The 10 Best Flip Up Sights
We spent 45 hours on research, videography, and editing, to review the top choices for this wiki. Even novice shooters know that the quickest way to an accurate shot is through a reliable firearm sight. These flip-up models are there when you need them, but they can also conveniently and quickly fold down when you don't, making them great for hunters or other sharpshooters on the move, or as a backup when your gun's primary device fails. When users buy our independently chosen editorial picks, we may earn commissions to support our work. Skip to the best flip up sight on Amazon.
A Brief History Of Sights
Many marksmen would scratch reference notches on the barrels, allowing for adjustments on the fly.
When firearms were first invented around the 14th century C.E., there was little need for any sort of aiming apparatus. This is because the weapons were so inaccurate, all you could do was point them in the general direction you wanted the bullets to go, and then hope for the best.
Once guns started becoming (slightly) more accurate a few centuries later, it became more imperative to have a way to ensure that your aim was true. The first sights were simply iron or brass beads mounted on the muzzle, with a fixed leaf attached to the rear. These didn't exactly allow for pinpoint accuracy, but at least you'd have a general idea of where your round would end up.
These front sights were screwed onto the barrel, and you could make windage adjustments by turning them in the proper direction. Many marksmen would scratch reference notches on the barrels, allowing for adjustments on the fly. They also began using rear sights of differing sizes that could be flicked into place to account for distance.
Meanwhile, in Germany in the 1500s, v-notched rear sights began to crop up. These were designed to focus the eye on the bead at the front of the rifle; soon, primitive tunnels were being made to further tighten this focus — the first scopes. This system became extremely popular in Denmark, and even crossed the pond into the Americas over the next few hundred years.
In 19th century Turkey, peep sights began being used. A series of peep holes were created in the rear sight, one on top of the other. This allowed shooters to use the proper sight hole for different distances, increasing accuracy. The design caught on across the Middle East, North Africa, and Europe, and in the latter country marksmen used only one hole, with the sight situated on a sliding ramp.
Eventually, an American named E.E. Patridge developed a flat pillar on the front sight, with a rectangular notch on the back end. Made wide enough to let light through, this allowed for shooters to adjust for windage on the fly, increasing accuracy without sacrificing speed. Patridge's system is still widely used on handguns and target-shooting firearms to this day.
The past few centuries have seen numerous advances in sighting technology, especially in the field of scopes. However, simple iron sights are still convenient and effective, especially for casual gun enthusiasts. While you may not feel like a sniper when peering through a flip-up sight, you will feel like a Wild West gunman...and isn't that much more fun?
Benefits Of Flip-Up Sights
Buying and attaching flip-up sights to your weapon may seem like overkill. But there are several reasons why you might want to consider altering your gun to support a second set of sights.
Most quality flip-up sights allow for a variety of quick adjustments as well, including windage and distance.
The main reason is to act simply as a back-up in case your primary sights fail. This is especially important for cops, soldiers, or anyone else who carries in tactical situations where poor aim could prove fatal. Having a secondary system in place, especially one that's easy to implement without sacrificing accuracy, is a smart fail-safe.
Most quality flip-up sights allow for a variety of quick adjustments as well, including windage and distance. If your rifle doesn't have the best built-in sights, you can upgrade them without damaging the weapon. This can certainly come in handy for target shooters or other competitive marksmen.
The great thing about flip-up sights is that they aren't in the way when not in use, so if you don't feel like using them, they won't interfere with your shooting experience. They lay flat against the barrel, allowing you to use your primary sights until you need something with a little more precision.
Oh, and while this isn't the most compelling reason, they just look incredibly cool. That won't save your life in a pinch or improve your marksmanship, but shooting is supposed to be fun, remember? Might as well splurge on cool gear, like flip-up or red dot sights.
After all, it's not like anyone will take it away from you. You have a gun.
Other Gear To Consider
If you're considering adding secondary sights to your primary weapon, chances are you're serious about your shooting. If that's the case, there's some other gear you should consider to get the most out of your experience.
If you're serious about improving your accuracy, a quality bipod or bench rest is also important.
The first thing is a good rifle case. Not only will it protect your weapon, but it makes transporting it to and from the range a breeze. Most importantly, though, it can carry a ton of other gear, allowing you to spend even more on shooting supplies.
If you're serious about improving your accuracy, a quality bipod or bench rest is also important. You can only be so accurate when shooting from the shoulder (and it can even cause injuries), so finding a steady surface to support you is extremely important. After all, there's no point in investing in better sights if you're going to shoot haphazardly with them.
And, if you're hoping to maximize your fun, invest in some creative targets. There are options out there that allow you to play games (such as Battleship) during your practice rounds, while others let you pretend to take down an entire squad of evildoers. It's amazing how much of a difference a fun target can make, and it can take some of the drudgery out of your skill-building routine.
Of course, none of these things are strictly necessary, but they will help keep you organized and motivated — and they'll make the other shooters at the range jealous, which is half the fun anyway.
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