Courtesy Chris Dumm for The Truth About Guns

Courtesy Chris Dumm for The Truth About Guns

Who doesn’t like to save a few bucks here and there? Gun gear gets expensive fast, and every fiver you don’t have to spend on sling swivels is a fiver you can spend on ammo or another gun presents for your wife and kids. Right? Not always . . .

As you peruse the Internet or eagerly stroll the stalls of a pre-Christmas gun show, chances are you’ll run across some amazingly low-priced Magpul accessories. If you own an AR-15 (and let’s face it, you should) you might find yourself sorely tempted. “A Magpul PRS for $60?!” you’ll ask yourself. “I gotta jump on that!”

Even though I’m a Cheap Bastard, I have to counsel caution in this situation. As gun guys, we don’t run into counterfeit name-brand guns. We don’t worry about them because they basically don’t exist. Knock0ff Gucci purses and Fluevog pumps might be easy to clone and sell, but firearms and ammunition are too expensive to produce (and way too illegal to distribute) to be profitable for counterfeiters. When it comes to guns ‘n bullets, we’re justifiably complacent that when we buy Brand X firearm (or ammo) we’re actually getting Brand X.

But this complacence shouldn’t extend to gun accessories. Accessories are generally unregulated (except for ITAR rules) and they’re rarely serialized unless we’re talking pricey optics. Polymer accessories, on the other hand, are particularly easy and cheap to knock off and the trusted name of Magpul seems to be a magnet for shoddy Hong Kong factories and shameless vendors.

Courtesy Chris Dumm for The Truth About Guns
Clue No.1

These alleged Magpul MBUS sights are a case in point. Clue No.1 is that real MBUS don’t have the Magpul logo  where these fakes do; Real Magpuls have got shallow finger-grooves so your fingers will know to ‘PUSH HERE’ to pop the sights up. A real MBUS will have a small Magpul logo just below the rear aperture, and none at all on the front sight. Both real units will have ‘MBUS’ molded into the sides of the flip-up sections; these have nothing.

Courtesy Chris Dumm for The Truth About Guns
Clue No.2

Real Magpul front sight posts don’t list heavily to port. Not everyone is a fan of MBUS sights, and perhaps for legitimate reasons, but real ones never look like this out of the box.

Courtesy Chris Dumm for The Truth About Guns
Clue No.3

Maybe the factory thought that a left-leaning front sight needed a right-leaning rear aperture, just to balance things out? It doesn’t matter that they’re completely wrong from an aiming standpoint, because any kind of wobbliness or obvious tilting is a sure tell that this accessory is a bogus piece of crap.

Courtesy Chris Dumm for The Truth About Guns
Clue No.4

It’s always a good idea to Read The F*cking Box before you buy anything, but even an honest and careful buyer could be fooled by this disclaimer. Magpul actually licenses an authorized line of airsoft-grade accessories called Magpul PTS (for ‘Professional Training and Simulation’) and more than a few shooters have saved a few bucks by using them on real guns with no problems at all. The crap shown here is in a whole different category, though; it isn’t even up to the lowest airsoft standards and any responsible person would think twice before using it on anything more powerful than a Nerf gun.

Caveat Emptor

These crappy knockoffs usually sell for $15-20 online and from junk vendors at gun shows (the kind who usually don’t sell actual guns because they don’t have an FFL.) Losing fifteen or twenty bucks on crap like this would only be an annoyance, but losing $75 on an unusable counterfeit Magpul PRS stock would be infuriating. I’ve seen a lot of them at gun shows.

Particularly with Magpul accessories, it’s important to purchase them from a vendor you trust and who has a workable return policy. It shouldn’t have to be said, but if something looks too good to be true, it probably is.

42 Responses to Holiday Shopping Tip: Spot The Fake Magpul MBUS

  1. Dont the authentic MBUS come in a small plastic bag? I am pretty sure thats all I have ever seen the rear sights in at gun stores.

  2. I literally just bought a Magpul MBUS rear sight on Amazon for $43.95 last noght. I hope I got the real deal! If I got ripped off, perhaps I’ll write a READ TTAG self defense (of your checkbook) tip article. Watch this space.

  3. I had a friend call from a gunshow with a great deal on a set of these. I told him to pick them up and later paid him for them. I mounted them on my rifle and went to the range. It took me forever to get a zero on them. I had actually started to believe that I might be the worlds worst shot with iron sights. While shooting, the pin that holds them together actually “walked” out causing the sight to tilt. My next set of back up iron sights will not be gun show knock-offs. Maybe I will even be able to count on them if my optic fails.

  4. I didn’t even know “fake Magpul stuff” was a thing, although it seems obvious in retrospect. Thanks for the heads-up.

  5. I shamelessly bought knock off magpul products for my son for his airsoft M4. Not all of it was bad though, the knock off AFG was actually quite solid and held up well. I now use one on my actual AR (Only because it’s a non critical accessory of course).

    • Thats what I would think. If in fact they are marketed for airsoft use however, maybe magpul has an unspoken rights agreement with the other manufacturer?

      I dont know enough about businesses and trademarks to say whether or not an “Officialy Licensed by…” product must be made public knowledge.

    • You are advocating sueing someone in Hong kong? Over a $12 pair of fake-ass sights? Really? Good luck with that.

        • OK, fair enough, But like I said: good luck with that. Heavy weights like Gucci and Rolex can’t even get the asian counterfeiters shut down.

  6. Most of the fake stuff at a gun show is cheap laser sights and red dots. Usually the vendor will let you know they are, but i guess there are some bad ones out there who will try to sneak it by. I doubt they’d get away with it twice though, we usually kick the bad ones out here in dallas.

  7. Chris, good post. Thanks. Your words of caution are wise ones to keep in mind when buying accessories.

    The imitation/knock-off problem occurs in the manufacture of quality brand-name survival, combat, and outdoor knives. For example; regardless if a person considers Ka-Bar Knives high enough quality or not, there are a number of Asian firms that are making knock-offs (since Ka-Bar is in demand) usually of much lower quality. I’ve gone to the point of calling a knife manufacturer to inquire if a certain online retail seller was a legit dealer for them. Even though the answer was yes it still didn’t guarantee the seller wasn’t also selling imitations though that would be unlikely.

  8. I bought a knock off pair on ebay. I guess I got lucky cause mine were pretty sweet. I thought they were well made and I love em. I always get a kick out of people trying to convince me that an overpriced product is always best. I say, save ALOT of money and go with the knock offs.

    • A knock-off that copies desirable features without violating patents and/or copyrights might be a good deal. This item however does not fall into that category because it’s marketing makes it appear to be the real Magpul Back-Up Iron Sights.

  9. Well I dug mine out of the little Stanley storage box I keep optic parts and took a look at them. I’ve had them for a couple or three years now. The genuine MBUS you describe are Gen II versions. If you Google Image Magpul MBUS and look at the pics you see the Gen II and PTS versions as well as what I’m guessing to be Gen I versions that look like mine. I’m not 100% sure mine aren’t fakes. I bought them too far back to remember where I got them and what packaging they came in. The ones I have are a bit different than the fakes posted. They have the Magpul logo on both the front and rear sights the same as the fakes but the logo is embossed into the sight as opposed to the raised logo on the above fakes. The allen head screws that secure the sights to the rail have Magpul engraves into the head.

    I prefer Troy sights now but I keep these around to use as a temp set when needed. Keep an eye out and get what you want.

    • The above gentleman is correct. Mr. Dumm has mixed up the first and second generation MBUS sights. These fakes are obvious copies of the first gen pair.

      Oh, and no real Magpul sights ever came as a pair in one box, always seperate.

  10. Not all copies are bad some scope mad copies of overpriced military scopes and they work just fine. Make sure to inspect them before your buying any gun or gun related item.

  11. I bought a pair of the knock offs for $12. Stuck them on an airsoft AR. They work fine for that purpose. I can’t imagine trusting my life to them on a real gun.

  12. it does get confusing. you have to be very careful when you shop online.

    I dont disparage these products since they are Magpul and are marked for training and simulation.

    what does make my blood boil is knock-off larue or other scope mounts that look like the authentic thing. you dont realize its a fake unless you examine them very closely. it makes you damn airsofters to any and all documented underworlds.

  13. You will see these “fake” Magpul accesories in many gunshows. They even sell the fake MOE and CTR stocks, along with the fake Magpul slings. I’ve seen them myself.

    Buyer beware! If the the price is too good to be true, it probably is.

  14. Recently bought a rear sight from a Amazon affiliated seller for 36.99, they were a really good knock off and even had some of the features that the article said. I suspected they were fake because they would not lock down with out having to push the detents up. The peep sight would flip open when deployed. The only difference I could find is the sights screw to secure it was different than what I saw pictures of on the Magpul sight. additionally there were differences in the screw on the wind age adjuster. I sent it back to Amazon(their customer service was excellent). Got my money back and went and bought one at my local AR shop, which yes was in a plastic bag with Magpul instructions printed on the card board. Beware what you buy.

  15. I recently bought a (theoretically) new, in box, Ruger 556-E via gunbroker. When it arrived, the gun itself functions perfectly, and seems to be all stock parts, but the ‘magpul MBUS sights’ on it are clearly not. I have a set of MBUS bought directly from MagPul on a shotgun, and the diference in the two sets is night and day. The real ones have tight tolerances, feel solid, have not unusual play in any of the parts. The fakes, when you release them to let them pop up, the small reticle pops out of the large reticle, the rear sight reticle slops side to side, and the locks do not re-engage in the upright position, and have to be pushed back up. they feel light, cheep, and junky.

  16. I think that the thing with the logo only applies to the Gen2 MBUS., the Gen1 are pretty much like the ones of the pictures.

  17. Dear Jacob,
    My Ruger sr556E did not come with sights from Ruger. However the higher priced sr556 come with Troy sights.
    This info is per ruger. Maybe someone wanted the deal to look better by putting some knock off Magpul in the box. I would contact Ruger and then the seller. It sounds fishy……Best of luck.

  18. I hope i got a real Magpul stock this time.
    The first stock i bought was a Magpul STR stock.
    When it arrived i found it strange that the box did not have any Magpul markings on it. It was just a plain box.
    Well i opened it up and tried to put the Mil spec STR stock on the tube and it was like putting a 22 caliber round into a 12 gauge shot gun. It was some airsoft thing.

    Last night i bought on ebay a Magpul MOE(404 black)fixed stock and asked the seller if the stock was for a real rifle or some airsoft things and he answered me that this is a Magpul USA stock for a rifle.
    His ebay ad says: Magpul MOE Rifle Stock – Black Made In USA – Mag404-BLK
    Product Specifications UPC Code: 873750006154 Manufacturer: Magpul Industries Model: Rifle Stock Model: MOE- Magpul Orginal Equipment Type: Stock Finish/Color: Black Description: Fixed Fit: AR Rifles Manufacturer Part #: MAG404-BLK

    I forgot to ask about if the stock comes in a box with the Magpul logo and the seller just answered me that it comes in a plain box so now i wonder if i am getting any airsoft crap again.
    But one of my first questions should have been if it came in a Magpul labeled box.

    I just did a search on the UPC code and it came back as;
    UPC Code: 873750006154
    Manufacturer: Magpul Industries
    Model: MOE- Magpul Orginal Equipment
    Model: Rifle Stock
    Type: Stock
    Finish/Color: Black
    Description: Fixed
    Fit: AR Rifles
    Manufacturer Part #: MAG404-BLK

    Looks like i was lucky and ended up with a honest seller this time/after what the UPC code says)
    I really hope i get a real Magpul USA made product this time

  19. I purchased a fake from amazon and left a review here:
    http://www.amazon.com/review/R2Z5C4JF4C5VU0

    I also hear people say make sure you buy from a reputable vendor. The problem with this is comingled inventory. Amazon combines it’s inventory from multiple vendors if the UPC code matches. Counterfeiters always make sure the UPC matches. Once it gets comingled amazon can’t track the source of the inventory so it is very difficult to catch who is sending in the fakes. Getting a real or fake is just luck of the draw at that point.

    If you insist on buying from amazon I would look for an authorized dealer that ships directly from their location. Anything that qualifies for amazon prime can be fake.

    Read about comingled inventory from on amazons site here. http://www.amazon.com/gp/help/customer/display.html/?nodeId=200243180#commingled

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