For the past few months we’ve been putting the Aimpoint Duty RDS red dot sight through its paces. This review will examine how the Aimpoint’s Duty RDS has performed and held up.
I have been running Aimpoint red dot sights on my primary weapons for almost twenty years now. Particularly the venerable M2 Comp and to a lesser extent, the Micro T-2. This company is my gold standard for red dot sighting technology.
Let’s see how the Aimpoint Duty RDS did.
What is the Aimpoint Duty RDS Red Dot Sight?
The Aimpoint Duty RDS is the more accessible price point version of Aimpoint’s flagship red dot sight, the Micro T-2. The Duty RDS was built with law enforcement agencies in mind and is ideal for short to medium-range target engagements.
The Aimpoint RDS is a compact, high-grade reflex optic that shares many of the features of its higher price point competitors. With an MSRP coming in at just under $500, this red dot sight is a high-end mid-range budget option.
2 MOA red dot
30,000-hour battery life
CR2032 battery (included)
One-piece torsion nut mount
Flip-up lens covers
Advanced optical lenses
Flush mounted and waterproof sight in adjustment dials
Hard anodized non-reflective surface
10 brightness settings
Operationally parallax free
Water Submersible to 80 ft (25 meters)
Can withstand temperatures of -49’F to + 160’F
weight (sight only) 3.8oz/ 108g
Length x Width x Height
Aimpoint Duty RDS Features
2 MOA precision red dot with 10 brightness settings: 1 off position, 4 night vision compatible settings, and 6 daylight settings.
Windage and elevation adjustments are flush-mounted and waterproof- eliminating the need for protective caps.
One-piece torsion nut mount system allows industry-standard mounting options on almost every modern tactical firearm.
ACET technology provides a 30,000-hour operational battery life, which can be over 3 years of constant use.
The RDS is fully compatible with all generations of night vision devices.
The pressure forged aluminum alloy housing has a hard anodized non-reflective finish that provides best-in-class durability.
When I first got my hands on the Aimpoint Duty RDS my initial impression was that it was a simplified but slightly bigger Micro T-2. Features that stood out right away were the exposed dials for windage and elevation adjustments, as well as push-button style dot brightness intensity switch.
The Duty RDS lacks optic features such as a quick disconnect mount and shoot-through capable lens covers, which is a feature I think a red dot sight at this price point should have.
I could immediately tell that this red dot sight was built for professional end users, as the name implies. It just looks like a combat sight that was purpose-built to take abuse by someone being paid to do it.
On Range Performance
Regarding the sight’s on-the-range performance, I have no complaints so far. This red dot optic was sighted in at 50 yards, ideal for low to medium-range target engagements under normal training conditions.
I had no issues co-witnessing to standard height iron sights.
The Duty RDS is straightforward to use on the range. The 2 MOA adjustable red dot is as clear and end user friendly to aim as the Micro T-2. So far, the Duty RDS red dot sight has given me no issues.
Aimpoint Duty RDS Build Quality
Aimpoint’s build quality is legendary. In this company’s almost 50 years of existence, it has only allowed innovations that do not sacrifice build quality or durability.
Aimpoint went with a pressure-forged aluminum alloy housing for the Duty RDS, which has a hard anodized non-reflective finish that provides a best-in-class overall shock-resistant quality.
Aimpoint quality means best-in-class durability. I own multiple Aimpoint products used for many years by the highest levels of professional end users that still function reliably despite the extreme abuse.
Now I have not, nor will I get the chance again to run the Duty RDS red dot sight through its paces at that high level. So far, the RDS has held up great, and has my complete confidence that it will continue to do so.
I have found the reticle clarity of the Aimpoint Duty RDS to be as good as any other Aimpoint optic I have come across. The transparent advanced optical lenses paired with the adjustable 2 MOA red dot make fast target acquisition as easy as can be.
The red dot remains parallel and does not shift during use. Once sighted in, the Duty RDS has kept its zero.
The Duty RDS does come with removable flip-up lens covers, though only the rear cover is see-through. Yes, in an emergency, you can make it work by shooting with both eyes open.
Why they opted not to give the user shoot-through capability is beyond me. Plenty of other makers include this capability for the same price or cheaper.
(Update: We’ve noticed that the Aimpoint RDS is now being shipped with two lens covers instead of only one like we had.)
The Duty RDS red dot sight is submersible to 80 feet or 25 meters. This was considered “dive-able” at my last job, which means it is capable of scuba diving operations.
With this level of waterproofing, any amount of swimming or being caught out in the elements for an extended period of time will not flood out the optic.
The Duty RDS is rated for drastic temperature changes, to the span of -49’F to +160’F. This impressive range in temperatures, coupled with the 80-foot waterproof rating, tells me Aimpoint created another virtually fog-proof red dot sight.
Aimpoint Duty RDS Adjustments
The flush-mounted windage and elevation adjustments require a torq head Allen wrench that is provided instead of the standard flat-head screwdriver slit like on previous models. Honestly, this is my biggest issue with the Duty RDS.
Aimpoint opted to use the specialty torq head wrench as an adjustment tool. Great, now instead of using my multi-tool or an always laying around bullet casing, I have to keep track of a one-purpose tool that is easy to lose.
The turret adjustments provide audible clicks and are recessed enough into the housing, which I think means that the protective caps are no longer needed.
The Duty RDS 2 MOA precision red dot reticle has 10 brightness settings: 1 off position, 4 night vision compatible settings, and 6 daylight settings. The intuitive design is easy to use when wearing gloves.
The brightness intensity switch is located on the left side of the optic housing. The intensity buttons are straightforward to operate. For enhanced light transmission adjustments, press the top-up arrow button for brighter and the lower-down arrow for dimmer.
The power source for the Duty RDS is a provided single CR2032 battery.
Changing the battery is pretty standard. The battery compartment is accessed by a screw-on and off cap on the right side of the optic housing. It has a straight notch that allows the use of a casing lip or flat screwdriver-type tool.
The Aimpoint Duty RDS red dot sight does not have a shake-awake feature. I find this lacking for a red dot sight at this price point as well but personally couldn’t care less that it was omitted.
The Aimpoint Duty RDS claims a 30,000-hour battery life. Though if you read the fine print, the optic must be on a setting of 7 or lower power, which is more than fair.
The RDS red dot sight ships with a 1.54″ or 39mm mount compatible with standard 1913 Picatinny rails. This was an interesting choice by Aimpoint, seeing as it’s higher than absolute co-witness yet lower than your traditional 1/3rd mounts. The Aimpoint Duty RDS mounting footprint is compatible with the T-1/T-2 line. This commonality will give you many options already on the market.
In closing, I am a fan of the Duty RDS sight. Aimpoint has provided a red dot sight solution that delivers ultimate dot clarity in a purpose-built duty red dot sight.
This high-grade reflex optic omits unnecessary optic features to meet a more accessible price point while still offering Aimpoint quality.
The Duty RDS is up to the task of dealing with what our law enforcement agencies face daily in this country. I would feel confident issuing this Duty RDS sight to any modern law enforcement officer.
If it’s good enough for today’s law enforcement agencies, it’s good enough for me.