1911Forum banner

Status
Not open for further replies.
1 - 20 of 63 Posts

·
Banned
Joined
·
982 Posts
Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Another good question buried in a thread.

Brian Bilby wrote a good piece on the subject for GUNRAG. Try http://gunrag.com/showarticle.php3?article=20


Past that having used both to a great extent here are my thoughts and a little story. The Heinie has a deeper notch for a fast sight picture. The sight plane is not confusing on a Heinie. It is on a Novak. There are almost twice as many visual planes on a Novak that your eye will focus on at some point. I DO understand that the rear sight is supposed to be a blur and the front sight is where the focus is SUPPOSED to be. Understanding how the eye works clearly makes the Heinie a better sight. The blade design of the original Heinie was a little rough on the body. (I carried on for 7 years almost every day so I can say that) The slant Pro version solves that problem I believe and keeps the crisp sight picture.

Now when I wasn't carrying a Heinie sight I had another gun with Novaks. I shot some amazing groups with that gun
But here is why I stopped using and later refused to install a Novak.

Some may have heard this story befor related by another pistolsmith. This is actually what happened. Wages of a misspent youth


My partner and I were leaving the jail lobby at O dark thirty one morning and I walked into the edge of the 1" thick glass door at the entry. I was sure I would break that door! The edge of that door hit the Novak sight on my Stainless series 80. No broken door. No harm, no foul. The next day when I finally got some rack time and the chance to take off my gun and noticed a HUGE divit in the Novak. I could have used it to sight the gun with! You couldn't fix it and the sight needed replacement.

From that lone experience I found out that Novak mills his sights out of very mild steel that is easily dinged. (because it is cheaper) Heinie's are a better grade of steel. I have dropped a set of Heinie's at LEAST a dozen times and have never had a ding on the sight that cold blue wouldn't cover.

That is why I will not install a Novak. I have lost a few gun commissions over that fact but I build what I know works not what is popular.
 
G

·
Very interesting, Dane.

I have Heinie SlantPro's on my Glocks, and love them. Clean sight picture, good profile, etc.

I've been contemplating putting Novak's on a 1911 for carry, but I didn't know they're machined from softer steel. That's a drawback, imo, and one that might change my mind to Heinies for the 1911.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
219 Posts
Dane put Heinie sights on my 1911, first set I have ever used. Bring the gun up, BOOM there is the front blade. I am sold.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
975 Posts
On the other hand I think the Novak's are the best fixed sight I have ever used. I like them way better than any Heinie sight. I find the Novak sight to be very fast and I certainly have never broken one.
I think there are only two sights worth a crap. Bo-mar and Novak.

But there again that is why there are horse races.

------------------
Mike Benedict
Custom Kydex Holsters

Talon Tactical Holsters
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
661 Posts
Dane,
Thanks much for the detailed response. That's even more information than I was hoping for. Although I was going to put the Novaks on at least one of my future guns, I'll reconsider. BTW, when I was shopping for sights for my C.C.O., the Heinie Slant Pro Staight eights were considerably less money than the Novaks Bar Dot for the same gun. I guess I don't understand why the Novaks cost more if they are made from cheaper material. Machining cost maybe?

Thanks again,
Neal
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
3,157 Posts
While I have always liked the profile of the Novaks, I was never really happy with the notch in the rear. As Dane put it, there are a lot of "planes" to distract the eye.

Compared to the Heinie, it's really "busy". The way the rear of the Novak blends into the rear of the 1911 slide does seem more smoother though than the Heinie. It seems I am torn...

I have considered trying another of the Low Profile snag free's... The Wilson Combat Pyramid. It seems to offer the appearance of the Novak, with the nice, large "blade" appearance of the Heinie from the rear.

Another sight that interests me is the MMC adjustable, but mostly for being able to adjust between loads, and reset the point of impact for elevation. The down side is that they are pretty tall, and not really snag proof. They also have that "Tunnel" or "notch" and seem somewhat "busy" when viewing.

he one sight I haven't had a chance to really check out is the Ashley, but many find them to be great sights, and offer a simple sight picture. The seem easy to aquire, but for those who like notched, they might seem a little strange.

Of course, the most unique sights I have used came standard on my wife's Steyr. The Trapazoid sight is actually really nice, and if someone would make a version for the 1911, it might prove to be very popular.

Dane, although I know you're feelings about the Hienie's, do you have any opinions on the Wilson Pyramid? Anyone else who might have an opinion would also be helpful. Thanks!
 

·
Banned
Joined
·
982 Posts
Discussion Starter · #7 ·
As Mike says, "that is what makes a horse race".

I meant to add this but forgot earlier. There is no major winning competitor that I know of using Novaks other than Jim Wall who works for Sparks leather. To put that in perspective Jim also finished 3rd in the USPSA Area 1 Championships and 13th Overall in SOF this year. All with a gun that had NO, that is right, NO sights, a rebuilt, POS, Norico single stack. He actually shot it that way on purpose from a IWB.

It isn't IDPA at either match. You have to actually be a master handgunner to achieve those kinds of results with or without sights.

But if there is anyone else who competes with the big boys using a Novak I sure don't know who it is. There is a reason for that.

The most popular iron sights in any of the highly skilled in action shooting sports are Bomars. Most learn quickly to open up the rear notch on a Bomar to Heinies spec and cut the front to .100". As opposed to Bomars, and Heinie's normal .125". The reason is faster sight alignment, cleaner sight picture.

The Original Heinie profile was in fact a copy, a better copy in many eyes, of the Bomar. Heinie shot in A class when that was the upper limit of USPSA/IPSC and you had to earn the rank. Don't get the idea the guy doesn't know what it takes to make a gun go bang in his hands. So when someone tells you that there are only "two sights worth a crap" ya have to wonder where he is coming from.

Calls it, like I sees it, Mike.

Wilson's new clone of the Novak, JayDee? Interesting to split the difference between a Heinie and a Novak. He forgot the serrations to cut the light IMO on the newest Tactical sight. Sorry you were asking about the Combat Pyramid on the adjustable Bomar clone. I use that blade and suggest it. I also serrate it for my customers if I use it. Oh and I refrain from calling my tennis shoes, belt buckel and wrist watch, tactical


[This message has been edited by Dane Burns (edited 01-29-2001).]
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
3,157 Posts
Originally posted by Dane Burns:
Wilson's new clone of the Novak, JayDee? Interesting to split the difference between a Heinie and a Novak. He forgot the serrations to cut the light IMO on the newest Tactical sight. Sorry you were asking about the Combat Pyramid on the adjustable Bomar clone. I use that blade and suggest it. I also serrate it for my customers if I use it. Oh and I refrain from calling my tennis shoes, belt buckel and wrist watch, tactical
Sorry, my mistake... I know the blade you're talking about and I like it, helps you see more. Tried to get that blade for my Kimber Stainless Target, like that could even happen


I was talking about the #463 Tactical, and yes, I agree, it should be serrated, but overall, I think it might be a viable alternative for someone who just can't get used to the straight 8, but prefers the typical 3 dot arrangement.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
1,108 Posts
I'm not overly fond of the Novaks on my SA V-10. It's just hard to pick up the front sight in the notch. The front sight's too wide for the short sight radius on the short barrel gun, too, but still.
I'm most used to the Wilson Nite-Eyes, the old sights they were using before the new Wilson Lo-Mounts came out. My only complaint with them was they glared, bad. Heinies should give me a similiar, but bigger, sight picture, sans the glare, thanks to serrations.

TRB
 

·
Banned
Joined
·
982 Posts
Discussion Starter · #10 ·
Interesting enough I had a guy comment that members of the Gunsite list was berating the Heinie for vertical stringing of shots at night.

Many were promoting a three dot picture.

(get ready here comes another long tirade)

I would bet I have seen a several thousand students go through night shoots over the past 15 years as student, match staff or instructor.

I know there are some pretty asute folks on the Gunsite list, know a few myself. I have no idea who promotes the three dot as better but again if you understand how the eye works there are better designs and some not so "better" designs to be used at speed and at night. The reason almost all flight line and aviation lights are in a verical string is because they are faster and easier to line up under stress.

The night sight hoopla is a gun writer and magazine sales pitch. You don't have the time to line up sights if you are shooting in the dark at close distances. You most likely shouldn't be shooting at long distances in the dark for legal reasons with out being able to see exactly who you are shooting at. Life is not a free fire zone. Which is where night sights shine. The Isrealis invented them afterall.

Makes a handy way to find your gun at night but is very little real help out side a formal schoot setting IMO. I have pointed a gun at real people in the dark enough to make that comment. Take it for what it is worth when you get ready to drop a $100 bill on those new sights. I would spend the money on ammo and then take the time to shoot it.
 

·
Super Moderator
Joined
·
3,112 Posts
I like the Heinie sights and the Novak. Perhaps all this means is that I shoot equally bad with either, but I think it stems from getting started in shooting back when most of us were using the plain old 1911A1 sights on our pistols. ANYTHING looks "high-visibility" after that.

For anyone waffling on the sight decision, there is a way to hedge your bets. Richard Heinie makes a version of his SlantPro sight which fits the Novak slide cut. Thus, a "Novak" cut in the slide gives you the flexibility to go either way and swap later if you find one or the other preferable.

Lastly, Dane's comments on night sights are spot on. I also snickered a bit when I read the post complaining about vertical stringing with the straight-eight dot pattern. Night sights facilitate hitting targets under conditions where the target may be ID'd, but that are too dark to see unilluminated sights. We're talking chest hits at across-the-room ranges or closer. I think a tritium dot in the front sight alone is sufficient.

Rosco
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
1,987 Posts
OK, there's enough info in one spot to get me confused...I don't have the 3 or 4 sights in front of me to compare...I've ALWAYS liked Bomars, the Heinies look right and I agree that the 8 should be the easiest to pick up when you need them the most. I didn't realize there was such a difference in the steel.
Since I want to replace the Novak lookin' things on my SA, I wanna' see if there's a consensus here...The reason I want to replace or RESHAPE the sights is the front is too fat and it's black...Now if I'm gonna' have the slide dove-tailed, It looks like it needs to be one or the other...Or did I miss yet another point? What is the dove-tail for the 8?...and the Novak Lo-mount or whatever it's called that comes on he SA loaded Champion...Aren't they different? ...
The following info is the page that Dane was pointing out and gives this info...

"The differences are that the Heinie uses a .300x.060x60deg dovetail, the Novak uses a .330x.075x65deg dovetail. "

OK, there's one answer...What other sight fits that .300x.060x60 degree dovetail? Surely there are some...

The width on the front is .125 and so is the slot in the rear...It would make more sense for ME to have a more precise point up front...Does that make sense? To anyone but me I mean...If it was strictly for targets, I'd want a little tiny gold dot...But this is gonna' be my all around thingee' 'til I get Dane to make me one of those "PLAIN DANE" carry pieces...
So, since the 8s' from Heinie are for a dove tail up front and I have to get one cut anyway...Is that cut gonna limit me to Heinie sights only or is that a standard up front and what is it?
Now, is the dovetail in the rear gonna' allow the 8s' or does it need to be recut as well...

...Is there a better solution here that I just don't see? What is it, please?
After all that, I guess I could just get the stake on tritium, the thinnest I can get and wait 'til later to do the dovetail...I hate to do it more than once though, if I'm gettin' the work done, I'd like it as close to my ideal as I can get. I'm gonna' go back to the Heinie site and check it out...

whooh...long one

------------------
>>>>>>>>>>g2<<<<<<<<<<

MWLWN LABE!

[This message has been edited by gyp_c (edited 01-13-2001).]
 

·
Super Moderator
Joined
·
3,112 Posts
You can certainly run a Novak front sight with a Heinie rear sight and vice versa...assuming, of course, proper relative heights for your zero. The front dovetail dimensions do differ between the two choices.

I have a Springfield "loaded" which still has its factory-installed Novak rear sight, but had a Heinie front sight installed by the late Brian Bilby. I chose the Heinie front sight because I wanted a tritium dot AND serrations. The Novak front sights do not have serrations. You could just as easily do the other way...Heinie rear with a Novak front...if that suits you.

By the way, if you go the stake-on route (which I think is a bad idea), the Springfield has a bastard tenon size...bigger than the old Colt "narrow tenon" but smaller than the Colt "wide tenon" sights. If memory serves, I think that Ed Brown may offer front sights with the proper Springfield tenon size.

Rosco

[This message has been edited by Rosco Benson (edited 01-13-2001).]
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
3,157 Posts
I really wish everyone would "standardize" the sight cuts...

Same size dovetails, and tenon's would be really nice for all of us regular folk who want to try this, and try that


If really bites when you have Kimber's adjustable, that is a clone ot the Bomar, and Bomar's, or Wilson's adjustable won't fit, and Kimber's adjustable is a P.O.S.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
1,987 Posts
I agree, after reading what I wrote, and re-reading the info at Brownells re: dovetail cutters, I think I can get the front dovetailed for one of the Heinie 8s' or another tritium that will match up with the Bomar adjustable tritium(that of course may/may not need re-cutting) that's about all the screwin' around with the sights I'll EVER want to fool with!

I'm with you JayDee..geez what a nightmare...I know it can't be this difficult, but if it is, then Gunsmiths are Gods...


------------------
>>>>>>>>>>g2<<<<<<<<<<

MWLWN LABE!

Roscoe...So you didn't add tritium to the rear? That's the way I'm leaning at this point, just more s*** to screw with...

K.I.S.S....

[This message has been edited by gyp_c (edited 01-13-2001).]

[This message has been edited by gyp_c (edited 01-14-2001).]
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
975 Posts
BTW I was at hte range today sunny and 55 degrees in Atlanta.
I put 600 more rounds through my Dane Burns Commander with the Walmart BBQ paint finish which has Heinie sights.
Never a problem never had a mis-feed.

But I still like Novak sights a whole lot better.

Mike

------------------
Mike Benedict
Custom Kydex Holsters

Talon Tactical Holsters
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
3,157 Posts
Originally posted by mike benedict:
BTW I was at hte range today sunny and 55 degrees in Atlanta.
I put 600 more rounds through my Dane Burns Commander with the Walmart BBQ paint finish which has Heinie sights.
Never a problem never had a mis-feed.

But I still like Novak sights a whole lot better.

Mike
So Mike... Were you shooting Propane, or Charcoal today?
 

·
Banned
Joined
·
982 Posts
Discussion Starter · #18 ·
Man a guy gets sunshine, warm weather and a FREE gun to shoot! (Mike won the gun in a raffle at a Rangemaster.com match several years ago)

Some folks just know how to live right! Well almost right...that BBQ paint is a social disgrace
Just another reason to question your choice of Novaks.

I also realize Mike shoots adroitly and enough to make up his own mind on sights

Must be those holsters that makes the gun reliable
 

·
Super Moderator
Joined
·
13,609 Posts
Dane, what do you think of the MMC adjustable rear sight, you know the one with the two "protective ear flaps".
 

·
Banned
Joined
·
982 Posts
Discussion Starter · #20 ·
Here is my take
I will shoot a Bomar or the clones of it and either version of the Heinie. No surprise what I think is the best sight picture.

The Novak and Wilson series of fixed sights aren't bad. I even like the tiny fixed sight by Wilson.

But I wouldn't pay for them to be installed.

The MMC will fit a Novak sight cut which is a benefit. The rear sight picture is way too busy, the notch neither deep or wide enough for my liking. The wings are not as protective as I would like and a little unfriendly to the user IMO.

If you take a look there are few improvments on 1911 sight designs since the '30s really. Many of the sights available today still have the S&W K frame series sight picture. I would prefer something easier to use and easier on the body while carrying it.
 
1 - 20 of 63 Posts
Status
Not open for further replies.
Top