AR-15s

SIG Romeo MSR: The Best Budget Friendly Red Dot

SIG Sauer Romeo MSR red dot sight mounted atop an AR-15 Picatinny rail showing part of the read BUIS

When I saw the new SIG Romeo MSR for a little less than $150 at CheaperThanDirt!, I had to have one. I have enjoyed excellent luck with the SIG Romeo series, and I enjoy firing and testing red dot sights, so this seemed like a match made in heaven. SIG’s pistol offerings are as great as ever, but pistols are not its only great products in the line. If you have not checked out SIG’s rifles, accessories, and line of optics, you are sorely out of touch.

After meeting stringent guidelines and testing requirements, the SIG Romeo has been adopted by several agencies. This piqued my interest when I considered the Romeo MSR. The more affordable SIG Romeo MSR, I reasoned, would be good but perhaps not as elevated as some of the others. As it turned out, I did not give it enough credit. It is ideal for many uses.

SIG Romeo MSR red dot sight showing the right/left adjustment knob
The SIG Romeo is a robust but simple design with much to recommend.

SIG Romeo MSR Features

The Romeo series spans the $450 Romeo 1 to this wallet-friendly jewel. While the SIG Romeo MSR isn’t expensive, it comes with a battery and a decent, well-designed, skeletonized riser.

The SIG Romeo MSR is powered by the common CR1632 battery. SIG tells us that we have 20,000 hours of battery life at the lowest setting. This is a tremendous advance over the red dots I tested some years ago.

The red dot is a 2 MOA (minute of angle) type. The Romeo MSR offers 10 standard settings, and two for use with night vision gear. That is impressive. There are the usual elevation and windage adjustments. The battery rides on top of the on/off/mode adjustment switch and is easily installed.

The brightness-adjustment turret featured positive clicks. It indented in a tight manner and wasn’t going to lose its adjustment. After some fiddling with the adjustments and testing the red dot, I found that the SIG Romeo MSR wasn’t a low-quality red dot, simply a basic one.

The SIG Romeo was designed to mount easily, zero easily, and stand up to recoil. It is shock and water resistant.

SIG Romeo MSR red dot sight with the lens covers open
The SIG Romeo MSR is supplied with lens covers.

Shotgun Testing

I did not yet know which rifle would wear the MSR permanently. After all, this sight was designed for the modern sporting rifle. Just the same, I also use red dot sights on several of my shotguns.

I matched the red dot to the Toros Copolla T4 12-gauge, self-loading shotgun. I was eager to test the new Apex Predator Tungsten Super Shot as well. These shells are awesome but expensive…

The Toro Copolla T4 was set up and sighted in with an inexpensive, generic buckshot loading. When the time came, I ran several full-power slugs from Hornady through the shotgun with excellent results. I also tested the Apex Tungsten load. This is a superior loading with a super-dense cloud of BB shot. Two ounces of BB shot at 1,200 fps will get the attention of any predator.

SIG Romeo MSR red dot sight showing the right/left adjustment knob and adjustment tool
The SIG Romeo MSR is supplied with a handy tool that offers plenty of leverage for quick, easy adjustments.

I sighted the SIG Romeo at 25 yards and let fly. The Apex load shredded the target with a dense cloud as designed. I also test-fired the shotgun with a good mix of Winchester buckshot in #4 and #1. Firing with both eyes open, speed and accuracy were excellent — as they should have been with a modern shotgun. 

As you will note from the images, I did not remove the riser. This allowed me to retain the use of iron sights. Since the front sight is an XS Big Dot Tritium sight, this was important for night use and home defense. (Order the front sight for the Benelli M4. The Toros Copolla is not a close clone, but identical in almost every way to the Benelli.) I had to raise my eye, but little, and enjoyed the SIG Romeo/Toros T4 combination.

Top down view of the SIG Romeo MSR red dot sight
The SIG Romeo MSR is fairly narrow in cross-section, allowing it easily mount near other furniture and optics.

AR-15 Testing

I also mounted the SIG Romeo MSR on a Springfield Saint rifle. With the red dot, it is important to shoot with both eyes open. At 10­–25 yards, the SIG Romeo is brilliantly fast on target. The rifle handles well, and the SIG red dot offers excellent hit probability.

Experimentation with the red dot size will lead to the sweet spot for accuracy in each light condition. I found the dimmer settings worked well in dim light — for my eyes — offering a solid aiming point. More and more, I find myself needing a brighter setting to overcome brighter light and outdoor conditions.

Moving to longer ranges, it wasn’t difficult to punish the X-ring at a long 50 yards. Settling into a rest, using a solid rifle rest, I fired several three-shot groups at 100 yards.

The Springfield Saint 5.56mm rifle is a solid 1.5-inch MOA accurate rifle at 100 yards. With a red dot, the primary advantage is speed and firing with both eyes open. At 100 yards, I was able to get into the groove and fire a singular 2-inch group — most were a little larger.

At 200 yards, the red dot will subtend six inches of the target, but that is a long shot. You are not helpless with a red dot that you are familiar with, but that is a long shot. For most of us, firing quickly at man-sized targets at 50 yards is what the red dot is about. The occasional 100-yard shot isn’t that difficult.

Bob Campbell in a home defense stance holding an AR-15 rifle with SIG Romeo MSR red dot sight with lunch boxes in the background
House clearing with a red dot is simple enough — locate the target and drop the plane of sight slightly to the aiming point.

The SIG Romeo MSR is a budget-friendly red dot that delivers plenty of quality for the price, and is among the best choices for getting your feet wet in the red dot game.

The SIG Romeo MSR red dot sight is a bargain at any price. However, when the quality is considered, the Romeo MSR can be considered a steal at under $150.

  • SIG Romeo MSR red dot sight showing the right/left adjustment knob
  • Bob Campbell in a home defense stance holding an AR-15 rifle with SIG Romeo MSR red dot sight with lunch boxes in the background
  • SIG Romeo MSR red dot sight showing the right/left adjustment knob and adjustment tool
  • Bob Campbell in a home defense stance holding an AR-15 rifle with SIG Romeo MSR red dot sight with a blue stripe flag in the background
  • profile view of the SIG Romeo MSR showing the exposed turret adjustment
  • SIG Sauer Romeo MSR red dot sight mounted atop an AR-15 Picatinny rail
  • Picatinny rail with a mounted SIG Romeo MSR red dot sight
  • SIG Romeo MSR red dot sight with the lens covers open
  • SIG Romeo MSR red dot sight right quartering
  • SIG Romeo MSR red dot sight left profile
  • Close up of the Picatinny rail with a mounted SIG Romeo MSR red dot sight
  • SIG Sauer Romeo MSR red dot sight mounted atop an AR-15 Picatinny rail showing part of the read BUIS
  • Top down view of the SIG Romeo MSR red dot sight
  • Man's hand holding the SIG Romeo MSR red dot sight showing the minimalist size
  • Bob Campbell in a home defense stance holding an AR-15 rifle with SIG Romeo MSR red dot sight
  • AR-15 rifle with a SIG Romeo MSR red dot sight mounted on top

About the Author:

Bob Campbell

Bob Campbell’s primary qualification is a lifelong love of firearms, writing, and scholarship. He holds a degree in Criminal Justice but is an autodidact in matters important to his readers. Campbell considers unarmed skills the first line of defense and the handgun the last resort. (He gets it honest- his uncle Jerry Campbell is in the Boxer’s Hall of Fame.)

Campbell has authored well over 6,000 articles columns and reviews and fourteen books for major publishers including Gun Digest, Skyhorse and Paladin Press. Campbell served as a peace officer and security professional and has made hundreds of arrests and been injured on the job more than once.

He has written curriculum on the university level, served as a lead missionary, and is desperately in love with Joyce. He is training his grandchildren not to be snowflakes. At an age when many are thinking of retirement, Bob is working a 60-hour week and awaits being taken up in a whirlwind many years in the future.


Published in
Black Belt Magazine
Combat Handguns
Handloader
Rifle Magazine
Handguns
Gun Digest
Gun World
Tactical World
SWAT Magazine
American Gunsmith
Gun Tests Magazine
Women and Guns
The Journal Voice of American Law Enforcement
Police Magazine
Law Enforcement Technology
The Firearms Instructor
Tactical World
Concealed Carry Magazine
Concealed Carry Handguns



Books published

Holsters for Combat and Concealed Carry
The 1911 Automatic Pistol
The Handgun in Personal Defense
The Illustrated Guide to Handgun Skills
The Hunter and the Hunted
The Gun Digest Book of Personal Defense
The Gun Digest Book of the 1911
The Gun Digest Book of the 1911 second edition
Dealing with the Great Ammunition Shortage
Commando Gunsmithing
The Ultimate Book of Gunfighting
Preppers Guide to Rifles
Preppers Guide to Shotguns
The Accurate Handgun
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 (4)

  1. I bought one for my magtech ar pistol I liked it so much I bought another one for my ar9 pistol was able to hit a 12″gong target about 75% of the time at 100yds the other 25% was me wobbling

  2. I have one on an HK416 .22 LR version, while my KAC has an Eotech XPS2-2. Also used a friend’s Romeo 5 on a CMMG Banshee. Comparatively, for recreational use, I can’t say I’d chose the others over the MSR. For the money, I agree that you can’t beat the MSR! I’ll be purchasing another for an upcoming pistol build, hopefully on deep discount during Black Friday sales.

  3. That nice that it fits on a popgun ar, but will it mount on a 1943 Mosen Nagant with a 4,5 inch rail mounted where the rear tangent sight was and positioned rearwards?

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