The Red Dot Protecting The Thin Blue Line
August 07, 2018
The Aimpoint red-dot sight has been the premier red-dot reflex sight since its inception in 1975. They have a long history as an industry leader and have refined their products over the years to become the standard by which military and law enforcement sights are judged.
I used Aimpoint red dot sights and other manufacturers optics during my final service years as a police officer with a busy Southern California agency and my bias for Aimpoint comes from the confidence they gave me and my fellow officers on the streets.
The Aimpoint Advantage
One of the major benefits Aimpoint models bring to the table is huge battery life thanks to state-of-the-art LED emitters and advanced circuitry. Aimpoints sights are designed to be left on and will actually last longer activated in a low range intensity setting than stored with the sight turned off. The battery draw is less than the natural discharge rate.
This means officers do not have to worry about their sight being ready when a crisis or emergency arises. I always recommended changing batteries annually, but it is superfluous and completely unnecessary. In some cases, the batteries will last longer than the year's officers have left before they retire.
"Always on" capability is a huge factor for police duty as well as home protection. Ruggedness is another major factor. These sights are tough. I had an Aimpoint Comp M4 that was thrown across asphalt parking lots or concrete over 1000 times in demonstrations without loss of zero or malfunction. We have seen them heavily damaged in crashes, accidents, and they keep working.
They are also very simple to both use and employ. Simplicity is critical for use in a high-stress environment. All switching is both mechanical and audible. They do not require precision head/eye alignment to make precision hits. If you can see the dot anywhere in the tube, the shot will be where the dot is. This is essential for asymmetric shooting positions that are encountered when working around vehicles and structures or while wearing armor, helmets, or gas masks. You cannot always get a solid cheek-weld and this is common in many police use-of-force situations.
Red Dots Make A Difference
For training cross-eye-dominant shooters and those with various eyesight issues, a sight that is used with both eyes open is a benefit. For police determining if lethal force is required, having both eyes open offers them a critical advantage in their decision making, precision and speed in all lighting conditions. What follows are a few examples of how a red-dot sight made all the difference.
A SWAT officer in the Southwest is confronted with a mentally deranged subject wielding a large knife in a standoff inside a dark structure. The subject eventually puts the knife down in feigned surrender and then drew a large concealed clever and charged the officer. Two high-speed rounds fired from an Aimpoint-equipped carbine at 5 to 7 yards hit precisely and ended the event with no injury to officers.
In Texas, two terrorists attacked a location with AK47s. A pistol-armed officer wounded the terrorists. While attempting to crawl back to their vehicle that was filled with additional weapons and equipment and possible explosive devices, the obscured terrorists were engaged by two SWAT officers at approximately 20 yards and hit with an Aimpoint-equipped carbine. This allowed another SWAT officer to flank the terrorists and deliver surgical shots that ended the incident and allowed a wounded unarmed security officer to be evacuated without further threat from the terrorists to officers and medical personnel.
On the West Coast, a gunman enters a supermarket with a shotgun. A team of hastily assembled patrol officers initiates an active shooter response and enters the location to engage the armed gunman. The point officer is able to put precision hits on the subject with an Aimpoint-equipped patrol rifle while assisted by the other officers that ended the incident without injury or loss of life to innocents or officers.
In Southern California, a murder suspect on a shooting rampage has shot and wounded by an officer attempting to contain him. Two officers engaged him with precision shots from Aimpoint-equipped rifles and stopped the dangerous felon. One officer was at almost 100 yards and the other was about 60 yards away.
The same unit had similar success in a prior engagement on a busy freeway with a violent felon wanted for murder and several other violent attacks by rapidly engaging and stopping the subject with solid hits from their Aimpoint-equipped carbines, quickly ending the incident. This kept any further citizens from being harmed by the hyper-violent felon who was a great risk to the community.
The Bottom Line
What is important in the above sampling of actual incidents is that quickly ending incidents that are of great threat to officers and the public requires equipment that is easy to use and rugged enough to survive a life of abuse inside police vehicles that can range from cars and motorcycles to helicopters, boats and ATVs in all weather conditions and environments. It is also critical in today's world that officers use the least amount of force possible. That is accomplished by being able to make clean, surgical precision hits in chaotic conditions if lethal force is required.
The Aimpoint red dot is a huge skills multiplier in these situations. These sights allow officers to focus on problem solving and letting that simple red dot transpose over their vision solve the precision shooting part if needed, rather than trying to align iron sights and change focus to get precision hits. These are tools that help our officers make good decisions and get them home to their families while stopping those who are a threat to yours.