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Pistol Sight Dot Touchup

Discussion in 'Maintenance & Gunsmithing' started by CarlMc, Dec 29, 2010.

  1. CarlMc

    CarlMc Safely north of Seattle Active Member

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    I've got a PF9 and noticed while at a dark end of the range the other day one of my rear sight dots was barely visible. It's got white dots front and rear, and I was wondering if anyone had suggestions as to the best stuff to use. Nail polish/latex/whitewash/etc? Any color improvements available or is plain white pretty much the most visible?
     
  2. Chipperxd

    Chipperxd Buffalo Active Member

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    I have used model paint to touch up sights. I use florecent (sp?) orange on the front sight. Makes a world of difference for me.
     
  3. jimwsea

    jimwsea Vancouver, Washington state Active Member

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    I have small bottles of dayglow colors I got at the big gun shows. Red, orange, green, yellow, and bright white. You can get plain or light activated.

    Bright Sights Gun Sight Coatings. Lake Oswego.

    I haven't done this, but you could ask a watchmaker if they can scrape out the old paint and fill with their phosphorus watch dial paint. If you do ask, let us know what they say.
     
  4. ConditionOrange

    ConditionOrange Oregon Member

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    I used to paint the front blade orange as well, but the paint always chipped off after awhile. Acrylic nail polish works, but still chips off eventually. You could just go with a fiber optic or tritium sight. :)
     
  5. SJS46

    SJS46 yamhill county Active Member

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    White paint pencil from Bi-mart works great. :thumbup:
     
  6. Swedish K

    Swedish K SW Washington Moderator Staff Member

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    An HK smith that I know always used 1shot sign paint to highlight the selector markings and it tends to hold up and the white tends to maintain its bright white color than other paints that I have tried. It also seemed to be a bit more resistant to chips if you have a clean surface when you use it. another option - provided you have a drill press or mill would be to use the appropriate mill bit and "drill" a slight depression where the dots are so that the paint is protected and won't be subject to chipping.
     
  7. donMiguel

    donMiguel SouthKingWA Active Member

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    Sharpie makes paint in a pen. It is an enamel base. Can get a set of five colors (red, yellow, red, black, white and ??) for $6 or so. Used the white on my S&W 22A for the front blade and to frame the rear notch. Good for six months so far.
     
  8. CarlMc

    CarlMc Safely north of Seattle Active Member

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    Seeing as I can never leave well enough alone, I tried something tonight. Got some Testor's Ultra Bright Flourescents paint and an extra bottle of flat white. Knowing full well that the first attempt would be to work out the technique, I painted the rear face of the front sight white, as well as the upper part of the rear face of the rear sight and in the trench. I definitely need to improve the lighting in my work area and do this under a magnifying glass. I'll try this again at work when no one's around, since we've got magnifiers, scopes, and great lighting, as well as a selection of solvents.

    The white paint is intensely hard to get smooth; thinning will definitely be important. I put Flourescent Pink in the front sight divot, and Flourescent Green in the rear divots.

    The idea is that in low light conditions, colors will be the first to go (red being the first, I seem to recall) so the contrast between the pink and green is fairly dramatic at ambient lighting, and the white faces allow good sight picture. The green color isn't as intense (will put on another coat) compared to the white. I walked around my home looking for dark spots and contrasting areas, and as expected, the pink disappeared first, but since eyes translate that as a dark color, there was still the contrast between the light colored post and the dark dot remaining. The rear green disappeared about the same time due to the lack of contrast between it and the white face, but I still had a good sight picture to even the darkest "targets" with the remaining white faces.

    I'll play around some more to let my eyes adjust to the dark, but I think I might be on to something. I'm not going to coat this with clear fingernail polish just yet, as it's still drying and it has to back in the holster for another place I have to go. I can easily remove all the paint with a little acetone and cotton swabs, leaving behind the original white still in the deep divots. I also tried to take some pictures, but my camera can't focus on the entire sight and I don't want to show off my sloppy work on the rear sight just yet. :eek:

    I'll stay on this and let folks know how this turns out.
     
  9. chemist

    chemist Beaverton OR Well-Known Member

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    That's a phosphor, not phosphorus. It's just a fluorescent material that persists in fluorescing long after the light is taken off it, like zinc sulfide. Those are what's used in watch dials now, since radium is verboten.
     
  10. CarlMc

    CarlMc Safely north of Seattle Active Member

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    Got a dim end of the range again with my wife and her Christmas present. I had painted the front sight with flat white Testors and the dot was the flourescent pink. The rear sights were the green on white face, but I didn't do such a good job there so will redo it. The pink on white really "popped" in the sight picture, and was still incredibly easy to see even when it wasn't in focus. I'm going to redo the rear sight and see if I can make the green stand out more (another coat or two) but I think I'm on to something here.:)
     
  11. coop44

    coop44 Tacoma ,WA Well-Known Member

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    I generally use appliance touch up paint and a toothpick. Been doing it for years with great results
     
  12. spengo

    spengo GLORIOUS CASCADIA Active Member

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    I use a sharpie paint pen to make witness marks on anything with a screw on my AR-15 so I can see if they begin to work themselves out. It would probably work well for your purpose too.