Review: Twisted Industries Fiber Optic Sights for the Kel Tec P11
by Kirk Lawson
The latest upgrade to my Kel Tec P11 is improved sights. There is nothing truly wrong with the existing Kel Tec sights. They are standard 3-Dot in a front post and rear square notch sights. They are perfectly serviceable. But, much like the stock Glock sights, they're cheap plastic. Despite the fact that they work just fine, they look and feel "cheap." No doubt it is a cost saving measure. Nevertheless, many P11 owners have wanted to upgrade their sights.
After looking at the various options, I settled quickly on the Fiber Optic sights by Twisted Industries. They are $44.99 and have Green and Red options in anodized aluminum bases. I chose Green front and Red rear, as is the factory standard set up on the Kel Tec PMR-30.
When I was ready to order I had difficulty. At the time Twisted Industries was using PayPal to handle their online payment servicing and PayPal had, summarily and without prior notice, cut off the services. The belief is this was a politically motivated (anti-gun) decision. After several days of abortive attempts I ended up contacting the company by phone and, with a few calls, and a little effort, the company went out of their way to allow me to pay via a direct gift via PayPal to an internal private email address. Understand that this was an extra chore for Twisted Industries because they were in the middle of trying to replace their online payment processing service, service their customers, and still turn out product. So, while it was an extra hassle to me, I appreciate the effort that Twisted Industries put into trying to work with me as well. Happily, this is no longer an issue for Twisted Industries. They have a new processing service: Authorize.net
A few business days after, I received a manila-envelope-of-happiness. Inside was a zip-lock-style envelope with instructions, some re-marketing, the sights, and even a complementary tube of super glue (used in conjunction with the front sight).
[Twisted Industries package and contents]
[Front and Rear sights]
The front sight is a two-post system. It is not staked. Because the sight, and therefore the posts, are plastic, Kel Tec uses a combination of mechanical friction lock and heat to mushroom the bottom of the posts on the inside of the slide, much like a classic hot-rivet method. Twisted Industries recommends using a pair of pliers to gently torque the front sight off but I prefer driving it out from the bottom using a pin-punch. If carefully done this will not damage the sight and will allow it to be reused if the need arises.
[Top of slide and the front sight. Drive the sight out using a punch from the inside of the slide.]
The rear sight is a dovetail. To the best of my searching, the dovetail is unique to Kel Tec and does not align with any other standard sights such as Glock or Novak (with the exception of SCCY, of course). It is friction set and needs to be driven out of the dovetail. I used a brass rod to avoid scratching the slide.
[Driving out the stock rear sight]
The Twisted Industries rear sight is a tight fit. It needed to be driven in to the dovetail. A "sight pusher" would have done the job handily but the brass rod and patience worked just as well. It is equipped with a set-screw so, once in place, it can be locked down.
[The set-screw in the rear sight is a standard hex-head configuration]
[Driving the rear sight in, using a brass rod]
Tip: As you drive it in, use the Depth Gauge on your calipers to be sure it is centered on your slide.
The Twisted Industries front sight has inset posts which are every so slightly over-sized. This creates a very tight friction lock to the slide but requires sight to be gently hammered in. I used the polymer side of my hammer to carefully tap it into place. Additionally, the documentation instructs to use a drop of super glue (supplied with the kit) on the underside of the front sight to further lock it in place. Because of the quick drying nature of super glue, I didn't get any photos of this step.
So how do the sights look? When I took the gun to the outdoor range the next Friday afternoon, the sights were bright and quite visible. The green front sight, in particular, glowed like the Lighthouse at Alexandria. My eye was almost magnetically drawn to it. Even in normal lighting the light pipes stand out. In dim lighting, the sights function basically as normal sights.
[The front sight really picks up light]
[Front and rear sights nicely contrast against each other]
But how durable are they? Does the rear sight walk? Does the front sight actually stay on? Yes, the front sight stays on. The friction fit, in conjunction with the the super glue kept the sight on during my shooting session with no indication of loosening at all. The rear sight didn't budge a fraction. It did seem like the point of aim changed from Lolly-Pop to Combat Hold, where the point of impact is directly under the front light pipe. That just fine. It works naturally with the way the eye is drawn to the front sight.
And, yes, the sights are very durable, but they are not unbreakable. I'm a little bit unhappy to be able to report this fact. The gun, um... "took a tumble" out of a loose holster from about waist height and fell directly on the front collar of the front sight on to concrete flooring. The front collar bent inward, toward the rear, at about a 15 or 20 degree angle and some of the anodizing was scraped off, leaving bare aluminum exposed. But the front sight did not break free and the posts did not loosen. A gentle tap with the brass rod returned the front collar to true and some judicious use of black magic marker covered the bare aluminum. The front sight still seemed tight and the light pipe was still apparently solidly retained.
Unfortunately, "apparently" and "seemed" was the word. To be sure, I took the gun out of rotation and went back to the range. Three shots from a bag and I couldn't see my hits on an 8" target at 45 feet. Three more shots and the front collar broke free and the light pipe slid half way out the rear collar. This was disappointing. I took the light pipe and the front collar and set them aside, then tried sighting through the "peep" on the front sight. It was so out of true that the shots were hitting 12 inches low, or more, at 45 feet. After a total of 8 rounds, I packed up. I knew that I would have to replace the front sight. So on my drive home from the range, I called Twisted Industries and asked to buy a new front sight. I explained that I was very happy with the product and, through no fault of the product, it had been damaged and I needed to buy a new front sight. However, they only sell them in pairs. The fine gentleman agreed that they only sell them in pairs then asked for my order confirmation number from the original purchase and to confirm my shipping address so that he would ship out a new front sight. "No," I relied. It wasn't a defect in the product, it was my own error and I would be happy to pay for a new front sight. Nope, nothing doing. According to the gentleman, Twisted Industries warranty covers this. I have a new sight on my way to me. Is there any other industry which will send you replacement parts when you call them and freely admit that the breakage was not due to product defect? None. Good job Twisted Industries!
I would definitely recommend the Fiber Optic Sights for the P11 from Twisted Industries.