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Bushnell TRS-25 Red Dot Sight

There is little argument that one of the best sighting systems for a close quarters rifle is a Red Dot Sight (RDS). The RDS works with the body's natural instinct to focus on a threat as opposed to a front sight. This enhances accuracy and increases speed. The brain has a natural tendency to combine the visual information from both eyes. The 1x magnification of the red dot sight allows the the dot to seem to float in space over the target when shooting with both eyes open.

This is great, but today Red Dot Sights seem to be lumped into two categories. There is the "duty ready", "hard use" category occupied by the likes of Aimpoint, EOTech and Trijicon. Then there is the "toy" category represented by the eBay knockoffs and Airsoft copies. The first category of sights can run from three hundred dollars to more than a thousand. The second can run from a couple bucks to a couple hundred.

TRS-25 with Alamo Four Star DLOC-TRS25 mount on Mega Arms MATENTRS-25 with Alamo Four Star DLOC-TRS25 mount on Mega Arms MATEN

To put this in perspective, the M4 that I use for work has an Aimpoint Comp M2 in a LaRue QD Mount. When I purchased the sight new it cost me more than $500. The mount was over a hundred more. Both are top quality items. My life (and possibly yours) depends on them. My rifle was built to fight for my life so the cost was not as much of a stumbling block. The reality is that few police officers or private citizens will ever fire their rifle in defense of their lives. Most have a hard time swallowing that cost for a carbine optic. However they are also not interested in wasting their money on junk.

A pair of TRS-25 with the factory mount.

The demand is there for a reliable, intermediate cost optic that will be at home on a lightweight defensive carbine or a .22 trainer.

Enter the Bushnell TRS-25 Tactical Red Dot. The TRS-25 is about the size of the Aimpoint T-1 Micro. It has an integrated picatinny mount, eleven brightness levels and includes a rubber lens cap. The power source is a rather inexpensive CR2032 coin battery.

In the hand the TRS-25 feels like a very well constructed sight. The body is aluminum. The prominent illumination switch positively clicks between it's eleven brightness settings. Like most red dot sights the TRS-25 has to be turned on by selecting a brightness level before it can be used.

The objective lens of the TRS-25 has a bright red/gold coating. I believe this is what gives a slight blue tint to the sight picture. The blue tint also has the benefit of increasing the contrast between the dot and the target. Some shooters have complained about the tint, but as soon as you shoot with both eyes open the tint becomes barely visible.

The TRS-25 uses capped windage and elevation turrets to zero the sight. The turrets are sealed with O-rings to maintain water resistance. They are calibrated to 0.5 MOA clicks or approximately 1/2" at 100 yards. This is a good compromise between precision and speed. If the graduations were any smaller you would spend a lot of time counting clicks to get on target. Since more than ten clicks requires me to take my boots off to keep track, this is a big plus.

To maintain a low-profile but still keep the adjustments tool-less Bushnell put slots on the turrets. These slots are perfectly sized for the rim of a centerfire cartridge. Both .308 and .223 cartridge rims work perfectly. You can of course use a screwdriver if you have one along, but I rarely keep one in my pocket. When shooting I always have ammo. The benefit of the cartridge case is that you have little chance of damaging the slot in the turret.

O-ring sealed, capped turrets.
O-ring sealed, capped turrets.

Zeroing the TRS-25 was fast and accurate. I used our test sample on several different platforms, each requiring tweaks to the zero. It never required more than four rounds to get it on target.

There were several small items that kept the TRS-25 from being an excellent optic. The largest issue noticed by several shooters was when you have the sun at your back, you may have a red glare inside the optic. I believe this is sunlight reflecting off the emitter in the sight. If you shaded the ocular lens with your hand the glare went away. It was not bad enough o keep you from engaging a target, but it was mildly annoying. Next, there is a small diagonal part inside the sight that is intruding on the field of view. With these small dot sights, anything sticking into the field of view is noticed immediately. It does not effect operation, but it jumps out at you when you look at it. Then there is the mounting bolt. It screws into an aluminum locking bar and can be prone to stripping if you aren't careful. I did not have a problem with this during our testing, but a couple other shooters have reported this issue. Finally, the illumination selector must be rotated all the way back to zero to turn the TRS-25 off. This places more wear on the selector. I much prefer turrets that allow you to rotate them to an "off" click between each brightness level.

FDE TRS-25 mounted on a short barreled Benelli M4
FDE TRS-25 mounted on a short barreled Benelli M4

Overall the TRS-25 is an impressive little optic for the price. For less than $100 you get an optic from a known manufacturer, with a two year warranty. The features on this optic will usually require you to spend more than three times as much or go with a no-name eBay unit with no warranty. These optics have proven to be extremely popular with shooters who just can't afford to go with an EOTech, Aimpoint or are putting together a system that just doesn't warrant that level of optic. If your primary duty rifle uses an Aimpoint T-1, it just doesn't make sense to spend that same cash on your .22LR trainer. It is a much better choice to put the TRS-25 on the trainer and spend that extra cash on ammo.

TRS-25 with Alamo Four Star DLOC-TRS25 mount

Tech Specs

  • 3 Minute of Angle (MOA) Dot
  • Multi-Coated Optics
  • Amber-Brightâ„¢ high contrast lens coating
  • 100% waterproof/fogproof/shockproof construction
  • CR2032 battery
  • 1x 25mm
  • Length: 2.4" / 61.8mm
  • Elevation adjustment: 70 MOA
  • Eye Relief: Unlimited
  • Exit Pupil: 22
  • Click Value: 1/2 MOA
  • Two Year Limited Warranty

Now here comes the controversial recommendation.....

I work with a lot of Cops. Some are real shooters and firearms enthusiasts. Putting a $500 optic on their patrol rifle just means working another couple of off-duty jobs or picking up some OT. Then there are the guys who are good Cops and proficient with what they have. However, if the Department didn't issue it to them, they aren't going to spend their money on it. They have a Department issued patrol rifle and spent some cash to put a light on it, but there is no way you will convince them to spend hundreds of dollars on an optic. That is a car payment or diapers and formula. For those guys the TRS-25 may be the perfect option. It will increase their combat effectiveness in low light situations (when most shootings occur) without breaking the bank. In a perfect world, nothing but the best would do for a life and death situation. However in a perfect world I wouldn't have to buy my own stuff and the best would be issued to everyone. The TRS-25 has proven reliable enough for most LE tasks, but affordable enough for the new Officer who is just recovering from buying all their duty gear.

If you are a game shooter and you want a 1x RDS to run offset from your primary magnified scope, the TRS-25 is a great option. This is the first TRS-25 in my lineup, but it's not going to be the last. I see these showing up on rifles for my boys very soon.

Pick up a TRS-25 from and a portion of your sale goes back to help us keep the lights on!

Thanks to Alamo Four Star for providing the DLOC-TRS25 Mount for our review. The DLOC-TRS25 was specifically designed to compliment the TRS-25 and gives an "absolute" Cowitness when used on AR15 platforms. The DLOC system utilizes a full length locking bar and spring to clamp onto your rail. Nothing pivots against the rail, so no worries about marring (or wearing out) the rail.

We will be doing an in-depth review on the DLOC mount soon.


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