Traditionally, AR 15 rifle users have used the conventional iron sight. If you haven’t already bought a red dot sight, then this would be the only way you could aim accurately when shooting your AR 15.
As the technology for red dot sights grows year on year with no sign of stopping and thus affordable for the casual shooter. But there is still a need for these iron sights as they provide most of the functionality that red dot sights have.
They are also a good backup to take on shooting expeditions if your main red dot sight fails you. Have a look at our review of what is the best red dot sight or take a look at our recommendations for the best cheap red dot sight for your AR 15 here.
Why should you buy an AR 15 Iron Sight?
The more advanced AR optics that have peppered the market with a wide range of high end products certainly have their place in the modern era.
Main advantages as increase shooting accuracy, faster target acquisition and they also allow you to shoot at targets which are quite far away. And with the inexpensive price tag of some of the low end models, it has become quite a simple decision for many AR 15 users to switch up.
We have found that a number of the newer AR 15 guns on the market do not even come equipped with a traditional iron sight! This shocked us a great deal. But this shows the direction of travel if the AR 15 manufacturers don’t feel the need to include such basic functionality on their rifles anymore, as they will probably assume that you will go out and buy your own optic for your AR 15.
Why is this?
Well, they are perfect for beginners and their simple design makes them usable and accessible to the casual shooter who doesn’t want to spend $500+ on an advanced red dot sight.
What are the advantages of an AR 15 iron sight?
Not only is their functionality more basic but user friendly, an iron sight for an AR 15 rifle also offers the following advantages
- Not heavy – AR 15 optics often contain electronic components packaged with heavy glass – not to mention the batteries which also come included. This makes iron sights weigh little in comparison to red dot sight optics.
- Not affected by the weather – While some of the high end AR 15 red dot sights may be water proof and fog proof, some of the low end red dot sight optic models are affected substantially by the weather, rendering them useless to be used in poor weather conditions.
- Design is basic – Iron sights only have two parts – namely the rear sight with aperture and the front post. So with only two parts to an iron sight, they are very easy to use! Red dot sights often come with large instruction manuals which you’d need to read before you used the optic, otherwise you could end up damaging it inadvertently.
- Useful as a backup to your main optic – As you can see from the advantages listed above, your iron sight could be used in conjunction with your AR 15 optic. Or if the main optic becomes broken for any reason, you can always slap your iron sight on and shoot away!
What are the different types of AR 15 sights available for the money?
There are many characteristics of an AR 15 sight which you should look out for when you are looking to buy an AR 15. I would recommend you take a look at such features as:
- Alignment Functionality
- Mounting Capabilities
- The Sight Functionality
But the imperative point to consider when you are searching for the best AR 15 sight is finding a sight that enhances your performance and enjoyment from shooting your AR 15. So what sights are there that could help improve your performance
45 Degree Offset Sights
Many AR 15 users have found that their red dot sights aren’t perfect for every shooting situation. For example, if you are in close quarter combat battle or shooting at close range, a magnified red dot sight scope wouldn’t be suitable for you.
Perfect for close range shooting are 45 degree offset sights. Why is this? Well, 45 degree sights are able to be mounted at an angle away from the rail. This enables them to be held out of the way until the AR 15 user needs the sight. They could use the sight quickly and effectively by twisting the rifle. Offset sights such as this are perfect when you need to aim fast and shoot at a target which is a short distance away.
Rapid Transition Sights from Surefire
An alternative to the 45 degree offset sight discussed above is the rapid transition sight, most popularly advertised by Surefire. They offer the best rapid transition sights in my opinion. These sights are made of sleek anodized aluminium and because of this, they are strong and so maintain their zero excellently. A slight knock will not affect rapid transition sights in the slightest.
When you mount a Surefire rapid transition sight, most of the time they only extend upwards by roughly 0.2 of an inch above the rail. This makes it very compact and is unlikely to get in your way. As the name suggests, rapid transition sights allow fast target acquisition which is like a red dot sight optic for AR 15 rifles.
Don’t worry if you are right or left handed shooter, these sights can be mounted on both sides of a rail. This is one of the best sights for AR 15 rifles that you should consider.