Last November I had the opportunity to test out the new Aimpoint ACO red dot sight for a month-long evaluation period. Alongside EOTech, the Swedish optics company is considered one of the best reflex sight manufacturers in the world. Soldiers, law enforcement officers, and recreational shooters alike depend on and utilize Aimpoint sights on a daily basis. First announced last fall, the ACO (Aimpoint Carbine Optic) further builds upon the reputation Aimpoint has established with their previous products and offers some excellent features at an affordable price point.

I previously had the opportunity to test out an Aimpoint PRO over a five-month period, and I was thoroughly impressed with it. Individuals familiar with Aimpoint’s products will immediately recognize the ACO’s external similarity to the PRO. The ACO lacks some of the extra bells and whistles of the PRO, but the ACO sells online for about $40 to $50 less. In lieu of wasting space and time with a spec list, check out the ACO’s page on Aimpoint’s website for specifics. I’m going to highlight some of the more notable differences between the ACO and PRO below.

The ACO is outwardly similar to the Aimpoint PRO (and Comp series), though it has a slightly different feature list.
The ACO is outwardly similar to the Aimpoint PRO (and Comp series), though it has a slightly different feature list. Here the ACO is mounted on a Vepr rifle in 7.62x54mmR. Image by Matt Korovesis.
  • The ACO has an estimated battery life of 10,000 hours (a little over a year) while the PRO has an estimated battery life of 30,000 hours (over three years) on brightness setting 7 out of 10 at room temperature.
  • The ACO is not night-vision-compatible, while the PRO is.
  • The ACO comes with a minimalist Picatinny mount that is not adjustable for height. The PRO’s QRP2 Picatinny mount is quite larger, is capable of using risers, and features a large tightening knob. Though it is not height-adjustable, the ACO’s mount is designed to provide absolute cowitness with standard AR-15 iron sights (using the supplied riser, the PRO should also offer the same cowitness).
  • The ACO is fully waterproof, while the PRO is submersible to 45 meters.
  • The ACO does not include flip-up lens covers, while the PRO does.
  • The ACO retails for about $390 online, while the PRO lists for approximately $435. The latter can be had for even less on sale, while I have yet to see the ACO on sale.

Other than those stand-out differences, the ACO and PRO very similar. Both utilize 30mm tubes, project 2 MOA dots, have 38mm objective lenses, use the same 3V Lithium 2L76 or DL1/3N battery, and weigh under 8 ounces without mounts. Both sights’ elevation and windage are adjustable in ½-MOA clicks with the appropriate dials. I was unfortunately unable to weigh the ACO with its mount, though presumably it weighs slightly less than the QRP2 with a riser. For reference, the PRO weighs 11.6 ounces with a spacer-equipped QRP2.

Given my evaluation period’s time constraints, I was unable to properly test the ACO’s touted 10,000-hour battery life, though I did turn the sight on to brightness setting 7 the moment I removed it from its box, and left it on for the month. It did not dim, nor did it fully drain the battery.

The ACO performed flawlessly on the three guns the author tested it on. Image by Matt Korovesis.
The ACO performed flawlessly on the three guns the author tested it on. Image by Matt Korovesis.

I assumed that most reviews of the ACO would likely focus on its performance on AR-pattern guns, so I decided I’d break from the pack a bit and test it out on my AKs (before doing so I did mount it to an AR and it does indeed furnish an absolute cowitness with standard irons). I removed the ACO from its mount and locked it up in an RS Regulate AKM mount paired with an AK-303 lower. With an optic like the PRO or ACO, the AKM mount allows a lower one-third cowitness with an AK’s iron sights.

I tested out the ACO on three different Russian-made AKs, one in 5.45x39mm, one in 7.62x39mm, and a third in 7.62x54mmR. As expected, the ACO and RS Regulate mount held up just fine to the recoil of each round. The high-quality glass and wide viewing angle of the ACO yield a clear, unobstructed sight picture. Dialing in the dot on each gun was dead simple, and the 2 MOA dot is just about the perfect size for blasting targets out to 300 yards.

AK users can obtain a lower one-third cowitness with the ACO and their iron sights using an RS Regulate AKM mount. Image by Matt Keeler.
AK users can obtain a lower one-third cowitness with the ACO and their iron sights using an RS Regulate AKM mount. Image by Matt Keeler.

My brief review period with the ACO left me impressed. If I had $430 and the option of choosing between the PRO and ACO, I would likely purchase the former. I mean, who doesn’t plan on owning a night vision device at some point if they don’t already have one? However, if you’re looking to save some money and still have a well-made and reliable red dot on your firearm, the ACO is an excellent choice.

The Aimpoint ACO is currently available through retailers like OpticsPlanet, Amazon, and Primary Arms.

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9 thoughts on “Cheaper but Still Awesome: The Aimpoint ACO Red Dot Sight

  1. Aim point has only on purpose and that is Military use. It has no place in
    sport hunting.No outfitter I now will allow them on their hunts

    1. If they allow any other optics they would be hypocrites, however.

      So I’m sure it is iron sights only, yes?

      Edit: have a feeling Mr. Ewing knows few outfitters, because that would be silly. If I showed up for a hunt with my 308 and my AP PRO mounted on it any outfitter worth their salt would say “great combo”, lets check it on a target and go.

    2. Ron,

      1x/red dot/reflex sights have plenty of applications in sport hunting. While I’ve never personally used one in such a capacity, I’ve read of many sportsmen and women using them on rifles against hogs, on rifles and pistols while brush hunting against medium-sized game, and on shotguns while wingshooting.

      A shooter could benefit from the use of a red dot sight in any situation in which fast, responsive shooting is needed.

      I could possibly understand why an outfitter might restrict the use of 1x sights on ultra-long-range hunts, though such an overt restriction seems kind of unnecessary to me.

      Thanks for reading,

      Matt Korovesis

    3. Holy hell man, you sound like a left wing nutbag with the “logic” you just used, Ron. And I should know, I live in CA!

    4. “Aim point has only on purpose and that is Military use. It has no place in
      sport hunting.No outfitter I now will allow them on their hunts” — Ron Ewing

      Abject bovine excrement. Aimpoints were invented for hunters. One could take the opposite view and endorse dot sights for hunting since no magnification might discourage long range ‘hail Mary’ shots by over-magnified and inexperienced hunters and encourage them to get within a couple hundred yards.

      – Most hunting shots are taken within 200 yards anyway, making the red dot sight perfectly suitable.

      – Middle aged eyes work better with red dots than iron sights because they don’t have to focus on three planes at once.

      – If more hunters used reflex sights instead of Hubble telescopes on their rifles they might focus a little better on hunting and not on how many clicks to adjust for a moving, breathing animal at 700 yards and 24x.

      – If you think you need magnification to identify a target, you should be looking at it through binoculars, not lining up your rifle on it.

      Joe: “I shot a deer at 700 yards!”
      Jane: “Sorry about your luck, perhaps next time you’ll manage to get closer”.

      I don’t have a beef with people that can actually shoot past 300 yards, but those people are less common than the gear which could support such skill. Most hunters could be best served by red dot sights or a low powered scope.

      Mr. Ewing’s sentiment has zero basis in rational thinking.

    5. Aimpoint are great for hunting, especially when you hunting wild boar and ducks. Aimpont agre great for shotguns and for rifles when your hunting in thick woods for wild boar or even moose. Learn how to hunt before you comment. Here in Sweden were i live (home of the Aimpoint) They are wildly used for hunting.

  2. Not a hunter but finally found a military grade optic that was affordable. One rifle uses an Eotech xps while the other sports the Aimpoint.

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