If there’s one thing you need to know, having a set of backup iron sights (BUIS) will NEVER let you down.
It’ll never leave you hanging, unlike battery-operated optics.
Today, we’re exploring the world of BUIS in the hopes of finding the best back-up iron sights in the market.
So keep reading, and you might find the next set of the best back-up iron sights for you!
- 6 Best Back-Up Iron Sights for the Money: Cheap, Budget, & High-Quality Picks
- Different Types of Backup Iron Sights
- What Are Backup Iron Sights (BUIS)?
- Why Do You Need Backup Iron Sights?
- What to Look for in Finding the Best Backup Iron Sights?
- What Are the Consequences of Not Having Backup Iron Sights in Place?
- How to Use Iron Sights
- Final Thoughts
6 Best Back-Up Iron Sights for the Money: Cheap, Budget, & High-Quality Picks
With different backup iron sights out there, finding the best backup iron sight is like finding a needle in a haystack.
But today seems to be your lucky day because we’ve searched for you. And boy, oh boy, you sure are in for a treat!
1. Magpul MBUS Pro Steel Set
- Aperture: Dual
- Material: Alloy steel
- Set-Up: Easy and no tools needed
- Weight: 1.5 oz and 1.80z rear sights
Magpul MBUS Pro Steel set has been a crowd favorite thanks to its outstanding durability and functionality.
At a glance, the Magpul MBUS Pro Steel doesn’t look anything spectacular. Truth be told, it looks pretty plain and average at first glance and isn’t a stunner as we’d hope.
Nevertheless, what the Magpul lacks in appearance, it makes up for in durability.
This all-steel back-up front sight and rear sight have got to be the strongest, toughest, and indestructible back-up iron sights out there, and we’re not even kidding!
The Magpul MBUS Pro is made of an alloy steel material that’s corrosion-resistant and can undoubtedly withstand daily wear and tear.
Easy to Install
Don’t you just hate it when you have to fiddle with so many tools just to try and install your back-up iron sights?
Well, we hate that very much.
So imagine our delight when we discovered that the Magpul MBUS Pro is hardly a headache to install.
No special tools are needed, so you’ve got nothing to worry about!
Once you’ve got Magpul MBUS Pro installed, you’re all set and ready to use. You can adjust your windage and elevation without any tools necessary.
Magpul Pro Is Not for the Budget Conscious
Unfortunately, the Magpul MBUS Pro isn’t the most budget-friendly back-up iron sights out there. It’s so pricey and costs nearly twice as much as other BUIS.
But is the cost worth it? Most definitely yes!
Think of all the excellent features and functionality you get in return. These Magpul sights are just one of those one-time purchases you won’t regret.
Should You Choose the Magpul MBUS Pro?
Trust us when we say that you can never go wrong when you choose the Magpul MBUS Pro.
This BUI optic features an all-alloy steel material, making it one of the best iron sights out there for everyday use.
Not to mention, its dual aperture, low-profile knob, and no tool front sight let you be on the go and flexible at the same time.
- Windage and elevation adjustments don't require tools
- Adjustable front sight
- Dual aperture rear sight
2. Bobro Lowrider AR-15 BUI Sight
BEST VALUE FOR MONEY
» DISCONTINUED BY MANUFACTURER «
- Color: Black
- Fit: Rifles with short barrels
- Material: Aluminum
- Style: Flip-Up front and rear sights
A BUI Sight for Short Barrels
One of the common problems shooters have with their short barrel rifles is space.
In addition, they have to consider fitting other accessories on their barrels like a scope, sights, optics, red dot sight, lasers, and lights.
Having a short barrel AR-15 feels like there’s no space for BUI sights left. But with the Bobro Lowrider, you’ll hardly feel constricted or limited!
This BUI sight sits well on any short-barreled rifle because it doesn’t take too much space, nor will it affect your other accessories.
You can use your other battle sights, and this BUI sight won’t get in the way.
Easy to Use AR-15 Sights
You can pretty much do anything with this BUI sight with ease. Adjusting the windage and elevation is just as easy as other BUI sights.
Not to mention, you can flip up and fold down this BUI sight with ease! With the infinite number of adjustments you can make, there’s no stopping what you can do. You’re all set!
One of the first things you’ll notice about this BUI sight is its small dimensions.
It’s something that could be a deal-breaker for some people, especially if they judge this BUI sight based on looks alone.
At first glance, this BUI gives an impression that it doesn’t sport the basic or usual features you’d want from backup sights.
Well, you’d be happy to know that it does!
Don’t let its small dimension fool you because this BUI comes with features you’d want for a complete functioning setup.
Should You Choose the Bobro Lowrider BUIS AR-15?
There are certainly no other backup sights out there for short barrels that could compare to the Bobro AR-15 Lowrider. Its small and compact design makes this BUI very unassuming.
But once you get to try this BUI sight, this is an option you’d never want to let go of.
It works best for short barrels but works just as well with longer ones.
- Low profile design
- Push-button lock
- It does not interfere with other optics
- Durable and lightweight quality
- Small dimensions
3. Daniel Defense A1.5 Fixed Front and Rear Sight
BEST BUDGET PICK
- Color: Black
- Fit: Rifles
- Material: Aircraft-grade aluminum
- Weight: 0.1 pounds
The Daniel Defense A1.5, as its name suggests, is a fixed rear sight.
This is good for people who don’t want to keep going through different BUI options and just want to stick with one.
Now, the beauty with the Daniel Defense A1.5 is that installation takes as short as a few minutes and even seconds. It’s that easy!
And once it’s in place, best believe that it will stay firmly in place. So whether you drop your rifle on the ground, pry this BUI sigh off, or whatever, it won’t budge.
It’s that durable, stable, and dependable! Couple this with the aircraft-grade aluminum construction; you’ve got an indestructible sight.
How easy will it be for you to adjust the windage or elevation of the Daniel Defense BUI optics?
For starters, this BUI sight sports an adjustable windage knob. In addition, the knob sports a metal button you need to press down to make your adjustments. It’s that simple!
And the beauty of this kind of mechanism is that there’s no room for you to change the position of your windage accidentally.
Problems With Package and Delivery
We can’t find anything wrong with the Daniel Defense A1.5 fixed rear sight, and that’s saying something.
What we have problems with, however, is the various negative feedback when it comes to delivery and packaging.
For example, some users report having received the product with missing parts, which can be disappointing.
Should You Choose the Daniel Defense A1.5 Fixed Rear Sight?
Consider the Daniel Defense A1.5 to be the “cream of the crop.”
It’s everything you’d want from a BUI sight. Compact, durable, lightweight, durable, and more!
And all this comes at a pretty affordable price point that won’t leave a massive hole in your pockets. Between this and other higher-priced BUI optics, this takes the cake.
- Easy to install
- Metal push-button lock
- Ideal co-witness
- Durable and lightweight
- Inconsistent packaging and delivery
4. Troy Industries Micro HK Style BUI Sight – 4.5
- Color: Black
- Material: Solid steel
- Set-Up: Requires some tools
- Weight: 0.15 pounds
Best for All Types of Rifles
If you own various rifles, you know how incredibly challenging it is to look for the single best BUI optic compatible with all your rifles.
Look no further because Troy Industries’ Micro HK Style BUI optic might be what you’re looking for!
One of the main selling points of this BUI sight is the front sight which can flip up or fold down with ease. It won’t get in the way of your battle sight, regardless of the scope you use!
This is unlike other BUI sights, where you’d have to worry about your other optics getting in the way of your battle sight. This is especially true if your rifle sports a top rail system.
The Best Rugged and Solid BUI Optic
One of the things you’ll immediately notice about Troy Industries’ HK Style BUI scope is its light weight.
Weighing only 0.15 pounds, you might think it can’t survive a beating.
Well, you’d be surprised that it actually can. This BUI is far from being flimsy, thanks to its solid and rugged construction.
This BUI sight was meant to be your staple for all your rifles!
Installation Can Be Tricky
The Troy Industries HK Style BUI sight is pretty easy to install.
However, when it comes to adjusting this BUI sight to the right front sight, it becomes quite a challenge.
You’ll need some tools to adjust your sights to your liking, and some would recommend using the Troy Industries Battle Sight adjustment tool.
Is it a deal-breaker? Not really, because the front sight adjustment tool is pretty cheap. Not to mention, we’re sure we’ll have plenty of good uses with it.
Should You Choose the Troy Industries Micro HK Style BUI Optic?
Troy Industries’ HK Style BUI sight is pretty affordable, considering all the impressive features and functionality you get in return.
If you’re looking for an all-around backup iron sight, best believe that this one makes the cut.
- It flips up and collapses down
- Co-witness abilities
- Ideal for low-light conditions
- Durable and long-lasting quality
- Adjustment may be tricky
5. Fab Defense AR-15 Flip-Up Front Sight and Rear Sight
- Aperture: Dual
- Design: Low profile
- Fit: Picatinny Mount
- Material: Polymer
Barely-There BUI Optics
When you’re right in the middle of an intense or heated target or shooting game, you certainly don’t want anything getting in your way.
And that includes your BUI sights snagging or getting in the way of your sight.
With the Fab Defense AR-15 polymer sights, its low-profile design will surely guarantee nothing gets in your way.
It can co-witness with your other sights, making it a great BUI optics to co-exist with your other accessories. If you’re not using this BUI, the flip-up sight collapses and folds down.
Fast Windage Adjustments
Be on the go with the Fab Defense flip-up sight and rear sight because this one doesn’t need any tools for adjustments.
Set the windage according to your liking without worrying about not having the tools with you. Convenient right?
The only problem we did notice about this BUI sight might be a big deal-breaker for some.
This flip-up iron sight does NOT have a spring assist. As a result, you’ll be using your hands to flip up this sight which lacks the convenience we’re hoping for.
This is concerning for some, considering there’s a wide variety of flip-up iron sights out there that features a spring assist.
Should You Choose the Fab Defense AR-15 Flip Up Front and Rear Sight?
Overall, this front sight and rear sight BUI isn’t that bad. It comes from a company renowned for its weapon accessories, so much so it’s used by the Israel defense.
That being said, Fab Defense is a company that won’t disappoint you. Its flip-up front and rear sight are undoubtedly worth checking out, and trust us when we say you won’t regret it.
- Ergonomic design
- Dual aperture options
- Low profile
- Perfect all around flip-up sight
- No spring system
6. KAC AR-15 45-Degree Offset Sight Set Clamp Mount
- Color: Black
- Fit: Picatinny rails
- Material: Solid steel
- Style: Flip-Up front and rear sights
Adjusting the windage and elevation of this BUI optic should be the least of your concern, thanks to its dedicated knob for adjustments.
You can make all the necessary windage and elevation adjustments as you go without having to bring extra tools in your hunting or shooting activity.
Just think of all the convenience this BUI sight brings, especially if you’ve already set your sight on a target. Nothing can stop you now!
45-Degree Angle AR-15 Optics
Is there anything special with the 45-degree angle of this BUI sight? Quite a lot! One of the noticeable things about this design is that this BUI sight is practically invisible whenever you use other optics.
You can use your other sight options, such as a red-dot sight, for example, and this BUI sight won’t get in the way. You’ll get a clear view of your sight picture, just as you should!
And when the time comes, you’ll be needing this AR-15 BUI sight in action. Whether for short-range shots or low light shooting, just rotate your rifle to an angle, and you’re all set.
Now, some people might find it a bit weird to be rotating and shooting at an angle. This is especially true for new users. But in time and with getting used to, using this AR-15 BUI sight feels almost second nature.
Costs Nearly as Much as a Red-Dot Optic
Truth be told, we hardly expected this BUI sight to be expensive because of its simple and unassuming looks.
But boy-oh-boy, when we discovered that this BUI sight costs nearly as much as red-dot sights, we had to think long and hard whether this purchase was worth it.
We’re on the fence with this one because this BUI sight has some features we can’t get with other backup iron sights. So in that aspect, sure, it’s worth it!
But overall, the price does sound to be unreasonable, considering how we can get the same feature from other affordable BUI sights.
Should You Choose the KAC AR-15 45-Degree Offset Sight Set Clamp Mount?
If you’re a beginner and still want to get the hang of target shooting, this BUI sight might not be the best for you. Its 45-degree offset sight is undoubtedly a unique feature worth checking out but may require some getting used to.
Not to mention, the price of this AR-15 BUI sight isn’t necessarily the most affordable out there. If at all, it’s very expensive and costs far from your usual BUI sights.
But if you want to level up your shooting experience and have extra money to spare, then we’re sure you’ll have a lot of fun getting to know this AR-15 BUI sight.
- Easy to adjust windage and elevation
- Very lightweight
- It doesn't interfere with other sights like your red dot, lasers, or scopes
- Flip-up sights
- Costs as much as red dot sights
Different Types of Backup Iron Sights
Back-up sights aren’t one and the same, unlike what other people might think. You’d be surprised to know that there are different types of backup iron sights out there you can choose from.
With all the different types out there, we’re sure you’ll be able to find one that suits your needs.
Here are some of the different kinds of BUIS which might pique your interest:
1. Standard Co-Witness Sight Picture
One of the most common backup iron sights out there is the standard co-witness sight picture. It’s what most people are generally familiar with.
The beauty of using a co-witness sight is that you can line it directly with your BUI or other sights.
However, not a lot of people are fond of using too many sights at the same time. For obvious reasons, your sight post could look very cluttered if you use all your optics together.
2. Flip-Up Sights
Consider flip-up sights to be a crowd favorite. As its name suggests, you simply have to flip up your BUI, and you’re all set.
You can flip up iron sights with a press of a button or manually pull it up. And once you’re done with it, simply fold down your BUI sight. Very easy to use, right?
The only drawback with using flip-up BUIs is if it gets in the way of your sight post. Some BUIs tend to block your front sight tower, especially if they sport a relatively bulky size.
This way, it’s always important to look for a flip-up BUIS that fits perfectly and seamlessly.
For more of these options, you can also take a look at our Buying Guide for AR-15 Iron Sights.
3. 45-Degree Offset Sights
Given how different it is from other BUIS, using 45-degree offset sights isn’t necessarily the first option for some users.
Normal BUIS would generally line up the same way as the rest of your sights, lasers, and optics. But 45-degree offset sights? It does not.
Like its name suggests, these types of BUIS line up at a certain angle, which can be good or bad for some.
If you’re used to using these types of sights, you know that all you have to do is rotate your rifle to an angle. It’s almost intuitive!
But for first-timers, it might require some getting used to.
What Are Backup Iron Sights (BUIS)?
Simply put, BUIS are practical accessories to help you focus on your shots. It enables you to improve your overall accuracy, especially when your other sights run out of battery.
The beauty with BUIS, like its name suggests, is that they’re your backups. They are your LAST LINE OF DEFENSE when all your other optics run using a battery, and you need an optical sighting system for that perfect shot.
There’s a significant number of excellent and reliable BUIS to choose from, such as LWRC’s skirmish sights, the Magpul MBUS Pro Sighting system, and those that we’ve named this list!
You can use your BUIS together with other accessories like peep sights, laser sights, telescopic sights, and more! Not to mention
Why Do You Need Backup Iron Sights?
Do you need backup irons in the first place? Well, this is a question best left to the discretion of the shooter. But for us, there’s nothing wrong with having a BUI installed.
You can BUIS as your primary or secondary sight option in either case!
Think of it as your last line of defense that can make or break your shots. It’s a backup in cases where your red-dot sights fail you, and you’ve got no optics left to rely on.
And when you find yourself in that position, we’re sure you’ll be glad to have BUIS set up.
Considering how inconspicuous and lightweight BUIS can get, there’s no harm in having them. Plus, they hardly take up a huge space, so you’ll still be able to put on your usual accessories.
What to Look for in Finding the Best Backup Iron Sights?
The key to finding the best iron sight is to look for one that best suits your needs.
And to do that, we’ve listed down the different factors you need to keep in mind for the next time you’re weighing your options.
The most crucial factor you should be looking at when choosing from various BUI options is the quality of the material.
You generally want to stick with the durable ones because it provides the best value for money and functionality.
Regardless of your choice, you want to make sure that the material is durable and long-lasting.
In general, backup irons made of steel have greater durability and can withstand your daily wear and tear.
However, extremely durable aluminum is also something great to consider, specifically aircraft-grade aluminum.
#2 Flip-Ups or Fixed Sight
BUIS is either fixed or flip-up.
Fixed, as its name suggests, stays firmly on your rifle once you’ve installed it. You use it as an absolute co-witness with your other optics, which comes in handy for many users.
The front sight and rear sight are always engaged, so that’s one step you don’t have to think of.
On the other hand, flip-up sights mean that you can flip up your BUI when you want to use it or collapse it when not in use.
Most flip-up sights use a spring load push button for better accessibility and use, while others sport a manual system where you have to fold and flip up the sighting system manually.
You can engage the front and rear sight or collapse it. Simply the press of the button is all you need!
SIDE NOTE: Either one of these types can be inline sights or offset sights, so also decide on which one you would prefer.
Installation can be a significant factor in determining which BUI to choose.
In general, you want BUI sights that are easy to install and won’t require any fancy tools.
This allows you to go and be ready to make the necessary adjustments on your front sight or rear sight.
At the same time, you also want to make sure you install your sights SECURELY. It shouldn’t wobble in place, or worse, fall out of place because of some loose screw.
#4 Level of Elevation
There are two types of sights to consider when it comes to elevation: Gas block and same plane sights.
The beauty of using a gas block sight post is that you can install it on your rifle, regardless of elevation. However, the only drawback is that a gas block BUI is a little bigger than other BUI sights.
As its name suggests, the same plane sights are installed on the same level as your other optics.
What Are the Consequences of Not Having Backup Iron Sights in Place?
Professional shooters know that having backup iron sights isn’t a requirement. Instead, it’s a matter of preference, depending on shooters.
This is why we aren’t surprised to find that some people don’t think BUIS is necessary. And there’s nothing wrong with that.
But not having a BUI certainly raises some consequences.
What do you do in make or break moments when your laser optics, scope, or sights run out of battery?
Without BUIS on your rail system, focusing on your target will undoubtedly be challenging. And when this is the case, you’ll most probably end up missing your mark.
With that in mind, are you willing to take your chances?
How to Use Iron Sights
Iron sights are beneficial for people who do a lot of target shooting or hunting as their hobby because of the tremendous accuracy and reliability it gives.
Undoubtedly, professionals and old-school rifle users are more than familiar with the ins and outs of iron sights and how to use them.
For a beginner, however, using iron sights may sound like a complicated and intimidating thing. But have no fear because we’re here to help you understand how to use iron sights.
Step 1: Mark Your Target
To get you started, identify your target. If you’re a beginner, we highly recommend starting with a stable target.
This helps you get used to your rifle and iron sights, perfect your aim, and achieve perfection later.
As a safety precaution, set up your target in an open space, free of people or other life forms you could accidentally shoot.
Step 2: Raise Your Rifle to a Comfortable Level and Make the Necessary Adjustments
Now that you’ve identified your target, raise your rifle to a comfortable level and look through your iron sights. Make sure the iron sight picture is clear and free from any obstruction.
More importantly, have a safe and comfortable distance between you and the target, and that you could see the same regardless of where you are.
If you see that the target seems off, make the necessary adjustments until you’re certain that your iron sights fall clearly within the right mark.
Step 3: Shoot and Make Adjustments
The true test of whether you’ve adjusted your iron sights to the right level is if you’re able to shoot as close to your target as possible.
If your shots are still considerably far from your target, you might want to consider adjusting your iron sights again. Then, keep repeating the same until you’ve found the perfect settings.
You can never underestimate the power of having the best backup iron sights with you. There’s a noticeable difference in accuracy, a fact that’s vital when you’re off to do some precise shooting.
We hope you enjoyed our round-up review of the best backup iron sights out there. With all the great and best products we’ve mentioned on this list, we don’t doubt you’ll find the one for you!
CHANGELOG: May 18, 2022 - minor content and formatting edits