Essential Gear: Magpul MBUS (VIDEO)

I’m not sure why I expected the Stag 3G to come with sights.  But I’ll admit that I was really bummed when I opened the case, ammo in hand, and didn’t have any reasonable way to shoot it.

It was one of those days.  No sights.  I had a nice scope in, but didn’t have the right mounts.  It was, to say the least, disappointing.

MBUS Stag 1

So I started calling around, looking for sights.  Nothing.  Two weeks later, I was explaining my dilemma to Jacob, my assistant, and he told me I he had a set of Magpul back up sights in his shooting bag, which he had left with me after our last big shoot.

I felt a little bit foolish.  But I dropped the phone and rifled through his bag.  Sure enough.  a brand new set of Magpul Back Up Sights (MBUS), lurking there all along.

MBUS Front

The MBUS Front Sight

The Back Up Sight

The idea is simple enough.  If your AR doesn’t have built in iron sights, you add your own.  There are many options.  If you have a typical carbine length upper with a fixed front post, the rear will do.

But what if you have limited real estate on top of your rifle, and want optics?  A red dot, or an actual scope.  Then what?

If you are simply a recreational shooter hanging out at the range for the afternoon, a serious equipment failure is no big deal.  Take off the scope, put on the rear sight, and keep shooting.

Ideally, that’s how it would always happen.  But if someone’s shooting back, it is better to have the sight already on the rifle, tucked up, reclined, flattened out.  Ready.  If the optic fails, or the battery dies, knock it off.  Flip up the sight, and keep shooting.  With quick detach scope mounts and good back up sights, the process takes only seconds.

The Magpul Back Up Sight

Magpul makes great gear.  I have yet to see anything from the company that hasn’t been exceptionally well designed and built.  They work wonders with plastics, especially.  The MBUS is polymer, mostly, with steel where it counts (in the springs, fasteners, and posts).  But the polymer is tough as nails and light, which makes it ideal for the AR platform.

The most popular MBUS is the rear sight.  It is a typical ghost ring sight with two apertures.  The push of a lever allows the sight to be flattened out.  When reclined, the rear MBUS is flat enough to fit beneath the eyepiece of a scope, like the Konus T-30 pictured below.

When stowed, the rear MBUS is just 2.6 inches.  Deployed, 1.5 inches.  Stowed, the rear sight is just a hair over half an inch tall. And it only adds 1.3 ounces to the gun.

mbus konus

With the scope removed, the MBUS flips up with the touch of a finger.  The front operates the same way.  Instillation is as simple as the turn of a flat head screw.  We used the Gerber Multi-Plier 600 Sight Tool to do the adjustments, which makes adjusting the front post super easy.

On the Stag 3G, the MBUS is a practical solution.  With the long Samson rail, the 3G has more than enough room to mount a front MBUS and a rear MBUS and anything else you’d like.

Back Up Sights on a Scatter Gun?

The Kel-Tec KSG is another wonder-gun that arrives without sights.  Not that you need them to burn through a couple of bricks of birdshot.  But sights help.  You might as well hit what you’re actually aiming at.  Aiming is good.

mbus ksg

The MBUS sights are perfect for the KSG, too.  While the sight radius is much shorter on the KSG’s rail, it is more than ample for the MBUS and the addition of an optic.  And the open end of the rear ghost ring is an ideal indicator of the spread of shot from the KSG’s short barrel.

mbus ksg 2


The rear MBUS is retailing for around $55.  The front for $38, or so.  That’s less than most of the competition.  The next price point up involves more metal, aluminum usually.  But anything that is more rugged than the MBUS will also weigh more.  That’s not a big deal when you’re simply looking at sights.  But it adds up.

And the polymer allows for more custom colors, if you’re into that sort of thing.

Check out a Magpul MBUS if you haven’t already.  Sight them in, fold them down, and hope you never need them.

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