Back in the day during my early 20s, you either drop your wallet for an Aimpoint or Eotech, or you live with a $50 Tasco that flickered with every shot, lost zero after a few hundred rounds, and ate batteries like an obese at a grand buffet. There was no middle ground. Rebranded Holosun optics have addressed a big pain point in the market nobody else wanted to touch. If not for Chinese cheap labor costs and their rigged currency, such that the shit tier and top tier optics are all what was available, a whole lot of rifles out there wouldn’t be able to sport optics.
Why did I mention Holosun when this is a Sig Romeo 5 review? That’s because the Sig Romeo 5 is manufactured from a Chinese Holosun factory with a Sig Sauer logo labeled on it.
A friend of mine who work closely with Chinese manufacturers revealed to me that most lower-priced red dot sights today are made by a couple of manufacturers group in China. This Sig Romeo 5 is basically a twin brother to the more expensive Holosun HS403GL.
The situation is similar to sport shoes industry (think Nike and Adidas). If you want to market your own sport shoes with your name on them, you can basically hire an OEM (Original Equipment Manufacturer) to handle your manufacturing task. They would present you with a menu of options/features to choose from, such as material, padding and design. Your desired brand name will be slapped on the end result. In these cases, rather than manufacturing prowess, brands compete on the understanding of what customers want. Choosing a competitive OEM manufacturer obviously plays a crucial role to the success of this strategy.
Sig Sauer Romeo 5 – An Overview
This Sig Romeo 5 is a 2 MOA reflex sight powered by a single CR2032 battery. Battery compartment is located on the right hand side of the optic, meaning no need to unmount to replace battery. Plus and minus push-buttons are designed to control its 10 intensity settings, of which 2 lowest settings are night vision compatible. Motion activation function put the optic to sleep mode after 2 minutes of idle and turning the red dot on when motion is detected. This Motion activation can be manually override to completely turn off the red dot, which saves battery when the red dot is unused in a bumpy car or truck. Picatinny, weaver and every Aimpoint Micro type mount are applicable with this Sig Romeo 5.
After putting it to 1/3 co-witness on my AR15 with the included mount, I went to the range to test it out. Note that I didn’t feel much added weight on my AR15 since the Sig Romeo is rather light (only 5.1oz).
Performance Test at the Range
It was a bright and sunny at the outdoor range that day, yet at 8 (out of 10) intensity setting, the Sig Romeo 5 gives a very nice crisp 2 MOA dot that does not starburst at higher intensity settings. Glass is plenty clear such that I was satisfied with my initial impression and the red dot was easily sighted in.
For this test I went with 50,100 and 200 yards target. I was able to get hits at 200 yards off a bench, 3 out of 5 inside a 3″ circle. I was satisfied with the performance and man sized targets would be no problem with this Sig Romeo 5 at that distance.
My buddy had a 3x Vortex Spitfire Prism which worked well and could see more of what you were aiming at, but not a huge difference for 200 yards target. Thus I’ll not be adding a 3x magnifier to this particular setup of mine.
Motion activation feature works well for those who love gadgets. The 2 minutes sleep mode work as advertised, and any slight movement wakes the red dot up such that I don’t experience any lag and it retains its last used intensity setting. Note that you should manually turn it off to override this Motion activation when in moving vehicle to preserve battery life.
After 8 months and 600 rounds through the rifle, I have experienced 0 POI (Point of Impact) shift. I’m happy with the Sig Romeo 5’s durability at this price point. 5 years warranty on electronics is decent.
For those who want a more rigorous test, check out this video where the Sig Romeo 5 is tested with submersion, freeze, drop and shotgun test.
Motion Activation Sounds Good on Paper
Indeed, many people buy this Sig Romeo 5 citing its motion activation feature. But if you logically compare this to another very popular Holosun rebrand of similar quality, Primary Arms MD-ADS, all Motion activation benefits cease to exist. (Note that the PA MD-ADS has the same housing, controls, dot crispness and glass compared to the Sig Romeo 5.)
There are 2 benefits of Motion activation feature on a reflex sight.
- Preservation of battery when idle
- Easy activation
Preservation of battery when idle
With the Sig Romeo 5, you can attain the quoted 50,000 hours of battery life only if you use it seldomly, with very low intensity setting. 2,000-5,000 hours battery life is a more realistic expectation. Talk about marketing gimmick.
That’s not the case with Primary Arms MD-ADS as you get real 50,000 hours battery life on an “always-on, medium intensity” basis. Mine works well over 3 years on a single battery. Plus I know loads of people whose MD-ADS lasts more than 4 years with a single battery.
Combat is always unpredictable and being able to use your sight at a moment notice without the need to fumble on an On/Off switch could be essential to your life. The same can be said for a LEO having to quickly deploy his patrol rifle from his vehicle while under fire or a civilian snatching his home defense gun to protect his family. Be it a military servicemen, LEO, or civilian, his/her red dot sight need to be ready when the user is least ready.
With regards to easy activation aspect, given the much longer expected battery life, Primary Arms always-on is ever-ready and easier, or at least as easy as a perfectly functioning motion activated red dot sight.
Thus Sig Romeo 5’s motion activation offers no benefit over this PA MD-ADS, but only serve as another possible fail point for the optic. My life doesn’t need additional suspense on whether the motion sensors still work in the middle of a fight or a building entry scenario.
Lifetime warranty is definitely better than 5 years warranty
Sig Romeo 5 offers 5 years warranty, as opposed to just 3 years for Primary Arms MD-ADS. But recently, Primary Arms came up with a newer, rotary dial version called Primary Arms MD-RB-AD which has clearer glass and lifetime warranty.
Warranty can be viewed as a promise that the company will take care of you when things turn sour. On the other hand, it is also how long manufacturers expect their products to last. Note that Primary Arms is also known to stand behind their products with top-notch customer service.
PA MD-RB-AD is the better option
The only cons of PA MD-RB-AD compared to Sig Romeo 5 is its higher price tag. But if you think long-term that you will benefit from the red dot for over 5 or 10 years, you’d see that the $30 marked up price is totally worth it. I wholeheartedly recommend this optic over the Sig Romeo 5.
Sig Sauer Romeo 5 is a performing budget reflex sight for the price. However, I believe that both the Primary Arms MD-RB-AD is the better deal for you due to superior battery life and warranty.
|✓ Clear glass plates||✗ Shorter battery life than peers|
|✓ Bright dot perception||✗ 5 Years warranty|
|✓ Motion Activated Illumination||✗ Does not offer other reticle options|
|✓ Affordable for the build quality|
|✓ Durable considering the light weight|
Alternate Red Dots
1. Primary Arms MD-RB-AD
Many people compare the Sig Romeo 5 red dot with this Primary Arms red dot.
- Better battery life
- No Motion Activated feature
- Rotary knob brightness control
- Slightly better glass and dot crispness
- Lifetime warranty
2. Vortex Strikefire 2
A 4 MOA red/green reflex sight with lifetime warranty
- 4 MOA for fast target acquisition
- Auto shut-off after 12 hours, no Motion Activation feature
- Red/green dot option
- 6,000 hours of battery life
- Lifetime warranty