How to Paint Pistol Sights


If you have vision problems, you might have difficulty seeing the sight at the end of a pistol barrel. You can enhance the sight's visibility by coating it with a bright paint. Unfortunately, because metallic surfaces are ill-suited for paint adhesion, they will shed paint relatively soon after application. If you want the painted pistol sight to remain durable, you must condition the surface by coating it with a special type of primer, capable of etching the pistol to provide a tooth for the paint's application.

Things You'll Need

  • Water-based degreaser
  • Coarse sponge
  • Rags
  • Blue painter's tape
  • Heavy-duty fabric drop cloths
  • Galvanized metal etching primer
  • Craft brushes
  • Mineral spirits
  • Oil-based enamel
  • Ensure that the pistol is unloaded.

  • Point the pistol down. Clean the sight with a water-based degreaser, using a coarse sponge. Rinse the sight with a wet rag. Dry the sight with clean rags.

  • Cover areas of the pistol, adjacent to the sight, with painter's tape.

  • Place the pistol on a fabric drop cloth.

  • Apply galvanized metal etching primer to the sight, using a craft brush. Wait four hours for the primed sight to dry.

  • Clean the craft brushes with mineral spirits.

  • Apply an oil-based enamel to the sight, using the clean craft brush. Wait four hours for the painted sight to dry.

Tips & Warnings

  • Craft brushes are available at arts and crafts stores.
  • Although you may paint a pistol sight any color, bright red, yellow and white are best for enhancing visibility.
  • Be sure to point the pistol down during the cleaning process to prevent water from getting into the barrel.
  • Do not paint over a bare, unprimed pistol sight, or the paint will peel.
  • Do not use an ordinary oil-based or acrylic latex primer on a pistol sight, or the finish will fail.

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  • Photo Credit pistol image by Ivanou Aliaksandr from
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