One of the most difficult things for me when it comes to firearms is choosing the correct optic. In front of me we have an Aimpoint PRO or patrol rifle optic. It’s just a red-dot sight, no fancy reticle, with a 2MOA (minute of angle) dot. The MSRP is about $460, but you can generally find them for $380 to $400 if you look around a little bit.
As far as the power source, it’s a very, very small DL13N three volt battery with a runtime of 30,000 hours or more on seven out of ten on the brightness setting. That’s a pretty bright setting, so it’s not the dimmest setting by any means.
This equates to being able to leave it on for about three years. It’s also water resistant, 150 feet submersible. While you’re probably not going to go diving with it, it does help to know if you’re out in a rainstorm, drop it in the mud, a creek, or anything like that, it probably won’t cause any problems with the optics.
It’s also night vision compatible if you want to go that route. The weight comes in at 7.9 ounces for just the optic and 11.6 ounces total with the included mount. The mount it comes with is pretty nice. It’s very solid. You can of course upgrade it to something like LaRue if you want.
It is a good mount. It comes with this obnoxiously large knob, but it’s a really neat feature. You put it on normally on the rail and then tighten the knob down. With a lot of mounts you can actually over tighten it and damage your rail. With this one, you’ll hear it here, when it’s all the way tight, it kind of ratchets into place to prevent you from damaging the rail. You’ll always have a nice, snug fit on there.
It does co-witness lower one third very well with this riser in here. This riser is removable, but for M4 AR-15’s, it does provide the correct height. You can remove it if you’re changing it over to something with a higher rail or if you want a little bit lower profile on the sight. However, I think it’s a little bit too low on an AR without that riser in there.
It does ship with end caps. The rear one is transparent and the front one is opaque. You can actually leave both of these closed, shooting with both eyes open. What it does, basically, you’ll look through the transparent rear one, see the dot, and even though this one is opaque, your eye will transpose that dot over the target.
It sounds kind of difficult, but it actually works quite well. You can also rotate these. It ships like this, but I’ve rotated them down to where when the end caps are open, it’s really flush with the top of my rail and doesn’t get in my field of view at all. As far as windage and elevation adjustments, basically this is all tethered together. Your normal screws, you can use a quarter screw driver, shell casing, anything like that.
Your windage and elevation are here and then this is actually your battery compartment. These just screw back into place, nothing too fancy there. The rear knob is your brightness setting. The first ones, you’ve got your night vision settings. As it gets brighter, you’ve got your normal red dot settings you would expect, and then finally the brighter than the sun setting at the end there.
Final thoughts, pros, cons, just overall what I think of the Aimpoint PRO. There are four positives. You really cannot beat a three-year-plus battery life leaving it always on. That is a huge pro for me. I also like the 2MOA dot. It’s perfect for my size. I can use it for more precise applications, but still crank up the brightness and acquire it quickly if I need to.
It’s a very durable optic, mount is on there solid, holds zero great, and for the price of it, I don’t think you can find a better red-dot optic. You’re really going to spend a couple more, $100 or $200 more at least, looking at competition, if you want to go with the higher end Aimpoint or EOTech or anything like that.
One of the downsides may be the mount is a little bit heavy. If the overall package just over 11 ounces bothers you, you might look at something a little bit lighter, like a LaRue mount for it. As far as form and function, it’s wonderful. My primary application for this, it’s on the home defense rifle, this little SBR here.
With that, I can have this ready to go in the front of the safe, grab it if I need too, shoulder it, and everything comes up very naturally. I’m able to acquire the dot quickly. The mount sets it at a nice height. With everything, I can still fire with the end caps closed. If I need to, without taking my hand off the hand guard, I can still flip down the end cap, operate my flashlight, and do everything I need to do while keeping it on target.
That’s huge for me. Another reason I’m going with this instead of something like the Meprolight M21 which is tritium-based, is I can adjust the brightness. With some tritium-based optics, if you are in a dark room and have a flashlight or are firing out into a brightly lit area, the reticle becomes very washed out.
With the Aimpoint PRO, I don’t have to worry about that. Furthermore, if I do leave the cap closed, that dot is a little bit brighter, again if we’re talking about very dark areas, looking at something illuminated by the flashlight.
The only problem I’ve ever had with an Aimpoint PRO was a while back shooting a full-auto M16. The dot was pretty dim in bright sunlight. That was not due to the optic. That was just the setting we had it on and I didn’t think to change it before firing the M16. About four or five, six rounds into a burst, I would lose the dot. I’d be focusing on the rounds, hitting the target, but it would take me a second to find the dot again.
I found myself firing and then when I went back to make sure I was on; I’d have to stop for a second to acquire the dot again. This can be remedied just by cranking up the brightness or getting used to it. I don’t feel like it’s a big negative. Really that’s going to affect such a tiny percentage of the population. I’m sure if people are running full-autos, they’ve already figured that stuff out.
I certainly recommend it, especially if you can get it for a little bit cheaper than the MSRP, like $400 again. It’s on sale in a lot of places at that price. It is definitely a very top-quality optic for a reasonable price.