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. On the sets I have experience with, I will let you know my thoughts as well.
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.
Additionally, if you are interested in my thoughts about 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 them on my go-to self-defense pistol.
The first set of night sights is the Classic 3 Dot set. These use tritium vials – one up front and two in the back – to glow green in low light conditions. The vials are ringed by white paint to give decent aiming dots in brighter lighting conditions. These work, but I prefer the company’s CAP sights below.
If you prefer to have a different color front sight from the rear, the Classic 3 Dot set can be had with a green front and yellow rear. These tend to be a little more expensive, but many people prefer the contrasting colors.
Another set of sights that AmeriGlo offers for the XD-S pistols is the Spartan Tactical. These sights emphasize the front sight while reducing the prominence of the rear sight. In a violent encounter, the attacker will likely be very close and coming very fast. Being able to quickly see the front sight and rapidly putting it on the target is both the best way to end the attack and the goal of these sights.
The Spartan Tactical front sight has a green tritium vial for nighttime shooting, but it is surrounded by a thick, bright orange circle. This helps the eye to see the front sight in a range of lighting conditions. The rear sight uses tritium vials, but eliminates the white outlines found in the Classic 3 Dot line. Without the white paint, the eye is more quickly able to focus on the front sight.
My favorite sights in the AmeriGlo line are the 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.
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.
The SlantPro Straight Eight sights have two tritium vials: one in the front sight and the second aligned at the bottom of the notch in the rear. The concept is to align the two dots vertically to be on target.
There are no white outlines around the tritium. The facing fronts of the sights are serrated to reduce glare in bright light conditions.
A variation of these sights are the SlantPro Straight Eight LEDGE sights. These replace the sloped rear sight with one that has a hard edge. A hard edge gives the shooter a way to manipulate the slide one-handed. It is relatively unlikely that you will need to do so, but in an emergency, this can be a real life saver.
Heinie also offers blacked out sights without any tritium vials. These are not night sights at all, but some people like them this way. These are available with a sloped rear sight and with the LEDGE rear sight.
HIVIZ is known predominantly for their fiber optic sights. However, they also make XDS night sights.
The HIVIZ NITESIGHT set is similar to some of the other designs as it uses a three dot layout with tritium vials in each dot. Each vial is encircled by a white outline. HIVIZ also serrates the facing side of the sight body to reduce glare.
While not self-illuminated, the bright green fiber optic sights from HIVIZ are a popular choice for many shooters. These sights are arranged in a three dot pattern. I prefer the TRUGLO models below, but these are also viable solutions.
According to many people, the night sights from Meprolight are supposed to be some of the brightest available.
Called the Tru-Dot night sights, these use a three dot pattern with green tritium vials. Even though Meprolight lists these as XD Sights for 9mm and .40 S&W, they will fit all XD-S pistols including both the 9mm and .45 ACP versions.
Meprolight also offers the Tru-Dot sights with orange rear and green front dots for those of you looking for different colors. These are also labeled as XD sights, but they will also work on all versions of the XDS pistol.
One of the only options for adjustable night sights for the XDS is also from Meprolight. These Tru-Dot adjustable sights offer the same brightness as the fixed sights, but the rear sight is adjustable without having to drift the sight in the dovetail.
Trijicon is one of the premier night sight makers for handguns today. I would venture to guess that more of this company’s sights are installed on pistols than any other single brand. They make two different sight sets for the XDS pistols.
The first sight set is from the Bright and Tough line. These are traditional three dot sights with tritium vials to provide self-illumination in low light conditions. This specific set has a green front dot and yellow rear dots. The tritium is outlined in white for good daylight performance as well.
One of the best sight upgrades to the XDS pistol is the Trijicon HD night sight set. This set takes a similar approach to the CAP sights from AmeriGlo, but with an important difference in the rear sight.
The front sight uses a tritium insert, but encircles it with a large, photoluminescent yellow/green or orange circle. The photoluminescent paint glows in the dark for faster sight acquisition in all lighting conditions.
The rear sight is a large U-shaped notch that also makes it easy to quickly find the front sight. It also has a pair of tritium vials that are de-emphasized. This allows the eye to still be drawn to the front sight, but also allows for precise shooting in low light conditions.
The rear sight is serrated to reduce glare, and the sights are covered by a 12-year warranty.
TRUGLO offers several different XDS sights that might meet your needs. The base model is the Brite-Site Tritium Night Sights. These sights are made of CNC machined steel and use self-illuminated tritium to make a three dot sight that glows in low light conditions. All of the tritium vials glow green.
The TRUGLO TFO sights are probably the brightest, most visible sights you can get for any lighting condition. The first time I saw these on a pistol, I was absolutely stunned.
TFO stands for Tritium and Fiber Optic. TRUGLO uses green fiber optic rods in front of a tritium vial to capture the ambient light and combine it with the glow from the tritium. The result is exceptionally bright sights in any lighting condition.
For the same brightness as the TFO sights, but with increased durability for the harshest of conditions, take a look at the TRUGLO TFX sights. The TFX sights use the same tritium/fiber optic technology from the standard TFO set, but fully encapsulates the parts to make them nearly unbreakable. If you are a police officer or otherwise expect that your gun could be exposed to rough treatment, I would recommend these over the standard TFO sights.
XS Sight Systems
XS Sight Systems makes express-style sight sets for the Springfield Armory XDS pistol. The sight sets use the popular Big Dot 24/7 front sight with a matching shallow V rear sight. The concept is this: the eye sees large things easier than small things, especially under stress. So, the front sight is large with a big white outline and bright green tritium vial to be easy to pick up quickly.
The rear sight has a shallow V that is easy to align with the large front sight. It is quick, yet is still very accurate once you learn how it shoots. This set also has a “stripe” tritium insert on the rear sight to better align the front and rear in darkness.
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.
- LaserLyte – This company does a lot of thinking outside of the box. The Rear Sight Laser is a good example of this. LaserLyte designed a rear sight replacement that incorporated a rear “iron” sight with a red aiming laser.
- 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.