I just picked up a new to me M11-A1. It appears to be about 10 years old and the night sights are very dim on the back and dead on the front. I'm not interested in keeping the original military aspect of the gun as I've already removed the inventory decal. My question is can I break and drill out the old tritium vials and simply paint white dots in the holes.
Paint over it. Works fine. Better yet change out for fiber optic.
|Still finding my way
Why drill them? Just add whatever color dot of paint as they are.
I am more concerned about safety issues with the residual tritium release. The vial ends are convex so I would think that the paint would be harder to apply and wouldn't stick all that well. I would rather drill them out and add white dot paint that would be concave. I'm not a fiber optic fan.
|Still finding my way
They are about a bajillion times safer without a hole drilled into them. lol
As for painting the paint will stick to the vials as well as it would metal. Just clean with alcohol first. If you removed the vials you would be left with holes that would need to be filled anyway.
IIRC Trijicon says (or said) that the amount of tritium in such sights is so small that it would take 10,000 in a confined room to reach a dangerous level. On the other hand, SIG cautions that discarded night sights must be handled in a certain way. From the P320 owner’s manual:
THE BETA RADIATION EMITTED BY TRITIUM IS ONLY A HAZARD IF THE TRITIUM VIAL IS BROKEN AND IS INGESTED OR INHALED BY HUMANS. THE BODY DOES NOT EASILY RETAIN HYDROGEN OR TRITIUM AS A GAS. HOWEVER, THE OXIDE HTO, WHICH IS FORMED BY THE BURNING OF TRITIUM IS 10,000 TIMES MORE HAZARDOUS. FOR THIS REASON GREAT CARE SHOULD BE TAKEN TO AVOID FLAME IN THE PRESENCE OF DAMAGED TRITIUM SIGHTS. DISPOSAL OF TRITIUM SIGHTS MUST BE PERFORMED IN A CONTROLLED MANNER.
“Most men … can seldom accept the simplest and most obvious truth if it … would oblige them to admit the falsity of conclusions … which they have woven, thread by thread, into the fabrics of their lives.”
— Leo Tolstoy
Worried about radiation, or worried about the gas escaping? I would think drilling them out and allowing all the gas out would be more dangerous than just leaving them.
For me, replacing would be option #1.
Option 2 would be just painting them, or if I didn't like the way it looked or it didn't stick I'd probably slap a thin coat of JB weld on there and paint that.
"The people hate the lizards and the lizards rule the people."
"Odd," said Arthur, "I thought you said it was a democracy."
"I did," said Ford, "it is."
"So," said Arthur, hoping he wasn't sounding ridiculously obtuse, "why don't the people get rid of the lizards?"
"It honestly doesn't occur to them. They've all got the vote, so they all pretty much assume that the government they've voted in more or less approximates the government they want."
"You mean they actually vote for the lizards."
"Oh yes," said Ford with a shrug, "of course."
"But," said Arthur, going for the big one again, "why?"
"Because if they didn't vote for a lizard, then the wrong lizard might get in."
I decided to paint the white dots over the tritium vials with Zinsser primer and a toothpick. Hard to get them perfectly round with the concave head on the vial and no shoulder on the metal surround. They actually look pretty good though. If I don't like them later I may just break down and buy the contrast sights from Sig. I've changed out several of the old VS sights and they are actually not hard to remove and replace. I've got a sight pusher but I find it's easier to use a brass punch. Time will tell.
I paint all my CZ sights that way. Toothpick dabbed in white testors model paint
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