aimpoint pro & micro t-1 review
If you are in the market for an optic, or have purchased an optic for your firearm, then you should know who Aimpoint is. Aimpoint manufactures top quality red dot sights that are widely used by military and law enforcement. Each sight is hand-built, assigned an individual identification number, undergoes rigorous testing and numerous quality control checks during the manufacturing process. They are designed for use in the real world, and can easily handle abuse and adverse weather conditions. Aimpoint claims they are built to survive helicopter drops and IED blasts and still maintain Zero. We are going to test drive one of Aimpoints most popular optics the Micro T-1 and also Aimpoints newest family member, the Patrol Rifle Optic or PRO.
Meet Aimpoints Micro T-1 .
One of the most popular Aimpoint optics is their Micro T-1. At 3.7oz. this lightweight optic is as durable as they come. It works perfectly for a variety of weapons. Shotguns, Handguns, carbines, sub-machine guns and rifles. There are several different mounts available to accommodate your needs but from the factory it is fit for a picatinny rail. Also included are rubber lens covers to protect the glass and a 3V battery.
You only need to hold the site to feel the workmanship that was involved. The lines are smooth and the glass is clean. The optic definitely feels solid. The large nob on the right hand side controls the brightness of the red dot. There are 12 different brightness settings ranging from barely there for using optional night vision, to "Holy Shit that's Bright!". I really like the size and location of the brightness knob. It makes it easy to find and adjust even when shooting with gloves. Thumbs up for that.
The windage and elevation turrets are protected by smaller caps with little bumps on them. These caps are actually the tool used to adjust the sight. No flathead screw driver or other tools to carry. The unit is self contained. A feature that I love is the 5 year continuous use battery life. Yup 5 years. This means you do not need to worry about turning the dot on and off. Just leave it on all the time. The 3V battery will still last 5 years. Very cool in my book.
There are two different dots size available for the T-1. There is a 2MOA and also a 4MOA. We will be using the latter. The 1X optic is Parallax-free with unlimited eye relief. Aimpoint’s unique coating on the front lens reflects the dot’s selected frequency of red light at near 100% efficiency to give the highest possible dot brightness with the least amount of energy. This sight is compatible a 3rd generation night vision devices or NVD. The T-1 is submersible to 80 feet should you feel the need to take a dip with your rifle.
Meet Aimpoints PRO (Patrol Rifle Optic)
Aimpoint has recently introduced a new optic to their line up. The Patrol Rifle Optic or PRO for short. Let's meet and great shall we?
As with the T-1 quality is quickly apparent when handling the Aimpoint PRO. This full size unit has a 30mm tube and is 2x the weight at 7.8oz. The PRO has front and rear flip up caps, the rear being clear. The transparent rear flip cover allows you to see the dot and use the sight in an emergency (with both eyes open) with both covers closed. The PRO has a smaller 2MOA red dot, and is submersible to 150ft. The 3V battery on this unit can be left on continuously for 3 years. The controls on this unit are a bit different than the Micro. The dots' on and off and brightness controls are set on a tube on the top of the site. As expected they are solid and easily to adjusted with or without gloves.
The Aimpoint PRO optic has a really cool mounting system. You simply slide it over a picatinny rail and tighten the screw with your fingers. When it is tight enough, the gear screw will slip so that you do not over tighten it. This protects both the rail on the optic and on your firearm. The front lens utilizes a unique band-pass coating, which allows the sight to be used with all generations of night vision devices. The PRO Red Dot is also compatible with the Aimpoint 3X Magnifier and Concealed Engagement unit.
On The Range
To begin our drive we ran them side by side on two different rifles. Next we would switch them to see if either made more sense on the other rifle. We mounted the PRO atop our trusty Kalashnikov and the Micro T-1 to an AR-15. Zeroing with either optic was a quick concise process. The Aimpoint turrets are excellent. Each click will equal 1/2" @ 100 yards. Aimpoint includes a small tool for zeroing the PRO optic inside the box. The Micro has the tool built into the turret covers. You simply flip it over and spin them. I like the idea of not having an extra something to carry around.
Once properly sighted both optics performed perfectly and never lost zero. The glass is exceptionally clear and the dot easy to see in desert daylight. With multiple brightness levels and easy to adjust knobs, each shooter had no problem adjusting each optic to their liking. While both are accessible, the larger knob on the Micro T-1 is considerably easier to manipulate. For the most part, it was a "set it and forget it", but some of our shooters did prefer it brighter or dimmer.
On this particular outing, it was as windy as fire is hot. In hindsight I am sort of glad it was windy, because these are things that should be taken into consideration. When the wind is howling in the desert, it is easy for the glass to get sandblasted. Actually, it takes no time at all. The flip down covers on the PRO model really came in handy here. When one shooter was done, he could simply flip down the covers and be done with it. On the Micro T-1 however, the lens caps would have to be fished out of a pocket and affixed to the optic. On a normal day, I would have never even thought about this. I wouldn't even bother with the covers until I was done shooting, but when it's windy the permanently attached caps on the PRO proved their worth.
We switched the optics around, so the AR-15 would now have the PRO optic and the AK would utilize the Micro T-1. The quick detach mount on the PRO optic made switching them a cinch. The smaller T-1 takes an allen key, but is still a relatively painless process. A quick Zero later we were back to sending hard earned money downrange. Regardless of rifle, we found that those that preferred the Micro, still preferred the Micro. Our shooters who preferred the PRO Optic still preferred the PRO Optic. Both optics worked equally well on either rifle. It was mere preference, accuracy and function was for the most part, well... the same.
A Horse Of A Different Color
SIG Sauer makes a nifty little optic mount for pistols that attaches to the lower picatinny rail. This means that even though the slide cycles, the optic stays in the same place. The nice folks at SigSauerGuns.com were kind enough to donate one for our review, so we decided to mix it up a bit. Thanks guys! We saddled the Micro to our SigPRO and also a railed 1911. I must confess, I was skeptical but this little jewel works pretty damn well. If you are interested in purchasing one for your pistol, they can be found here. While the T-1 was off for a calm walk into the sunset, the PRO optics' fate would be quite different. It would be forced to ride the rabid bull. A 12 gauge shotgun.
When saddled to the Sig Pistol, the Micro T-1 completely owned the PRO in the versatility department. Its sexy curves and petite frame nested neatly atop the pistol. If you have never used an optic on a pistol, it does take some getting used to. Once you adjust for the elevated sight, it is definitely a good time. Place the dot, pull the trigger, watch the fruit explode. The small amount of heft aquired was only noticeable for a minute as the excitement of mowing down targets quickly numbed me to the extra weight. Aimpoint certainly crammed all the goodness into this minuscule package. A quality optic that can quickly be removed from a rifle and attached to a pistol to accommodate the days need. Who'da thunk?
The PRO Optic worked equally well while riding shotgun. The Red Dot maintained zero even with 3" slugs. Once it was set, it never moved a lick. We figured the Micro T-1 got off too easy so we strapped it atop a different shotgun and attempted to shoot some clays. Needless to say, with the red dots attached, we ran out of clays pretty fast. For me, the larger 30mm tube of the PRO Optic made finding clays a bit easier than with the Micro T-1. For others, they still preferred (and shot just as well with) the lighter T-1. To give you a better idea of the size difference between the 2 optics, I have taken a side by side picture for you to reference.
As they day wound down I made up my mind. I decided that if I had to choose just one of these Red Dot Sights, I would choose both. They both have their niche and my choice could only be determined by my intended use. I quickly fell in love with the PRO Optic. I really liked the clarity and larger diameter of the tube. I liked the flip down dust covers and quick detach system. The PRO offers a wider picture and sight acquisition seems quicker. In my opinion the extra weight (which is only a few ounces) is worth it. If I was building a lightweight combat rifle, I would without a doubt choose the T-1. It is smaller, lighter yet still built to the highest quality. Let's not forget, the versatility of this optic is simply awesome. It can be moved around from a pistol, to shotgun, to rifle, to crossbow. Other than that, I can offer no more help to you in choosing between the two. They both work exceptionally well and both designed with what I call, "User Friendly Common Sense".
While you may find a similar Red Dot with a better price tag, I can assure you that they will not be built with the same quality and care as the Aimpoint. I think one would be hard-pressed to find anything that is. It just can't be possible to achieve Aimpoint quality for less money. The durability is surpassed by no one. We do own our share Red Dots. Many of which we have lost to a rifle falling off of the work bench. I won't name names..GRRRR! I would never consider tossing my optic out of a moving helicopter, but with an Aimpoint, it's nice to know I can! Once you have handled and used these optics, it becomes very easy to justify your purchase. This is the reason the military and law enforcement choose Aimpoint. You need only to buy an Aimpoint once. Well... once per firearm that is.
Article by - Jeff
Review Team - Jeff, Tim, Andy, Brian, Darren
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