Do you need to be a gunsmith to install sights on your pistol?

I bought my first firearm in 2006, and until recently, I either bought pistols with the sights I wanted or had them installed by a gunsmith. But do you really need to have a gunsmith install sights on your pistol or can you do it yourself?

Last year I picked up a Glock 20 and decided to try installing a set of sights myself. I watched a few YouTube videos, ordered some tools, and went at it. I didn’t break anything, but my rear sight wound up a bit beat up from pounding on it. Luckily I didn’t break any of the tritium tubes.

Then I bought a Glock 19 MOS Gen 4. After mounting a Trijicon RMR on it, I wanted a set of co-witness sights installed. That way if the red dot failed or the battery ran out, I had a set of backup iron sights to aim with. I figured I would give the installation another shot myself but did a little more research this time. I decided on a set of Dawson Precision Glock MOS Fixed Co-Witness Tritium Sights. (These are no longer for sale.)

Dawson Precision provides you instructions on how to install the sights. Watching a video of Dave Dawson installing a set of their sights on a Glock, a few times, helped my confidence. I made a list of some of the tools he used to make sure I had everything I needed to complete the installation. I already had a cheap vise and a Wheeler Punch Set but I picked up a few other items that I’ll list below.

Materials List

As you can see from the video, the installation went pretty smooth. In the video, you’ll see me installing a set of sights on a Gen 4 and a Gen 5 Glock 19 MOS. After filming the first installation, I wound up getting a Gen 5 and decided to film that installation as well for some different angles. The second installation went even smoother since I knew exactly what to do.

I had a little trouble getting the front sight off the first time. But once I put the front sight in the vise, it was easy to remove. With the rear sight, just make sure you only file off a little bit at a time and then test the fit. That way you don’t take TOO much off.

Would a sight pusher tool make things easier? Possibly. But I don’t install enough sights to justify buying one. And it really isn’t hard filing off some material to get the fit just right.

So should you install sights yourself or let a gunsmith install them?

That decision is up to you? Are you handy and like projects that you can do yourself? Then have at it. The tools you need won’t set you back that much and most can be used for other projects like the punch set. But if you don’t want to risk messing things up, by all means, drop it off to a gunsmith. And you might just have to make that decision since we are giving away a set of sights.

Giveaway Details

Dawson Precision was nice enough to offer up a set of sights for us to giveaway. The rules are pretty simple.

  1. Head over to Dawson Precision.

    CLICK HERE to head over to Dawson Precision. You must use this link so we can track how many people we send them. Again, the link is:

  2. Choose a set of sights.

    You must choose a set of pistol sights that are made by Dawson Precision. They cannot be made by Tru-Glo or any other manufacturer.

  3. Comment on the video of which set you would like to win.

    Go to the YouTube video of this installation and make a comment stating which set of sights you would like to win. And while you are there, subscribe to the USA Carry YouTube channel and give the video a thumbs up!

  4. Winner will be announced a week from the date this article has been published.


No Code Needed
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Luke McCoy is the founder of USA Carry. In 2007, he launched USA Carry to provide concealed carry information and a community for those with concealed carry permits and firearm enthusiasts.
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