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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Some time between the last practice session for IDPA and this weekend's classifier, my front sight got knocked to the right in the dovetail. I KNOW it was okay when I left the range. EDIT: Gun is a Wilson Combat 1996A2.

The pistol got packed in its WC rug and put on the top inside a duffel bag. The duffle went in my trunk where, to my knowledge nothing was set on top of it or knocked it. There were two plastic target stands in the trunk that may have slid onto the duffle, but they couldn't have done anything to it. Once at home the duffle sat upstairs until I unpacked it later in the night.

I took the gun out of the rug and put it into my Blade-Tech IWB holster as I was going to clean it. I immediately noticed that it went into the holster with more force. I took it out, cleaned it stripping the slide down, and reassembled it. Shortly thereafter, I noticed the drag in the holster was caused by the sight being 1/3 of the way out of the dovetail.

I took a screwdriver and, placing the plastic end on the protruding base of the sight, carefully knocked the sight in and centered it with a small mallet. The plastic portion of the screwdriver protected the sight from damage.

Luckily, the SO at the IDPA classifier match let me take 4 shots before the first stage, otherwise I wouldn't have had any idea whether my pistol was sighted in. It appeared to shoot to point of aim, if not 1.5 inches left at 10 yards. Apparently this practice is frowned upon as you're suppose to show up with your gear dialed in. Unfortunately I couldn't get to a range at 10:00 p.m. the night before. I ended up shooting about 171 getting Marksman in my first competitive shoot.

Today I was able to get to my local range to see how the gun was shooting. It was about 2-3 inches left at 20 yards and 1-1.5 inches left at 10 yards. I was able to take my knife (a Beretta plastic folder) and, placing the plastic handle on the base of the sight blade, move the sight by tapping on the knife handle with a scrap piece of 2X2 target stand. The sight seemed to move more easily than I expected with such fairly light tapping. The pistol is just about perfectly sighted in again. I could probably go another 1/4 inch right, but ran out of ammo.

Has anyone even had their front sight get knocked out of zero? My gun must have obviously gotten bumped by something, but whatever it happened it was not a very hard blow.

How tight should the front sight be in the dovetail? Is there any way to tighten it up? And do they eventually loosen up with time? My pistol has more likely than not been bumped harder than this most recent bump in the 6 years I've owned it. I'm not sure if this was a freak accident or something I need to worry about (or even address by tightening it).


[This message has been edited by JacRyan (edited 09-04-2001).]

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13,763 Posts
Sounds like your sight should be tighter than it is. How tight is subjective. I've seen some sights that need a pretty good whack to get them to move. They will loosen if you continuously move them left and right, but should not loosen to the extent that you have, just by shooting.

I would suggest removing the sight completely (from left to right), then applying a drop of blue Loc-Tite in the dovetail. Put your sight back in (right to left), sight it in, then allow the Loc-Tite to harden.

If you still have problems, I think Brownell's sells oversized dovetail front sights, that need to be fitted.

Or...you can see what Wilson will do about it.

If worse comes to worse, you could simply solder your front sight in place, and use the rear to adjust for windage.

[This message has been edited by shane45-1911 (edited 09-04-2001).]

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1,333 Posts
It should be good and GD tight. It needs to be tighter than what is is now, no matter what kind of Loctite you put on it. I'm sure Wilson's would take care of it for you, but if you don't have time for that, and if you've got the stuff, inclination, skill and cajones to do it, you can sorta tappity-tap your dovetail a little tighter (really doesn't take much skill if you have some decent tools). If you had, say, a nice, flat-ended brass punch, maybe 3/4 square by 3", you could lay a couple layers of paper over the dovetail and with the slide on something good and solid, give 'er a couple whacks with the punch at a slight angle inward towards center of the dovetail, one side at a time. If it's a painted slide this will not be a good idea. You can start out light and work your way up the scale on the whack-o-meter until you start to get some effect.

The LocTite will probably work (not saying it was a bad idea, Shane), but it's not optimum. I don't use any epoxy or Loctite, ever, in any gun application, to make up for bad fits. As a back-up and augmentation of a good fit, OK, but never as the primary keepr-in-placer. I make dovetails such that when I first put the sight in, I use a synthetic anti-sieze compound. I usually oil sights for final installation instead of Loctite, they're that tight. And when a customer will permit it, and sight-in is confirmed, I like to pin them (rear gets a tiny pull dowel under the FP stop). 'Course this is for the folks who want a crash-proof gun more than they want to experiment with every possible load!

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610 Posts
I agree with Ned that it should be much tighter than it is now. If you decide to temporarily loc-tite it, try the Red 271
loc-tite. The red loctite is a little stronger than the blue. But you definately need a new front site and I would look at having this one pinned to the slide if possible.
Good luck

Chris from va

· Registered
986 Posts
here a quick and dirty way to tighten it up, first, if your gun is sighted in. mark the position the front sight is in by drawing a line with a magic marker from the front sight onto the slide.
remove the front sight, turning it upside down on a vice, so that the bottom of the dovetail is facing up.
grab a centerpunch and small hammer, and centerpunch the bottom of the sight a few times, stay towards the middle of the sight and away from the edges. the area that you centerpunch will be raised a few thousandth of an inch.

next if you got the guts, and you don't plan
on getting a new front sight installed.
do the same thing to the dovetail in the slide. becareful that you don't centerpunch an area of the dovetail that will be visable after you re-mount the sight.

use locktite 272, which is high strength and high TEMP, and put it on the bottom of the sight, and in the dovetail of the slide.
and pound the front sight back on, using the magic marker, mark to line it back up.

let the locktite harden overnight, and you should be good to go.
in theory, centerpunching the front sight and the dovetail, will raise the metal on both a few thousandths of an inch. by using the locktite, it will flow into the centerpunch marks, and after it hardens, will lock the sight in place.

I've had a couple front sights shoot loose, and after I did the above, they never had a problem again.
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