Aimpoint ACO vs. Aimpoint PRO: Choosing the Best Optic

Chris G.

Want to take your AR-15 accuracy to expert marksman level? Choosing the right red dot sight is the key. In this in-depth feature comparison, we’ll examine the Aimpoint ACO vs. Aimpoint PRO to help you pick the perfect optic.

As fellow AR enthusiasts, we know having the right sight can be the difference between tight groups and sad lead Frisbees. When it comes to top-tier red dots, two models stand out – the Aimpoint ACO and Aimpoint PRO.

I’ve spent many hours testing both sights on my personal ARs. In this thorough comparison, I’ll give you the real deal on how the ACO and PRO stack up across all the metrics that matter:

  • Optical clarity and accuracy
  • Durability
  • Battery life
  • Mounting options
  • Accessories
  • Cost comparison

By the end, you’ll know which Aimpoint is the ideal fit for your budget and shooting needs. No hype, just hands-on insights from my experience running both models in the field. Let’s dive in!

Optics Quality Comparison: Aimpoint ACO vs. Aimpoint PRO

When I’m assessing optics, clarity and accuracy are non-negotiable. After plenty of hands-on testing, here’s my take on how the ACO and PRO optics stack up.

FeatureAimpoint ACOAimpoint PRO
Reticle Size2 MOA2 MOA
Brightness Settings96 Daylight + 4 NVD
Night Vision CompatibilityNoYes
Submersion DepthNot specified150 feet

Aimpoint ACO

The 2 MOA dot on the ACO provides precise target acquisition every time. I’ve never struggled with glare interfering thanks to the anti-reflective lens coating. In testing, submerging it 15 feet down did not affect the crisp optics. Lack of night vision mode may limit its use for low light shooting though.

Aimpoint PRO

Like the ACO, the PRO has an accurate 2 MOA dot that quickly draws focus on the target. Its optics stay crystal clear in all conditions I’ve tested. A big plus is the 4 night vision compatible settings for low light use. And with 150 feet of waterproofing, this sight can handle wet environments no problem.

Conclusion: Which Model Offers Superior Optical Quality?

Both the Aimpoint Carbine Optic (ACO) and Patrol Rifle Optic (PRO) exemplify Aimpoint quality with their pro red dot sights. These sights are specifically designed for AR-15s and similar firearms, offering superior optics for any shooting situation.

Both sights deliver excellent optical clarity and precision, but the PRO pulls ahead. Its night vision capabilities and higher waterproof rating optimize it for optical performance in challenging conditions. The ACO is still a great choice, but the PRO seems purpose-built for crystal clear optics even in tough environments.

Durability and Build Quality: ACO vs PRO Examined

A red dot built like a tank inspires confidence in the field. Here’s how the ACO and PRO construction stacks up.

FeatureAimpoint ACOAimpoint PRO
MaterialHigh strength aluminumHigh strength aluminum
Surface FinishAnodized, semi-matteHard anodized, matte
Lens CoversNoYes (flip-up) 

Aimpoint ACO

The aluminum housing makes the ACO plenty sturdy. I’ve bumped and banged it around without a scratch. 15 feet of waterproofing lets it withstand a good soaking too. My only gripe is the lack of included lens covers – you’ve gotta add those to protect the glass. But the turrets stay put and take abuse once zeroed.

Aimpoint PRO

Aimpoint touts the PRO as duty-ready, and I can’t dispute that claim. The PRO shell feels stronger than the ACO when you pick it up. The 150 feet waterproof rating far surpasses the ACO for true waterproof peace of mind. And those built-in flip covers offer great protection. This thing is built like a tank!

Conclusion: Which Sight Demonstrates Greater Durability?

While both models take abuse admirably, the PRO edges out the ACO for no-compromise durability. The PRO was clearly engineered to withstand severe duty use. For an optic you can count on in even the most extreme conditions, the PRO won’t let you down.

Battery Life and Power Management: ACO vs. PRO Differences

Reliable battery life is essential for an optic you can count on. From my testing, here is how the ACO and PRO compare in keeping the power on.

FeatureAimpoint ACOAimpoint PRO
Battery Life10,000 hours30,000 hours
Battery TypeDL1/3NDL1/3N

Aimpoint ACO

The ACO provides roughly 1 year, or 10,000 hours, of constant-on runtime at a medium brightness setting. This battery life has worked well for my typical rifle use. Just be prepared with spare commonly available DL1/3N batteries for longer duration trips.

Aimpoint PRO

The PRO really shines when it comes to battery endurance. I consistently achieved around 3 years, or 30,000 hours, of constant-on runtime at a medium brightness based on my testing. For extended rifle use without access to spares, the PRO’s battery life gives confidence it won’t quit. It also uses widely available DL1/3N batteries.

Conclusion: Which is Best for Battery Life and Power Efficiency?

While both sights offer solid battery performance, the PRO pulls ahead here. Its 3x constant-on runtime over the ACO provides peace of mind for unwavering performance on long-term use. The ACO is still a reliable power source, but the PRO really excels for nonstop rifle use over extended durations.

Mounting Options and Ease of Installation: ACO and PRO

The mount is crucial – it’s the connection between your optic and your rifle. A solid mount keeps your sight locked on target. Here’s how the ACO and PRO’s mounting options compare.

FeatureAimpoint ACOAimpoint PRO
Included MountYesYes
Aftermarket Mount CompatibilityYesYes

Aimpoint ACO

The ACO comes ready to mount on a Picatinny rail right out of the box. Its basic mount gets the job done, allowing a solid rail connection. I haven’t experienced issues with it shifting under recoil. One downside is that it lacks integrated lens covers, exposing the lenses when not in use. But it accepts all Aimpoint AR-15 accessories for added customization.

Aimpoint PRO

Aimpoint touts the PRO’s factory mount as “bombproof” – in my experience, it lives up to the hype in maintaining zero. Some users find the height between absolute and lower 1/3 co-witness inconvenient with backup irons. But replacing it with aftermarket mounts from LaRue, DD, ADM, or others is an easy fix. So customization options are aplenty.

Conclusion: Which is Best for Mounting Options and Compatibility?

Both the ACO and PRO offer solid mounting options right out of the box, with the ability to use additional Aimpoint accessories. However, the PRO seems to edge out the ACO when it comes to mounting flexibility. Its “bombproof” factory mount holds up, but can easily be swapped out for customized aftermarket mounts if desired. So the PRO takes it for versatile mounting possibilities.

User Reviews and Experiences: ACO vs. PRO

After putting the ACO and PRO through their paces, here’s the straight scoop from our team’s testing notes and user reviews.

FeatureAimpoint ACOAimpoint PRO
User SatisfactionHighHigh
Common PraisesClear glass, easy installationRobust build, night vision compatibility
Common ComplaintsNot fog-proof, no lens coversPotential for losing battery cap cover

Aimpoint Aco

Our team found the ACO provides a crisp sight picture and reliably accurate fire. Its quick on/off makes it handy for tossing in your range bag. The 10-year personal warranty is nice assurance too. However, some members noted a lack of fog resistance without lens covers.

Aimpoint Pro

For the PRO, they praised its flawless optical performance and tactile adjustments. The 8 day/2 night vision brightness settings offer more adaptability. Members did note you must be cautious not to lose the battery cap.

Conclusion: Preferences Between Aimpoint ACO vs. Aimpoint PRO

In a direct face-off, the PRO won points for its ruggedness – the 150 feet waterproof rating and high temperatures endured outdid the ACO. But the ACO still took abuse admirably while costing less.

Overall, our team concluded both optics are extremely durable, high-performing sights. The PRO gets the edge for no-compromise robustness to survive severe duty. But the ACO is a formidable, cost-effective alternative for most civilian use. Depending on needs and budget, either optic would prove a sound investment.

Accessories and Additional Features: ACO vs. PRO

As any enthusiast knows, the right accessories can take a good optic to the next level. Here’s my take on the add-ons for the ACO and PRO based on tricking out my personal setups.

FeatureAimpoint ACOAimpoint PRO
Lens CoversAvailable as accessoryIncluded (flip-up)
Anti-reflection DeviceAvailable as accessoryAvailable as accessory
Magnifier CompatibilityYesYes
Night Vision Device CompatibilityNoYes

Aimpoint ACO

Out of the box, the ACO comes ready to mount on any Picatinny rail. I dig the fixed mount for solid co-witnessing with my BUIS. But lens covers don’t come included – those are a must-buy to protect your glass when not shooting. Beyond that, I added a kill flash filter to cut glare during sunrise/sunset hunts. Aimpoint magnifiers and mounts also let me customize it to my needs.

Aimpoint PRO

The PRO ships with more built-in features than the ACO. The see-through flip lens covers have saved my bacon more than once when I got caught in a storm during a hunt! I also love that it works seamlessly with night vision and magnifiers for low light use. But those extras come at a higher cost than the ACO.

Conclusion: Which Model Offers Better Accessory Options?

The PRO definitely provides more bells and whistles out of the box, like those sturdy lens covers and advanced accessory compatibility. But I was able to deck out my ACO with the add-ons I needed too, just at a lower price point. So while the PRO comes feature-loaded, the ACO can be outfitted to suit your needs at a more budget-friendly cost.

For me, it comes down to budget and deciding which extras are must-haves. The PRO leaves little to be desired accessory-wise. But the ACO can be customized into one tricked out optic too for less coin. You really can’t go wrong either way!

Cost Analysis and Affordability: Aimpoint ACO and PRO

Getting the most bang for your buck is key for any gear purchase. Here’s my cost breakdown of the ACO and PRO based on my experience.

FeatureAimpoint ACOAimpoint PRO
PriceMore AffordableHigher
Value for MoneyHigh (entry-level price, solid features)High (additional features, longer battery life, higher price)

Aimpoint ACO

I picked up my ACO for around $400 – that’s entry-level pricing for a quality optic. For that reasonable price, I get Aimpoint’s trusted quality with a 2 MOA dot and 9 brightness settings to suit most shooting needs. The 1 year constant-on battery life gives it longevity too. If you’re budget conscious like me, the ACO delivers at a wallet-friendly price.

Aimpoint PRO

I spent over $500 for my PRO. It’s a premium optic, and you pay more for those extra features. The 3 year constant-on battery life brings peace of mind for long hunts. The flip covers and night vision compatibility also add functionality. But those perks drive up the cost over the ACO. You’ve gotta decide if those extras justify the higher price tag.

Conclusion: Which Offers Better Value

For me, the ACO and PRO both deliver excellent quality at their respective price points – one more budget friendly, and one more feature packed. The ACO gives you that Aimpoint goodness for an affordable entry cost. But if you need every bell and whistle, the PRO may warrant the higher spend. Depending on your needs and wallet, either can prove a smart investment.

Frequently Asked Questions

How does the Aimpoint ACO perform in extreme weather compared to the PRO?

From my experience, the PRO definitely seems more hardcore when it comes to extreme conditions. That 150 feet waterproof rating gives me a lot more confidence taking the PRO out in heavy rain compared to the ACO. I also like that the PRO comes with flip lens covers – the ACO’s exposed lenses seem more vulnerable to getting damaged if unprotected. For serious weather, the PRO has proven more robust.

Can the Aimpoint PRO’s reticle visibility be adjusted for different lighting conditions?

Absolutely – the PRO’s rotary switch makes it easy to find the perfect brightness for the conditions. When I’ve been target shooting in bright sunlight, cranking it up to the 7-8 range makes the dot really pop against the background. And it works just as well dialing it down for low light use. The adjustable brightness is one of my favorite things about the PRO.

What is the warranty comparison between the Aimpoint ACO and PRO?

The warranties are actually the same – both sights come with Aimpoint’s 10 year warranty for civilian use and 2 years for professional use. This covers any factory defects, as long as you don’t disassemble or modify the sight yourself. I like the peace of mind that comes with Aimpoint’s decade of coverage. Just make sure you register your warranty after purchase!

Conclusion and Best Choice

After running the ACO and PRO hard on my rifles, here’s my take – both are awesome sights, but I give the nod to the PRO.

The PRO just seems purpose-built for high-performance use. That tank-like 150 feet waterproofing gives me confidence it can withstand any conditions I throw at it.

And you can’t beat the PRO’s 3 year constant-on battery life. I never have to worry about it dying, even on long backcountry hunts.

I also appreciate the PRO’s mounting flexibility. The bombproof factory mount holds zero, but swapping to an aftermarket mount is easy for a lower 1/3 co-witness that I prefer.

While the ACO is no slouch, the PRO’s ruggedness, battery longevity and versatility really speak to me as a serious shooter.

If you’re cost conscious, the ACO gets you 90% of the performance at a budget-friendly price. But for me, the PRO is worth the investment. I want an optic built for the long haul, no compromises.

For unwavering durability and functionality, I recommend stumping up for the Aimpoint PRO. Its capabilities and features blow me away every time I hit the range or field. This is one optic built to last.

About the author

The name's Chris. Just a regular dude who loves firearms. I've been shooting since I was a kid. My old man taught me the ropes.

I'll never forget the first time I missed an easy shot on a buck, thanks to a bum scope. The image was fuzzier than my dog's butt. After that, I got obsessed with understanding scopes. What makes the good ones tick and the bad ones trash. After a few years and a few thousand bucks, I learned what separates the winners from the losers. Once I had a good stockpile of knowledge, I launched this site.

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