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AR 15 Sights and Co-Witnessing

What is co-witnessing? If you’ve browsed any AR 15 forum you’ve come across the phrase co-witness, often used in the context of iron sights, optics and optic mounts. Folks are curious if “X product” will co-witness with “Y irons”. To break it down very simply, co-witnessing is how your optic and iron sights mesh together. This black rifle buzzword is what lets you rock both irons and an optic without having to remove either. To get started, let’s example some great co-witness irons: Magpul sights are the perfect option for co-witnessing and we’ll explore why.

Benefits of Co-Witnessing

The primary benefit here is having a reliable, no-lens, no-battery option of aiming if your optic breaks. Optics these days can be extremely tough and many are made to go to war, come back and go again. But at the same time they utilize glass and electronics. This complicates them and presents a multitude of failure points. Iron sights are simple and failure-proof, short of being hit with a sledge. we always advise a quality set of standard AR 15 Sights, like the Magpul sights, before you invest in an optic. If the optic goes down at least you have a sighting option. The U.S military uses CompM4s – one of the most rugged red dots you’ll find – but they still equip all their rifles with good ole’ A2 front posts and a rear BUIS.

Why Magpuls Are Some of The Best AR 15 Sights

Magpul Flip-Up Sights Front & Rear - AR-15

The Magpul MBUS sights are standard height, feature an intuitive front and rear sight picture design and they allow easy, quick co-witnessing. These little guys are polymer and incredibly lightweight. They’re also incredibly strong. It seems odd calling polymer sights iron sights, but we call steel, and aluminum sights “irons” all the time. Magpul sights have the ability to fold out of the way for easy storage and to keep the weapon free of snags.

Magpul Flip-Up Sights Front & Rear - Blog Photo 2

The ability to simply fold the sights down and then press a button and pop them up is invaluable for back up iron sights. Traditionally there are two ways to co-witness your AR 15 Sights: Absolute co-witness and lower 1/3rd co-witness. Absolute co-witness makes using the iron sights easy, and lower 1/3rd iron sights give you a clearer sight picture. The Magpul sights give you the ability to do both. They can absolute co-witness if the optic fails and if your optic mount allows it, and they can be folded away to present a clear sight picture through the optic. It takes less than a second to pop the sights up and they are quite intuitive and effective for both precision and defensive shooting.

Bare Necessities

AR 15 Sights rank perhaps #1 on the list of AR necessities – just as much as a handguard, or a stock in our humble opinion. A rifle without them is naked and could very well be made useless in short order. A good set of iron sights will complete your rifle build and ensure you can actually aim the damn thing. If you need a good set of quality iron sights consider our Magpul Flip-Up Sights!

DISCLAIMER: If you are new to the world of DIY gun building, you likely have a lot of questions and rightfully so. It’s an area that has a lot of questions that, without the correct answers, could have some serious implications. At 80 Lowers, we are by no means providing this content on our website to serve as legal advice or legal counsel. We encourage each and every builder to perform their own research around their respective State laws as well as educating themselves on the Federal laws. When performing your own research, please be sure that you are getting your information from a reliable source.


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