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Tag Archives | Aimpoint

Sharpen Your Red Dot

I have written before about how the aiming dots on some Aimpoints don’t always look very crisp to my eyes. Yet, I continue to use them because they are clearly the best red dot site on the market. The Aimpoint Micros (T-1 and H-1) in particular appear more like a starburst than a dot to me. This makes accurate shot placement challenging especially as the distance from the target increases. I continue to use them in spite of all that because of their amazing combination of compact size, light weight, long battery life, and extreme durability. Well, that and I have a work-around.

Aimpoint Micro

I am certain that it is not unique or original to me but I have found a simple work-around for the issue that works very well for me. I simply look at the aiming dot through the small aperture of the rear sight when precision is needed. Looking through the small aperture makes the dot in an Aimpoint appear perfectly round and crisp and it also seems to bring the target into the same plane allowing both the dot and the target to be relatively crisp. There is obviously some principle of light or vision at play here that is beyond my ability to explain. Go try it now and you will see what I mean. I’ll wait…

This isn’t a perfect fix and it isn’t for every situation. It might require some adjustments to your carbine and may not be for everyone.

When to Look Through the Rear Aperture

This is obviously not a technique that is applicable to all situations. I find that there is really no need to do it until distances extend beyond 100 yards. You certainly would not want to spend time finding your sight picture through the small aperture if you are engaging a bank of targets that are just 25 yards away. There is really no need to because even if the dot is slightly misshapen to your eye, it still probably offers an acceptable level of refinement for this task.

To be clear, I am not advocating that you always look through the rear sight when using an Aimpoint. The approach that works for me is simple: I look through the rear sight only when time allows and/or the accuracy requirement of the shot requires it.

Aimpoint Multiple Models

How to Configure Your Carbine

I am not sure there is a hard and fast way that your carbine must be configured for this to work though I have found that there are probably some best practices. For instance, I don’t think it is a good idea to have to deploy a folding rear sight in order to look through the small aperture. This is doubly true for sights that do not deploy with the small aperture in place. I keep my rear sight in the up position to avoid this.

I find that I prefer a lower 1/3 co-witness setup in general but it also happens to be well suited to this technique. It allows me to easily look over my deployed rear sight while maintaining a normal cheek weld when the need for speed is more pressing than the need for a sharp, crisp aiming point. When I need that crisp aiming point, I simply press my eye down to the iron sight.

I should probably also note that I still keep both eyes open when using this technique. I find that my brain can switch to the clearer view through the rear aperture fairly intuitively. This principle should be easy for those who are already used to using magnified optics with both eyes open.

Wrap Up

I want to reiterate again that I am not advocating always looking through the rear sight when using an Aimpoint and I am not saying that it is necessary to look through the sights to use an Aimpoint (this misinformation seems to come up time to time). This is simply a technique that works for me when the specific set of circumstances that allow it arise. Try it sometime.

Aimpoint R-1 Package

The Aimpoint R-1 was discontinued quite some time ago. Several shooters were able to pick up what essentially amounts to a silver version of the Aimpoint H-1 at a great price (I was one of them). I thought those deals were gone years ago but I was wrong…


Apparently G&R Tactical still has some Aimpoint R-1s laying around and they are offering them in packages that include the mount of your choice and an IO Cover! That IO Cover is great addition to any Aimpoint Micro but especially to the R-1 because it covers most of the silver exterior.

These packages start at $460 which is probably the best deal that you will find on a Aimpoint Micro. Check out the R-1 packages at G&R Tactical.

Aimpoint Hipster

I purchased my first Aimpoint M2 after some less than stellar experiences with other red dot sights (RDS). That M2 turned out to be the gateway Aimpoint for me and I have owned just about every RDS that they have come out with since including the M2, ML2, M3, ML3, M4S, T1, R1, and H1. They have basically become my default carbine optic thanks to their versatility, durability, and reliability.

A cursory look at any internet forum will show that the Aimpoint Micros are the hotness right now. They are great sights but the older Aimpoints, like the M2 and M3, are better… for me, at least. That’s right. I liked Aimpoints before they were cool, the Micros are too mainstream, and the older ones are better.

Throat punch me because I sound like some kind of Aimpoint Hipster.

Aimpoint Multiple Models

Aimpoints are Like Pizza…

Even when they are bad; they are really, really good.

I own 5 Aimpoint Micros and I think they have the best form factor of any Aimpoint. However, when I look through an Aimpoint Micro, I see an aiming point that looks more like a multi-pointed star than a dot. The dot appears even worse when using a 3X magnifier. This is due to my eyes, not a defect with the sight. I am sure I have some slight astigmatism or something like that and for whatever reason the Aimpoint Micros are not very forgiving of this. I can still use them to get hits on full size silhouettes out to 300 yards by turning the intensity down and just dealing with it as long as I don’t try to use them with the 3X Magnifier.

I want to like the M4 and M4S as well. They are probably the most durable Aimpoint to date (that is really saying something) and they run on AA batteries which is nice. I see the dot on the M4 and M4S better than I do on the Micros, but it is still less than ideal. These are also the largest and heaviest of the Aimpoints that I have tried. Their size and weight seems monstrous when compared to the Micro Aimpoints.


Oldies but Goodies…

The M3 and ML3 just work for me. I can see the dots on these models more clearly than those on the Micro or M4 series. The 4MOA versions seem especially crisp to me. They work extremely well with the Aimpoint 3X Magnifier. I know this is due to my eyes but I am not the only person that I know who has found this to be true.

I am not sure what it is about this type of Aimpoint but I have always found them to be crisper than newer models or at least more forgiving of vision deficiencies. This holds true for the Comp C3, M2 and ML2 as well so perhaps it has something to do with the similar body and lens styles of these models. I suspect that the PRO is the same way but I have never tried one with a 3X Magnifier to be sure.

It is not like you give up much when you go with one of the slightly older models. The M3 and ML3 have very good battery life. Aimpoint claims 50,000 hours on setting 7 but I wouldn’t know because I usually swap the batteries once every 2 or 3 years. The battery is a bit of an odd duck but I stack them deep and their lithium chemistry ensures a long shelf life.

They split the difference in terms of size and weight between the M4/M4S and the Micros. They weigh around 10-12 ounces depending on the mount that you choose. While that is roughly twice what an Aimpoint Micro weighs, it still represents a relatively lightweight sighting option compared to non-Aimpoint sighting options.

Best of all, they are still Aimpoints which means they will shrug off abuse, handle temperature and atmospheric changes with ease, adapt to changing lighting conditions, forgive just about any break in technique due to hasty or improvised shooting positions, and generally just endear themselves to you for the reliability.

Aimpoint Comp M3

Be an Aimpoint Hipster

The Aimpoint Micros are definitely the hotness right now and they are great sights, especially in low mount applications but that doesn’t mean they are right for you. You don’t have to make due with a sight (or any gear for that matter) that doesn’t work for you just because it is the current trend. Make your gear choices based on your needs, experience, and intended uses, not picture threads on a forum.

Larry Vickers on the AK

A good friend pointed me to these excellent videos. About 2 years ago I wrote an article about bringing the AK up to date just to share among friends. I have been hoping to update the article now that I have been using my “modernized” AK for some time now. Everything I did to my AK is mirrored in these videos from Larry Vickers. Mr. Vickers is an expert on the AK (and most small arms) and offers excellent AK specific training courses.

There is a lot of good information for AK users to be gleaned from these videos:

Larry Vickers Introduces the AK


Larry Vickers and the AK on the Range


Larry Vickers and the Modernized AK


Larry Vickers’ YouTube Channel

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