by Price Reynolds and Rob Kay
Sight adjustment for a fixed sight pistol is not something most shooters need to do on a regular basis. Usually the sights are installed by the factory to be “close enough” for casual range and plinking activities, or for close-up use in a self-defense situation.
However, if you own multiple firearms and if you swap out sights from time to time with your 1911 collection, you’ll find this tool indispensable.
Let’s take my assembly of firearms as a case and point.
Anyone that has tried, for example, to adjust the rear sight of a Glock (or a 1911) with a punch and a hammer will know that there are better ways to accomplish this task. The right tool can save a great deal of time, frustration, and possible damage to ego, components, and possibly even one’s fingers.
The Wheeler Engineering Armorer’s Handgun Sight Tool is one such item. Priced on Brownells at $109, this device is beautifully made, durable, and designed to make fixed sight adjustment a precise and frustration-free operation.
We had the opportunity to test one of these tools on a Glock 19 slide that I had recently purchased for a Glock generation 4 pistol with an MOS slide. I enjoy shooting both red dot and iron sights, and I’d rather not have to take the red dot off of the original slide when I wish to switch sight types.
The first time we took the 19 out with the new slide we discovered that the pistol would shoot low and to the left by about 3”. Not good enough, so this new slide was a perfect candidate to test the Wheeler Engineering Armorer’s Handgun Sight Tool.
The tool comes with excellent instructions on how to set up and use it to adjust various kinds of sights. My Glock 19 slide has angled corners, so to use the tool the first thing we had to do was to remove the sight pusher and flip it over in order to bring the angled pushing surfaces to bear. This was easily done by removing 2 screws. Flip the pusher over, tighten the screws again. Done. Then off to the range for sighting in.
We set up the slide clamping elements of the tool as per the instructions, which recommend that the slide be centered in the adjustment bed. Then, taking care to make sure that my Glock 19 was empty and safe, I removed the slide and placed it in the tool to see where the clamps of the tool would contact the slide. I stuck electrical tape to the slide at those 4 points of contact to protect it from the cylindrical clamp disks.
Finally (and this is very important), we placed some tape at the back of the slide near the rear sight, which provided a point of reference for the current position of the sight on the slide. This will serve as a reference to gauge just how much the sight moves across the slide when making adjustments.
At the range we shot 10 rounds and checked point of impact (POI). We verified that the POI was a little low, and to the left of the center of the 10 ring by 3”. After removing the magazine and ensuring that the chamber was empty, we removed the slide and placed it in the tool. There are handy reference marks on the bed of the tool which make it easy to ensure that the slide is clamped squarely in place.
We then rotated the adjustment wheel, which moved the pusher block into contact with the left side of the rear sight, increasing pressure to push it slightly to the right. It was easy to gauge the amount of sight movement by comparing it with the tape reference in place on the slide.
We removed the slide from the tool, reassemble the pistol, and fired another round of 10 shots at the same target. The point of impact had moved an average of about 2” to the right.
We made the pistol safe again, removed the slide from the frame, and placed it back in the tool to nudge the rear sight ever so slightly to the left. The precise movement of the tool head, and the presence of the reference point helped to ensure that we didn’t push the sight all the way back to where it was when I started this process.
We removed the slide from the tool and assemble it back to the frame. Then we placed a new target downrange and fired another round of 10 shots. This time the point of impact was pretty much clustered around the center.