Thats the best explanation of Tritium I have read! Good info.Happysniper1 said:If these are Tritium night sights (as most are), it is important to note that Tritium (a radioactive isotope of Hydrogen, created by nuclear fission as in a nuc reactor, and used also to boost the "yeild" of thermonuclear devices) has a half-life of about 12 years. This means that the Tritium "pellet" (actually a very small amount of Tritium gas enclosed in a glass tube whose inner surface is coated with phosphor) will be half as radioactively active as when new, after about 12 years, and half again as "bright" in another 12 years, and so on. Eventually, Tritium decays into Helium-3. At this point it is does not glow at all.
Although radioactive, Tritium emits only very low-energy beta particles that do not penetrate the skin. It can, however, be inhaled or ingested, and when mixed in water can contaminate it creating Tritiated Water. Human internal radioactive absorption is very low, and there is very small risk of it accumulating in human tissue from a single exposure.
It is extremely expensive and difficult to produce (requires a nuclear reactor, remember?), and costs about $35-45,000 per gram. It is used for only three purposes: as a self-illuminating compound in gun sights and instrument dials, where a self-illuminating long-lasting glow is needed; another use is as a radioactive tracer, when used in medical fields and in oceanic trace plotting; the other purpose is in the physics package of two-stage (fission-fusion) thermonuclear devices, also known generically as "hydrogen bombs" in order to boost the net electron "production" of the chain reaction while maintaining an overall stable neutron flux that does not attenuate the electron discharge, creating a more "energetic" nuclear fission reaction, with proportunate increase in the potency of the succeeding nuclear fusion reaction. At this time, the largest non-military (i.e., not for nuclear weapons) producer of Tritium is in Canada, at the Ontario Power Generator's Tritium Removal Facility, which annually produces about 6 pounds of Tritium for global commercial use.
Tritium replaced radium as a self-illuminating ingredient in manufacturing, because of the stability and relative safety of Trituim over the frighteningly hazardous radiation of Radium.
Fiber-optic sights, and "glow-in-the-dark" anything that need to be "charged" with light before use, do not use Tritium.
This is why Tritium night sights are so expensive. But they last a long, long time.
Most likely, Glock_lover53, your sights are not Tritium, and you should not expect them to glow.
Nothing beats Tritium night sights, in my opinion. I have used them, and have always wanted to have them on my guns, but I got better things to spend the money on, if you know what I mean. Second place would go to phosphorescent paints (i.e., "glow-in-the-dark") paint treatments. They are brighter than Tritium inserts, but require light to "activate" them, and the glow does not last as long, usually minutes as compared to the years that Tritium will glow.