Sunday, October 14, 2012

A damned sight bettered.

Let's talk about Glock sights.

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.

Deciding to act a proper whore capitalize on the fact that I had a widely-read blog,  I wrote my secret contact at Brownells, hoping to wheedle a sight pusher out of him on the pretext of chronicling my ten-thumbed efforts. After some back and forth emailing and consultations with gunsmiths on which sight pusher I would be least likely to accidentally cause myself physical harm with, a box showed up on the front porch of Roseholme cottage containing sights, a bench block, a Glock dingus, a plastic punch, and a hammer.

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.
As far as the sights themselves, I let a few other people shoot the M&P with the I-Dot Pros at the range last weekend, and the general consensus seemed to be that they were a fine piece of kit, with a great big luminescent dot to draw the eye, combined with a crisp notch-and-post if you had to make a finer shot.

*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.

34 comments:

RabidAlien said...

Photos can still be recovered from dead hard drives. Bring that lump o' metal over to Dallas/FortWorth area sometime, it may still be possible to recover 'em.

Darrell said...

Try Loctite 638 or 620 (high heat applications). You can thank me later.

Roberta X said...

There's a place right up the road that does data recovery, too.

For the record, I have two (2) carpenter's vises; one will be mounted on the electronics bench, for casual, non-impact use; the other, larger/heavier one will go on the woodworking bench in the garage. The catch is the "will be/will go." They're not mounted yet. Unlike a machinist's vise, they are 100% useless until installed. (You might wonder, what do I do for a machinist's vise? --Keep it bolted to a heavy wood block that gets clamped in a carpenter's vise for use! It would work very well, if I'd got past Step One.)

Tam said...

Darrell,

"Try Loctite 638..."

It probably was. They're not using the stuff for scrapbooking back there. ;)

Fodder4Thought said...

There are several powerful (read: scary) data recovery oriented Linux distros out there that will reconstitute your pictures for the reasonable price of zero dollars and one game of computer-annihilating Russian roulette.

Alien said...

Australian outfit makes downloadable "Photo Recovery" for $28 Australian, worked great. When I get back to the bunker later this week I'll email you the link.

Tam said...

The hard drive is physically toast. It won't spin-up. This drive is no more! It has ceased to be! It's expired and gone to meet its maker! This is a late drive! It's a stiff! Bereft of life, it rests in peace! If they hadn't screwed it to the drive bay rails it would be pushing up the daisies! Its mechanical processes are of interest only to historians! It's hopped the twig! It's shuffled off this mortal coil! It's run down the curtain and joined the choir invisible! This.... is an EX-HARD DRIVE!

Tam said...

Oh... you mean off the card?

Derp.

Able said...

If you want to DIY, get a linux system and use 'photorec'. It'll recover almost any file type off disks/cards, even if they've been wiped to DOD spec and above.

The only way to be sure of data being deleted is to use a wipe program using Peter Gutmanns protocols and even then you can get some data (so a drill/hammer is your hard-disk security friend - it's therapeutic to smash the Bejesus out of the platters too. Hmm, what calibre for a used disk with personal data on it?).

Andrew Tuohy said...

You can pry my crappy plastic glock sights from my cold, dead slide.

rremington said...

Tam,

does the I-Dot sight picture have a little "air space" on the sides of the front sight when you line it up? (ie: is the notch in the rear sight pretty wide?)

Tam said...

rremington,

"does the I-Dot sight picture have a little "air space" on the sides of the front sight when you line it up? (ie: is the notch in the rear sight pretty wide?)"

Yup. It's a pretty fat (and slightly U-shaped) notch. Pretty reminiscent of 10-8 sights.

Darrell said...

"Red Loctite" is probably 262, a permanent threadlocker. 638 and 620 are green, and are retaining compounds. I've read of some company using 620 to glue barrels into the receivers of their shotguns. I've used it to attach flash hiders to barrels. Unless you heat it to ~450 degrees, it is not coming off. :)

Steve Skubinna said...

My stock Glock sights work just fine, and my new girlfriend thinks they're pretty cool, too!

Here, let me show you her picture... it came with my new wallet...

Jason said...

It's exactly this experience that made me appreciate German over-engineering. Installing Trijicons on a Walther P99/PPQ: depress plunger, slide old sights off. Remove sight screw, turn onto new sight body. Slide on, snap onto plunger. Turn to adjust until perfect. And if it's not perfect, there's no need to go back and do it all over again. Guesstimation? Sind wir Wilden? Sure, it's three more tiny parts and an extra milling operation. But what you save in gas/time/gunsmithing/sight pusher costs makes it all worthwhile, even if you only do it once.

Firehand said...

Things of this sort are why I'm fond of that little 2oz. ball-peen hammer I picked up a few years back; makes.

The sights, not the drive problem.

Critter said...

i really like this make of Glock sights, I just wish Brownells would keep them in stock with greater regularity.

also, purple locktite is designed for small parts, like that wee bitty screw that holds the front sight on.

Jeff said...

Got the sight pusher for my Sigs. LOVE IT!

I killed a set of tall sights with the punch and hammer when trying to replace them on my P226 Previously.

Adding the Trijicons to my P225 was a 15 minute affair including reading the directions.
Its probably a lot different than a Glock tough, not so familiar with them.

Anonymous said...

For your SD card: From the internet, get the free trial of PhotoRescue software. If it grabs some of the deleted photos from your card, pay the $29 to get all the deleted photos.

jotninMd(help?) said...

"Hey, Cletus, do that mean whut ah think it do?". "It do."

Old NFO said...

Yep, Loctite should be REQUIRED... Didn't do that, popped the front sight off, never did find that sucker... sigh

Anonymous said...

Knocked the old G4 17 out without too much problem but let a friend push the new ones on. I only have three tools, a screwdriver, a hammer and a bigger hammer.

Gerry

Robin said...

"...the general consensus seemed to be that they were a fine piece of kit ..."

Also known as a "spanner".

Tango Juliet said...

All set for AFHF then? Well, 'cept of course for trunk load of Tula. Heh!

Jennifer said...

You know, I handled that thing, but didn't shoot it. I really like the set-up though.

Matt G said...

I shot it, and it was bad-azz.

Adam said...

"abomination unto nuggan"
HA!

Johnnyreb™ said...

I'm Not a fan of Glock sights.

I did break down and get a sight pusher from Brownells since i didn't want to go bangin on the spent nucular fuel rods with my hammer.

Must have been the last one since they don't carry that model anymore. Haven't used it on the Glock yet, but it worked great changing sights on the 1911.

The PX4 rear sight, that needs drifted, seems to be another matter entirely. Gonna have to get out the hammer since the stubborn thing is stuck like it was JBWeld'd into place ...

Anonymous said...

As you said Tam, once the drive starts clicking, it's probably toast. For some reason sometimes a trip to the freezer can help you get that last little bit of data off sometimes, maybe. I doubt you can get the whole thing though

For the SD card, stop taking any new pictures. Try a copy of Parted Magic, (which is free, and fairly easy to use). It includes the program PhotoRec which may work (I've never used it before. Before this I used dd_rescue.)

Parted Magic comes as an ISO image, so you'll need a blank CD. It also includes CloneZilla, some cool disk wiping tools, and something that lets you look at your drive's S.M.A.R.T. data. That last one can catch a disk that's about to fail before it gets all clicky.

The GUI is vaguely all WinXP-ish, and it's lightweight enough to run completely from memory if you have at least 1 GB.

-SM

staghounds said...

What consensus is not general?

Chuck said...

The Glock brand sight tool is indeed an abomination. However, MGW makes a very nice one.

Sigivald said...

As I am sure you now know, there are two things to remember about computer data:

1) If it's not backed up, it's already gone.

2) If the backup isn't TESTED, it's not backed up.

(On the plus side, since you're often a Mac person, Time Machine is an excellent automated backup system, and one that's not so hard to test.)

Brandon said...

Here's a second recommendation for tossing that hard drive into the icebox. A coworker recently got his clicking, frozen drive to run long enough to make a full image of the drive and then manually copy the data off it. It ran for an hour or two after cold-soaking in the freezer overnight.

Brandon said...

Oh, and make sure you seal that sucker in a Ziploc bag first, and then maybe seal bag and drive in another bag.