Usually, when you think of red dot rifle optics, it means one thing: big money. From Aimpoint’s wide selection to Trijicon’s RMR and even the Redfield line of Leupold red dots, small things don’t come cheap. TRUGLO has introduced a new 30mm red dot in the style of an Aimpoint PRO that they say offers the same functionality and usability at a fraction of the price. So the question today: do you really only get what you pay for? Or is there a better, cheaper option available in the TRUGLO?
The TRUGLO 30mm red dot is a little on the chunky side for a red dot — the Aimpoint T1 series (and the knockoff budget version available from Primary Arms) take up less rail space, and leave you room for things like a magnifier on the rail. The TRUGLO dot does leave some rail space available for mounting, but not a whole lot. Then again, it does have a couple features that the smaller dots lack.
The larger form factor allows for some more inventive mounting options. Instead of needing a custom mount, you can use any 30mm scope rings to set up your dot. In fact, the TRUGLO package comes with a cantilever mount that works with any Picatinny or Weaver style rail that minimizes rail space usage even further. But if the height isn’t right for your setup, you can change it.
The TRUGLO opts for a watch style battery that fits under the intensity knob. More conventional for cheap dots, but remembering the specific battery size when buying replacements can be a pain in the butt. Then again, that also saves a little space on the cross section and makes the dot a little bit lighter, which is nice. The intensity knob allows the user to change the 5 MoA red dot not only in terms of the brightness of that dot, but also the color.
Some people like red dots, some like green, but in one package you get both. And blue, too. Usually the addition of colors other than red indicate that the dot isn’t the greatest — the cheapest and crappiest dots offer the widest selection of colors — so that alone made me a little concerned about the build quality. In my opinion, quality manufacturers like to do one thing and do it well rather than trying to cram as many features in as possible.
TRUGLO’s dot is adjustable for windage and elevation, and the adjustment knobs are kept from the elements using a set of screw-on covers. The covers are attached to the body of the red dot to keep them from getting lost, which is very much appreciated — I have lost many an adjustment knob cover, and finding replacements can be a pain in the ass. Its a nice touch.
The glass on the optic is nice and clear, which is great for target identification. Its also big, which helps to reduce that tunnel vision effect a little and allows the shooter to see what’s around the target. The dot itself is also nice and big — 5 MoA instead of the 2 MoA offered by the Aimpoint PRO. Some people like small red dots, but for close quarters work a big dot can be a big benefit. Its easy to pick up, and while it does cover more of the target we’re not talking beachball sizes here just yet. I’d call it big enough to be comfortable.
For precision shooting it might be a bit much, but for CQB-ish stuff its just about perfect. Build quality on the optic is actually very good. Like I said the choice of colors was somewhat disconcerting, but in practice it functions just fine. The colors are bright and visible, and the overall look and feel is very solid.
To test the optic, I placed it on something that I figured would destroy it faster than anything else I could muster: a rifle with a bumpfire stock. A rapid firing schedule and the back-and-forth motion of the gun should reveal if there are any defects in the build likely to shake loose over time, but even after a case of 5.56 ammunition the optic still held zero.
I refrained from the usual box test with the dot because, well, I just don’t care. A red dot is something you set and forget, not something you are going to be fine tuning for precision shooting. Here’s the thing: it works. The dot functions, it holds zero even under significant strain, and it doesn’t add as much weight to the rifle as you’d think. After all, the housing is aluminum and most of it is open space. It serves essentially the same function as an Aimpoint PRO, at almost exactly 1/4th the price.
The street price is about $100, MSRP $130. But while it works, I wouldn’t necessarily trust it to survive a house fire. In a sense, you do get what you pay for. Much like the Primary Arms scope I love and use on my precision rifle, its perfect for smaller caliber stuff but I wouldn’t trust it on anything .308 Winchester and larger. However, if you’re just looking for a good cheap red dot to put on your project gun, it absolutely makes the list for something to consider.
Specifications: TRUGLO 30mm Triton Red Dot Sight
Actual Magnification: 1X
Price: $103 T&E dot provided by TopSpec
Ratings (out of five stars):
Build Quality * * * *
The housing feels slick and solid. The dot doesn’t move off target even after a thousand rounds of bumpfiring. I’d call that a win.
Optical Clarity * * * *
No significant issues here. Only 95% light transmission, and things do look a touch foggy.
Adjustment & Controls * * * *
Easy enough to use.
Overall * * * * For $100, I’m happy. The dot performs its intended function, and does it well. Its not the smallest thing in the world, but it leaves enough rail space to play with for those considering magnifiers. Just keep it away from the Ma Deuce and you’re fine.
1) Aimpoint PROs use a DL1/3N battery, not AA.
2)Truglo uses a 2032 battery. Pretty common, both in red dot sights and walgreens.
This is kind of an odd article, especially the comparison.
I agree with you. Also its the CompM4(M4s) that use the AA battery. Don’t forget about the battery life, NV compatibility, and water resistance(45m or 150ft).
I am curious about battery life as well. This thing costs $103.
A $70-ish Primary Arms, 3MOA dot I wrote up for TTAG a couple of months ago went for 1000+ hours continuous operation on mid setting. AND it has 2 NV settings.
As a commercial diver I can appreciate the depth rating for the optics but I am a little sceptical. Who would really test it in the field? Besides no one makes a spear gun with a picatinny rail. I can’t use a spear gun anyway. The anti’s and the Thou Shalt Nots have ruined offshore life.
Is it not possible to tap some part of the spear gun and mount a section of rail?
“Who would really test it in the field?”
Ever heard of Navy SEALs?
as a red/green color blind person, i don’t even care about the little dot sights. If I could find a blue one on the other hand, maybe.
edit: in my rush I didn’t see the mention of all 3, nice!
Awesome, man. $100 for a reliable red dot is GTG.
Put it on a mini 14, if it survives 500 rounds of that clunky recoil impulse I would be impressed.
Put it on a Mosin.
See if it survives that recoil impulse…
I like to think of the recoil destroying a red dot scope that’s been mounted on a Mosin as the Mosin rejecting the optic, like an incompatible organ transplant.
What if the sight destroys the gun? Is that like Graft Versus Host Disease?
Unless you’re using a hole drilled in a blacksmith’s anvil as a ghost ring, there ain’t no sight out there that’ll destroy a Mosin… 😉
You totally stole my “rejected like a bad kidney” line!
…not that I think I’ve ever used it on TTAG
Try it on a piston type air rifle if you really want to test it. They’ll rip the optics out of some big name scopes that’ll survive .458 Rigby loads.
I have the TruGlo on a Magpul-licensed gas-powered M4 airsoft. I wanted a dot sight that would approximate the dot sights on my M&P .22 and its big brother M&P Magpul 5.56. The TruGlo has worked great so far, as well as my other lower end optics like the Vortex Sparc and StrikeFire that live on some of my other rifles.
I’d rather spend even less on a Bushnell TRS-25 or the Primary Arms equivalent.
“…but some similar optics ise a AA battery instead tgat I prefer. Remembering the specific nattery size when buying…”
I hate to be “that guy”, but damn, son… Spell check that shit.
Thirsty Thursdays must have been a little too rough for him.
Never edit on your cell phone. While hung over.
For anything I’d really ever want to be able to grab/use/stake my life on – I personally go with Aimpoint micros. For everything else, I usually go with a Primary Arms Micro – or the new Hi Lux Max B dot. FOV is irrelevant to me with a red dot, as I now see the target with the dot laying over top and the rest of the actual device ‘disappears’. I used to think FOV was paramount and went with Eotech (which are still cool) but got on a lightweight kick and now try to keep weight down as much as possible. Also like the battery life of the new micros and aimpoints.
I feel the same way. My go to rifles / HD weapons have an aimpoint or a trijicon. All of the rest are like you said, cheap but durable optics because they are for fun guns.
the formatting errors and typos pain me, but it was quite the informative article nonetheless!
“Just keep it away from the Ma Deuce and you’re fine.”
Why didn’t we try it on a larger caliber with greater recoil and see how it holds up?
I agree. Maybe I’m asking for the moon here but I’ve been looking for a dot sight that’ll hold up to the recoil on my Saiga 12 for less than $200. Hope springs eternal…
See if you can get your hands on a Vortex Sparc. I don’t know for sure if it will hold up to a saiga for certain but Vortex makes good stuff and the original sells on Amazon for 150 and the Sparc 2 is right at 200
You can waste an awful lot of money on cheap optics before you decide to buy a good one.
I’ve looked all over the web including on the TRUGLO site to try to find the battery life for this optic. I’m assuming if they’re not bragging about it it’s not very good.
The Aimpoint Pro battery life is 30,000 hours.
The Aimpoint Micro H1/T1 is 50,000 hours.
With an Aimpoint, you can pick up your rifle and you don’t have to remember to turn the optic on, or fumble for the on switch in the dark..
The Aimpoint is on automatically and you’re ready to go.
Unless, you’re putting this on a rifle that you know with certainty you will never use for self defense, save your money until you can afford a decent optic.
Read these reviews from Midway’s site concerning the durability of this red dot:
Then go read the reviews of the Aimpoint Pro at Amazon:
Buy once – Cry once.
Cry twice if you break it.
Cry three times if you break it and buy another.
My Aimpoint Comp 4s has 80,000 hours of battery life from a single AA battery. That is like 8 years 🙂
It’ll be good enough for my cheap 10/22.
Did I miss anything about the weight difference? There’s one thing I know and have learned very well, there’s always someone who can make something cheaper, but cheaper doesn’t mean better. Yes with big name products, you are paying for the name, but then Aimpoint has a proven track record for hell and high water reliability. Another thing I have learned is buy what you want, not what you need and you will always be happy.
Fact the of the matter, cheap is cheap. There is a reason it’s cheap. It’s aggravating to buy cheap products only to find out a few short years later, after you have lost the receipt and it’s no longer under warranty, why it was cheap.
No thanks. I have an T1 2 MOA on my Vodka drinking black scary rifle and I have 100% confidence in it which I wouldn’t have with a $100 optic.
Looks nice, just not sure if it’s worth spending a little less now only to have it break, spend a bit more on something a little higher quality like a vortex, or just shell out the major $ for an Aimpoint
I’m good with my trs25. It seems to hold up to m1a recoil and I’ve heard of people putting them on shotguns with no issue either. It would have been nice to see it mounted on something other than a .223.
Would it work on a 38/357 lever action