The following is paid content sponsored by Aimpoint.
By Sean Curtis for M1 BrandFocus
Aimpoint has once again raised the bar with two new products for 2016, the Micro T-2 and the 6x Mag-1. This pairing allows shooters to accurately pinpoint targets for most distances applicable to the AR/M4 platform. With this pairing Aimpoint has answered the age old quandary of a near and far optic system. No longer do shooters need to choose glass for one range over the other. The optic and magnifier mounted solidly to my rifle and did not prohibit the use of backup iron sights.
Aimpoint’s already popular Micro T-2 has been upgraded and released in an AR ready variant. The optic provides the industry leading red dot targeting Aimpoint is famous for with a mounting lever that maintains zero. In addition, the T-2 has been raised with a spacer to make it compatible with the new 6x Mag-1.
Those familiar with the previous Aimpoint 3X magnifiers know their utility and versatility when coupled with the TwistMount platform or with the all-new FlipMount. Similar to the popular TwistMount, the FlipMount embodies the same magnifier removable feature but now allows for the magnifier to remain on the firearm but be flipped to the side when not needed. The new 6x Mag-1 reaches out even further with greater magnification and all the other features found on the 3x versions, with Aimpoint’s legendary toughness.
Aimpoint has earned a reputation for extremely durable and accurate optics, serving the shooting industry since the 1970s. One cannot discuss Aimpoint without at least a cursory tip of the hat to the hardiness of their products. A quick search of YouTube reveals ample examples of people conducting rather unscientific “torture tests” of Aimpoint merchandise. Blown up, frozen, tossed, hit with a bat, submerged and more, the Aimpoint refuses to stop working.
The Micro T-2 has been around a while but the AR ready version has some upgrades. First, the unit is mounted on a 39mm spacer, raising it up off the rail to a height which is perfect for co-witnessing iron sights. The spacer is removable should you want to lower the optic for other applications. In addition, the T-2 includes Aimpoint’s Lever Release Picatinny (LRP) Mount. This system allows you to affix the optic to a standard rail and lock it into place. Once zeroed, the optic can be removed and replaced (same rail location) without losing established zero.
The Micro T-2 has some improvements over its predecessor in that the upper turret (elevation) is shouldered, protecting it from impacts. In addition, the unit I tested came with a solid front flip-up cover and a clear rear flip-up cover. The brightness dial on the right has twelve settings, four for night operations and 8 for daytime. Adjusting the intensity of the 2 MOA red dot was smooth and certain, with each setting having an affirmative detent I could feel with my fingers. This dial also houses the battery compartment. The unit operates on a single 3V CR2032 (roughly quarter-sized) battery which provides 50,000 mind-blowing hours of non-stop run time. This figure is based on normative setting of “8” on the brightness levels. The unit will run longer with lower settings and shorter with brighter accordingly.
The Micro T-2 is a 1x (non-magnifying) optic so it is parallax free. The body of the unit is made of hard anodized aluminum with a non-reflective surface. It is also watertight, submersible up to 80 feet. Aimpoint designed the optic to be completely compatible with night vision, thermal, and magnifiers.
Solving the shooter’s dilemma
So how do you compliment an optic that will probably outlast all of us? Mount a 6xMag-1 behind it and greatly increase your optic range. The AR/M4 platform is a versatile weapon with exceptional utility in the 0 to 300 yards range. However, it was previously challenging to find optics that would serve in all capacities. Anything that would let you see well at long distances did not serve well up close and vice versa. The 6xMag-1 provides a level of utility not previously known. While Aimpoint has had one 3x magnifier on the market for years, the 6x is new for 2016.
The mounting system on the 6xMag-1 offers three positions; set on the rail in line with your optic, canted off to the side, and with a quick twist you can completely remove the magnifier. This allows users to handle the magnifier as a stand-alone monocular. Stacked on the rail behind a T2, the 6xMag-1 greatly increases the optical range of the red dot without the need to re-zero.
The magnifier also appears to be built according to Aimpoint standards. It too boasts a hard anodized aluminum body but also has a protective rubber coating. The covering appears to be protective in nature but also provides a tactile function, allowing for a good grip. Roughly six inches long, the eyepiece also includes a diopter for fine-tuning that has a range of -3 to +3. This is a huge improvement over the original 3X magnifier from Aimpoint.
I was given a prototype of the 6xMag-1 along with an AR ready Micro T-2 to try out. I mounted the two on top of the rail of my AR and it could not have been easier. The pieces fit securely and worked seamlessly together. I headed out to a local rifle range to run the gamut from firing line to distance.
At the range I set up targets at varying spaces, ranging near to far, to test the very concept of the Micro T-2 and 6xMag-1. The 1x magnification of the Micro T-2 was great in close, I simply placed the red dot on the areas of the target I wanted to hit and squeezed the trigger. This produced excellent grouping. Even moving from target to target I found I could quickly engage my paper foes by simply placing the red dot over them like some harbinger of doom.
Pushing out to 50 yards and beyond was a little different. Through the optic I was still able to make out generalities of my target but this is all about my vision. I reached over and snapped the 6xMag-1 into line with the Micro T-2—my target, distant and fuzzy before, was huge, and more detailed now. The ever-present red dot served to still designate exactly where I was shooting. I ran some drills. Shooting, moving, shooting again at varying distances, I could use the red dot alone or combine with the magnifier to cover all my shooting scenarios. Even when pushing the 6xMag-1 off to the side my rifle did not feel weighty or out of balance, I simply adjusted the focal point of my eye and found the red dot. I found that when I needed some clarity for distance, I could pull the magnifier back into place with a quick motion. I did not need to adjust anything…the two pieces simply worked.
Aimpoint has continually proven to be the example many optic manufacturers try to emulate. They have accomplished this by innovating and improving their own products. With the Micro T-2, Aimpoint created an amazingly hardy optic that does not take up much real estate on top of your weapon. By creating the 6xMag-1 Aimpoint solved the age-old riddle of an optic system that works equally well at distance, and up close and personal. The optic and magnifier mounted solidly to my rifle and did not prohibit the use of backup iron sights. The mounting systems of both were slick, well thought out, and effective, providing additional utility. The Micro T-2 has an MSRP of $971.00. Aimpoint representatives indicated the 6xMag-1 is slated for release at the end of 2016.
About the author
Sean Curtis is a law enforcement professional with 15 years of experience, serving with SWAT, diving, and swift water rescue teams in Colorado. He has also served in wildland fire, search and rescue, EMS, and emergency management.