While Aimpoint products have been used by the US military (among others) for decades now, the Swedish optics company is still working to produce the gold standard in red-dot technology. When the CompM5 was released in Fall of 2017, I set to work getting my hands on a T&E sample. Having had the CompM5 for months now and having run it on a number of different rifles, it’s time for a report.
First, the tech specs:
The CompM5 is an anodized aluminum bodied red-dot sight featuring a 2 MOA dot. This optic has 10 brightness settings (4 NVG compatible, 6 naked-eye visible, 1 of which is extra bright) and can run for up to 50,000 hours on setting 7 with one AAA battery. The body is small, measuring 1.6″ x 1.6″ x 3.3 and weighing only 5.2 oz. Submersible to 45 meters, functional to 160° F, shock-proof and chemical resistant, the CompM5 is the pinnacle of Aimpoint’s decades of R&D coupled with near continuous feedback from warzones and millions of shooting ranges across the world.
In use, the CompM5 is simple and effective. The only design choice I’m not entirely behind is the decision to move the battery compartment back up to the top of the sight, as it was in the early CompM4, before the CompM4-s brought about the low battery compartment. The high battery obscures peripheral vision slightly, thus the preference for the low compartment. Otherwise, the CompM5 is all aces. The brightness adjustment knob is smooth with distinct position detent. The 2 MOA dot might just be the perfect balance between a small, precise dot and one big enough for the eye to pick up quickly.
The adjustment knobs have a feature that is becoming more common (and should be industry standard for non-elevated knobs), the protective cap has built-in “nipples” that engage the adjustment mechanism itself, making the de facto adjustment tool an integral part of the device. Also, adjustment directions are printed inside of the cap. Nice touch, Aimpoint.
The broad range of brightness options more than cover the wide spectrum of needs. The lowest options are only NVG compatible, while the brightest is more than sufficient for the sunniest summer day. Aimpoint has the benefit of many years feedback from desert use to thank for the top brightness level being so potent, no doubt.
Aimpoint’s decision to go with a AAA battery over multiple small batteries is a wise one. The ubiquitous little AAA is clearly up to the task, with power for over 5 years constant use. The AAA is also commonplace worldwide, just in case you’ve got a dash of James Bond in you.
The question isn’t whether the CompM5 lives up to the standard set by its predecessors (it does), or whether it’s feature-packed enough to be worth the ~$800 price tag (it is): the question is whether or not your budget and your use warrant a top end optic. Does your life depend on it? Or is it recreational but you’ve got the cash to spare? If failure isn’t an option, buy once and cry once. The Aimpoint CompM5 is tough enough to outlive us all, maybe on about $30 in batteries.