Iron sights are quickly going the way of the dodo, but they still have a solid place in our lives and on our rifles. If you already run a scope or red dot (like most of us do) you might want something as a backup, something to give you a second option if your main sight fails. Back Up Iron Sights (BUIS) or Flip Up Iron Sights are exactly what you’re looking for!
The best flip up sights for the AR-15 are:
- Best lightweight sight: Magpul Gen 2 Rear AR-15 Flip Up Sights
- Best dual aperture sight: Ozark Armament Front and Rear AR-15 Iron Sights
- Best high-end sight: Troy Industries Micro HK Style Front and Rear Iron Sights
- Best value for money: Souforce Tactical Front & Rear Iron Sight Set
We’ve done the dirty work for you, and we’ve sifted through the best AR iron sights we could find online to put together this review for you. As always, we’ll let you know what we think are the best flip up iron sights for the everyday gun owner.
Although most backup sights are traditionally iron, we do want to mention that some sights we reviewed here are not. Just because the sight isn’t made of iron doesn’t mean they won’t serve their purpose, so we don’t suggest skimming past any of these options.
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|Souforce Tactical Flip Up Iron Sights||
||$39 Shop NowClick to read my review|
|Magpul Gen 2 Rear Sight||
||$41 Shop NowClick to read my review|
|Ozark Armament Front and Rear Sights||
||$34 Shop NowClick to read my review|
|Troy Industries Micro HK Style Sights||
||$150 Shop NowClick to read my review|
Magpul Gen 2 Rear AR-15 Flip Up Sights
Materials — The Magpul Gen 2 Rear AR-15 Flip Up Sights are made in the United States, and they’re constructed of a tough polymer that is resistant to dings and scratches.
The materials used are also lightweight, so this product will only add about three ounces to the overall weight of your rifle. Its color is injected molded, and it flips up and down for simple use.
The Magpul Gen 2 Rear Backup Sight comes with a knob to adjust for windage, and it can fit most 1913 Picatinny railed handguards. This product is simple in design, simple to use, and, although they’re not made of iron like many traditional backup sights, they’ll get the job done.
Performance — Instead of being made of iron, the Magpul Gen 2 is made of polymer, which is still durable enough to resist impacts. Installing is incredibly easy and quick even without an AR tool kit, and the adjustments for windage could be done by a toddler (we’re not suggesting you let a toddler near your weapons).
With that in mind, you’re still not going to get to long-lasting life as you may with an iron sight, but you can definitely get your money’s worth if you take care of your purchase.
What we say — The Magpul Gen 2 Rear Sight is a reasonably priced option in this review. However, it is only the rear sight, and you can get the Sourcforce Tactical front and rear for less money.
- Simple to use and install
- Polymer makeup resistant to impacts
- Not made of iron
Ozark Armament Front and Rear AR-15 BUIS
Materials — The Ozark Armament Front and Rear AR-15 Iron Sights come as a pair and are fully backed by a United States support team and a one-year warranty.
Both the front and rear sights have bodies constructed of milled aluminum with spring loading for quick deployment. The sights are made of iron, and provide a very narrow and accurate sight, with a precision aperture in the rear and a standard iron post for the front. They are fully adjustable for windage and elevation.
The Ozark Armament Front and Rear AR Iron Sights together will only add about four ounces to the overall weight of your firearm.
Performance — The Ozark Armament Front and Rear Sights are one of the best iron sights for AR-15 rifles because they’re compact, lightweight, and don’t include any frills.
Since AR-15 rifles are intended to be standard and efficient, these iron sights will make a great addition. We also like how compact these sights are when folded down, and the spring-loaded flip up action is pretty cool too.
Our one complaint is that the adjustment knobs for windage and elevation may sometimes be a little flimsy. We suppose there are some compromises to be made for cheaper costing choices.
What we say — Again, this is another great option for anyone buying their first pair of backup sights. The Ozark Armament Front and Rear Sights are the best buys for anyone who wants the pair together for a cheap cost. They also make a sleek addition to your pristine AR 15.
- Dual aperture
- Spring loaded deployment
- Adjustment knobs a little flimsy
Troy Industries Micro HK Style Front and Rear Iron Sights
Materials — The Troy Industries Micro HK Front and Rear AR-15 Iron Sights are also made of a combination of stainless steel and aluminum.
Depending on where you purchase them from, you can get them in black or a dark earth color. Their “micro” size makes them less than one and a half inches long, and their combined weight adds only about three ounces of additional weight to your weapon.
These front and rear sights stay locked tight in place with the help of two locking detent balls, and they deploy quickly with spring action. They clamp to any Picatinny rail and are secured with a simple flat head screwdriver. The apertures are the same height as the factory AR-15 sights, so there is very little adjusting to do.
Performance — The Troy Industries Micro Front and Rear AR Iron Sights are certainly on a higher quality scale, and they’re easily one of the best flip up iron sights for AR-15 rifles. When testing this pair out, we did feel like the aperture on the rear sight was a little large for accuracy, but this could be more helpful to anyone who has trouble with such a small sight up close to their eye.
Other than that, this pair of sights is durable and should last you through tons of use on a range. Again, compactness and lightweights features are key with the Troy Industries Micro Sights.
What we say — This pair of front and rear sights definitely are a big leap in price from the previous two choices. Troy Industries is a very reliable company that many gunowners swear by. If you’re more serious about owning a good pair of BUIS, and you want to upgrade from the cheaper options, then this would be a great choice for you.
- Lightweight and compacts construction
- Sights at factory height
- Locked in place with detent balls
- Rear sight aperture seems a little large
Souforce Tactical Flip Up Iron Sights
Materials — Souforce Tactical are the best AR iron sights for anyone who is on a budget. Made out of 6061 aluminum with a T6 heat-treated body. Easy to flip up. They have traditional windage and elevation adjustment knobs, and they fully lock into position when flipped up. A simple press of the release button allows you to fold them flat. In short, a durable and easy-to-use set of sights.
Performance — You should be able to easily calibrate these in a few shots. Furthermore, they have a locking solid clamping mechanism ensuring they maintain zero under the entire shooting session.
Their compact size truly does allow for the use of multiple other accessories, even if you want to use this set on firearms with a shorter barrel. If you’re interested in keeping your AR-15 as compact as possible, then these are the best AR iron sights for you. You should get many years of use out of this one.
What we say — The Souforce Tactical Flip Up Iron Sights are the cheapest on our list. So cheap that you can afford a second pair for backup or another rifle.
- Compact size allows for multiple accessories
- Smooth use and function
- Solidly lock into place
- Great price
- Spring could be smoother
Our Favorite Flip Up Sights for AR-15 Rifles
Our top pick for the best flip up sights for AR-15 rifles is the Souforce Tactical Front & Rear Iron Sight Set. There are definitely others that have smoother springs, but they feel solid, and you get everything you need to hit those targets for less than $39 bucks.
We really like the special locking mechanism because the last thing we need while firing a rifle is for our backup sights to start rocking back and forth or flopping around.
Despite the larger aperture on the rear sight, both the front and rear are still both entirely functional and effective. Finally, you’ll hardly need to adjust for elevation, as they come at factory iron sight height. Let us know how what is your favorite sight in the comments below.
I have both the Magpul Gen2 polymer and the Ozark Armaments iron sights. Both front sights require an A2 tool for adjustment. My rifle is a S&W M&P Sport II Optics Ready (picatinny gas block) that originally came with a Magpul MOE handguard. The only mounting position for the front sight was on the gas block, hence I first bought the Ozark sights.
I am not convinced that the Ozark Armaments sights are proprietary as I have seen multiple sights on websites with different logos that appear to be the same item. Probably Chinese made. The one major flaw with these sights is the tension of the release button. If left loose enough to quickly flip them up, there is a slight wobble and the tension screw can actually back off enough to fall out. One has to remember to loosen the release button to deploy or store and then tighten it back down lock in the zero.
The Magpul Gen2 front sight is not recommended for gas block mounting as the polymer can deform from the high heat generated from extended firing. It also didn’t fully fold down on the Magpul MOE without filing the top front of the handguard down. I never fired enough in one set to generate that much heat from the gas block, but it was a concern.
I replaced the Magpul MOE handguard with a UTG PRO AR-15 Super Slim M-LOK 15″ Drop-in Carbine Length Rail. Although designed for an A2 front sight post, it fits and it has extended the rail real estate to allow me move all sights and optics forward. Now, with the rear sight on the T4 and the front out to the T20, I don’t have to fight my progressive trifocal lenses with head bobbing on my cheek weld. This works well with both sets of sights and less than a 1/2 inch difference at 100 yards. Close enough for my old ass.