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Aimpoint ACRO - Current issues

When the Aimpoint ACRO first came out I believed it may be the answer for a lot of the problems which the Trijicon RMR had, I posted several write-ups of my issues and concerns well before the ACRO (or the SRO) came out.  Having had the ACRO for a little more than a year at this point, and putting in the area of 10k or so rounds through three pistols with the ACRO mounted, along with several guys who I train with who have ACRO's as well, it has become obvious the ACRO has some issues.

Aimpoint decided to put a 3V lithium CR1225 battery in the ACRO, which is very suspicious as the RMR, SRO, and various other pistol mounted optics take a CR2032.  Aimpoint then goes and says that the battery will last "1.5 years (15 000h) of continuous use at pos. 6 and more than 8 years at NVD-setting."  They didn't test this, they just plugged numbers into a formula and posted these numbers.  If they did test it they would see that it's not true.  I had the ACRO at 6 and 7 power, respectively, for the periods of when I carried it, turning it off in-between carrying trying to conserve the battery as much as possible, and the most I got from one battery was almost 7 months.  The guys who I know have ACRO's reported less battery life but they may not have been as strict with their battery conservation protocols as I was, maybe I was expecting to get it to last more than a year and that's too much?  Two guys reported battery life in the 2-3 month range running the brightness higher than I did, this is by all accounts unacceptable.  If shows that the battery life was not actually tested in real-world use.

The button placement is another issue that seems to creep up from time to time.  If you are running a holster that has an exposed sweat guard (which nearly all optic AIWB/IWB holsters do) then the buttons of the ACRO will contact your body directly, if you are a right-handed shooter.  The issue is that I have personally experienced two situations where I pulled my gun out of the holster to either unload or during training and witnessed the dot to be gone or be on lower than I set brightness.  Trijicon did the right thing to only put the plus / brighter setting on the left side as it'll be against the body on their RMR and SRO, then added a redundant lockout or "auto" setting which would not allow the optic's brightness to be changed accidentally.  Aimpoint dropped the ball here and it is very clear that a few guys carrying guns with this ACRO attached to it AIWB and/or IWB would have experienced this during testing.  I am not sure what Aimpoint did for testing or who they gave their testing units to, but this is extremely obvious as an issue and could have easily been fixed pre-production.  Just like the battery issue, it seems as though they didn't actually do any real-world testing and ended up pushing a product onto the market when it had issues that needed to be worked out.  Setting lockout on a pistol optic should be a standard feature, it's 2020, we know this already.

There are two other issues that I personally have that may not be as serious as the rest, specifically zero-adjustment turret covers, and dot size.  For most users, they will go to the range, zero their ACRO, and then mark the turrets with some kind of marker to make sure they see when it walks.  This is a carryover from rifle optics zeroing.  Seeing as how this is a brand new optic, developed with the most advanced technology in the optic game, Aimpoint couldn't figure out a way to add turret covers of some kind?  It's a small thing, but it's still a failure point that could be completely removed.  I understand people use the dot on pistols in various ways, and that many gamers want a bigger dot because it's less precision and more gross function of "dot on target trigger is pressed" except we know that's not how reality works and when every bullet you fire has, not just a lawyer attached, but also your reputation, smaller dots are better.  Trijicon released their 1MOA RMR before they released their Type 2 RMR, and I love that thing for use, the dot is great, why didn't Aimpoint do the same thing?  3.5MOA feels like they split the difference down the middle, maybe they did, either way, 1MOA would have been a better choice.  Pistol optics should be considered scalpels, not blunt objects.  If you are no more accurate with your pistol optic than your iron sights at 25 yards and out, why even have a pistol optic?

Aimpoint decided that there needs to be a revision, and at the same time added a few tweaks, one of which was button feedback.  I don't understand why that's needed and not a better battery or button lockout was not.  They also added another version C-1, which isn't as tough as the P-1.  Either way, the ACRO will run you at least $500 if you want to get one new.  For that much money, the optic needs to not only be vetted properly but it needs to do all the things which we want a pistol mounted optics to do.  Several ACRO users who I know personally have reported that the optic will "shake dead" during dryfire.  This has happened to three people, all from the newest batch, all had to be sent back, one was DOA with the same issue.  I'd expect this from a Chinese optic, not an American made optic sold and marketed to US LE.

So why even bother with the ACRO?

Regardless of the issues stated above, the ACRO still points very naturally and allows the end-user to acquire the dot at the speed of reality, at least that's what I have personally found doing reps.  I do not need to change my draw stroke and pistol presentation, at all, from my iron sights and that was one of my biggest issues with pistol mounted optics as I outlined in an article several years ago.  I can consistently catch the dot drawing quickly and getting accurate hits on target at distances I would be taking more time to aim at with iron sights.  The ACRO excels at allowing the end-user to pick up the dot and drive the gun on target after each shot, these are all things which the RMR cannot do, regardless of what anyone tells you.  

There are some who say that the ACRO is difficult to conceal, not only have I never experienced this issue but I suspect it is because of their holster choices.  A holster has to be designed around an optic mounted pistol, not just have a sweat guard cut out of it.  A muzzle pad helps a lot here because you can place it in the proper location to provide you the best twist on the axis which the optic prints the most.  

I am hopeful that Aimpoint will consider the issues above and work on a much better version of the ACRO.  I don't care if they have to call the Gen2 or whatever, just make it happen.  The current iteration, while better than the majority of other optics on the market is still lacking in many tangible ways which may have a direct effect on how the ACRO is used in a concealed carry capacity.  I know that the ACRO may actually work well in an OWB duty holster, like the Safariland RDS series of holsters but those holsters are not for the average ACRO user in my opinion and while there may be a whole group of LEO's or gamers who use these holsters to get likes on the gram, they aren't the majority of users.  Also, consider that fixing the issues above actually helps those users as well, as it fixes universal issues.

Getting to the meat on the matter, would I recommend buying an ACRO right this second if you are don't have a pistol mounted optic yet and are looking to get into the game.  The short answer is no.  I would recommend staying away from the ACRO until they fix the issues above.  I would also recommend doing more with your iron sights as the majority of pistol confrontations, backed by all documented statistical data shows your distance of engagement will be closer than 7 yards and if you cannot shoot your iron sight gun just as well as your optic mounted gun you are lacking skillset development, not limitations from the hardware.  There is a longer answer of yes, but I won't get deep into it right now, as it has to do more with the proper mindset and development of skillets based on modern tools, there is also the whole concept of mission driving tool selection.  If you conceal carry a pistol every day, you may not need an optic at all.