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SIG Sauer’s ROMEO-M17: The future of the Red Dot revolution is here

This optic isn’t just designed to look good; it is designed to be put to work in the toughest conditions and relentlessly deliver

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On January 15 and 16 this year, the Clark County Shooting complex in Las Vegas, Nevada became the temporary home for SIG Sauer leaders, product managers, professional shooters and academy instructors.

Guests were invited to this two-day event ahead of SHOT Show 2023 to get an up-close look at new products, be the first to hear about new programs like ROSE firearms training and the SHOOT SIG competition; and of course, get hands-on with current and future products and shoot them!

One of the highlights for me was getting a chance to shoot with the newest SIG pistol optic, the ROMEO-M17.

The ROMEO-M17 was designed from the ground up for the SIG Sauer MHS pistol, and with professional users in mind. The initial design has been purpose-built as a custom fit for the M17 and M18 pistols though there are plans in the works for a commercially available version and/or potential slide upgrades for existing 320s. Don’t worry, I hear they are planning to make more than 1! When the time comes, you’ll be able to get as many as you want. There are a great number of features right out of the gate that made this optic a huge draw for law enforcement attendees in Vegas.


The optic has been designed to be tough, I mean really tough. I use a ROMEO-2 every day, which is the sturdiest optic I have ever owned; it stands up to significant daily use, punishment and tens of thousands of rounds without skipping a beat. But the ROMEO-M17 is built to be even tougher.

A fully enclosed, sealed and gas-purged optical system means that all internal components are protected from the elements – dust, dirt, or rain – nothing will interrupt the reticle. The ROMEO-M17 has been tested beyond the metrics of the IPX 7 rating.

SIG has designed a flexure system for windage and elevation adjustments that means fewer moving parts, and therefore a more robust unit. The rugged housing has been constructed from thick 7075 Aluminum (google it, it’s tough!) specifically to protect the lens from shocks and drops, and to allow the optic to be racked off objects/surfaces. This optic isn’t just designed to look good; it is designed to be put to work in the toughest conditions and relentlessly deliver.


One of the biggest advantages of the ROMEO-M17 design is its low deck height. The optic sits so low and is so well integrated into the slide that the original front and rear sight co witnesses right through the optic. There is no new presentation angle for the end user to accommodate. The way the gun is presented for the original sights to align with the target is identical to the presentation needed for the integrated optic. The tunnel-like design of the housing aids in the precision of that presentation too. One of the prominent training needs when a shooter transitions from iron sights to an optic is learning a new presentation of the handgun; the ROMEO-M17 design eliminates that challenge. The training time needed for end users to learn how to transition from iron sights to an optic will be significantly reduced.

The reticle can be adjusted with the push of a button to immediately meet the desired setup for each shooter, with three reticle options. The first option is a combination of a 2 MOA dot surrounded by a 32 MOA circle, or you can select just the 2 MOA dot, or just the 32 MOA circle. In addition to that level of end-user choice, there are also 15 brightness settings, 12 daylight and 3 night vision.


The ROMEO-M17 was designed from the ground up, it’s not an adaptation of something else. This groundbreaking optic is another example of the SIG teams inspiring original thinking and the innovative industry-leading approach they take to design. The optic is secured from underneath through an existing hole in the M17 slide used to attach the rear sight. This unique mounting approach has a great number of benefits, firstly the security of the optic attaching to the slide; there are four points of contact providing tremendous security. The optic toes into the slide, has two lugs off set diagonally on the base, and the single mounting screw tightens down to a massive 40-inch-pounds!

Another unique element of the housing design is the gas deflector on the front, positioned just below the lens. Anyone who has run a pistol-mounted optic, even in a training environment will have encountered the grime build up on the front of the lens thanks to gas and dirt from the ejection port. That gas and grime problem is not something you’re going to encounter with the ROMEO-M17. The gas deflector will redirect gas and dirt away from the lens keeping it cleaner and operational longer.

Regarding lenses and maximizing vision, SIG has tested and selected its lens coatings for optimal light transmittance in conjunction with night vision devices, while simultaneously allowing incredible daytime brightness and clarity.

As with all its optics, SIG has chosen premium aspherical lenses that have zero magnification and zero distortion. SIG lenses have far less parallax than some of the sub-optimal low-cost options out there that produce distortion, especially at the edges of the lens. There’s not an aspect of this optic that hasn’t been built taking into consideration the end user and the real world of work where this is built to go.

The side-mounted compartment means the optic will never need to be removed when the time comes to exchange the battery. Changing the battery isn’t something you’re going to be doing too often either, as the 2032 battery has the potential to run for years without being changed. On medium settings, the optic will perform for a minimum of 20,000 hours. That impressive run time isn’t even considering the SIG MOTAC system, which is also included. Adding the MOTAC power-saving feature to the equation means the battery life is just going to get longer.

The flexure system, the side battery compartment and the under-mount design all combine for an extremely low deck height, which is what allows a full sight picture through the optic and co-witness with original height sights. Upgrading an existing iron sighted M17 or M18 pistol will not require new or different sights. The rear sight reattaches just where it used to live, and the front sight remains unchanged.


The optic is fully assembled right here in the USA, specifically in Oregon. If the internet is telling you something else, I am here to tell you the internet is misinformed!

I believe the most robust, user-friendly, thoughtfully designed and integrated optic for the handgun has been created. Although the timeline hasn’t been confirmed, I am sure it won’t be long before they will be commercially available. I for one will be on the edge of my seat until then!

NEXT: Guns, firearms accessories and training gear to check out at SHOT Show

Leon Reha’s police career began more than two decades ago in London. He served as a patrol officer, a trainer and as a member of the elite Metropolitan Police Specialist Firearms Command. Now residing in the U.S., he oversees the firearms training division of a police academy. He is an advanced Force Science analyst, a SIG SAUER academy instructor, and a regular training conference attendee and presenter.