Red dots are an almost immediate upgrade for anyone who owns a firearm because they are extremely simple and highly effective. What the hunter, the sport shooter, our military, and law enforcement agents are looking for is a cost effective, low maintenance red dot sight that will handle the most extreme conditions to accomplish the most demanding missions. They don’t want another thing to worry about when operating their weapon, they just want to point and shoot. The Aimpoint PRO goes above and beyond just the point and shoot factor, exceeding all expectations by operating reliably and effectively in almost any condition.
The Aimpoint PRO (Patrol Rifle Optic) was originally designed as a “Law-Enforcement Only” optic. The reason it was an LE only optic was because many agencies wanted a high quality optic to outfit their armory without breaking the bank. About a year later, Aimpoint introduced the Aimpoint PRO to the civilian market because of popular demand. Now this quality optic is available to anyone, and at a very reasonable price (MSRP $400). I’m very excited to see what the Aimpoint PRO can deliver.
Out of the box, you get the Aimpoint PRO with the QRP-2 mount, a set of small screws, a manual, and a sticker that goes inside the front lens cap to remind you when you put the battery in so you can replace it 5 years later. That’s right, 5 years of constant use on a single battery. A small set of screws is included because you can actually remove the spacer to mount the sight to shotguns and submachine guns; almost anything with a lower sight picture.
The user manual gives detailed specifications about the Aimpoint PRO and factory mount:
*MOA = Minute of Angle
**Brightness Setting 7 out of 10
***NVD = Night Vision Device
When holding the sight in your hand, it feels weightless, but it doesn’t feel like it will break anytime soon. The sight feels strong and looks well designed; the housing is uniformly machined and treated, and I can’t see any flaws whatsoever. The Aimpoint PRO is much lighter than I expected, weighing in at 11.6 oz. That is surprisingly light. But don’t think that weight takes away from strength.
The Aimpoint PRO is allegedly waterproof up to 150 feet (45 meters) so you could theoretically go scuba diving with it mounted to your weapon. Temperature wise, I don’t think that you’re ever going to get close to -50° F or 160° F with normal use, but it is nice to know that you don’t have to worry about your optic getting too hot or too cold to function.
Looking through the lens, the glass is extremely clear and the reticle is crisp. The glass looks thick enough and recessed enough that it wouldn’t crack or chip easily if dropped. With the specifications the optic has, I can confidently say that the Aimpoint PRO will go through quite a beating, and then some, before it fails. Strong body, strong glass.
There are windage and elevation knobs at the 12 and 2 o’clock position on the rear of the Aimpoint PRO that are easily adjustable with a screwdriver or coin. A rubber strap secures the adjustment caps to the battery compartment and optic to prevent losing the caps at the range or on the field. In between the turret caps is the battery compartment that takes one 2L76 or Dl1/3N battery, about one-third of the size of a AAA battery.
Moving onto the flip up covers, I found that they were easy to operate and they were made to protect the glass from anything. You can twist the front cover base to have the cover either flip onto the top of the Aimpoint PRO or on the top of the handguard. Once flipped, they tuck away into the body or forearm and don’t create an unnecessary silhouette while shooting (I have them flipped into the sight). The first thing you notice is the clear rear flip-up cover. Now why would it be clear? Well, there are three good reasons Aimpoint did this.
#1. You only have to flip open the front cover.
#2: The glass is constantly being protected during operation.
#3. (Coolest Reason) You don’t have to flip any covers to use the Aimpoint PRO.
You can actually use the red dot almost as effectively with the covers as you would without. That’s the beauty of co-witnessing, and that’s what makes the Aimpoint PRO extremely attractive for home defense purposes when every second counts.
The Aimpoint PRO has 10 brightness settings that are controlled by a dial on the top-right of the optic. There are 10 brightness settings; the first 4 are for night vision use and the other 6 are for low, regular, and intense lighting. The 10th setting, the last one, is very bright and allows you to use the dot in almost direct sunlight. My recommendation is to keep the PRO on the 6th or 7th setting and leave the sight on when you pack it away. The nice thing about the brightness knob is that you can’t skip past highest setting and turn the optic off by accident.
The insane battery life is one of the most impressive features on the PRO. The battery will last 50,000 hours (5 years) of consecutive use before failing. That is a huge benefit considering that most red dots have to be switched off when they aren’t being used in fear that they will run dry. It’s great pulling my rifle out of the safe and seeing that the dot is still on and that I don’t have to fiddle with any dials or switches. The Aimpoint PRO 2L76 and DL1/3N batteries. They are harder to find and are a little more expensive than your traditional AA battery, but when you consider that you will have to pay about $5 for one battery every 5 years to keep the optic running, it’s well worth having an oddball battery.
The mount will allegedly handle the same conditions as the optic because it is made from the same material. As bulky as the mount looks, it doesn’t add unnecessary weight or awkwardness. The first thing you will notice about the mount , and you definitely will, is that big knob sticking out of the mount. Many people say that it gets in the way of operation and it will lose zero when banged around. I can tell you that it doesn’t get in the way at all and keeps zero just fine. It’s just an ugly black knob. I currently have it mounted to my AR-15 and I forget about the knob completely when shooting. It doesn’t look that great, and people will point that out, but I’m more concerned with functionality more than what’s ‘tacticool.’ Yes, the mount isn’t as slimming as a Larue or American Defense mount, but it works like it’s supposed to and I have no issues with it.
One question that I was trying to find an answer to before buying the PRO was about co-witnessing. I was purchasing the Aimpoint PRO for my AR-15 with a fixed front sight, but had no idea where the dot sat in relation to the A2 sight. Was it an absolute or lower 1/3 co-witness mount? Actually, it’s both. The dot sits in a spot between absolute and lower 1/3. I personally prefer absolute co-witness and don’t like 1/3 co-witness, but have found that when the dot rests in between these two co-witnessing styles, I can focus on the target with ease no problem.
Strong body, strong glass, long battery life, extremely durable, and highly functional. The Aimpoint PRO doesn’t disappoint. I have yet to seriously break it in and aggressively bang it around, but when I do, you’ll be the first to know what I find. I am really excited to truly test the capabilities of the PRO. If you don’t already own an Aimpoint PRO, I recommend investing in one because you won’t be disappointed.
Click on thumbnails below for more photos:
By: Michael Reyneke