I’ve tried quite a few optical sights available for the AR-15 platform, and found many of them durable and effective. In fact, I have one AR-15 with a top rail that I use just to test optical sights. I have two other AR-15s for which I have optical sights that stay mounted and zeroed because those are the carbines I use. One has a Trijicon TA31 RCO mounted and the other an Aimpoint CompM4 with 3X Magnifier.
Even though I have an astigmatism that causes me to see multiple red dots, if I adjust the dot’s brightness on the CompM4, I can use it effectively to at least 50 yards. With the 3X Magnifier, I can shoot center of mass on a silhouette target at 100 yards. I don’t claim that I shoot as well with it as I do with the RCO, but I shoot well enough with it that I keep using it.
Ever since Aimpoint introduced the CompM5, I’ve wanted to try it, and over the last couple of months I’ve been shooting with it. The CompM4 has seen substantial combat use with U.S. and foreign troops and street use with law enforcement agencies. Improvements incorporated into the CompM5 are based on feedback from those users.
The CompM5 is smaller and lighter than the CompM4: 3.3 inches in length compared to 4.75, 1.6 inches in width compared to 2.8, and 1.6 inches in height compared to 2.4. The mounting system is also quicker, with the Micro LRP mount employing a throw lever as opposed to the knob on the CompM4. Weight is 5.2 ounces for just the sight, and 8.4 ounces with the mount. The mount is designed for a MIL-STD 1913/Picatinny rail.
The CompM5 also incorporates a longer run time, with a battery life up to 50,000 hours. That breaks down to five years on the #7 setting, one year on the #8 setting, and ten years on Night Vision (NV) setting. Should a battery change be necessary, it can be performed quickly without having to dismount the sight.
The CompM5 has a total of ten brightness settings—four NV and six Regular. The red dot is two MOA, which I find just right for CQC to 50 yards. With a magnifier, I would expect it to perform well to 100 yards, and farther for younger eyes. As with the M4, the M5 is compatible with the Aimpoint 3X and 6X Magnifiers.
The M5 retains the combat-proven durability of the CompM4, as well as the long eye relief, allowing both eyes open for shooting or scanning and quick target acquisition. One reason a lot of special operations personnel use the CompM4 is that it is submersible to 150 feet. The CompM5 retains that capability.
Rather than mount the CompM5 on the AR-15 I often use for optics testing, I decided to mount it on my Steyr AUG M1. I’ve always found the AUG a very fast-handling carbine and thought it might be interesting to try it with the Aimpoint. I zeroed the M5 at 50 yards and found that adjustments for windage and elevation were easily accomplished.
The compact instruction manual that comes with the M5 states that the red dot should already be centered, and I found that to be true. I did have to adjust it about an inch for elevation. Each click of the adjustment screws is equal to 10mm at 100 meters, or 3/8 inch at 100 yards. The M5 comes with a tool for removing the adjustment screw caps and adjusting the screws. But if it is not available, a coin or screwdriver may be used to remove the caps, which incorporate nipples to adjust the screws.
Once zeroed, groups were fired at 50 yards with Federal American Eagle SS109 62-grain ammunition. The AUG is accurate and the CompM5 did its job, with five shots in the X-ring.
I did not mount the CompM5 for maximum eye relief, as I was not using a Magnifier with it. I have learned with the AUG M1 to take care where I mount the optic or my hand will get scraped when I pull back the cocking handle. I still had plenty of eye relief for shooting with both eyes open and quick movement among targets when I shot on plates.
I have liked the CompM4 for the past few years of use, so am not surprised that I like the CompM5 a lot as well. More compact red dot sights add versatility, and that’s a good thing. Because of its compact size, I would normally recommend the Aimpoint Micro T2 for some of the current 5.56x45mm or 7.62x39mm pistols with arm braces, but the CompM5 isn’t that much larger and should work well, too.
The CompM5 keeps all the good features of the CompM4 but in a smaller package that may be mounted more easily. Because the CompM4 is an excellent, durable optic, many users of the M4 may not want to spend the $800 to upgrade to the CompM5 immediately. But when the time comes for a new red dot optic, I highly recommend having a look at the CompM5.