Smash an Aimpoint T-1 with a Baseball Bat? YES! And Film the Durability Test.

In a world where technological advancement is accelerating and pushing new products out faster than you can buy them, is the Micro T-1 still relevant?  Since its introduction in 2007, the Aimpoint Micro T-1 has received a lot of attention.  Is there any reason to do yet another review? You bet!

T-1Even at seven years old, it is still considered one of the best red dot sights on the market. Some obvious advantages it has over some other red dot sights include its small size and light weight.  Aimpoint says it’s durable and suitable for almost any type of small arms. We’re bringing out the baseball bat to test the T-1 durability.

Durability matters unless your rifle lives only to see a few days a year on a bench rest. What is the potential T-1 of the in the world of tactical hog hunting? Is it really as durable as it is supposed to be?  Does it deserve a spot on our Top Ten Hog Hunting Optics list?  You are about to find out.  And I think you will love the durability testing we did.

For starters, I am a fan of small and light.  Especially, the light part.  If you are going to haul a rifle around the fields and woods, for hours or days, do you want it to be heavy?  Of course not.  When you are adding things like Night Vision (NV), flashlights, lasers and the like, all this can really add up to a substantial heft. At just 3.7 ounces including the mount, the T-1 is lighter than most other optics on the market, making it almost unnoticeable.

The small size is also great if you plan to add night vision to your gun.  Since the T-1 is compatible with all generations of NV, you might as well go for it.  The Micro T-1 is less than 2 ½ inches long, so when you mount your favorite NV unit to your rifle, the combined weight of NV plus T-1 can stay further to the rear. This keeps the weight towards the rear, improving balance. Whether you are shooting at hogs running in all directions, standing motionless in a field with the rifle at the ready, or taking a defensive carbine class, it’s very nice to have a well balanced weapon.

Micro T-1The small size of the unit makes for small diameter lenses.  Since there is no magnification, there is no adverse effect on light transmission.  I like the bigger lens in the Eotech, but at the same time I love the overall smaller profile of the Aimpoint Micro series sights. The small lenses do not limit usefulness.  These red dot sights (RDS) put the dot and target on the same focal plane, which allows you to shoot with both eyes open.   That means that realistically, you get an unlimited field of view, great for the dynamic world of tactical hog hunting.

Another benefit of the Aimpoint Micro T-1 is that it is parallax free.  If you’ve ever been thrown off by the word “parallax”, you aren’t alone.  There is a lot of information on the internet about parallax, and some of it is not accurate and some of it is just plain confusing.

We’ll cover parallax on magnified optics in another article, but in the case of the T-1, “parallax free” simply means the visible dot remains parallel to the bore of barrel regardless of whether your eye is centered on the optic or not.  That combined with unlimited eye relief, means that if you can see the dot, you know where the bullet will impact if you pull the trigger.  Getting a precise cheek weld is not needed.  This is what makes the sight fast.

The mechanical controls for dot brightness and elevation/windage adjustment are simple and easy to use.  The brightness control knob is large enough to be used with gloves and has positive clicks.  The T-1 has eight levels of brightness for use with the naked eye and four for use with night vision.  Bottom line:  The single control that you use regularly is fast and easy to use regardless of the conditions.

On top of all that, the battery will last more than five years of continuous use.

Now for the really fun part – durability.  This optic was designed to hold up under the rigors of use by the special operations community and the military at large.  If you have served in the military, you know that in many cases the weapons are not exactly babied.  In fact, sometimes they are outright abused.  Kind of like a rental car.  If it’s not yours…

Well, let’s just say most of us wouldn’t want to buy a used rental car.  But in that spirit, the Micro T-1 we have in hand was provided to SHWAT™ by Aimpoint.  Which means it’s not mine…  Which also means I might do some things to it, that I may not do to my own optic…

I want to find out if the T-1 can stand up to any abuse I can imagine myself realistically putting an optic through while using it for hunting or training.  I did at least get permission from Aimpoint to test the durability.  That speaks well of their confidence in their product.

I start out by putting the unit in a plastic container and fill it with water with the optic turned on.  Then, into the freezer it goes for 24 hours.  Upon removal from the freezer, the T-1 is in a solid block of ice.

I’m not just after finding out if it can handle the cold.  For that, I could put it in the freezer without putting it in water first.  I want to see if it will stand up to being out on a cold winter night with snow and ice and take the abuse of a beating to get any ice build up off.  After all, if I don’t know ahead of time, that my optic can take the abuse, I’m likely to end a hunt or a day at the range rather than risk damaging a high-end sight.

After a whole day in the freezer, it’s time for the beating.  Setting the container of ice and optic on the driveway, I hit it repeatedly with the butt end of my Gerber Combat Fixed Blade knife.  The metal handle chips the ice but doesn’t make any real progress on extracting the T-1.  Turning the knife over, I stab the ice with the blade a few times, cracking the block in several places.

I remove the ice from the plastic container, and get a hammer for a more forceful extraction.  Two or three blows with the hammer takes most of the ice off.  Once the rear lens is exposed, I check to see if the Aimpoint is still powered on.  It is!  So far, so good.

I let out a sigh of relief.  Even though I have permission, I really don’t want to have send a broken T-1 back to Aimpoint.  I chip off the remaining ice to reveal a perfectly good and unscathed optic.

Next up:  Batting practice.  This is total improvisation.

T-1 MudAfter a prayer that it really does survive, I toss it up and take a swing.  It’s been a long time since I’ve swung a bat.  I clip the Aimpoint and send it into the grass a few feet in front of me.  If this were a baseball game, I would have been “out” for sure.

The second attempt went better – sort of.  I connected well, but hit a little high, driving the Aimpoint straight into the cement then bouncing off into the bushes.  Maybe a “base hit.”  The third time is the charm.  I hit a line drive right into a tree trunk.  It bounces off, back toward me right on to the cement again.

Now the T-1 is visually scuffed.  But it’s still working!

Moving on, it’s time for the mud.  The creek is a bit of a stagnant one so there is no shortage of mud with all kinds of slime along the bank.  Finding a particularly nasty spot, I bury the unit in the mud and press it in with my foot.  I repeat this process multiple times.  Each time the Aimpoint comes out working like new.  Even covered in mud, the control knob still works and feels like it just came out of the packaging.

At this point, I have to say I’m impressed.  I’ve used some optics that would not stand up to this kind of a beating, but the Aimpoint Micro T-1 came through shining.

There may be newer red dot sights out, but the Aimpoint Micro T-1 still ranks as one of the best on the market.  There is still room for a lot of opinion but the size, weight and ergonomic advantages  of the T-1 are fact.  The great battery life is fact.  Its durability is fact.  If you haven’t already, you should try one out.  It could be a favorite of yours.

It is definitely on my list of Top Ten Optics.

T-1 in waterSpecs:

• Weight 3.7 oz. (105g) including mount, sight only 3.0 oz. (84g)

• 1X (non-magnifying) parallax free optic

• Compatible will all generations of Night Vision Devices (NVD)

• 4 night vision compatible settings and 8 daylight settings – one extra bright for use with laser protection glasses or in bright desert sunlight

• Integral Picatinny-style base allows easy attachment to any rail

• Patent pending mount is keyed to the sight body to absorb recoil

• New ACET technology allows 50,000 hours (over 5 years) of constant operation with one battery

• Available in 2 dot sizes (2 and 4 MOA)

• Hard anodized non-reflective finish

• Submersible to 80 feet (25 meters)

• Precision adjustments for windage and elevation: top of protective caps fits into holes on adjustment screws – no other tool required

Use as a standalone sight or piggybacked on larger magnifying, thermal, or night vision optics

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