discounts, we often get emails and phone calls inquiring about how to access those discounts. For all sworn retired and active American and Canadian law enforcement and U.S. military:
1. Email your ID to us
2. We’ll enter your information into our data bank -- name and affiliation only
3. We’ll then delete your emailed ID.
4. We’ll finally return email the discount ordering information and procedure.
* Registered law enforcement and military may use the discount procedure without limitation.
* Please be aware, in order to protect the law enforcement and military discount program, discounted orders from those not in our data bank will be cancelled.
HOW DO YOU DECIDE ON WHETHER TO USE A FIREFLY OR THE REGULAR NYLON INSERTS. WHAT DO YOU PERSONALLY USE?
I’ve been back and forth on this one. At the moment and after much experimentation, this is where I am currently with the Firefly vs. florescent nylon front sight insert decision: When I have a dual purpose firearm -- a firearm that I use for both competition and defense -- I use the Firefly. With firearms that are exclusively used for competition, I use the nylon front sight inserts.
These days, my Firefly color combo is red rear sight insert with a yellow Firefly. For me, that combo works well for both competition and defense. For competition only, I use a green rear sight insert with a red nylon front sight insert. On my Glock 26 (short sight radius), that I only use for defensive purposes, I do use the orange rear sight insert with a green Firefly front. For some reason, on a short sight radius, that combo works for me.
At the suggestion of an ATS fan, I am also experimenting with darkening our white rear sight inserts with hair dye, to create a black or charcoal rear sight insert. So far, the charcoal rear sight insert works pretty well with either the green or yellow Firefly. It makes for a very focused front sight orientation, with a short sight radius handgun. It’s very quick, because the glowing Firefly really pops against a charcoal background (rear sight insert); however, when a precise shot is needed, one can still align a dark mountain with a glowing top.
Again, bear in mind, the above choices are very personal and you may have different experiences.
SIGHT ALIGNMENT--HOW IT WORKS:
The Advantage Tactical Sight is a military/police fixed sighted system, though it can be adjusted for windage and elevation. Our rear sight has a set screw and is drift adjustable for windage. The front sight is of two parts -- the front sight itself and the front sight base. For the Glock, the front sight base fits into the hole created by the removal of the factory front sight. Our front sight base replaces factory dovetailed front sights. Each individually colored front sight may be placed in the front sight base, according to color preference. Between the front sight base and front sight, we have a series of proprietary shims (washers) of different thicknesses. The more shims that are stacked between the front sight and front sight base, the lower a bullet will impact on a target. To raise bullet impact, one would lessen shim thickness. Elevation can be adjusted in increments of .002", depending on how you use the shim system. Each increment of .002” will affect bullet impact by 1/2 or 3/4 of an inch at 25 yards. Our sight system is designed to shoot high, for the most part, without shims; however that will vary, depending on firearm type, caliber, ammunition and the idiosyncrasies of each firearm. For more details, visit our website and read the installations instructions.
Our sights fit most holsters, though they may be a little taller than a typical factory sight. The ATS is low enough to fit in most holsters, yet tall enough to see over most suppressors. We have found that it is rare to have a holster that would not fit our sights. Because there are so many holster makers, with various models in their line, we have no way of knowing about particular holsters, unless customers report their findings to us. The only problem one could potentially have with an ATS is front sight drag. Please specify the model and maker of your handgun, and we will send you, for your reference, our front sight specs for that firearm. In the rare event you do encounter some front sight drag, please give us a call for suggestions and remedies: 310-316-6413.
WHAT IS THE FIREFLY?
The Advantage Tactical Firefly front sight inserts, the newest Advantage Tactical product, incorporate the latest chemical and manufacturing technology to produce glow in darkness. The Firefly night sight upgrade will swap out with any of our standard nylon front sight inserts, for all of our products. The Fireflies come two per package -- one in the yellow spectrum and one in the green spectrum.
Firefly insert upgrades will glow for many hours with a short exposure to a strong light source, for example: 1 minute of strong summer (winter sun is less) sunlight; positioning the firefly 1” to 2” under a 75 watt lamp; 45+ seconds directly under a ultra violet source, will produce sustained glow for a prolonged duration of time. In addition, when the glow has finally diminished or is close to the end of a glow duration, just two seconds of a tactical light will bring back the glow for a significant amount of time. Once charged, casual exposure to some ambient, will increase glow time duration. The Fireflies never wear out or lose their glow capabilities. One may expect decades of use with the Firefly.
IS THE FIREFLY AS PRECISE AS THE NYLON FRONT SIGHT INSERTS AND WHICH IS BEST FOR OVERALL USE?
That answer needs an in depth explanation. At first, making a pyramid picture with the firefly, as opposed to your standard nylon inserts, appears a little different, until you get used to the way the Firefly presents, in relation to the rear sight.
The standard inserts are made of over-molded florescent nylon. Only the sighting portion of the standard front sight inserts is colored, while the rest of the insert is darkened by the over-molding process. The Firefly is all one color, to enhance the perception of the glow when charged.
At first, it seemed a little different to me, too, when shooting for group with the Firefly, as opposed to our over-molded nylon front sight insert. The Firefly does present in a slightly different way than the nylon inserts. However, as I switched many of my front sight inserts over to the Firefly, I got used to the Firefly presentation. The unneeded portions of the big Firefly color hide behind rear sight to create a perfect pyramid, in the same way as the nylon inserts do. Now, that I’m used to the difference, I shoot just as precisely and as quickly, when concentrating on an aimed shot, as I do with the nylon inserts.
The reason why I’m switching to the Firefly on most of my handguns is because the mono-color Firefly appears very big and, for me, I can see it even quicker than the standard nylon inserts on close quarter targets, especially when I’m on the move. I’ve concluded that being able to see one’s sights clearly while moving is the most important thing. USPSA match shooting, for the most part, is about being able to shoot on the move; and shooting while moving is most surely what is required in almost all tactical situations. At the same time, now that I’m used to the Firefly, I can shoot just as precisely as with our standard nylon inserts. Of course, the main difference between the Firefly and our standard nylon inserts is that the Firefly, when charged, glows big in the night for a substantial duration of time.
One final note: Our standard nylon inserts are highly florescent and can be seen (really pop) in even weak ultra violet light. Such is the condition of the sky, after the sun has set as well as before sunrise. In both situations, the sky is filled with ultra violet light and our nylon inserts really pop. They look like they’ve got a lamp under them in that light. This is really a boon for hunters, where most states limit hunting to 1/2 hr. before sunrise and 1/2 hr. after sunset. You can really see our standard florescent inserts on a dark animal hide, in those dimly lit outdoor moments. Our Fireflies are also somewhat florescent as well, though not as much as the standard nylon inserts.
DO IT RIGHT FROM THE GET-GO -- FRONT SIGHT INSTALLATION.
All of our front sights, regardless of firearm type, sit in a steel front sight base. The Glock front sight base, besides being used on the Glock, is also the front sight base for our Taurus 709/740, and all of our long gun sights. All other front sight bases are firearm specific dovetail bases. All front sight bases are affixed to the all front sight inserts, via a set-screw.
Our sight system is made to shoot high without elevation shims. The shims go between the front sight base and any of our front sight inserts, including the Firefly. We want bullet impact to be high, when shims are not used. That way, you may adjust elevation by varying shim amount. It’s best to start out with at least the .015” (pink) shim for almost all firearms. If you click on a firearm product on our store, starting amounts of shim will be suggested.
The front sight set screw should be tightened with finger pressure alone with our Glock tool or enclosed hex key. An extra 45° or so torque with a wrench on our Glock tool head, or an extra 45° torque with the hex key for dovetailed bases, should complete the job. Don’t go beyond that. After your final zero, repeat the same, after applying a little green or blue loktite to the threads. Just moisten the threads only; don’t marinate them with loktite. With too much loktite, the solution may leak into the rest of the front sight system and cause the shims to bond to the metal parts. Some have done this and blamed it on the failure of the shim system, when it was actually too much loktite along with not applying enough torque to the set-screw. Though you don’t want to stress the screw and threads by over-torquing, blue or green loktite will not hold, when the set-screw is improperly adjusted.
Our set-screws are long. They are made to accommodate up to .060” of shim. That capability will impact elevation from about 0 to 30 inches at 25 yards, in increments of .002”, depending on the amount of shim used. Though we don’t enclose unnecessary amounts of shim, we do include enough shim for each particular firearm type. If you need more shim, let us know and we’ll send additional amounts.
Occasionally, during the molding process, resin seeps into the top part of our front sight inserts, on both our standard nylon inserts and Firefly inserts. With the occasional presence of resin having entered the top part of the brass fitting of our front sight bases, our long screw may bottom out against the overflow, when shims are not used. This is not a problem when shims are used; and shims almost always need to be used. In the rare occasion that your gun does not require shim and your set-screw bottoms out against the top, give us a call, so we may send shorter screws that will resolve this rare problem. We do have shorter screws, for the occasion when no shim is needed.
One last note: Though we recommend proper tightening and the snugging-up of all set screws, over-torquing is not necessary and may harm the parts.
WHAT IS THE BEST WAY TO LOKTITE A ZEROED REAR SIGHT?
This is a good question, because ATS users know that if you loosen the rear sight set screw, enough to expose the threads to apply loktite, the rear sight could move in the dovetail. So, here’s what I do to loktite in place a windage zeroed ATS rear sight:
At the range, I grab the masking tape I've been using to repair the targets. I then tape down the rear sight to the slide. I cover the whole rear sight and surrounding area with the tape, leaving only a window for a hex key to reach the rear sight set screw. With the rear sight being held in place in the dovetail by the tape, I then loosen the screw enough to expose the screw threads, apply either green or blue loktite (I like green because it wicks around the threads more easily), and snug by the set screw again. All that’s left is to peel off the tape and you’ve loktited your rear sight without upsetting your windage zero.
WE'VE BEEN ASKED ABOUT OUR CLAIM THAT THE ADVANTAGE TACTICAL SIGHT IS EASIER TO TEACH AND QUICKER TO LEARN. HERE'S OUR ATTEMPT TO EXPLAIN IT.
With all post-and-notch variations, there are several simultaneous mental and visual constructs that one must navigate. One’s eyes must simultaneously see the left and right inner sides of the rear notch, the tops of both sides of the rear sight, the top of the front sight, and both sides of the front sight. One must then subjectively align the top of the front sight to be flat across the top of the rear sight, while subjectively maintaining each side of the front sight equidistantly between the inner sides of rear sight. That is a lot for the brain and eyes to contemplate and is why it takes so long to train new shooters with this traditional platform. It is also why some in the law enforcement and military communities appear to be so challenged by traditional sighting arrangements. With the ATS, we have trained new shooters to shoot relatively tight groups at 10 yards or so, in about 15 minutes.
We designed the Advantage Tactical Sight around how the human brain responds to visual prompts and geometric figures. The rear sight panels of the ATS create a runway that intuitively leads to the front sight, to complete the trapezoid (triangle configuration) sight picture. There is nothing subjective about the ATS. You are either holding on to a pyramid sight picture through the shooting sequence or not. The triangle is one of the most simple, quickest, and human brain responsive geometric forms.
To prove our point, we've taught new shooters to shoot relatively tight groups at 10 yards and beyond, in about fifteen minutes. More traditional sighting platforms would normally take days or weeks. We believe that military and law enforcement could save time and money, along with reducing potential liability, by transitioning to the ATS.
OF LATE, SEVERAL HAVE INQUIRED ABOUT THE SIMILARITIES BETWEEN STEYR PISTOL SIGHTS AND ADVANTAGE TACTICAL SIGHTS. SO, WE THOUGHT WE'D SHOW YOU THE DIFFERENCE.
The Steyr pistol sight is a very unique and innovative representation of a post-and-notch arrangement. It is an improvement on a familiar design. The Steyr front sight is a triangle, and the rear sight is a notch with directional lines on each side of the rear sight that slant inward. The sight picture is made by placing the point of the front sight down in the notch, flat across the top of the notch, and equidistant from the sides of the rear sight, just as one would with any post-and-notch or 3-dot system.
The entire Advantage Tactical Sight’s sight picture is a two-piece jigsaw puzzle, where the aligned front and rear sights create a pyramid sight picture. Just build a pyramid, put the tip-top of the triangle on the intended area of bullet impact, and go. There is no subjectivity involved in whether a front sight is equidistant from the sides and flat across the top of a rear sight notch. One has either created a pyramid sight picture and is able to maintain that sight picture through the shooting sequence or not.