By Doug Wyllie, M1 Columnist
While paying a visit to the Aimpoint booth during SHOT Show 2016, we discovered some new rail-mounted magnifiers intended for use behind the company’s excellent red-dot optics. The unifying themes among the three magnifiers on display were improved ergonomics and the addition of a rear diopter to enable better dual focus of both the target and the red dot.
The first magnifier in the series, the Aimpoint 3X-C (for commercial), features a +/-2 diopter and an improved rubber case that offers added protection as well as better ergonomics. The field of view (FOV) for the 3X-C is seven degrees, and it weighs just 7.8 ounces. By my reckoning, this magnifier appears to be intended mainly for consumer use in the hunting and sport shooting environments, but the 3X-C can also be used as a handheld 3X monocular in the law enforcement environment.
The second item is the Aimpoint 3XMag-1, which is essentially an upgraded version of the original 3X magnifier. The 3XMag-1 is encased in a shock absorbing protective rubber cover that creates an improved ergonomic grip for taking the gear from a pocket or bag and quickly attaching it to the rifle system. The rear diopter for this magnifier is +/-3. The FOV for the 3X-1 is also seven degrees, but it weighs slightly more than the 3X-C (it comes in at 8.1 ounces). For most operators carrying the M4 / AR-15 system, this is probably the ideal magnification solution.
Finally and probably most interestingly, the company has introduced a 6X magnifier, appropriately called the Aimpoint 6XMag-1. This optic was specifically designed for use with Aimpoint Micro T-2 and Micro H-2 red dot sights. This optic features a +/-3 diopter, has a three-degree FOV, and weighs 8.8 ounces. The 6X is so powerful that it actually begins to exceed the effective range of .223 / 5.56 ammo, so it may be more suitable for operators running rifles chambered in .308 and other ammunition intended for longer-range shots.
Each of the abovementioned magnifiers comes with an improved swing mount that also allows the magnifiers to be rolled 90 degrees to the side, so that the operator can quickly go from a magnified view to a non-magnified view (or vice-versa) without having to remove the equipment from the rifle’s rail. The two 3X magnifiers are available now, and the 6X will be hitting the market sometime this summer.
If your mission includes the possibility of having to really reach out and touch someone and you run Aimpoint red-dot optics, these new magnification options are for you.