The Bushnell TRS-25 has won a lot of acclaim as an alternative to the Aimpoint T-1, H-1, T-2 and H-2 series even in professional circles. It costs a fraction of any of the above and is highly robust, only really giving up Night Vision compatibility and battery life, although it is claimed to get 3,000 hours out of a single CR2032 battery. Adjustments are similar to the Aimpoint with no less than 11 brightness settings. The detents for these are very strong. The glass is very clear even at night and unlimited eye relief makes it suitable for handgun use. Lens covers are supplied, but are not connected to the sight when removed and could be easily lost. The adjusters are sealed with O-rings as is standard these days and the sight is fogproof and shockproof up to .50BMG caliber. It is rated waterproof although not to the insane depth the Aimpoint T series are rated to. Construction is the usual aircraft grade aluminum. The TRS-25 reflex sight is supplied with or without a high rise mount for the Weaver/Picatinny mounting system, but, for absolute co-witness on an AR you are better off adding a UTG MAD-0340 20mm riser mount which is quick detachable with adjustable tension. These sell for around $11-00 so won’t break the bank. The red dot is 3 MoA which is a good compromise between precision for distance work and fast acquisition for close range shooting. The sight weighs in at 3.7 ounces without the high-rise mount and 6 ounces with it. Without doubt the TRS-25 is one of the best if not THE best red dot sight available in the sub $200 range. It comes with a two year manufacturer’s warranty, plus Brownells’ no-quibble complete satisfaction guarantee.
Vortex have taken the opportunity to improve their 3x magnifier with the VMX-3T version. The Vortex VMX-3T magnifier comes with a spacer shim allowing both absolute and lower 1/3 cowitness on the AR platform. There are two adjuster knobs on the Vortex 3x magnifier enabling you to center the dot in the magnifier and a focus ring at the rear of the tube. It works perfectly with all the main Vortex, Eotech and Aimpoint models. Users are reporting that this unit has clearer, brighter optics and better eye-relief than the Eotech flip to side magnifier for less than half the price. However the mount flips to the left which can annoy some users. The flip mechanism, like that of the Burris is not spring-loaded and you cannot just reverse the mechanism as it will end up with the release button at the front of the unit. Vortex have an absolute no quibble guarantee – if your site is defective or damaged in any way, Vortex will replace it, no matter what the cause.
Vortex have made a name for themselves making affordable, but still good enough for defensive applications alternatives to the big ticket red dot sights from Eotech and Aimpoint. The Vortex Strikefire 2 replaces the original Vortex Strikefire with some significant improvements.
Vortex Strikefire 2 optical sight
The new Strikefire II red dot comes in two versions. The difference is that one has a bright red 4 MoA dot and the other a choice between red and green 4 MoA dots. With the bright red dot option you get the choice of a low Picatinny mount for rifles with lower stock configurations like the Sig and AK which functions as an absolute cowitness mount on the AR and a cantilever AR mount that gets the sight well forward without mounting forward of the upper receiver. This allows for mounting of a flip up backsight and magnifier all on the receiver. The height is set up for lower 1:3 co-witness. The Vortex Strikefire 2 has its windage and elevation controls shielded from impact and the brightness controls are thoughtfully located at the back of the sight for accessibility. The sight is an immensely strong 30mm aluminum tube. It is 5.6” long and weighs 7.2 ounces. It comes with lens cap covers. The optic remembers you last brightness setting when you switch it back on. Power comes from a single CR2 battery. The Strikefire 2 is waterproof and fog-proof and comes with an unlimited lifetime VIP warranty for free replacement if defective or damaged, no matter what the cause! At this price point you are getting a very good product for your dollar.
There is no doubt that the Eotech and Aimpoint magnifiers are great, but their prices are eye-watering. You can buy an AR for the price of either of these 3x magnifiers. The good news is there is a unit almost as good for a quarter or less what one of the expensive units will cost you. You really are not sacrificing a lot in quality by going for the Vortex VMX3T magnifier or Burris AR-Tripler Gen 2 magnifier. Both give you a great, non- flip to side mount that locks into the Picatinny mount with a single bar. Burris, however, give you quick-detach. The flips on both models are not spring loaded which can be an advantage or disadvantage depending on your point of view. The Vortex magnifier flips to the left which annoys some right handed users but is ideal for southpaws. You can reverse the Vortex mount, but the release is then a lot less handy to access for a right-hander. Some users claim the Burris has clearer glass and the Burris magnifierhas the advantage that it comes with a very good quick detach mount and flips to the right. The Gen 2 Burris mount is rock-solid, unlike some of its Gen 1 predecessors. Like the Burris unit the Vortex magnifier has two controls to center the dot in the magnifier and a rear focus to get everything clear. The Vortex mount comes set up for absolute co-witness on the AR platform and has a spacer for lower third co-witness whereas the Burris is lower 1:3 co-witness only (1.65” height). The two magnifiers come in at 11.8 ounces (Vortex) and 11.9 ounces (Burris), so there is nothing in it weight-wise. Eye relief is 2.2” for the Vortex and 2.5” for the Burris. Field of view is 38.2 feet at 100 yards for the Vortex and 40 feet for the Burris, so nothing in it there. The Vortex is 4.3 inches long and Burris 4 inches. Both magnifiers are waterproof, but not to any extreme depth. Unless you scuba dive with your carbine, you won’t have a problem with either the Burris or Vortex magnifier.
The Trijicon MRO is Trijicon’s answer to the Aimpoint T-1 and T-2 Micros. However, due to the much larger objective lens it has a very wide field of vision and does away with the “looking through a tube” effect and is more like an Eotech in that respect. It also lacks the distinct image of the diode that can occur with the earlier SRS. It has six brightness settings via a dial on the top and is easily zeroed with a flat bladed screwdriver. There are no adjuster caps to lose and the adjustment directions are clear. The MRO has a very clear red dot, virtually parallax free and with less of a blue tint in the image than its SRS predecessor. Again unlike the SRS, you can see it clearly when aiming relatively near the sun. The Trijicon MRO has an exceptionally handy ambidextrous brightness adjuster with two OFF positions 180 degrees apart. The dot is 2MoA which is a good compromise for CQB and long range use. It is available in low mounted, absolute co-witness and lower third co-witness (with rifles and carbines with AR height Picatinny flat-tops). Other suppliers are currently in the process of releasing quick detachable mounts/bases for this sight – American Defense Manufacturing already have a very solid quick detach unit out there. Its housing is machined from a 7075-T6 forging for immense strength and is mil-spec hard anodized. It is waterproof to 30meters. The deeply recessed objective lens/window is very well protected and the sight is almost indestructible. The Trijicon Miniature Rifle Optic works with Aimpoint, Eotech and Vortex magnifiers. This sight comes in around $200 less than the Aimpoint T-2 and is great value for money. Like the Aimpoint Micro series it takes up very little rail space. It takes a CR2032 lithium battery (supplied). forged 7075-T6 housing.
Trijicon Miniature Rifle Optic (rear)
Wide Viewing Area
Eight brightness settings with TWO “offs” in the middle
Ambidextrous Brightness Control
1/2 MOA increments. No special tools required. No separate caps
Forged 7075 Aircraft-Grade Aluminum Housing
Surface-Flush Adjusters eliminates snag hazards
Multi-Coated Lenses for superior clarity and light gathering.