Sights the old fashioned way...

Mods and Fixes by P-64 users...
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J.D.
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Sights the old fashioned way...

Post by J.D. » July 21st, 2019, 1:33 am

I know a few brave souls have endeavored to add aftermarket sights to their P-64s, and many more have broken out the little bottle of Testors enamel and a toothpick and added a dot of paint to the front sight.
In the book "Shooting to live" by William Fairbairn and E.A. Sykes (the namesakes of the Fairbairn-Sykes fighting knife) the authors indicate their interwar experience lead them to begin "silvering" the front sights of the Hong Kong police duty pistols as a kind of early night sight, and recommend the same for any carry pistol- in that era long before tritium or fiber optic sights, or even just high contrast paint or plastic sights, were available.
I imagine in 1930 it may have been easier to swing by a local jeweler, lay your pistol on the counter and ask him about silvering the front sight. Probably not a smooth move today without a little bit of spare time and bail money on hand. But, I found it easy enough to use a very shiny piece of aluminum foil (what I used) or mylar (or a large flake of craft store glitter might even do better) and a dot of epoxy to affix it to the front sight on my P-64, and not only was the result a much easier sight to find in normal to low light, but it was more durable through firing and cleaning than the paint dot I always used was. I will be following up now with a few of my other plain iron sight pistols.
As another note on the book, even though it is dealing with interwar level technology, I find a great deal of the ideology and rational behind their theories and techniques to be more authentically and better suited for the modern self-defense shooter than a lot of the para-military "tactical" doctrines that are pushed today. Great little book and perspective on the subject.

Ketchman
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Re: Sights the old fashioned way...

Post by Ketchman » July 21st, 2019, 7:20 pm

I must say this is a technique I was not aware of, although sights using a "German Silver" dot on them were popular for many years in the early 20th century and most likely for the same reason. But your adaptation seems simple and easy. Can you post pictures?
Close enough for Government work will get you dead, ask any Vet.

J.D.
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Re: Sights the old fashioned way...

Post by J.D. » July 22nd, 2019, 12:21 pm

I'll give it a whirl to get and post a pic.

J.D.
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Re: Sights the old fashioned way...

Post by J.D. » July 22nd, 2019, 12:28 pm

I'm thinking that the technique of the "german silver" dot you are familiar with is the same thing the authors are talking about. I suppose back then a gunsmith as well as a jeweler might do the work. I don't think either one could help today.

J.D.
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Re: Sights the old fashioned way...

Post by J.D. » July 22nd, 2019, 2:08 pm

A couple views of the aluminum foil sight. Just applied a bit of epoxy to the sight with a toothpick, laid a piece of foil on the sight and burnished it down, trimmed up with an exact knife. The burnishing (I used one of the wood dowels I use to burnish leather edges) shined up the foil to almost chrome like, easy to find the sight in just about any lighting condition.
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Ketchman
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Re: Sights the old fashioned way...

Post by Ketchman » July 27th, 2019, 12:32 am

Wow, unique answer to the problem of finding the front site on these pistols. I like it and may experiment with it a bit. I just picked up a Zastava M70 that has the same problem, small hard to see sights, this may be the answer. Thanks for the info. Keep us posted on how durable this is.
Close enough for Government work will get you dead, ask any Vet.

GuitarmanNick
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Re: Sights the old fashioned way...

Post by GuitarmanNick » September 15th, 2019, 6:15 pm

I did this to one of my P-64s and a new Zastava M-57. What a difference it makes on them both. Thanks for sharing. I did not bother to shine them as it was not needed. I made sure to keep the finished side of the foil up.

Ketchman
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Re: Sights the old fashioned way...

Post by Ketchman » September 15th, 2019, 10:23 pm

Guitarman, let us know how well this holds up please.
Close enough for Government work will get you dead, ask any Vet.

GuitarmanNick
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Re: Sights the old fashioned way...

Post by GuitarmanNick » September 16th, 2019, 7:30 am

Will do, sir.
I have fired and cleaned the M-57 once since doing this and it seems to be at least as durable as any paint I have ever used to mark sights. Another range trip is being planned and will include the P-64. I am really looking forward to shooting it with this modification. It has the smallest sights of any gun in my limited collection.
I have been dealing with some fairly serious vision issues for the last 15 years and seeing front sights has been a challenge. I do not see things as brightly as most people and low light conditions make it much worse.
Even if I have to replace the foil occasionally, this is by far the best option that I have tried. I have been fortunate to learn a few tricks from others and acquire some tools to adapt to my limitations. This is a fine addition to my quiver, and greatly appreciated.
For anyone else with aging eyes and vision that may not be as clear as it used to be, I recommend adding a diopter to your shooting glasses. I recently started using one of these: http://www.seebettershootbetter.com/
It is primarily for pistol shooting but I have found it to work quite well while shooting my milsurp rifles and using the iron sights. It stays where I put it even when shooting my M-44 carbine which is known for it's high recoil. It has tightened my groupings and made using irons enjoyable, again.

Ketchman
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Re: Sights the old fashioned way...

Post by Ketchman » September 21st, 2019, 9:27 pm

Sounds great. I have recently acquired a Zastava M70 which also has tiny sights and I may try this on that pistol. Thanks much for the review sir.
Close enough for Government work will get you dead, ask any Vet.

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