Video Review: Trijicon MRO—American Made

Close-up of the Trijicon MRO red dot sight on a MIL-STD 1913 rail

Trijicon is a rock solid American company manufacturing in products in Michigan, and—to my knowledge—the Trijicon MRO is the only American made tubular red dot sight on the market. By Jonathan Owen Trijicon MRO atop an AR-15 mounted to tripod in from of the American Flag At first glance, the bell shaped 7075 aluminum housing screams, “The ACOG is my cousin!” Some people like that, some don’t, but you can’t argue with the durability inherent to the design. 7075 aluminum is stronger than the 6061 aluminum used most often for red dot sight manufacturing. That’s just the beginning. When it comes to the bell-shaped housing, some shooters like it more than others. Either way, the question is, “What’s the benefit?” If you like red dot sights, but don’t like the feeling of looking through a tube, this is what you’ve been waiting for.

What I like about the wider field of view on the Trijicon MRO is the advantage it provides when shooting at a moving target. The wider field of view allows a greater lead while still being able to view the moving target in the optic. By moving the control knob to the top of the sight, the optic becomes more symmetrical, cleaner. Some would say it aids rapid targeting. True or imagined, you certainly get less visual interference when panning.

Placing the control knob on top of the sight also makes it ambidextrous. Adjusting the dot brightness is easy no matter regardless which hand you use. Maybe it’s just me, but I would have done one thing differently with the control knob—I would have reversed its power settings. I want to turn it like a volume knob on a radio—clockwise to increase and counterclockwise to decrease. As designed, the MRO knob is backward to me.

There are eight brightness settings for MRO’s 2 MOA red dot. The brightest setting is ludicrously bright while the two dimmest settings are visible only to night vision. I prefer my red dots only as bright as needed and brightness setting 3 works well for me in daylight. There are two “off” positions, but not necessarily where you’d expect one of them. As you’d expect, you go from the dimmest Night Vision setting to Off in a single click. There’s also an Off setting between brightness levels 2 and 3. If you’re turning your optic on and off for daylight, this is the perfect place to have the Off position. If you forget to turn your optic off, no worries. Trijicon says the CR2032 battery is good for five years at setting 3.

The MRO has 70 MOA of adjustment. What that means for you and me is a very broad range of useful applications. You can zero at a great variety of distances for a broad selection of guns. That includes high velocity flat trajectory rifle rounds to rainbow arcing slow movers. I’ve even mounted it to a UTAS bullpup shotgun for fun.

Dark rendering of the Trijicon MRO
The MRO has two settings for night vision making it the ultimate for low-light targeting solutions.

You adjust your dot within that 70 MOA by way of a waterproof, sealed, flush, windage and elevation turrets with half MOA clicks. The clicks are distinct, but subtle. Unlike my ACOG, there are no caps to fiddle with or loose. All in all, it’s a great design in my estimation, an improvement over numerous other ones.

Some people are appalled when they discover the Trijicon MRO is in fact a 1.05x optic. That’s right, there’s a super slight magnification to it. Not everyone notices it, but I do when closely studying the MRO in a controlled environment such as my office. Perhaps because I’ve hunted and trained while running a 4x ACOG. In my real world application when hunting, training and the occasional fireball creation, the slight magnification remains below my radar. In fact, I wonder if it might help out my less-than-perfect right eye.

Any comparison or review that doesn’t pause long enough to consider the Made in the USA piece of the puzzle is missing something significant. Some might say,  if you want the best, it doesn’t matter where it’s made. Fair enough, and I own red dot sights from Europe, Asia, and the USA. The quality and value proposition of this American made MRO holds its own.

Don’t get me wrong; I’m not against optics made elsewhere. I have them; I like them; each has its place. The quality, features, benefits, and price of the American made Trijicon MRO really make it stand out. Trijicon sent me this one to test. I think I’ll have to pony up and buy it. Enough said.

Everybody loves the ACOG, but how does the MRO stack up in your book? Do you own, or have you shot the MRO? Share your experiences and opinions in the comment section.

The Mission of Cheaper Than Dirt!'s blog, The Shooter's Log, is to provide information—not opinions—to our customers and the shooting community. We want you, our readers, to be able to make informed decisions. The information provided here does not represent the views of Cheaper Than Dirt!

Comments (9)

  1. I have 4 MRO optics. I use them in my training classes as they are solid and reasonably priced compared to others. Of the 4 I own, I had one battery begin to fail at about 14 months from the date I turned it on. The interesting thing is the dot did not just go out but blinks dim to the current brightness setting when the battery got low. I admit I did not read the manual so if this is a design feature, I like it very much. As for pricing, I was able to purchase 2 of the MROs from an online company for $399.00 with the Battle Steel 1/3 co-witness mount included. At that price this is a very good value. Not currently looking for any alternatives. As for the imaginary or otherwise issue of “magnification”, none of my students , myself or anyone I have offered the optic to to try have made any comment about this issue or it being in any way a distraction. This is a good, solid well designed optic that I would recommend with no reservations. I spent the saved $250 dollars (each optic) on ammo so I ended up with great optic and practice ammo to boot for the purchase price of competitive optic alone. My only desire is for Trijicon to find a more reasonable price point for the RMR.

  2. I’m not sure what he’s talking about, I think he’s saying he found different brands of reflex sights for $250-$350. Trijicon doesn’t have a reflex sight below $500. The 4X32 ACOG itself is about $1200 and you can get it with the RMR perched on top which run $500-$700 depending on which one you get. If you want a cheaper red dot that’s comparable in design to the Trijicon MRO check out Holosun. They’re made in China but they’re good quality, battery powered not Fiber Optic but the battery lasts a long time (and they’re cheap to replace). They run $200-$300. Or if you want a reflex sight the Burris Fastfire 2 and 3 are nice and Vortex also makes pretty good ones around $250. Hope this helps.

  3. @Jonathan Owen, You have a Maltese cross on your ring. It it just a fusion piece or are you a member of a masonic body. Some people are starting to wear them do to politics and a “Crusader” positive defender stance.

  4. The one I examined had a “fish eye” effect that I found very distracting. Is this typical or did I perhaps chance upon a defective example?

    1. I purchased one a few months ago the MRO was $499 and the Larue mount was another $125 or so. Larue makes a mount that’s straight up and down and a cantilever mount, I have the cantilever and I think it’s definitely worth spending the extra $125 for a quality mount if you’re going to shell out $500 for the optic. The cantilever allows you to mount a magnifier closer to the optic so you’re not taking up as much space on the rail. It works well and looks awesome on my AR, if you want a red dot and you can afford it I would recommend buying one.

  5. While Trijicon branded sights and optics can be fairly pricey, they do produce a high quality product. Now, having said that, I have found a very reasonable alternative to Trijicon’ pricey items. I have secured several Trijicon ACOG Relfex sights, all of which operate with fiber optics to provide the glowing dot……or other shaped reticle pattern. They mount very easily on my tactical rifles, and they even come packaged in very nice shipping containers…..complete with cleaning materials and a rotating polarizing lens. I purchased about five of them within the past couple of years…..all of which ranged around $250-$350 in price. Meprolight has a similar model that I have seen at gun shows for about $395.

    1. Dragon,

      I am interested in the product you mention, however I am wondering if you unintentionally put the wrong product name in your post? If I Google “ACOG reflex”, all I find are ACOGs ($1200+), or Trijicon reflex sights (~$500). I don’t see anything in the $300 range. Can you please provide a brand/model number? Thanks.

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