If you’re a regular reader of my musings here, you already know that I am a Tom Givens believer. There is a simple reason for this…Tom’s material works. His lectures are relevant to the Regular Guy Civilian; folks just like me (and probably you). His live fire courses tell you everything you need to know, that is, what you are MOST likely to encounter on the street. There is no secret squirrel night vision component, nor fast-rope shoot house class. I’ve read all of the books Tom has produced over the past 35 years, and most of the articles he has written. His material all has a common core of relevance, yet the work has evolved to adapt to the continuously fluid nature of the criminal (and now terrorist) threat that regular citizens will indubitably encounter, at some point in their daily lives.
At the 2016 Rangemaster Polite Society Tactical Conference, Tom gave a classroom lecture covering low light tips and techniques. One of the big points he made in the talk was for students to take the money that they would spend on night sights, and instead use that money on ammunition for practice (this idea of emphasizing true economy, is pervasive throughout Tom’s philosophy…in summation, “Spend your resources on the things you are most likely to encounter or need”). Some smart mouth in the back is going to say, “But what about the zombie holocaust, national terrorist invasion, etc?” The scenarios won’t change…just the participants! If the world falls apart, people will still need to be on guard from the four chief types of interpersonal, “parking lot violence,” (AKA, “Street Crime”) like robbery, rape, road rage and respect (meaning you looked at someone wrong and now they will attempt to harm or kill you in retaliation so that they don’t lose face in front of their peer group). And, as always, raiders coming into your home uninvited will always be raiders, regardless of their undead status or their mode of dress. Thus, your civilian mission won’t change in the face of any global disaster!
Tom carries a Glock 35 with metal sights on it, and the front sight is painted with bright red/orange paint. He does this for severals reasons, but the chief reason being that in the 60 plus defensive shootings his students have been involved in, the lighting (or lack of lighting) was a factor in the outcome in exactly ZERO cases. Also, bright orange (or whatever color you prefer) sights are simply easier to see, and as we age, the contrasting color only helps more. Tom attributes the false urgency for night sights on defensive guns to the often misquoted crime statistics that are summarized as, “MOST violent crimes occur at night.” The statistics ACTUALLY show that violent crimes most often occur during the hours of darkness, which is 6 PM to 6 AM. Just because it is 2 AM, it isn’t necessarily dark! Tom said, “There have been times where I have seen my sights clearer at 3 AM outside of a well-lit gas station than I have at 3 PM on an overcast day.”
To visually illustrate and demonstrate Tom’s point, I took a facsimile of Tom’s carry piece, a Glock 34 (I don’t own a 35), with metal Sevigny type sights on it, with the front sight painted red, and I took (just the slide) to various locations I frequent regularly, where there is less than optimal lighting, to evaluate if I could see my sights clearly enough to deliver gunfire precisely, at common defensive-gun-use distances. The following pictorial demonstrates the effectiveness of painted, metal sights in less-than-ideal, yet commonly encountered lighting conditions.