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Top 8 The Best Iron Sights For AR 15 In 2019 Reviews & Buyer’s Guide

The best iron sights for AR 15 are often overlooked. Just a few decades ago, they were all a gun-owners had. Modern scopes greatly assist aiming. We’ve already reviewed some of the best ACOG scopes, and the best EOTech Sights for your AR 15. We’ve also created a combined list of optics and scopes. So, we love a good scope.

But optics can fail, leaving you stuck with your iron sights. Thus, you’ll want the best iron sights for your AR 15. Additionally, training with iron sights helps with discipline, breath control, and accuracy. Here, we look at the best iron sights for the AR 15 available today.

Best Iron Sights for AR 15 On The Market
Photo by Zero7one

Top 8 Best Iron Sights for AR 15 On The Market 2019 Reviews

ModelRatingMaterialFront/RearWarrantyFoldable
4.7 out of 5 stars (4.7 / 5)
Material
Stainless-steel and T6 Aircraft Aluminum
Front/Rear
Rear only
Warranty
Lifetime
Foldable
Yes
4.1 out of 5 stars (4.1 / 5)
Material
T6 Aircraft Aluminum
Front/Rear
Front and rear
Warranty
Lifetime
Foldable
Yes, under most conditions
4.1 out of 5 stars (4.1 / 5)
Material
Stainless-steel
Front/Rear
Front and rear
Warranty
No
Foldable
Yes
4.3 out of 5 stars (4.3 / 5)
Material
Polymer plastic
Front/Rear
Front and rear
Warranty
No
Foldable
Yes, under most conditions
4.2 out of 5 stars (4.2 / 5)
Material
Polymer plastic
Front/Rear
Front and rear
Warranty
Lifetime
Foldable
Yes
4.3 out of 5 stars (4.3 / 5)
Material
Stainless-steel
Front/Rear
Front and rear
Warranty
No
Foldable
Yes
4.5 out of 5 stars (4.5 / 5)
Material
Stainless-steel
Front/Rear
Rear only
Warranty
No
Foldable
Yes
4.2 out of 5 stars (4.2 / 5)
Material
Milled aluminum
Front/Rear
Front and rear
Warranty
1 year
Foldable
Yes

1 Troy Industries Folding Sight, Rear

Troy Industries is an instantly recognizable brand, and their iron sights live up to their standards. These sights are foldable, which means that they can lie flat. All you need to do is press a button for them to fold.

Additionally, installation is a breeze, and they have a small but effective footprint. You’ll be up and running in a matter of minutes, and you’ll have a great new iron sight that you adjust to on the field very quickly.

But what really makes these sights stand out is their durability. First, they made from a combination of stainless-steel and T6 aircraft aluminum. This is an important distinction, because “iron sights” is a misnomer if there ever was one these days. Not only are most not iron, but you can get everything from cheap plastic to top-grade materials.

Here, Troy Industries has opted for not only some of the most durable metal, but lightweight metal, as well. This complements their overall lack of footprint. A lifetime warranty is also included, but you likely won’t need it.

Plus, they really clamp down. These sights do not wiggle no matter how much you shake or bump them. If you’d like to adjust your minutes of angle, an easy dial is all you need to turn (each click is .50 MOA). It’s simply built in, with no need for tools.

You simply can’t beat on-the-fly adjustments on the field. Everything is so simple, natural, and durable, you’ll forget this wasn’t your stock iron sight!

There is no cant with this sight, as per military specs. Their few available colors are all minimal, dark times that do the job of being sights, a reference that doesn’t grab excess attention.

Overall, this is a great, premium iron sight, with an excellent reputation.

Troy Industries Folding Sight, Rear
Our rating:4.7 out of 5 stars (4.7 / 5)

Pros
  • Super-fast installation
  • Light footprint
  • Lightweight
  • Adjustable on-the-fly
  • Extremely durable
Cons
  • Rear only

2 Troy Industries Micro HK Style Front and Rear Folding Battle Sight

Following in the footsteps of the rear-only iron sights previous on this list, these front and rear sights essentially cater to those who prefer both front and rear sights. All of the great features of the single rear sights are evident in these combination sights.

As with the rear sights, both the front and rear on this model can be folded with a simple button press. One notable difference is that the sights cannot be folded down if the rear sight is flipped to the lowest aperture. True to most Troy Industries products, installation can be completed in under five minutes, having you ready for the field in less time than it takes to open the box!

Quality of materials, durability, and low weight are also evident here. Composed of aircraft-quality stainless-steel, these iron sights are ready for any condition, and built to last. This same material is responsible for keeping this combined sight to a restrained three ounces, which is simply remarkable for a combination sight of this hardiness. And once again, there is absolutely no wobble whatsoever.

As for adjustments, the rear aperture can be adjusted for windage, and the front can be adjusted for elevation. The rear can be adjusted on-the-fly whereas you will need to use a front sight Troy tool to adjust the front sight. This tool is not included, but you can also use a combination of pliers and a screwdriver.

It’s also worth noting that these sights are micro sights, not standard AR height sights. You will need to research risers when used in combination with optics, otherwise they may not line up properly. Generally speaking, this is a positive, but since many gun owners purchase optics before considering upgrading their iron sights, be aware of this and plan accordingly!

Troy Industries Micro HK Style Front and Rear Folding Battle Sight
Our rating:4.1 out of 5 stars (4.1 / 5)

Pros
  • Excellent durability
  • Super-fast installation
  • Lightweight
  • Low footprint
Cons
  • Requires tools to adjust the rear, which are not included

3 Magpul MBUS PRO Steel Sight Set

Magpul is another brand known around the world for their rugged construction and tough standards. These iron sights are designed to be reliable and last a very long time.

While not composed of quite the same caliber of materials as the Troy Industries offerings, they are nonetheless composed of 100% high quality stainless-steel. The main difference here is the weight. These sights, combined, clock in at about an additional fifth of an ounce versus Troy Industries’ sights. This probably won’t matter to anyone but makers of the most weight-obsessed builds, however, who will likely be opting for rear-only sights anyway.

While there is no warranty, they should still last a very long time, if not for the life of your gun. This is compounded by a Melonite finish. Melonite will not only keep these metal sights free of rust, but looking shiny and smooth for a long time.

There’s also no wobble. The sights will stay put no matter what conditions you put them through, ensuring reliability all-around.

These sights are also easy to install. They are compatible with 1913 Picatinny rails, as well as with a front-mounted gas block. Elevation is adjustable from the front post, and elevation in the rear, no tools needed. This is a positive, as on-the-fly adjustments always give accessories a big leg up on the competition.

Unfortunately, the front is not elevation-adjustable, which seems like an oversight given how much care was put into making adjustments a breeze.

Finally, they are very accommodatingly narrow, and will support many setups. Utilizing a co-witness laser optic and many other configurations should be no problem, as most optics will fit within the required specifications. Since most owners will likely have considered optics prior to upgrading their stock iron sights, this is a big advantage.

Magpul MBUS PRO Steel Sight Set
Our rating:4.1 out of 5 stars (4.1 / 5)

Pros
  • Rugged design
  • Makes excellent choice for co-witness setups
  • No tools needed for adjustments
Cons
  • Front is not elevation-adjustable

4 FAB Defense Front and Rear Set of Flip-Up Sights

Fab Defense isn’t as much of an international standard as other brands like Troy Industries and Magpul, but they still offer a great product. Their mostly-polymer iron sights will find fans in a particular niche.

It’s worth noting right off the bat that since these are primarily polymer (but not entirely, as some minor components are various metals), it won’t offer the same level of long-lasting durability. That’s not to say it’s cheaply constructed, because it isn’t.

While they might not last a lifetime, a lot of care and consideration has been put into the craftsmanship. Just be aware that you may need to replace them at some point down the road (and there is no warranty), although you will likely be glad to do so.

But don’t think the choice of polymer wasn’t deliberate. This allows these otherwise heavy duty sights to clock in at a combined weight of just over two ounces, allowing it to be a substantial sight with an unassuming weight footprint.

But the foremost advantage of the FAB defense sights are their sight picture. It’s a very natural, intuitive picture that compares strongly to M-1 Carbine, M-1 Garand, and so on. Gun owners who have experience with traditional G.I. sight pictures will be right at home. One notably difference, though, is an inward fold rather than outward fold, but that doesn’t take long to adjust to.

Another huge advantage is that FAB Defense iron sights sit at the exact same height as your standard AR 15’s sights. Therefore, you have an immediate and perfect co-witness with any optics designed to excel on an AR 15.

Lastly, another great feature is that the front sight’s elevation is adjustable with a dial, totally tool-free. On the other hand, the rear sight can only be flipped down when the flip sight’s set to 0-2 position.

FAB Defense Front and Rear Set of Flip-Up Sights
Our rating:4.3 out of 5 stars (4.3 / 5)

Pros
  • Excellent picture
  • Great, low weight for the size and features
  • Adjustable front elevation
  • Compatible with just about any AR 15 optics
Cons
  • Not as durable as all-metal builds

5 Diamondhead USA Polymer Front and Rear Flip Up Sights

If you’re looking for something a little different, these iron sights have you covered with a unique, diamond-shaped sight housing. Additionally, the posts have a photo-luminescent material insert which, like Tritium, glows in low light conditions. Charging them requires either sun exposure, or simply light them up with your trusty flashlight.

While this might not always be available, to be fair, you don’t have this option with other sights, so it’s hard to count that against it. After all, iron sights are really back-ups, and what good is a back-up that requires batteries?

Not only does this innovation make these iron sights ideal for low-light conditions, but also a consideration for gun owners who want to transition from optics. While not the same as optics, it creates something of a middle ground. In the very least, you won’t need to worry about battery failure, so long as you have a source of light.

It’s worth noting that these iron sights are polymer plastic, but unlike many other plastic sights, these do offer a lifetime warranty. That’s pretty generous, and of course, careful ownership will keep your sights in good condition, anyway.

We also like that assembly is a breeze, and Diamondhead USA has made both front and rear sights adjustable without the use of tools. Both front and rear sights are spring-loaded and only require a button push to flip up. It’s also possible to pair your back sight with any other front-fixed sight, a good feature. Even without the patented diamond-shaped aperture, these features would make Diamondhead iron sights a strong contender.

Just note that these iron sights are not compatible with gas block, so if that’s a deal-breaker, you might want to consider another option.

Diamondhead USA Polymer Front and Rear Flip Up Sights
Our rating:4.2 out of 5 stars (4.2 / 5)

Pros
  • Innovative NiteBrite insert perfect for night shooting
  • Easy installation
  • Quick target acquisition
  • Good for users who have a hard time adjusting from optics
Cons
  • Polymer construction isn’t as durable
  • Photoluminescence does require light exposure

6 Magpul MBUS Sight Set, GEN 2

Magpul’s MBUS Gen 2 Sight Set is designed to be something of a basic upgrade from stock iron sights. With that in mind, you won’t be getting as much as some of the other offerings on our list, but that’s the point. It is a reliable upgrade, made from polymer rather than metal, and without as many ease-of-use features. If you just want to take your current rig up a notch, and not spring for anything fancy, these are a reliable bet.

Again, because these are polymer, they will be lightweight but not sturdy. Unlike some of the other polymer iron sights on this list, however, the construction does look to be much simpler, which suggests a shorter lifespan. You also will want to pass if you need iron sights suitable for gas block mounting.

Where they do excel is in being pretty good at quick operation. The spring-driven flip system, easily accessible from a number of angles, means either flipping them up or down will be second nature in no time. The spring system also looks to be one of the better-constructed components, which suggests that while the polymer construction isn’t ideal, you can at least count on reliable operation.

You can also simply press the sights themselves into an up or down position. This might not seem like a big deal, but not having to fumble for the exact placement, or worse, divert your eyes from your target, can make a big difference.

The view is also excellent for budget sights. Your eyes lock on zero very well. Accuracy up to hundreds of yards is no problem.

Lastly, while installation is a breeze, and elevation is adjustable in front and rear, you will need a tool. Magpul has not included a tool, although for some reason they’ve included a “free” MSP silicone gun and reel cloth. Given the option, we’d probably prefer the tool, but it’s better than nothing.

Magpul MBUS Sight Set, GEN 2
Our rating:4.3 out of 5 stars (4.3 / 5)

Pros
  • Great basic, budget upgrade
  • Solid spring design
  • Excellent view
  • Easy installation
Cons
  • Adjustments require a tool, not included
  • Cheap construction and no warranty

7 MaTech Mil-Spec

If there’s one thing this iron sight excels at, it’s pairing with optics. It’s necessarily narrow, and comes with exceptional cant. This also makes it a good pairing with a front sight.

While it works great on its own, most users will be right at home using it as a co-witness for their optic sight. Since this sight was specifically designed to operate on Picatinny rails, operation all-around is as smooth as you would expect.

The construction is solid. Not only is it all-metal, but the components all appear very sturdy, and have a very heavy-duty feel. We would expect that this iron sight will last a long time and put up with all different environments.

Windage and range is adjustable up to 600 meters, and you can expect to hold zero for a very long time. However, while it performs well, there are a few mechanical issues at play. The fit is not tight, but when tightened as much as possible, it has something of a slight, but noticeable, rightward cant.

It’s not so significant that it will be impactful at shorter ranges, but it will make a difference long-range. It’s slight enough to adjust to, but that’s the last thing you should have to do with a sight, so it’s a major flaw.

Installation is also fairly difficult; in addition to not providing the necessary tools, it’s also just a more cumbersome process. Given that there are some minor mechanical shortcomings, we also foresee users installing, uninstalling, and reinstalling this iron sight to be sure installation is correct. It’s an unnecessary hassle that would be resolved either by better design choices or fixing the mechanical failures.

Still, it’s durable, is great for pairing with your choice of a front sight or optics, folds nicely, and is perfectly suited to being standalone. Patient AR 15 owners who demand flexibility as opposed to perfection will find a lot to like with this sight.

MaTech Mil-Spec
Our rating:4.5 out of 5 stars (4.5 / 5)

Pros
  • Durable, all-metal construction
  • Great as standalone or paired
  • Simple fold-away
Cons
  • Difficult installation
  • Slight cant and looseness

8 Ozark Armament Flip Up Backup Battle Sights

Ozark Armament readily calls this a budget, “no-frills” iron sight. As you’d expect, there isn’t much on offer here, but that isn’t to say it isn’t worth consideration, because it is. Anyone looking for a simple upgrade from their stock iron sights without additional features will find exactly that: a budget, but well-made, iron sight.

The most important take-away is that there were a lot of corners Ozark Armaments could have opted to cut but chose not to. It’s very commendable that while half the iron sights we reviewed are misnomers composed of polymer plastic, this iron sight is made of milled aluminum.

No, milled aluminum is not the best metal, but it’s a step up from polymer plastic. On top of that, the other iron sights on our list that use polymer don’t bill themselves as “budget” or “no-frills,” so it’s quite a pleasant surprise to see a sturdy material construction on a basic model.

Additionally, Ozark Armaments has provided a 1-year warranty. Limited-time warranties are kind of an oddity in the world of munitions, an industry where you get either lifetime or nothing. We doubt you’ll need to use the warranty, but it’s another sign that Ozark wants to make clear that budget doesn’t mean cheap here.

Moving on to features, you can expect fully adjustable elevation and windage, as well as co-witness capabilities with any standard AR 15 optic sight. Installation is easy, but doesn’t include tools. Simple push button mechanism for spring-loaded deployment works seamlessly. View is fair, and everything feels stable and tight.

Given the mid-grade materials, you might be wondering about gas block compatibility. It is possible. Given these Ozark Armaments sights are plane sights, you would need a front sight designed for use with low-profile gas blocks. So, yes, possible, but given the appeal here is budget-conscious, no-frills usability, it doesn’t make much sense. You’re better off getting something specifically designed for that use case.

Ozark Armament Flip Up Backup Battle Sights
Our rating:4.2 out of 5 stars (4.2 / 5)

Pros
  • Great quality for what’s being marketed
  • Easy installation
  • Great to stock up on as a spare
Cons
  • Doesn’t offer anything special

Choosing The Best Iron Sights for AR 15

Choosing The Best Iron Sights for AR 15
Photo by Zero7one

It’ll depend on how much you want to use iron sights

There’s a lot of great reasons to use iron sights. They’re a classic method of aiming, and we believe everyone should learn with iron sights. If nothing else, when out in the field, you will need to use iron sights when modern tech fails. Iron sights don’t need batteries, and they don’t malfunction.

But they can also greatly improve breath control, concentration, and your overall skill. But if you just want a backup, you’re less likely to want something with a lot of features.

Material is important

You would think that more “no-frills” models would use cheaper components, but that’s not the case. A lot of iron sights on the market use polymer and host a bevy of features. Conversely, some all-metal builds are fairly straightforward.

In reality, there’s no quick and simple rationale behind materials used, and you’ll have to balance whatever features you get with a model against the construction quality, durability, and your preferences for weight.

How do you primarily use your AR 15?

Of course, comfort with your iron sights won’t mean much if they don’t perform in your preferred environment. Given that design choices made for iron sights tend to lean more towards long-range versus short-range, you’ll need to pick the sight that can properly deliver. However, those that demand flexibility aren’t out of options.

There are some models which can be well-suited to both near and far aiming, such as the Fab Defense’s iron sights. Just keep in mind that with versatility may come the compromise of other quirks. For example, in Fab’s case, you’ll need to adjust to a different fold, inward rather than outward.

ar15 iron sight
Photo by Zero7one

Likewise, the Troy Industries rear folding sight is one solid sight, and paired with a great front sight, will definitely suit the needs of an AR 15 owner demanding versatility. That’s far from a one-and-done solution, though.

Whether or not you expect compatibility with a gas block should also be a consideration. Many are not compatible, and some may be compatible with some tweaking, such as swapping out front sights. But here, you’ll probably find you have diminishing returns. It makes a lot more sense to just choose iron sights that fit your current build, especially if you don’t plan to rely on them often.

Don’t forget that warranty

Last but not least, warranties run a tad scarce when it comes to iron sights. For the most part, the better-constructed the iron sights, the more likely and more generous the warranty. As with anything, hopefully you’ll never need the warranty, and if you do, it’ll much more likely be on something made of polymer rather than metal. If you hate the prospect of your iron sights not being replaceable, you’re probably better off ignoring polymers altogether to stick with a warranty.

But there are some odd cases, such as the budget-conscious Ozark Armaments Flip Up Backup Battle Sights, that are specifically designed to be simple, reasonably durable, and still offer a warranty.

Consider how well you take care of your equipment, and what environments you subject them to. No warranty isn’t likely to be a concern for AR 15 owners who mostly shoot in controlled environments and take careful care of their guns.

Conclusion

The Diamondhead USA Polymer Front and Rear Flip Up Sights with NiteBrite is a real winner.

Simple installation, on-the-fly tool-free adjustment, wide front sight capability, spring-loaded flip-up operation, lifetime warranty — this sight is an excellent choice. The diamond-shaped innovation presents a great view. The only negative is it’s not compatible with gas block, but that’s relatively minor.

And that’s without even mentioning Diamondhead’s unique, patented NiteBrite technology, which provides great night-time performance. This may also ease transition from optics. Sure, you might think it’s a crutch, but it’s still a 100% analog iron sight! And who knows, you might find that you love the compromise.

Overall, the most important thing to keep in mind about iron sights is their reliability. That’s why we recommend using them. It’s also why the best iron sights will themselves be reliable, but also encourage you to use them because they’re enjoyable and easy. We don’t think any sights fit that bill as well as the Diamondhead USA Polymer Front and Rear Flip Up Sights with Nitebrite.

Top 8 The Best Iron Sights For AR 15 In 2019 Reviews & Buyer’s Guide
5 (100%) 51 vote[s]

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