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Sig Romeo 5 Review: 4 Years Tested

Looking for the best budget red dot? We've been testing Sig's Romeo5 for years and will cover its specs, features, and view-through.

    Looking for the best budget red dot?

    Well…we’ve been testing the Sig Sauer Romeo 5 for over 4 years and we still whole-heartedly agree that it is still the best red dot under $200.

    Sig Sauer Romeo5 Red Dot
    Sig Sauer Romeo5 Red Dot

    We’ll cover specs and then dive into our real-world torture and hard-use tests. By the end you’ll know if it’s the right red dot for you.

    Brutally Tested Budget Red Dot
    at Palmetto State Armory

    Prices accurate at time of writing

    Prices accurate at time of writing

    Available Coupons

    Table of Contents


    Sig Romeo 5 Red Dot Pros & Cons


    • 40,000 hours battery life
    • Shake-awake function
    • 10 illumination settings
    • Comes with decent mount


    • Slight tinge of blue
    • Mount could be nicer

    The Bottom Line

    Best under $200 red dot right now

    Sig Romeo5 Specs

    • Weight: 5.1 oz
    • Battery Life: 40,000 Hours (4.5 Years)
    • Illumination Settings: 8 Daytime & 2 Night Vision
    • Dot Size: 2 MOA
    • Objective Lens: 20mm
    • Waterproof: IPX 7
    • Footprint: Aimpoint T2
    • Battery: CR2032
    • Price: $120

    Sig Romeo 5 Features

    Street price is under $120 and for that price you expect a no-frills red dot.

    18. Henry Big Boy X Sig Sauer Romeo 5
    Henry Big Boy X Sig Sauer Romeo5

    But the Romeo5 surprises you with an awesome 40,000 hour battery life off of one common CR2023 battery.

    Plus…it has a shake-awake function that Sig is calling Motac (motion activated illumination) that increases it even more by shutting it off after 2 minutes of being idle. And turns on again with any motion.

    Sig Romeo Meme

    This was normally something only found in higher-end optics but now you get it with the Romeo5.

    Once the firearm is stored, the optic can be left on, but will not use battery power unless picked up and moved.

    On top of the Motac motion activation system the Romeo5 also has a specialized Spectracoat lens coating.

    Sig Romeo5 Front
    Sig Romeo5 Front

    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 2 MOA dot.

    Fit & Feel

    Over the years we’ve used our stable of several units on AR15s, PCCs, lever guns, shotguns, and even full-autos.

    The Romeo5 has an included “high” mount that provides for an absolute co-witness with AR-15 iron sights that keeps the irons centered within the field of view.

    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.

    Romeo5 on MP5K and AR-15
    Romeo5 on MP5K and AR-15

    You can also remove that for a lower-profile mount depending on your gun or use its Aimpoint T2 footprint to directly mount to something else.

    Aesthetically, the Romeo5 is a typical 20mm tube-style red dot with adjustable brightness settings using a push-button system, instead of a rotating knob located at the battery compartment.

    Sig Romeo5 Top Buttons
    Sig Romeo5 Top Buttons

    Turn it on by holding either button for a few seconds. If you want to take advantage of the shake-awake function…you’re done!

    Just leave it alone for around 2 minutes and the dot will automatically turn off. With some motion it will turn back on.

    However, you can also manually turn it off by pressing and holding either button for a few seconds again. Note that this turns off shake-awake (lesson learned the hard way).

    View Through

    Ok, we get that it’s affordable, comes with a decent mount, and has shake-awake. But how does it look through the glass?

    Check it out indoors…pretty clear lens with only a slight tinge of blue. Once you’re using it you’ll hardly be able to tell.

    And outdoors…bright enough for almost everything you’re going to face. I’ve used it in the scorching desert and at the highest illumination you’re still good to go.

    No glue clump at the bottom like in other affordable optics like the TRS-25 nor halo-ing effect.

    TRS-25 Halo
    TRS-25 Clump & Halo

    And the 2 MOA dot? Perfect for both quick acquisition and more precise shots.

    Illumination settings are plenty bright for any purpose from indoors to the blazing summer sun.

    Adjustment is also easy with two protective caps that come off and tactile enough clicks.

    Sig Romeo5 Windage and Elevation
    Sig Romeo5 Windage and Elevation

    We also used it with a 3x Juliet Magnifier which greatly increases the range of the red dot from about 100-200 yards to 300+ yards.

    Romeo5 with Juliet 3x Magnifier
    Romeo5 with Juliet 3x Magnifier
    at Palmetto State Armory

    Prices accurate at time of writing

    Prices accurate at time of writing

    Available Coupons

    Torture Testing

    Besides years of testing with shotguns and full-autos…we decided to submerge, drop, and chill down the optics.

    Grunt AR-15 with Romeo5 Red Dot
    Grunt AR-15 with Romeo5

    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.

    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.

    No damage besides minor scuff marks appeared.

    Sig Red Dots
    Freeze Test Romeo5 and Romeo3

    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.

    Cold outside gif

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

    Who Is It For?

    Anyone looking for a red dot that’s affordable and still has some nice features like shake-awake…excuse me, Motac.

    Plus an included high-mount for ARs that’s ready out of the box. And also an industry-standard footprint for other mounts.

    H&K MP5K with Romeo5
    Full-Auto H&K MP5K with Romeo5

    We’ve been stressing out one unit on a full-auto MP5K and it’s held up great. See our YouTube Short:

    This is good enough for a duty weapon if you can’t go up to a Holosun or Aimpoint. And the battery life is very good at 40,000 hours combined with shake-awake.

    I’d still change out batteries every year but it’s nice knowing that you can leave it completely on for 4 years.

    Brutally Tested Budget Red Dot
    at Palmetto State Armory

    Prices accurate at time of writing

    Prices accurate at time of writing

    Available Coupons

    By The Numbers

    Affordability: 5/5

    Durable, clear dot & glass, 40K hours, and shake-awake. All with a street price around $120…you can’t beat it right now.

    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.

    Reliability: 5/5

    We’ve tested several Romeo5s through the years and none failed me or any of our writers. 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.

    Overall: 5/5

    Brutally Tested Budget Red Dot
    at Palmetto State Armory

    Prices accurate at time of writing

    Prices accurate at time of writing

    Available Coupons


    There’s not too many upgrades for a red dot but you can get a nicer quick-disconnect mount.

    at Optics Planet

    Prices accurate at time of writing

    Prices accurate at time of writing

    Available Coupons

    Or add on a 3x magnifier to reach out further.

    at Palmetto State Armory

    Prices accurate at time of writing

    Prices accurate at time of writing

    Available Coupons

    Final Verdict

    I would highly recommend the Romeo5 for someone on a smaller budget but wants to maximize their purchase.

    Sig Romeo5 Windage and Elevation
    Sig Romeo5 Windage and Elevation

    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.

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

    Do you run the Romeo5? 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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    25 Leave a Reply

    • Commenter Avatar

      Why not just get a Holosun?

      September 4, 2023 2:37 pm
    • Commenter Avatar

      I purchased 2 Romeo 5’s, both for AR15’s. Neither one would hold a zero. I had them both set for
      a perfect zero, after 3-4 shots the zero was gone on both.
      I went from having a .50” group to over 4”!! Rezero, and the same issue

      On a side note, I bought a Romeo 1 Pro for my Sig Legion, the red dot would not move.
      Aiming on the bull, the bullet impacted 7.5” high, and 3-1/4” to the right.
      The adjustment screws moved, but not the dot.
      Needless to say, I’m very disappointed. I should have known better, they are made in china

      June 7, 2023 9:56 am
    • Commenter Avatar
      Joe S.

      I just put a Romeo5 through an entire day of shotgun training on a 1301 and it performed flawlessly. Zero issues. I even hit a target at 50 yards with a slug. Best deal around. I also run one on my 9mm Cx4 Storm. And I have a T2 on my AR, fwiw.

      May 4, 2023 4:18 pm
    • 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
        Eric Hung

        Good Q...it's because we had a free-floating phone take the video.

        March 20, 2023 5:38 pm
    • 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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