Updated September 07, 2019 by Brett Dvoretz

The 10 Best Flip Up Sights

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Best High-End
Best Mid-Range
Best Inexpensive

This wiki has been updated 17 times since it was first published in February of 2017. Even novice shooters know that the quickest way to an accurate shot is through a reliable firearms sight. These flip-up models are there when you need them, but they can also conveniently and quickly fold down when you don't. They are ideal for hunters or other marksmen on the move, for close-quarters targeting, and as a backup when your gun's primary sight fails. When users buy our independently chosen editorial recommendations, we may earn commissions to help fund the Wiki. Skip to the best flip up sight on Amazon.

10. Trinity Force Tactical

9. GRG Backup Iron Sight

8. DD Dagger Defense Tactical BUIS

7. Evans Unlimited 45 Degree

6. Diamondhead USA Polymer

This item has been flagged for editorial review and is not available.

5. UTG Low Profile

4. Magpul MBUS Generation II

3. Magpul MBUS Pro

2. Ozark Armament Battle

1. Troy Industries Micro HK Style

Special Honors

Bobro Engineering Lowrider BUIS Sight Set These aiming aids are ideal for short-barreled weapons or anyone who is looking to conserve space on their rail for other devices. They are sturdy and lightweight, and offer full elevation and windage adjustment, however they only have a single aperture in the rear sight. bobroengineering.com

ARMS 40L The ARMS 40L have a low-profile design that ensures they won't interfere with your main scope or other rail-mounted accessories. They are smartly designed to lean lightly to the rear, which allows them to fold in the correct direction if dropped and increasing their chances of maintaining their zero. armsmounts.com

Editor's Notes

September 05, 2019:

Flip up sights are generally considered back up devices to use when your main scope or aiming aid fails. That means you'll want them to be reliable, but also able to remain out of the way and barely noticeable when not in use. Because of this, we focused on finding models that were sturdy and held tight against the rail when folded down. However, we will be the first to admit that we made some sacrifices in these departments on a couple of the lower cost units, specifically the GRG Backup Iron Sight and Trinity Force Tactical, to ensure that even someone on the tightest of budgets could find something to fit their needs on our list.

If you fall firmly in the metal only club when it comes to BUIS, then you'll want to look at the Troy Industries Micro HK Style, Ozark Armament Battle, Magpul MBUS Pro, UTG Low Profile, and Evans Unlimited 45 Degree. Of these, the Troy Industries Micro HK Style and Magpul MBUS Pro come from the most-respected companies in the rifling community, though we think many people will be impressed by the quality-to-cost ratio of the UTG Low Profile and Ozark Armament Battle.

While it is easier to find durable and reliable metal models than polymer, we have identified a couple polymer BUIS that will impress even the most die-hard metal sight enthusiasts. The Magpul MBUS Generation II and Diamondhead USA Polymer can both easily last a lifetime and withstand rugged use in the field. Plus, they have the added benefit of being extremely lightweight and not susceptible to rust.

A Brief History Of Sights

These front sights were screwed onto the barrel, and you could make windage adjustments by turning them in the proper direction.

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.

Buying and attaching flip-up sights to your weapon may seem like overkill.

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.

Not only will it protect your weapon, but it makes transporting it to and from the range a breeze.

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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Brett Dvoretz
Last updated on September 07, 2019 by Brett Dvoretz

A wandering writer who spends as much time on the road as in front of a laptop screen, Brett can either be found hacking away furiously at the keyboard or, perhaps, enjoying a whiskey and coke on some exotic beach, sometimes both simultaneously, usually with a four-legged companion by his side. He has been a professional chef, a dog trainer, and a travel correspondent for a well-known Southeast Asian guidebook. He also holds a business degree and has spent more time than he cares to admit in boring office jobs. He has an odd obsession for playing with the latest gadgets and working on motorcycles and old Jeeps. His expertise, honed over years of experience, is in the areas of computers, electronics, travel gear, pet products, and kitchen, office and automotive equipment.

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