There is no doubt that Aimpoint has been on the leading edge of creating the best and toughest red dots on the market today. Some would say that Aimpoint is the pioneer in red dot technology. However, having the best also will come with a price tag to match. Enter the Aimpoint Patrol Rifle Optic, or PRO for short. The Aimpoint PRO has combined all the features you want in a rugged duty optic and will not break the bank.
That is not to say that it is cheap or found for less than $200 on Amazon. It is an optic that combines a battle tested design with long lasting red dot technology that is worth every dollar. Let’s dive in to the specifics behind the optic, why it is such a high value, some of its limitations, and alternatives to this optic.
Table of Contents
- Birthed by Fire…
- What Makes the Aimpoint PRO So Good?
- What is Under The Hood?
- Mounting; So Easy a Neanderthal Could Do It?
- Look Mom, No Hands!
- Kinks In The Armor?
- EOTECH 512 Vs Aimpoint PRO - Why the Competitors Might Have an Edge?
- Trijicon MRO Vs Aimpoint PRO - Smaller is Better?
- Living in a Great Age
- Aimpoint PRO Review - Conclusion
Birthed by Fire…
The Aimpoint PRO is a direct descendent of the Aimpoint CompM2 optic. The CompM2 is the civilian designation for the M68 Close Combat Optic (CCO) that was adopted by the U.S. Army in 1997. The CCO saw extensive use in combat theaters such as Iraq and Afghanistan and built a reputation as being a tough and capable red dot sight. Capable of handling operations in extreme cold and heat, there has been few complaints about zero shift or failures in operation.
As red dots became more accepted and widely available in the late 2000s, Aimpoint decided to develop a sight that would be just as tough as the M68. They also wanted a viable option for those consumers not willing to spend over $800 for an optic. The Swedish company quickly went to work on a sight that was similar to the military grade predecessor; yet, financially friendly to the consumer. This is how the PRO came to be and has been one of the best options in the duty ready optic market since 2011.
What Makes the Aimpoint PRO So Good?
Aimpoint knew that it had a leg up on most of the optic industry due to its connection with a number of military and law enforcement organizations. It had been receiving feed back on ways to improve its design, form and function for years as they started to build the PRO. This meant that Aimpoint only had to improve on existing technology and design features to continue to advance their dominance of the red dot industry.
Therefore, Aimpoint did not have to recreate the wheel by designing a sight from the ground up. It could use the tooling from the CompM2 as the foundation and find ways to give the consumer a rugged sight that may have a few less features than its more expensive cousins. However, that does not mean that the PRO is lacking anything. It is more than capable of being used by military and law enforcement as a duty optic on the department’s AR-15, M-4 or M-16 rifles.
What is Under The Hood?
Even though the Patrol Rifle Optic is an affordable Aimpoint option, it still has plenty of features that puts it in front of most its competitors. The first thing you will notice is the 2 minute of angle (MOA) dot that the PRO is equipped with. This means that only 2 inches of the target is covered at 100 yards and ensures precise shots on your intended target at distance.
The Aimpoint PRO’s crisp LED emitted dot, and the extremely clear glass, is its distinguishing feature for this style of optic. It is shock resistant for battle rifle and shotgun operation. The PRO is also submersible to 150 feet ensuring consistent function in the nastiest weather.
Mounting; So Easy a Neanderthal Could Do It?
The PRO has one feature that has become expected from all Aimpoints and that is easy mounting. The Aimpoint QRP2 mounting system only requires you to hand screw the optic on the picatinny rail section with no tools required. It is then torqued down by snapping the turn knob 3 times for the perfect tight fit.
Should the optic break or cease to function, it also can easily be removed just by turning the knob counter clockwise; again, without the use of tools. But, breakage is highly unlikely since the hard anodized aluminum alloy housing gives it the rigidity of a tank.
In addition, the mount is co-witness ready right out of the box with an installed riser perfect for the AR-15/M-4/M-16 rifles. However, it can be quickly and simply lowered for shotgun or AK platforms with the removal of a couple of screws.
Look Mom, No Hands!
The next 2 features the Aimpoint PRO offers are almost after thoughts. As LED technology has advanced, so has the expectation for extended battery life. The PRO is no exception with Aimpoint’s touted “always ready – always on” red dot emitter.
This technology will allow the owner to turn the optic on and leave it running for 3+ years without changing the battery. Some YouTube reviewers, like Mrgunsngear, even tested the optic’s longevity by letting it run until the battery died.
Mrgunsngear - Aimpoint PRO Red Dot Review: Best Budget Serious Use Optic? (4K)
Mrgunsngear found that his PRO lasted 4 years 7 months with it on brightness setting 7. The lens/dust covers also make for a hands-free set up by utilizing the Bindon Aiming Concept in conjunction with the transparent rear cover. This allows the shooter to fire with both eyes open by which the red dot is superimposed onto the target even with a solid front lens cover obscuring the front objective lens.
This technique was developed and first used for the Marines using the Trijicon ACOG. The Marines were able to quickly acquire a target in close combat environments even though they were using a fixed 4 power sight. With that being said, you will be hard pressed to find a comparable sight that is able to provide all of these features at the same price point.
Kinks In The Armor?
There will never be a perfect product and Aimpoint PRO is not immune from having limitations. With so many offerings on the market today, this optic has stiff competition. One of the first concerns some may have is the size and weight. Nearing 12 ounces, the PRO is one of the heavier options on the market. It also requires more rail space than a smaller competitor.
The second issue is the use of a non-standard battery. This optic uses the DL1/3N puck style battery that can be hard to find in some stores. A lot of the Aimpoint PRO competition will typically use a CR2032, CR123A, AA or even AAA batteries that can be found in almost all grocery or hardware stores.
Finally, astigmatism could be a reason for someone to find a different option. Red dots are notoriously bad options for individuals with this eye condition causing the dot to look distorted. Holographic sights will work well for anyone with astigmatism by using a laser for the reticle instead of a LED light.
EOTECH 512 Vs Aimpoint PRO - Why the Competitors Might Have an Edge?
The EOTech 512 has been a staple in the holographic sight market for over a decade. Coming in at the same price, or less, than the Aimpoint PRO, this optic is a serious contender. The 512 has been battle tested and improved over the years to be EOTech’s most popular sight.
The optic’s rugged construction allows it to be capable of being used on some of the military’s largest weapon systems. Utilizing 2 AA batteries also gives this sight a versatility that most consumers appreciate due to the commonality of the battery. In addition, the technology of the holographic sight solves any astigmatism issues a shooter may have.
EOTECH 512 Holographic Weapon Sight
However, the EOTech 512 is not without limitations. Unlike the Aimpoint PRO, the 512 uses a laser to create the reticle using more energy than the PRO’s LED dot. This equates to a battery life of approximately 1,000 hours opposed to Aimpoint’s 30,000+ hour lifespan.
EOTech has also been embroiled in controversy with a class action lawsuit where the company was found to have defrauded the U.S. government. The lawsuit claimed that EOTech knowingly sold government agencies optics that failed in extreme temperatures. Undoubtedly, that has tarnished EOTech’s reputation even though many recent offerings have been found to have no defects and an overall positive consumer reaction.
Trijicon MRO Vs Aimpoint PRO - Smaller is Better?
Without a doubt, Trijicon is an optics manufacture on par with Aimpoint. The Miniature Rifle Optic or MRO is also an optic that must be considered as a challenger to the PRO. This red dot has one major advantage to Aimpoint’s offering and that is its size. The MRO is half the length of the PRO and more than half the weight. Utilizing less real estate on your rifle gives you the ability to couple the MRO with a red dot magnifier without increasing the overall length much more than the PRO.
The Trijicon Miniature Rifle Optic offers a 25mm tubular objective lens that is larger than its competitor. The CR2032 batteries are also an added bonus since it has become widely used in the U.S. Using the CR2032 battery and LED technology enables the optic 5 years of continuous use at illumination setting 3.
Trijicon MRO 1x25mm Miniature Rifle Optic
One of the main concerns of the MRO is the price. Should you want a riser other than what is provided, you may spend up to $120 in addition to the sight to get the co-witness you desire. That added expense may be a major turn off since the PRO already offers 2 different height options integrated into the stock riser.
Another con to the MRO is the top mounted illuminating dial. While it does have 8 brightness settings, 2 of which are night vision capable, the dial is somewhat shallow and could be difficult to adjust on the fly. Some have complained that the dial is stiff and hard to turn grip with gloves. Yet, most would be hard pressed not to consider this as a viable option other than the PRO.
Living in a Great Age
Even though the PRO has competitors, it still seems to be sought after by numerous government agencies and civilians alike. The free market provides an awesome opportunity for companies to compete with one another to offer the consumer better products at lower prices.
The PRO lacks the holographic reticle the EOTech 512; however, will outlast the 512 in continual use by several years. The MRO seems to be the best competition to the Aimpoint; yet, it has not been proven in duty and combat situations like the optic the PRO was based on. While the Aimpoint PRO may be larger than the MRO, it is surely more rugged and capable to take an increased amount of abuse than the MRO in duty applications.
Aimpoint PRO Review - Conclusion
Aimpoint is the “go to” optic company for long lasting, rugged red dots. The U.S. military has been using their optics for over 2 decades with positive results. The PRO looks to capitalize on that trend by providing the same durable technology at a price that will not case you to file bankruptcy.
Being born from a tried and true predecessor, any one that has used the PRO will agree that it is a capable optic. Even though there are options on the market that may seemingly have better features, consumers continue to come back to Aimpoint. Regardless of the application you use this red dot for, it will always be ready to go and ask for more.