For starters, understand that unless you specify the OEM tritium option, Glocks do not come from the factory with sights, but instead have fragile plastic plugs intended to prevent debris from accumulating in the sight cuts. For some reason, they decided to make these plugs sight-shaped, and so they are often mistaken for the real thing by Glock buyers. These are probably the same people who try to use the cardboard "credit cards" that came with their new wallet.
My Glock 19 had the factory night sights, the front blade of which was installed crookedly enough to throw the POI (that's "point of impact" for those of you who just arrived) off by three inches to the left at 25 yards. Thus, rather than being satisfied with just straightening and loc-titing the factory front, I had a splendid excuse for installing a better set of sights on the gun.
Having seen night sights installed a jillion times, I knew how this went. I got clever and skipped the bench block entirely: "Bobbi! Can I use your vise?"
"You mean my carpenter's vise?"
"Er, is that what it is?"
"Yes, it's a carpenter's vise, not a machinist's vise. And it's not attached to my electronics tool bench, which you may not use to beat on things with a hammer."
"Fine," says I, "I know where there's a machinist's vise," and I hopped in my car and drove to Tennessee, Patron State of Shootin' Stuff.
Once there, I received tutelage from Gunsmith Bob in the finer points of sight installation...
"Once you've got it off the gun, you wrap the slide in masking tape..."
"But the vise jaws are padded!"
"And do you know how much grit might be stuck in those pads?"
"What's it gonna do? Make the gun ugly? It's a Glock, Bob; it's already ugly."
"You'd be surprised how upset customers will get over a scratch on their Glock. If we're going to do this, we're going to do it right. Tape the slide."
So I taped the slide and used a hammer and punch to drift the old rear sight out and put the new rear sight in the old fashioned way. I even took extensive photos documenting the process on both the Glock and the M&P, too, but their bits are quietly rotting away at the bottom of the dead hard drive on my desktop machine*.
Some pointers I took away from the experience:
- Huck that slide up tight in the vise. It's a steel bar, so it'll stand up to a fair bit of clamping.
- You have to tap hard enough to move the sight, but don't whack so enthusiastically you break the tritium vial. It's not that hard to figure the correct amount of force to apply, really, unless you have a morbid fear of hitting your thumb with a hammer, like I do.
- Red Loctite on that Glock front sight is a good idea.
- If you think you have the rear sight centered real good, it doesn't hurt to get the opinion of two or five other people.
- There was a Glock®-brand sight pusher at Coal Creek. I attempted to make use of it, briefly. If you have access to a vise, use that and a hammer. The sight pusher is an abomination unto Nuggan.
*I emptied the camera's SD card in preparation for flying out to ABQ and didn't think to backup onto my thumb drive, so any pictures taken in the months of August and September are gone forever. Stupid.