The Aimpoint Micro T1, shown here on an ARMS riser mount, is the smallest red dot optic in the company's product line.
The Aimpoint Micro T1, shown here on an ARMS riser mount, is the smallest red dot optic in the company's product line. The Aimpoint Micro T1, shown here on an ARMS riser mount, is the smallest red do
The EO Tech XPS series.
The EO Tech XPS series takes up far less space on any mounting rail system due to the single lithium battery. The EO Tech XPS series takes up far less space on any mounting rail system.
FEATURED IN TACTICS AND WEAPONS
The patrol carbine, usually in the form of a 16" barrel AR-15, is now well entrenched in American law enforcement. Agencies have purchased the guns, allowed officers to purchase their own or are currently evaluating the change. It doesn t matter if this is because of the ongoing threat of terrorism in the form of a Mumbai-style attack, an active shooter situation or just a general understanding that first responders can use/need the additional reach and capacity.What matters: Officers are getting carbines in greater numbers, and this is a good trend.
The desire to hang every gadget, gizmo, gee-gaw, light, laser, phaser or new ninja apparatus on one s gun was a bad trend. Jeff Cooper s original admonition for the combative handgun applies here: You need good sights, a good trigger and total reliability and, like the handgun that needs a holster, the carbine needs a good suspension system via a sling.(
As I ve traveled across the country and spoken to and trained police officers in carbine use, I realize that many are now backing off from all of the extras, instead standardizing on three additions to their basic gun: a white light, sling and some type of optic, usually in the form of a non-magnifying red dot, which simplifies the sighting process.
Think about what it takes to use iron sights: The shooter must align the front and rear sights on the target (with the target and rear sight blurry while the front sight is clear). The process does work, and iron sights should be mounted on every carbine, but the eye sprint involved in finding the target, placing the front sight on it and refocusing is difficult and increasingly so as the eyes age, let alone under the duress of a firefight. A quality red dot allows the shooter to focus on the target and superimpose the red dot where they want the shot to go. The future of handgun sights will follow this trend as optics manufacturers make smaller and more robust optics. Such sights will likely nullify the whole point shooting vs. sighted fire debate.
Small, street-proven red dot sights aren t quite ready for pistols, but they re getting there. Several compact red dot sights that take up little space on top of a long gun but offer large fields of view essential for any combat firearm are available from two of the biggest names in military grade optics: Aimpoint and EO Tech.
The Mini Aimpoint Micro T-1
No matter what your operational parameters might be, the size, weight and bulk of your equipment are factors in performance. Aimpoint has introduced a fast-aiming system that provides the performance of a full-size sight in the smallest possible package. The Micro T-1 will stand up under extreme conditions while adding negligible weight or bulk to your firearm (including the mount, it weighs 3.7 oz.). Suitable for use on full-size rifles, carbines, shotguns, submachine guns and even handguns, it s near perfect as a stand-alone sight or mounted on top of a magnifying optics, night vision or thermal imaging device.
The Micro T-1 is optimized (read:less expensive) for use with all generations of night vision devices (NVDs), but is especially suited for third-generation night vision technology. The band-pass coating on the reflective lens reflects certain frequencies of red light at near 100% efficiency to give the highest possible dot brightness while transmitting nearly 100% of light in the infrared and near-infrared part of the spectrum. It has four NVD-compatible brightness settings and eight daylight settings, including one extra-bright setting. It also features an unlimited field of view and unlimited eye relief, and it s parallax free. The optic is unaffected by extreme weather condition and offers no hazardous materials or laser emission that could be harmful to the eyes. The mechanical switch gives enhanced dexterity to the fingertips, increasing speed and reliability. New ACET technology allows 50,000 hours (more than five years) of constant operation from one battery.
EO Tech XPS Series
In an effort to reduce the amount of space the optic requires on the top of an officer s carbine, EO Tech has introduced its shortest model to date. This sight is smaller than the original N-cell battery sight, because it runs on a single 123 lithium battery and offers 600 continuous hours. The XPS series is lighter (it weighs 8.8 oz.) and fast on target with three available reticle options to meet the needs of the individual shooter. With the new single battery configuration that is mounted in a transverse fashion across the body of the optic, the XPS allows more room for rear iron sights, magnifying unit or NVD mount. This shortened base requires 2 3/4 inches of rail space, compared with the 4" original N-battery sight. In addition, the battery cap and latch are eliminated and replaced with a simple O-ring, tethered cap which better seals the unit from the elements.
The battery compartment is now separate from the base to allow it to hover over the delta ring of the rifle to make maximum use of the rail interface space available on the upper receiver. The average battery life at brightness level 12 is roughly 500 600 hours, three times the battery life of N-cell sights. A few words about battery power: Don t worry! Much is made of battery-powered optics and how they ll go down at the worst possible time, but take a moment to think about all of the things we rely on everyday that are powered by batteries. Cars, heart monitors, flashlights we don t give them a second thought. In the case of rifle optics, have a set of zeroed iron sights on your gun along with a spare set of batteries, and you ll be fine.
As previously stated, the XPS series is available in three reticle options: 0 65MOA circle with 1MOA aiming dot, 1-single 1MOA aiming dot, 2 65MOA circle with two 1MOA aiming dots. The XPS Series is available in Night Vision (XPS3) and non-Night Vision (XPS2) versions, and the model numbers reflect the number of the buttons on the back of the sight.
Compare & Contrast
Although some readers may be brand loyal, I found both of these optics were well-built, top-quality products that should last for many years with minimal maintenance. Like all products, they have their pluses and minuses, but in the end it comes down to individual taste.Example:To co-witness the Aimpoint with the high iron sights standard on the AR-15 system, you ll have to purchase a mount in order to elevate it properly, something not required by the EO Tech. For some, this will be a deal breaker. For others, it s a small price to pay for the smallest unit possible on their gun. For combative purposes, many like the idea of the circle/dot reticle made famous by EO Tech because the center red dot gives a precise sight picture for long shots while the circle offers a CQB sight that can be placed on the chest cavity of an opponent and the trigger pressed. This type of sight picture is simple, easy to see and certainly quick into action; but then again, so is a simple red dot.
It s up to you to select what works best for your eyes and the environment in which you live and work. I really like the size and weight of the Aimpoint, but found the large rectangular window of the EO Tech to be quite fast and easy to see. Again, I don t concern myself with battery life, because I m not in the middle of Afghanistan where batteries may be hard to come by. I have spares on my gun and a set of zeroed irons that I can bring into the fight quickly.
My suggestion is to check out both of these optics and determine which works better for you based on the mission. Both sights are rugged, solidly built, incorporate the latest technology and keep their size to a minimum. Whichever you choose, rest assured that you ll be getting a quality product.
Enhancing the Red Dot
As good as the red dot optic is, there will be times when it needs a little help, so to speak.Example: What if you re faced with a confrontation in low light? After all, we all realize criminals are more likely to ply their trade in times of inhibited vision, which offers them a better opportunity to commit their crime(s) without detection and escape. Sure, the red dot will be highly visible, but it won t allow you to identify the suspect. For this, you ll need to add some type of night vision capability to your rifle. Fortunately, many of the red dot sights currently available allow for the use of NV, but the red dot must be compatible and not all are. It s a good idea to check this before you buy your optic for patrol or SWAT use. Along this same line, red dot optics can also be enhanced via magnifier units that can make your 1x red dot a 2, 3 or 4-power unit. Before buying, take the time to educate yourself about your optics enhancement options.