Product Review: Bushnell TRS-25 red dot sight

EDIT: As I seem to have used the wrong designation for the red dot (TRW-25 vs. the actual, correct TRS-25), I boogered up a few things. Many thanks to Rooikat for picking up my boo-boo. The article has been edited to what is correct. A list of the Bushnell Trophy Red Dot scopes can be found here if you don’t feel like reading the article again. :) -TRW

 

So as I mentioned a couple weeks ago, I replaced the aging ADCO Ranger red dot optic on my AR-15 with a brand new Bushnell TRS-25 red dot. The ADCO was doing its job admirably, but it’s an older, klunkier generation of red dot, and the newer ones that are coming down the pike are more battery-efficient, smaller, lighter, and tougher.

 

Bushnell TRW-25 on AR-15.

Bushnell TRW-25 on AR-15.

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I had considered others, such as the SIG Sauer SigTac mini red dot, but as I compared features, it was clear the Bushnell was a better bang for the buck. Speaking of bucks, the Bushnell will set you back a mere $95. There’s a lot of good stuff that comes for that $95:

-Coated lenses for better light transmission

-Long battery life (3000 hours on the #7 brightness setting – That’s almost 18 weeks of continuous-on, folks)

-Takes CR2032 batteries, which are readily available at any grocery store. Hell, in a pinch I can steal the ones out of the wife’s digital scale. Lord knows she doesn’t use it much these days.

-Less than 4oz. That was a biggie for me.

-Comes with a nicely made riser block that brings the optic up to a comfortable level on flat-topped railed rifles and shotguns.

-Can be used on anything that has a Picatinny Rail or Weaver-type base. Rifle, shotgun, handgun.

-Shockproof, waterproof to 10 feet, recoil proof. Or so they say.

-3MOA dot, meaning that the dot covers a 3″ circle at 100 yards, allowing reasonably precise shot placement at range.

-Comes with decent rubber scope covers.

-11-position rheostat that allows different brightness settings.

-Unlimited eye relief, meaning you can put it as close to your eye as possible, or waaaaay out at the end of the barrel – you’ll still be able to see through the lenses and use the optic.

 

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I know many of you are groaning, and I kinda do too when adding battery-powered accessories to my SHTF guns. So my goal was to purchase something that was tough and usable, with readily available batteries (check!), yet not terribly expensive so I don’t have to feel bad when I can’t get or find batteries anymore and I have to jettison it and rely on the back-up sights. My mindset is that I’d like to have the optics advantage while I can. In a bad situation, any advantage helps, right?

 

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Mounting the red dot was a cinch – the riser block slides onto the Picatinny rail, and gets tightened down with a large thumb screw . Snug it with a wrench if possible. But not TOO tight – you don’t want to have the extra stuff hanging on the rifle, useless when the battery supply goes, because you can’t find a damn ratchet to loosen the screw. The red dot then mounts onto the riser block via a supplied allen wrench. If you were mounting the TRS-25 onto a handgun, say, you’d probably want to keep the riser block in the parts bin; it’s not necessary on a platform like that. With the riser block, the red dot “co-witnesses” the front sight, meaning the red dot aligns with the top of the front sight blade. (I actually use that as a good means to get a new red dot on paper before sighting it in – look through the optic with it on, then adjust the dot using the adjustment turrets until it just rests on top of the front sight blade. Fine-tune from there via live fire.)

 

The optic comes with a battery, and they are easily changed via a cover that unscrews out of the face of the rheostat. It comes slotted, so you can use a quarter or screwdriver or knife blade to perform this task. Very field-friendly. The battery cover and adjustment turrets feature rubber O-ring gaskets to keep water and junk out of the innards of the scope. Good stuff, smart idea.

 

At the range, the TRS-25 was a breeze to use, and performed admirably. There was minimal dot “flare”, meaning the dot stayed nice and crisp when viewing it when set to the appropriate brightness level. I found that even in direct daylight, the dot set at “6″ was more than bright enough to view on target. The adjustments were crisp, with an audible and tangible “click” when moved. Accuracy was fine, once I snugged everything down.

 

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All in all, I am terribly pleased with this purchase. It handily accomplishes everything I need it to do, while weighing practically nothing. I have a couple extra batteries in the grip compartment of my Magpul MOE grip, so I have a bit of backup life once the current battery runs out. I’m good to go with a great product.

 

What optics do you run on your SHTF guns? Let’s hear it!

 

Stay safe!

-TRW

 

18 comments… add one

  • j.r. guerra in s. tx. September 18, 2013, 7:15 am

    Hmmm, I’m planning to install optics for a nighttime ‘hog gun’ (legal in Texas) and this might be just the thing. The firearm is a Savage 24F Predator in 30-30 Win / 12 gauge and the ranges will be inside 100 yards. Taking a fine bead with irons at night is tough without a light. The conditions are just about perfect for this sight, judging by the description.

    Thanks for the review Road Warrier.

    Reply
  • Ray September 18, 2013, 7:41 am

    None at all. Optics(reflex) take batteries. Batteries are the first thing to go in SHTF . I want things that still work after it all falls down. The only Optic I have on any rifle is an old “super sniper” (SWFA) rigged (not mounted, I’v been shooting with the Lyman’s) for my 442 and an USMC “issue” scope on my M-40a1.

    Reply
    • Road Warrior September 18, 2013, 8:57 pm

      I KNEW you’d say that, Ray. ;)

      Reply
      • PBDVA June 20, 2015, 7:09 pm

        What a silly attitude. I just don’t understand “purists”. They give up so much just to remain “true” to their concepts and theories of how things should be.

        You say that you will not use an optic that is battery powered because “batteries are the first thing to go in SHTF” scenario. Maybe they are but are you really going to forgo all the advantages of an optic just because at some point its battery will die and you might not be able to replace it? The military uses optics these days because they give the shooter an advantage in a firefight. Why deliberately deprive yourself of an advantage now to avoid what you perceive to be an issue that will not happen until some point in the future?

        The battery on an Aimpoint will last you at least three or more years. Even if you can’t find that scarce replacement battery, that is at least three years of having an advantage over just regular iron sights. An optic allows for faster target acquisition (even more so as you get older). That is even truer in low light or night engagement situations when iron sights might not even be visible. Having an optic can mean the difference between having to illuminate or not illuminate your target with a white light and give away your position. Do you not have a light mounted on your rifle either? A light uses batteries and it will go through batteries faster than an optic will.

        Yes, most SHTF scenarios like Rodney King/Baltimore riots, Katrina/Andrew or any other type of civil or natural disasters are fairly short term affairs. If you don’t have a couple of spare batteries you might have bigger issues. As for a total societal collapse that might last for years or even decades, an optic will still give you an advantage for that first critical few months or year before it runs out of juice. And when it does run out of juice and you can’t find a spare battery? Just take it off the rifle and use the iron sights!

        Reply
  • shawn September 18, 2013, 8:35 am

    LUCID HD7. On my AR. Works good for me. Runs on a single AAA battery. Which I can charge with my Voltaic solar panel and the USB battery charger.
    Has 4 different reticles and both auto or manual brightness. $189 on amazon.

    Thanks for the review bro.

    Reply
    • Road Warrior September 18, 2013, 8:57 pm

      I like the sound of that! I’m definitely going to look into that LUCID. How is the battery life?

      Reply
  • Steve suffering in NJ September 18, 2013, 1:20 pm

    None been looking though. Good review thanks for the info. Currently use Krebbs peep with a trijicon front night site.

    Reply
  • Rooikat September 18, 2013, 2:29 pm

    Did this sight come with the AR riser?

    This looks like a nice one. I have been looking for an AR dot for quite awhile now.

    Reply
  • Brian427 September 18, 2013, 3:10 pm

    Not sure what you are planning to do with this until SHTF, but if you have any plans on using it (or any other firearm for self defense) mount a light with a pressure switch on it. I know battery issues again, but it’s always a good idea to be able to identify your target before firing and carrying a light in your hand is difficult. Try clearing your house at night, although I would recommend a handgun instead of a long gun.

    Reply
    • Road Warrior September 18, 2013, 8:59 pm

      Brian, I have a light mounted on my SIG P220, which is my bedside gun. However, you’re right; that is the eventual plan. Going mount probably a Streamlight TLR-1 on my AR and my 870 when I get the funds.

      Reply
  • Budro September 18, 2013, 5:10 pm

    TRW-25 or TRS-25?

    Reply
    • SD3 September 18, 2013, 8:01 pm

      Pretty sure the awesome TRS-25 co-witnesses perfectly with the CX4 carbine!

      Reply
      • Road Warrior September 18, 2013, 9:00 pm

        Sorry for the confusion, it is actually the TRS-25. My mistake; I corrected the article.

        Reply
  • unobservant rooikat September 18, 2013, 5:25 pm

    I just answered my own question by reading closer, and going onto amazon.

    Nice AR, by the way. I like the fore-end. I have not seen that style before.

    Reply
    • 3rdMan September 18, 2013, 8:32 pm

      It is a Magpul forend unobservant rooikat.

      I run AimPoint PRO on my ARs

      Reply
    • Road Warrior September 18, 2013, 9:02 pm

      Thanks, Rooikat! I did a write-up on it a little while ago, maybe a week, two weeks? Anyway, here’s the link (at the end of the post) that covers my build. I DID just add the Magpul fore end a couple days ago; I really like it. I haven’t mounted any rails on it yet, but it’s in the works. :)

      Reply
  • Wild Weasel September 19, 2013, 5:12 am

    I use a Vortex SPARC great optic for the price set it to run irons through it. One of my goals is that I can make it home so I will every advantage I can get when it means getting back to the family. If a guy was going to add a light to his rifle I would give Inforce a look its a little more low profile and than a stream light. I like the stream light have 2 one on the .45 bed side and one on the go bag on a tactical 9. Back to the rifle train with both sights iron/red dot then your always ready either way.

    Reply
  • Michael September 20, 2013, 4:18 pm

    I have a Burris speed dot that’s set up so that I can see my iron sights though if it’s turned off or the battery runs out.

    Reply

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