We’re a people of excess. Not that excess is bad in general, but there are situations in which too much can be a bad thing. Firearm optics are a prime example of that.
Almost without fail, we shooters go “all in” when it comes to magnified optics. Even though most of us will be shooting at ranges of 100 yards and less (usually much less), we tend to crank up the power on rifle optics. Gimme that 12-42x monster scope so I can precisely target the “y” on the back side of a Bayer aspirin, will ya?
While that sounds good on paper, too much power can be detrimental. Try shooting a high-magnification scope from a standing position, and you’ll see what I mean. While your gun is wobbling the same amount as with low magnification, the perceived swings and movements will make you seasick and actually lower your odds of hitting your target. It can be hard to achieve a steady hold and sight picture with too much magnification.
When it comes to my “regular use” and home-defense AR rifles, I equip them with zero magnification red dot optics. Why? There are a few benefits. With practice and patience, you can hit accurately out to several hundred yards if you want to without magnification. Your field of view through the optics is much, much larger than with a magnified optic. There are no parallax issues that require perfect alignment of your head to the optic for repeatable accuracy. You can (and should) shoot with both eyes open. Red dots work well in low light. They’re fast. Really, really fast. They’re fast easier to use than multiple-part iron sights—just put the dot on the target and shoot.
My personal choice for red dot optics is Aimpoint. I’ve used the Aimpoint Micro H-1 and PRO on a number of rifles and couldn’t be happier with those choices. One of the things I like best is their “always-on” capability. The battery life of most Aimpoint dots is measured in years. This means you can leave it on, all the time, and not worry about running out of juice when you need it most. Many models will run at average power level for five years continuously. If you want to be prepared for the worst, set yourself a reminder to change batteries every two or three years and you’ll never have to worry. You don’t want to think about turning switches on and off on your home-defense gun’s optic when you hear a bump in the night.
Recently I got my hot little hands on a brand new model—the Aimpoint Micro T-2. Let’s check it out.
Aimpoint Micro T-2
The Micro T-2 represents the next generation of the Micro T-1, which itself is a sibling of the Micro H-1. The only real difference between the H-1 and T-1 models is night vision compatibility.
Like its predecessor, the Micro T-2 offers night-vision-compatible settings. The first four settings on the intensity dial are compatible with first-, second-, and third-generation night vision devices. I tried this out with an old first-gen Night Owl monocular and it worked like a champ on the four low settings. Of course, the dot is green when viewed through a night vision device.
Intensity settings 5 through 12 are for normal use and increase the brightness of the dot. I found that settings 7 and 8 were ideal for normal indoor use, but you may want to crank the brightness up a bit when outside on a sunny day. According to Aimpoint, the unit will run for five years continuously on setting 8 and 10 months on setting 10.
The body has been slightly redesigned on the T-2. It has the same dimensions as its predecessor, but you’ll notice a newer shape. One change is that the elevation dial is now protected by ramps molded into the body itself. You won’t risk knocking that off because it’s exposed. The windage dial cap is like the previous models and includes two nubs machined into the cover allowing you to use the cap as a tool to adjust the elevation and windage controls. It’s a neat idea as you don’t need to carry a tool of any kind to make field adjustments.
Another improvement is the addition of quality flip-up lens caps. Unlike many “cheaper” optics, these are not simply slipped on to the optic tube with flimsy rubber sleeves; they’re fastened on properly. It takes some work to remove them, and that’s a good thing. The caps themselves rotate, so you can choose the direction you want the covers to open. You’ll also notice that the caps themselves are transparent so you can use the optic without even opening them.
The dot itself is 2 MOA (minutes of angle) so it covers just over two inches at 100 yards. Even at that 400-yard range we talked about, the dot will only cover eight inches of a target. It’s plenty precise for typical AR-rifle ranges.
I can see the light!
One of the big new features of the Micro T-2 is the clarity of the lens. I always thought the original Micro H-1 and T-1 optics were crystal-clear until I compared them with the new T-2. When you look at the units side by side, you’ll notice that the originals have a darker, blue tint to them compared to the new T-2. You’ll also notice that the 2 MOA red dot itself is much sharper than on the previous models.
I happen to have an Aimpoint 3X magnifier in for evaluation and used it with the new T-2. When the dot is magnified, it retains sharpness and clarity much better than with previous models. Even turned up to a bright power setting, you’ll see a crisp dot when using a quality magnifier.
The base of the new Aimpoint T-2 shares the same dimensions and configuration as the H-1 and T-1, so you can use all the same mount options. Given the small size and weight of this red dot, it’s suitable for use on rifles, shotguns, carbines, submachine guns, and even pistols. I shot it on a Glock 17 using Aimpoint’s rear dovetail mount kit, and yes, that was fun. It’s a great way to configure a suppressed pistol with iron sights blocked by the can.
Depending on your gun of choice, you’ve got a number of mount and height options available. The standard unit comes with a Picatinny rail mount that bolts on using the included Aimpoint multi-tool. You can swap that out for an LRP mount, which provides a quick-release lever attachment option that retains zero, provided you mount the optic in the same place each time. You can also use one of the two different high or low spacers to get the optimum height for your particular rifle. The high spacer places the T-2 at perfect height for iron sight co-witnessing on a standard AR.
While I may find a lot of products I like and appreciate, there are very few that I get all giddy about. The Aimpoint Micro T-2 is one of them. This optic is small and light, weighing just 3.7 ounces with the standard mount, but is built like a tank. If you’re into SCUBA diving with your gun, you can plunge to 80 feet without worry. You can leave it on for years. The tube is even small enough to use as a crude sighting option if all else fails. It’s a bit pricey (most retailers are listing it for $761 as of this writing), but it’s worth it. It’s a highly recommended product in my book.
Tom McHale is the author of the Insanely Practical Guides book series that guides new and experienced shooters alike in a fun, approachable, and practical way. His books are available in print and eBook format on Amazon.
Images by Tom McHale