Aimpoint has announced their plans to release a new budget friendly version of their popular red dot sights. Titled the Aimpoint Carbine Optic (ACO), this new sight is intended for customers who thought the Patrol Rifle Optic (PRO) was too expensive. With an MSRP of $393, the ACO should fall in at about $50 cheaper than the PRO when it hits retailers. The ACO will use a single 1/3N battery which should last for about a year when left on. The red dot will be a pleasingly small 2 MOA. The unit will ship with what appears to be a very lightweight mount that will provide an absolute co-witness with standard AR-15 backup sights. Accessories such as filters and lens covers will also be available, but sold separately.
Major differences between the ACO and PRO include reduced battery life, lighter mount, and a lack of included lens covers. Those who value the features of the PRO will be best served to purchase the more expensive model. For those looking to buy a solid entry level red dot, the ACO will likely be a winner. Currently, Vortex and Primary Arms are the only real players in the budget optics space. It seems Aimpoint has taken notice of the demand for budget optics and has decided to jump into the market. What remains to be seen is whether or not people will be willing to pay what is still a fairly hefty premium over Vortex and PA offerings to have an Aimpoint branded optic. With this in mind, hopefully the ACO will be built with the same exceptional quality that we have come to expect from other Aimpoint products.
Lastly, I will say that I am somewhat disappointed that Aimpoint opted to stay out of the magnified optics space with this release. When I first heard “Aimpoint Carbine Optic”, my first thought was that Aimpoint was finally going to take on Trijicon’s venerable ACOG lineup. Unfortunately, this just is not the case.