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Smart Bombs: Military, Defense and National Security

Aimpoint PRO Review: The Best Carbine Red Dot?

Aimpoint PRO
Aimpoint PRO. Image: Manufacturer.

There are a ton of options out there when it comes to red dot optics for your AR-15.

After dozens of scopes and years of testing, though, there is one optic that stands above the rest: the Aimpoint PRO (Patrol Rifle Optic.) I’ve shot with EOTechs, Aimpoint Micros, and a handful of different Vortex red dots, and the PRO is my go-to for defense guns.

Basically, it comes down to reliability. When I’m putting together a home defense platform, I want to know that every piece on it is going to function when I need it the most. That’s where the Aimpoint PRO comes in.

It’s not the smallest or lightest red dot around, especially compared to reflex-style optics like the EOTech, but it has one feature that sets it above the rest: It’s always on.

Seriously. There is no on/off switch. The PRO doesn’t need one. Pop in the included DL1/3N battery, and the reticle is powered on. And, the battery lasts for a whopping 30,000 hours. That’s about three years of battery life.

You get ten different brightness settings to choose from, and 4 of them will work with night vision. I run it on a 5 at night and 9 during the day, and I can quickly and easily pick out the dot when I go to sight in. The highest setting is very bright, so even if you have bad eyes, you should be able to use the Aimpoint PRO even in full daylight.

Looking through the Aimpoint PRO’s tube produces a nice, crisp image. The glass is fully multi-coated to enhance light transmission, and the coating also cuts down on reflections and glare, so you won’t give away your position to any potential enemies on the field.

I have noticed a very slight blue tint when using this scope, but that’s to be expected with any sort of anti-glare coating. It’s barely noticeable, though, and doesn’t really affect my target identification, so it’s not really an issue.

The Aimpoint PRO also ships with everything you need to get it set up on your rifle of choice, including a picatinny mount, riser, battery, and built-in flip caps. The rear cap is see-through, which means that in an emergency, you can operate the scope without flipping up the caps so long as you’re shooting with both eyes open (which, let’s be honest, you should be doing anyway.) Plus, the front cap is threaded, so you can add on a honeycomb anti-reflection device if you’re really concerned about scope glint.

Zeroing this bad boy with my AR-15 was quick and easy. The included riser let me set up for co-witness, which always makes it quick and easy to get on target. And with 1 MOA adjustments, I was able to get dialed in pretty precisely.

Plus, the unlimited eye relief means that the PRO is perfect to run alongside your other favorite optics and accessories.

Specifications: Aimpoint PRO

Reticle: 2 MOA Red Dot

Brightness Settings: 10

Night Vision Compatible: Yes

Battery Life: 3 Years

Battery Type: DL1/3N (included)

Overall Length: 6.75 in.

Width: 4.63 in.

Height:  3.38 in.

Weight: 7.68 ounces

Objective Lens Diameter: 38 millimeters

Eye Relief: Unlimited

MSRP: $449

Ratings (out of five stars):

Reliability: * * * * *

Reliability is the name of the game with the Aimpoint PRO. If it’s good enough for the military (the PRO is one of their go-to optics) then it’s good enough for me! And the Always-On reticle means I’m always ready for action.

Durability: * * * * *

The PRO is built like a tank. Shockproof, anti-scratch lens coatings, and waterproof up to 150 feet.

Ease of Use: * * * * *

Super easy to use. The included mount uses a tool-less ratcheting screw for easy mounting and detaching onto any picatinny rail. Included riser allows for easy co-witness setup.

Value: * * * *

Military-grade quality for less than $500? Sign me up. Sure, there are cheaper red dots out there, but you get what you pay for.

Overall: * * * * *

After some pretty extensive testing, I can see why the PRO is a favorite optic for military and law enforcement. It’s tough, lightweight, and incredibly dependable. It’s definitely going to be a permanent fixture on my home defense AR. But don’t just take my word for it… or the military’s… or the cops… Try one for yourself! I promise you’ll fall in love with the always-on Aimpoint PRO.

Richard Douglas is a long-time shooter, outdoor enthusiast, and technologist. He is the founder and editor of Scopes Field.

Written By

Richard Douglas is a long-time shooter, outdoor enthusiast, and technologist. He is the founder and editor of Scopes Field, and a columnist at The National Interest, Cheaper Than Dirt, Daily Caller, and other publications.