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8 Best Iron Sights for AR 15: A Complete Buying Guide

Best Iron Sights for AR

Can you imagine the frustration of being in the perfect spot for your target, only for your optics to fail?

This is where backup iron sights come into the picture.

Just like Hamilton from the musical Hamilton, be sure not to throw away your shot with these top picks for the best iron sights for AR15!

Runner-Up
Troy Industries Micro HK Style Front and Rear
Best Overall
Magpul MBUS PRO Steel Sight Set
Best Fixed
Daniel Defense A1.5 Fixed Iron Sights

 

Best Iron Sights for AR15: Top 8 Picks

1. Magpul MBUS PRO Steel Sight Set

BEST OVERALL

Magpul MBUS PRO Steel Sight Set

BUYING OPTIONS:
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Specifications:

  • Brand: Magpul Industries
  • Sight: Front and rear
  • Type: Flip up
  • Material: Steel
  • Dimensions: 5.9 x 8.15 x 1.1 in
  • Weight: 0.15 lbs
  • Mounting: Picatinny rails

Magpul is a long respected name in the industry of rifle accessories.  Magpul sights, especially the Magpul MBUS Pro Steel Sight, live up to the Magpul name as some of the BEST iron sights for AR15.

Some notable features are:

  • It features an all-steel construction with a sleek, low-profile design that helps eliminate the problem of snagging on clothing and equipment.
  • Despite being made completely of steel, the entire setup only weighs around 0.2 lbs. This is perfect for when you have a heavier primary optic.
  • This set comes with a folding rear sight and a post front iron sight.
  • They come with 0.5MOA that provides sturdy support for when the iron sights are flipped back up. 

HOWEVER, some people may not like these iron sights because it requires manual flip-up instead of a spring-loaded flip-up mechanism.

While this may not be appealing to some people, the lack of such a button means fewer moving parts can break at the most inconvenient time. So this isn’t necessarily a disadvantage.

Additionally, it’s really easy to make windage and elevation adjustments without the need for any additional tools.

However, you do need tools to adjust the front sight separately.

Once it’s on, however, it’s on.

It will stay steady and hold zero well, even when dropped. You need not worry about it interfering with lasers and other optics!

This sight is on the more expensive side, but it is totally worth it when you look at the quality you’re paying for.

It comes with a lifetime warranty, so you know you’ll be getting the most bang for your buck.

Its durable construction guarantees that this is a sight that can last you many, many years.

This is definitely one of the strongest iron sights you’ll find on the market.

Pros
  • Easy to install and use
  • Lifetime warranty
  • Incredibly durable
  • Lightweight
  • Can be adjusted without additional tools
Cons
  • Expensive
  • Front sight needs to be adjusted with additional tools
  • No spring up button

2. Troy Industries Micro HK Style Front and Rear

RUNNER-UP

Troy Industries Micro HK Style Front and Rear

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Specifications:

  • Brand: Troy Industries
  • Sight: Front and rear
  • Type: Flip up/folding
  • Material: Steel
  • Dimensions: 5.9 x 8.15 x 1.1 inches
  • Weight: 0.15 lbs
  • Mounting: Picatinny rails

Troy Industries is another well-respected name in the rifle accessories industry. This pair of front and rear sights definitely lives up to its reputation. 

Here’s why:

  • It is made of stainless steel with an impact-resistant polymer construction, making it especially durable and able to withstand the force that comes with shooting. 
  • Resistant to water and rust  (although we still strongly advise against using it in the bath).
  • Has a low profile that allows it to work with other optics without the need for a riser. 
  • Is very secure when mounted

These are GREAT flip up iron sights for any left-handed shooters out there.

Lefties who struggle with iron sights can enjoy a strain-free shooting experience knowing that this sight can be mounted on either side of the firearm.

This BUIS set is compatible with any primary optic that you may have. HOWEVER, this is not compatible with rallied gas blocks that are higher than the receiver. 

A very interesting thing about this set is that it is in the micro HK style, with a rounded front sight that resembles wings. This makes it easier and faster to line up with the target, especially when shooting in low-light conditions. It can easily be adjusted to handle moving targets.

While this is great, it can also be heavier and more expensive than other sights on the market. 

However, you are ensured of a durable, high-quality sight that can last you for years under various conditions.

Pros
  • Lightweight
  • Durable and impact resistant
  • Ambidextrous
Cons
  • May be heavier than other sights
  • Expensive

3. Daniel Defense A1.5 Fixed Iron Sights

BEST FIXED IRON SIGHTS

Daniel Defense A1.5 Fixed Iron Sights

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Specifications:

  • Brand: Daniel Defense
  • Sight: Fixed
  • Type: Front and rear
  • Material: Aluminum
  • Dimensions: 6 x 3 x 3 inches
  • Weight: 0.175 lbs
  • Mounting: Picatinny rails

Are you the type who prefers to just attach their sights on their rifle and then forget about them until it’s time to use?

Do you dislike the effort of having to flip up your sights every time you need to use them?

If so, these are the sights for you.

Here’s why:

  • The durable construction is made from 6061-T6 aircraft grade aluminum coated with a Type III Hard Coat military specification anodizing. 
  • This combo containing a fixed front and rear sight is both tough and incredibly lightweight. It saves you the hassle of worrying if both sights match.
  • The sleek design of these sights doesn’t allow it to snag on clothing or equipment.
  • It is resistant to oxidation and corrosion.

This set is specifically designed for the AR15 but is compatible with any AR platform (as well as with an A2 front sight gas block).

It does not interfere with the charging handle on tactical rifles and works well with other front sights. 

These AR 15 iron sights are very easy to attach. No additional tools are needed to attach it to the flat military-style top receiver.  

They’re reliable, easy to install, and easy to maintain.

Elevation adjustment is a breeze with this combo. HOWEVER, windage adjustments can be difficult.

Pros
  • Lightweight
  • Made of high-quality material
  • Sturdy
  • Easy to attach
  • Snag-free
Cons
  • Windage adjustments can be difficult

4. UTG Super Slim Fixed AR15 Rear Sight

BEST FIXED REAR SIGHT

UTG Super Slim Fixed AR15 Rear Sight

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Specifications:

  • Brand: Leapers, Inc.
  • Sight: Fixed
  • Type: Rear
  • Material: Aluminum
  • Dimensions: 2.4 x 1.3 x 1.8 inches
  • Weight: 0.22 lbs
  • Mounting: Picatinny/Weaver rail

If you prefer your sight to be fixed, but your AR15 already has an existing front sight post, then the Leapers UTG AR15 Super Slim Fixed Rear Sight is just what you need

Check out these features:

  • It comes at an affordable price without sacrificing quality.
  • Strong metal construction 
  • Tool-less elevation and windage adjustment
  • The dual apertures allow for accuracy in various shooting conditions.
  • It has a matte black finish for minimal reflectivity.

This rear sight boasts a 6061-T6 aircraft aluminum base and steel A2 sight assembly to allow for a strong yet lightweight addition to your rifle.

Its slim design means that it won’t snag or affect your shooting experience. You don’t need to worry about sight settings changing by accident.

While windage and elevation can easily be adjusted without tools, this sight comes with a single locking Torx screw and square-shaped integral recoil stop for installation on MIL-STD-1913 Picatinny rails.

Once it’s been secured in place, you can rest easy with its stable zero hold.

Are you worried about the need to have to change your sights depending on where you’re shooting?

You have no need to fear as the dual rear sight aperture allows versatility across various shooting conditions.

HOWEVER, there have been reports that this sight may be a little too tight at first use. Despite this, it loosens up after a while for seamless aperture change and adjustments to windage and elevation.

All in all, this is a pretty good dupe for the Daniel Defense A1.5 Fixed Iron Sight.

Pros
  • Affordable
  • Slim design
  • Doesn't budge
  • Dual aperture
Cons
  • May be too tight upon first use

5. Magpul MBUS PRO Offset Front and Rear Backup Sights

BEST OFFSET IRON SIGHT

Magpul MBUS PRO Offset Front and Rear Backup Sights

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Specifications:

  • Brand: Magpul Industries
  • Type: Offset
  • Material: Steel
  • Dimensions: 3 x 3 x 1 inches
  • Weight: 1 lb
  • Mounting: Picatinny mount

This offset sight from Magpul Industries is perfect for when your 1-8 scope or holographic sight is rendered useless. 

If you prefer offset sights, here’s why you should get this one:

  • This durable offset sight is made of black Melonite steel and is offset at 45 degrees off-center. 
  • When extended, the lockup system is a detent design.

One thing especially interesting about this backup iron sight is that it has a smaller front sight post for better accuracy. This offset iron sight offers a superb advantage, especially for target shooting.

You don’t have to worry about this sight interfering with your primary scope on the field. It maintains a low profile that allows for other attachments to the rifle without them getting in the way.

However, one caveat of these back up sights is that there have been reports on the frailty of the clamp securing screws. You may want to really tighten the screws on this one to be sure.

Pros
  • Sturdy
  • All steel construction
  • Smaller front sight pin
  • Offset at 45 degrees
  • Does not interfere with other attachments
Cons
  • Heavy
  • Can possibly have frail clamp securing screws

6. Magpul MBUS Rear Flip-Up Back Up Sight Gen 2

BEST LIGHTWEIGHT SIGHT

Magpul MBUS Rear Flip-Up Back Up Sight Gen 2

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Specifications:

  • Brand: Magpul Industries
  • Sight: Rear
  • Type: Flip up
  • Material: Polymer
  • Dimensions: 7.5 x 1 x 4.25 in
  • Weight: 0.08 lbs
  • Mounting: Picatinny rail

Here we have another entry from Magpul industries. These MBUS sights are perfect for when your AR15 already has a front sight and doesn’t need a full BUIS set.

This is a single rear back up sight that works to enhance what you already have. 

What makes this so great?

  • It is made of impact-resistant polymer. While this is by no means as strong as steel, it is definitely lighter and less expensive.
  • This rear sight is resistant to water and rust.
  • Boasts protective wing shields

This sight has a MIL-STD mount which is compatible with any Picatinny rail. However, it is not compatible for mounting on a gas block due to the heat. 

It makes use of an easily activated spring-loaded button which will cause the sight to flip up on either side of the primary leaf extension on the BUIS, making this an ambidextrous option. 

Elevation and windage are easily adjusted with a detent knob.

It is available in black, olive, dark earth, and white.

Pros
  • Incredibly lightweight and ambidextrous
  • Water and rust-resistant
  • Has easy-to-use flip up buttons
  • Compatible with most rails
  • Comes in multiple colors
Cons
  • Not compatible with gas blocks
  • Can only be used for same plane rail systems

7. Troy Rear Tritium Folding Battle Sight SSIG-FBS-RTBT-00

BEST IRON SIGHTS FOR LOW LIGHT SHOOTING

Troy Rear Tritium Folding Battle Sight SSIG-FBS-RTBT-00

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Specifications:

  • Brand: Troy Industries
  • Sight: Rear
  • Type: Flip up
  • Material: Steel
  • Dimensions: 8.88 x 6 x 1.13 in
  • Weight: 0.2 lbs
  • Mounting: Picatinny rail

Have you ever worried about your AR 15 iron sights suddenly running out of batteries or failing?

Have you ever been in that situation where your target was so close, but you missed your mark?

Do you ever worry about failing to protect your family at night if an intruder comes?

This folding battle sight is the perfect iron sight to use for those who prefer low light and night shooting.

Here’s why you can lay some of those fears to rest with this rear iron sight:

  • These battle sights are hydrogen-driven and glow in the dark.
  • These steel sights boast an all-metal construction with zero canting. Additionally, it also sports a higher grade finish as compared to the standard model.

This is great for low-light situations, thanks to its tritium inserts that require no batteries. It is designed so that you may be able to align the front sight between two glowing dots, allowing for greater accuracy.

When not in use, this battle sight folds away securely when not in use and doesn’t require any additional tools for adjustment.

It is IMPORTANT TO NOTE that these AR15 iron sights are compatible only with same plane rail systems and aren’t compatible with gas blocks.

One caveat of this battle sight is that it falls on the more expensive side. Some shooters also find the light confusing to use.

Pros
  • Great for low light and night shooting
  • Great at holding zero
  • Doesn't require extra tools
Cons
  • Not compatible with gas blocks
  • Expensive
  • Light can be confusing to use

8. Diamondhead Polymer Diamond Sights

BEST BUDGET PICK

Diamondhead Polymer Diamond Sights

BUYING OPTIONS:
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Specifications:

  • Brand: Diamondhead
  • Sight: Front and rear
  • Type: Flip up
  • Material: Polymer
  • Dimensions: 2.5 x 1.53 x 0.9 inches
  • Weight: 0.25 lbs
  • Mounting: Picatinny rail

These are the best AR iron sights for you if you are on a budget but refuse to give up quality.

Here’s what you’ll get without having to hear your wallet cry you a river:

  • A pair of sights made of a polymer composite that allows them to be strong, durable, light, and affordable.
  • They come with a fast action spring-loaded push button that activates into action. 
  • When not in use, these flip up sights fold away nicely to maintain a low profile that won’t distract you or snag on any gear.

This folding sight comes in a matte black finish that won’t mess up your aim with the reflection commonly found on glossy iron sights. HOWEVER, this sight can be a bit bulky compared to other steel sights.

The one thing that stands out the most with this iron sight, besides its lightweight strength and affordability, is its use of NiteBrite photo-luminescent inserts. These inserts are a great alternative to Tritium to help you see at night.

This unique technology is less expensive than Tritium but allows for quick alignment and efficient use.

With inserts like these on your sight, you can expect your accuracy not to falter even when lighting is not ideal. The inserts can easily be recharged with a quick flash of a flashlight.

NiteBrite technology isn’t the only thing that makes this sight stand out.

We’ve got to talk about the unique diamond shape that Diamondhead is known for. As implied by the name, the rear sight aperture is shaped like a diamond.

The front sight has a complementing design which “hugs” the aperture.  This patented design exclusive to Diamondhead results in quicker target acquisition.  This makes this a great sight for beginners.

This sight is compatible with both the AR15 and the AR308. However, it is not compatible with railed gas blocks. You don’t need any tools to make elevation adjustments. 

Pros
  • Durable
  • Lightweight
  • Spring-loaded flip button activation
  • Contains NiteBrite photo-luminescent inserts
Cons
  • Not compatible with railed gas blocks
  • Does not lie completely flat
  • Bulky

What to Consider Before Buying an Iron Sight

Before using or mounting your iron sight, be sure that the iron sight you chose is compatible with the optic currently mounted on your AR15.

As AR15 iron sights are primarily used as backup sights, it’s vital they don’t interfere with your primary scope, be it a holographic optic or reflex sights.

Be sure that the type of iron sights you choose is compatible with the scope you are using and the type of shooting you do.  

There are several things to consider to ensure you are buying the best iron sights for AR 15.

Different Types of Iron Sights

Different Types of Iron Sights Icon

Consider the type of iron sight you need. There are three main types of iron sight: Fixed sights, flip up iron sights, and offset iron sights.

Fixed Sights

True to their name, these are set in one place and position. They don’t go anywhere and are great when paired with a primary sight such as a red dot sight.

Flip Up Iron Sights

On the other hand, these back up iron sights are flipped down to allow the shooter to use the main optical sights. When needed, they flip up into action, usually with a built-in lever or similar mechanism. These are handy for when you want your optic to have a clear field of view with no obstructions until necessary.

While they are more adaptable, flip up sights are less durable due to the moving parts. For example, the hinge may loosen over time, resulting in lower accuracy.

It is possible to have a combination of fixed and flip up sights for the rear and front sight. For instance, you may have a fixed front sight with a flip up rear sight.

Offset Sights

Offset sights are mounted a bit offset to the side instead of straight on top of the railing.

It’s useful when trying to shoot a target that may be too close for the magnified optic. In such a case, you can simply tilt the rifle a little to use the iron sight to make a clear shot.

The type of iron sight that you choose must be suitable for your needs and environment.

Safety

Safety Icon

Safety is a priority when choosing the best AR 15 iron sight. The most important thing to look for in an iron sight is that it doesn’t snag, damage equipment, or puncture skin.

A sight that snags or causes problems will be more of a liability than an asset for AR rifles as it can slow you down or even harm you.

Aperture

Aperture Icon

This is something to keep in mind specifically for rear iron sights. The aperture is the hole in the rear sight that you look through.

If you are more likely to shoot in short-range situations, it is best to use AR 15 iron sights with a bigger aperture, while a smaller aperture is recommended for long-range shots.

Material

Material Icon

The most common choices of material for iron sights are steel, aluminum, and polymer.

Steel construction is the most durable, but it is also the heaviest. Due to the weight of steel construction, most people go for backup iron sights made of aluminum which is not as heavy as steel.

Polymer sights are a lot less durable than steel or aluminum ones but are very light and just as accurate. Polymer sights are usually the most affordable sights.

If durability is of utmost importance to you, then it is recommended that you go for a sight made of steel. If the weight of a rifle is more important, it is recommended that you go for an aluminum or polymer sight.

Compatibility

Compatibility Icon

It is important to be sure that the iron sight you choose is compatible with the other components of the rifle.

If the sight that you choose is not compatible, it will effectively be rendered useless.

Ease of Use

Ease of Use Icon

You should choose a sight that is easy to mount on any base or install on any rifle.

Be sure to consider whether or not you need additional tools to make any elevation or windage adjustments.

It is important to consider all these to decide the best iron sights for AR 15.

How to Use Iron Sights with an AR 15

To make a good shot, your front sights and rear sights must be aligned

Keeping up with this, your backup iron sights must be at the same height as your co-witness to ensure no interference with the sight picture and no need for further adjustment. 

To properly use the iron sight, look through the rear aperture and focus on the front sight.

The front sight should be aligned and properly centered.

Once you are sure that you have zeroed in successfully on the target, you can pull the trigger.

How Accurate Are AR-15 Iron Sights?

Unlike electric optics, which are relatively easy to use on their own, the accuracy of AR 15 iron sights depends largely on the shooter.

Iron sights can be just as accurate as any optic as long as an experienced shooter handles them.

You can buy the best iron sight in the world but still miss your target if you cannot maintain your hold and keep a steady sight picture.

However, if you know what you’re doing, iron sights can be remarkably accurate.

Simo Hayha, the deadliest sniper of all time, was known to have used only iron sights throughout his career to not give away his position.

Do You Really Need Backup Iron Sights?

Backup iron sights are highly recommended as a secondary sight unless you are only shooting for recreation.

If you are using your firearm to defend yourself, relying only on optics such as a holographic sight or reflex sights would be foolish.

Small unexpected inconveniences such as running out of batteries, a loose mount, or a cracked lens can spell the difference between life and death.

In such a case, the backup iron sight is there to ensure that you are not left helpless.

Red Dot vs. Iron Sights: Which Is Better?

It really depends on the conditions you are shooting in.

  • If you are shooting in close quarters, red dots are preferred due to their incredible accuracy.
  • However, at a distance of 75 yards or more, its accuracy is greatly lessened. At such distances, it is best to use an iron sight.

Conclusion

It’s important to consider safety, material, compatibility, and ease of use when buying backup sights to ensure you make the right decision for the best AR 15 iron sight for your firearm.

Overall, the best AR 15 iron sights we recommend is the Magpul MBUS PRO Steel Sight Set.

For our runner-up, we highly recommend the Troy Industries Micro HK Style Iron Sights. It’s especially great for lefties, too!

And If you prefer your iron sights fixed instead of flip up, the Daniel Defense A1.5 Fixed Iron Sight is just what you need.

 

CHANGELOG:

April 20, 2022 - Made minor updates to content
March 8, 2022 - Added 1 new article link

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