The Springfield XDS line of pistols are great concealed carry handguns. However, like most self-defense pistols, many owners want to upgrade the sights to something that are both easier to see and faster to acquire – especially at night.
Fortunately, the sights on the XDS pistols are easy to replace. Additionally, all of the major manufacturers are making some top notch night sight sets for the guns. I will highlight the choices here.
If I’ve missed any night sights for the XDS, please leave a note in the comments section below. I am trying to build a great resource for the shooting community, and I want to provide the best information possible. Also, if you have any experience with these sights, leave a comment so others can get your impressions. If we share our information, everyone can make better decisions on what to equip their gun with.
Traditional Night Sights
Maybe you’re asking “What are night sights?” Before I jump into the best night sights for your Springfield Armory XD-S pistol, let me explain exactly what they are.
Night sights are aiming tools that can be used in low light conditions to help a person accurately shoot his or her firearm. There are different ways of approaching the problem, but most companies use tritium to power the sights.
Tritium is a radioactive isotope of hydrogen that glows. When sealed in a vial, tritium poses no health risk to the shooter. As tritium has a half life of about 12 years, you can expect night sights to have a service life of 10-15 years. Since tritium glows naturally, the sights do not need or use a power source.
Some night sights use additional features to potentially improve performance. For example, a company might incorporate a fiber optic rod for improved visibility of the sights during daylight conditions. Other manufacturers may use a thin or broad circle of paint to outline the sight to improve visibility in bright lighting conditions.
For more information on what makes a good self-defense sight set, read my article The Best Combat Handgun Sights.
US manufacturer AmeriGlo offers several different night sights for the XDS. In addition to being built very well, these sights tend to run a little cheaper than some of the other brands. I own a set of AmeriGlo sights, and have used them on my go-to self-defense pistol.
AmeriGlo’s offerings for the Springfield Armory XDs has changed in the past, and here is what the company currently offers:
AmeriGlo Pro-Glo Front with Classic Tritium Rear
This is a take on the classic 3-dot style sights. The Pro-Glo front sight has a single tritium vial, while the rear sight has two. Align the dots in an level row, and the round should fly true.
The rear vials have a thin white outline for better visibility during the daytime. However, it is the front sight that deserves special attention.
Around the front tritium vial is a large ring called the LumiLime Outline. This is a wide circle of photoluminescent material that is easy to see during the daytime and other bright conditions. It uses a contrasting color that is both easy to see and not normally found in the wild. So, the eye picks it up quickly.
It’s photoluminescent property means it absorbs light energy during bright conditions and releases light energy when in the dark. So, during low light conditions, the front sight may be much brighter, and easier, to see. That’s a good thing.
AmeriGlo CAP Sights
CAP stands for Combative Application Pistol and suggests their purpose. The sights were developed by Dave Spaulding, a retired cop and long-time firearms instructor. Spaulding has put untold hours into studying the use of sights in combat. One of the conclusions he came to was that a large front sight of a bright, contrasting color is more likely to be seen than any other sight.
The front sight in the CAP set uses a tritium vial, but it i surrounded by a huge lime green, photoluminescent painted square. This large square glows brightly when exposed to light and offers a huge, contrasting sight to make hitting your target fast a much easier affair.
With the CAP sights, the rear tritium vials are removed completely. Instead of having any dots, a single bar runs under the notch. This bar is also photoluminescent. Because there are not any tritium vials in the rear sight on this set, these tend to be less expensive than the other options.
The CAP sights used to be my favorite sights in the AmeriGlo line simply because of the front sight. But with the LumiLime circles around the front sight of the classic set, I can go either way.
A lot of people like the Heinie sights, but I don’t have any experience with them. So, I cannot offer any advise about them, other than they have a very good reputation.
Heinie Ledge Straight Eight Sight Set
The Heinie Ledge Straight Eight sight set is popular with many people, but I am not one. Let me first tell you about the features of the sight system, before I say why I’m not a fan.
It is a high quality sight set that should handle whatever abuse you put it through. The rear face (what you see) of the sights is serrated to mitigate any glare on the sights in bright lighting conditions. The rear sight has a hard front edge that can be used for one-handed manipulation of the slide.
Heinie uses a single tritium vial in the front sight and a single vial in the rear at the bottom of the sight notch. The concept is that you visually place one dot on top of the other to form an “8”. This is where I dislike the sights.
According to Heinie, the Straight Eight configuration reduces visual confusion when aiming. However, I’ve found the sights are difficult to use under stress.
For me, having a large, bold front sight with a bright, contrasting color is the quickest way to get on target. The rear sight should contrast the front sight – either as completely blacked out or with a different shape. The Heinie offers only the small point of light for a front sight in low light conditions. That can be difficult to find during body alarm response activation – especially if you aren’t 21 and your eyes are not what they used to be.
Don’t get me wrong – Heinie makes a quality sight. I just don’t find them to be ideal for self-defense applications.
Heinie SlantPro Straight Eight Sight Set
The SlantPro Straight Eight sights are much the same as the Ledge version. However, this iteration of the sight set uses a ramped front edge on the rear sight.
Heinie, as do most manufacturers who offer a ramped rear sight, claim this design is “snag free.” Claiming this is snag free suggests that the Ledge sights are prone to snagging on concealment garments. I find this to be completely untrue in my experience.
I’ve carried handguns – both professionally and as an armed citizen – for all of my adult life. With nearly 30 years of experience under my belt, I cannot recall a single incident when a flat edged rear sight hindered any draw, holstering or other activity.
Don’t get me wrong – if you want a ramped rear sight, and you like the Straight Eight concept, Heinie’s sights are high quality. I just prefer a hard ledge and a different sighting system.
HIVIZ gained popularity for its excellent fiber optic sights. However, they also make night sights that incorporate tritium for ’round the clock aiming.
HIVIZ Litewave H3 Sight Set
Without a doubt, these are some of the brightest night sights that you can buy for your Springfield Armory XDS pistol. HIVIZ combines its traditional Litepipe fiber optic technology with sealed tritium vials to offer bright aiming points no matter the lighting conditions.
In bright light, the fiber optic rods gather daylight and intensify the aiming dots by combining it with the energy of the tritium. In low light, any available ambient light is combined with the tritium to offer brighter sights than tritium could manage alone. Additionally, HIVIZ uses a bright circle around the front sight to further enhance the eye’s ability to pick it up quickly under stress.
HIVIZ offers these in a variety of color options so you can have all matching colors or different colors for the front and rear sights. Even the circle around the front sight can have different colors.
The sights are factory height and are compatible with all standard XD-S holsters. HIVIZ uses all steel construction for the sights, and warranties the brightness of them for 12 years.
According to many people, the night sights from Meprolight are supposed to be some of the brightest tritium-only available. The sights are also known as being affordable. But, does that make them ideal?
Meprolight Tru-Dot Night Sight Set
Meprolight Tru-Dot sets are a “traditional” night sights. That is to say, the sites use three tritium vials and no other sources for light. There are no large dots or circles painted around the front sight either.
While the company claims that these are the “brightest night sights available today” for the Springfield Armory XD-S, I’m not so sure. Companies like Night Fision are including more tritium in their vials while other companies like HIVIZ are combining the tritium vials with light gathering fiber optics. So, without a true head to head measurement of the amount of light released, I would take the Meprolight claim with a grain of salt.
Night Fision is a younger company in the night sight business. However, the company has its roots in manufacturing the Tritium Lensatic Compass for the United States Army. So, it would seem the engineers at Night Fision might know something about building rugged products using the self-sustaining tritium vials.
The company offers a wide range of sight options that allow you to “build” the best sight set for your XD-S pistol. They are built around the company’s Perfect Dot front sight.
Night Fision Perfect Dot Night Sights
The Perfect Dot front sights use a tritium vial that is said to be brighter than the sights from other companies as it uses 30% more tritium than competing products. For better daytime visibility, Night Fision “paints” a broad circle around the vial with your choice of five different colors: white, blue, red, orange, or a yellow-green.
Rear sights are configured as either square or U-shaped notches. In theory, the square notch offers better precision while the U-shape is intended to offer a faster sight picture while maintaining reasonable accuracy. The rear sights can be had with no vials or other markings, with tritium vials only, or with a tritium and white circle setup like the front sight.
Night Fision CNC machines the sights from 4140 steel and uses a black nitride coating on them to resist corrosion. The sights are made in the United States with tritium imported from Switzerland. Night Fision offers a 16 year warranty on green and yellow tritium vials and five years on all other colors.
Trijicon may be the most trusted name in night sights – and for good reason. Since 1980s, Trijicon handgun sights have been used by law enforcement officers and military members around the world in some of the harshest conditions. I’m only one of thousands that have relied on the company’s original Bright & Tough line to get them home.
For the Springfield Armory XD-S, the company manufactures two specific night sight sets: the HD and the HD XR. Both of these sight sets are vastly superior to the original sights offered by the company and are worthy successors to the company’s handgun line.
Trijicon HD Night Sights
Originally designed for law enforcement and military operations, these pistol sights also make a great deal of sense for the average citizen protecting himself.
The front sight is a tall blade with a tritium vial. The post has a large photoluminescent circle that surrounds the tritium to provide an easy sight to see throughout a wide range of lighting conditions.
For the rear sight, Trijicon optend to use a wide U-shape and subdued features that allow for a fast visual identification of the front sight. It has a pair of tritium vials, but no white outlines, photoluminescent paint or other distractions.
Also of benefit is the hook on the forward edge of the rear site that allows you to easily hook onto a belt or other object to manipulate the XD-S slide with only one hand.
All of Trijicon’s sights for the XDs are metal with sapphire windows to the tritium.
Trijicon HD XR Night Sights
The HD XR sights are identical to the original HD but with one difference: the XR sights use a thinner front sight. By having a thinner front post, there is more visibility between it and the U notch of the rear. It increases the ability to quickly get a gross sight picture for a fast, violent encounter. It also improves situational awareness by giving the shooter more visibility of the target.
Between the HD and HD XR versions, I would pick the HD XR sights for my own Springfield Armory. However, I believe both are good choices.
TRUGLO is an optics company that offers a broad selection of products from scopes to handgun sights. What I first knew the company for was its fiber optic pistol sights, a market in which the company continues to be active.
For the Springfield XD-S pistols, TRUGLO offers five night sight options. All of them are assembled in the United States using tritium vials imported from Switzerland. All of these sight sets have a 12 year limited warranty.
TRUGLO TFX Pro
TFX Pro are the most recent addition to the TRUGLO line of night sights for the XDS pistols. They use a sealed tritium capsule with a fiber optic rod to produce bright aiming points in all lighting conditions. Like the older TFX line, the TFX Pro uses a durable metal body with a proprietary Fortress Finish coating to resist scratching and corrosion.
Unlike the standard TFX line, these sights use a wide U rear notch to allow for a fast sight picture. Also, the TFX Pro rear sight has a reverse angle forward edge that is designed to make one handed slide manipulation easier.
Even though the sights are very visible and durable, they are compatible with any holster made for a factory-spec’d Springfield Armory XD-S.
Considering all of the TRUGLO night sights, the TFX Pro is my hands down favorite.
TRUGLO TFX sights offer many of the same features as the updated TFX Pro line. The two differences are both with the rear sight. It has a square notch in the rear sight instead of a U-shape. It also has a flat front edge instead of the angled “hook” for one-handed slide manipulation. I suppose there is a third difference as it’s also a little cheaper.
TFO sights also use a tritium capsule and fiber optic sight combination. However, unlike the TFX, these sights do not have a white ring around the front sight. Otherwise, they are very similar to the TFX sights discussed directly above. If you do not want the ring, these may be a good way to save a few dollars while keeping most of the functionality of the higher priced sights.
TRUGLO Tritium Pro
The Tritium Pro model is a set of traditional night sights that do not use any fiber optic rods. This specific model has a wide white rung around the front tritium cylinder. The rear sight uses a large U-shaped notch similar to the TFX Pro sights above. Additionally, the front edge of the rear sight is angled for easier use as a hard point to run the slide one handed.
For basic, 3-dot night sights, it would be difficult to find a better deal than the basic Brite Site Tritium sight set from TRUGLO. These sights use standard-sized white borders around all three tritium vials. The rear sight notch is square shaped unlike the notch of the Tritium Pro model above. Of the two, I prefer the U notch. However, the price on these make them one of the best sets of night sights for the money.
Warren Tactical night sights have been used by a range of people over the years. The company is generally held in good regard for building useable, rugged sights. While the company’s XDS offerings are simple, they can be very effective.
Warren Tactical Tritium Sight Sets
Made of steel, these traditional night sights for the XDS are offered in three different sets – each with a unique rear sight. All of the sets use a front sight that has a thin white outline around a single tritium vial. The first set uses a plain black rear sights with a square notch. This is the cheapest option.
The second set uses a single tritium capsule in the rear sight that aligns vertically with the front sight in a manner similar to the Heinie Straight Eight sights.
The final set uses two tritium vials in the rear sight for a typical 3-dot configuration.
Unfortunately, it appears the Warren Tactical site is not well maintained, and not all of the sight options can be ordered directly. However, Brownells does offer all three sight sets.
XS Sight Systems
XS Sights is a long time favorite of many people looking for fast defensive handgun sights. The company offers several styles, but it is best known for it’s Big Dot sight that offers a very large front night sight that people of all ages can use in a fight for their lives.
XS Sights F8 Night Sights
Common to the XS Sights line, the front sight of the F8 has a bright green tritium center with a large orange ring around it. The ring is photoluminescent meaning it can absorb light in bright conditions and release it as a glow during darkness. This, combined with the tritium, offers a large front sight for quick aiming.
Unlike many of the sights in the company’s catalog, the rear sight is a traditional looking square notch. However, it uses a single capsule of tritium that aligns vertically with the front sight. This is similar to the Straight Eight sights from Heinie that I describe above. I’m not a fan of this arrangement, but in my opinion, the large front sight on the F8 is superior to the standard sight on the Heinie.
XS Sights Big Dot, White
This is the sight that gave XS Sights its big boost in popularity. The Big Dot sight stood alone for many years as the sole front sight that used such a large aiming point. Now, other companies have mimicked the general idea, though the Express-style rear is still exclusive to XS Sights.
The rear sight is a shallow V more than a notch. At the center point of the notch is a short stripe of tritium outlined in white. XS Sights designed the system to be extremely fast to get into action with little to obscure the front sight. As many trainers will teach – a hard front sight focus is a good way to ensure rounds hit the target at self defense ranges. The rear V and stripe allow for more precise shots as time allows.
XS Sights Big Dot, Other Colors
XS Sights also offers the Big Dot sight with yellow and orange rings. There is evidence that suggests that these colors may be even easier for the eye to see during high stress. If you would like one of these colors, you will have to purchase them through XS Sights directly. That means paying full retail, but may give you a slight advantage if you are ever forced to defend yourself.
XS Sights Standard Dot, Tritium Rear
In addition to the “Big Dot” sights, XS Sights offers a Standard Dot system. In this set, the front sight is smaller – closer to that of other night sights. It uses the same general design – a white circle around the tritium capsule with a shallow V rear sight. The rear sight has a vertical stripe and strip of tritium for additional reference points when aiming.
XS Sights Standard Dot, White Stripe Rear
If you like the XS Sights design, but do not want a rear tritium vial, this is the night sight set for your Springfield XDS. It is the same as the Standard Dot above, but without the rear strip of radioactive isotopes. It also is slightly cheaper.
In my opinion, lasers are supplemental aiming devices that can be a real help in some situations such as when shooting from unconventional positions. Some folks love ’em, others hate ’em.
My opinion is to find what works for you and train with it until it becomes as easy as touching your own nose. Even if you decide to use a laser, I still recommend having a good set of sights on your XD-S that you can use should the laser ever fail.
I will be putting together a list of XDS laser units soon. Until then, here is a list of lasers that you might be interested in:
- Crimson Trace – CT has been making top notch lasers for a long time. The Laserguard LG-469 is a grip activated red laser for the XDS. Reviews on this laser are very impressive. Crimson Trace also offers a less expensive alternative” the Rail Master Universal Mount Laser. This unit attaches to the accessory rail on the pistol.
- LaserMax – The Uni-Max Micro Red is a compact red laser aiming unit that mounts to the accessory rail of the XDS. It is one of the least expensive lasers available for this gun and gets good reviews.
- Streamlight – For a white light and laser combination unit, the Streamlight TLR-4 is the only way to go. It combines a very bright light with a red laser. I own two of these and they both have worked very well for me.
- Viridian – Viridian has been instrumental in driving the new technology behind green laser development. Currently, they offer the Reactor R5 green laser sight that instantly activates when drawn. The unit comes with a holster.
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(List most recently updated: March 23, 2019)