Aimpoint PRO Review
Red dots have almost become an automatic purchase accompanying a new carbine or rifle. Going to the range, almost every single gun I see has some sort of optic up top, the most common (quality ones) being Aimpoints and for good reason.
Yes, there are the overabundance of new shooters who have yet to realize that the gun show special red dot that they picked up for 100 dollars is going to fail faster than their rifle using that bulk 250 rounds of steel case ammo they picked up to go along with it; but these shooters will soon learn. And to their defense, the non-airsoft quality gun accessories do have a certain amount of sticker shock with them. Although Aimpoint’s products do portray this sticker shock effect towards new shooters, their new Patrol Rifle Optic (PRO) may just be the go to choice after that Chinese knockoff goes caput on them.
All of Aimpoint’s optics lines have been tremendously successful. Every single branch of the DoD has them, Federal agencies, police departments and professional shooters as well. Aimpoint’s quality is proven; therefore, their price points are justified. But for a new shooter, dishing out 500+ dollars, plus another 100+ for a mount would sometimes be hard to legitimize considering that’s probably almost as much as they paid for their rifle. Aimpoint’s newest addition, the PRO, gives these new shooters an option to have a professional red dot, with mount, without breaking the bank.
Almost all relatively experienced shooters know of Aimpoint and their red dots. There’s not much variation from model to model that’s outside of the MOA of the dot, or the ridiculously long battery life, and the PRO is no exception. So those experienced with Aimpoint don’t really have much use for the rest of this article after knowing this: The Aimpoint PRO is basically a COMP M3 on a COMP M4’s mount (the QRP2). The rest of this piece will be geared towards those newer shooters looking to buy their first quality red dot and for those who may have finally realized that their frugality hasn’t been paying off.
When I talked to Aimpoint at this year’s SHOT SHOW, they rep told me that they took the input from various law enforcement communities to develop the PRO. The end result is a solid red dot, constructed from high strength aluminum that feels like it can be mercilessly beaten and still function flawlessly. It contains, just like all other Aimpoints, their patented ACERT battery technology, which gives it 50,000 hours (5 years) of continuous use off of one 3V lithium battery. And that’s one of the main reasons I love the Aimpoints red dots, they’re always ready.
The glass on the Aimpoint is crystal clear and the led powered red dot is crisp and easily picked up despite its smaller 2 moa size. One can also bump up the MOA somewhat by adjusting the brightness settings on it. The glare of the higher settings will make the dot appear slightly larger; but beware, bumping up to the highest settings on the PRO will produce a distracting red glow around the entire ridge of the glass. The dot is still easily visible, but the big red ring inside the optic can be distracting. I tend to adjust my red dots so the dot is as fine as possible while still being visible.
There are a total of 10 different brightness settings; most shooters will only use the 6 daylight settings being that the other 4 settings are for adjusting the dot brightness in corporation with a night vision device and most shooters aren’t using NVGs (except for the hardcore feral boar hunters). The Aimpoint PRO has an unlimited eye relief, since it is a 1x only optic, making it comfortable to see the dot at any distance from the eyes; however, I would suggest to mount the red dot, if possible, in midway point on your rifle since that is the ideal mounting position.
My favorite part of the Aimpoint PRO has to be that it comes with the QRP2 mount. This mount was featured on Aimpoint’s COMP M4, but unfortunately, the COMP M4 is priced at over $700, which is out of the average shooter’s budget when compared to other red dots. The PRO however, comes in at almost half that at $400, and it has the same mount. This mount is the perfect height for a lower 1/3 co-witness with iron sites on an AR-15, which is the preferred height for most shooters. The space on the mount can also be removed if you wanted to use the PRO on a subgun or shotgun.
The QRP2 mount is the best part about the PRO package. Not only is it a solid platform for mounting the PRO, but it also has a great return-to-zero capability. It does not feature a QD release lever like the popular Larue Mounts, instead the QRP2 will not allow a user to over torque the mount when attaching atop of their rifle. The snap nob will “click” when too much torque is applied, allowing for a specific amount of pressure each time its twisted. So a user only needs to “click” it three times for a good solid mount.
I took the PRO off a few times after zeroing it to see if the point of impact shifted, which it really didn’t to a point where it would make the zero ineffective. After about a half dozen times I did have to make a few minor adjustments, a click up or click down. With any optic, even the PRO, I will always re-zero after removing it; but it’s nice to know if for any reason you need to take off the PRO and reattach it then use it, it’ll still be accurate and at the very least, “effective.”
The finishing touches on the PRO consist of the battery/adjustment dial cap covers, which are attached to each other making it hard for someone to lose them. Some flip up protective covers to help keep scratches off the recessed glass, and the inside of the objective lens is threaded, allowing the addition of an anti reflection device. Overall, the Aimpoint PRO’s construction and features are parallel to its predecessors; it’s an incredibly durable optic that will always be ready when you need it.
Zeroing the Aimpoint PRO is just the same as any of their other optics, or any red dot optic at that. Both the windage and the elevation have .5 MOA adjustments (1/2 inch at 100 yards). To initially “dry” zero a red dot optic, I will adjust the dot so it rests exactly on top of my front sight post on my iron sights. After which, my groups are close enough to POA/POI (Point of Aim, Point of Impact) where only a few clicks are needed for final adjustment. Overall, I only sent about 10 rounds down range before the PRO was zeroed.
As mentioned before, the PRO stayed zeroed, with no problems. POI stayed consistent with POA through all of our testing. Even taking it off, then remounting it, the PRO didn’t lose its zero. The only thing I would warn shooters against, is turning up the brightness too high—the last 2 or 3 settings are almost worthless being that the intensity of the illumination inside the scope is so bright that there is a glowing red ring around the edge of the glass making it very distracting.
One aspect of the PRO that may be confusing, or even overlooked are the lens covers. The objective (front) lens cover is completely opaque while the rear eyepiece lens cover is translucent, and this is for good reason. Red dots are meant to be shot with both eyes open. If you’ve been doing it any other way, and you’re not a pirate, you’re doing it wrong. New shooters, keep both eyes open when shooting, especially with red dots. The reason the eyepiece lens cover is translucent is because in a pinch, if you happened to have the covers on, you can still effectively use your red dot. Your dominate eye will transfer over the red dot to your non dominant eye that is seeing the target, and the POA/POI is exactly the same. I tested this at the range (while getting some, “what is this dumbass doing,” types of looks) and my groups stayed the same. So not only did Aimpoint make sure you wouldn’t scratch the glass up with the lens covers, they made sure you could still use the PRO in a worse case scenario in case you forgot to flip them up, which gives me a warm and fuzzy.
In the past, when building a new rifle or carbine, I would automatically account for 600-1000+ dollars for my optic, until now. The new Aimpoint PRO is hands down the best bang for your buck with red dot optics on the market today. Even if they didn’t include the QRP2 mount, it would be an outstanding value, but luckily for us, Aimpoint did. The features the PRO provides combined with its very obtainable price makes the new Aimpoint PRO’s features to price ratio blow away almost everything on the market. I wouldn’t be surprised to see not only Aimpoint’s competitor’s sales drop on the civilian market, but also a sales drop on Aimpoint’s other products because of how shooters are bound to react to the PRO. I can see the shooting world jumping all of this new Aimpoint; the PRO provides all the best features of Aimpoint’s other red dots, and at a price that should make all those frugal shooters throw their cheap red dots away for good.