Back Up Iron Sights – BUIS

Sometimes I feel the need to address what I consider to be a “fad”.  And I should make it clear that I hate fads.  I don’t like anything that people do just because its what everyone else is doing.  Now if it makes sense and you understand why you are doing it, then have at it.  But don’t just follow along because I’ll share a little secret with you….  Most people are clueless!

The topic today is Back Up Iron Sights or BUIS.  BUIS evolved when we started putting red dots and other optical sights on our rifles.  Just in case these electronic gizmos quit working, we want some way to stay in the fight so the BUIS was born.  Now I want you to consider two key phrases in the sentences above; “Back up” and “stay in the fight”.

There is only one reason for a AR15 Flip Up Sights on your rifle and that is because your optical sight has failed or quit working for some reason and you’re in one of those “I’M ABOUT TO DIE” situations.  The BUIS only exists because that high dollar EOTech, Aimpoint, Leupold, or Trijicon quit working on you.  Maybe it got blown up by an IED, took a round, or just went FUBAR for no particular reason… AND someone is still out there trying to kill you.

Now we don’t put BUIS on our hunting rifles and yet every fall thousands of hunters take to the field with only one sighting device on their rifle.  People fly into Alaska and pay big money for a hunt, but they don’t have BUIS on their rifles.  If their rifle scope fails on them then they’re just out of luck.  Now a lot of people are buying AR15s and other similar style rifles and putting scopes on them.  If you’re just buying it for plinking and having fun, do you really need BUIS on it?

The BUIS is a combat invention.  It’s based on the military philosophy that “two is one and one is none”; meaning if you have two of something, then one of them can get broken or lost (fairly common) and you still have one.  If you only have one, and it gets broken or lost, then you’re just SOL – shit out of luck.

I guess I’ve just talked to a lot of guys who are putting a lot of time, money and stress into figuring out how mount a scope with a mini red dot on top and still be able to use the BUIS and they’re using the rifle on prairie dogs and wild hogs.  It’s just not needed.  Save your money and spend it on ammo.  “Invest in Lead”, that’s what I’m telling everyone!

Now I’m not trying to make light of anything.  If you’re going into combat or plan on using the rifle for self defense, then I’d have a BUIS on it.  I try to live by the “Two is one and One is none” philosophy, but it’s also because I look at every one of my weapons as a self defense tool…. and I think that’s a lot of what is driving the desire for BUIS.  I think a lot of guys look at their AR15 as a self defense gun if the need ever arises.

I prefer the sights from Troy Industries and Midwest Industries.  The rear sight I used on most of my rifles is the Midwest Low Profile model.  It’s low enough to fit under just about any scope when folded down.  Thanks to Magpul, we no longer have to spend over $200 on a BUIS set. You can see them at Magpul MBUS Sights.   There are a couple of drawbacks to the Magpul MBUS… #1) The front MBUS cannot be mounted on a gas block – it con only be used on a forearm rail.  #2) I don’t know how much abuse they could handle.  AND…. since your Back Up Iron Sights (BUIS) are your last resort sighting device on your rifle, it’s probably worth the couple hundred bucks to get something from Troy or Midwest.  If you just want them to look cool, then you’ll be fine with the Magpul sights.  They do look cool, and they work well… but when everything else has gone wrong, my scope is broken, etc, then I feel like I would want tougher backup sights.  Magpul has recently released MBUS PRO sights that are made from aluminum and seem to fix my concern above.

So is the desire for a BUIS part of the “tactical fad” or legitimate?  Only you can decide as only you know what you plan on doing with the rifle.  I just want you to make the decision based on fact and not just because everyone else is doing it.


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