Many veteran AR15 rifle owners will offer suggestions on the best type of red dot optical system, or perhaps an LPVO or low powered variable optic sight to mount on the upper receiver of your semi-automatic rifle with a barrel designed for long-range shooting.
After a few months of use, what you’ll probably discover on your own is the need for a BUIS or backup iron sight or even a flip-up sighting system for backup use.
Sometimes Optics Fail
Although many AR15 enthusiasts won’t frequently admit it, they are willing to acknowledge that sometimes optic systems will break during operation in extremely harsh conditions regardless of the money spent. Unfortunately, even the best optics or scopes can fail, and batteries eventually die.
Although you may have remembered to pack additional scope batteries in your gear, you may not have the time to replace a set of dead batteries if you’re suddenly forced to handle a stressful dynamic situation. Should you need a secondary sighting system when your optic fails, one of these backup sights will be a perfect solution to help you maintain proficient target acquisition.
For less than forty dollars, you can mount an MBUS or Magpul backup sight on your AR15 made from rugged and durable polymer that’s tough enough to take whatever you throw at it and still perform as expected. This backup sight system from Magpul features both rear and front sights, and if you have enough landscape on the upper receiver’s Picatinny rail, you can mount a practical backup iron sight set on your rifle in only minutes.
One great feature of this backup sight is that both front and rear sights can fold down when not in use which offers you an unimpeded view through your red dot or LPVO sight. While you may think that this folding ability may result in inadvertent shifting of either the rear or front optics with a Magpul MBUS, this is not the case. Magpul makes this backup sight system with rigid internal springs to keep them upright regardless of how many bumps or knocks they may take.
Additionally, the Magpul MBUS backup sight system is the same height as traditional A2 iron sights that roll off the assembly line from the factory. This same height means you’ll not have to adjust your sighting habits or shooting style when the time comes to perform an iron sight shot.
Another plus offered with the Magpul MBUS backup is the ability to make the same windage and elevation adjustments on your backup sight as you do on your primary optic system. The Magpul MBUS features an adjustment knob on the rear for windage settings, and when the front needs elevation adjustment, Magpul includes a unique tool.
A.R.M.S Inc. #40 L-F Combo
Although a little pricey at around two hundred and seventy dollars, A.R.M.S Inc. features a combination set of front and rear backup sights that allows you to make the same accurate shots if your primary optic system fails.
Much like many of the BUIS sights made for the AR15 platform, this L-F Combo comes with a flip-up rear aperture that allows you to quickly switch between short or long-range shooting. Several features of this combination set of backup sights from A.R.M.S Inc. make this a popular choice.
Both front and rear backup sights have a far lower overall profile which offers better clearance when mounting these on your AR15. Also, the front remains rigid and upright where it needs to be but will fold back when accidentally struck by a front external force to prevent damage.
Although the Magpul MBUS backup flip sight is arguably one of the gold standards in automatic flip-ups, you’ll want to level-set your expectations of what constitutes an “automatic flip” sight. The term “automatic” means any flip sight that deploys with a single push of a button or lever.
Over the years, automatic flip backup sights have made a name for themselves with many AR15 owners because of their low-profile features and quick deployment ability when you need to revert to a backup sight.
Another great reason for installing flip backup sights is if you’re using a co witnessed optic. If you don’t want the rear and front sights to block your sighting ability, automatic flip-up sights are the answer.
Troy Folding Battle Sight
Another top folding set of backup sights with a single button or lever deployment is the folding Battle Sight from Troy Industries. Constructed of rugged stainless steel and aluminum, the Troy Battle Sight has become well known in the industry and is a popular choice among many AR15 rifle enthusiasts.
This Battle Sight from Troy Industries has established considerable popularity among AR15 owners because of its quick-mount ability and toolless windage and elevation adjustment capabilities. If you’re on the market for a rugged and accurate set of dependable backup sights, the Battle Sights are the perfect choice for home defense when at the range or during a competitive match.
Offering a secondary sight system that performs when you need it, the Troy Industries Battle Sight locks in place with significant spring pressure and stays put because of a pair of locking detent balls. This is important because the Battle Sight system won’t get knocked down or accidentally shift out of place upon contact with an outside force.
The Battle Sight stays right where it should be and can’t depress out of the way unless you activate the spring-loaded button to retract it when you want to continue using your primary optic system.
Another great feature of the Battle Sight backup is how easy the front and rear sights are to install. The base clamps onto a Mil-Spec or commercial Picatinny rail using a standard flathead screwdriver, and one thing you’ll notice after installation is that with the Battle Sight, there are no protrusions to catch on clothing or thick brush when out in the field.
Troy Industries goes a few extra miles with the Folding Battle Sight, featuring protective “ears” or integrated flaps on the rear aperture and front post. This added layer of protection guarantees that your backup sights will always be usable should your primary optic system suddenly fail.
LWRC Skirmish Sights
Easily maintaining their place as producers of top-shelf backup sights, LWRC offers the Skirmish Sights. Land Warfare Resources Corporation has been producing firearms and quality optic systems such as the Skirmish Sights and others for over two decades, and these Skirmish Sights consistently demonstrate the company’s dedication to making only the best products for consumers at the best prices.
These Skirmish Sights from LWRC represent another popular low-profile set of backup sights that are automatically deployed with the single activation of a button or lever. What’s astonishing about the Skirmish Sights is how slim they are when folded at only one-half of an inch.
Constructed of 7075 aluminum and 4140 steel, LWRC creates these metal backup sights with rounded corners to reduce or eliminate the potential of cuts or snags. Priced around three hundred dollars, the Skirmish Sights from LWRC feature a locking Helicoil that doesn’t require additional thread lock during installation and is the perfect set of backup sights that will handle massive amounts of recoil during those high-volume range sessions.
Offset Backup Sights
Most of the backup sights previously mentioned have been what’s known as co-witness or in line mounts when you have sufficient landscape on the top rail of your AR15. There are, however, several instances where there’s no room after installing multiple accessories or when your primary optic system takes up the lion’s share of space.
For all the AR15 rifle owners who suffer this problem, using an offset set of backup iron sights becomes the perfect answer to this frustrating dilemma.
Once again, Magpul Industries excellently tackles the backup sight challenge with the MBUS Pro Offset Sights. The MBUS Pro Offset features a right-side forty-five-degree cant backup sight system of all steel construction for about eighty dollars and offers the perfect secondary backup sight solution when the top rail of your AR15 is fully loaded. Featuring a case-hardened metal body and Melonite QPQ coating, the Magpul MBUS Pro is made to withstand even the harshest conditions and stands up to the most punishing corrosion.
The Magpul MBUS Pro Offset weighs in at less than two ounces and is the perfect answer if you need a lightweight solution for your backup sights. Additionally, this offset backup sight system from Magpul sports an elevation adjustment on the rear that doesn’t require tools and positive detents on both the up and down positions for precise adjustments on the windage and elevation knobs.
A Solution for You
As you can see, the field is wide open for any AR15 owner who believes that an ounce of prevention is worth more than a pound of cure. When that critical shooting moment comes, and you need to rely on a sight system to make an accurate shot, the last thing you’ll want to discover is that your primary optic system took a knock strong enough to render it unusable.
You’ll also not want to beat yourself up because the battery fails on your red dot optic system, and you forgot to bring extras. With a set of quality BUIS or backup iron sights, you’ll be able to take that shot, knowing you’ll be able to make it with confidence.