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[Hands-On Review] Romeo 3 vs Romeo 5 from Sig Sauer

Looking for a new red dot? We hands-on test Sig Sauer's made-in-Japan Romeo 3 and 5 with lots of rounds, some freezing temperatures, and water submersion.

Looking for a new red dot? Need something with long-term battery life?

Sig’s Romeo line-up may be the right choice for your needs.

Sig Red Dots
(left) Sig Sauer Romeo3 and (right) Romeo5

I ran the Romeo3 and Romeo5 over the last couple of months and put them through some brutal testing and evaluation.

By the end you’ll know if one of them is right for you.

An Optic for Any Budget

Between these two optics from Sig Sauer, they offer two great options depending on your budget. Currently, the Romeo3 comes in around the $320 mark without a riser.

at Amazon

Prices accurate at time of writing

Prices accurate at time of writing

Available Coupons

A price tag of $320 is a large step up in price compared to red dot optics in the $100-250 price range, but it does offer some features that typical “tube style” red dots don’t have.

Most notably the amazing field of view that this optic offers using both eyes open while shooting.

Sig Red Dots
Sig M400 Tread with Romeo5 and included riser mount.

The Romeo5 is more of a conventional “tube style” red dot.

It can be found for $119, or even cheaper nowadays. It comes standard with a riser mount to co-witness with typical AR15 iron sights.

Brutally Tested Budget Red Dot
Available Coupons

The price point that the Romeo 5 offers is very solid.

For a recreational firearm, or for a light-use, home defense carbine for someone on a smaller budget, this 2 MOA dot packs a lot of features in a solid design.

The Future is Now

One of the coolest and most efficient features that both the Romeo3 and Romeo5 have is the “MOTAC” system.

It is a motion sensing feature that will turn off the optic after 2 minutes of being idle. After sensing motion, the optic will immediately turn back on at its previous setting.

Sig Romeo Meme

This feature greatly increases battery life and allows the shooter to leave the optic on. Once the firearm is stored, the optic can be left on, but will not use battery power unless picked up and moved.

For the Romeo5, this allows the unit to have a 40,000+ hour battery life, but obviously YMMV depending on use and temperature it is stored at.

On top of the “MOTAC” motion activation system, the optics also have a specialized Spectracoat lens coating.

This coating helps increase battery life by allowing a shooter to keep the brightness level on a lower setting but still allowing maximum visibility of the 3 MOA dot on the Romeo3 or 2 MOA dot on the Romeo5.

Sig Red Dots
The Spectracoat is a ruby like coating which provides excellent dot reflection.

On the Gun

With the Romeo5, the included mount provides for an absolute co-witness with iron sights, as well as the Romeo3. Attaching either of them keeps the irons centered within the field of view of the optics, unlike some cheaper models that may not line up as well.

Aesthetically, the Romeo5 is a typical tube-style red dot like more expensive models from Aimpoint. It is a smaller red dot with adjustable brightness settings using a push-button system, instead of a rotating knob located at the battery compartment.

Sig Red Dots
Sig Romeo5 with included “TREAD” edition riser mount.

The included riser mount is of basic design and works well.

It is lightweight but is rather basic. While this will work for a lot of people, some people prefer a better mount using a QD lever, or a skeletonized mount to shave off weight.

Luckily, the Romeo5 model that has the removable riser mount seems to be compatible with Aimpoint T2 footprint mounts.

The Romeo3 also uses a push-button system, but because of its reflex style system, its battery compartment is a removable disk-style compartment. As mentioned before, the field of view is something to behold with this model.

Instead of a bulky tube, this reflex optic has a very thin housing that disappears when shooting with both eyes open.

Sig Red Dots
Sig M400 Tread with Romeo3. The Sig 62 grain HT ammo proved to be excellent ammo.

The model provided to me by Sig came with the riser mount for an absolute co-witness, and a lower mount to attach directly to a picatinny rail. For an AR, this mount will be too low for comfortable use, but for a shotgun, this mount shines.

Its footprint is rather large though, so it will probably be too large for handguns, except for the larger framed models.

The Beatings Will Stop When Moral Increases

Over the course of the last few months, I have shot roughly 1,000 rounds of varying rifle and shotgun ammunition through each of these two models from Sig. The first range visit consisted of zeroing the red dots at ranges of 25, and 50 yards, and shooting at steel out to 300 yards.

Both red dots performed well, with the Romeo5 being a little more precise due to its 2 MOA dot at extended ranges.

Sig Red Dots
Clarity of glass proved to be very nice with either Sig optic.

To fully test out these optics, I decided to run them through different conditions. These tests varied from recoil testing, water immersion, impacts from drops, and extreme cold.

Over the course of multiple range trips, the optics were fired on multiple AR15’s from the Sig Sauer M400 Tread, to my own home-rolled rifles, to my Remington 870 DM Predator to increase the force of recoil.

Sig Romeo Target
Target that shows two 5-shot groups, showing original zero and then remounting.

The Romeo3 did exceptionally well with its quick-disconnect mount.

After zeroing at 50 yards on the Sig M400 Tread, the optic was taken off and then put through 100 rounds of miscellaneous shotgun loads. Attaching the Romeo3 back onto the M400 Tread in the same spot showed no signs of point of impact change at 50 yards.

Submerging both optics in water showed that they are indeed waterproof.

They were submerged for 10 minutes, and once pulled out and the exterior dried off, no water or fogging was visible within the tube of the Romeo5, and function wasn’t interrupted with the Romeo3.

Between the waterproofing of both optics, and the nitrogen purged tube for the Romeo5, both are buttoned up tight.

Sig Red Dots
Splish, splash! The Romeos took a nice bath. They needed it after drop testing.

Dropping the optics while mounted showed no signs of zero being disturbed. Dropping was done at knee to shoulder height on different types of terrain including dirt, grass, and rocky terrain. My first worry was with the Romeo3 due to its thin lens housing…

No damage besides minor scuff marks appeared on either of the optics.

Sig Red Dots
Sig optics after being left in a freezer for 3 hours. Dots did not dim from the cold.

Finally, after being left in the freezer at -5 degrees Fahrenheit for 3 hours, both optics showed no overall dimness with their red dot brightness.

After doing testing with imported red dots of lesser quality, usually with extreme cold, the electronics could not perform at subzero temperatures. Usually, the dot will go very dim and choke itself out until it gets warmer.

Both Sigs proved to handle the cold perfectly fine – great news for those of you in colder states.

Cold outside gif

The Run Down

First, lets talk about the Romeo5.  Here’s some footage of our Editor’s optic used in his backyard.

There really isn’t much that I can say bad about it or complain. It is a VERY solid red dot within its price point. Even the push buttons seem sturdy and well made.

In a market saturated with imported red dots from China, the Sig Romeo5 really stands out from other big-name companies like Vortex.

When you break down the features that the Romeo5, for money it is very hard to come close to what you can get. I am a huge fan of an efficient system. My favorite red dots provide battery life that is measured in years, not by hours.

With the “MOTAC” system, battery life is extended into the Trijicon and Aimpoint territory.

Clarity of glass is also on point.

The lenses on the Romeo5 are clear and do not “fishbowl” around the edges like some models. The glass does not take on a darker tint either which can be a complaint in even more expensive red dots.

The anodizing on the tube and riser mount are of good quality, and resistant to scratching and damage.

Now onto the Romeo3!

The field of view is amazing.

Due to its thin housing at the lens and reflex style, shooting with both eyes open really opens your vision. Depending on eye dominance, even when shooting with both eyes open, tube style optics can still interfere with a shooters field of view.

While the housing did not bend, or damage during drop testing, I am still hesitant about it taking too hard of a direct impact. It could just be me overthinking it, but I like things to be overbuilt and bombproof.

nuke bomb
Casually chilling watching a nuclear detonation…

Quality wise the Romeo3 is on a slightly higher level as well.

These models are made in Japan which is why the price tag is a bit higher than other Romeo models. Clarity of the glass is great, and the slightly larger 3 MOA dot is brilliant even if it is a bright sunny day.

The mount is well made and holds zero very well even after being detached and remounted. The battery tray that is removable without taking the optic off a mount is also a very smart design that even some more expensive models lack.

By The Numbers


Affordability: 5/5

For the price point, the Sig Romeo5 is an excellent choice in my opinion. When on sale, and under $150, it provides many features that other companies fall short on. The “MOTAC” system is a game changer and did not fail me in my months of testing.

Looks: 4/5

The Romeo5 is a solid looking red dot. Much like the higher priced Aimpoints, the smaller tube style red dots offer a lot of strength in a relatively small package. The mount is a little too plain for my liking, but it does offer a solid attachment point.I’d prefer a lighter cantilever mount, or possibly a QD mount.

Reliability: 5/5

The red dot did not fail me in my couple months of torturing it. The “MOTAC” system worked every single time and I left the optic constantly on. Even after multiple drops on varying terrain, the optic refused to quit. Short of going through an explosion, or falling down a mountain, this optic should last for the long haul.

Overall: 4.75/5

I would highly recommend the Romeo5 for someone on a smaller budget but wants to maximize their purchase. Battery life is fantastic. The “MOTAC” system should be an industry standard, and the 2 MOA dot is precise enough to stretch out to extended ranges when properly zeroed.

Brutally Tested Budget Red Dot
Available Coupons


Affordability: 3/5

Even when on sale at $399, the Romeo3 hits the wallet hard compared to the Romeo5. Instead of being made in China, it is manufactured in Japan which is one of the big reasons for the expense. For what you get with this optic, the added cost compared to cheaper models might be a hard sale.

Looks: 4/5

The Romeo3 has its own style. While the body shape is like other reflex optics, the angled cuts, and the overall size is different. Its hood is one of the thinnest I have seen and provides an excellent field of view while shooting. Personally, I am not a fan of the gray color, but others may love it.

Reliability: 5/5

The Romeo3 chugged along over the course of the last few months. The “MOTAC” system did not fail and was left constantly on. Drop testing did not damage or affect the optic, even though I had my worries. The QD mount maintained zero even after remounting after a session on the shotgun.

Overall: 3.5/5

at Amazon

Prices accurate at time of writing

Prices accurate at time of writing

Available Coupons

I enjoyed using the Romeo3 over the last few months. It is a great design and overall would be a great choice for anyone wanting an optic that offers an excellent field of view. My only complaint is the price tag. At $400, personally, I would be looking at other options that have been proven in combat such as the Aimpoint PRO or the Trijcon MRO.

Parting Thoughts

Both of the Romeos are great choices for optics but what is best for you will depend on the features you’re looking for and the price you’re willing to spend.

That said, for the price – the Romeo5 might be the best red dot on the market right now.

Do you run the Romeo3 or 5? How do you like it? For some more awesome optics, take a look at the Best AR-15 Scopes & Optics!

A Couple AR-15 Optics
A Couple AR-15 Optics

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21 Leave a Reply

  • Commenter Avatar
    Roon Scoon

    I know this is a very old article, but I’m interested in why the dot in the backyard video doesn’t always follow the sweep motion of the tube. Sometimes it seemed to be stationary while the tube is moving.

    July 5, 2022 6:25 am
  • Commenter Avatar

    I'd be interested in a romeo5 vs romeo7 comparison.

    February 16, 2022 9:49 am
  • Commenter Avatar
    Anthony Durst

    Opinions on either optic on the AK platform?

    December 22, 2020 5:28 pm
  • Commenter Avatar

    I really have enjoyed many of your reviews since finding your website - thank you guys!
    How would you rate and compare the Romeo 3/5 against the Sig Romeo MSR.
    Have you rated this red dot (MSR) at all?

    October 13, 2020 1:24 pm
    • Commenter Avatar
      David, PPT Editor

      We haven't gotten to look at the MSR directly yet, but I've heard good reports on it. It's not as good as the Romeo5 but for the price, it's still a solid unit.

      October 13, 2020 1:55 pm
  • Commenter Avatar

    In your opinion how does this compare to the Holosun Red Dot you recommend in "Red Dots Inder $200"?

    September 26, 2020 9:12 am
  • Commenter Avatar
    Nathaniel G

    Any recommendations on a QD riser mount for the Romeo5?

    April 25, 2020 7:30 am
  • Commenter Avatar

    Anybody else has the problem that the dot on the Romeo5 is not really round and sharp? Mine looks more like a comet coming from lower right to upper left.

    November 4, 2019 6:45 am
    • Commenter Avatar

      Sounds like you have astigmatism and should see a doctor. If you look through the sight while rotating it, you will probably notice that the "comet" always comes from lower right to upper left, despite you rotating it.

      November 11, 2019 5:34 pm
  • Commenter Avatar
    douglas salley

    Would you provide me with a link to your "budget" RDS for 4" pistols.

    October 26, 2019 11:16 pm
  • Commenter Avatar

    Anyone else cringe at thje video of the guy muzzle sweeping a house with a pistol?

    I mean I'm sure the gun was unloaded but goddamn man that's still a bad move.

    August 20, 2019 6:57 am
  • Commenter Avatar

    I'm a HUGE fan of Sig optics and have both these models as well as a Romeo4, and two Tango6 scopes. I have the Romeo5 low mounted on my Galil ACE and the Romeo3 mounted on my .300BLK HD gun. I have zero complaints about the 5, it punches WAYYYY above its price point. The Romeo3 is excellent in its own right, extremely fast to get on target which is why I have it set up for HD duty, but unfortunately you're correct about fragility concerns. My HD gun was leaning against the wall when I bumped it and it fell to the hardwood floor. Even with the rubber guard on it the fall cracked the lens in half, although the dot still worked and appeared to hold its zero. Sig's warranty replaced it no questions asked, but in the future I may put it on a competition gun and get another Romeo4.

    May 22, 2019 3:17 pm
  • Commenter Avatar

    I have used Eotech, Aimpoint and Trijicon to name a few and they all performed as designed. When I purchased the Sig Romeo 5 with 2 MOA which is the same with all Aimpoints and ran it through my own torture testing they all came out banged up but the only one that failed was the Eotech. Having said this and sent into battle with the Sig Romeo 5 sitting on top my HK416/417 I wouldn't have any reservations. It's a solid CQB red dot scope with the ability to take out targets beyond 300 meters just like it's "much" higher priced competitors. I am not saying the Aimpoint Trijicon scopes are not exceptional gear but for hundreds less you get the same quality with the Romeo 5 or Romeo 3.

    April 22, 2019 8:45 pm
  • Commenter Avatar

    I'm running a Romeo 5 on an ArmaLite M-15 LTC and I love it. Initially I had an issue with the dot not reaching maximum brightness but Sig's customer service was great and they replaced the entire optic at no charge. It's worked flawlessly since.

    April 22, 2019 9:27 am
  • Commenter Avatar
    maurice Lewis

    I currently run the Romeo 5 on my Ruger PCC, I bought a QD mount for roughly $80 on Amazon and it works great. Amazing quality for the price point and would've got the Romeo 5/Juliet 3 combo if I could've found one on sale.

    April 22, 2019 12:36 am
  • Commenter Avatar
    Matthew J Baughman

    Is there any way y’all could take these red dots and the budget magnifiers from a previous article and try them together and write up a review. Should be hard or take long and would make good content.

    April 21, 2019 11:53 pm
  • Commenter Avatar

    I have a romeo5 on a ar, it was so cheap (psa) n its great for whatever.

    April 21, 2019 7:27 pm
  • Commenter Avatar

    You may want to state that these are Holosun models with a Sig badge!

    April 21, 2019 6:12 pm
    • Commenter Avatar

      Sorry but they are not the same optics. The Romeo 5 looks similar to the Holosun but it’s not a “rebadge”.
      That’s gossip passed around in online forums. Even from pictures if you closely look you can see differences in the mounts and optics.
      The Romeo 3 is not even Chinese.
      Holosun is pretty decent and you get more options red/green dot and some models have a 65MOA reticle.

      April 22, 2019 8:43 am
  • Commenter Avatar

    I won't entertain a red dot now days if it doesn't have an option to show a circle.
    So much easier/faster to acquire the dot.
    I'm now up to 5 Holosun H03GU 's at $130 each plus one with the ACS reticle.

    April 21, 2019 5:03 pm
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