Red dot sights did not exist just thirty years ago. Most shooters and hunters have relied on old-fashioned stock iron sights when aiming or shooting. Today, most people use iron sights as a gun backup (mostly for their AR-15) rather than the main optics.
Even though AR iron sights can help with shot accuracy and breath control, many shooters overlook them or don’t know how to properly shoot with them. While modern rifle scopes and battery-powered optics are effective in most circumstances, they may fail on the field sometimes. This is where iron sights come in!
Despite the fact that gun optics have come a long way in recent decades, iron sights have stood the test of time, so they are still used as fail-proof sighting systems. Their importance didn’t fade yet although they have been increasingly replaced by powerful rifle scopes. Not only do iron sights make rifles more precise, but they can also transform them into invincible firearms.
No matter how you intend to use the iron sight, your AR deserves the best pair available. Whether you are looking for a rear sight, front sight or both, you need to choose one that offers the best value for money. To help you make the right choice, we have created a list of the best AR15 iron sights on the market today.
Top 5 Best AR-Iron Sights
The Magpul MBUS Pro is a steel sight produced by the brand that’s known for tough standards and rugged construction. Their iron sights, just like other gun accessories, are created to be highly durable and reliable. So, if you are one of those buyers who never settle for second best, the MBUS PRO Steel Sight is a good option for you. It could be a great backup for your rifle.
The Magpul MBUS Pro is hard to beat in terms of toughness. These high-quality sights are constructed from pure stainless steel and protected by Melonite finish. In addition to keeping metal corrosion-free, Melonite also makes the surface shiny and smooth. What we particularly like about the Magpul MBUS Sights is that they hold the rifle tightly – there is no awkward angle or wobble. They can remain in place regardless of the conditions and pressure you put.
The windage and elevation on the rear/front posts can be adjusted without any tools. Unlike rear sight, the front sight isn’t elevation adjustable. However, it can be mounted on the Gas Block. It is also important to point out that the sights can be attached to M-1913 Picatinny rail mounts.
Troy Industries is a renowned manufacturer of top-notch sights. This HK-style set of iron sights is designed in such a way to afford the best precision possible. The front sight, in particular, is responsible for precision shooting. It comes with a round cage and features a self-luminous tritium dot, allowing you to shoot in low light. Combined together, these features allow for a proper sight picture and alignment too.
These iron sights are equipped with a flip mechanism that can lock it in place thanks to locking detent balls. There is a button on either side that ensures that the sights can’t flip up accidentally. Additionally, they’re streamlined to prevent snagging. The rear sight has two apertures. The smaller one comes in handy for long-range shooting, while the large aperture can help in shooting close-range targets.
Both sights are easy to install. Their base can clamp to almost any Picatinny rail. It can be easily mounted with a flat-head screwdriver. Keep in mind that elevation adjustment is not possible at all. Still, you will be able to make windage adjustments.
Ozark Armament is a good choice for those who need simple, budget-friendly sights without extra features. Just because these flip-up iron sights don’t offer a lot of bells and whistles doesn’t mean they can’t compare with the best front or rear sights on the market.
The first thing to keep in mind is that these no-frills sights are made from milled aluminum. While this isn’t the best kind of metal, it is still considered better than polymer plastic. It assures sturdy construction without breaking the bank. Everything feels tight and stable. The next thing that puts this model in the same league with the best flip-up iron sights is a spring-loaded system that operates seamlessly.
Despite being a basic model, Ozark Armament Backup Battle Sights are adjustable for both elevation and windage. Installation is quite easy, but there are no tools included. Whether you use a red dot or standard AR-15 optic sight, you’ll enjoy co-witness capability. Gas block mounting is also possible. However, your best bet is to go for a front sight that is designed specifically for low profile gas blocks.
Here’s another Magpul Mbus sight you should consider using for your AR 15. The Mbus Gen 2 sights are made of reinforced injection-molded polymer to be lightweight yet sturdy. They are great for those who are on a budget but still want the best set of foldable sights.
This pair of sights is an excellent replacement for standard sights. However, if you need sights that can be easily mounted to the gas block, this model is not what you are looking for. While the Mbus Gen 2 has a lot of good characteristics, the spring-driven flip-up mechanism is presumably the best feature. This amazing system enables you to quickly fold down the sights at the press of a button.
You’ll be amazed by how well this sight set holds zero. It will allow you to see the targets clearly and improve your long-range accuracy over time. That’s why you should use these iron sights to the best advantage. Note that you will need a tool for elevation adjustments. Unfortunately, it’s not included.
We have added another model by Troy Industries on our list. If you’d like to buy front and rear sights in the single package, this is a good opportunity. You will get reliable, high-quality front and rear flip up sights that are battle-ready right out of the box. Bear in mind that this pair of combination sights aren’t standard but micro AR sights. So you’ll have to combine your optics with risers to ensure proper aligning.
Constructed from aircraft-grade stainless steel, these HK-style sights can last a lifetime with proper care. This material allows for low weight and high hardiness at the same time. At 2.4 ounces, these iron sights are surprisingly lightweight given their sturdiness. There’s no wobble.
When it comes to the rear sight, it folds quickly with the press of a button. However, when flipping the rear sight to the lowest point, you will not be able to fold down the sights. The front aperture allows for elevation adjustments, while the rear is windage adjustable. You will need a special Troy Industries tool (it isn’t included) to make elevation adjustments. Installation takes less than 5 minutes.
There are several aspects to take into consideration when selecting the best iron sight for the AR-15. Do you need expert opinions and tips? Not sure which type of sight would fit perfectly on your AR? Don’t worry, we’ve listed all the important considerations you need to take to help you make a wise decision.
Try to find out what materials are used in the construction when picking an iron sight. Whether it is polymer, steel or aluminum, you will want it to be rugged and robust. Polymer sights are easy to install and lightweight, but they are not comparable with their metal counterparts in terms of durability and feel. Iron sights are built to withstand all kinds of abuse, so they are not prone to chipping off.
In addition to construction material, you should also consider the build quality and design. Pay particular attention to the pin quality. When deployed, the best flip-up sight – be it a front or rear sight – can be locked into place so that there’s no way to put it into a horizontal position.
If you are looking for in-line metal sights, try to find ones that involve absolute or 100% co-witness. This will ensure that your optical sight is lined up correctly with your backup sight. As for the sight picture, there are many options to choose from. The diamond-shaped and Y-shape apertures are very popular these days. Some gun owners prefer front posts with round housing. This is a matter of personal preference.
Not many sights will let make elevation and windage adjustments without tools. For most models, you will have to use a screwdriver or hex key. The tools are usually not included. Be sure to choose one that is easy to use and mount. It should allow you to make adjustments without any hassle. If you are a left-handed shooter, look for ambidextrous sights.
Keep in mind that fixed iron sights have no moving parts. Unlike folding models, they can’t be folded away. That is why many gun owners and hunters do not use fixed sights with the primary optics of their guns. While folding iron sights are slightly difficult to use, they serve well as backup optics for AR 15 and other rifles. The best ones can fold down with the press of a button in a matter of seconds.
You will also choose between the gas block and the same-plane sights. The former comes with a front post that should be installed 0.5 inches beneath the rail, near the gun muzzle. They are designed in such a way that the back post is a bit shorter than the front post, allowing you to mount them higher at the back on your rail system. If you would like to use same-plane iron sights, make sure that they are positioned at the same height. Gas block AR15 sights are generally larger than same-plane models. This may come in useful when it comes to accuracy.
Iron sights turned out to be stronger and more durable than optics. They can serve as backup sights if the optics get damaged or battery dries out. To choose the best iron sights for your guns, you need to consider a few factors like type, design, mounting options, ease of use, visibility, and materials used. Whether you’re in the market for front or rear sight set, be sure to pick ones that are reliable and durable.
Whatever your preference for aperture design or material, rest assured that the above-mentioned units are going to serve you for a long time without any kind of problem. Maybe you will never have to use those sights, but it is recommended to have them near at hand, just in case. Yes, even if you have a higher-end red dot on your rifle.