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“It’s a tough piece of equipment”: A cop’s review of a miniature reflex sight

Trijicon’s rugged closed reflex sight stays secure to the weapon thanks to a unique capstan screw-mounting system

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The author takes Trijicon’s RCR sight to the range for trial.

Warren Wilson

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By Warren Wilson for Police1 BrandFocus

Mini red dot sights (MRDS) have been around for a lot longer than most of us think. There are reports that they first appeared on the competition scene in the ’70s, but only within the last decade have they become common in the military and law enforcement worlds. The older models were generally not rugged enough to withstand the abuse of duty carry.

The modern era of MRDS is generally accepted to have begun in 2009 with the Trijicon RMR (Ruggedized Miniature Reflex) sight. The RMR was among the first to be accepted in law enforcement as robust enough for serious work. It was awarded Optic of the Year by Firearms Marketing Group that year. In 2014, at SHOT (Shooting Hunting Outdoor Trade) Show, holster companies started coming on board with the idea and producing duty holsters for cops who wanted to implement carry optics on their pistols. Ten years later, it’s quite common to see optics on a cop’s pistols due – in no small part – to Trijicon.

This is Trijicon’s first ruggedized closed reflex (RCR) sight

Trijicon’s latest pistol sight offering is the Ruggedized Closed Reflex (RCR) sight, their first closed emitter optic. If you’re unfamiliar, red dot optics use an emitter to project the dot (or halo or both) onto the lens. As you might expect, a closed optic’s emitter is inside the housing, which ensures nothing can come between your optic and the emitter, such as rain, snow or even mud if the pistol is dropped. Though it is slightly larger and heavier, many folks strongly prefer this design.

My hands-on review: It’s cop-proof

Trijicon sent me an RCR for this review. Unsurprisingly, it’s a tough piece of equipment. It’s waterproof to 66 feet. The 7076 aluminum construction and patented RMR shape help absorb recoil and shock and divert force away from the glass. Trijicon is constantly ruggedizing their electronics and battery contacts. The RCR has the very latest iteration of that technology.

What all that means is – like all Trijicon sights – it’s cop-proof. Trijicon has always understood law enforcement officers’ glorious ability to break equipment and builds their products thusly. I also appreciated two – and only two – large buttons on the RCR. They’re easy to manipulate and control all activation and brightness functions. Simplicity is king when it comes to lifesaving equipment.

How installation went

At first blush, I thought installation of the RCR would be a difficult process for my lanky, arthritic fingers. I was pleasantly surprised to the contrary. I put the RCR on my Walther PDP using the innovative capstan screw system which prevents over-torque, cross threading and screw-head stripping. The process was actually easier, though a few minutes longer, than most open emitter optics I’ve mounted. I say that because of the number of mounting screws I’ve stripped or broken. Screws and screw heads, particularly, are the weakest point of an optic. I just can’t see the capstan interface ever having that problem.

Trial by Live Fire

Gear reviews are great excuses to go shoot. While working the range for my PD this week, I took the opportunity to put a few rounds through the PDP with the RCR mounted. Closed emitter optics are big. So much so that the term “mailbox sights” has been attributed to them. I don’t see that as a negative, especially for a duty pistol. The large, multicoated lenses helped me pick up the dot effortlessly. That said, the RCR has the same deck height as the RMR for iron sight cowitnessing.

Nuts and Bolts

Something everyone wanted in pistol-mounted optics was the elimination of the need to remount the equipment in order to change the battery. The RCR uses a top-mounted 2032 battery compartment, which means you never have to remove the optic simply to remove the battery.

The advertised battery life on the RCR is an incredible six years. I still recommend officers change the battery on their optics annually, but it’s certainly comforting to know there’s still gas in the tank if you fail to do so.

With the introduction of the RCR, Trijicon proves they are still leading the industry in American-made pistol optics. If you’re looking to add or replace a pistol optic for your duty or plainclothes carry pistol, check out the Trijicon Ruggedized Closed Reflex.

Warren Wilson is a captain, training commander and rangemaster with the Enid Police Department in Oklahoma. He is a former SWAT team leader, current firearms instructor and writer. He has been a full-time law enforcement officer since 1996.