View Full Version : Back up Iron Sights on a AR15

Death from Afar
January 26, 2011, 02:27 PM
Team, just bought a new AR without Iron sights. I plan to put an Aimpoint or ELCAN on the rifle. Is it really worth the (often high) cots of a set of back up sights, or should i trust the electronic sights? Thanks.

January 26, 2011, 02:31 PM
There was a big debate about the need for BUISs. Honestly, if you're rocking a ACOG or some similar high quality optic, the need for backups sights are relatively low.

That said, I personally feel uncomfortable using an optic without backup sights, especially electronic sights. You never know when a battery might go dead, or something might disable your optic. Given the relatively low cost of Magpul's MBUS, I'd just bite the bullet, spend the $105 on a set and drive on. YMMV.

January 26, 2011, 03:21 PM
You're better off with having BUIS. If you want to save money, look into the MBUIS which are good yet inexpensive. If you're willing to spend more I'd recommend Troy BUIS but there are others that some will argue are as good. Good luck.

January 26, 2011, 03:24 PM
You can get a matech m16 rear backup sight for about $50. Fits under most anything.

January 26, 2011, 04:00 PM
If you can afford the 600+$ optic, you can afford a 100$ set of irons, and be done and happy with it.

January 26, 2011, 04:01 PM
I really like the Midwest Industries rear sight I have installed. Very easy to adjust for windage and it's very light. But honestly, I don't think there would be anything wrong with any backup sight out there; maybe cheaper the better?

January 26, 2011, 05:17 PM
What will be the purpose of teh rifle? If it's justf or shooting at teh range, then no buis are neccessary.

January 26, 2011, 06:39 PM
I worry about a time when power, and batteries will not be available, and having Iron sights I will never have to be in need of anything other then ammo and lube.

January 26, 2011, 07:08 PM
I really like the Midwest Industries sights also. I have them on my work gun and my DD M4.

Back up sights are not as absolutley critical as some think. You can easily hit targets well past self defense range with just point-shooting. However, they are well worth the small investment.

January 26, 2011, 08:52 PM
Purpose of the rifle is definitely the most important thing. Besides paper punching, I understand the the other purpose for my AR would be for defensive purposes. I used the M-16 for 21 years in the military. I understand what it's used for. As such: There is no way in hell that I will ever pay $600 for optics for it. To me, that is about the biggest waste of money that I could put towards the rifle. I'm not dogging those that into competition type shooting; who buy $600 optics; and shoot $1 a round match ammo. That's your hobby; definitely have at it. I know I've spent a lot of money on restoring my '66 mustang. Most people might think that was too much money. And I've also spent $400+ on optics for my hunting rifles that I shoot at 400+ yards. But there's no way I'm going to spend that kind of money on a rifle designed to shoot people at 100 yards.

If you already have your optics, then there's no sense in talking about how much you SHOULD or SHOULD NOT spend on that. (For paper and defense). But you can get a pair of iron sights; flip ups; metal; BOTH together; for well under $100. They're iron sights. They aren't going to drift or magnify or run out of batteries. As long as they're solid, that's all that matters. Again; AR's and sights were designed to shoot people at 100 yards. If you want a 6-24x50mm sniper scope, then have at it. I've got a zeiss scope that's almost $500, and it helps me take out sheep at 400 yards away. But for all three of my AR's; one ONLY has iron sights. (Original A1 type setup). The 2nd one has a $50 reflex sight and no iron sights. The third, that I just bought, has a $55 1-2x42mm red-dot and for Iron Sights, the front and back together only cost $60.

Some will tell you that you need to pay a lot for quality. They'll try and scare you with the "Will you trust it for your life and your family's life". That's simply their penis envy trying to rationalize spending so much. And as for quality; What Quality??? If you lived in Manhattan, would you need the quality of a Porsche or Mercedes, or would a Ford Focus at 1/5th the price be better? You NEVER drive over 35 MPH!!!

Well; if you're using the AR for match tournaments, then maybe you do need a $500 EOTech or $600 Zeiss. If you want to plink, shoot paper, and hopefully never have to shoot a bad-guy up to 100 yards away, then you can have a good quality scope that keeps it's center for around $100 or less. And iron sight for $30 each. But, it's your money. Do whatever you want. I've not said that a $400-$500 scope should never be bought. There's a lot of times it should. I already mentioned match tournaments. I have a friend who LOVES to shoot prairie dogs. (We have a LOT of them). But he really likes scoping them out. His challenge is finding them at 200 yards plus and zapping them. He using a military style snipe scope with grid range finding, illuminated reticle, turrets; etc... It's an Swarovski and cost about $1000. But that's cool. It's his hobby. He'd never bee abot to hit a coffee cup size object at 200 yards with an AR-15, without a really good scope. (And a lot of practice).

Anyway; that's why I agree that it matters on it's purpose. If you're going to use the AR for punching paper and home defense, you don't need to spend more than $100 on optics or $60-$75 on iron sights. You just don't. But you can if you want to. If you're into match shooting; long range varmint hunting; tac-gaming (military style sniper target shooting), etc... then you probably need a $500+ scope. (Still don't need great iron sights, because you probably wouldn't use iron past 100 yards.

January 26, 2011, 09:29 PM
The other day I went shooting during a blizzard. I realized that optics would have failed with the wet snow that was blowing in sideways at +30 MPH and sticking to everything. Get the BUIS and forget about it :cool:

January 26, 2011, 10:07 PM
Three is one, two is also none. Logic!

That, and you won't look nearly as cool without BUIS.

Honestly, you bought an AR. I've seen military M4A1's fail due to FTF, stovepipes, double-feeds, brass over bolt jams, broken bolts, and cartridges getting stuck in the chamber. I have yet to see an Aimpoint Micro T-1 or an ACOG fail. Point is, you've got more to worry about as far as your rifle functioning than your optic.

In Afghanistan, I was more than happy to ditch my M4A1(plus attached suppressor, ACOG, Aimpoint, and BUIS) and grab an M14 with a Leupold 10x42. High speed stuff is great until you get into an actual gun fight and see how much it slows you down..

At some point you take a risk simply by relying on something. If the threat is so far away that you could not at least effectively suppress it without sights at all (in the event of an optic failure), then you've got time to diagnose your optic's problem and it's quite unlikely that you have any real need to fire on that target.

January 27, 2011, 07:56 AM
Optics only is fine for a range only rifle but if you plan on any other type of shooting a BUIS is nice to have. Troy makes a very nice set that cost way more than they should. I have a set that spends most of the time in the range box. MI makes a very nice and affordable BUIS. I personally like the Matech usgi BUIS. I have a couple of them, they are well made, low profile. The only grip I have is the cheeseco screw and that can be upgraded with a Battle Arms $8 kit the replaces the screw and clamp with a more robust part. There are a bunch of Chinese clone Matech's on the market so if you go Matech be sure of what you are buying. A genuine Matech well have "MATECH" and "0GUB3" roll marked on the under side.

January 27, 2011, 03:15 PM
Get a set of BUIS.

January 28, 2011, 10:55 AM
Wow, AR's, Mustangs, and vets all in one thread.

Same here, 22 years USAR, my M16 always had iron sights. My personal HK had the first generation Aimpoint in the '70's, and they were overpriced back then. But, I still have it, it works, albeit with an 8 hour battery life on size N's, and a foot print that takes up the entire A3 rail.

I'm building an AR, it will have iron sights. Even for hunting or range use, there is no possible way to guarantee a glass optic can't break, battery powered or not. If you're on a hunt far from home, or even the vehicle, and the optic goes down, do you want to call it a day and cancel, or keep shooting? And if you do want a backup sighting method, do you want mechanical, or another optic prezeroed and ready to go? Two $300 optics are also an option, same money.

Like the Mustang, which always had a spare tire, or my '90 Cherokee, which can run circles around it, some kind of back up is nice. It's really a choice of full size or space saver spare.

January 28, 2011, 11:28 AM
I agree with you tirod. It's all up to what the individual wants to do with it. I'm also not one of these "Mil-Spec" types that has to pay extra for a spec. I actually had an individual snub at my "Restored" mustang because it wasn't "Original" "Ford-Spec". He only considered it "Restored" if it was original. He didn't like my modified electronic ignition gm distributor modified to mount onto a Ford 289 v8. Sorry, but points/condenser (Ford-Spec) isn't always better. Better technology has come around in the last 45 years. I do the same with my guns. Maybe it's an aftermarket buffer/spring. Maybe it's a quad-rail. Maybe it's an ambi charging handle for us lefties. Backup sights are definitely a good idea if you're going to use the rifle for anything more than punching paper. I just don't believe that iron sights need to be $100+ each for Troy, ARMS, wilson, etc... They're iron sights. As long as they physically mount securely and are out of the way of your primary optics, it doesn't matter if they cost $30 each. They're backups; they're designed out to 100 yards; and they're mechanical. Not much to go wrong with them as long as they aren't plastic and they mount securely.