Our list of the 10 best iron sites for AR-15s is for those that know that you can’t get more reliable than good old-fashioned, low-tech iron sights.
In recent years, there have been some amazing advancements in sight technology. From red dots to holographic sights, technology has been kind to the modern shooter. However, as tough and reliable as some of these sights may be, they can break or malfunction when you need them most. For this reason, it is always a smart idea to have a backup plan. They’ve gained the acronym BUIS (Back Up Iron Sights) for good reason.
Even for something as low-tech as an iron sight, there are many variants. Wondering which one to choose? Read on. Our experts make it easy for you to compare and choose the best iron sights for your AR-15.
10 Best Iron Sights for AR-15s
Choosing the Best Iron Sights for AR-15s
When it comes to iron sights for your AR-15, you need sights that are reliable, durable, and easy to use. However, there are several styles available. Most iron sights come in one of three varieties: gas-block, rail mount, and micro. Here is a basic breakdown of each type to help you decide which style is best suited to your shooting needs.
- Gas Block Sights. Gas block sights are designed only for mounting on gas blocks that are lower than the receiver. In the gas block iron sights configuration, the front sight post is slightly higher than the rear sight aperture. If you have a gas block that is the same height as the receiver, you’ll need to use a same-plane sight.
- Rail Mount Sights. Also known as “same-plane” sights, rail mount sights are made so that the front post sight is level with the rear sight aperture. In this configuration, the front sight must be mounted at the same height as the gun’s upper receiver; this might require you to mount the front sight on a rail or free float handguard.
- Micro Sights. Micro sights are usually mounted on a level height, but differ from rail mount sights due to their shorter profile. These sights are often used when it is necessary to take quick aim with open sights below your scope or other mounted optic.
- Fixed vs. Folding Sights. The way your AR-15 is set up will determine whether you need to look for folding or fixed sights. Since fixed sights have no moving parts to break, they are practically indestructible. They are always ready, and once you have them set, they never need adjusting. If you plan to use your iron sights as your primary targeting system, fixed sights are your best option.
Folding sights are preferred by many shooters who regularly use a red dot, scope, or other optic on their AR-15. They flip down out of the way when you don’t need them. When you need to use them, you just flip them up into position and shoot. Folding sights are a practical choice for shooters who plan to use their iron sights as a backup sighting option should their primary optic malfunction.
- Material. “Iron sights” are rarely actually made of iron. Aluminum is by far the most common material. It is light weight and durable, although not as strong as steel. Steel and various polymer compounds make up the remainder of sight on the market.
Our Best Iron Sights Reviewed
Unlike cheap polymer knock-offs, these Magpul steel sights ooze quality. Made in the United States from steel with a melonite finish, these iron sights offer superior strength and maximum functionality with minimal bulk. Easily installed with a flat head screwdriver on all Picatinny rail systems (including rail-height gas blocks), these iron sights feature a dual aperture design and windage adjustable rear and no-tool, elevation adjustable front sight.
These folding sights are a no-brainer as a backup option, easily folding out of the way, and in no way interfering with your main targeting optic. They have a very low profile when folded down and a great tactical look and reliable functionality when folded up for use. Easy to install, sight in, and use. Magpul delivers major quality in these reliable and attractive sights.
These folding, low profile sights are designed for shooters that prefer a sightline that is close to the barrel or have a raised top rail system. They can switch between small and large rear apertures based on the range of your shot. The BattleSights quickly flip up or down with the touch of a button. These make great BUIS. In down position, they have a profile of less than half an inch, which allows for the use of a red dot sight without a riser.
Troy BattleSights makes some of the world’s highest quality and most durable sights. These are no exception. They are machined from high-grade aluminum that is rugged and reliable. They attach easily with a single screw on each piece. The fit is snug with great lines right out of the box, although they can be adjusted.
We reviewed the micro version. The sight also comes in a medium and large height for different guns or shooting preferences.
The Dagger Defense tactical backup iron sight fits standard Picatinny rail systems and is easy to mount. Made of aluminum alloy with a black matte finish, these sights can easily be mounted in combination with red dots, holographic sights, and adjustable scopes. The spring-loaded, flip up function allows you instant access to your BUIS with the simple push of a button while keeping them down and out of the way when you don’t need them.
You will be surprised by the quality of these reliable and extremely affordable backup sights. They are as solid, rugged, and reliable as other products with a much heftier price tag. These are top notch sights that will please even the most discerning tactical shooter.