Aimpoint PRO Optic Survives Housefire

Aimpoint makes the M68 CCO, a red dot sight that is rugged and tough enough for military use, and their others models, like the PRO are just as tough, as homeowner Paul Riddell found out in February. Recoil Web tells the story:

Paul Riddell had a shitty winter. He lost his Minnesota home to a fire one night this past February.

Thankfully, no one was hurt in the fire. The house was a total loss, though.

“I lost pretty much everything,” he says.

Aside from all his family’s other possessions, he lost three firearms in the blaze. But, he reports his Aimpoint PRO mounted on a Spikes/BCM frankenrifle somehow survived the fire. That’s it in the inset photo of his rifle above, red dot glowing defiantly. Aimpoint found out about it and have already swapped it for a brand new optic and plan to display the survivor in their museum.

“Here’s a picture of my AR after it was recovered from my house fire after being exposed to the elements for over a month in late February to mid March,” said Riddell. “The rifle was at the core of the fire.”

He said the rifle sat there in the water and ice leftover from the firefighters, exposed to the outside in sub zero Wisconsin winter. Weeks later, Riddell was allowed to look through the wreckage after the fire investigation was complete. He found his melted pile of a rifle covered in ice, rust, ash and mud in the debris. The polymer rifle case it was stored in had fused to sections of the rifle, as well. He pried open the eyepiece cover on the PRO and turned the knob. And, it lit up.

“Had I been willing to trust firing the gun,” said Riddell, ” I wouldn’t be a bit surprised if it held zero.”

Riddell learned a few things from this terrible experience. One thing he shared with us is the importance of a quality gun safe. “Buy quality gear,” he said. “I lost both my rifles and my shotgun because I had all this money invested in the guns and was storing them in a sheetmetal locking StackOn cabinet.”

He says his new gear is  now stored in a real firesafe from Liberty Safe.

Riddell had homeowner’s insurance and will recover the value of many of his lost possessions, but things like family heirlooms and photos are gone forever. He and his family are staying with relatives while they work through the process of rebuilding their home.

Firesafes big enough for a gun collection can be as expensive as a new gun itself, but the extra protection they offer against house fires is more than worth the price, especially if you have a large collection.



Nathaniel F

Nathaniel is a history enthusiast and firearms hobbyist whose primary interest lies in military small arms technological developments beginning with the smokeless powder era. In addition to contributing to The Firearm Blog, he runs 196,800 Revolutions Per Minute, a blog devoted to modern small arms design and theory. He is also the author of the original web serial Heartblood, which is being updated and edited regularly. He can be reached via email at


  • Riot

    Poor guy – at least he had insurance.
    Didn’t know aimpoint had a museum.

    • Adam Czechowski

      Most home owners insurgence doesn’t cover fire arms, but just did a quick Google search, lots of separate companies offer fire arm insurgence. hope he had that also.

      • DAN V.

        That autocorrect.

      • Grindstone50k

        I rent, but our guns are covered under our renter’s insurance, under the same valuable property coverage as my wife’s jewelry.

        Also, curious as to which companies offer this fire arm insurgence you speak of.

        • Marcus D.

          It is a company out of Syria…

      • BryanS

        I have a rider on my home insurance to cover them, because the basic coverage is pitifully low.

      • Curious_G

        That is a false statement. Pretty much all of them cover firearms, but to a point without a specfic rider (just like jewelry).

        • Adam Czechowski

          really? maybe it’s a Florida thing. That or i confused it with you have to have proof that you had them, not just filling out your report. either way, thanks for the correction.

  • hikerguy

    Yes, that is something to see, but pains me to have to look at it. Wise advice to get a gun safe for the next time around.

  • Sianmink

    Fire safe=good investment.

  • jpcmt

    Why do people think there’s anything ‘fireproof’ about a fire safe? I did construction many many years ago in the Oakland CA fires that ravaged expensive homes in the Oakland hills and fire safe after fire safe failed to protect important items in them. I would wager this new safe the aimpoint pro owner has is no more of a protection than that stackon metal box. Heat is heat and that plastic will still melt and bond to the gun.

    • Ethan

      Much like theft protection, all a fire safe can do is buy you time. The more expensive safes will last longer in a blaze – up to several hours I believe.

      With modern firefighting services though, an hour is usually enough for the main blaze to be put out.

    • onthedew

      You have to buy safes with a fire rating. Same with Filing cabinets.

      We lost a building to a fire – complete loss. The two drawer fireproof filing cabinet fell though the floor ( 750lbs) to the basement, remained mostly upright and the contents were safe.

      I keep all my ATF forms in a fireproof filing cabinet.

      At some point past the fire rating the unit will fail. However most house fire do not get that hot.

      • Curious_G

        Most “fire ratings” on safe a pure bunk though – there is no standard (other than UL, which only true safes use), and each “gun safe” maker pretty much dreams it up. On top of that, the protection is generally achieved by using sheetrock, which keeps things cool by releasing water vapor – so basically your guns get a steam bath.

        Still, some protection is better than none – and you are right, even the most expensive safes just buy time.

  • Vitsaus

    Thats why I buy Aimpoint.

    • nova3930

      Yerp. People gripe about the cost of an aimpoint, but the proof is in the pudding regarding the level of durability you’re paying for….

  • Scott Tuttle

    If he’d had an AK he could’ve been shooting too 😛

  • Notalima

    “Firesafes big enough for a gun collection can be as expensive as a new gun itself”

    Several times the cost of a new AR for a safe big enough safe with a good fire rating.

    • Dan

      Or the same price as one of those BCM branded Wilson 1911s

      • Curious_G

        Or 3x that.

  • Nicks87

    I was issued an M68 a few years before I got out of the military. I liked it a lot and I beat the crap out of it but the damn thing was indestructible. Now days there are better options available but the M68 is a great optic if you can get your hands on one for a decent price.