Tritium nigh sights have become exceeding popular for both conceal-carry pistols, as well as for quick acquisition alignment when shooters are not wanting to add red-dots or other sights to their handgun. The topic of this post is whether these tritium night sights are safe or harmful to the person using. In the current world we live in, chemicals seem to be a constant barrier to providing something of value to the human population or creating harm to both environment and health of individuals.
Are tritium night sights safe?
Tritium itself can be dangerous if consumed by inhalation or ingestion, as large amounts can cause radiation poisoning. Because the tritium night sights are in contained sights, there is no risk for radiation exposure. To be noted, tritium molecules can travel just 6mm in air before losing their radioactive charge. One area to be extremely cautious of, is if a tritium sight is cracked or damaged, it could prevent exposure and potential health risks. This should add further reason to carrying tritium sight-bearing arms in a proper holster or case. There are no added health or risk concerns with using tritium night sights, as long as the protective barrier protecting these sights remain intact. The same can be said about the old glass thermometer’s containing mercury.
Tritium is widely known as a by product of nuclear fusion, in both the energy and weapons-oriented operations. Currently tritium is unavoidably emitted into the air as well as water. This is usually in trace amounts that is later mixed with large amounts of water or air and deemed harmless. Tritium is also present in the natural world, due to gamma rays that reach the earth.
Tritium night sights aren’t the only use of tritium in the industrial/commercial market. Tritium is also used in self-illuminating exit signs, clock faces and varying glow-in-the dark keychains. Tritium itself does not inherently glow. Phosphorus is added to these applications/devices, where the tritium stimulates the phosphorus molecules until they are glowing, this is how they can glow both in the day and at night. Tritium is a relatively short-lived surface as its half-life is 12.5 years, meaning that it will burn out and no longer be active after that time.
As mentioned with any chemicals or compounds, you need to take extreme caution in storing and firearm operating tritium night sights. You should also inspect to make sure that there is no physical damage to the housing of the sites themselves. The manufacturers of these devices know of these risks and have provided extremely durable and rugged designed housings for these sites to prevent any potential exposure. Tritium is a valuable tool in both training, targeting, conceal carry, as well as home defense. The ability for your sights to glow in both the day and dark, provide an immediate advantage for quick acquisition or nighttime application. You can imagine how difficult it would be to co-align your standard sights on a handgun during the dark in your house, hoping that situation would never arise. Tritium night sights are very useful in their aid and application, but nonetheless carry some added health concerns due to the radiation exposure that makes up this molecule.