By Brad Fitzpatrick
Optics have become standard equipment for most hunting applications with one exception—wingshooting. It’s still relatively rare to see a waterfowl or upland gun that’s equipped with an optic, but that’s changing thanks in part to sights like the Aimpoint Micro S-1 red dot.
The Aimpoint Micro S-1’s miniaturized dimensions and light weight make it an ideal optic for use on a shotgun. With a length of 2.5 inches, a height of 1.6 inches and a weight (with battery) of just 3.5 ounces, the Micro S-1 doesn’t take up a great deal of space on the rib of a shotgun. With a high-strength aluminum housing featuring a semi-matte anodized finish and an integrated carbon fiber-reinforced polymer base, it doesn’t significantly change the balance point of the gun, either.
Unlike traditional shotgun optics that require shooters to purchase aftermarket bases and attach them to the gun’s receiver the Micro S-1’s integrated base fits onto the rib of virtually any gun. By measuring the height and width of your shotgun rib you can determine which base/plate combination is required, and Aimpoint offers an easy-to-follow diagram that helps you determine the right combo for your firearm.
The base secures to the sides and bottom of the rib and, when it’s tightened in place, holds zero even while firing magnum loads. It’s a simple installation process and, unlike traditional shotgun optics, you can quickly and easily install or remove the optic as desired. The Micro S-1 can be positioned at any point along the rib of the shotgun, and the low (.55 inches) optical axis makes it easy to view the 6 MOA red dot from a natural shooting position without having to lift your head from the gun. Eye relief is unlimited and there’s no parallax error with these sights.
The Aimpoint Micro S-1 red dot operates using a reflex collimator with LED display. This offers shooters the ability to adjust point of impact, a major advantage for shotgun shooters. Traditionally, shotguns ribs were designed with different points of impact (POI) based on the application. Trap guns, for instance, have a higher point of impact, from 70/30 (where 70% of the pattern rises above the rib) and up. Skeet, sporting clays, and field guns usually shoot “flat” with a 50/50 POI. Some high-end competition shotguns offer interchangeable ribs to adjust POI, but swapping ribs is a hassle. The Micro S-1 allows shooters to adjust POI quickly in the field using the provided tool and you can also adjust windage — something that’s difficult on guns without an optic. The ability to change POI is a major benefit for shooters and this feature increases the versatility of your shotgun.
Using a reflex sight on a shotgun has traditionally been a challenge because a bright sky can wash out the dot. To compensate for this, Aimpoint offers additional brightness settings. Illuminance is measured in lux (lx), and the Micro S-1’s red dot is visible from .1 lx (the equivalent of a moonlit night) to 55,000 lx (full sun). With 12 separate brightness settings, you can match the intensity of the dot to the light conditions regardless and you won’t lose sight of the dot even when you’re shooting clay targets or birds in full, bright sunlight.
Aimpoint Micro S-1 reflex optics are powered by a single CR2032 3V lithium battery that lasts for 50,000 hours of continuous use. Operating temperatures range from -20 to 140 degrees Fahrenheit and the unit is submersible to 15 meters which means if you drop your gun in shallow water while duck hunting your optic will still function properly. The durable Aimpoint sight is also resistant to shock, humidity, vibration and is resistant to occasional chemical exposure from gun cleaners, lubricants, fuel and insect repellents.
Aimpoint Micro S-1 Red Dot Sight Applications
I mounted the Aimpoint Micro S-1 red dot on the rib of a CZ 1012 12-gauge semiauto shotgun and zeroed the unit for a flat POI at 20 yards. The polymer base holds firmly onto the gun’s rib and even after multiple rounds of skeet and five stand there was no shift in point of impact. Despite having used shotguns with traditional beads throughout my shooting career I found that transitioning to the Micro S-1 was seamless. The aluminum housing is compact enough that it doesn’t distract the shooter and the 6 MOA dot offers a reference point regarding muzzle position even when the shooter is focused on the target. When I transitioned to trap targets, I had the option of adjusting POI to 70/30 in seconds. Additionally, I fired a full box of 3-inch magnum turkey loads through the CZ 1012 and the Micro S-1 withstood the heavy recoil without shaking loose or shifting POI.
The Aimpoint Micro S-1 improved my accuracy when shooting moving targets, especially on very bright days, and science shows that I’m not alone. Research conducted in Sweden in 2018 indicates that shooters who used Micro S-1-equipped shotguns performed markedly better than shooters who used guns with traditional bead sights on the country’s mandatory hunter exam. Two separate trials demonstrated that hunters using Micro S-1 optics hit a combined average of 24% more targets on the portions of the exam that simulates running hare and flying upland birds that shooters who didn’t use an optic. That’s an impressive jump in accuracy and lends credit to Aimpoint’s claim that shotgun performance improves with a reflex sight in place.
The unit’s innovative base design makes it the most versatile shotgun optic available. You can attach it to your upland shotgun while hunting birds or braking clays and then quickly transition the Micro S-1 to a waterfowl or turkey gun. It also improves the accuracy potential when shooting smoothbore slugs and its low-light capabilities make the Aimpoint Micro S-1 red dot a superb option for home defense scatterguns. Never before has a single optic offered this level of versatility for shotgun shooters in such a compact, durable platform. MSRP: $820