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Blog posts of '2019' 'April'

Trijicon HD vs. Standard front night sight on a Springfield 1911


Hi John,

I have a Springfield 1911 that I hope to put a set of night sights on in the near future.  I get confused with the options for Springfields or Novak cut.  Not sure what exactly I'm supposed to pick.  My ideal set would be either a HD yellow outlined or a regular white outlined front night sight and a single tritium dot rear.  Thanks for any help.

Sincerely, "A"


All Springfield 1911s with dovetail front sights have a dovetail that is a size unique to Springfield 1911s. The  Springfield dovetail is deeper than a Novak and a little wider front to rear, with a 60° angle rather than a 65° like Novak uses. As long as you buy a "Springfield" front sight, it will mount in your dovetail. Others, such as Novak, can possibly be adapted in some cases.

Trijicon only makes the HD front sight for 1911s in a Novak pattern dovetail, which is about .004” shallower than the Springfield cut. I have been able to make a satisfactory adaption of them to Springfield slides by making a shallow cut on the top of the slide from the front edge back to the rear of the sight blade, just deep enough to give the slide's dovetail depth the same dimension as the HD sight to be installed. I use my milling machine, but it’s conceivable that someone could do it with a file – just not me! The small cut is covered up by the HD sight's blade, once installed. After I have the sight fitted, installed and centered in the slide, I drill a 1/16" hole for a vertical roll pin from the top of the sight blade down through the top of the slide, matching the factory hole. I then remove the sight, degrease, add LocTite sleeve retainer to the dovetail and the roll pin hole and do a final assembly.

One other thing you need to know is that the HD front sight won’t work very well with your factory rear sight. The HD front sight is .025" wider than the original front sight, so you'll need to widen the notch in the rear sight out to between .160" and .170", depending on the length of the gun and how much daylight you want in your sight picture. I offer most of my Extreme Service rear sights with a .170" wide U-notch for use with the HD front sight. You'll find that on a 3" gun like an EMP, the .170" is a must. On a Gov't Model, the .170" works fine, or if you want to go the custom sized notch route, as narrow as .156" is fine.

Another note - if you look at Trijicon's web site, you'll see that they make an HD-XR front sight that has the same day-glo painted ring and tritium lamp on a .125" width sight blade. A great idea, but they don't make it for dovetail pattern that adapts to a 1911 at this time.

So if you want to jump through the hoops to get the HD sight on your Springfield and you aren't put off by altering your slide (if you later put a "Springfield" front sight on it, there will be a small gap underneath the blade), then what you need to order is a TRJ-CA128FY-175 for a yellow ring, or a TRJ-CA128FO-175 for an orange ring, along with the appropriate Harrison Design tritium rear sight.

If this is more than you want to tackle, let Harrison Design do it for you. All we need is your slide and 2-3 weeks to do it in. Hope this helps!

Best Regards,