The gun world is in “The Era of Red Dots.”
Sure, they’ve been around for years, but their sudden surge in popularity has been recent.
A few years ago the guys running red dots in a defensive handgun class were few and far between but now there are entire classes dedicated to them.
It used to be you were the odd man out but now you’re part of the in-crowd. And if you’re really In, you know Trijicon is at the forefront of the red dot market (hey, they are).
Trijicon most recently launched the SRO – shorthand for Specialized Reflex Optic – and I decided to take it for a test drive for you guys and see what it can and cannot do.
All in the name of science.
Devil’s in the Details
Trijicon designed the SRO specifically for pistols which does set it apart slightly from the RMR which has been marketed for a variety of platforms.
It’s made with a broader field of view and the expected clarity for rapid target acquisition and accuracy. The housing is constructed from 7075-T6 aluminum, a metal with zinc used for alloying.
7075-T6 is known for strength and fatigue resistance, both of which are big pros for a pistol optic. Its footprint is identical to that of the RMR and it’s compatible with most RMR mounts.
Oh, and it’s billed as being waterproof to a depth of ten feet, so you should be fine running the SRO in the rain.
Other features include button “lock-out” mode to lock auto-brightness and “lock-in” mode to secure whatever brightness setting you prefer.
As those modes suggest the dot’s brightness setting can be set to either automatic or manual use so if you prefer the dot automatically adjust itself, have at it.
The SRO is compatible with suppressor-height iron sights.
As for how it’s powered it takes CR 2032 batteries and Trijicon says a single battery can last up to three years if the brightness setting is set at four or less.
You can change the battery without removing the optic from your gun, too. All good signs, but does it function well on the range?
Luckily for you, I took it upon myself to use it.
In order to use the SRO I had to mount it to one of my handguns and in the end, I put it on my Gen 4 Glock 20.
Prices accurate at time of writing
Prices accurate at time of writing
Nothing like a poly 10mm to try out a new red dot, right? (If you dislike tactical plastic or have disdain for 10mm, you may go now.)
This is all worth mentioning because the original plan was to mount it to the new CZ P10C. Yes, that one is a 9mm.
That gun is optics-ready and, well, new. As it turned out the SRO did not actually fit the P10C out of the box and I didn’t have a mounting plate to make it happen.
Yes, the product guide claims the SRO fits the CZ P10 without a mount but the “C” is the compact and is apparently a different size entirely.
I might have been able to use a hammer to force it into place but beating forcefully would have been counter-productive.
So, when you get your very own SRO be sure you also get the mounting plate for your specific model. Don’t assume you won’t need one.
Back to the G20. I already had a mounting plate for my G20 and, in fact, I had to take an RMR off the gun to put the SRO on it.
In the time since the RMR was launched, I’ve used it both at the range and on multiple hunts with good success.
You could say I’m a fan.
That SRO Tho’
At the range I got to work zeroing the red dot. My G20 was loaded with Remington 10mm 180 grain FMJs and not exactly clean (I’d been hunting with it in Texas and hadn’t cleaned it yet so it was coated in red Texas dirt).
Initial zeroing took place at 10-yards from the bench and only took a few shots after which I stretched it to 25-yards.
The SRO performed beautifully and proved its worth as a pistol optic almost immediately.
Field of view is significantly improved over the RMR – and remember I love my RMR – to the point I knew I’d be using the SRO for hunting. It’s just that good.
Aside from the impressively broad field of view, the glass is crystal clear and the dot itself is easy to find.
Rapid target acquisition for follow-up shots was simple and fast; yes, my groups opened up with rapid fire, but at twenty-five yards, five-shot groups were still under two inches so I was pleased.
Can you ring steel at fifty yards with the SRO? Of course. It’s definitely easier than doing it with only irons which is a big plus but as per usual just be familiar with your gun’s drift and drop.
The red dot makes it way easier – thank you, Trijicon – to the point I wish I could put this on multiple guns. Unfortunately, I’m a poor gun writer but if I could afford it I’d probably go out and buy a few more of these.
The SRO also gives you an edge for moving targets. That’s due in large part to the field of view being so wide; you can track and acquire moving targets more quickly because the housing does not cut off important lines of sight.
You might notice the housing of this red dot is rounded instead of rectangular. That factor plays a major part in that broader field of view but has other benefits, too.
Even though it’s technically bigger and takes up more real estate in the air above your gun than, say, the RMR, it’s more snag-free thanks to its lack of corners.
It also feels natural visually to look through round glass instead of rectangular glass. Who knew (Trijicon, apparently).
Torture (Sort Of)
Although I did not beat the Trijicon SRO with a hammer or throw it on concrete I admit to not being exactly gentle with my guns.
The G20 with the SRO on it was moved between multiple cases, tossed repeatedly in the back of the truck, laid none-too-gently on wood and concrete surfaces, and banged against tables.
I may also have smashed it against a cement lane barrier at the range the other day. Through it all the red dot held zero and appeared entirely unphased by abuse.
Can you take it off your gun, throw it back on, and keep it zeroed? Well…close enough for horseshoes and hand grenades.
Taking it off the G20, storing it in its original case, then returning it to the G20 gave me a dot shooting low and left.
It was still on paper and I had no problem compensating for it; once I knew where it was impacting, I simply adjusted my point of aim.
All things considered, it did pretty well.
By the Numbers
I’ve had the SRO for a few months now and it’s been perfectly reliable. It’s also still on its first CR 2032 battery but that’s a little less surprising. There have been no random shut-offs, no losing zero from impacts, and no flickering. So far, so awesome.
It’s a little difficult to rate ergonomics on a red dot but let’s see what I can do. I’m not a huge fan of the aesthetics but I can’t argue with the results. It’s growing on me.
Does it get the job done and perform as promised? Yes. Can you really assess ergonomics on something you don’t have any physical contact with while shooting? Not really.
One. Ragged. Hole.
I’d say that’s as accurate as it gets. Drop the Trijicon SRO on your pistol and you’ll probably improve your accuracy, especially if your eyesight isn’t what it used to be.
It does take some getting used to red dots but it is well worth the learning curve.
The SRO does have mounting plates – when you need them – but other than that customizing a red dot is kind of a no-go.
No complaints here, I have no desire to change anything about it.
MSRP is listed at a mind-boggling $749.00 but I had no problem finding the SRO online for $550. YMMV.
Prices accurate at time of writing
Prices accurate at time of writing
Is it expensive? Yes, but – and here I go throwing around the clichés – you really do get what you pay for with these things.
I’ve always said you’re better off putting your money into your glass on rifles and I’d say that holds true if you intend to use the SRO on your self-defense gun (or on a dedicated hunting handgun).
I wouldn’t want to trust my life to cheap glass from an iffy manufacturer, personally. Saving up and getting your hands on a Trijicon SRO does make sense in many scenarios.
If you’re a casual plinker, well, that’s up to you (also, you should get out and train more). Minus one point because the price did make my heart stutter.
- Manufacturer: Trijicon
- Model: SRO (Specialized Reflex Optic)
- Magnification: 1x
- Sight Window: .98 x .89 inches
- Lens: Tempered Glass
- Adjustments: 1 click = 1 MOA
- Adjustment Range: 150 MOA Total Travel
- Dimensions: 2.2 x 1.3 x 1.4 inches (55 x 32 x 34 mm)
- Weight: 1.6 ounces (with battery)
- Illumination Source: LED Powered by CR 2032
- Battery Life: Over 3 years of continuous use when used at 70 degrees Fahrenheit and at setting 4 out of 8
- Brightness Settings: Automatic and Adjustable 8 Setting
The Trijicon SRO rocks. I have an embarrassing number of red dots here mostly because I handgun hunt quite a bit and the SRO is the current frontrunner.
That’s not to say the other brands and models don’t work well and perform precisely but simply to say the SRO has an edge.
Prices accurate at time of writing
Prices accurate at time of writing
And I say that as someone who was less than thrilled with the aesthetics and prepared to grumble a bit because of it.
In reality, the larger size, curved edges, and relatively slim housing give you some serious field of vision and a nice unobstructed view. What can I say, I’m in love with a red dot.
There is a lot of pistol red dots on the market, what one do you run? Let us know in the comments! Need an optic for your rifle, then take a look at the Best AR-15 Scopes & Optics!
35 Leave a Reply
I love my SRO2. I installed it on my Ruger PC Charger. Trijicon is the only optic I buy. I have the SRO2, 3.5x35mm ACOG, and the TR-22. The quality and reliability in my opinion is second to none. I remove the optics and reinstall them, and they stay zeroed in. What a remarkable company!
I read your review and looked over it again several times to find what moa the sro had you were using and never found it. soooo It will be a guess it was the 2.5. I don't have any experience with hunting with the red dot although I actually have several red dots but not this type. I wanted one for a model 20 10mm that is still in the box.
I’ve used my 2.5 SRO2 on my PC Charger and my LWRC REPR MKII. Dead on at 100 yards. Haven’t had a chance to stretch the SRO2’s legs past that yet. We’ll see when it warms up in the spring.
Which mounting plate do you use to mount this optic to a g20sf if the slide is not milled?
Please, just purchased a G-20 g-4, I wish to install a red dot w/plate, how would this be done, the G-20 is a stock pistol, kindly need your help, Many Thanks.
order a trijicon mounting plate their like $120 maybe a lil less. its on the trijicon website. such an ez question. don't u have internet to do research and see whats out there?
Unless you bought the MOS version of a Glock with a factory milled slide (Optics Ready), you'll have to take it to a gunsmith to mill the slide in order to add a plate and red dot. You can also google how to mount a red dot without a milled slide, but I wouldn't personally recommend it. Shady at best. Hope this helps.
You can't use a mounting plate if the slide is not milled. Unless you bought the MOS version of a Glock with a factory milled slide (Optics Ready), you'll have to take it to a gunsmith to mill the slide in order to add a plate and red dot. You can also google how to mount a red dot without a milled slide, but I wouldn't personally recommend it. Shady at best. Hope this helps.
Dang you Kat! And here I thought I'd just go ahead and swap out my RMR from gun to gun. Then I decide I should buy a Glock 20sf to use for one full season, handgun hunt only... I've been seeing this SRO so, wanted to check out some RMR vs. SRO reviews via Google search. First search result...Kat Ainsworth! I think Trijicon should reimburse you the $550 you spent at Brownells because they're now selling another to me! You and Brian might be my biggest financial problem! ;) lol Thanks for the review! Always great.
I am curious about one thing, maybe anyone here can help me out. That 10mm, the ONLY reason I thought about going with the Leupold DPP was due to the FOV. The SRO almost looks like it took the RMR design and gave it that more rounded DPP front glass. Would it be safe to say it's field of view is similar to the DPP but in the RMR package? I also see it sits forward a tad more than the RMRs. I don't think that will be an issue for milled slides (correct me if I'm wrong!) but, do you find you have any problems with holsters not fitting with it hanging forward over the slide a bit more? Again, doesn't appear to be but, hard to tell from the photos.
Holster fitment is the achilles heel of red dots on pistolas. Loved Trijicon optics in the Army and I love them now. Only one of my pistols has a RMR, and the compactness is appreciated. Not sure if a larger field of view offsets the larger size.
Sometimes Trijicon gets it right that stands the test of time. ACOGs are a good example. When the MRO was released, replaced my Eotechs for MRO's. But truth be told, not running to replace my RMR with this anytime soon, just being truthful.
I got the most awesome idea. Im going to use this in tandem with my TA648 6x48 ACOG. Then I’m gonna mount this beautiful couple atop my Barrett m82a1 (.50 BMG) and then head out to the sticks for some nighttime live (watch your lane).
We gonna have ourselves one
The photo "Trijicon SRO and Glock 20" shows a bottom loading battery and the optic tube doesn't seem to extend forward enough. What's up with that?
I think the SRO is mounted on Glock and the RMR above it to compare size.
I have a Romeo 1 on my FN FNX Tactical (large glass, same bolt pattern as my Fastfire 3, etc) and it works fine. However, this might be the ticket, as it seems to have similar glass and field of vision to my C-more slideride (I use on my Buckmark) in a compact quality package. Hope I can find a way to try one out.
Is that photo of the 1 moa dot, or the 2.5 moa dot?
Great article! I just put an RMR on a 19 and am really liking it. This larger size may be the ticket as my eyes age.
I really want to like this and replace my RMRs.... however Aaron Cohen of "sage dynamics" explicitly demonstrated its durability issues by dropping it once from shoulder height resulting in a cracked lens. Gamer gun? Sure, serious duty? I'll grudgingly stick with my RMRs.
I have a Vortex Venom on my Beretta M9A3 and Glock 20. I also have a Sig P229 with a Romeo red dot. Since switching from iron sights to red dot I’ve seen a marked improvement in shot accuracy.
i am glad that you can beat this thing. will most of us do that, to some degree yes. i have two thoughts, the cost of it should make it more durable and the name of the company lends to its functional field use. i am also guessing that there was little worry of damage from recoil. my next thoughts would be how many rounds can it take in X caliber. I am sure the company has already done that and its rated to certain round count in the X caliber.
I'm loving the examples of red dots I've just gotten into; not yet Triji's to go with my ACOG but... good gear for learning with. One thing I noticed immediately is needing to plan for the set of new holsters to own - most of my rigs are pre-red dot: it makes a difference, Galco isn't cheap. Oh, and they are still catching up in the meantime besides... so... But seriously, I got my first to overcome 60-year-old eyes... and with the problems associated with holsters, I've noticed THE RED DOT has helped! I now put renewed serious effort into sharpening my front sight without forcing a set of Ben Franklin reading glasses under my polycarbonate shooting goggles! It's amazing how well the red dots work!
You know, pretty soon, the red dot will be a literal hologram resolved from a flat phased array on the top of whatever pistol slide you own / rifle top you have... oh! and said array won't be more than a postage stamp thick... just saying for the current youngest generation shooters when they get my age. /grin
For those that are interested these units are available with: 1.0, 2.5 & 5.0 moa dots.
One of the very few to have a 1.0 moa option
This looks interesting - I wonder if it will fit on my Chiappa Charging Rhino…
I see Amazon’w price is $638 (plus free shipping - yay Amazon!) while Brownell’s has it for $550 as you mention - tells us how Amazon does try to rip one off on occasion.
It is a myth that amazon has the cheapest price all the time. I can often find an item for less if I look around.
I have a Springfield 1911 A1 9mm. Any suggestions for a plate and Red-dot that that would work on my slide ?
Where can these be purchased? Everywhere I've looked showed pre-order.
Amazon is shipping now I believe, Optics Planet is delivering within a couple of weeks, Brownells says they are pre-order but they might be shipping now - you can double-check with Brownell's live chat though.
Did you check out sage dynamics review of it? He broke 2 of them with one drop each onto concrete. Even trijicon says it's only meant for competitions.
You forgot to mention the dot size: 2.5 MOA
Loved the write- can’t wait to get one. I’ve been looking for a better-than-stock sight I can carry with. My holsters will accommodate & I’m sure my accuracy will appreciate.
Ok. Thats nice. But I dont have s discretionary 600 bucks. Sticking with my DeltaPoint Pro.
I’m running a Trijicon RM07. I love it, but finding the dot in the dark shooting offhand is almost impossible. I’ve been thinking of getting titrium sights to help. Does the SRO fair better?
I’d love to know the answer to this as well.
Strangely, your G20 seems to identify as a Gen 4 G19
Wrong picture ;) thanks for pointing that out!