Building an Aimpoint Part 2: The Red Dot Video

Okay, Day 2, back here at the Aimpoint factory. Today I’m going to finish my patrol rifle optic and then test-fire it at their indoor test range.

I’ve been a big fan of Aimpoint for years. We wanted to come over to see how they were made. A very unexpected surprise when we got here, unbeknownst to me, I had the very rare honor of being able to build my own Aimpoint. It’s actually much more difficult than I would have thought.

There’s things that you would think that would be easy about assembling it. And there’s other things that are actually very difficult. And you can tell by the way when you like look at the time and effort and engineering and research and development that went in to making that piece of hardware.

Now it’s time for the electronic – place inside. This fixture we have the switch here. Place it right there. And we’re going to fill the holes with solder.

See I’m used to working on 1911s and whatnot, so small parts is not a problem. But I’m not used to doing stuff like this, this small. Also soldering, I’ve never really done soldering to build 1911s, so this is much smaller than what I’m personally used to.

It’s more along the lines of like a watch repair and whatnot, like Bill Wilson used to do. He would probably be more comfortable here, although his eyesight isn’t a whole lot better than mine. Your grandparents may not have told you this, but it sucks to get old. I can tell you that right now.

Yeah, that’s what I’m talking about.  May not be as pretty as old boy here, but I think I’ll be able to survive. How’s that look? Awesome.

The extra magnification helps.

I don’t want too much of the cable. This will go on top.

Now one thing I saw was you put the solder in, and then do you heat it back up? As you put the …

Yeah.

Yeah, that snaps up real quick.

Yeah, it’s a lead-free solder. But it’s a little bit sensitive by heating it too much.

I think it’s out a little bit too far. So heat it and put it down a little bit more?

I absolutely do feel like I’m doing surgery.

Three more. It’s time for the blue ones …

Good? I can take off the dual-Goofey glasses. Okay …

Take the switch, turn it gentle … squeeze in the cables …

Okay, how’s that look? Okay?

So you put the rubber gasket there. Yes … two pins in the hole … O-ring gets decompressed. That’s good enough.

Is that the hardest part of assembling this whole thing?

It’s quite individual. Some think it’s quite tricky, and someone no problem.

The most difficult thing about soldering is very small holes. You have to be able to see it and you have to get the wire just precisely right, like he was saying about a millimeter above. You don’t want the insulation touching. You don’t want the wire too far out. Because it might short out.

Obviously that takes some skill to do that. I did it, it was complete luck.

And the clip. So now that clip is holding the switch house in its correct position, locked. And you use the torque wrench. There … and now we want to lock the nut. So you have to bend those two legs on the clip. Locked in position, perfect.

Now it’s the knob?

Yeah, you have a little special knob here. Remember the two first settings is the night vision, and you should be able to see it in the third position. Make sure all intensity settings are okay.

Yeah, I think we’re good to go. Do you want to check it out?

Yep. Good to go.

Good to go. Awesome … it works. What I can see is, and I’m sure Matthew would support this, they’ve made steps along the way not only to make it a high-quality product of course, but to make it simple and as robust as possible.

Now when I see the parts, there’s not a lot of real fine parts that can fail on you. You can tell they’ve refined the design over time and made it more and more rugged. So it’s a very precision instrument that is also very simple and robust. Very well done, which is one of the reasons it has such an excellent reputation.

I’ve always been a big Aimpoint fan, of course, but I’m even more one now.

Just about done.

There’s the knob here. Try locking in the hole … yes. Absolutely.

Like that?

Yep.

And then lock her down?

And then the other one. Make sure all intensity settings are okay.

Now the first two I’m not seeing it because it’s night vision.

That’s a good thing.

Then the third one is super dim.

Yeah, it’s a little bit tricky. Have a trained eye.

I’m seeing it. I’ll let you check it.

Perfect.

Well done. Outstanding. Ready for the next station.

All right. What’s up, Matt?

So it’s time to test the adjustment branch. Grad display battery, put it in place, and the rear tube goes in for stability. Place it in the fixture. And now this outer frame is equal to adjustment branch of plus/minus 2 meters.

And always index down that lower left corner?

It always starts there. And up again. And then to the right.

Duh! That’s why you’re here man.

And then every sight is sealed.

Wow, that is cool.

Good. Right on. So now we have to seal the side pins. Optical X

Got it. Okay.

So it’s time for the pressure test.

Okay, what this is all about is this simulates the optic being under water. And we know all Aimpoints are waterproof, and they have been since God knows how long. This is the way they test it and it’s the easiest way for them to test it. Essentially they suck all the air out of the inside and that simulates putting pressure to the outside.

They leave it for a certain period of time that way they know it’s going to retain waterproof capability over a period of time.

And then a certain amount of sights are sent into our laboratory and tested in a water tank. That is equal to 45 meters.

45 meters down. They are going to be held down at 135 feet depth for five minutes or so to make sure they’re completely waterproof, which is way beyond what any of the optics should be required to do. It is nice to know that they will retain the waterproof capability at that depth.

We’ll leave it for 20 minutes. Time for a coffee break baby.

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