A review of the Aimpoint Duty RDS
By Warren Wilson
The AR-15 patrol rifle is one of the most important tools for law enforcement today. The most relevant addition to the AR-15 is an optic.
There are many optical options. Agencies need to choose a lens and figure out how to pay for it. Next, agencies choose a mount and determine if it is compatible with the rifle and sight.
Most agencies tend to choose a basic red dot sight, partly because of the simplicity and partly because of the cost. Speaking of cost, naturally, the higher the quality, the higher the cost. Until recently, that is.
Aimpoint has designed a Red Dot Sight aptly named “Duty RDS” for law enforcement. Its suggested retail price is only $499. It is simple to use, robust and economical. But do not worry. It’s an Aimpoint, so all the necessary features are there.
You might not think simplicity is a feature, but it certainly is for me.
If you buy this sight, it comes with a stand. It’s one less complication. You simply mount the optic to the rifle, install the battery and adjust it to the preferred zero.
There is also value in a simple red dot. Many optics have bullet drop compensators and reticles in the shape of diamonds, triangles and circles. These all have their place. But what is needed from a civilian law enforcement rifle perspective? Simplicity. We rarely deal with great distances, although long shots are certainly possible with the Duty RDS’ advanced optical lenses, which allow for better light transmission and exceptional clarity from its 2 MOA dot.
The Duty RDS also comes with flip-up lens covers (the front is solid and the back is transparent), a battery, and an Allen key for the included one-piece twist nut mount. There is an optional front lens cover with an integrated anti-reflective device which can be purchased separately.
This level of simplicity means cops have a bit more commitment to focus on their jobs.
Aimpoint is known for its rugged optics. The company builds optics for military and law enforcement and let’s face it, cops are good at breaking stuff. Our equipment must be exceptional.
The Duty RDS’ die-forged aluminum alloy housing provides durability against the extreme abuse and temperature changes it will face in a law enforcement setting. The sight is vibration and shock resistant and is submersible up to 80 feet. The exterior is hard anodized and non-reflective. Windage and elevation adjustments are flush and sealed, eliminating the need for caps, which can get lost.
The Duty RDS is powered by a common CR2032 battery (included) that provides 30,000 hours of constant operation on setting 7. That’s three years. It’s always good practice to change the batteries of important work tools every year, but that 30,000 hours of capacity is certainly comforting.
The Duty RDS has 4 night vision compatible settings and six daylight settings. The numeric keypad has intuitive buttons for making these adjustments with or without gloves.
Ounces and Pounds
There’s a saying about military gear that ounces can look like pounds if worn long enough. I can personally testify to this principle.
In SWAT, we called watch a door until the room could be cleared, “hold a port”. If you’ve ever done this for a few hours while the rest of your team cleaned up other parts of a building, you’ll appreciate those few ounces.
Large optics tend to snag on seat belts etc. when rapidly deployed from a vehicle. They get caught in thick brush while searching the field. A minimalist approach is wise in law enforcement.
You’d think – given the cop-friendly pricing of the Duty RDS – that this would have to be a relatively large unit. Aimpoint didn’t skimp on this feature either. They packed all this technology into a 3.8 oz optic. Its length x width x height is only 2.7 x 1.5 x 1.7 inches.
I always appreciate companies that listen to their customers. Aimpoint is one of those companies that has always listened to its law enforcement customers. The company has never sacrificed its commitment to us. Agents asked for a simple, cost-effective lens that doesn’t sacrifice quality and we got it. Aimpoint Duty RDS.
About the Author
Warren Wilson is a captain, formation commander and shooting master with the Enid Police Department in Oklahoma. He is a former SWAT team leader, current firearms instructor, and writer. He has been a full-time police officer since 1996.