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Back in the day, I was hesitant about using zero magnification red dot sights on a rifle. I didn’t see the value – right until I laid down underneath an up-armored HMMWV, my head upside down, leaning over with my knees on the ground, my M4 placed flat against the ground, the stock not even touching my shoulder, and put the little red dot on a 19-inch target over 100 yards away. And nailed it, over and over again. Since that day I learned that a zero magnification red dot sight allows me to get on target faster  in more positions than any other sighting system. So when RF told me he had Trijicon’s new MRO (Miniature Rifle Optic) ready for review, I was quick to raise my hand . . .

This MRO arrived with three mounting brackets of different heights. The highest mount was the best for my head position. It also was the mount that matched right up with my ANPVS14 night  vision system’s standard arm mount. Mounting the optic is very simple, and all tools and mounts required to do the job are included with the sight, along with zero mag for dummies instructions. If it takes you more than five minutes you’re doing it wrong.

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I was sold on the Trijicon MRO the first time I turned it on and shouldered the gun. The tube is big and crystal clear, making picking up the target fast and reflexive — as it should be. Many other red dot sights have glass that reflects too much, distracting your eye. Or they have the effect of making you focus first on the body of the sight, and not through the tube as soon as you bring the rifle up. The MRO has none of these problems. Looking at the target and bringing the gun up, I never lost focus of the target with this sight. A little red dot just appeared where I was looking. Again, exactly as it should.

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The MRO’s turret windage and elevation adjustments are set flush into the body of the scope, without caps. That’s good; you won’t loose the caps like I did on my Army-issued ACOG. You can adjust the MRO’s dials easily with a coin or the rim of a round, but be careful! You can’t feel the clicks very well. It’s easy to move the turrets more clicks than you intended to. Since this isn’t the kind of scope where you dial in windage and elevation on a regular basis, once you zero the gun you shouldn’t be touching the MRO until you remove the scope.

The brightness adjustment is also well-designed. It runs on batteries built to last about five years with the sight continuously on. Yes, I said five years with a lithium battery, which is also supplied with the optic. The dimmest settings, most likely used for night time or in dark buildings, are labled n,N,1,2. Then there’s an off setting. Then 3,4,5,6.  You can also turn off the MRO before “n”. Leave it in the middle and you get a setting for moderate light or nighttime with just one turn either way.

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Trjicon did just the right amount of light in both directions here. Very few red dot scopes I’ve used work well with night vision devices. Most take a bit of playing with to get it right. The MRO makes using NVOs a breeze. The two dimmest settings — “n” and N” — work well with a standard ANPVS14. They make a slightly larger dot that’s not blinding. If you crank it up to 6 in daylight without thinking it still isn’t so bright that all you see is the dot. But it provides plenty of illumimation- even on a super bright day targeting on a white background.

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I’ve dragged the sight around on one upper or another for about a month now. In a bag, in the back of my truck, hunting and to the range. I shot it laying on the ground, upside down, off the truck, off a bag, even pressing the sight against a tree limb to steady the rifle. Zero issues.

Sitting on top of a 5.56 NATO upper, it got about 1,000 rounds through it. But then it got another 300 or so from that .458S OCOM upper. And 200 of those were in one shooting session, pushing absolutely maximum pressure hand loads. Throughout it all, the little sight never lost zero and the group size never got over two inches at a hundred yards. As a matter for fact, if I turned the brightness down to just barely visible and took my time, I could usually get the groups down under two inches. Not bad considering the rough treatment and the recoil.

My favorite gun to have around lately is an Underground Tactical 10.5″ .458 SOCOM upper on top of one of my other Underground Tactical lowers with a LAR Tactical folding stock. This allows me to fold up the stock and place the whole rifle, including the extended magazine, inside a standard backpack. That makes for a small, very light weight .458 launcher, meaning it has, ahem, a bit of recoil.

So I had to ask myself, what better way to test the durability of the MRO that to putting it on top of that light weight, hard kicking rifle and pounding away? (It was also a pretty good test of the durability of my shoulder.) Long story short: the MRO will definitely outlast me. That little thing is tough. After all of that, just to be sure, I un-mounted the sight and dropped it in a sink full of water. Turns out it is, in fact, waterproof.  Good thing. Now I know.

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Even though shooting the box is kind of pointless for a reflex sight, it’s a sight, so I just had to do it. With a 12″ square at 100 yards, all of my rounds landed within 2″ of each corner after adjustment. Considering the sight has a 2 MOA circle and I was shooting on a very bright Texas day that required almost all of the brightness of the reticle could give me, that two inches represents a solid check on how well the turrets track. And they tracked perfectly. I was particularly glad about this. .458SOCOM rounds aren’t cheap — even reloading — and I didn’t want to waste any more money than I had to zeroing the gun.

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I’m finding these online right now for about $500 and I’d say they are worth every penny. I know there are cheaper sights out there that are probably just as durable, but every other cheaper version I’ve found has the problems I’ve listed above, and none have worked as well or as simply as the MRO. I’m sold.

Specifications: Trijicon MRO

Magnification: 1x
Objective Size: (mm)25mm
Length (in): 2.6 in.
Weight (oz): 4.1 oz (116g) with battery installed, without mount
Illumination Source: Battery
Reticle Pattern: Dot
Day Reticle Color: Red
Bindon Aiming Concept: No
Eye Relief (in): Infinite
Adjustment @ 100 yards (clicks/in): 1 click = 1/2 MOA
Housing Material: 7075-T6 forged aluminum
Batteries: 1 CR2032 Lithium Battery
Battery Life: 5 years of continuous use at day setting “3” (setting 5 of 8) at 70°F (21°C)
Adjustment Range: 70 MOA Total Travel
Illumination Settings: 8
Dimensions (LxWxH): 2.6 in. x 1.7 in. x 2.0 in. (66mm x 43mm x 51mm) without mount
Waterproof: 100 ft. (30 m)
MSRP: $579

Ratings (out of five stars):

Overall * * * * *
Exceptional glass, well laid out controls, accurate as well as durable, and the absolute definition of “reflexive.”  Not cheap, but the price is right, especially for the quality. Trijicon nailed it with the MRO, and it’s my new “must have” for a carbine.

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27 Responses to Gear Review: Trijicon MRO

  1. I guess I have to add that to my possibilities.
    I want an optic to mount on my go-to AR that I can mount and forget.
    I’ve been considering a 4X ACOG since I hunt a lot with the rifle and some magnification is nice when the light gets low, but I haven’t used an ACOG enough to know how much it compromises your fast shooting under 50yds.

    • The ACOG is definitely slower at close range than a red dot. A good trade-off is the 3.5×35 ACOG, sameish price as the standard 4X ACOG and it trades a bit of field of view for more eye relief… Makes for faster snapshooting.

      The other option is to go with a variable short zoom, 1-4x or 1-6x etc, but you’re adding a ton of weight over an ACOG or red dot.

      • Compactness is a major factor as well a toughness. I don’t want to be wondering if bouncing around on a 4-wheeler rack is knocking off my zero. I’ve used Eotech and Aimpoint a lot but I haven’t hunted with a red-dot where I live now. I worry that dropping 5-7 hundred bucks on a good bombproof dot will leave me wishing I’d have gone ahead and ponied up for the ACOG when I’m trying to pick up a deer 15 minutes after sunset.

        • I like my flip over magnifier for this from Primary Arms, pretty reasonable and with my Aimpoint I can group pretty good at 100 yards. And if I don’t want the bulk I can just QD the magnifier.

          -Chad

    • Unless you’re specifically looking for military grade, Primary Arms has a number of low-magnification scopes that are very similar to ACOG, but with more variety and generally better eye relief. They’re also much cheaper, in the ballpark of $200-300.

      If you’re particularly interested in a jack-of-all-trades solution with a single scope, I recommend looking at their 2.5x offering: http://www.primaryarms.com/Primary_Arms_2_5X_Compact_Scope_PAC2_5X_p/pac2.5x.htm

      It has plenty of eye relief, 2.5x mag is good enough for precise shots out to 200 yards or so, and you get a BDC for longer ranges too. Yet it’s also low enough for close up, and with the double horseshoe reticle you won’t spend a long time lining up the crosshairs.

      Their 5x scope is also worth looking at: https://www.primaryarms.com/Primary_Arms_5X_Compact_Scope_p/pac5x.htm

      • I kind of feel like I’m hijacking but I could use the input.
        I am kind of hung up on a military grade optic. I drag my rifle all over 100 acres of woods year round. Banging around on 4-wheelers, climbing fences, etc. in all weather conditions. I always wonder if I’ll raise my rifle only to end up missing because I’ve knocked my zero off.
        In my former job I used Eotech 512’s and an Aimpoint CompM4 doing poacher interdiction on a 36000 acre cattle ranch and both of those optics were 100% reliable for me.
        I’m thinking of the ACOG since I hunt with the rifle but generally only get 80-100 yard shots, usually in low light. I kind of hate sacrificing the fast close range shooting I do for fun, though.

    • Get the Trijicon MRO the get a good magnifier and you’ll have the best of both worlds….. Plus it’ll be cheaper then any acog….. just get the magnifier you can swivel up and down… Trust me on this one!

    • Does seem odd not to compare it to the other main choices on the market. I am left wondering if the Aimpoint Pro and Micros were non-starters for him.

      • At first glance this thing looks exactly like Trijicon’s answer to the Aimpoint Micro. I was really surprised not to see a comparison. Looks to me like the Aimpoints are a touch more svelte, but also a bit more expensive.

    • Compared to the PRO, the MRO is slightly smaller, battery life is a good bit longer, and the MRO is a bit more expensive. The 3 different mounting heights for the MRO is nice. But really, they are very close in quality. I chose the MRO just for the mount and size over the PRO.

  2. I’ll need to look into my ability to get one of these guys for wholesale cost.

    I’ve heard they’ve got a pretty solid mark-up.

      • It’s a 300 blackout SBR. I didn’t want to take the trijicon RX01 off of my 5.56 pistol because it’s SO dialed in.
        There was a sales rep sample sale at a shop up in Portland last weekend and I just happened to have a pocket full of money. Got a Bushnell TRS-25 for 50 bucks (NIB). Mags, powder, dies for a different project… It was a great day!
        By the way, I gotta look up that folding stock of yours.

        • The Trs-25 is good enough for my daughter’s 300 black deer rifle. I wouldn’t take I it into battle, but good enough for hunting and plinking.

  3. Quite excited to get one in my grubby paws. I have quite a few PROs (Hi, my name is Bill and I have an aimpoint problem), an ML2, ML3, and two micros, so I am eager to compare them head-to-head.

    With a 10% coupon you can grab one (with a mount) from OP for $442 (with free shipping).

    • hi,

      you said in your comment: “With a 10% coupon you can grab one (with a mount) from OP for $442 (with free shipping).”

      What is OP?

      Thanks,

      Nick L.

  4. I was doing some siloutte shooting today, switching between a scope and a red dot. I was surprised and impressed at how easy it was to hit with the red dot, at least at closer ranges.

  5. This has to be the best review I’ve read on the MRO. I went ahead and ordered one today without a mount becuase I wanted to get a Bobro QD to run the optic on. The article was very informative and well put together. Thanks to the author, Wayne and Thank you for your service. Looking forward to some much needed rangework/therapy with the MRO.

    • Wes, I currently run 1x Aimpoint T1 and 3x MROs’ plus some holosuns’ or PA advanced micros’. My MROs’ and T1 sit on my ready rifles and the rest sit on plinkers and hunters. I suffer from astigmatism and I find the dot on the MRO to be friendlier (less scatter/ tighter) than the Aimpoints, granted my aimpoint is 6 years old or so.

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