Test: Aimpoint CompM5b, ballistic compensated red dot sight

Since its presentation, the Aimpoint CompM5b has attracted interest and polarized opinions from the civilian crowd. A gimmick: this is what some have quickly labeled the CompM5b ballistic compensation turrets. Adding, “what’s the point, since the reticle is just a 2 MOA dot?”. But, in a professional scenario, in which the CompM5b is the central part of a weapon aiming concept and system comprising 3x and 6x add-on magnifiers and NVD add-on optics that can be swapped with Aimpoint’s own twist mount system – and in case of the magnifiers, simply slapped aside with the additional flip mount – an elevation turret that can allow the shooter to touch targets at longer ranges, taking advantage of the sharper dot of the reflex sight and magnification is a superior tactical advantage. The red dot’s aiming speed carries on in tracking fast moving targets, and to be able to project this capability at longer ranges with ballistic compensation can be a game changer in many LE, military and may we add, sports and competition situations. Plus, the turrets are hand adjustable – no tools needed, except for exchanging them out of the optic

The Aimpoint CompM5b is part of a system, that includes the optic itself and a series of add ons, such as the 3XMag-1 afocal magnifier in the photo.
Using the correct spacers and mounts a perfect alignment is possible, with all Aimpoint compatible optics.

Aimpoint CompM5b, a professional optic

The included, spring loaded lens cover conveniently folds along the CompM5b body allowing full access to the windage turret.

Aimpoint is primarily marketing the CompM5b as a definite professional optic, and the price obviously reflects this, as the MSRP in Europe is well over 1,200 euro for the 39 mm height kit with LRP Picatinny mount. However, the sight’s specs are at the very top of the market and even set new benchmark standards for reliability, ruggedness and performance; it is Aimpoint’s flagship model in our opinion. Battery life is a staggering 5 years with the sight constantly on at 7 setting and up to 10 years with the sight on at NVD compatible setting. All, on a single AAA battery, although for best reliability a lithium-iron 1.5V battery is recommended.

Other specs of this reflex red dot sight can be found in our introduction news, here

Both elevation and windage turrets are hand adjustable, and are protected by very rugged metal wings.

The CompM5b is offered as a combo with its throw lever rail grabber mount, in two configurations differing only for the optional spacer included – 30 mm Optical Axis, or 39 mm Optical Axis with spacer, this one to be used on AR platform firearms with a flat top, allowing co-witnessing with standard BUIS iron sights. In the box we can find five replaceable elevation turrets: a two-piece customizable turret, and four pre-set fixed Ballistic Profiles that can be used with various calibers, including .223 and .308.

Tools for mounting and turret customization are also included, plus one AAA battery; additional turrets are also available for purchase. Also, a front objective flip lens cover is already factory mounted on the sight, but can be replaced with an optional Killflash ARD filter/cover combo.

On the left side, we can find the battery compartment and brightness setting knob.

I mounted the Aimpont CompM5B on a Steyr AUG-A2 with upper rail, using the 39 mm height to be able to use both the twist/flip mount combo for the 3XMag-1 afocal magnifier, and a professional N-Vision NVAT Twist Mount Adapter for the NVD 6015, the civilian counterpart of the PVS-14 night vision monocular, to add NV capabilities to the Aimpoint red dot sight. I also installed the “A” 4 position turret, to track standard 62 grain .223 ammo to about 400 meters.

In mounting the optic I had to take into account both rail real estate for the twist-mount base and also eye relief for the Aimpoint 3XMag-1 and 6015 eyepieces; the eye relief of the CompM5b is obviously infinite.

The battery can be easily replaced without removing the sight off the gun. It uses a standard AAA 1.5v battery.

Zeroing the sight is extremely easy, the included Torx tool is needed to do so, and once done, the turret can be dialed to show zero on the first setting. Replacing the turret with any other will not affect zero at all, which is a very nice feature.

The brightness setting, placed in the lower left hand corner of the sight from the shooter’s perspective, is very easy to reach and adjust – even in the AUG. 

Not that it is really needed – the CompM5b can be simply left “on” the 7th setting, bright enough for daytime shooting, and the battery will last almost as long as a normal battery would by leaving it on a shelf… I’ve always been impressed by this specific trait of the Aimpoints.

The elevation turret can be easily removed pulling back on the top lock. 

I am well used to the Micro T series, and the size difference is minimal in actual use. Optical quality is at the top, with a well-defined round dot that can become really bright at the highest setting, which makes it usable in extreme conditions such as against a snow cover in full daylight. 

The NV reticle brightness settings are compatible with all generations of IIT based night vision devices, and also Digital NVD optics too.

Dialing in the drop for the extended ranges is easy, and the ballistics of a standard Geco Target .223 63 grain load is extremely close at the various distances I tested the optic at. I will state that my test of the state of the art in reflex red dot sights will focus on usability and flexibility. The increased range and accuracy that the 3XMag-1 offers is remarkable.

The magnified 2 MOA dot is still able to designate the target with precision, as the dot is extremely sharp. Plus, at a lower brightness setting the dot is somewhat transparent, so with a 6x magnifier it is possible to exactly align to it the circles of a distant target.

The use of a flip-mount with the magnifier allows it to be instantly “slapped” out of the way with the supporting hand if switching to CQB shooting is needed. 

The window of the optic seems small compared to the bulk of the turrets protection wings, however in actual use this does not hinder situational awareness around the sight, and using a both eyes open aiming technique simply renders the point moot.

The Aimpoint CompM5b comes with four interchangeable turrets built to track various popular calibers at distances up to 600 m and a blank, customizable turret.

Using the 6015 IIT based monocular also yields excellent results, due to the sight’s proprietary band-pass coating on the front lens, that while allowing for the brightest possible dot, still transmits nearly 100% of light in the infrared and near-infrared part of the spectrum.

Included in the box, all tools needed for zeroing, mounting, replacing the turrets and customization of the blank turret.

I had great fun using the CompM5b aiming system on my AUG, and the flip-mount allows to move the 3x magnifier out of the way – fast! However, this flexibility comes at a steep cost. 

The 39 mm combo LRP mount plus optic has a MSRP of 1,200 euro (with little differences in +/- to account for VAT ranging from 17 to 24% in EU), and to this I have to add a 3XMag-1 afocal magnifier – the combo version that includes a twist mount base plus flip mount is about 1,390 euro. 

So, a total of give or take 2,600 euro MSRP for a configuration like the one featured in this article. 

I tested the Aimpoint CompM5b on a Steyr AUG A2 semiauto rifle, with twist/flip mounts and 3x magnifier. The gun has been fitted with Corvus Defensio series of accessories

Some may find that a proper 1-8x riflescope of a top tier manufacturer would be more convincing, due to simpler integration, higher magnification, and monolithic construction. It is undeniable, though, that the Aimpoint fills a very definite professional niche that can allow for an instantaneous re configuration of our firearm for different scenarios, without any loss of zero, that other systems cannot easily match.

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