When the scope is toast and you're left in a bind, a set of flip sights can save the day. A flip sight may save your life in combat or police missions. In some cases, you must go flip or go home.
When we discuss the flip sighting systems on rifles, many are mission specific to the AR-15 and AR-10 platforms. That provides a good place to start this discussion.
Flip sights are usually located at the rear of the rifle's receiver and centered with the bore. By design, the flip sight folds down behind the rear of the rifle glass sights.
As rifles vary in design and purpose, the sight system changes with the weapon.
Magpul GEN 2
Front & Rear
M-4 Super Low-Profile
Front & Rear
UTG Low Profile
Ozark Armament 45 Degree
Front & Rear
Good Stuff Innovation
Lyman 16B Folding Leaf Sight
Lyman #2 Tang Sight
Best Flip Up Sights For AR-15
1. Magpul Flip Up Backup Sight GEN-2-247-348
Magpul Industries builds great stuff for the AR-15 rifles. Their Magpul Backup Sight (MBUS) doesn't take a back seat to many others on the market today.
The flip sight illustrated here is impact resistant. It is built from polymer to reduce weight. As an old friend says, "When you hang a bunch of junk on an AR-15 or M-16, you're asking for trouble."
The Magpul has taken a look at that issue. This is their solution.
Detent and spring pressure keep the sight upright when in use. At the same time, the design allows for a quick, unobstructed folding action.
This sight clamps to any standard MIL-STD 1913 Picatinny/STANDAG 4694 receiver rail and provides the same sight height as a standard sight system. This sight is not for gas block mounting.
2. M-4 Super Low-Profile Flip-Up Front & Rear Sight
The M-4 Super Low-Profile Flip sight is built as a low profile sighting system for use on AR-15 AR-10 rifles. This sight is spring loaded and is activated by a side release button. It is easy to install on any Weaver style 1913 model rail.
The adjustable front post gives iron sight the flexibility to adapt to your rifle regardless of cartridge load types being used.
This sight retains a very low 3mm signature, which is almost nothing in terms of rear sight height.
This sight weight 1.3 oz for the front sight and 1.59 oz for the rear sight.
3. UTG Low Profile Flip-Up Rear Sight
This UTG rear sight features a unique set of dual aiming apertures. This feature makes it an excellent sight for moving target acquisition. It works well with limited visibility in low-light as well as in normal conditions.
This sight is precision machined from aircraft grade aluminum and carries a matte black finish. The robust Posi-Lock plunger coupled with spring activated ball bearings guarantee zero retention.
4. Ozark Armament 45 Degree Offset Flip Up Sight
This best iron sight makes use of the basic Weaver style mount on any rifle using the basic Picatinny rail system.
It features push-button deployment based on a spring-loaded design. These sights are fully adjustable for windage and elevation. These low profile sights stay out of the way when not being used.
The sight carries a full warranty for one year and is backed by a dedicated U.S. support team. Their excellent customer service will help you with any issues.
This sight will not work when mounted on a gas block system on the AR-15/AR-10.
5. Good Stuff Innovation Flip-Up Rear Sight
This sight is simple as field dirt and resembles the old school sights found on lever action buffalo rifles popular during the 1870s and 1880s.
I have a sight on a 45-70 Sharps that is called a “Tang” sight. Likely, this is where these folks got their idea.
This simple, rear flip up sight features elevation and windage adjustments. Designed as a receiver sight on a flip base, this sight should be quite accurate for drawing a fine bead on a distant target.
6. MaTech Mil-Spec Back-up Sight
This sight takes on some of the history associated with big game tang sights of days gone by. The sight is made like a tank turrets sight that came out of Russia. Few of my friends are quite impressed with the sight's durability.
With simple and direct design, this sight is calibrated to over 600 yards depending on the cartridges and bullet weights. This sight is intended to be used as a back-up system and not a primary open sighting system.
Use the glass first and the flip second when the going gets rough.
7. Lyman 16B Folding Leaf Sight
This Lyman 16B is one of the most popular flip sights ever constructed.
I have one on a pre-1964 Winchester Feather Weight 30-06 that is still in perfect working order. This rifle has killed more deer than some hunters will see in a lifetime.
This American made sight adjusts for windage and elevation to some degree. It was built to be used as a primary sight back in the day, but today it is a backup system for sure.
This folding sight mounts just ahead of the scope bell. The sight sits so low that it will not interfere with the scope.
It is designed to fit a rifle barrel with 3.8-inch cut slots.
8. Lyman #2 Tang Sight
This sight is a receiver strap mounted flip tang sight. It is used as a primary sight for 45-70-100 buffalo rifle shooters and other related Old West designed rifles.
This sight is well known because it is mounted on the great historical Winchester 73.
The sight can be adapted to a number of rifles; however, this was its entry into the shooting world as a primary sight when black powder rifles were king.
This sight features all stainless steel construction. No polymer construction material is used in the production of this sight. Index marks on the elevation post indicate 800 yards. This is about right for a buffalo rifle of the day.
There are records of these sights being used on Sharps rifles that took targets off horseback as far as a half mile or more away. The system can still do the trick today.
The film Quigley Down Under, that took place in Australia, featured a prime example of the Lyman style Tang sight and the Sharps 45-90 rifle.
The sight includes a .093 quick sighting hunting aperture and the .040 large disk target aperture as well. Some rifles require drilling by a gunsmith to mount this sight at the grip tang.