Gear Review: Aimpoint PRO (Patrol Rifle Optic)

Aimpoint’s PRO — Patrol Rifle Optic — is an extremely rugged, always-on red dot optic designed for duty use by law enforcement, military, and the armed citizen. Freeze it, torch it, drop it, SCUBA dive with it, leave it on for three years straight, if you can afford the four- to five-hundred dollar cost of entry then the PRO and its bright, precise 2 MOA dot will serve you well . . .

The PRO is a tube-style red dot scope with a 30mm mount diameter. It ships with 2L76 (aka 1/3N) battery, QRP2 mount, removable spacer, and the necessary hex wrenches and bolts.

With the spacer, the centerline of the PRO is 39mm above the top of the rail and at ideal MSR height. Standard AR sights co-witness about 1/3 of the way up the glass (lower third co-witness). Though it’s a long RDS it’s a true, distortion-free 1x and the front sight is clearly visible through the PRO.

Without the spacer, the PRO centers 30mm over the rail. This is better-suited for SMGs like the MP5 and Scorpion Evo, or for use on shotguns or rifles with some drop to the stock (like an AK, scout rifle, Mini-14, etc.).

The QRP2 “rail grabber mount” itself is actually pretty slick. It employs a spring-loaded tightening knob that’s effectively a pre-calibrated torque wrench. At a certain tension level the knob rides up angled teeth then snaps down into the base of the next one. Three clicks and you’re at the perfect tension level for a secure hold without damage to your rail. It’s extremely fast, easy, and effective, without any need for tools.

That knob is big, though. It’s likely to be in the way of a receiver-based left-hand charging handle, as it was on my X Products SCU upper unless I mounted the sight all the way to the rear. Thankfully the mount can be flipped around and it works just as well with the knob on the right side. At any rate, while it’s a very cool design it would be even cooler if the knob itself could be removed once used to torque the mount down.

Alternatively, Optics Planet (who loaned TTAG this optic so we could review it) offers the PRO with an optional QD SIDELOK mount from Kinetic Development Group for an extra $42. If you want to very quickly and easily swap the PRO from gun to gun or just want a sleeker option with nothing protruding from either side, this mount is simply badass.

A single little 3V battery will keep the PRO powered up (at brightness level 7 of 10) for 30,000 hours. That’s 3.4 years.

On the other end of that battery tube is the brightness adjustment dial. Click left to dim the dot and right (as in, clockwise) to brighten it up. Levels one through four are night-vision compatible, then five through 10 are for naked eye/daylight use. Level 10 is extra bright, causing a bit of halo inside the body of the optic unless you’re sighting at a fully sunlit background, in which case that halo gets washed out.

Of course, that allows you to actually see a bright, pretty darn crisp dot even in full sunlight. It doesn’t disappear on a Texas afternoon. With the sun shaded or partially shaded by a cloud, levels eight and nine were preferred for the perfectly clean edge on the 2 MOA round dot. In full sun, setting 10 was best for dot visibility against the light sand background and, though the circumference of the dot fuzzed up a bit, it remained crisper than the vast majority of other brands do at full brightness.

Captured caps cover turrets that are easily click-adjusted with a deep, wide slot that readily accepts a coin or cartridge rim. Adjustment clicks are in 7/16th-inch (0.4375″) increments at 100 yards. Maybe they drew that number out of a hat or 7/16 is a kid’s birthday or something…who knows. As good as anything, I suppose.

Lenses are well recessed into the aluminum housing to provide extra protection from impact, dirt, scratches, fingerprints, etc. The front of the tube is internally threaded for the addition of an anti-reflection device.

Flip-away lens covers — solid black plastic front and transparent rear — offer additional protection from the elements and quickly pop out of the way. They can be rotated on the PRO’s body so the user can change whether they flip up, down, or to any point on the clock.

Why a clear rear cap? Well, the PRO is an always-on optic designed to be ready for immediate action. With both eyes open, the sight is surprisingly usable even with the caps shut. It’s amazing how well your brain compensates and allows you to see everything while still maintaining that superimposed red-dot-on-target sight picture even though one eye can’t actually see through the sight. Very cool.

Why not a clear front cap, too? No idea. Maybe to discourage laziness and ensure that you flip the cap up during use? Certainly the image is clearer and brighter and more distortion-free without a plastic cap or two over it.

On the range (not pictured above) the PRO was excellent. I love a 2 MOA dot — especially a really crisp, clean one. Shots on 14″ square steel plates out to 300 yards weren’t an issue, whereas a larger dot begins to obscure your target much sooner. Heck, the PRO’s dot is precise enough to shoot decent groups at 100 yards and make accurate, confident shots on small targets such as the head zone on an IPSC silhouette.

Additionally, a smaller dot like this is better for use with a magnifier like one of Aimpoint’s magnifying modules.

As you’d expect, the PRO is free of parallax. With the gun rested and aligned on target, the shooter can move his or her head around behind the sight as much as desired and, as long as the dot remains visible inside the sight, it remains right on target.

So I fully admit I didn’t torture test the PRO. Tyler put hundreds of rounds through it and I’ve put a bunch of 5.56, .308, and even a little .458 SOCOM through it. As you’d expect, it wasn’t phased. It’s rated waterproof to a whopping 150 feet and operates in temperatures from -49° F to 160° F (often temperature limitations are battery-related more than anything else). The PRO is also vibration, shock, and chemical resistant. It carries a 10-year warranty for personal use (2 years for professional or competition use).

So the Aimpoint Patrol Rifle Optic has a bright, crisp, precise dot, is always at-the-ready with 3+ years of leave-it-on battery life, is extremely rugged, and comes with a dual-height, torque-perfect mount. What’s the downside? Assuming the $559.99 MSRP ($415.15 on Optics Planet with “TTAG5” coupon code for 5% off anything on their site) isn’t a hurdle too high, then it’s the weight. Aimpoint’s PRO — all-in with battery, lens caps, AR riser, and mount — tips the scales at 11.64 ounces.

On balance, I like the PRO a lot. For recreational use I’d likely choose something smaller, lighter, and less expensive, but for “important” duty the PRO is rugged, adaptable, and easy to use. Combined with a magnifier and night vision it would be a perfect TEOTWAWKI optic.

Specifications: Aimpoint PRO (Patrol Rifle Optic)

Technology: ACET (Advanced Circuit Efficiency Technology)
Working principle: Reflex collimator sight – red dot sight
Lightsource: LED (Light Emitting Diode) totally eye-safe
Lightsource wavelength: 650 nm red light
Red dot size in MOA (minute of angle): 2
Parallax: Absence of parallax – No centering required
Eye relief: Unlimited
Night vision compatibility: Yes
Surface Coating: Anti-reflex coating
Objective Lens Coating: Multi-layer coating objective lens
Magnification: No magnification (1X)
Battery: One 3V Lithium battery, type 2L76 or DL1/3N
Battery life in hours: 30 000 (over 3 years of continuous use)
Dot intensity adjustment: Manual rotary switch
Daylight (DL) settings: 6 DL – one extra bright
NVD settings: 4 NVD
Housing Material: High strength aluminum
Surface finish: Hard anodized, matte
Housing Color: Black
Adjustment 1 click: 13mm at 100m, (1/2in at 100yds)
Mounting methods: QRP2 mount for M1913 standard Picatinny rail, and spacer for AR15/M4 carbine application
Temperature range: -45° – +71° C, (50° – +160° F)
Water resistance: Submersible to 45m (150ft)
Radioactive components used: None
Length: 5.1in
Width/height sight only: 2.2in x 2.2in
Maximum ring width: 30mm
Objective diameter: 38mm
Tube diameter: 30mm
Weight w/ sight only: 220g, (7.8oz)
Weight w/ integrated mount: 11.6 oz including mount and spacer
MSRP: $559.99 (currently $437 on Optics Planet. Use coupon code “TTAG5” for 5% off anything on their site. NOTE: TTAG receives no compensation whatsoever based on traffic or sales to Optics Planet via this link or coupon code).


Ratings (out of five stars):

Quality * * * * *
Aimpoint has a rock solid reputation and they’re at no risk of screwing that up with the PRO. It’s a solid, well-made sight with a solid, well-made mount.

Optical Clarity * * * *
With a mess of lens coatings to protect the glass, prevent reflection, and improve dot image there’s some color shift, but the image is clear and completely free of distortion. The 2 MOA dot itself is extremely crisp and clean. It’s parallax-free.

Adjustment & Controls * * * * *
Nice click adjustments for brightness, windage, and elevation. Holds zero.

Overall * * * *
The Aimpoint PRO is a fantastic optic that won’t let you down, whether you’re guarding your home, out on patrol, or shooting a competition. I’d happily give it five stars if it weighed a bit less and if that mount knob — as much as I love the torque-limiting feature and the fact that it can be installed and removed without tools — was either smaller or removable. I’d also prefer it if there was no color shift of the background when looking through the sight, though I understand there are reasons for tinting lenses to enhance contrast and such. A very strong four stars here overall.

comments

  1. avatar Madcapp says:

    At this point, its priced too high, and there is too much clutter in the field of view. Red dot manufacturers need to work on making the chassis as invisible as possible. The Trijicon MRO is an up-to-date optic, that Aimpoint is too big, and its the old “looking through a pipe” design. Aimpoint is asleep at the wheel and has ceased to innovate.

    1. avatar Madcapp says:

      Oh, and one of the most important points that I didn’t make in the first post…11.6 ounces in its mount? Are you f/n kidding me? At this point, if you can’t design something better than an MRO, then just don’t design anything at all. That Aimpoint is a competitor for the Vortex Strikefire II, and its worth about the same…around $180

      1. avatar BLAMMO says:

        I like the Vortex Spitfire. It’s a prism optic, so it works with the red/green dot tuned off or if the battery is dead. No need for a BUIS. And it’s cleaner with no external battery tube. Takes a button cell you can get at any Walgreen’s. Automatic shutoff. Vortex has a warranty that’s second to none.

        I got mine at Midway for $183. I should have bought 2. I’ll never see it for that price again. 🙁

      2. avatar Danny Griffin says:

        Same league? 300 hours battery life compared to 30,000? 4 MOA dot compared to 2 MOA dot? Ruggedness? There’s a reason the US military uses Aimpoint. And so do I.

        1. avatar Madcapp says:

          Yes, the Aimpoint and Vortex are exactly the same league today. And 2MOA is not for battle sights, its too small and slow to pick up, ask the people who are buying C-More Railways with 6, 8, 12, or 16 MOA dots about size theory. Vortex makes excellent optics, they’re quite robust enough for the keyboard warriors that frequent TTAG. And the Strikefire II is rated for 400 hours battery life at the MAXIMUM setting, and 7,000 hours at the minimum…so at comparable mid-level settings, you’ll see all the battery life you’ll ever need on the Vortex. And no matter what battery-powered red dot you use, you need a couple of spare batteries in your handgrip. So, now I’m going to repeat myself…Trijicon MRO. And if you can’t equal or beat that design, you’re headed out of business, because that’s what the smart kids buy.

  2. avatar J says:

    I’ve had mine for 3 years now. This product makes every EOTech EOJunk.

    I have never had the sight loosen from the rails so the knob is an bit intrusive but does not take away any operational features to my rifle or the sight itself.

    If the price tag is too high for you, try LAPoliceGear for their Black Friday sales. You can usually find it for around 375 at the time.

  3. avatar Pwrserge says:

    Not bad for a mid shelf optic. (It’s obviously designed to compete with your holosun and primary arms red dots.)
    Couple things they jacked up.
    1. Oddball battery. Everything should run on a CR123 or a coin cell. Better yet, commercial AA or AAA batteries.
    2. Questionable battery mount. While transverse housings may be bulky, you battery doesn’t rock against the contact springs with every shot. Over time, that’s going to jack up your optic. It was a common issue with EOTech 512s.
    3. No toolless adjustment. If you’re going to cap the turrets anyway, give us some way to adjust them without digging up a spare round or a pointy stick.

    Overall… it’s distinctly meh. Though the price point is great for a top shelf optic, top shelf it is not. I’ll stick with my MRO or T1. They may cost more, but have better battery life and fix issues #1 and 2

    1. avatar Simon says:

      It’s not a mid-shelf optic by any stretch of the imagination. It’s as rugged and clear as any other Aimpoint red dot that I’ve ever seen or used.

      Oddball battery is probably to just marketing to justify paying more for the optic which uses the more common batteries.

      I HIGHLY doubt that Aimpoint would put a 10 year warranty on it if there were an intrinsic problem with the battery housing.

      1. avatar Pwrserge says:

        Most people will never put the sort of round count on their rifle where this design flaw will become an issue. My top shelf optics have thousands of rounds on them. For example, my latest AK just hit the 1500 round mark and I’ve had it for less than three months. If I was Aimpoint, I wouldn’t worry about a ten year warranty as this would be a $2 fix for the 1% of optics that will claim the warranty.

    2. avatar Geoff PR says:

      “1. Oddball battery. Everything should run on a CR123 or a coin cell. Better yet, commercial AA or AAA batteries.”

      The only problem with the AA or AAA batteries are that you need two of them. LEDs aren’t very happy at an undervolt of 1.5v.

      They could have swung it on that thing, though. Looking at the size of it, I would have preferred the CR123, that in lithium probably would keep it lit for 5 years…

    3. avatar Evey259 says:

      Oh, please. Batteries mounted longitudinally may be an issue, but when a red dot sight can take the level of abuse that Aimpoints have been known to take (again and again,) it’s clear the engineers at Aimpoint have had that figured out for a while. Moreover, this is by no means a mid-range optic meant to compete with Holosuns or Primary Arms. This is right up there, and in some ways better than the MRO (need I remind you of the fact that Trijicon can’t even get 1x right?)

      Still, your baseless and easily refuted anecdotal evidence is nice, I suppose. Thank you for being a predictable contrarian.

  4. avatar Brassporkchop says:

    I got the eg1 from di optical. $400 range, the window is huge, about the same weight, waterproof. I wanted to be different and have an enormous fov. I like it so far.

    Same company also has 2 aimpoint knockoffs, one in the 200 range. Used by South Korea military.

  5. avatar Tom in Oregon says:

    I’m digging that front hand guard.

    1. avatar JackInAlabama says:

      Yeah – – What Tom said! WTH is that, where does it come from – I don’t WANT one, I NEED one, dammit!

    2. avatar JackInAlabama says:

      Brigand Arms Edge Handguard – woven carbon fiber — seriously billy-BA look to that – wonder if it can take the abuse of my HAS Diamondhead VRS-T?

      1. avatar Sir Tri says:

        Who makes the other one?

        1. avatar Jeremy S. says:

          The “solid” carbon fiber one on the 300 BLK suppressed SBR is from Lancer Systems (as is the L15 lower receiver, which is reviewed on TTAG here somewhere), and the woven carbon fiber braids one is from Brigand Arms.

  6. avatar Jimmy James says:

    2 MOA dot too small for these old eyes and as far as Aimpoint being “all that”, 20 years ago THEY S#CKED. Their dot scopes on USPSA Open guns were totally unreliable. I switched to a C-more and never looked back but I have a log memory.

    1. avatar tsbhoa.p.jr says:

      from “blammo?” i remember those too. my neighbor’s dog hated them.

  7. avatar Eric Lawrence says:

    The Aimpoint PRO is the gold standard of combat red dots. Nearly all lower priced optics are substandard in some way (weak mount, lower battery life, blurry dot, .etc). Nearly all higher priced non-magnified red dots, even Aimpoints own H-1 and T-1, are very minuscule improvements for way too much money.

    I used Aimpoint M68’s on an M4A1 and Block 1 SOPMOD in the early 2000’s. After seeing the quality, reliability, and accuracy after the beating we put them through I will use and recommend Aimpoint products and the PRO exclusively.

  8. avatar Juice says:

    I have mine sitting in front of a 3x magnifier, both on LaRue mounts, and have been quite satisfied for the past few years. I don’t quite get the complaints that the inside is too cluttered. You can, as described in this article, quite easily use it with the front cover still on. The housing all but disappears if you have both eyes open as intended.

  9. avatar John Haley says:

    7/16″ to the click? Somebody hep me! What’s up with that? It’s very near or dead on 1/2″ at 100 meters. Mix much? Yuck!

  10. avatar SpeleoFool says:

    Reason for no clear front cap is that you don’t need one. Try leaving the front cap closed and sight in with both eyes open. You’ll still see the dot superimposed on the target.

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