In recent decades, optical fiber has proven useful for many sensor applications. Specifically, fiber Bragg grating (FBG) sensors have shown great utility for integrity management and environmental sensing of composite structures. One major drawback of FBG sensors, however, is the lack of a robust, nonpigtail technique for coupling to the embedded FBG sensor. In this paper, a novel method of free-space passive coupling of light into FBG sensors is described. An angled 45-deg mirror integrated directly into the fiber was used as an input coupling technique. We investigated the application of this approach to both single- and multimode glass fibers containing FBGs. For multimode FBGs, we studied the grating's uniformity across the fiber diameter and its effect on normal free-space coupling. In single-mode investigations, a novel method of coupling to the sensor via splicing a multimode fiber to a single-mode FBG (SMFBG) was developed. Finally, free-space coupling to an embedded SMFBG was employed to measure the tensile strain. Excellent agreement was found between the FBG and conventional electrical resistance strain gauges. We conclude that this coupling method might eliminate the need for pigtailing by providing a more robust coupling method for FBG sensors.