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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.