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By Charlie Gao,The National Interest
As militaries and police agencies increasingly see the benefits of micro red dots on pistols, the race is on between companies to produce increasingly affordable and reliable pistol dot optics. While Trijicon is currently dominating the market with their RM06 Ruggedized Miniature Reflex (RMR) sight, which has won the majority of military contracts, Sig Sauer recently released a sight that may challenge the RMR—the ROMEOZero.
The ROMEOZero appears to be Sig’s first attempt to create a pistol red dot that’s “different”. Their earlier Romeo 1 pistol red dot was relatively standard, simply another variant on the same “standard” pistol red dot design with a standard downward curving metal housing. The ROMEOZero replaces the metal housing with a plastic one, integrated rear sights into the plastic housing, and a longer battery life than the Romeo 1. The sight is also cheaper, priced at 199.99 to the Romeo 1’s 359.99.
From this, it appears that the ROMEOZero could be the next big dot sight. However, the design of the sight might pose problems. The Trijicon RMR is was accepted by so many militaries because it’s unique upward curving lens housing allows the housing to absorb shocks effectively without cracking the lens. When Trijicon made their new competition-focused Specialized Reflex Optic (SRO) that featured the regular lens housing, they were careful not to advertise it as ready for duty use. Actual drop tests revealed that the SRO would indeed crack the glass.
Given that the ROMEOZero’s housing is plastic, it’s unlikely that the sight will be able to survive the same level of shocks as the RMR. One possible solution would be to implement a polymer lens as the Shield RMS uses, but current reporting appears to suggest that the ROMEOZero’s lens is glass. The ROMEOZero is said to use a “SpectraCoat HD” lens in a TFB article, and a cursory search of Sig Sauer’s optic catalog suggests that SpectraCoat and HD apply to varieties of glass.
However, the other features appear to integrate well with Sig Sauer’s pistols. The housing rear sight of the ROMEOZero the provides a backup iron sight on pistols that would otherwise have no iron sight like the P365XL or P320 X-series. The longer battery life is also a plus and could make the ROMEOZero as a good competitor to the Aimpoint ACRO micro dot, which is also said to have a long battery life as per the Aimpoint tradition.
If the ROMEOZero proves to durable and reliable, it could dominate the market due to its long battery life, low weight, and low price point. However, given Sig Sauer’s recent reputation for products on the civilian market, the ROMEOZero is likely going to be “good enough” for casual use, but not duty ready. It likely will be marketed as the go-to sight for those looking for an optic for their P320 X-series or P365XL due to its integrated rear sight. However, the chances of it unseating the Trijicon RMR as the primary duty micro red dot are slim.
The Aimpoint ACRO and Shield RMS seem to be the only real options challenging the Trijicon RMR, as both have large “ruggedization” features to compete with the RMR’s housing design. The ACRO features a full tube with an enclosed lens, and the RMS features a polymer lens that is far harder to crack.
Charlie Gao studied political and computer science at Grinnell College and is a frequent commentator on defense and national security issues.