This makes a lot of sense, Aimpoint did invent the first red dot optic in 1975, and it was massive. Times have changed and technology has shrunk, and Aimpoint is still making brilliant optics. Aimpoint provided some of the earliest red dots to units like Delta Force, who famously used them in the Modelo Prison raid.
Aimpoint gained a massive uptick in popularity after the United States Army moved from iron sights to optics, and chose the venerable Aimpoint M4 red sight. Since then the civilian and law enforcement market has adopted the Aimpoint red dot as it’s favorite red dot sight.
Aimpoint has created more and more red dot sights for the civilian and police market, including miniature red dots, red dots for hunting, the Aimpoint Pro ( read review ) and of course the subject of our review, the Aimpoint ACO.
Vortex Strikefire II
|Reticle:||4 MOA red/green dot||2 MOA||2 MOA|
|Length:||5.6 inches||5.1 inches||5.1 inches|
|Weight:||7.2 oz||7.8 oz||7.8 oz|
|Battery life:||Max 6000h||30 000h||10 000h|
|Brightness levels:||10||6 + 4 NV||9 + 1 extra bright|
|Product Page:||Click Here||Click Here||Click Here|
To Who ACO Is Designed For?
The Aimpoint ACO is Aimpoint’s second introduction into the budget or beginner red dot realm. The Aimpoint Pro was their first starter optic, and now the ACO is coming in at just a bit cheaper and made for a more specific purpose. The ACO is designed almost exclusively for the civilian shooter, for shooters who plink or target shoot, for sport competitions, and for basic home defense.
Unboxing & First Impression
The ACO or the Aimpoint Carbine optic is very basic, and comes in a very basic box, without lenses covers, with a short instruction manual, battery, lens cloth, a battery, and a very basic, but effective mount.
If you’ve ever seen or used an Aimpoint you won’t find anything new here. It’s a nice sight, it actually just oozes quality. The optic is made from anodized aluminum and finished in a matte gray. The optic looks quite professional on a rifle. The finish is applied evenly and doesn’t scratch when used heavily. The controls are simply one dial located on the battery compartment, you turn it on, adjust the brightness levels and turn it off all with one dial.
The dial clicks into place smoothly and it doesn’t glide haphazardly. The unit runs on a simple 3-volt battery that is compact and keeps the sight nice and light. The battery life on the sight is impressive in general, but low for an Aimpoint. The battery life will last 10,000 hours on setting seven, which is a little over a year.
Main Differences Between ACO & Pro
First and foremost, when you compare ACO 10,000h battery life to the Pro, which has a 30,000, or over 3 years of battery life it seems somewhat poor. However, ten thousand hours in a lot of time, change the battery every new year and you are good to go. The batteries are small enough that you can store them in a hollow grip on an AR 15.
Overall The ACO and Pro are easy to compare and contrast, they are quite similar. The main difference is the fact that the ACO and Pro are designed for different overall purposes.
The ACO is specifically designed for the civilian shooter, and for a modern sporting rifle like the AR 15.
The PRO is designed specifically for police officers in departments on a budget.
The changes are slight but distinguish between the needs.
1. The ACO does have 9 different brightness settings, including one ultra-bright setting vs PRO 6 daylight & 4NV.
The Aimpoint Carbine optic is not compatible with night vision, one of the differences between the Pro and ACO. The standard plinker and AR shooter probably doesn’t need night vision compatibility, so it isn’t worth it. In exchange, the ACO does have 3 higher daylight brightness settings versus the Aimpoint Pro.
2. The Aimpoint Carbine Optic has a simple mount, and it is quite different from the Pro mount. The ACO mount does give you an absolute co-witness with standard height AR 15s. The ACO mount doesn’t have a spacer like the Pro, and the ACO has a much smaller nut to tighten or remove from the Picatinny rail.
The ACO is like the Pro in terms of its ability to use all the Aimpoint accessories, including additional mounts, and magnifiers.
Zeroing Aimpoint ACO For Field Test
The Aimpoint Carbine optic is easy to zero and has ½ moa adjustments. This is approximately a half inch adjustment at one hundred yards. Since red dots aren’t for precision shooting you don’t need ¼ moa adjustments. The half MOA adjustments make things quick when zeroing.
The Aimpoint’s dot is only 2 MOA, which is nice and small for easy shooting at one or two hundred yards. The dot stays superbly crisp regardless of the brightness setting and doesn’t grow or expand as the dot gets brighter.
There also appears to be zero wash out at any setting, at least none I could detect. When used with an Aimpoint magnifier the dot does loose some of its sharpness though. This is not exclusive to Aimpoints, or the ACO, but a common problem with red dots and magnifiers.
Field Shooting Test
In the field, we mounted the ACO to a new SIG 556R rifle, which uses the 7.62 x 39 mm round. I had also mounted standard Magpul MBUS sights.The optic perfectly cowitnesses with the MBUS sights.
We started at ranges of 25 yards with standard Ivan silhouette targets. We scored hits only when they struck the outlined chest, or pelvic area, or in the T-zone of the head. This was a task any shooter could do with ease, but was our warm up. We then practiced transition between targets while firing double taps into the chest or pelvic area.
Transitions went smooth, and the dot was easy to find as we transitioned from target to target, and we never lost the dot due to blur, and it never became a hunt for the dot. Headshots into the T-zone require a precise dot, which the smaller 2 MOA dot provides. The 556R fires a beefier round than the standard 5.56, but the recoil wasn’t an issue with the dot. It stayed put, and at eye level, making rapid fire accurate. The Aimpoint ACO performed brilliantly, and its simplicity was appreciated greatly by new shooters.
The biggest downside is for an entry level optic the price is only about 60 bucks cheaper than the Aimpoint Pro, and the Pro comes with a much better mount. The Aimpoint ACO is an reliable optic, and if you want a few more daylight settings the ACO is for you.
However the Pro is better built in my opinion, and it’s worth the extra 60 bucks to go PRO in my humble opinion. Regardless the ACO is a great optic and performs how’d you expect an Aimpoint to perform.
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