A Look At The Beretta 1301 Tactical Shotgun

The Beretta 1301 Tactical Shotgun is all business.

The Beretta 1301 Tactical Shotgun is all business.

I recently got my hot little hands on a Beretta 1301 Tactical shotgun. After checking out the floor model at the 2014 NRA Annual Meeting, I decided I had to have one. Why? Because it handles like a shotgun carbine. If you’ve shot short, light weight and compact rifles, then you know exactly what I mean. Now envision those attributes in a shotgun and you’ve got the Beretta 1301 Tactical.

The Aimpoint Micro H1 optic fit perfectly and allowed for co-witness of the ghost ring sights.

The Aimpoint Micro H1 optic fit perfectly and allowed for co-witness of the ghost ring sights.

Right out of the box, it’s just under 38 inches long, which is right in line with other famous carbines like the Ruger 10/22 and World War II era M1 Carbine. Beretta ships this gun in its shortest configuration. The butt stock has removable spacers included in the box that allow you to add ½, 1” or 1 ½ inches to the stock length to arrive at the length of pull that you want. Me? I loved the short and handy configuration, so I left the spacers in the box for future use in the event my arms grow longer.

The 1301 Tactical is offered in 12 gauge only at this point and features a 3 inch chamber. In a small, lightweight shotgun like this one, you really don’t want to shoot 3 ½ inch shells anyway – it’s not intended to be a turkey hunting gun.

Differing from it’s 1301 competition sibling, the 1301 Tactical model sports some differences. First, it has an 18-inch barrel as compared to the Competition choices of 21 or 24 inches. It’s also got adjustable ghost ring sights. Both the ghost ring in the rear and sturdy post up front are protected with metal “wings” to save your sights from getting knocked around in the back of the SWAT wagon. More importantly, the 1301 Tactical model has a receiver-mounted rail just in front of the rear sight so you can mount optics. For me, this just screamed for an Aimpoint Micro H1. With a 2-MOA red dot and compact size, it turned out to be the perfect solution. The quick-release mount on the Aimpoint positioned the optic at a perfect height so the iron sights are just visible in the bottom section of the glass. If your battery croaks, you’ve got iron sights ready to go without need to remove your optic.

Beretta_1301_Tactical-15

Magazine capacity on the 1301 Tactical is a bit less than that of the 1301 Competition due to its shorter length. In mine, I can stuff 4, and sometimes 5, shells into the tube depending on the shell. Be aware that Beretta ships this model with a magazine plug in place, temporarily limiting tube capacity to two shells. No worries, just pop out the plug and you’re good to go.

Beretta_1301_Tactical-26Speaking of magazine capacity, I felt compelled to add a Nordic Components extension tube to my test model. While I could have chosen a longer tube, I opted for a 2 shell extension. This makes the overall length of the magazine tube just a hair longer than the barrel. I get two extra shells with no sacrifice of the compact handling qualities. Now, my total capacity, at least using Federal 12 gauge Gold Metal Target loads, is 7 in the tube plus one in the chamber. If you’re a 3 gun competitor, you might notice this sets this shotgun up nicely for…

The Crimson Trace Midnight 3 Gun Event!

While I was itching to try this shotgun anyway after seeing at the NRA Annual Meeting, I really wanted to test it in such a way as to give it a total workout. The idea was to configure this gun as a useful home defense model and the midnight 3 gun competition is a great way to test gear to see how it performs in the dark. In addition to the Aimpoint Micro H1 optic, I added a Crimson Trace Rail Master Pro up front on the right side. A Nordic Components tube / barrel clamp with rail segment gave me the perfect spot to do that.

Read the rest at Beretta USA!

 

Be sure to check out Tom’s latest books! They are ON SALE now for a limited time!

Transforming A Basic AR-15 To A Home Defense Rifle

The "after" version of the Smith & Wesson M&P 15 OR. It's all geared up for the Crimson Trace Midnight 3 Gun Invitational and home defense use.

The “after” version of the Smith & Wesson M&P 15 OR. It’s all geared up for the Crimson Trace Midnight 3 Gun Invitational and home defense use.

A few weeks ago, I discussed my plan of using the upcoming Crimson Trace Midnight 3 Gun Invitational to choose, equip and practice with guns I’ll use for home defense. Since then. I’ve decided to use a Smith & Wesson M&P 15 OR for the rifle. It’s a standard AR-15 design with a notable exception. Instead of the classic A2 fixed front sight and gas block, it comes equipped with a rail gas block. And as a home defense choice? Absolutely. M&P 15’s run – reliably – and are cost effective to boot.

The before photo.

The before photo. When doing gun work, you’ll want a proper set of gunsmithing screwdrivers like this

Gearing it up for both the night 3-gun competition and home defense use requires some tweaks. Here’s what I decided to do.

Rail for lights and lasers

Installation of the quad rail was easy - I didn't need any tools.

Installation of the quad rail was easy – I didn’t need any tools.

The Smith & Wesson M&P 15 OR comes with the standard round plastic handguard. It’s comfortable and does a good job keeping your support hand cool when the barrel gets hot, but doesn’t have attachment points for rail accessories. I chose to replace it with a Blackhawk! AR-15 Carbine Length 2 Piece Quad Rail Forend. It offers rails on top, bottom, left and right and has great ventilation in between to let the barrel cool. You can also get it in rifle length if your gun is longer than mine but enough about that.

Installation is a snap. You don’t need tools, not even a hammer. Just remove the existing handguard by pulling down the delta ring in front of the receiver until you can pry the existing handguard halves out. The new Blackhawk! handguard also comes in two pieces, so put them in the same way. After they are pressed in place, you bolt the two halves together. It’s not a free-floated solution, but it’s rock solid and you don’t have to do any serious construction work to install it on your rifle.

A little detail that makes a big difference

I also chose to install a Blackhawk! Offset Safety Selector. This is one of those “oh duh why didn’t I think of that” inventions. It relocates the safety lever itself 45 degrees so you can easily reach it with your thumb without shifting your grip. A great aid for safety and usability, and for competition, it might just help you avoid a procedural penalty for not engaging the safety on your rifle.

Read the rest at OutdoorHub!

Be sure to check out Tom’s latest books! They are ON SALE now for a limited time!

Beretta 1301 Tactical Shotgun Review: A “Carbine” Shotgun

The Beretta 1301 Tactical is all business with ghost ring sights and a rail for optics.

The Beretta 1301 Tactical is all business with ghost ring sights and a rail for optics.

Have you ever shot an M1 Garand, followed by an M1 Carbine? Or perhaps a FAL, followed by a Ruger 10/22? Or maybe a full size over and under 12 gauge, followed by a compact coach gun?

If so, then you already have an idea of the relative feel of the Beretta 1301 Tactical shotgun.

What attracted me to this gun for testing and evaluation is its compact size, light weight and super quick handling. You can think of it as a shotgun carbine. With an 18.5 inch barrel and short stock, the entire length is just under 38 inches long. As a comparison, the M1 Carbine of WWII fame is 35.6 inches end to end, while a Ruger Carbine measures 37 inches.

Just the specs…

In standard configuration, you'll be able to fit four 2 ¾ inch shells in the tube, but you'll have to remove the plug first.

In standard configuration, you’ll be able to fit four 2 ¾ inch shells in the tube, but you’ll have to remove the plug first.

The factory configured stock is really, really compact, offering a length of pull of just about 13 inches. As I wanted a compact shotgun, I left it just as is – almost. More on that a bit later. If you prefer a longer stock and length of pull, Beretta includes two spacers that work together or separately. One is ½ inch while the other is 1 inch, so choose the length you want and mix and match accordingly. As with most other Beretta guns, you can also tweak drop and cast, although I had no need – this one fit me out of the box and offered a natural sight line right down the sights.

Offered in 12 gauge only, the 1301 Tactical features a 3-inch chamber, not that you need it. If you want to get thumped, feel free, you can load the big boy shells.

Magazine capacity is a bit of a mystery. Some retailers quote the 1301 Tactical as 4+1 while other say 5+1. Beretta doesn’t exactly say in their website specs, but the owners manual indicates 4+1, so I just tried it. Mine fit four 2 ¾ inch shells plus one in the chamber. Just a heads up, Beretta ships the gun with the magazine plug installed, which limits you to two shells in the tube. Just remove the end cap and pop that out to take advantage of full magazine capacity.

The controls

The controls, bolt handle, bolt release and safety are all oversized and easy to manipulate with or without gloves.

The controls, bolt handle, bolt release and safety are all oversized and easy to manipulate with or without gloves.

The primary controls are all oversized and easy to operate, presumably to enable operation with gloved hands. This also makes it a solid combination home defense and competition shotgun.

The bolt release button is oblong with textured ridges, so operation is easy and positive. The bolt handle is also oversized, and shaped somewhat like a snow cone cup, with the pointy end in the receiver. The shape encourages your fingers to stay on the handle when operating it quickly. The push through safety bar is also oversized and reversible.

Read the rest at GunsAmerica!

Be sure to check out our latest book, The Rookie’s Guide to Guns and Shooting, Handgun Edition 2nd Edition 2014. It’s ON SALE now for a limited time!

The Rookie's Guide to Guns and Shooting, Handgun Edition

The Rookie’s Guide to Guns and Shooting, Handgun Edition

Three Gunning for Home Defense?

Two of the pistol choice contenders: Springfield Armory TRP 1911 (left) and Beretta PX4 Storm (right)

Two of the pistol choice contenders: Springfield Armory TRP 1911 with Crimson Trace Master Series Laser Grips and Lightguard (left) and Beretta PX4 Storm with Crimson Trace Rail Master Pro (right)

In a rare fit of advance planning and organization, I’m starting to think about what gear to use at this year’s Crimson Trace Midnight 3 Gun Invitational match. The event takes place August 12th through 17th in the high desert outside of Bend, Oregon, so I’ve got a little time.

As the event title implies, I need to pick, you guessed it, three guns to use – one handgun, shotgun and rifle. Stages are designed in such a way that you must always use at least two, and usually all three guns. Some targets require use of a specific gun type. For example, you might have to obliterate targets 1 through 9 with your pistol and targets 10 through 17 with your rifle. Other targets are optional, meaning that it’s the shooters choice whether to use a shotgun, rifle or pistol.

The event is more fun than should be legal, especially as it takes place in the absolute dark of night. Last year, shooting started sometime after 9pm and finished up some mornings near 5:30am. Who needs sleep?

This year, I’ve already decided to use the Midnight 3 Gun event as a home defense equipment trial of sorts. Rather than picking guns that are perfectly optimized to three gun competition rules, I’m going to pick guns that are reasonable to use in my home for protection of self, family and my ABBA vinyl record collection.

What does that really mean? If I was choosing to optimize for the competition and game the rules, I might select the following:

Tweaked out “competition optimized” guns like the shotgun mentioned above are obviously are not necessarily well suited for home defense. You wouldn’t want to be navigating your home in the middle of the night with a six foot long shotgun complete with magazine tube extending into the next room. A short and compact model would almost certainly be more appropriate – even if it had lower capacity.

With all that said, here’s what I am considering for each gun category:

Pistol

Last year I used a Glock 17 with rear activated laser and front activated light.

Last year I used a Glock 17 with rear activated laser and front activated light.

I’ve got a number of contenders going for the perfect home defense / M3GI pistol. Last year I shot a Glock 17 equipped with Crimson Trace Lasergrips and Crimson Trace Lightguard. It’s certainly no slouch for a home defense gun. 9mm is acceptable as a defensive round, capacity of 17+1 is solid and you can find a holster to fit a geared up Glock. But it’s a new year and a new match. I’ve been there and done that with the Glock, so I’ll be trying something different. Perhaps one of the following:

Read the rest at OutdoorHub!

Latest Shooting Buyers Guide Additions

My Gun Culture Shooters Buyers Guide

We’re introducing a new weekly article feature, and a whole new section of MyGunCulture.com this week. Our Shooters Buyers Guide provides a quick and easy reference to stuff that is a solid value – and works. Think of it as shooting tips for buyers.

We check out a lot of shooting gear – tactical lights, gun lasers, optics, red dot sights, ammunition, reloading supplies and equipment, shooting bags, holsters of all kinds, and much, much more. While we can’t do an in depth review of everything that crosses the shooting bench, we can help filter out what works well – and what doesn’t. If you see an item listed in our buyers guide, we’ve used it, we like it, and we believe in it.

Here are this weeks picks:

Sights, Optics, Lasers, Lights

TruGlo TFO Fiber Optic / Tritium Handgun Sights

Crimson Trace LG850 Lasergrips – Glock Compact and Full Size Models

Aimpoint Micro H-1 Red Dot Sight

Crimson Trace Lightguard for Glock Pistols

Crimson Trace Lasergrips For Glock Full Size and Compact Models

Holsters

Blade-Tech IDPA Competition Pack with SRB (Sting Ray Belt) Holster

5.11 Tactical COVRT Z.A.P. 6 (Zone Assault Pack)

Galco Ankle Glove Holster

Blackhawk Leather Magazine Pouch

Galco Ankle Glove Holster

Blackhawk Sportster Standard Concealment Holster

Ammo

Hornady Critical Duty 9mm +P 135 grain Flexlock

Remington Golden Saber .45 ACP +P 185 grain JHP

CorBon DPX .357 Sig 125 Grain Ammo

American Eagle .223 Ammo – Reloaders Bargain

Federal’s Guard Dog .45 ACP – Expands Like All Get Out

Hornady Critical Defense .38 Special +P 100 grain

Speer Gold Dot 9mm +P Bonded Hollow Points

CorBon 9mm +P 115 grain JHP

Shooting Accessories

Gunzilla Gun Cleaner, Lubricant, and Protectant – Look Ma! No Stink!

ESS Crossbow Eyeshields – Eye Protection with Style

Slipstream and Slipstream STYX Weapons Lubricants

Books

Shoot! Your Guide to Shooting and Competition by Julie Golob

The Gun Digest Book of Combat Handgunnery by Massad Ayoob

American Heroes in Special Operations by Oliver North

GunDigest Shooter’s Guide to the 1911 by Robert Campbell

Reloading Equipment

Shooting Chrony Beta Master Chronograph

Forster Case Trimmer

Red Dot Sight Review: Aimpoint PRO Optic

Aimpoint PRO Red Dot Sight Optic

The Aimpoint PRO is beautifully designed. Note the transparent rear lens cap.

Sweden has invented some pretty useful things over the years. Ingrid Bergman. Greta Garbo. Alfred Nobel, inventor of dynamite and that goofy prize for well-connected politicians. And of course, Sweden is responsible for bringing us the swingin’ pop sensation ABBA. Oh, Fernando, you dancing queen…

As if these contributions were not enough, Sweden also produced Aimpoint. As we discovered with our review of the Aimpoint Micro H1 red dot sight, the new Aimpoint PRO over-delivers. But is it the best red dot sight?

The Aimpoint PRO Red Dot Sight goes from tactical to civilian

The Aimpoint PRO is actually a new packaging release. The Law Enforcement only product, the Aimpoint Patrol Rifle Optic (PRO) was released in 2011. It was the latest iteration of sights based on the popular Comp M3 design. The Aimpoint Patrol Rifle Optic had a few key differences to the Comp M3 line:

  • 3 year battery life
  • Included flip up lens covers
  • QRP2 mount
  • Nifty lens cap (interior) sticker for battery replacement and in-service date reminders

In 2012, the Aimpoint PRO was made available to the civilian market. Got it?

High points – Is the Aimpoint PRO the best red dot sight?

Like the Aimpoint Micro H1 red dot, the Aimpoint PRO red dot sight runs 75% of forever. The single 3 volt lithium 2L76 battery runs for 30,000 continuous hours. That’s longer than the movie The English Patient. Although The English Patient seems longer once you’re trapped in the theater and doomed to hours of $14 cokes. In case you haven’t seen The English Patient, 3,000 hours equates to about 3 years of continuous use. We’re pretty comfortable with a design that runs for 3 years without switches or maintenance. Even if you’re really paranoid, just replace that single battery every New Years Eve before the festivities start and you become forgetful. Of course there is a real benefit to this longevity other than an exceptionally low battery replacement budget. Just leave this red dot sight powered on. Always. Then it’s ready to go without switches or any other manipulation. As we’ll see later, you don’t even have to open the lens covers.

The Aimpoint PRO red dot sight features a 2 MOA (minute of angle) red dot. Intensity is adjusted by a knob at the 2 o’clock position from the rear lens. The knob is designed with deep grooves for easy grasp, even with gloves, and allows 10 levels of dot intensity adjustment. We found that you can adjust it easily with your weak hand without obstructing the lens.

Aimpoint PRO Red Dot QRP2 Mount

The QRP2 mount does not require tools – and is self torque limiting

The mount has also been updated from the Comp M3 offering for effective use on AR / M4 type platforms. The QRP2 system accomplishes two objectives. First, it places the optic at such a height where the iron sights on an AR platform line up in the bottom third of the optic window. This allows easy use of the red dot without iron sights getting in the way – even if your rifle has a fixed front sight. Second, the mount features a large snap knob for mounting the optic on the rail. Simply place the optic on the rail and tighten the knurled knob until it clicks 3 times. This applies exactly the right amount of torque so your rail will not be damaged. And you can easily mount and unmount the optic without tools. Please sir, step away from the vise grips!It’s a really handy mount that proved to be solid over time and use. The height spacer of the QRP2 mount is removable if you want to mount the Aimpoint PRO on shotguns or sub-machine guns.

Both front and rear lenses are inset into the optic body for extra protection. The front tube is threaded inside in case you want to mount an optional anti-reflective device. By the way, the Aimpoint PRO red dot sight is compatible with all current generations of night vision devices. It also can be used with Aimpoint’s 3x magnifier if you need to reach out and touch someone at greater distance.

Like other Aimpoint products, the Aimpoint PRO is built with attention to detail. For example, windage and elevation caps, and the battery compartment cap, are all connected with a rubber strap so won’t lose any pieces. Aimpoint even includes a sticker to record battery changes and service dates. This round sticker fits on the inside of the front lens cap so you won’t lose track of it. And you’ll see it every time you open the lens cap.

Optical illusions

One of the first things we noticed about the Aimpoint PRO is the design of the included (and pre-installed) flip up lens covers. The front lens is made from black rubber and has two tabs that allow for easy opening. The front lens cover is spring loaded, so a light tap on either tab opens the cover all the way, and spring tension keeps it well out of the way once opened. The rear lens cover is particularly interesting. The cover itself is clear, so you don’t necessarily have to open it for use. As the Aimpoint PRO is designed for ‘both eyes open’ shooting, you can literally pick up the rifle and aim it accurately with both lens covers closed. The rear cover is clear, so you will see the red dot. Your offside eye will see the target. Your brain will put the two together and you’ll see a red dot on target. Of course, the sight picture is not as clear as with the lens covers open, but we found this scenario to be perfectly usable. This seemingly minor feature could make all the difference in a scenario where one has to react immediately. Obviously it could make a big difference in combat or defensive applications. Or it can help you avoid embarrassment in that upcoming 3 gun match.

You too can re-enact scenes from Act of Valor

We hear much internet wisdom about how quality optics are expensive. And how you can get the “same exact thing” from some other company. Some folks insist that the actual optic is made in the same factory as a knock off and different brand names are applied as the units are shipped out the door.

Aimpoint PRO Patrol Rifle Optic Red dot sight cowitness iron sights

The mount co-witnesses perfectly with iron sights.

Not so with the Aimpoint product line. They are made in Sweden by Aimpoint, for Aimpoint. Period. And the attention to quality engineering is apparent.

The Aimpoint PRO is constructed from a solid anodized aluminum housing. Watertight screw caps for the battery housing and windage and elevation adjustments ensure that you can completely submerge this unit up to a depth of 150 feet. If you’re engaged in activities that cover your optic with sand and salt spray, no problem, just dunk it in clean water and you’re good to go. Do make sure the caps are on though.

The Aimpoint PRO Red Dot Sight at the range

Of course the real test was at the range. We mounted the evaluation unit on a DPMS Panther A3 Lite 16 AR15 rifle. This model features a front sight post and rail on the back. We have it equipped with a Magpul flip-up rear sight. Even with the rear sight flipped up, the Aimpoint PRO’s red dot was easy to see. The front and rear sights lined up just about 1/3 of the way up the glass. Perfectly positioned in our opinion.

As the Aimpoint PRO is parallax free there was no sensitivity at all to position of your head and eyes. As long as you can see through the tube, you’ll see the dot on target. We found this sight very fast to acquire.

Just for kicks, we did try shooting some 25, 50 and 100 yard targets with the both lens covers closed. Remember, the Aimpoint PRO has a semi-transparent rear lens cap, so you can see the red dot without flipping the rear cap out of the way. With the front cap closed, your brain relies on your other eye to acquire the target. The eye looking through the optic will see the dot and your brain does a reasonable job of putting the two together. We found 25 and 50 yard targets easy to hit with the front cap closed. The 100 yard targets were a little harder to acquire accurately in this manner. The bottom line is that this feature works as intended. If you need to fire a quick shot, you can do it accurately without even opening the lens caps.

All in all, this is another excellent optic and mount from Aimpoint. We’re going to have to buy one.

Our rating

4 Nuns Four Nuns! Built like a tank. Clear and easy to acquire. Those little details that Aimpoint considers make all the difference. We highly recommend this one.
Check out other My Gun Culture product reviews here!

 

Shop for the Aimpoint Pro at Brownells.com

Aimpoint Patrol Rifle Optic (Pro)
Loading…

Top 5 Coolest Things from NRA Annual Meeting Day 1

Even with a busy meeting and interview schedule, we managed to spot some pretty nifty things during day 1 of the NRA Annual Meeting in St. Louis. So far, we’ve only covered about 30% of the exhibits, so look for more over the next two days.

Here are some of the standouts from Day 1:

IMG_2261

Smith & Wesson M&P Shield – The much anticipated Shield is out and available for purchase. It’s a compact, yet comfortable little single stack pistol. It sports a brand new trigger design which is, well, fantastic.

f2989eb183

Aimpoint Pro – Previously for LE and Military only, a civvie version is ready. 2 MOA red dot, flip up lens covers, a torque limiting rail mount and typical Aimpoint quality. We’ll be doing a full review shortly.

22 Large

Bore Tips and Swab Its – We first saw these at SHOT Show 2012, but they still make the NRA AM Day 1 cool list. Bore-Tips are foam based cleaning swabs get complete contact with the barrel – and they are washable for reuse. Swab Its are the 21st century equivalent of Q-Tips that don’t leave cottony junk in your gun. And they come in different sizes to do things like reach into those impossible spaces in AR chambers.

gun_storage_handgun_rack_sm_handgun_hangers

Handgun Hangers – From Store More Guns, these simple but amazingly useful hangers mount above and/or below safe shelfs to hang pistols by the barrel. This keeps your pistols organized on any size of shelf. And you can store magazines underneath. They also have some nifty solutions that allow storage or more rifles in the same amount of gun safe space.

3900

Ruger 22/45 LITE Rimfire Pistol – This fun little .22LR pistol is shockingly light. No really, shockingly light. Oh, and phenomenally cool. The gold receiver and barrel shroud is tastefully colored and the contour cuts are just plain sporty. Look for this in different colors something in the future.

We’ll be back tomorrow with more cool things from the NRA Annual Convention. Stay tuned…

Buyers Guide: Aimpoint Micro H-1 Red Dot Sight

My Gun Culture Shooting Buyers Guide

IMG_1277This is a fantastic red dot. One of our favorites.

In our recent in-depth review we used it on a DPMS A3 Lite and found it stellar. Battery life is 75% of forever so you don’t have to worry about turning the unit and and off. That’s great if it’s a self-defense gun.

When paired with the Micro LRP Mount, you can remove and remount the sight without loss of zero. We tested this and it worked as advertised.

This is a lightweight and very tough optic. The attention to detail in the optic and its accessories is icing on the cake.

Well worth the money.

Available Here Aimpoint Micro H-1 Red Dot Sight With with LRP Mount

Video Review: Aimpoint Micro-H1 LRP Red Dot Optic

We loved the Aimpoint Micro-H1–Great AR add on!

BUY NOW: Aimpoint Micro Series Optical Sights Micro H-1

Review: Aimpoint Micro H-1 Red Dot Sight

The Good
This is a really well engineered piece of equipment. Versatile with thoughtful design.
The Bad
If I had to be really picky, I would prefer flip up lens covers instead of the connected rubber covers. They are designed to quickly pull down and rest around the sight base however so they don’t get lost.
The Ugly
I have to somehow convince her that we need one of these more than we need to do other things – like feed the kids or make car payments.
Our Rating
3 Nuns Four Nuns!

Aimpoint Micro-H1 Red Dot Sight

Approximate Street Price: $565.00 (as configured with mounts)

www.aimpoint.com

Note the optics co-witness height with back up iron sights

Note the optics co-witness height with back up iron sights

We met Kristi, Aimpoint’s Marketing Director, at this year’s POMA Conference Media Day at the Range in Ogden, Utah and had the opportunity to try the Micro H-1 Red Dot sight. We were impressed with the size, weight, and clarity of the H-1 and worked out a more in-depth evaluation opportunity. The H-1 seemed like a great option for an AR platform so we planned an in-depth test on a DPMS Panther A3 Lite 16.

The Skinny on the Micro H-1

The Micro H-1 and its slightly more tacticool sibling the Micro T-1 (night vision compatible) are, in fact, skinny. Just 1.6″ wide compared to the classic Aimpoint Comp M4′s 2.1″ width, the Micro H-1 (not counting the brightness adjustment wheel) was skinnier than the DPMS receiver it was mounted on. The Micro H-1 has a lens diameter of just about 3/4″.

Weight is also dramatically reduced over the Comp M4 unit. The Micro weighs in at 3oz while the Comp M4 weighs 9.3oz. As an additional comparison, the Eotech XPS2 weighs about 8oz, so the Aimpoint unit is light. Really light.

As light as it is, the Micro H-1 feels substantial. Made of aluminum with an anodized semi-matte finish, both the sight and it’s base were rock solid. No feeling of cheapness here.

It keeps going. And going. And going.

The Aimpoint Micro H-1 is powered by a CR2032 3 volt Lithium battery. The significance of all those numbers and letters is that the batteries are available in your local grocery or drug store. Very common they are. Not that it matters, because the Micro H-1 runs continuously on a single battery for about 5 years. That’s almost as long as the last State of the Union speech. Almost. Our evaluation period was 60 days, and we left it on. Just because we could. (It was still running just fine when we sent it back by the way.)

Attention to Detail

One handy detail is that the windage and elevation caps double as adjustment tools

One handy detail is that the windage and elevation caps double as adjustment tools

At BUDS Training, prospective United States Navy Seals are tested and drilled to internalize attention to detail. Apparently someone at Aimpoint took this concept to heart. We found numerous examples of really thoughtful design and engineering with the Aimpoint Micro H-1.

The Micro H-1 includes a multi-purpose tool that serves a variety of functions. One end has two nubs (our word) for adjusting the windage and elevation controls. The opposite end has a Torx bit sized to the base mounting bolts. The sides of the tool are wide, flat plastic blades sized to the battery cover. To top it off, the direction of rotation for right windage and upward elevation adjustments are imprinted on the multi-tool. This is a particularly helpful feature for those of us who tend to toss the instruction book. The tool also serves as a nearly lethal shuriken assuming one has the proper Shaolin training.

Another stand out feature is that the screw caps for the units windage and elevation adjustments are also shaped with nubs that allow the caps to be reversed and used as a tool to adjust the dials. So that neat nearly-ninja multi-tool is not technically required to be kept in the range bag. That’s just a nice touch.

Mounting Up

Aimpoint Micro H-1 with LRP Mount and Micro Spacer High Mount

Aimpoint Micro H-1 with LRP Mount and Micro Spacer High Mount

Our evaluation model came with a two part mounting system as it was to be used on a flat-top AR platform. First was the Micro LRP. This is a quick attach and detach system with a lever to clamp the unit on a Mil-Std Picatinny rail. The spring loaded clamp lever includes a notch that locks the lever in place when tightened. It’s not going anywhere. The neat part of the system is that zero is maintained when the sight is removed and re-attached in the same place. Translation: You hit the same dang thing you aim at no matter how much you take the sight on and off. Our unit also included the Micro Spacer High mount which is attached between the Micro LRP mount and the Micro H-1 optic itself. This combination of components places the H-1 at perfect height for co-witnessing with iron sights on a flat top AR system. On our DPMS, a Magpul flip up rear sight and integral front sight lined up just below the vertical half-way mark through the Aimpoint optic.

While we tested the Aimpoint Micro H-1 on an AR platform, it was designed with a multitude of uses in mind. Optional mounting accessories allow the H-1 to be used with 11mm dovetail systems, Glock pistols, Ruger 10/22′s, Ruger Mark III’s, bows, revolvers with Weaver mounts, and Merkel Double Rifles. Safari anyone?

Subjective Shooty Stuff

When we first opened the box of the Micro H-1, we were a little concerned about the diameter of the optic. It looks narrow. Measured with our precision wooden ruler, the lens appeared to be about 3/4″ in diameter. We thought it would be slow to aim given the relative small diameter of the glass. Not the case. If anything, the narrow dimensions of the Micro H-1 improved overall vision as the other eye field of view was not obstructed by ‘optic junk.’

There was an additional benefit to the small tube of the H-1. It provided a reasonable ‘fast and close up‘ sighting method on its own, without need to pick up the red dot itself. For short range shooting, the tube itself provided a decent ‘minute of evil d00d‘ sighting system.

The Micro H-1 has a 4 MOA (minute of angle) dot size, so it’s designed for tactical, competitive speed shooting, or hunting applications. The unit has 12 degrees of brightness adjustment for a variety of lighting conditions. We found that settings 7 and below provided an exceptionally crisp sight picture while brighter settings were useful in heavy sunlight conditions.

The Micro H-1 includes a nearly-ninja and handy multi-tool

The Micro H-1 includes a nearly-ninja and handy multi-tool

Because the specs said we could, we mounted the Micro H-1 and zeroed it at 50 yards, shot a bunch of stuff, then removed the optic and did some back up sight shooting. Remounting the Micro H-1 with the LRP quick mount system did in fact maintain the original zero. That’s a handy feature for folks like us that like to tinker with stuff, whether it needs tinkering or not.

Net-Net

We were a little skeptical about two things with the Micro H-1. First was the small diameter of the optic. Would that slow down target acquisition? Second was the specific mounting system for a flat top AR being made of three distinct parts. Would it be solid?

Both concerns turned out to be non-issues. Kind of like Justin Bieber becoming a threat in the world of Ultimate Fighting. Sighting with both eyes open was actually improved as it allowed better peripheral vision with the non-sighting eye. And the Aimpoint Micro H-1 was solid, well fitted, and well constructed. our test unit came with the sight, spacer, and LRP mount pre-assembled, and one wouldn’t know that they were three separate pieces without reading the documentation.

Four Nuns on this one – it’s a really impressive optic.

BUY NOW: Aimpoint Micro Series Optical Sights Micro H-1

Check out other My Gun Culture product reviews here!

Legal Disclosures about articles on My Gun Culture