Whatever the problem - a bear attack, an ambush as a street officer in a barricaded building, or a head-on assault on a gun position by a trained mercenary. Your backup iron sights on your AR-15 can make the difference between ending the conflict alive or dead.
When my father emerged from World War II, he trained me as just a little shaver to shoot rifles. The sights of the day were iron sight, peep sights, leaf sights, or about ten other labels used to define the basic metallic rifle sight.
In the fall of 1950, at the age of nine, I killed my first whitetail deer with a German 98 Mauser that mounted a set of Williams receiver sights. After that hunt, I never set my sights on a glass scope until almost two decades later. You could say that I do know the iron sight very well indeed.
Magpul Pro MBUS
Front & Rear
Magpul MBUS Pro Offset
Front & Rear
Magpul MBUS Flip UP
FAB Defense Rear Sight
Troy Industries Folding Battle Sight
Troy Industries Folding
Good Stuff Innovation
Diamond Head Iron Sights
Front & Rear
Best AR 15 Iron Sights
1. Magpul Pro MBUS
In terms of the All American M-16/AR 15, the iron sight was the standard all the way through the Vietnam War. We learned in that mess of a conflict that if you want to call a bloodletting war, it took a pile of bullets to create a single casualty among the enemy.
Enter the sandbox wars and with it the use of glass sights which upgraded the M-16 greatly. This became the gold standard for military, police, and shooters of the best AR-15 civilian style weapon around the world.
Magpul, a company that has been a leader in offering aftermarket add-ons, offers a set of AR-15 iron sights that are made up of a rear folding leaf style sight and a post front sight.
These sights mount directly to an AR Weaver-style rail and are made of metal instead of the plastic found in most of the AR-15 secondary sight systems.
I have noted that the sights are “secondary” because except for some competition classifications and police close quarter entry work, the iron sight has gone out of style among many AR-15 shooters.
However, if the primary glass sight goes down, you can bet that those irons sights will become solid gold to anyone in need of accurate rounds sent down range quickly.
The Magpul sights are made from steel and mount solidly to ensure the correct zero even in stressful situations. This sight features a black finish (Melonite). The steel construction of the sight allows maximum strength with a minimum of carry weight added to the weapon system.
This sight includes dual aperture windage and elevation knob adjustments on the rear iron sight. The front sight is a thick blade model. This sight is compatible with laser and other aiming devices.
The rear sights system folds down and stores away when not in use. As a backup system, it will not interfere with the primary glass optical system.
2. Magpul MBUS Pro Offset Front & Rear Flip-Up Backup Sight
Here, we have the classic combat style backup sight to if the holographic sight or 1-8 scope gets crushed and becomes useless. When the primary goes down, this sight set at 45 degrees and zeroed becomes the lifesaver in combat or the tool that takes the game for the hunter.
This sight is also useful for shooting games such as three gun competitions. This iron sight is built to take a pounding since it is built from steel instead of being a plastic reproduction of the real thing.
This sight system mounts on the basic M1 Picatinny rail and rotates 45 degrees off center. Built of Melonite steel with a black color, the sight is aesthetically pleasing and keeps with the AR-15 platform.
The lockup system when extended is a detent design. That keeps the sight on zero and in a solid working position when deployed.
3. Magpul MBUS Flip Up Backup Rear Sight Only
When the AR-15 retains the front sight tower, the need for a sight set is not at all necessary and the single rear backup sight is all that is required.
This sight is a fold-down model that won't get in the way of a scope system's rear aperture or snag clothing when used in stressful conditions.
The sight is made from an impact resistant polymer material. This material proves to be very lightweight in the field. The spring loaded sight will flip up from either side of the primary leaf extension on the sight.
4. FAB Defense Rear Sight
Fab Defense offers the AR-15 shooter a polymer constructed rear flip up sight that can be used as a primary or secondary sight along with holographic or best AR 15 scope.
This sight retains an angel-wing shaped shroud that helps align the eye correctly for proper centering over the sight.
The sight retains dual apertures that are 3 mm for longer eye relief mounting and low light shooting situations. The second aperture measures 1.5 mm for short-range shots. Making a selection of either of these sizes is instantaneous.
The sight retains a low profile that will not snag gear or get in the way regardless of the field situation. This sight requires no tools for installation, offers easy windage and elevation adjustments, and is built to last.
The sight can be obtained with a matching front sight that mounts directly on a Weaver style rail over the handguard. No gunsmith is needed to install this sight system.
5. Troy Industries Folding Battle Sight
In some cases, the secondary rear sight on a AR-15 is referred to as a “battle sight.” They received this name because iron sights are installed for closer range work than your typical glass optical systems.
Regardless of the name, most of these sights use the same design pattern. Here is a flip sight that runs .50 MOA of adjustment per click, is MIL-SPEC TYPE III, is hard coated and built from T6 aircraft aluminum.
This sight uses no levers or springs. It uses a direct flip into the correct shooting position. With an operation profile of 0.460, the Troy Battle Sight features a zero cant adjustment and makes use of blackened stainless steel parts for military grade field applications.
6. Troy Industries Front Folding Style Battle Sight
This front sight can be paired with the folding rear sight built by this company or it can be used alone as a tack on with other optical choices. The sight fits M-4 style rails and requires no tools for installation.
This sight is black in color and is made from T6 aircraft aluminum. This sight's durable, hard coated, MIL-SPEC construction makes is useful to special operators and police departments across the country.
This sight will not work on a gas block mounting system lower than the receiver height.
7. Troy Industries Folding Tritium Battle Rear Sight
Front sight on M&P 15-T The sight is not fully extended.
Situations occur where the lighting is bad or nonexistent; yet, the need to clear a room, alley or even a complete building is the call of the day. In this case, and many others, the use of a light directed sight like this tritium based optics system is necessary.
With this shooting system, the front sight post is centered between two tritium points of reference light to allow for the correct reference regarding sight alignment. The sight is designed to be mounted on a same plane rail system.
Don't mount or use it off a riser system on the AR-15. You want direct alignment with that front sight at all times.
The Tritium element of these sights rests on a hydrogen element that emits a continuous light source where the use of batteries is not at all possible. Built of the same material as the other models listed here, the sight is a quality product and well liked by users of the sighting system.
8. Daniel Defense Fixed Rear Sight
The Daniel Defense rear sight is designed to work as a secondary sight along with today's advanced optical sighting systems. The sight will not get in the way of the charging handle on your AR-15 and fits the flat military style top receiver without the need for tools.
This sight is machined from 5051 aircraft grade aluminum and meets military specifications. The sight is hard coat anodized and is both lightweight and durable. Windage and elevation adjustments are easy to work with and understand.
No rocket science required here.
9. Good Stuff Innovation Flip Up Rear Sight
This is not a high priced rear sight, but I like it because it resembles the old school Tang sight once used for buffalo hunting.
This sight is designed as a single post with a receiver sight atop the mount. The clean, simple sight is effective even at long ranges and is an overall great iron sight.
While not a military grade sight, this is a good sight for the game shooter that wants accuracy or for the Sunday afternoon plinker out on the farm or city range. Built of softer metal and not combat rate at all, this is a good civilian iron sight.
10. Diamond Head Iron Sights
Diamond Head sights are sold as a pair and provide a solid example of a complete battle sight system. These sights feature a flip-up design so they are set very low when in the folded position and well away from primary optical systems.
This sight makes use of a patented diamond shaped aperture designed for faster target acquisition under high-stress situations. The front sight retains the same “Diamond” shape housing. This makes this twin sight system a real exclusive working team in the iron sight/battle sight department.
The sight makes use of a 0.5 MOA windage adjustment. It deploys and stows with a small or large aperture activated. The sights are combat quality and can be considered for military or police applications as well as three-gun and other related shooting events.
11. Strike Industries Side Winder Open Sight Set
The Si-Sidewinder is a backup combat style sight with great flexibility because it can be used as a secondary side mounted sight or also as a direct, combat first line sight. This sight is MIL-SPEC because it meets the standard required by special operators, general ground forces, police, and civilian shooters.
Made of aircraft aluminum and steel, the sight is ground pounding tough. Using tool-less dial adjustments for windage and elevation the sights are field craft simple in terms of function.
This sight is reversible for left- or right-hand use and setting adjustments.
With battle sights on coyote rifle in the early fall. Weather can change and glass can go down. The second set of sights is of real value out here miles from no place,
This sight can be obtained in both front and rear sight units. Being a military directed product, this sight is not eligible for any export standards. Information regarding this AR-15 sighting system states that this sight can't leave the U.S.