For years the Aimpoint T1 has been the gold standard of red dot sights, so when I first got wind of a T2 in the works, I was pretty curious. They sure look a lot alike. Both have 2 MOA dots. The T2 costs a little more, so what’s the big deal I wondered. I read some reviews online that were fairly vanilla leaving my thirst for knowledge unsatisfied.
In a unique opportunity, I visited with Lennart Ljungfelt, President, Aimpoint AB, Sweden, and inspected the very first pre serial number 0 prototype. The place was Dallas Safari Club, and Ljungfelt was enjoying throwing his sight across the room. But since there’s only so much you can tell without having one in your hand, I decided to do the best Aimpoint T-1 vs. T-2 review on the web. It’s almost like having one in your own hands.
The Aimpoint T-1 was originally introduced in 2007 with a 4 MOA dot. Two years later the option of a 2 MOA dot was put on the table. At its release, the T-2 is only available with a 2 MOA dot. So there’s the first difference.
The T-2 comes with see through flip covers attached extending the length 6mm over the T-1. Most people would never even notice, but if you use a magnifier (and you might after you’re done with this review) you’ll note that in order to flip those covers open you’ll need more space between the magnifier and the optic. That said, the flip covers are a nice upgrade to the T-1 bikini cover that I’m always in fear of losing. The covers don’t have a goofy tint as some do, so the sight is quite useful with covers closed.
Like a lot of other optics, both the T-1 and T-2 have their respective elevation adjustments located on the top. Apparently, some end users felt like the cap on the top of the T-1 was vulnerable to impact damage so the T-2 housing now protects that cap and turret. Does that affect a tactical hunter, or home defender? Probably not, but it’s another nice incremental improvement in the design. The only little downside here is that where both of the T-1 caps had the required nubs to adjust the windage and elevation turrets, the T-2 has only one such cap. Either way, using the supplied Aimpoint Micro Tool to make the adjustments is a better way to go. Another nice incremental improvement is in the rotary dot brightness control knob. The T-1 knob is solid and I never noticed anything negative about it. But the knob on the T-2 is substantially nicer, buttery smooth with solid detents for each brightness or intensity level.
Having mounted the optics, let’s talk usability. To test the T-1 vs. T-2, I put both on a quad railed upper receiver, with and without magnification. Indoors and out, I could switch from looking through one to the other with a ninety degree flip of my wrist. Next I mounted my contraption to an Alamo Four Star DLOC tripod and got the camera behind. I put the camera behind them to capture what I observed. Shooting pictures though a scope is always a trick, but I think you’ll see the differences. I positioned my test rig forty yards from a twenty-four inch steel hog silhouette.
The first thing I noticed on my test platform was the difference in optical clarity between the T-1 and T-2. The T-1 has a bluish hue I’d barely noticed before. Next to the T-2, it’s readily apparent. The T-2 also has better contrast, making the overall image quality noticeably better. As a photographer I know that this kind of performance improvement is usually the result of better lens elements, better engineering and/or lens coatings.
Put an Aimpoint 3x magnifier behind both optics and the differences become striking. Like a spotlight pointed at an angle, the T-1 dot is elongated. Consequently, my 3x Aimpoint magnifier has seen very little use. But behind the T-2 it’s a whole different story. The dot stays crisp and round! I suspect the improvement comes from a change in the angle of the lens that reflects the red dot back to the shooter’s eye.
Suddenly I can see taking my magnifier on my next hunt! You might just like it when zeroing as well. With Aimpoint’s twist off mount, you have the luxury of both a 1x red dot sight and a 3x red dot sight. Use of the magnifier has no impact on zero. While not everyone will invest in the Aimpoint magnifier, this may be the biggest practical game changer of the T-2.
Aimpoint says they improved the electronics of T-2. What all that means appears to be semi-classified. The public specifications are the same for both the T-1 and the T-2. Both have five year battery lives using a 2032 battery. Both use eye safe LEDs to create the red dots. Both control dot intensity in twelve steps, four Night Vision and eight visible. In the end, Ljungfelt tells me the T-2 are even more durable than the T-1. Honestly, I don’t know just what that means. We previously torture tested a T-1 and it came out unscathed.
So the T-1 was and remains a terrific choice for a non-magnified red dot sight. While the initially apparent differences individually might seem small on the surface, the T-2 is better in every way. Since you can buy the T-2 online for about $60 more than the T-1 it’s a no-brainer to get the T-2. At the top of the food chain of the compact red dot sight world, it commands $750+ , street pricing. But it is the top of the food chain now.