Partnership

Easy target acquisition

DECEMBER 2021

Aimpoint red-dot reflective sights simplify the art of shooting at moving targets immensely and thus allow you to focus more on the hunt. What is not to like?

 

The forest floor explodes as a small sounder of wild boars suddenly breaks cover to pass a narrow track a few meters from you. You raise your rifle as you try to pick a boar. Your window of opportunity is – at best – a few seconds before the boars will disappear in the undergrowth.

In that time, will must identify your target, shoulder and cock your rifle, take aim and fire a shot at the fast-moving game. Fractions of a second make a world of difference—speed matters.

In this case, a bright red dot marks the point of impact. You focus on your target with both eyes. Your brain and muscle memory do the rest. Like so many other good things in life, a red dot reflex sight is extremely easy to use. However, nobody made a functional sight of this type before Aimpoint, and it happened less than half a century ago.

Before the days of optical sights, hunters had to align the open sights of their rifles with the target. It takes a lot of practice to do it quickly, and even the more experienced shooters face severe challenges in low-light conditions. With a traditional riflescope, the shooter's field of view is relatively narrow, making shots at short distances difficult. Placing a black crosshair accurately on a dark coat of hair in dim light is not easy.

”'If you see the dot, that is where the shot will go.”

Red dot sights are intuitively easy to use. They work especially well with rifles that are meant to be shot at short distances and at moving targets.

// THE RED DOT //

All those worries vanished with the advent of the first electric red-dot sight back in 1975. Back then, nobody knew that the invention from the small Swedish startup Aimpoint would start a small revolution within the hunting, shooting, military, and law enforcement communities. Usually, shooting technology is mainly developed for professional use and eventually spills over to hunting. In Aimpoint’s case, it is the other way around. Aimpoint is designed for hunting, and despite innumerable new competitors on the market over the years, Aimpoint has managed to be the primary driver of innovation in its field.

The initial model – the 1975 Aimpoint Electronic – was designed to "create a sighting technology that would allow shooters to acquire their target quickly, and to hit moving targets in all weather and lighting conditions consistently and accurately." It was a sight optimized for the typical Swedish driven hunts on moose. It proved to be highly efficient. At least a few tenths of a second faster than all other types of sights and much more straightforward in use.

The concept of a bright red dot indication the point of impact is intuitively easy to understand and use. Aimpoint sights are parallax-free. In layman terms, that means that if you see the dot, that is where the shot will go, no matter if the dot is in the center or at the edge of the lens. Furthermore, Aimpoint sights enable the shooter to aim with both eyes open, which expands the field of view to a maximum – you will see everything you usually see, which optimizes your situational awareness.

The design proved to be so fit for the purpose that it soon created a significant demand for similar sights explicitly developed for military use and sport shooting. The small company snowballed, and by now, there are close to three million Aimpoint sights in use across the globe. However, the initially small Swedish startup never lost its focus on hunters' needs and has continued developing new technology making the sights more efficient, versatile, rugged, and trim.

// FOR MANY TYPES OF SHOOTING //

Aimpoint currently manufactures red-dot reflex hunting sights for rifles, shotguns, handguns, and bows. The rifle sights have many followers among dedicated wild boar and moose hunters who enjoy driven hunts. As demonstrated in the ‘Wild boar fever’ hunting movie series, results talk for themselves. These sights are deadly. The shotgun sights – which are still relatively new – works wonders in low light situations, make gun fitting less crucial, and instantly eliminate problems with cross-eye dominance.

The sights are constantly getting smaller and more robust. They are waterproof (US Navy Seals dive with them), and they work under every imaginable climate condition from deep Arctic frost to humid tropical heat. A few years ago, Aimpoint started designing extremely energy-efficient circuits that enable the sights to stay on for several years in a row without depleting the battery. You do not have to turn the dot off as long as you replace the battery every few years.

An Aimpoint sight can easily be attached to a rifle scope, using a so-called piggyback mount. That way, you have the option of using the scope for longer ranges and the Aimpoint sight if you need to take a fast shot at a running target.

// FAST SHOTS AT RUNNING GAME //

Most hunters think of Aimpoint sights in conjunction with driven hunts and shots fires at fast-moving targets. The driven hunt is a popular European type of hunting used as a tool to manage wild boar and deer populations.

A key to accurate shooting on running game is super-fast and uncomplicated target acquisition. The bright red dot in an Aimpoint sight makes this as simple as it can be. Aiming with both eyes open and a full field of view, you can focus entirely on the target and let instincts achieved through rigorous training do the rest. A lot of the game will pass you at full speed on a driven hunt, but with the proper technique, lots of training, and – of course – adequate equipment, it is quite an efficient hunting method.

Aimpoint sights are produced with different sizes of red dots. The size is measured in MOA (Minutes of angle). The typical sizes are 2, 4, and 6 MOA. A 2 MOA dot equals a circle of roughly 5 cm in diameter at 100 meters. Equally, a 6 MOA dot is approximately a 15 cm circle at 100 meters. Bigger dots facilitate fast target acquisition. Smaller dots are better for carefully aimed accurate shots. The optimum compromise for most shooters is the 4 MOA dot for driven hunts. Turning the brightness up to create a slight halo around the dot (due to overexposure) simulates a bigger dot and speeds up target acquisition.

Aimpoint produces a large selection of rifle sights. In relation to practical use on driven hunts, they mainly differ in size – not functionality. More and more hunters choose smaller, more compact sizes that fit on a single scope mount base. So, the general advice is to pick whatever works on your rifle.

Aimpoint produces red dot sights in a wide variety of sizes and even a magnification piece that you can use together with the red dot sight.

// HUNTING WATERFOWL //

It seems obvious that the Aimpoint sights give a shotgun shooter a lot of advantages, but actually, the company only recently produced their first dedicated shotgun sight.

The tiny sight mounts easily on the top rib on most over and unders and single-barreled shotguns. As with all other Aimpoint sights, eye distance is not an issue. Most shooters prefer to mount the sight around the middle of the barrel.

An Aimpoint on the rib is not as aesthetically soothing to the eye on a high-end shotgun as the sleek outline of the traditional configuration without optical sights. However, the Aimpoint often results in an immediate improvement of shooting skills because you are never in doubt of where the shot will fly. And it does not matter whether the gun is perfectly fitted or if you are holding it correctly. The shot will go where the red dot is - end of story. It eliminates a lot of doubt. You will instantly know exactly where the gun was pointing when you pulled the trigger, and you can compensate for the next fired shot if necessary.

Furthermore, an Aimpoint sight is a once and for all fix if you suffer from cross-eye dominance. Only the eye on the sight you shoot from will see the red dot. Problem fixed – this is the easy way to dominate your dominating eye.

If you do a lot of waterfowl hunting at dawn or dusk – and often in foul weather – you will know that the bulge of the birds come flying in when it is so dark that you can only see their silhouettes against the sky. Hitting those birds with a regular shotgun takes a lot of practice. With an Aimpoint, not so much.

It works! Tests have shown that experienced shotgun shooters will get approximately the same results when shooting at flying targets in broad daylight with or without an Aimpoint. In contrast, most of these shooters experience better results when shooting at targets on the ground and flying targets in low light conditions.

A small Aimpoint sight fits equally well on a shotgun or, in this case, a double-barrelled rifle.

// WE LIKE AIMPOINT! //

At Härkila, we like Aimpoint because their products simplify the process of hunting - just as good equipment should do! Hunting is all about the experience, and we do not want to worry about petty stuff like weather, battery life, functionality, ruggedness, or accuracy.

Just as good hunting clothes are supposed to keep you dry and comfortable without any other effort than putting the clothes on, any piece of hunting equipment should ideally work with as little interaction as possible. The simpler, the better. You flip open the lens caps on your sights, and you are good to go knowing that a super high-tech piece of equipment will make your life simpler and turn you into a better hunter. That is our experience with Aimpoint.

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