The training from Instructor Duane “Buck” Buckner at the Telluric Group in Brunswick, Georgia, was eye opening. Beyond the expected lesson on how to zero a red dot on a handgun, presentation of the pistol with Aimpoint’s new Aimpoint Compact Reflex Optic (ACRO) was effectively covered. If you’re an experienced hand at shooting a pistol with iron sights, switching to using a red dot sight can introduce a totally new set of difficulties, initially, that requires the proper reprogramming. Buck had a technique: When presenting the optic-equipped pistol, hold the front sight proud. As you lower the front of the pistol to the target, the dot begins to appear from the top of the viewing window. “Imagine a sun setting,” he said.
Having struggled in the past with finding the dot, I have to say that Buck had the class shooting fast in short order. More than developing the presentation to view the dot, Buck got us on the trigger the moment we saw the dot. Working the trigger in time with the setting sun that is the dot, helped us get shots off faster. Being true, target-focused shooting, staring at the target during and while shooting was recommended to students. Being an iron-sight shooter all my life, it was remarkable how quickly I took to the technique.
No matter the size, red dot sights have become one of the most popular accessories to almost any modern firearm. From pistols and rifles to hunting shotguns, red dot sights undoubtably make shooting faster and more accurately easy. Red dots and lasers are the epitome of target-focused shooting. Put the dot where you want the bullet to go and press! Let’s discuss and review the Aimpoint Advanced Compact Reflex Optic, also known as the ACRO.
Aimpoint is the creator of the ACRO red dot optic, the brand you know behind the popular and reliable Micro series. Aimpoint has revolutionized the slide-ride pistol sight with the Acro P-1 micro red dot (MRD) introduced at SHOT Show 2019. Despite its small size, engineers created this sight to be extremely shock resistant and capable of withstanding vibration, temperature and environmental conditions. All are important factors with any successful MRD.
Having “pistol” in the description shouldn’t throw you off when considering it for other applications. Besides shotguns, only pistols can punish an MRD like the constant, reciprocating action of a semiautomatic pistol’s slide. Aimpoint fired more than 20,000 rounds of .40 S&W caliber ammunition with a slide mounted ACRO ahead of the sight’s launch. They specifically chose the .40 due to its punishing recoil and popularity in law enforcement. The Acro P-1 was specifically built as a duty-capable red dot optic, but offered to all of us.
With many years on the competition circuit, I’ve seen many a slide-mounted MRDs fail, which is why so many red dot sights are mounted on cantilever brackets. Cantilever mounts are used to minimize excessive shock and prolong longevity of the sight itself. The constant motion of the slide ultimately causes the demise of most MRDs.
Unlike other micro sights, the Aimpoint Acro P-1 is a fully enclosed design. This means the emitter (the electronic part that projects light against a lens) is unable to be compromised by environmental issues. Rain, dirt or debris can’t interfere with the dot’s projection in an Aimpoint and helps to make the Acro P-1 waterproof to a depth of 82 feet. Having all the electronics sealed in the protective housing is a great benefit to professionals who operate in less-than-sterile indoor environments. A side-access battery compartment means that there is no need to remove the ACRO for regular maintenance, which saves us the question and the need to verify zero.
The Aimpoint Acro P-1 red dot sight employs highly efficient electronics to prolong battery life. Having 10 brightness settings, they claim you can leave this sight set at position six (6) for over one year. One year is a long time, giving the confidence that if you change the battery yearly, perhaps on your birthday, you’d need not question the sights status. Ten brightness settings may seem excessive, but settings 1 thru 4 are night vision settings. Settings 5 and 6 are not as bright as 7 through 10. And since the ACRO doesn’t have automatic brightness settings based on ambient light, battery life is ultimately determined by the brightness setting that meets your daily needs.
The top and sides of the box-like, closed-emitter housing actually helps us find the dot when presenting the pistol to a target. If you’ve struggled in the past with pistol-mounted, open-emitter MRD sights, the sealed housing works like looking through a scope tube and helps us find the dot faster.
Fragility of MRDs is always a concern and Aimpoint has included features to increase durability. “Hardened” front and rear lenses protect the emitter and a secondary front lens. The front of the ACRO incorporates two lenses having the hardened lens out front. Another lens installed at an angle to reflect the emitter’s dot cased inside receives the beam. If the front objective were to be struck and cracked, we could still use the sight.
With crisp, clear lenses there is no distortion or discoloration of downrange objects when looking through it. Not sales malarkey, the ACRO really is “parallax free,” meaning bullets go where you place the dot. Firing at 25 yards, I placed the dot along the sides and in the corners of the lenses for testing. Bullets impacted exactly where I intended them to go.
Elevation and windage adjustments are pretty good. I’m not a fan of the metric system, which other countries and the U.S. military are subject to. One click is equal to 17mm at 100 meters. However, 17mm is 6 inches at 100 yards. Call it 1 1/2 inches and American consumers are in business. Unlike some, elevation and windage clicks are tactile and slightly audible, and the ACRO ships with a specific tool to assist, which is helpful when refining your point of impact.
While training with the Acro P-1 at the Telluric Group, I’ve gained pertinent information about the workings of Aimpoint’s new MRD. From zeroing to shooting, I found the sight to function as good as any on the market. For example, I generally zero red dots at 50 yards, whether it be a pistol or rifle. At the Telluric Group course Buck recommended a 30-foot zero, which is repeatable at 25 yards. Twenty-five yards is plenty of distance for many pistol shooters, so I followed his advice through training. Buck was right; Impacts were spot on at 25 yards with a 30-foot zero. Shooting accurately at 30 feet was much easier than shooting accurately at 50 yards.
Telluric Group and Duane Buckner really put on a nice program. From my observations as an instructor, I would add a drill or two that highlighted the actual mechanical offset experienced when using a red dot sight. For my own personal satisfaction, it would be interesting to demonstrate where the bullet impacts when holding the dot on a close and small target. I understand it’s negligible, but guys like me want to know.
At this time, signs point to the Aimpoint Acro P-1 red dot sight becoming a success. With mounting plates and Micro series adapter plates becoming increasingly available, we’re going to start seeing the ACRO on handguns at ranges and in the field. Mine’s even going on an AR-15, and I’m looking forward to putting some miles on it.
Aimpoint Acro P-1 Specifications
- 3.5 MOA Red Dot
- Night-Vision (NV) Compatible (Settings 1-4)
- Brightness Settings, 4 NV and 6 Daylight
- Battery: 3V Lithium CR1225
- Battery life: 1.5 years (15,000 hours), continuous at Setting 6 of 10
- 1.9 in. x 1.2 in. x 1.2 in. (L, W, H)
- 2.1 oz. (w/ battery)
- High-Strength Aluminum, Matte Anodized
- 82-feet submersible