How to Install, Change & Test Glock Night Sights

night sight on glock upclose

Now that we have taken a look at the ins and outs of who’s who and what’s what of glock night sights, as well as why you should buy them and install them in the first place, we should see exactly how to put them on your weapon.

Firearms are kind of the DIYer’s paradise—modern firearms are almost infinitely modular in their ability to be fitted and retrofitted with aftermarket accessories without ever modifying the actual structural characteristics of the machine.

 

1. Are installing sights really a DIY activity?

man installing night sight

To be honest, installing sights is probably on the very outer edge of what would be considered DIY work. Some owners would balk and tell you to go straight to your local gunsmith and have them do the work.

This is really personal preference. If you are comfortable with tools and machinery, it is a simple and straightforward job. The special tools are basic and readily available on Amazon or at most hardware stores, and they are not expensive.

 

2. Tools Required

These consist of a set of brass punches and a hammer with brass, aluminum, or hard plastic heads. Also, you will need a sturdy vise with non-marring, non-metallic edges. Putting thick cardboard or thin pieces of scrap plywood on either side of the slide works fine as well.

It should go without saying, but you will absolutely, 100% of the time damage your slide if you clamp it down with the standard steel teeth of your vise. Don’t ever do this.

Glock Factory Rear Sight Tool
Glock Factory Rear Sight Tool

If you plan on doing a lot of rear sight work, have a safe full of Glocks, or just feel more comfortable with a specialized tool for the job, you can pick up a dedicated sight pusher tool for your Glock 19 rear sights which range anywhere from around $50 for a simple starter to over $200 for a professional armorer’`s tool.

With a sticker price of over $500 per pistol, it makes sense to go with a good sight pusher tool if you have a considerable number of Glock pistols, as so many enthusiasts do.  It will be an investment for many years and worth its weight in gold, since the most recent quote on sights installs from a local gunsmith was $50.

So a professional-grade unit pays for itself after four pistols.

 

Using brass punches on the rear sight

Caution: Do NOT use steel punches on your sights. Using a steel punching will ruin the sights, scratch or mar your slide, and will only serve to cause damage.

Brass punch

Brass punches are very effective to use in the removal and installation of standard dovetail-groove sights on your Glock 19 pistol. They are inexpensive (the Amazon’s Choice set is under $30 and comes with a hammer) and will last a lifetime so long as they are not misused or abused.

Brass punches are also the tool of choice for AR-pattern rifle builds, so it is fairly likely that you either already own a set or will use them on a project down the line. If they aren’t in your armory already, do yourself a favor and kit up.

The key to removing and installing the rear sight using brass punches is using a punch that is large enough for the job. Brass will bend very easily so you will need to use a brass punch that is quite a bit larger in diameter than you’d need in a comparable steel punch.

You will need to use the brass or aluminum end of the hammer as well because the soft nylon will not apply a hard enough strike to budge the rear sights. The rear sights are built with very tight tolerances and will need coaxing to move.

When you mark the location of the sights you are removing, make sure to use a grease pencil or China marker; graphite from regular pencils will actually promote corrosion on steel surfaces and should not be used under any circumstances when marking firearms.

Grease comes off easily with firearm solvent so be sure to use it instead.

 

Glock front sights

hex head Klein ToolsThe front sight on a Glock 19 requires a special tool for the front sight post, which is nothing more than a slim 7/16” hex head on a screwdriver handle and costs less than $10 on Amazon.

The hex head threaded fastener is on the interior of the slide and does not even require the slide to be clamped in a vise, just removed from the frame with the barrel removed. It can be easily unscrewed and the new front sight installed in reverse order.

This method is incredibly simple and much more DIY-friendly than competitors who also use a dovetail joint on the front sights.

On those that have dovetails front and rear, you have to worry about correctly marking and aligning both sets of sights, whereas you are for sure going to have correct alignment on at least the front sight of your Glock 19 and only need worry about adjusting the rear.

 

3. Shooting and final adjustment

TRUGLO TFX sights on Glock
Testing the TRUGLO TFX sights

Once you get your sights installed on your Glock 19, they should be very close to the original location as long as you marked the rear sight before removing it. The only way to know for sure is to go try it out, so grab some range ammo and reliable targets and wring it out.

Make sure you are shooting at a set distance where you are familiar with your capabilities so you can be sure to have an accurate assessment of the sight adjustment.

Also, it would be helpful to be able to shoot close to your shop if possible in order to be able to quickly go back and make minor adjustments and get it zeroed in one session.

Windage is the only adjustment available on your Glock 19 (or any other Glock model), but you have to disassemble the pistol and secure it in a vise, which is inconvenient if you shoot at a public range with no tools.

Remember to do minor adjustments when correcting the fixed rear sights; very light taps and then shoot again. It does not take much to overcorrect when you are using a punch and hammer. Nice and easy.

 

Conclusion

Removing and installing the sights on a Glock 19 is not difficult, but you do need to use the correct tool for the job. Doing so with improper equipment, i.e., steel punches, will damage your sights and/or pistol, and may void the warranty as well.

Don’t risk it; just buy the right tools because it’s not expensive compared to the cost of the pistol and you will probably use it more than once.

John McCoy
John is a native of the Great Plains, having grown up under the spacious skies of the Flint Hills in Kansas, and has lived there his entire life aside from a four-year hitch in the Air Force. He considers it a great pleasure to be employed in both of his hobbies: flying and shooting.John's has built several AR-pattern rifles over the years, which he finds to be a far more rewarding a hobby than building models or collecting coins. While he could engage in a well-versed diatribe about the inherent right of man to arm himself, his borderline-infatuation with firearms is mechanically driven. The graceful, symmetrical lines, the ability to place a projectile through minuscule targets hundreds of yards away, just everything about it.John currently resides on a 20-acre hobby farm with his wife and five children, and they can shoot any time they want. Chances are if they aren't shooting, one of their neighbors is.

1 COMMENT

  1. Good article, I’ll be doing same thing on my G19, G43, and S&W Shield 9.

    You mention a 7/16″ hex head nut driver for the Glock front sight. I believe it’s actually a 3/16″ for the screw on the front Glock sight. Getting that screw in can be tricky, and I found (after I got one) that the Glock front sight installation tool is neat because it has a tiny magnet just inside the socket, which holds that little 3/6″ screw so you can guide it in more easily to the new front sight.

    If I didn’t have the Glock driver, I’d probably use a little ball of silly putty or kids modeling clay stuffed up inside the socket head to hold the screw in the socket so it doesn’t fall out while trying to guide it into the new front sight threads.

    I didn’t think about it until you mentioned it; but you noted that the Glock only has 1 dovetail sight (the rear) thus only 1 sight to have to align. Good point! When I do mine, I’ll start by making sure it’s as centered as I can get it, using a digital caliper’s depth guage on either side of the sight, using the side of the slide as the “zero” point.

    Never done this before so I hope it works. Borrowing a Wheeler Engineering sight tool (comes with a Glock sight pusher), so that should make it easier.

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