Trijicon MRO Red Dot Sight
One of the more popular choices in red dot sights today is the Trijicon MRO. “MRO” stands for Miniature Reflex Optic. It is a small, lightweight sight that can be very versatile and used on many different setups. It is often favored for lightweight setups due to its small footprint and light weight, but is by no means limited to lightweight rigs.
Trijicon MRO – Size, Look and Feel:
The Trijicon MRO is built out of a solid block of machined aluminum, and it is reflected in the way it feels. It is not clunky or shaky, it doesn’t rattle….it is a quality machined device. It’s light but still feels heavy duty. Compared to other red dot sights, the Trijicon MRO is also shorter (length wise) than most. It weighs 6.05 oz total, including mount (I chose to purchase the American Defense MRO Low mount American Defense MRO Low mount” because 1: I Love AD mounts, and 2: Their low mount allowed me to have a better cheek weld and proper height for my CZ Scorpion Carbine, on which the MRO sits). I’ve picked up other light weight sights before and they feel like plastic, and it really doesn’t give me confidence in its’ robustness or longevity. The MRO is not like that.
The dial to activate the LED sits on top of the sight, which makes it an ambi dial. It’s a fairly large dial and has a perfect balance of tactile feel and ease of turning. The dial will slide into place and has positive positions and not slide out by accident. Some I have spoken to don’t like how big the dial is and says it gets in the way. If that’s the case, I would say “You’re doing it wrong”. The worst I can say is that it might obstruct a little upper field peripheral vision above the optic’s window, but it’s better than many red dot sight batter compartments hanging off the side!
Trijicon MRO – Technology:
The Trijicon MRO utilized an LED fired from the upper left hand corner of the inside of the sight. This is why the front lens is angled downward and to the right. This is so that the LED is reflected back towards your eye. The dot is a 2.0 MOA sized dot, meaning it will cover up a 2″ target @ about 100 yards.
The MRO employs Current Dimming tech into the circuitry, so there will be no flickering of the LED with eye movement. The circuitry/LED is also really efficient and allows for some really good battery life! More on that later.
Trijicon MRO – Parallax:
In my Trijicon MRO, the parallax is pretty minimal. Is it perfect? No. But then again, is there a red dot that is? Due to the nature of the reflected dots, I daresay it is impossible to completely eliminate parallax from a technical standpoint. But can it be minimized to the point that it is rendered effectively non-existent? Yes, and that is the category that the MRO falls into. When I placed the MRO on a stationary platform and moved my head/eye around through the window from left to right, there was a very slight amount of movement in the dot off of the target from a top-left and diagonally towards the bottom right. Again, the amount is slight and one would be hard pressed to prove this affected their shots, especially if shooting and moving….but it is there to a very small extent and I wanted to make a note of it here.
Trijicon MRO – Optical Quality:
Optics are probably one of the biggest complaints about the Trijicon MRO; namely the image skewing. Trijicon opted to set the magnification to 1.05x on the MRO. They claim it helps optimally set the focus of both the target and the red dot. While this may be true, it seems to bother a great deal of people. If you shoot with both eyes open, you will see a slight difference between your left and right eye. For me, it is slightly bothersome at most….I find my eyes get fatigued quicker due to additional strain, but it is only after long periods of use. One thing I will say is that the Trijicon MRO does seem to have a slightly better resolution than most true 1x red dot sights.
The glass has a slight blue tint to it. This is to create additional contrast between the target and the red dot. The dot will typically appear brighter when there is a tint to the glass, which means that the perceived brightness will be higher on a tinted lens, leading to the ability to decreased the brightness and save on battery.
The MRO has a uniquely wide field of view due to its slight cone shape from front (ocular) to back (objective), in spite of it’s 25mm objective. This allows you to get your eye closer to the ocular lens and see more field of view through the optic.
Reflections can potentially come into play, as on any optic with a flat ocular lens. Under certain conditions and just the right angles, light can hit the ocular lens and bounce back to your eye. In practice, I found it to be pretty minimal, especially in daytime lighting conditions. I have to basically intentionally hit the right (or wrong?) angle to get any negative light effects. The effect seems to be more noticeable when the lighting source is above you and you are pointing away and downward from the lighting source. Seems pretty obvious, right? Anytime a light reflects off the ocular and bounces off towards your eye, it’s going to reflect negatively. Due to the coating on the lenses, it appears to be a red hue that reflects back, and it can be distracting when it happens.
Trijicon MRO – Battery Life:
Battery life is an area where the Trijicon MRO shines. On day setting 3, it is bright enough for probably 60% of daytime operations. It’s perfect for indoor use or overcast/rainy days. At this setting, a single 2032 lithium battery will last 50,000 hours, or 5.7 years straight. The LED may degrade somewhat in brightness over the life of the battery…..this is due to the voltage drop in the battery after extended use.
Trijicon MRO – Price and Warranty:
The great thing about the Trijicon MRO is that it can be had around the $370 range new. However, this price typically does not include a mount/base for the MRO, so plan on additional expense for your choice of mount. As mentioned earlier, I like American Defense, but there are many good options out there these days. I prefer the quick detach options. Considering the Trijicon MRO started out in the $500 retail range, it has come down considerably for many vendors. Personally, I am partial to Liberty Optics, who has insanely good prices and probably the fastest shipping times I have experienced (from the day I ordered it, it literally had it the next day. Same thing happened with my TA11F as well, so it wasn’t a fluke!). Keep in mind that their website price has to conform to Trijicon MAP pricing (Minimum Advertised Price), so you have to call to get the best price.
Trijicon’s warranty is one of those things that seems to be subjective. One one hand, they have a stated limited lifetime warranty on the optical systems and metal structures of Trijicon’s sights for the original owner (their illumination systems (including tritium and LED systems) have a 5 year warranty and the fiber optic systems of the ACOG have 12 years material or manufacturer’s defect warranty). No abuse or accidents are covered. This, at face value, can seem limiting when compared to the warranty of Vortex Optics, which has become the standard by which I judge all warranties against; their warranty carries on to all subsequent owners for manufacturer defect as well as accidental damage (a legit, no-fault warranty). But on the other hand, in my personal experience, Trijicon will go above and beyond what they publicly state they are obligated to do in regards to the warranty service. For instance, I purchased a very old 3rd hand TA45 ACOG, which was definitely real and had a legitimate serial number. The tritium was clearly dim compared to what I was used to, so I contacted Trijicon without having the scope registered to me and having no proof of purchase and they opted to replace the entire internal prism and tritium system free of charge. You can read about my experience here at Calguns.net. It is experiences and outcomes like this that make me come back for more from manufacturers like Trijicon: They are a stand up company who stands behind their products, even when they were well within their right to deny me service. I cannot guarantee that your product will be covered if it falls outside their stated obligations, but it sure seems to me like they are willing to help customers even when they aren’t obligated to.
Trijicon MRO – Conclusion:
Trijicon has come out with an optic that competes well with Aimpoint, long regarded as the cream of the crop as red dot sights go. It’s long battery life, robust and durable, yet small construction lend to this being a great sight for small and nimble rifles. One of the things I really love about the sight is its’ flexibility in mounting options: It can be mounted low, mid or high. Many red dot sights dont have this ability because a taller base is built in. Particularly for me, this helps when mounted to a rifle that has stock that is lower than the rail it’s mounted on.
Even on the brightest of days against sand colored or snow backgrounds, the dot is bright enough to stand out against it. From my view, the 2 MOA dot is pretty crisp. My eyesight isnt what it one was, so brighter objects now begin to bloom, but that has nothing to do with the MRO….when I turn it down, all blooming effects go away and i’m left with a sharp dot edge to edge.
If you don’t mind the 1.05x magnification and bluish tint, this sight should be on your short list of potential purchases.