12 Years with XS Sights


Long about 2004, my old buddy Charlie Sisk of Sisk Rifles put a .358 Winchester rifle together for me. I specified back-up open sights on the rifle and Charlie suggested a set from XS Sights. However, he cautioned me to not expect  great precision with them. “They are a little coarse.” he said.


Not too long after that, on a range in Texas, on a day when it was hot enough to fry an egg on a truck seat, I threw that rifle over some sand bags and shot a group at 100 yards measuring close enough to a half-inch the difference didn’t matter. Sisk said, “I’d have never thought that.” I told him he should have more faith in his rifles. He added, it was not the rifle he was questioning. (Sisk has always fashioned himself as an amateur comedian.)

When my life depends on it you can rest assured XS will likely be with me in one form or the other.

Since then I’ve been devoted to the installation of XS Sights on most of my rifles. I trust them. In fact, when I took to Mozambique after buffalo I installed an XS lever rail – with sights – on my Marlin 1895. Unlike when I took my biggest black bear, I ended up shooting it out with the horned infidel using a scout scope. But, it was comforting to know those sights were there if I needed them.

This Alberta black bear was then on a dead run with a Marlin 1895 outfitted with XS Sights.

Then, in about 2006, I took a training course with the Tac Pro Shooting Center. The focus was on force on force training using Simunition. In case you don’t know what Simunition is, it’s like getting hit with a possessed paint ball. They always leave a painful mark. During the first scenario I was handed a stock revolver and I tried to use it to defend myself from two home invaders. Not only did I never see the sights on the revolver, I was shot to pieces and never hit a bad guy.

Notice the focus is on the threat but the XS Big Dot is still easy to see.

On the next run I was handed another revolver with XS Big Dot Sights. Things went differently that time because I could see my front sight. I still took a hit or two but, like they often say, you should have seen the other guy.

Experience is the best teacher and that’s the reason I use and trust the sights from XS, a company that is now 20 years old. XS was started by a Texas deputy sheriff named Ashley Emerson. Emerson might best be described as a tall drink of sulfur water. He noted the deficiencies with common open sights systems. and he corrected the problem by making sights what they should have been all along – easy to see.

Pick a revolver. If you’re smart you’ll pick the one that has the sight that’s easy to see.

What a novel approach.

If you are attending the NRA Annual Meetings in Louisville, KY this weekend, I suggest you stop by the XS Sights’ booth and visit with them. Emerson is no longer with XS but you can talk with Monte Long, a competition shooter, who knows a thing or two about pulling triggers and getting hits. Or, you can visit with Bo Wallace, a gunsmith who can fit XS Sights to a flintlock pistol, a water gun, or just about any firearm ever made. That’s one thing about those who work at XS Sights; they’re shooters.

If you’re going to buy stuff to shoot with, whom else would you want to get it from?

XS Sights are 20 years old and well appreciated by those in the know. That’s why Jeff Cooper’s Colt Commander had them.