June 22, 2020
By Jeremy Stafford
Aimpoint might have taken their time developing the Advanced Combat Reflex Optic (ACRO), but it was definitely time well spent. The P1 (for Pistol 1) is a closed-emitter red-dot sight (RDS) intended to be mounted on pistols, although it works well on other firearms.
At first look, and to the untrained eye, it seems much larger than its nearest competition, the Trijicon RMR. A closer look, however, reveals that the sights have a very similar footprint.
The main difference is that the ACRO is a completely closed unit, much like all of Aimpoint’s other RDS offerings. From a duty standpoint, Aimpoint believes that having a closed emitter is superior than an open emitter, as in the Trijicon RMR.
With an open emitter, the dot’s beam can be obscured by debris. The closed emitter is immune to this. The closed emitter isn’t a panacea though, for it does add some bulk and weight to the optic, with the ACRO coming in about an ounce heavier than the RMR.
By deciding to make the ACRO a closed-emitter unit totally encased in an aluminum body, the company made the unit extremely rugged. Even though there are now two screens to worry about rather than one, they are made from tough, tempered glass.
I tested this ruggedness by dropping my test sample on concrete, on dirt and on rocks from about 3 meters, landing directly on the top and sides of the optic. While dings and scratches were the result of this punishment, nothing broke, and the zero held just fine.
I have read some reports of shooters breaking the glass on one side or the other, but in those cases, the optic still worked, albeit with a compromised sight picture. The thing is, if you’re shooting with both eyes open, as you should be with any RDS, it doesn’t matter, as your brain and eyes will just superimpose the dot over the target.
The ACRO’s ability to take abuse is especially important in an optic designed for a pistol, because the amount of stress placed on the optic caused by the pistol’s slide slamming to the rear and then slamming home again during the recoil of the pistol is substantial.
Aimpoint tested the units by firing over 20,000 rounds of .40 S&W ammo, which is way higher than the amount I’ve shot through several other brands. So I’m looking forward to at least a couple of years with the ACRO.
For those of you that are in a maritime environment, the ACRO is submersible to 25 meters, and for those of you that work in extreme temperatures, the unit has been tested from -50 degrees up to 160 degrees. That might sound excessive, but if the ACRO is on a gun in the trunk and you work in the southwest states, it will get close to that.
The increased development time also allowed Aimpoint to make some good decisions regarding the controls and accessibility of the ACRO. Mounting the ACRO is done via a machined dovetail and a Torx-headed cross-bolt.
At first, I had some doubts about the durability of the setup based on the shallowness of the dovetail, but the mount is very solid. This was proven as I roughed up the ACRO and a P-10 F that it was mounted on more than I would have done if the unit was on a duty gun.
Adjustments for the unit are easily accessed and done with an included T-10 Torx-head driver. The battery compartment for the 3-volt CR1225 battery is also easily accessed on the right side of the unit and can be opened with a coin or similar-sized tool. It’s O-ring sealed, and being able to access the battery this easily on a duty-grade optic is beneficial, especially in a field setting or in an “issued” setting, where an armorer may be responsible for changing the batteries on several units.
Aimpoint states that the battery will last a year if the ACRO is left at power level 6. Mine is doing fine so far after 4 months. I have read reports of the ACRO batteries failing after one to two months, but I don’t know at what level the dot intensity was set for those failures, so I can only report on my experience.
I leave the dot at level six unless I have need to adjust it up or down based on my environment. It’s been fine for just over 3,000 rounds.
Dot On Target
Speaking of the dot, this is where I have a little bit of a gripe. I don’t know if it’s just me, but the 3.5-MOA dot in the ACRO is not nearly as crisp as some of the other dots on the market. I don’t have an astigmatism, and I don’t have issues with any other dots, but the ACRO dot looks like a slightly off-kilter “8” to my eye.
In use, it doesn’t seem to matter, as I group just as well with the ACRO as I do any other sight. At speed, I couldn’t tell you what any dot looked like anyways. It’s worth a mention, though, as I know that some shooters treasure a crisp dot.
The dot is adjustable from one to 10, with setting one to four set up for use with night vision and five to 10 being used for plain sight. Setting six is fine for most of the work I did with the gun in varied light conditions, but in very bright daylight, I adjusted it up to seven or eight using the touch pad controls on the left side of the ACRO.
The ACRO controls are flush with the side of the unit, not prone to get bumped, and I think that they’re among the better (if not the best) controls on the market right now.
The window of the ACRO is generous, allowing a good sight picture and good light transfer. It isn’t as generous as the Trijicon SRO, but the ACRO is intended for duty use, not for competition like the SRO, so that’s not an “apples-to-apples” comparison. The window is slightly more generous than the window in the RMR Type 2. So if you’re comparing the two, that’s something to consider.
I like the ACRO quite a bit. In comparison to many of the optics on the market, it has a lot going for it. It’s very new, so while I am hesitant to recommend anything without an established track record, I am very optimistic about it. If your department is starting to take a look at testing a pistol-mounted RDS, this should be at the top of the list.
Aimpoint ACRO P-1
- Magnification: 1X
- DOT Size: 3.5 MOA
- Length: 1.9 in. (sight only)
- Width: 1.2 in.
- Height: 1.2 in.
- Weight: 2.1 oz.
- Material: Aluminum
- Finish: Anodized, matte black
- Adj. Range: .6 in. at 100 yds. (1 click)
- MSRP: $667
- Manufacturer: Aimpoint, aimpoint.us
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