The market of 2019 is awash with a plethora of miniaturized red dot optics, from an assortment of companies. Some run the gambit of lower cost, up to the higher-end options that have been mainstays for the last decade. The topic of today is the offering from SIG, the Romeo 5 red dot.
SIG has been a premier company for nearly 100 years, producing rifles and pistols, however, the last decade has been their emergence into optics and tactical gear. The Romeo 5 is one of their many optic options, and based on my research and observations, appears to be a hot seller. Is it any good?
What Is The SIG Romeo 5?
The SIG Romeo 5 is a miniature red dot, made for use on well, anything that you can mount it to. It has a 2 MOA red dot, with a 20mm objective window, and weighs in at roughly 5.1 ounces. Included with the optic are two mounts, a lower mount for use on guns that don't require risers, and a 1.41" height mount, (roughly absolute co-witness). The Romeo 5 takes CR2032 batteries, a standard use battery on optics of this nature. Battery life is advertised at close to 40,000 hours, which is similar to its contemporaries.
I can't talk about the Romeo 5 without talking about the Aimpoint T series. Over the last few years, there has been a renaissance of budget optics that are "not Aimpoint T1s". Vortex, Primary Arms, Holosun, and SIG all make 2 MOA mini red dots that are the same size as the T1, but at a quarter of the price. This is not meant to be a comparison of a $150 optic to one that is $600, but this inspiration is quite good. The T1 is great, and emulation is the greatest form of flattery.
Controls On The SIG Romeo 5
The controls of the Romeo 5 are pretty intuitive. There are two buttons atop the optic, a brightness up, and brightness down setting. The windage and elevation adjustments are covered with protective caps, that also double as flathead bits to zero the optic. Each click on the turrets moves the dot a half MOA, and the battery compartment sits on the right side of the optic. This is pretty standard but allows for ease of zeroing and installing the battery on the optic.
There are 10 brightness settings on the Romeo 5, 8 daytime ones, and two for use with night vision. The dot is fairly clear and crisp, even when the brightness is cranked up. Part of the long battery life is what SIG calls the "MOTAC", or "Motion Activated Illumination". If the optic does "sense" movement for a minute, it will shut itself off. The moment that it is jostled, it kicks back on to the previous brightness setting. This is a neat setting, but some worry about the effectiveness of this feature.
The Romeo 5 has all of the standard features that I'd come to expect, along with a few bells and whistles. How did it hold up during my testing process?
Is The SIG Romeo 5 Good?
During the testing process, the Romeo 5 was mounted to one of my AR builds. I used a single drop of blue Loctite on the threads for the screw that mounts the upper. I also kept the factory-applied threadlocker on the four screws that attach the optic to the mount.
The duration of the testing period was about a month, with roughly 1,800 rounds being fired through the gun while the Romeo 5 was attached. Zeroing the optic was a simple process. I expended about 15 rounds at 50 yards getting the Romeo 5 where I wanted it, and the zero did not shift during the testing period.
Dot clarity on the Romeo 5 is quite good. Full disclosure, I do have perfect vision, so what my eyes perceive isn't the same for everyone. The 2 MOA dot was crisp at most settings and only bloomed a little when the brightness was brought to the max. On lower settings in dark conditions, the dot was great, and when a WML was activated, it was still bright enough to be seen. I tend to crank the brightness up when using my optics outside, and again, short of having it at max, the dot was precise.
The MOTAC feature worked as advertised too. I never grabbed my rifle and had the dot fail me, so it works well there. I set the rifle on a table where I could still see through the optic and waited for it to shut off. When it did, I waited about 30 seconds, then shook the table the rifle was on. Sure enough, that light jostle was able to kick the optic back on. This feature is cool if the gun you have the Romeo 5 on is stationary a lot (like my home defense ARs), but if you are mobile often, the feature might be less effective.
The SIG Romeo 5 Mount
While the optic is quite good, the mount is another story.
Why don't I like the mount? To be frank, the Romeo 5 is far better than the mount. The mount feels cheap and does not inspire confidence that should match that of the optic itself. The mounts used by SIG for the Romeo 5 is very similar to that used by Holosun on their dots, which have equally cheap mounts. I managed to have a Holosun bit driver break off inside a mount back over the winter. It required drilling to remove from my AR, which sucked. The locking screw and tab that hold the mount to the rail a smaller than what I'd like to see too.
Aside from the iffy quality of mount, the height of the Romeo 5's mount is kinda goofy. It is slightly taller than absolute co-witness but still shorter than a lower 1/3. I really didn't like that. I've been using lower 1/3 optics for about 5 years, and the absolute-ish height didn't float my boat.
Needless to say, I can't recommend the mount that comes with the Romeo 5 (or the Holosuns for that matter). Mine didn't die, but that is a matter of when not if. However, this is where the T1 imitation is best.
The Romeo 5 should work with most mounts made to fit the Aimpoint T1. Your budget is the limit here, so the real flaw of the Romeo 5 can be remedied with a new mount. There is a myriad of mount options out there, such as from LaRue, ADM, Scalarworks, or what I chose, Geissele.
Although the optic ballparks between $120-140, plan on spending a little more if you want to have a quality mount.
Would I Recommend The SIG Romeo 5?
This is a solid optic. I had no issues during the testing process. Although this was not a torture test, but rather a standard use evaluation, the Romeo 5 has passed well. The dot works, has great features with good controls, and is reasonably priced. The mount is not great, but that can be fixed easily enough.
This is a fairly easy recommendation. Although this is no Aimpoint T1, it is like 98% of an Aimpoint T1. This will suit most peoples' needs, but if you're looking for professional use, stick with Aimpoint.
I plan on using the Romeo 5 as time progresses, and will update this review as time goes on. If failures occur, they will be posted here.