Ever since I got my approved Form 1 back for my short-barreled AR-15, I’ve struggled to find appropriate sights, particularly for my ultra-short .300 Blackout (BLK) upper receiver. When I take my BLK upper to the range, it is typically accompanied by a 5.56mm upper of some sort along with other firearms, so space is at a premium and even small red dots sometimes take up too much space in my cramped case. To solve this problem, I needed some folding iron sights.
Thankfully, while I was at SHOT Show, I had the chance to chat with the guys from Griffin Armament. You may remember that they recently released their new Micro Modular (M2) Sights, which are part of the company’s quickly-expanding lineup of firearm accessories. After examining the M2s at SHOT and talking a bit with Griffin Armament co-owner, Evan Green, the company hooked me up with a set for my rifle.
The M2s mount to Picatinny rails differently than most sights. Instead of employing a cross-bolt through the grooves of the rail, Griffin’s sights use set screws that tighten into the top of the rail and nestle down into the aforementioned grooves. This is a fairly unique approach that seems to hold up well. However, users will want to be careful not to overtighten the screw as it might cosmetically damage the firearm. Griffin also recommends using a small amount of blue Loctite on the set screws to prevent loosening.
Adapting the sights to the included upright and 45-degree bases is very easy. Each base features a dovetail that mates with a complementary cut on the sights themselves. Simply slide the sight onto the dovetail and then use one of the included screws (long version) to tighten the fit. With the upright base, the mating set screw passes through the base to engage the rail. The angled bases have machined flats that the screws torque against.
Unlike popular alternatives like Magpul’s MBUS line, the M2s are not spring loaded and cannot be deployed with a simple button press. As I see it, that’s perfectly fine. I’ve played with MBUSs enough to know that it’s pretty easy to accidentally pop them open. Instead, Griffin’s sights must be manually deployed and closed, but they lock firmly in both positions with no wiggle or movement. When folded, they sit low to the rail with the top of the sight just 0.5” over the apex of the firearm. In a refreshing departure from my awful NcSTAR, LMT-BUIS wannabe rear sight on my Mk18 Mod 0 build, the M2s actually hold zero after being folded and re-deployed. I may do a review on the NcSTAR piece at some point, but it’s bad. Simply switching apertures on that thing causes windage to shift. Of course, we’re talking totally different price/quality ranges here and I knew what I was getting in both cases.
One thing you won’t have to worry about with the M2 Sights is durability. They’re made almost entirely out of 17-4 stainless steel with a QPQ (nitride) treatment. 17-4 is the same material Griffin Armament uses in almost all of their silencers and it’s also a popular choice for muzzle devices. In a world where polymer backup sights are common, 17-4 is definitely overkill, but it doesn’t seem to come with any real weight or price penalties. Griffin’s sights are reasonably priced at $185 for the full kit with both base types and the M2s only weigh a bit over 2.5 ounces.
Adjusting the M2 Sights is very simple and can be done without any real tools. The front sight features the same spring-loaded plunger as any fixed AR-15 front sight. However, because the plunger is exposed in the front, it can very simply be depressed with a finger. A specialized tool is absolutely not necessary and in fact, it might actually make adjustments more difficult. The rear sight is adjustable for windage using a screw on the right side of its base. In my experience, windage adjustments do require a tool of some sort, but keys, coins, and even spent cases are acceptable solutions. The actual impact of adjustments in terms of minutes of arc (MOA) will depend on the distance between the front and rear sights.
The only real features that the M2 Sights lack are both absent from the rear sight and include selectable apertures and adjustable elevation/elevation presets. Some of the more expensive options on the market include one of both of these, but the folks at Griffin have been quite candid – the M2s are not intended to be the sights to end all sights. Rather, they’re supposed to be affordable, light, and durable backup iron sights. Magpul’s MBUS Pro does offer selectable apertures, but it also costs around $25 more than the M2 rear.
Out of the box, the M2s come with a standard-size rear aperture and a basic A2 front sight post that sits at around 0.070” wide. Those are good enough for most things, but the front post is a little too wide for precision work. Thankfully, Griffin was thinking ahead on this one as the post can be exchanged with any A2-compatible part. I recently swapped mine out for one of KNS Precision’s round dot sights. The KNS part was easy to install and it’s only 0.052” wide, so it’s far more precise than the included post. The KNS round dot also works better with my astigmatic eyes.
Truly, Griffin Armament’s new M2 Sights are phenomenal accessories. Whether you purchase the sights individually or in one of the two offered sets, they’re very well priced. They also happen to be durable and very light with just enough features to make them worthwhile considerations and respectable rivals to pricier options. While they don’t offer quite as much flexibility as more expensive competitors, they still provide all the necessities in terms of adjustment with the major bonus of being compatible with standard A2 sight posts. If you’re looking for quality backup (or even primary) sights for your favorite rifle, Griffin’s M2 Sights should be on your shortlist.