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 shooting 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.
The Trijicon 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 magnification for dummies” instructions. If it takes you more than five minutes you’re doing it wrong.
I was sold on the Trijicon MRO 2 MOA dot the first time I turned it on, shouldered the gun and raised it to my field of view. The tube is big and crystal clear, making target acquisition fast and reflexive — as it should be.
Many other red dot optics 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 aluminum housing 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 on the target with this sight. A little red dot just appeared where I was looking, presenting a clear sight picture. Again, exactly as it should. And it co-witnesses well with iron sights.
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 Trijicon 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 settings adjustment dial is also well-designed. Being a 1X sight, it’s parallax-free, of course, with infinite eye relief. 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, low light or nighttime with just one turn either way.
Trjicon did just the right amount of light in both directions here. Very few red dot sights 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 illumination- even on a super bright day targeting on a white background.
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.
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 two inches 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.
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
Objective Lens Size: 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 anodized aircraft grade 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)
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. No special tools required (everything’s included). Trijicon nailed it with the MRO red dot sight, and it’s my new “must have” for a carbine.