By Paul McCain
I was finally able to get my GLOCK 34 with a Trijicon RMR on it out for a full day’s training class and I’d like to share my experiences and impressions of the Trijicon RMR. At the facility where I do my training, they do a lot of work with various military units and they’ve been noticing more and more Tier 1 units using red dots on their handguns.
Clearly, it is no longer a “gear fad,” but something that’s being adopted by many units running their handguns hard in every environmental condition imaginable. I finally took the plunge myself after trying various handguns with red dots from the various instructors and students.
I had been dry firing with it at home a lot, practicing acquiring a target as quickly as possible. The red dot does take some getting used to and I’ve found that, for me, the fastest way to acquire the target it to focus strongly on a consistent presentation, which involves punching the gun out swiftly as on a “rail” fully extended and thinking of the red dot as a “remote” I’m pointing at a receiver on my TV.
During various shows I choose an object that I know will be appearing often and each time it shows up on screen, I work at getting the red dot on it quickly. (Yes, the gun is unloaded, triple safety checked, etc.). I have been doing this for a couple weeks and it really paid off during live fire.
During the class I shot around 500 rounds and I can say that I’ve never had such a high hit percentage before using only iron sights, at any distance. Acquiring the target was a bit more slow if I did not carefully focus on fundamentals to get the right presentation down, but I was delivering rounds on target very accurately while moving and shooting in any direction and of course, from a static position. Particularly longer shots were a breeze.
The key for me is to remember to look at the target and let the red dot settle on it, rather than concentrating on looking at the red dot. After years of repeating to myself, “front sight, front sight” it definitely is going to take a time to readjust my “muscle memory” but the benefits are very obvious to me.
I chose the 6.5 MOA dot and I’m happy with that size. It allows me easily to get rounds on a smaller steel torso target from 75 yards out, all the way in, obviously to very close distances, where, regardless, rapid shooting at a close distance is more about good fundamentals and index shooting without as much attention to sights to begin with. A couple other members of the class were telling me they had had fun a few days previous banging a steel oil drum set out in a field at around 175 yards.
Distant shots with the RMR in place are ridiculously easy and sure to put a big smile on your face as you consistently hear the “ping” of bullets hitting steel at, no doubt, unrealistic distances, but it sure is a fun “bonus” of the red dot. I took 12 shots at a steel torso target at 100 yards and hit it each time with fairly rapid fire. Fun times.
I’m getting my shots pretty much dead-on into targets any size I shoot at and since I’m not planning on using the handgun in any bullseye competitions, I’m not feeling much of a need to zero it. But I may eventually.
The point is that it is pretty impressive how literally out of the box, with it securing mounted on the slide, the red dot’s accuracy is more than enough for me without any zeroing.The sight itself is extremely rugged and I’m glad I went with Trijicon. I had no problems with the glass fogging or blurring at any point.
I’m still getting used to racking the slide using the sight to assist, which is pretty important since racking the slide with an overhand motion as I was used to doing without the RMR on it is now different. I have the sight anchored down firmly on to the milled slide, using Locktite (blue). I purchased a milled slide for my GLOCK 34 from One Source Tactical and I’m very pleased with the quality and service they offered.
We practiced various malfunction drills and I ran them all very well with the RMR in place, such as stovepipe, where you sweep the stovepipe away, or double feeds where you have to drop mag and rack the slide to clear it, etc.
We ran drills at various distances, practicing bounding to cover, etc. and at no time did I feel hampered by or slowed down by the red dot and the accuracy makes every minute of “getting used to it” well worth it.
My vision situation is a bit unique perhaps. I had LASIK surgery about five years ago and consequently my dominant eye, the right eye, is my “distance vision” eye with 20/10 vision in it, my left eye is my close vision eye, and so acquiring the front sight crisply had been a bit of a chore, but with the red dot I’m able to take full advantage of the 20/10 vision in my dominant eye. So, with 50+ year old eyes and LASIK the RMR is just what the doctor ordered.
I’m running the handgun on my battle belt with a custom made Bladetech holster. Blade-Tech does a nice job forming the holster just a tad from their “stock” holsters to allow for a bit more room at the top for the RMR. They also opened the bottom up a bit to allow for my threaded barrel and I had it shaped to accept the G34 with a Surefire flashlight.
I ran the gun with the surefire light on it all day without noticing anything other than a bit less muzzle climb due to the flashlight on the weapon. It felt better in my hand.So, for those considering a RMR for their handgun, I can’t recommend it highly enough, and obviously, I feel I made the right choice going with a Trijicon RMR.
Specifications: Trijicon RMR Sight Adjustable (LED) 6.5 MOA Red Dot
Bullet Drop Compensator: No
Weight: 1.2 oz w/battery
Illumination Source: LED
Reticle Pattern: 6.5 MOA Dot (other sizes available)
Day Reticle Color: Red
Night Reticle Color: Red
Bindon Aiming Concept: No
Adjustment @ 100 yards: (clicks/in) 1.0
Housing Material: Forged aluminum
Batteries: CR2032 lithium
Battery Life: Over 4 years of continuous use (when used at 70ºF (21ºC)) at setting 4 of 8. *Extreme temperatures (high or low) will affect lithium battery performance.
MSRP: $708 (retail price about $460)
Ratings (Out of Five Stars):
All ratings are relative compared to the other weapons in the gun’s category.
Accuracy: * * * * *
I was pretty much amazed I hit a small steel torso sized target at 75 yards, fairly rapid fire, offhand, 12 times in a row with no problems. The RMR is always going to be more accurate than the user, in my case.
Ergonomics: * * *
You really don’t even notice it on your handgun after a few uses. It is a great size and I highly recommend getting your slide milled for it rather than simply screwing it on to the top of the slide.
Ergonomics Firing: * * * * *
I notice nothing other than more accuracy!
Reliability: * * * * *
Probably not fair of me at this point to rate its reliability, but from every impression of it so far, they don’t call it a “ruggedized” miniature reflex sight for nothing. The thing is a little brick.
Customization: * * * *
I’m glad I went with the model that allows me to adjust the brightness and/or shut it off when I’m not using it. After putting nearly 500 rounds through it I notice nothing other than it keeps on working. You can adjust the brightness of the dot to accommodate whatever lighting conditions you find yourself in simply by squeezing either the plus or minus sign buttons on either side of the optic.
Overall Rating: * * * * *
I considered other red dots, but after reading a lot of reviews I went with what I believe is simply the best option available at this point. I’m glad I did. It’s not cheap, but it’s extremely well-made and has performed flawlessly for me.