In its own way the Aimpoint red point sight represents an optimal targeting device. It was developed to provide rapid target acquisition and an immediate recovery of the sight line while shots are being fired in quick succession. This is made possible by the fact that it can be used with both eyes. A focusing of the red dot on infinity allows most parallax errors to be avoided and can be achieved without any magnification.
Even though it’s designed more for use in special situations by police authorities and the military, it would not be out of place while carrying out a hunt in the undergrowth. The Aimpoint 3XMag-1 is generally less suitable for rapid shooting range firing at short distances.
As an alternative to the red dot sight, special sights can be used which provide magnification, but which are significantly more expensive. However, these lack the special optical properties of the red dots.
Aimpoint already solved this problem back in 2005 using the3XMag magnifying module with which a threefold magnification of the actual red dot sights could be achieved. Thanks to the Twistmount system, the magnifying module can be easily mounted on the weapon and removed again. This means that it can be used for significantly increasing the performance of the sight at long range as well as for improving shooting accuracy (consistent with the diameter of the red dot) at normal distances.
During 2016 Aimpoint presented three new models of its magnifying module: the 3X-C, the 3XMag-1 and the 6XMag-1. We had the pleasure of testing the 3XMag-1 version which is suitable for general use with the entire range of red dot sights available from Aimpoint.
The Aimpoint 3XMag-1 magnifying module
The Aimpoint 3XMag-1 has an almost rectangular shape and weighs about 230 g with its rubber sheath. With the additional weight of the bracket and the sight, everything together weighs little more than 500 g.
The housing of the 3XMag-1 consists entirely of the anodized aluminum alloy 7075 T6 which is enclosed completely by a rubber sheath. The lenses are multi-coated and ensure a daylight transmission of 75%. In addition, the entire device is waterproof to a depth of 25 meters.
Two controllers are available that allow centering of the red dot. They have no influence on the zeroing of the sight, but instead center the optical reference point within the device. This allows the interplay between the red dot and the magnifying module to be utilized more effectively.
Changes in the 3XMag-1 compared to its Aimpoint forerunners
A new feature compared to the old 3XMag and the newer “civilian” 3X-C version is the dioptric correction option. A conventional ring on the eyepiece allows the diopter to be adjusted from –3 to +3. The bracket system can be equipped either with a 30 mm diameter cylindrical element on the housing of the device or with a flat element featuring four threaded holes for use with individual brackets.
Aimpoint offers two alternatives for quick mounting of the 3XMag-1 on a Picatinny rail: the classic Twistmount bracket, available in two sizes (height of the sight line at 30 or 39 mm) and the new Flipmount bracket which allows the 3-fold magnifying module to be flipped over immediately to the side. It features the same technology and materials as the sight itself (complete CNC machining using the 7075 T6 alloy), and is also available at heights of 30 or 39 mm. It has the same Twistmount base for mounting on the Picatinny rail.
The Aimpoint 3XMag-1 on the shooting range
The 3XMag-1 was specially developed for use with military weapons employing Picatinny rails (e.g. B. AR / M4 with Flat Top, SIG Sauer 516-716 or Steyr AUG A2-A3), that are already equipped with an Aimpoint red dot sight. For this reason we used an M4 equipped with an Aimpoint CompM4s red dot sight in a shooting test at distances of between 50 and 300 meters. The 3XMag-1 is mounted on the sight. Here it is important to ensure that the magnifying module is coaxially aligned with the sight.
We were initially skeptical because the 3XMag-1 brought about a threefold magnification of the already field-of-view dominant dot of the Aimpoint CompM4s. With its MOA of around two this allowed no precision shots to be fired at about 100 meters. However, we did learn otherwise, since despite the size of the red dot it was still quite clear and allowed a target acquisition which was much better centered.
Thanks to the threefold magnification of the 3XMag-1, we were also able to test the accuracy of the red dot and achieve a precision zeroing, a useful feature even without the module.
Upshot of the Aimpoint 3XMag-1
The module cannot of course replace the magnification of a zoom telescopic sight. Consistent with the philosophy of maximum modularity and flexibility for special operations (at least in the military field, although hobbyists, collectors and hunters should also not be ignored), the 3XMag-1 also provides the option of adapting to operational requirements: A weapon with a red dot sight for close combat, which can be rapidly converted and used together with the 3XMag-1 and the Flipmount bracket for close combat and shots at moderate distances.
Equipped with the PVS14 of the Twistmount bracket, it is also suitable for night use. The only thing that is painful is the price, since the Flipmount bracket also needs to be added. This price is more than €1,000 for the Aimpoint 3XMag-1.