I make no bones about the fact I'm a fan of Aimpoint's red-dot sights. The whole range is exceptionally well built, the optics are clear and the design ensures there's no parallax error, something that does affect some other styles of non-magnifying dot sights. Now there's a new model in the line-up.
This one's the second Micro H-1, the smallest and arguably best of the Aimpoints. Its tiny scale, however, originally meant the engineers could not create a red dot any smaller than 4MOA; the other Aimpoints were all offered in either 4 or 2MOA sizes. It's all to do with the internal workings of the diode and lenses. The designers have since worked out how to overcome the challenge and the 2MOA Micro is now available.
The 2MOA sight has the same semi-matte black anodised finish, just 20 microns thick, that was introduced a year or so ago on the 4MOA Micro. This finish is tougher than the previous one and, of course, less reflective. Micros also recently received Torx bolts to replace the rather soft Allen head bolts originally fitted.
The basics are all still there: the same little caps with adjusting tools to cover the windage and elevation turrets; the same twelve brightness settings; standard mount to suit Weaver or Piccatinny rails, with an option for other types from the ubiquitous rimfire slots to the unique Blaser saddle mount; the 50,000-hour claimed battery life (that's more than 5½ years even if you never turn it off); and a ruggedness that's pretty well impervious to the harshest hunting conditions and should even survive being dropped.
2MOA or 4MOA?
The push for a 2MOA sight was largely customer driven. The smaller dot obscures less of your target, something that can be significant when it's a fox 100m away or a paper target way out there. A 2MOA dot covers about 6cm at 100m, while 4MOA is 12cm. If your hunting rifle is good for sub-2MOA accuracy, it's nice to see exactly where the bullet's likely impact zone will be, rather than have a disc twice as wide lit up.
That has certainly been an advantage at times when I've been hunting with the 2MOA sight. A couple of times with the 4MOA unit, I passed up a shot – once at a rabbit, once at a fox – because too much of the animal was obscured behind the dot. I've not had to do that with the new one.
But the perceived advantages may be psychological to some degree. See, there are some real reasons to consider the larger dot. I'm told people general shoot a little more accurately with a 4MOA spot, though the reasoning was never explained and, having used both, I must admit I can't pick the difference in the field. One thing I can pick, though, is that the 4MOA dot doesn't have to be as brightly lit to do its job, so there's less contrast for your eye to deal with, and it's less fussy about exactly what intensity setting you have it on at any time. This is most noticeable in twilight, the most critical time. When the dot is lit up brighter, it's less well defined, too.
That's probably more of an issue for older eyes, and being in my mid-40s and finally at the point where I'm procrastinating about getting reading glasses (it's not true, surely!), I'm a prime candidate for seeing the effects. I do prefer the 4MOA Micro in low light, but I can settle for either during the day.
And as I said, there seems to be no effect either way on how well the Micro helps me knock down game.
Shooting on the dot
Dot sights come into their own when the shooting gets fast and mobile – running game, multiple targets, thick scrub and anywhere else that precludes carefully lining up iron sights or finding your quarry through a narrow tube of magnifying lenses. The new Aimpoint works perfectly.
Using it, I've emptied a magazine into a fleeing mob of goats without a miss, downed a decent billy goat on a forested hilltop where visibility was limited, whacked a couple of pigs and downed a number of deer. Most of the deer were on a driven hunt in Europe, when I first got to sample the sight, and you can see in the video how effective the 2MOA Micro is on moving animals.
Two of the red deer were about 150m away, both on the move but at different speeds. No worries with the Aimpoint – one dropped 30m after being hit, the other on the spot. They weren't the only longer shots, either, although I reckon 150m is about the limit for the non-magnifying sight unless you have time and a good rest.
You shoot with both eyes open, a real benefit. It's not only safer because your peripheral vision is improved a hundred times over, but your brain seems to gather better signals about speed and lead, too. It helps make aiming the Micro a very instinctive thing, and it takes very little practice to become proficient.
Combine it with a quick-shooting, fast-pointing rifle like a lever-action and you have a dynamite set-up. It'd work nicely on a shotgun, too.
By the way, the dot's red is calibrated to 650 nanometres, which Aimpoint claims is the best red. It's right up at the end of the visible spectrum and apparently has the lowest impact of all colours on your eye's ability to see other colours.
Yes, it's the little things
The Micro is Aimpoint's most popular sight. It does beg the question of why they'd make anything else, like the Hunter series, but there is a place for the others. Aesthetics are a big part of it, and many customers apparently prefer the 'traditional' look of the larger scopes. There's also at least one practical benefit to the larger Aimpoints, in that you see even less of the scope's body as you take aim. My 30mm Hunter is certainly slightly better at times because of this.
Still, the Aimpoint's little body is an out-of-focus blur to your eyes when you're shooting and hardly what you'd call distracting, let alone intrusive, so most people should be happy with the Micro, especially as it weighs only 105g including its mount.
With the 2MOA model's introduction, you now have the choice of a larger or smaller dot. Weigh up the game you're hunting, the typical ranges you shoot and the state of your eyes, then take your pick. Either way, if you haven't tried an Aimpoint Micro before, you're in for an eye-opening experience.
|Body||Extruded, black-anodised aluminium|
|Weight||84g (sight only), 105g with mount|
|Red dot size||2MOA|
|Dot intensity settings||12|
|Adjustment||1 click = 13mm @ 100m (1in @ 100yd)|
|Battery||3V Lithium CR2032|
|Claimed battery life||50,000 hours|
|Price||$750 (correct as of May 2012)|
|Contact||XTEK, 1800 500 032, www.xtek.net|