8 Best Offset Iron Sights

best offset iron sights

Offset Iron Sights are a unique solution in the firearms world. Offsets are a set of 45 degree canted iron sights that go on a flat top AR with a long rail. Offsets are the perfect solution for CQB without removing a high magnification scope.

Mostly used in 3 gun competitions to switch between long and short-range targets. They are also great for hunting, target shooting and home defense.

So, lets look at them.

Name

​Sight

​Material

Price

Magpul MBUS

Front and Rear

Steel

​Diamondhead

Front and Rear

Aluminum

Troy Industries

Front and Rear

Aluminum

Strike Industries

Rear

Steel & Aluminum

Dueck Defense

Front & Rear

Aluminum

Knights Armament

Front & Rear

Aluminum

TACTICON

Front & Rear

Aluminum

So what is the standard for Offset Iron Sight?

In one word, Magpul.

1. Magpul MBUS PRO Offset

offset iron sights

If you are looking for firearm accessories, Magpul is going to be your starting point for price. Magpul has a massive market share because they produce quality at a low price.

They won’t stand up like a Knights Armament or a Strike Industries or even Troy but they will do 90% of what shooters need to do at a bargain price.

It starts and ends with Magpul.

You knew Magpul was going to make this list. It’s the standard. The budget. It is the entry-level for BUIS, magazines, accessories and the standard for rails.

This company was founded in the USA in 1999 Magpul and has become one of the biggest names in firearm accessories. We love the Pmags so much that they are our go-to magazines in every rifle we can make fit.

45 degree back up sights

Why wouldn’t we use their “Iron Sight”?

The Magpul MBUS Pro Offsets are built solid. Made from melonite coated steel, they lay flat and need just a bit over 0.66 inches of rail space to do their job. The MBUS Pros are adjustable. The rear sight adjusts windage while the front covers elevation. Unfortunately, they only come in black.

The Magpul MBUS Pro Offsets are built solid. Made from melonite coated steel, they lay flat and need just a bit over 0.66 inches of rail space to do their job. The MBUS Pros are adjustable. The rear sight adjusts windage while the front covers elevation. Unfortunately, they only come in black.

Available at Amazon

The price of Magpul MBUS PRO Offset varies, so check the latest price at Amazon.

2. Diamond Head Iron Sights

45 degree sights

Diamond Head Iron Sights are known, obviously, for their diamond shape instead of the standard circular peephole. The sharp corners of the diamond sight allow you to precisely center the front sight in the rear peephole for precision shots.

Diamond Head sights are made in the USA and known for their quality. Diamond Head sights feature all-steel construction. Diamond Head’s innovative design is great. In addition to the diamond peep sight, they are the only sight on this list that folds under the rifle scope.

offset sights

That is an amazing feature considering how little you will probably use your offset BUIS. It protects the sights and they rotate out very quickly. It does have a drawback of sometimes scratching the finish of your rifle as they snap out of their locked position.

The Diamond Heads are also a bit complex to fold back under your scope. This isn’t a problem until you scratch your $3,000 scope. Overall, this is a great set of iron sights; however, their cost reflects their quality.

Available at Amazon

The price of Diamond Head Iron Sights varies, so check the latest price at Amazon.

3. Troy Industries

best offset iron sights

Love them or hate them Troy Industries make some great products. Troy’s offset BUIS come in two flavors their HK and their M4. The HK uses a circular peephole and front sight wings. The M4 uses the stand wings and a diamond peephole.

HK sight wings create a dioptric effect allowing you to acquire targets faster, however, with offset buis you adjust the elevation with the front sight post using the rear adjustments only for windage. This can make HK sights difficult to zero for elevation. So if you are in doubt go with the M4.

Available at Amazon

The price of Troy Industries varies, so check the latest price at Amazon.

4. Strike Industries Sidewinder 

tactical optics

The Strike Industries Sidewinder makes the list by being able to work as an offset iron sight and as standard backups in one small package. The Sidewinders flip out to a 45 degree offset sight then they can swing across to act as traditional irons once you have removed your optic.

Fold them down and they act as traditional as canted iron sights. It is an ingenious design that all around covers any iron sight needs you have. That doesn’t mean they aren’t a bit weird though.

45 angle sights

As inline iron sights, they are canted from to your rifle which makes using them feel strange. You will feel the need to cant your rifle making adjustments to zero annoying. Holding zero between the inline and the 45 degree seemed to work for our test rifle but then we adjusted the windage and elevation.

Because they are canted, their zero was a mess of complicated math and a series of strange holds. But we did manage to make shots out to 200 with just the iron sights. They weren’t as precise as our M14 iron sights but they did their job of target acquisition at under 50 yards.

Available at Amazon

The price of Strike Industries Sidewinder varies, so check the latest price at Amazon.

6. Dueck Defense

Dueck Defense Rapid Transition Sights are a bit different than most other sights on the list. These aren’t your typical offset sights. They don’t fold down. That makes them rock solid sights. They are favorites for dedicated 3 gunners that use the offset sights every competition and training day.

Dueck Defense Rapid Trijicon Night Sights also have fiber optics for low light shooting. Great for ultra-fast shooting. Since offset sights are most useful when seconds matter, the Trijicon inserts are worth the $10 price increase.

The other huge benefit of the Dueck Defense Rapid Transition Sights is they are very flat on the top of a flattop. This allows you to use 34mm and larger objective lenses. Unfortunately, they are a bit large on the side of the rifle.

Available at Amazon

The price of Dueck Defense varies, so check the latest price at Amazon.

7. Knights Armament

45 degree angle sights

Knights Armament is one of the go-to manufacturers for special forces. Their offset sight is rugged, precise and folds down into a barely noticeable package. I would run Knights Armament sights on every rifle I own if I could. Thankfully for my wallet, I don’t have to.

Their offset clicks into place with a nice firm click like a Cadillac door. While the rear iron sight aperture seems to suck your eye right down the hole on rotation. I am simply impressed by how much precision has gone into these sights. To see how capable the sights are, I pushed them out to 300 yards on a 12-inch steel target.

Available at Amazon

The price of Knights Armament varies, so check the latest price at Amazon.

8. Tacticon

45 degree angle iron sights

Tacticon Offset sights are the bargains on our list. They are made from anodized aluminum. These are surprisingly robust sights for under $25. Unfortunately, that isn’t saying much.

The ones we tested and the reviews we read showed they are lacking a bit for zero retention. Unless we cranked the hell out of our test sights and loctited them up, they were loose-fitting on our rails and failed to maintain zero.

While the Tacticon has solid springs, they didn’t lay as flat as we would have liked and the rear sight aperture moved when we clicked them forward. The 5.56 and 300blk rounds we shot were knocking the zero around at 20 yards.

However, they provided enough accuracy to hit our 4x4 inch targets. We really liked the price. But, you get what you pay for. We would prefer to spend the money on ammo.

Available at Amazon

The price of Tacticon varies, so check the latest price at Amazon.

Midwest Industries Offset Rail

offset iron

If you are looking to add a red dot instead of irons, Midwest Industries makes solidly built, yet affordable offset rails. Add a Burris or Vortex red dot and you will have the fastest option for Open 3 Gun. Buy two and add normal Magpul Flip-Up sights and you have a cheaper solution than the MBUS Pro Offset yet, almost as sturdy.

The only problem with using Offset Rails is it places you in open for 3-gun events...but only if you use them with a red dot sight.

Purpose of Offset Iron Sights

Offset iron sights offer a solution to a problem not everyone has. They allow you to have a dedicated set of iron sights on a rifle without interfering with your optics.

Normal backup iron sights (BUIS) usually fold in behind your primary optic and on the front of your rifle. To use them, you need to remove your optic if your optic has any magnification.

They don’t allow you to use them without removing your scope. So 3 gunners started using canted irons to quickly switch between high magnification for long targets and iron sights for short-range and CQB.

Advantages over BUIS

Offset irons sights allow you to quickly switch between a high magnification scope and traditional iron sights. Let’s say your optic breaks on a hunt or at a competition, you better have a quick-mount or your torque wrench with you. Otherwise, you are going home.

Another advantage offset iron sights have over BUIS is when mounting a scope they have a low profile. The greater scope clearance allows you to mount your scope much lower to your rifle.

This is vitally important if you can’t fit your scope within the 1.5 inch standard on most AR-15s or if your head is not the “average” size requiring you to mount it a bit lower for a proper cheek weld.

The greatest advantage of offset iron sights is the ability to change quickly between short-range and long-range sighting systems without any loss of speed. Your throw lever might take you from 24x to 6x but changing from 200 yards to 50 yards, you will need to adjust your parallax.

Offset iron sights work the best as a way to quickly switch between target ranges. That is why they are most often seen on 3 gun rifles. In the heat of the moment, you don’t want to be messing with your scope when you can rotate over to your iron sights, peg the close target and move on.

Disadvantages

The biggest disadvantage of the offset iron sights is they are awkward. I’m serious. Next time you have your rifle, cant it 45 degrees and find a sight picture. At 20 yards it isn’t bad, but at 100 yards you are going to struggle to make your shots.

The other problem is how much do you need offset iron sights or backup sights at all. Three gun competitions are the main reason to switch to offset iron sights. If you are shaving a couple of seconds off your time, it is probably worth the hassle and weight.

On the other hand, building them into your range queen is not worth the cost.

Speaking of the cost, a decent set (Magpul) of offset iron sights will cost you around $100. Our best in class set from Knights Armament costs nearly $300. That is a large chunk of change for a backup system. But, when seconds count it is definitely worth it.

However, if you are spending nearly $300 for a set of iron sights you may be better served putting another $300 into your scope. That can change a Vortex 1-6x Strike Fire to a PST or even a Razor if you can find a deal.

Iron Sight Build Quality - Buy once cry once

I don’t believe in testing low-quality firearm accessories. If it can’t hold up under 100 rounds of .308 from my best AR then it won’t hold up from 1000 rounds of 5.56 or other abuse. All the models listed are metal or high-quality polymer.

All of the sights reviewed use the standard MIL-STD 1913 Picatinny rail or STANDAG 4694 rail system. Weaver and other options exist but if you are putting these on a rifle with a purpose and it isn’t a Pic Rail AR something is wrong in Chinatown.

All the models you see lasted through 100 rounds of abuse from an AR-308, and other than the Tacticon, they all roughly held zero. If you want it to hold zero you are looking at $150-plus for a good sight set.

The Knock-offs

The quick and dirty secret of firearm accessories is that you get what you pay for. But you usually do not need high-end gear until you have a sponsor.

Yet, buy once cry once is the shooters' motto because of the huge influx of cheap knock offs and low-quality airsoft gear making it into our search results. Basically, if the price seems too good to be true, it is.

The problem is the metric ton of knock-off sights and airsoft sights available. They may work; they may not. Your mileage may vary. If you found a great set we missed, add it down in the comments.

Wrapping Up

If you are looking for offset iron sights, pick from the big three. If you are just looking to spend some money on your gun, save it up instead and go for a higher-end scope or a higher-end rifle. More ammunition is also a great choice.

If you have the need or will use offset iron sights, don’t cheap out and purchase a set made for an airsoft rifle. Buy quality. Magpul is entry-level.

Andrew Maurer is a Precision Rifle Series competition shooter and gunsmith. Building competition rifles for over 12 years. He works as a big game hunting guide in Iowa, South Dakota and Arizona. He is also a political scientist studying the effects of gun control on society. He teaches youth rifle shooting.

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