Over the last decade red dot sights have largely replaced traditional iron sights as the “go to” choice for the AR15 and similar rifles. These optics first became popular with competition shooters, who appreciated their ease of use and speed on target, and were later widely adopted by the military, law enforcement, and the general public. Typically, red dot sights have zero magnification (often listed as “1x magnification”), are near parallax free, and are designed to be used with both eyes open so the red dot seemingly “floats” on the target.
The Aimpoint PRO is from the Swedish company that has long been a leader in red dot optics. The name, “Patrol Rifle Optic,” reflects the sight’s origin: The PRO was designed to meet the requirements of law enforcement agencies that needed to balance optics performance needs against budgetary realities. When the PRO was introduced in 2011 it was originally restricted to law enforcement only. Fortunately, the company later made the sight available to the general public as well.
The technology behind the PRO is derived from the earlier Aimpoint Comp M2, M3, and M4 sights, collectively known as the M68 Close Combat Optic in U.S. military service. The company lowered the cost of the PRO by reducing the feature set and changing some of the manufacturing processes. This includes making the 30mm tube body from hard anodized aluminum, instead of the more expensive extruded aluminum used in the mil-spec versions, reducing the number of brightness settings to 10, and using less expensive circuitry that provides an estimated 30,000-hour battery life instead of the 50,000-hour battery life of the Aimpoint Comp M4.
Even with these changes the PRO is feature laden. The red dot is 2 MOA with four night vision and six visible settings. The windage and elevation settings are adjustable in ½ MOA clicks with a screwdriver or coin. A keeper strap retains the battery cover and turret covers. There are two flip-up lens covers. The included QRP2 mount features a spacer to allow mounting on different weapon systems and a three turn locking system for perfect mounting torque every time. The unit is waterproof to 150 feet.
In many ways Aimpoint has hit the target with this sight. It has the most important features of the mil-spec sights at a noticeably lower price point.
One of the most important benefits is the legendry Aimpoint reliability. The unit is tough and more than suited to a rough life riding on a rifle in the trunk of a patrol car or used hard in competition. The lenses are recessed to avoid bumps and scratches and the whole unit sports a rubberized coating. The long battery life allows the PRO to always be kept on, ready for instant use. A sticker is enclosed to mark when the battery should be changed.
The permanently attached flip up lens covers and turret and battery cap keeper makes it harder to lose vital parts. The rear cover is clear to allow for occluded sighting with both eyes open even if the front cover is down. The front lens opening is threaded to allow attachment of an anti reflection device.
The sight comes already mounted in rings on the mount and is ready to attach right to a standard Picatinny rail. The “three turn” feature takes the guess work out of the torque needed for a perfect attachment and makes it easy to remove and replace the unit. In use, the sight retains nearly perfect zero after being removed and replaced and the ½ MOA adjustments allow for easy and precise zeroing.
We Don’t Like
Nothing is perfect and the Aimpoint PRO is no exception, although in our opinion none of these drawbacks should be considered deal breakers, except to possibly the pickiest user.
The biggest complaints revolve around the mount. While having an included mount is great, especially at this price point, there are a few issues with the current setup. The first is the large adjustment knob on the side. The knob is huge, detracts from the look of the sight, and seems like it could be snag risk. (Although, in fairness, that has never happened to me yet). A more practical complaint is the height of the mount. With the spacer attached, and the sight mounted on a flattop AR with a standard front sight post, the sight is set up for an absolute co-witness. Personally, I was not able to establish the lower 1/3 sight co-witness. I prefer with or without the spacer. As far as I can tell a different mount would be required to obtain a lower 1/3 co- witness.
The lens image, while considerably better than cheap red dot scopes, does have a slight blue tint and the image through the lens is slightly dimmer than the surroundings.
The final complaint, and this is largely a matter of personal preference, is the 2 MOA dot. Personally, I find a slightly larger dot, like 4 MOA, quicker to acquire. Although you can effectively make the dot seem larger by increasing the brightness settings, this does cause other problems, such as bloom.
With the Aimpoint PRO Aimpoint has filled a niche between the low-end Chinese red dots, which are notorious for poor reliability and build quality, and the more expensive mil-spec M3 and M4 models.
The PRO incorporates all the standard advantages of red dot sights; such as fast target acquisition; with the excellent build quality, attention to detail and the long battery life typical of all Aimpoint products.
Although it was originally designed for law enforcement, the Aimpoint PRO is equally at home on the rifle of anyone who wants a quality red dot optic at an affordable price.
Objective Lens – Band Pass coating for NVD
LED, Light source wave length – 650 nm, red light
Red dot size – 2 MOA*
Eye relief – Unlimited
Optical surfaces – All surfaces anti-reflex coated, Multi-Iayer coated objective lens
Magnification – 1X
Battery – DL 1/3N
Battery Life – 3 years continuous at setting 7** out of 10
Dot intensity regulator – Rotary switch
Settings – 4 NVD and 6 Daylight including 1 extra bright
Surface finish – Hard anodized
Adjustment – 1 click = 13mm at 100 meters (1/2” at 100 yards)
Mounting method – QRP2 mount for M1913 standard Picatinny rail, incl.
a spacer which can be removed for use on shotguns
Temp range -45° – +71°C (-50° – 160°F)
Water resistance – Submersible to 45 meters (150 feet)
Length 130mm (5.1”)
Weight 330g (11.6 oz) including mount and spacer
Ring diameter 30mm