I went behind the scenes to meet the inventor of a very useful Sight Pusher Tool. Danny Fisher, the owner of Fisher Solutions, in San Diego, CA, was gracious and friendly. I knew they were busy (business is really booming for them right now) so I didn’t want to take up too much of their time, but I really enjoyed talking to them! I was excited when I figured out their shop was relatively close to where I live – the blogger in me always enjoys meeting and talking to the people doing great things rather than simply reviewing their gear. I have an XD45 and when I wanted to put a Leupold Delta Point on my pistol, I began researching Sight Tools – Danny’s Sight Pusher was the only XD pusher I found in a price point that was reasonable for the average person. I decided it was worth a try!
He showed me around his shop, it is an efficient space that they are on the edge of out-growing – luckily, they have plans to expand! After using his sight pusher, I can tell you that I understand why his business is going so well. This is a very well made tool. It is extremely strong, able to take a lot of pressure; built with precision, the blocks will fit various slides snuggly. Danny showed me mock-ups he had of an XD slide, and it became clear to me how much time and thought he has put into designing this tool. It is simply a rugged, professional, essential piece of gear for changing out sights. The model I wanted was the Universal Sight Tool, it comes with three different clamping blocks, allowing you to use one tool on most pistols. The most immediately important were the XD blocks.
While visiting with Danny, I asked him, “What gave you the idea for this tool? Why did you create it?” He said that he has been a machinist for many years, and one day was trying to remove sights from his own pistol, and he basically invented it out of necessity. He actually showed me his initial prototype. After he figured out that it really worked, he was talking about it on Calguns.net, a popular pro gun forum, and several people started asking if they could buy one. Danny went back to the drawing board and cleaned up the design, ending with the professional version he sells today.
The question I know everyone is really wondering: Does it work?
I placed the XD blocks in the tool, and checked the to make sure they would work with my XD slide – they fit like a glove. Then, using cleaning pads around the slide to prevent scratches, I put the tool in the vice on my workbench and clamped the XD fitted blocks around my slide, with the rear of the slide toward me and the front of the slide facing away from me. I added a few drops of penetrating oil to assist in breaking the sight free. I lined up the portion of the tool that actually connects with the sight and pushes it out. When looking at the rear of the slide, my XD45 factory can only be removed by pushing it from right to left (when looking at the rear of the slide). Danny told me to ensure that I turned the bolt using the bolt head, and though this might seem obvious, he said that there are people who do attempt to push the sight by tightening the nut rather than the bolt head. Here is a photo of the set up.
First, I made a small mark on the slide so I would be able to tell if the sight actually moved and by how much. I used a long handled wrench for leverage and began turning the bolt. I was not sure how hard to push down on the wrench, because I didn’t want to damage my tool and especially not my slide! So, at first I took it easy. I gradually pushed harder and harder and I thought it moved a little. I used my calipers and discovered that the sight had not moved AT ALL! If I had not read about this before hand, I would have been extremely frustrated and even questioned if I was doing something wrong – but, I was only finding out first hand what everyone says – XD sights are a major pain to remove!
So, I really put some weight into turning the bolt, and again – zero movement. At this point, I was blaming the stubborn XD sights rather than the tool. I began reading forums and the experiences other people have had removing XD sights in general. Apparently, some gunsmiths have a hydraulic tool and will pop them off in seconds – charging as much for their time as the cost of this tool. (Which means, if you need to take another gun, it would cost that amount again, and again.) Maybe if you only had one gun and you were only ever going to change the sights one time, then the gunsmith might be a feasible plan. If you are comfortable with doing this type of work yourself, and have several guns, there is no doubt this is the tool for you – it will save you money in the long run! Especially the Universal Sight Tool, as it will work on most brands of pistols for just a little more than the tool with only one type of blocks.
As I read about removing XD sights, I could not believe all the “tricks” people have used to loosen them. Some of the ideas were even a little funny, trust me I was ready to invoke some special Voodoo if it would budge these sights! There were several that suggested heat, most people used penetrating oil, and then I noticed that many of the people who were successful decided to freeze their slide for a period (from 30 minutes to overnight.) Freezing it made the most sense to me, since it would cause all the pieces to contract. Into the freezer my slide went! I kept it there for about two hours.
When I pulled it out of the freezer, I quickly placed it in the tool on the vice, lined up the pusher and put serious weight onto the wrench. Thank goodness – the sight actually began to move, just a ¼ inch at first, but it moved. So I kept the pressure on until it was almost all the way off. You can see the photos below.
This is a great sight pusher, extremely well made. I believe if it can remove an XD Sight, it will be able to remove any sight you have.
I visited with Danny and the folks at his shop for a while, they were really terrific people, the type of guys it you would like to meet out on the range and spend time talking to! They even showed me something new they are working on, but swore me to secrecy because they didn’t have a patent yet.
I was really inspired after talking to Danny, he is just a normal guy, could be your next door neighbor, who honed a craft, found a niche in the market, and used his skills to find a superb solution. He is a small business owner. He is a perfect example of what makes our country what it is. If you already have his sight pusher tool, you are going to want to check back with Danny and Fisher Solutions, for future products! They are good people who love what they are doing, making life better for gun owners everywhere! This is a small business you can feel great satisfaction in supporting.
You can buy his “Made in the USA” tool here: www.sightpusher.com