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Best AR-15 Offset Iron Sights [View-Throughs]

Need a quick transition from a magnified scope to close-up targets? Check out offset irons which give you a nice sight picture with a quick rotation.

    Have you ever watched videos of 3-gun competitions only to wonder why some people rotate their rifle before firing?

    Well, if you look closely, you’ll probably notice that most of them have a scope or magnified optic mounted on their gun as well, and that’s not a coincidence.

    What you’re seeing is shooters aiming with offset iron sights. These are sights that are mounted to your flattop rifle and are offset by 45 degrees.  

    We can agree accuracy is crucial. And offset irons give you a great shortcut option when you’re dialed out with your main optic.

    So let’s dive into offset irons a little more. We’ll walk you through why you might want this and also give you some models we recommend!

    Summary of Our Top Picks

    1. Most Durable

      Surefire Rapid Transition Sight

      Heavy duty, durable, and will last!

    2. Editpr's Pick

      Magpul MBUS Pro Offset

      Low profile design, can be adjusted for windage/elevation

    3. Best Budget Sights

      Ade Advanced Offset Sights

      Good if you need something affordable, 1/2 MOA elevation and windage adjustments, alumnimum construction

    4. Best High-End

      Ultradyne C4 Offset BUIS

      Dual aperture setup so target is still visible, but it's pricey

    Table of Contents


    Why Offset?

    Say you’re rocking a scope, but you need to quickly fire off a shot at a target just a few short yards away. 

    Instead of spending time trying to locate the target through your scope, all you need to do is rotate your gun slightly and line up the target with your offset iron sights. 

    Viewthrough of Ade 45 Degree BUIS
    View through of Ade 45 Degree BUIS

    This will take half the time that it would take to use your scope at shorter distances, making it offset sights crucial for competitions and real-life tactical situations.

    Are Offset Iron Sights Better Than Inline Sights?

    Better is a relative term, but they can be useful in situations where you’ve got to engage a close target and time matters.

    The benefit that offset iron sights has over inline sights is that you don’t have to take the time to flip them up in the moment. 

    While most offset sights are able to be flipped up and down, leaving the sights in an up position won’t inhibit your scope like inline sights would. This means that engaging a short-range target is as simple as rotating your rifle 45 degrees and firing.

    Dueck Defense Rapid Transition Sight
    Dueck Defense Rapid Transition Sight

    Offset irons can be especially advantageous if your optic device suddenly breaks, as that can seriously dampen your inline sights’ effectiveness.

    More importantly, offset sights make it feasible to go between short and medium/long-range target without having to fiddle with your optic mount. Because in a real-life scenario, nobody has the time to take off their scope before engaging a target!

    Ain't Nobody Got Time for That

    On the other hand, there is a learning curve that comes with offset sights. It might take some shooters some time to get used to rotating their rifle, especially when they need to take a shot in a short amount of time. 

    Furthermore, offset sights can be a nuisance and get snagged on things if you’re not mindful of them.

    Best AR-15 Offset Iron Sights

    Now that we touched on the benefits that come with offset iron sights, are you thinking about adding some to your rifle?

    If so, you’ve come to the right place because we’re going to look at a few quality sights that will turn your rifle into a tactical powerhouse.

    1. Surefire Rapid Transition Sight

    When it comes to quality sights, 3-Gun legend Barry Dueck is a name you can trust.

    For this reason, offset irons made by Surefire have been some of the more popular BUIS for some time, and the Rapid Transition Sights are no exception.

    Barry Dueck of Dueck Defense
    Barry Dueck Aiming with Rapid Transition Sights

    Dueck came up with the Rapid Transition Sight to maximize his proficiency in run-and-gun competitive shooting scenarios while also being able to use a powerful optical mount. And out of that need, the Rapid Transition Sight was born.

    Aside from the rather expensive price tag, what sets these sights off from other offset irons out there is their heavy-duty design. 

    dueck defense

    Made from the lightweight 7075 aluminum alloy, the Rapid Transition Sights aren’t only lighter than your average offset, but they’re stronger as well — twice as strong as the standard 6061 T6 aluminum sights, to be exact!

    If you’re wondering why anyone would pay so much for sights just for increased durability, remember that offset sights tend to catch a lot more wear and tear than inline sights because of their positioning. 

    The last thing you want during a 3-Gun competition or an emergency situation is to accidentally bang your site against an object and break it.

    Most Durable
    at OpticsPlanet

    Prices accurate at time of writing

    Prices accurate at time of writing

    Available Coupons

    The mount only rises 2/10th of an inch higher than your Picatinny rail, so don’t worry about them blocking your primary optic.

    2. MBUS Pro Offset Sights by Magpul

    Magpul is another leader in aftermarket tactical gear, so it should go without saying that Magpul sights tend to sell themselves.

    You may have already heard of the MBUS Pro inline sights. They’ve been a popular line of backup irons for some time now because of their durability and dependability. 

    Magpul MBUS sights are pretty popular for a reason…

    Well, these sights are exactly the same as their inline variants, except that they’re made for shooters who prefer to aim with offset sights rather than inline flip-ups. 

    Aside from that, you get the same quality and durability that comes standard with Magpul sights.

    The MBUS Pro sights are more than capable of handling whatever you’re able to throw at them. 

    at Amazon

    Prices accurate at time of writing

    Prices accurate at time of writing

    Available Coupons

    They’re made completely from steel and can take a bit of banging around. To further sweeten the deal; they’ve also been given a coat of Melonite QPQ to keep them protected against corrosion.

    Like standard iron sights, the MBUS Pro offsets can be adjusted for elevation and windage without the need for tools. The front and rear sights come with a low-profile design that makes them compatible with virtually every rifle configuration. 

    All you need is a Picatinny rail system, and you’re good to go.

    What do you think of the MBUS system? Rate it below!

    Readers' Ratings

    5.00/5 (1302)

    Your Rating?

    3. Ade Advanced Offset Sights

    Now, those first two are what you want if you plan on depending on your offset irons when you need them, but maybe you just want to play around with the idea before committing a bag full of money.

    Thankfully, there is a budget option in the Ade Advanced Offset Sights.

    Ade Advanced 45 Degree BUIS
    Ade Advanced 45 Degree BUIS

    Made from 7075 aluminum with a hard anodized finish and sporting 1/2 MOA elevation and windage adjustments, these are surprisingly decent sights for the price.

    And they look decent on any rifle.

    Viewthrough of Ade 45 Degree BUIS
    View through of Ade 45 Degree BUIS

    But most importantly…they give you a decent enough target picture to score some easy hits against human-sized targets up close and personal.

    No frills, no night sights or anything else, but good enough for range day trips and for testing out to see if the offset irons concept is right for you.

    Best Budget Sights
    at Amazon

    Prices accurate at time of writing

    Prices accurate at time of writing

    Available Coupons

    4. Ultradyne C4 Offset BUIS

    The C4 has a lot going for it, but one of the more unique features is a dual aperture setup. In essence, this means the front sight has a hole in it, too — it’s not just a post.

    This allows the shooter to still see the target rather than superimposing the front post over it.

    Made of 4140 CrMo Steel and 7075 aluminum, the C4 is built tough, and can be folded down when not being used. When deployed, the sights are adjustable for elevation from 200 to 600 yards.

    Windage is adjustable, too, and features an easy return to zero.

    All this capability and finer materials mean the C4 Offsets start around $320.

    Best High-End
    at OpticsPlanet

    Prices accurate at time of writing

    Prices accurate at time of writing

    Available Coupons

    Final Thoughts

    Understand that offset iron sights aren’t for everyone. If you’re not someone who needs to switch between long and short distances on the fly, there’s not much of a reason for you to get used to learning how to shoot with offset irons. 

    Ade BUIS on LWRCI AR
    Ade BUIS on LWRCI AR

    And believe me, if you’re like most people, it will take some time to remember to rotate your gun when you first start shooting with offsets.

    If the offset + high-powered scope doesn’t appeal to you, but you still need something that does give your accuracy a little boost without compromising your short-range shooting, look into scout scopes as a viable alternative.

    If you’re a competitive shooter or tactical junkie, make sure to let us know how you like shooting with offset iron sights. Want to go electronic or magnified? Check out our Best AR-15 Scopes & Optics.

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    25 Leave a Reply

    • Commenter Avatar
      Andrew James Hodges

      The Xts Xti2 Dxs are unique, they aren't an aperture sight but are more like pistol big dot sights. I was looking for a set and liked the idea of them and then I saw a recommendation for them based on not being aperture sights. This youtuber was convinced they were faster than the aperture sights recommended here. I think they are also reversible for lefties.

      March 11, 2023 4:56 pm
    • Commenter Avatar

      Ade Advanced 45 Degree BUIS are cheap budget junk. They will not last, plus they are not "1/2 MOA elevation and windage adjustments" > I measured them from a set a guy showed up in class with. They are just shy of 3/4 MOA but it depends on where in the adjustment you are.

      February 14, 2023 1:18 pm
    • Commenter Avatar
      Justin Adams

      Any updates on new offset products?

      April 29, 2022 5:32 am
    • Commenter Avatar
      Kirk Righter

      Somebody needs to upgrade the links on this page.

      August 7, 2021 5:39 pm
      • Commenter Avatar
        Jacki Billings, Editor

        Thanks for letting us know! We're in the process of updating older articles and we'll add this one to our list. Thanks for reading!

        August 9, 2021 4:37 am
    • Commenter Avatar

      OK, but what about left handed people?

      July 7, 2021 5:33 pm
    • Commenter Avatar

      What about Left handed offset iron sights?

      January 11, 2021 7:16 pm
    • Commenter Avatar
      Sergio Gutierrez

      Hello Brandon. Since I started learning more about guns and accessories for rifles and so on, I always get on Pew Pew Tactical website for advice. Thanks for helping novice guys like me to take an educated decision.

      December 12, 2020 3:34 pm
      • Commenter Avatar
        David, PPT Editor

        Glad we could help!

        December 12, 2020 5:20 pm
    • Commenter Avatar

      would you have 2 sets of irons on your ar or just one 45 degrees and on your picatinny rail

      March 25, 2020 5:34 pm
      • Commenter Avatar

        You have to have two to make the sight radius work

        April 7, 2020 4:10 pm
      • Commenter Avatar

        You have 1 set, the 45 offset. Its attached to the picatinny rail. You transition from your magnified optic to these sights by simply rotating the gun.

        May 24, 2020 2:31 pm
    • Commenter Avatar
      Steve Kelly

      Troy 45° M4 dioptic offset battle sites are my fave

      March 4, 2018 4:24 pm
    • Commenter Avatar

      I really my TUOR sights, they work as flip up sights and off set sites for righty and lefty.

      March 1, 2018 11:04 am
    • Commenter Avatar

      Griffin Armament makes a pretty solid contender that is ambidextrous. And for another $40, they can be provided with mounting plates that allow the sights to be mounted vertically, as well.

      February 28, 2018 10:53 am
      • Commenter Avatar
        Eric Hung

        Thanks, didn't know they had those!

        February 28, 2018 3:46 pm
        • Commenter Avatar

          What about AT3 sights?

          February 12, 2019 6:47 pm
    • Commenter Avatar
      Email Me Home Phone And

      You still need to zero the 45 sight. Not much difference at 20 ft, miss at 20 yards

      February 28, 2018 7:37 am
    • Commenter Avatar

      On the budget realm, Dagger Defense makes a flip up 45 offset, just as good as the ADE with the flip up advantage. They also are an American owned company with great customer service.

      February 28, 2018 12:17 am
      • Commenter Avatar

        I haven't tried their 45 offsets but I have a pair of their standard BUIS, surprisingly solid. I actually like them slightly better than my Magpul ones.

        February 28, 2018 2:01 am
    • Commenter Avatar

      What do you think of the Strike industries sidewinder offset sights, they sale for $160?

      February 27, 2018 9:10 pm
    • Commenter Avatar

      I’m a lefty, are there any Offsets for a left-hander?

      February 27, 2018 8:35 pm
      • Commenter Avatar

        Duck Defense make a left handed version. Some of the cheaper brands can be used flipped for lefty without much difference.

        February 28, 2018 12:12 am
      • Commenter Avatar

        Brownells says that lefty versions of the Dueck Defense Rapid Transition Sights can be ordered or you can get them directly from Dueck Defense.

        For a budget option, I couldn't find much - you might be better off using something like a 45 Degree Offset Picatinny section and then throwing either a small red dot or some standard BUIS on it.

        February 28, 2018 1:55 am
    • Commenter Avatar

      I have two pair of offset sights that look very close to Dueck & Ade. I got them from Sportsman’s Guide for around $50 each. I think they were called XTS. They work great for me & I doubt I’d be willing to spend Dueck money. I doubt the Duecks are 4x as good. I did order a $20 set from Amazon once (not sure if Ade or other) & ended up returning them. They were very similar to those I got from SG but sloppy. It seemed almost like they were from the same factory but the SG set passed quality control & the Amazon set didn’t, hence the price difference. They’re the only offset irons I have though I might eventually get the MBUS Pros. I also have a Vortex Venom offset on two rifles with magnified optics & I really like that setup. But that’s another Pew Pew article.

      February 27, 2018 4:47 pm
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