Wheeler Armorer's Handgun Sight Tool

By Dr. Jim and Mary Clary

This Wheeler handgun sight adjustment tool is designed for professional gunsmiths, but it is also beneficial for home gunsmiths who can follow simple and straight-forward instructions. It eliminates the frustration and lack of precision of trying to adjust or remove dovetail mounted pistol sights with a hammer and punch.

If you just own one autoloading pistol, it would not be cost effective to buy this tool. If you have problems with the sights, it would be cheaper to have a gunsmith adjust them. If your handguns have permanently fixed sights, this tool will be of no value. However, if you have multiple semi-automatic pistols with dovetail adjustable and/or replaceable sights, then you should consider adding this tool to your arsenal of firearm tools.

We can think of three reasons why one should consider buying this device. One, the sights on best firearm can get out of alignment with use and require adjustment. Two, you may simply want to adjust the sights for more precise shooting. Three, you wish to install new and improved sights, which we will be doing very soon on several of our pistols.

The handgun sight tool is machined from high grade anodized aluminum. It works on all semi-automatic pistols and is designed to install, remove, or adjust front and rear dovetail sights. The reference marks on the device makes it possible to obtain very precise adjustments.

To get a better idea of how this device works and to assist the reader in determining whether to buy one, we include the following instructional sequence from the Wheeler manual on how to efficiently use the tool:

Wheeler Armorer's Handgun Sight Tool
Illustration courtesy of Wheeler Engineering, Inc.

1. Remove slide from pistol frame. Do not attempt to use the tool with the slide assembled to the frame. That may result in damage to the frame. Measure or mark the current position of the sight relative to the pistol slide. That is needed to gauge the movement of the sight during adjustment. Remove or loosen the set screws which hold the sights in place.

2. Remove both knobs from the Top Carriage Assembly and lift it off the Bottom Clamp Assembly.

3. Place the pistol slide into the Bottom Clamp Assembly in the orientation needed for adjustment. Turn the Side Knobs, keeping the pistol slide centered until snug. Use etched lines in the bottom channel to help keep the slide centered and straight.

4. Place the Top Carriage Assembly onto the Bottom Clamp Assembly. Do not allow the Front Pusher Block to impact the top surface of the pistol slide.

5. Adjust the height of the Top Carriage Assembly above the pistol slide by turning the Height Adjustment Screw. Make sure that the height is adjusted so that the Front Pusher Block does not drag across the pistol slide.

6. Install the Knobs onto the Top Carriage Assembly to hold it in place.

7. Turn the Adjustment Wheel to position the Front Pusher Block near the sight. The Front Pusher Bar must be positioned as close to the base of the sight as possible to prevent damage to the sight or dovetail. The sight must be positioned so it is centered front to back with the Front Pusher Block. Then, tighten all four Side Knobs and the two Top Knobs to clamp the pistol slide securely in place.

At this point, make adjustments to the position of the pistol slide and the height of the Top Carriage Assembly, if needed, to keep the Front Pusher Block centered and as low as possible, without dragging across the top of the slide.

8. Turn the Adjustment Wheel to start pushing the sight. Apply force slowly and inspect the position of the Front Pusher Block often. If the Front Pusher Block twists off vertical, stop any further adjustment and readjust the Block. If the sight is tight, tap on the bottom corner of the Front Pusher Block with a hammer and set punch in the direction the sight is being pushed.

Typically, sights are installed from left to right. The left and right side are defined by the orientation the pistol is held when shooting.

Do not use any kind of "cheater" bar or other device that increases the force pressure on the Adjustment Wheel or Front Pusher Block. This will damage your device, your slide or your sight.

9. When finished making the adjustment or removing the sight:

  1. Turn the Adjustment Wheel in the opposite direction to remove pressure from the sight.
  2. Loosen and remove the Knobs from the Top Carriage Assembly.
  3. Remove the Top Carriage Assembly.
  4. Loosen the Side Knobs and remove the pistol slide from the Bottom Clamp Assembly.
  5. Reinstall or tighten set screws needed to hold the sights in place.
  6. Reassembly the pistol slide to the frame and test for full function of all moving components before test firing.

The Wheeler manual contains more detailed instructions and illustration photos on the procedures listed above.

The only question is whether your budget and your handgun arsenal can justify the 2017 MSRP of $229.99 (typically sold for under $170 online). If the answer is yes, then you will find the Armorer's Handgun Tool to be very useful.

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