A few days ago I received a set of the new Midwest Industries back up iron sights (BUIS) that they are coming out with mid October. They are made of steel and aluminum, with the base made of aluminum and the sight posts, front and rear, made out of steel. Plus, it turns out that even with all that steel in them, they are lighter than the mostly aluminum sights that are on the market. I will compare the MI BUIS set to what I have considered the gold standard for me, the TROY BUIS, of which I have dozens of sets. The MI set, front and rear, weigh 2.6 ounces, compared to a TROY front/rear dual aperture standard size BUIS set which weighs 3.1 ounces. The TROY is mostly aluminum with steel adjustment and clamp screws while the MI is aluminum in the base but uses steel posts, front and rear, along with steel clamp screws and adjustment screws.
One will notice immediately that the MI Combat BUIS rear sight has only one aperture. It is mid sized, with the aperture measuring .148 inch, not too small for rapid sight acquisition/CQB shooting, but not too big for precision shooting at range; a very nice compromise. In comparison to TROY BUIS, their small aperture is .070 inch which is great for ‘at range’ precision work but terrible for CQB work in dim light. The large aperture is .194 inch, which is great for CQB work, but not so good for precision shooting at range. And if you have the wrong aperture in position and you need the other, time will be lost making the switch. In fairness, the default aperture is the large one and I doubt one would need to be in a hurry deploying the small aperture in any conceivable scenario.
However, by using one aperture, MI makes it so that you never have the wrong aperture in position when you need the other; nothing to flip up or down, or get in the way if you have the wrong aperture in position when trying to fold the sight or install a scope over top of the folded rear BUIS. This one intermediate size seems to be a very good compromise. By only having one aperture, the rear sight lays very close to the receiver, being only .388 inch above the receiver when folded which allows it to fit under even the largest ocular lensed scopes. The sights, both front and rear, fold down with a very strong snap due to dual detents which lock it in place, yet there are no buttons to push to deploy or fold. The detents are so strong that it is very unlikely they are going to self deploy or self fold unless you really bang the rifle against something, an impact which would very likely break a sight that was fixed into position by a push-button locking release. Yet the sights are not difficult to deploy even when wearing gloves.
The front sight has the side ‘wings’ we have all come to know and love which protects the front sight post and reduces side lighting glare on the post, whilst the rear sight is free standing, no ‘wings’ to protect the rear sight post or offer shade from side lighting. However, seeing how the rear sight post is steel, and quite thick, it would take a tremendous lick to bend it or break it off. Enough so that I doubt a sight with ‘wings’ would fare much better. As for side lighting on the aperture, the aperture is recessed and has a very dull matte black finish, so I doubt there would be much if any noticeable glare on the aperture regardless of how bright the light may be. Using it outside on a very sunny day, I never got any reflection off the rear sight aperture making it difficult to see. Yet, in dim light the ghost ring affect of the aperture made it easy to acquire the target. Since my better half frowns on me shooting in the basement, I did not shoot the sight in dim light, but I was able to mount and acquire a sight picture easily.
The front sight is adjustable for elevation, 1.5 MOA per ‘click’, uses a standard 4-point front sight tool, included with the set, and uses standard front sight posts if one wishes to change it. The rear is adjustable for windage, and the generously sized knob needs no tools to adjust. If used on a rifle length barrel the adjustment is .50 MOA per click, on a carbine length barrel, .65 MOA per click. The front sight also folds very close to the rail, only extending .437 inch above it when folded, yet both the front and rear sights deploy to standard height for proper cheek weld with A1, A2, or any CAR stock and co-witnesses normally, either exact or lower 1/3, depending on the bases height used on the optic.
I mounted these on a 16” .458 SOCOM which also has an 2-7x scope mounted on it. There was plenty of clearance below the ocular lens for the rear BUIS. I chose to shoot three three-shot groups at 100 yards and take their averages. The ammo was reloads of Hornady 250 gr. Monoflex bullets that have proven to shoot MOA in all my rifles, many times. First with the scope set at 7x. Groups for 3 shots at 100 yards measured .924 inch c-c. Switching to the TROY BUIS with small aperture, the average group size at 100 yards measured 2.253 inches c-c. Again, using the TROY but this time with the large aperture, the average group size measured 10.815 inches c-c.
I then switched out the BUIS to the MI and repeated the three three-shot groups at 100 yards and the average size of the groups was 3.090 inches c-c. As you can see, the larger aperture of the MI does not hurt precision shooting very much, being only about ¾ inch larger than the small sight of the TROY, yet rapid target acquisition with the MI was seemingly just as fast as with the TROY with the slightly larger rear aperture, and a whole lot more accurate. I cannot take times since I do not have a shot activated timer and it has been decades since I have shot rapid fire in a timed event. In the end, I don’t think one is giving up anything, except weight, by only having the single aperture. Granted, a younger set of eyes likely would get smaller groups, but I have to work with what I have and what I have are eyes that are over 6 decades old!
At a MSRP price of $159.95 a set, including front sight adjustment tool, these are quite the bargain and I can see more of these sights in my future. I won’t be selling off my TROYs to replace them with MIs, but from here on out I see multiple purchases of the MI Combat Sight in my future. The King is dead, long live the King!
Check them out on Facebook