Most of us outfit our AR-15 platforms with some sort of optical sight. Your choice may be a red dot sight, a traditional optical sight, or a holographic sight. However, we all know that any optical sight is subject to failure.
For that reason, most of us outfit our AR-15 style rifle with some sort of backup sights (BUIS).
There are many options for adding backup iron sights to your AR-15. You may opt for standard irons sights or flip-up varieties which lie lower on your receiver or variants like 45-degree angle offset sights.
Materials range from aluminum backup sights to polymer sight platforms. Different manufacturers are making multiple styles of flip-up sights from which to choose.
The challenge becomes finding the best combination of style, design, and material for your needs. The first step is to understand the advantages and disadvantages of each style and material of flip-up sight.
It would be best to consider how you will use your flip-up sights and how to mount them on your AR-15 platform.
TL;DR , Below is the list of the Shortlisted Flip-Up Sights:
Last update on 2024-03-01
What is the Best Flip-Up Sight?
For those of you who want our answer to the question of which flip-up sights are the best, here is our short answer.
In our opinion, the best flip-up backup sights for an AR-15 are the Magpul Pro 45-degree offset flip-up sights. Magpul’s reputation for quality and customer service is a big part of our decision. We also like the design and operation of these sights.
We also pick a 45-degree offset sight. Our iron sights are backup sights, and we don’t like the idea of cluttering the top of our AR-15 with lots of accessories mounted around the optic we chose.
45-degree offset iron sights keep the sightlines on the top of our AR-15 rail clear but put our backup sights ready for quick use.
What Do I Need to Know about Flip-up Sights?
Let’s consider some of the options and features of flip-up sights before we go any further. We need to consider materials, design, and location. Each of these has an impact on your decision.
Finding the right combination of these three options is the key to having backup sights on your AR-15 that function for you.
The mounting position is also important.
Typically, flip-up sights mount in the traditional location on top of the receiver.
As an alternative, they are canted to one side at a forty-five-degree angle on the side of the receiver.
What are the Flip-Up Sights Made Of? Steel, Aluminum, or Polymer?
The three standard options for making flip-up sights are steel, aluminum, and polymer composites. Each has its advantages and disadvantages.
Choosing the right material for the conditions and uses you intend for your rifle is imperative to maintain a functional backup sighting system for your AR-15.
- Steel Backup Sights – Steel is commonly associated with strength, and that is the big advantage of using steel to make flip-up sights. Steel flip-up sights will withstand a lot of abuse. If you anticipate putting your AR-15 through some serious trials, a set of steep flip-up sights is probably an excellent choice.
- Aluminum Backup Sights – Aluminum is almost as strong as steel and is incredibly light. Lightweight is the big advantage of aluminum for making backup sights. In many circumstances, weight is a critical issue on a rifle. If your rifle is already carrying a scope, light, bipod and a full magazine, the addition of even a few more ounces can make a difference.
- Polymer Composites – Polymer composite materials offer a compromise of weight and durability. Composite polymer flip-up sights are lighter than their aluminum cousins yet still offer strength and durability that can rival metal.
Where Should I Mount my Flip-up Sights?
There are two options.
You can mount your flip-up sights on the top Picatinny rail of your AR-15, or you can mount them on a 45-degree offset.
There is lots of debate about which is best. The major points for each side of this argument make valid points.
These arguments are worth considering before you make your decision.
Should I Co-Witness a Flip-Up Sight or Not?
Many shooters want to co-witness their iron sights with their optical sights.
Co-witnessing is the term that describes having the sightlines of their iron sights on the same optical plane as the reticle or red dot of their optical scope.
In simpler terms, if you have your flip-up sights deployed and you look through the rear aperture, the red dot in your scope will appear in line with the rear aperture and front sight post of your flip-up sights.
If an optic fails, you won’t see clearly through the optic, more than likely. To use your flip-up backup sights, you must remove the optic to have a clear view of the sights.
Co-witnessing your flip-up sights does not seem to be the most efficient way to mount backup sights.
Mounting a Flip-Up Sight: Canted Mounts – Clear Sight Lines and Ease of Use
I prefer to mount my flip-up backup sights on 45-degree canted mounts on the right side of my AR-15.
A canted mount keeps the flip-up backup sights out of the line of sight of my primary optic but keeps them ready for immediate use.
Turning your AR-15 and readjusting your cheek weld and you can put your flip-up backup sights back in action immediately without having to worry about the damaged optic.
The canted mounts keep the profile of your flip-up backup sights low and unobtrusive.
So, What Are My Best Options for A Flip-up Sight?
After you decide what you expect from a flip-up sight and where you will mount the sight on your rifle, it is time to think about buying the best flip-up sight.
We surveyed the available best flip-up sights on the market, and these are our choices in the selected categories.
Best Overall Flip-up Backup Sight – Magpul Pro 45-Degree Offset Flip-up Sights
Last update on 2024-03-01
As you already know, Magpul’s Magpul Pro 45-degree offset flip-up sights get the nod from use as the best overall choice of a backup slip-up sight. There are several reasons we make this choice.
- All steel construction with a melanite black finish
- Steel rectangular front sight post available in match or standard widths
- Front sight adjustments made with a knob and features positive detent stops
- Rear sight adjustments with no tools. Positive detent stops make adjustments easy and quick
- 45-degree offset cant mounts attach to any standard Picatinny rail
The Magpul mounts keep the profile over the standard sightline of your AR-15 as low as possible. You won’t experience any conflict with optics mounted on the top rail of your AR-15. The low and clean side profile doesn’t present a high snag danger with the sights flipped down.
Deployment of the Magpul Pro sights is easy and quick. There are no buttons to press or levers to work. A flip of a finger deploys the front and rear sight.
The flip mechanism is solid and returns to zero time after time.
Choosing to mount the Magpul Pro 45-degree flip-up sights on your rifle gets you durability, rugged construction, accuracy, and ease of use.
For us, this defines everything you want in a backup flip-up sight.
Best Steel Traditional Mount Flip-up Sight – Magpul Pro Steel MBUS Flip-up Sights
Last update on 2024-03-01
If we like the 45-degree cant Magpul flip-up sights, it makes sense that we like the standard Magpul flip-up sights.
You get all the same features and quality that we find outstanding in the 45-degree style Magpul sights with a traditional Picatinny rail mount for the top of your AR-15.
In addition, you get the capability of co-witnessing your optic with your flip-up backup sights if you so wish.
When stowed, the rear Magpul Pro sight rises less than one-half inch above the Picatinny rail.
When deployed, both the front and rear sight stand at the standard sight height making co-witnessing with most optical sights quick and easy. When stowed, both the front and rear sight lay low on the top of your rifle.
In our opinion, if you want a top rail standard mount location for your flip-up backup sights, you can’t beat the Magpul Pro sights.
The features speak for themselves, and the price is reasonable enough for almost any shooter.
Best Aluminum Flip-up Sight – Troy Industries Micro HK Style Front and Rear Folding Battle Sight
- Rugged low-profile sight
- Enhances weapons, with raised top rails
Last update on 2024-03-01
If weight is a consideration, opting for aluminum as the material for your flip-up backup sights is a consideration. Troy Industries is well known in the shooting industry for its line of AR-15 accessories.
Troy Industries flip-up sights come with an impressive list of features.
- T6 aircraft-grade aluminum construction
- CNC milled manufactured for extreme accuracy
- Made entirely in the USA
- Cross lock mounting system ensures consistent attachment without movement
- Push-button deployment for quick and reliable operation
- No tools are required to make windage or elevation adjustments
The traditional location flip-up sights from Troy Industries adhere to strict specifications. When deployed, these flip-up sights easily co-witness with an optic.
When stowed, both the front and rear sight lay below one-half inch above the Picatinny rail.
The body and mounts of the Troy Industries flip-up backup sights are made of T6 aluminum and feature a hard-anodized finish for years of trouble-free use.
The markings are etched and filled with white for easy identification. The positive detent adjustments feature a .5 MOA per click.
If you prefer aluminum over steel, your best choice, in our opinion, is the Troy Industry flip-up sights.
These are well-built and accurate flip-up sights that will serve you well on your AR-15.
Best Polymer Flip-Up Sights – Magpul MBUS Gen 2 Flip Sights
Last update on 2024-03-01
We are back to Magpul.
Our choice for the best polymer flip-up sights is the Magpul MBUS Gen 2 flip sights. If you prefer the light weight of a polymer sight set, then your choice should be Magpul.
Magpul’s experience with polymer sights makes the Gen 2 MBUS sights the superior option. Consider the features of the Magpul MBUS Gen 2 flip sights.
- Injection-molded polymer sights for durability and functionality
- Available in a wide range of colors
- Spring-loaded deployment and storage mechanism operates with a quick touch and ensures an instant return to zero when deployed
- Easy adjustments on the rear sight using the detent knob
- Mounts to a standard Picatinny rail at standard height for easy co-witnessing with optics.
You can get all the features and quality of the Magpul Pro steel flip-up sights at a lower cost and lighter weight. Polymer is a stable and tough material that finds many uses, including as rifle sights.
One thing to remember about the Magpul polymer sights is the material that doesn’t deal well with heat.
Magpul warns that its polymer sights should not be mounted directly to a railed gas block. As the gas block heats, the polymer can melt.
Best Budget Flip-up Sight – Ozark Armament Flip Up Battle Sights
- QUICK-TRANSITION DESIGN: 45 degree sights offer rapid and repeatable transition when your optic...
- VERSITLE FIT: Perfectly suited to fit any standard Picatinny rail system, the 45FBUIS-B sights...
- BATTLE-READY DURABILITY: Our side sights are engineered from high-grade aircraft aluminum and...
Last update on 2024-03-01
If you are on a budget and can’t afford the cost of some of our other selections for flip-up sights, take heart. There are budget options that will give you excellent service.
Ozark Armament makes our choice for budget flip-up backup sights.
Going for a budget option doesn’t mean you must give up features. The features list that Ozark Armaments provides should convince you that these flip-up sights are not cheap.
- All metal construction with a durable black finish for years of consistent service and functionality
- Mounts to any standard Picatinny rail and aligns with a standard sight plane for easy co-witnessing
- Easy windage adjustments on the rear sight without tools
- Rear sight apertures for both close range and long-range shooting
Admittedly, these Ozark Armament sights are made overseas.
However, the quality control seems to be excellent. Ozark Armaments’ customer service is excellent, and the company offers a no questions asked warranty on these products.
The Ozark Armament flip-up battle sights are available in both standard top rail mount and 45-degree offside mounts.
If you are on a budget and want to mount a set of flip-up backup sights on your ar-15, Ozark Armaments has a cost-effective solution.
To Flip or Not to Flip?
If you run any kind of optical sight on your AR-15, I highly recommend installing some sort of backup sights on your rifle.
Invariably, optical sights will eventually fail or suffer damage that puts them out of action. A good set of backup sights can keep you in action.
Flip-up sights offer a host of benefits and functionality to your rifle. Once you understand your priorities and your expectations, making a choice is often easy.