The Sig Sauer Romeo 5 red dot sight is one of the best-selling rifle sights in the US right now. We decided to have a look and see why.
There’s an awful lot of competition in the budget priced sight market but Sig Sauer has managed to distinguish itself. The Sig Romeo 5 offers great performance and features and has wrapped them into a distinctively styled case. It’s a good look.
Sig calls it “Stealth ID™”, noting “the deflection armor trapezoidal surfacing breaks up the shape and visibility of the optic”. All right, I think the marketing guys may have overindulged on this one just a wee bit. I like the angles and look of the sight, but an F117 it is not. The 200 pound guy with the 30” rifle did not suddenly become invisible because his red dot sight is trapezoidal.
The Romeo 5 does look like a quality item right out of the box though. The “stealthy” trapezoidal case is matte black anodized aluminum broken up with the brand and model in white lettering. A small silver Sig badge is recessed into the finish. Not functional, but a nice touch.
The sight comes with a rubber strap lens cover protecting both the objective and eyepiece. Handy, but it is irregularly shaped to match the angular stealth contours of the sight. Not a big deal but if you are slightly OCD and want the cover to sit flush you might have to fuss around with it a bit.
Don’t lose them.
The small windage and elevation adjustments mounted top and side are clever. Each threaded aluminum cover to the adjustments has a low profile blade machined into the top of it. Once you unscrew the protective cover, you flip it over and the blade fits into the actual adjustment screws. The caps themselves have a fine knurled texture and as long as you don’t lose them, you’ll never scrounge for a screwdriver to perform this task.
The larger cover, sporting the same texture, contains the single CR2032 Lithium cell powering the red dot’s LED. On/Off and intensity controls for the LED are an unobtrusive rubber covered flush mount arrangement on the top slope of the sight.
It’s a clean look, the controls are functional and accessible and no more. The sight’s body comes pre-mounted on a standard 1.41” co-witness riser which uses a single Torx screw to cinch the mount to your accessory rail. Sig does include a small double ended tool in the box that has the appropriate Torx bit on one end.
The other end is a blade that fits the windage and elevation screws, just in case you managed to lose both adjustment caps.
The “Stealth” look aside, the Sig Sauer Romeo 5 control placement has a familiar look to it. In fact, very familiar. Some of the Romeo 5’s competitors in this class almost seem to be separated at birth. A coincidence? (Here’s where I need the voiceover guy from “Ancient Aliens”). Perhaps not.
Can you pick the Holosun sight out of the picture above? Ok, it’s a trick question. They all started out in a Holosun factory, or at least that’s the rumor. It’s kind of like different car emblems sharing a chassis and factory but being equipped with different features for the individual brands. The design and specs may be Sig Sauer’s, but the factory is in China and starts with an H.
This does not mean these models are exactly alike, just related. Distant cousins if you will. But there’s a resemblance.
The heart of the red dot sight is the dot projected on the coated glass surface of the optic by an LED. In this case the simple dot’s projected size is 2 MOA (minute of angle). In other words, at a distance of 100 yards the dot appears to cover an area 2” in diameter at the target. Put the dot on the bullseye and you’re in business.
Sig’s documentation says there are 10 intensity settings for the LED, eight daylight settings and two night vision. Not sure about the “night vision”, so let’s just say ten levels of intensity. You should understand that if you overcook the intensity level for the light situation you are in the dot may appear distorted and bigger than the specified 2 MOA.
Intensity of the LED dot is adjusted by the rubber covered plus and minus controls. If you hold a control button down for more than a second, it will toggle the LED on or off. The LED power also has a motion activated on/off control or “MOTAC”.
Hey – You left your sight on.
If the sight is left activated but is motionless for 120 seconds it will automatically turn itself off. Actually the LED powers off but the MOTAC circuitry is still active. Move the sight, and it re-activates. This is a nice feature for prolonging battery life.
Just be aware that if you’ve put this in the trunk of your car in this mode it’s going to be running all the time as you bounce up and down the highway. It’s a good idea to turn it off manually if you’re not going to be shooting for a while.
According to Sig, the Romeo 5 will get 40,000 hours of runtime from a single battery by virtue of this technology. That’s about four and a half years. I think my definition of “runtime” is different than Sig’s though. If it powers the LED down is it still running? Let’s just agree you won’t have to change batteries very often but it can’t hurt to put a spare in your range bag anyway.
The Sig Sauer Romeo 5 is a very compact package and the sealed tube design keeps dirt and debris from interfering with the LED projection. It keeps moisture at bay as well. The Romeo 5 is rated IPX7 which means it will not be harmed by immersion in water up to one meter deep for up to 30 minutes. Puddles and rain are fine; scuba missions are probably out.
High and Low
The mounts themselves are high quality anodized aluminum like the sight’s casing. As with any sight it’s important to have it well secured to your accessory rail. Use the supplied Torx tool and hand tighten plus ¼ turn. If you have an armorer’s torque wrench, 20 in-lbs. will do it. These aren’t lug nuts, go easy. If you plan on keeping it in place a drop of blue Loctite might help. No red – blue!
The taller, 1.41” riser the Romeo 5 comes mounted on will co-witness perfectly with backup iron sights (BUIS). The supplied low riser was more appropriate on our PCC to get a reasonable cheek weld and comfortable line of sight. It’s a bonus this budget sight comes with both mounts.
Set up on the low mount we roughed in the sight and headed to the range to fine tune it. It didn’t take long as the Romeo 5 wasn’t that far off from the factory.
The dot is plenty bright in daylight with a normal background. In fact, it is possible to overcook it on the highest setting and distort the dot even to the point of flooding the tube with LED light. I’m not sure you’d ever use that setting unless you’re up against very light backgrounds. Something in the 4 to 6 range seemed to work great.
The lightest “night vision” settings are invisible in daylight, even indoors. We had to get into a near dark room to see the dimmest setting. True, it would preserve your night vision while being visible in darkness but it would be tough to see your target.
If there’s enough light to see your target you’d likely bump up the LED to at least the 2nd setting. This really leaves you with eight useful settings out of the ten.
The unmagnified red dot sight has unlimited eye relief so you can position it pretty much anywhere you’ve got rail space. The parallax free view, a major selling point of red dot and reflex sights, means moving your head around doesn’t lead you off target. With a moderate setting that didn’t starburst it’s a solid sight.
In an afternoon of use the Sig Romeo 5 held its zero like a rock and did what a red dot should. It gives you quick target acquisition, steady performance and battery life? Well, we should have about 39,995 hours to go on the battery it came with.
Functionally this sight did its job and at the budget price point did it well. There was one issue though that had me holding back a total endorsement. Even with the LED off, in modest to low light conditions there was a subtle but noticeable artifact in the lens. It was something like an internal reflection or coating issue that once noticed was sort of off-putting.
This is not something I have seen reported so I suspect it is just a one-off issue. It did not affect the sight’s function. However, if it were mine, it would be going back to the factory for replacement. This is also an opportunity to note that Sig Sauer has a terrific warranty. The Sig Romeo 5 is warrantied for five years on electronics, lifetime on the rest. So, no worries there.
With the features you get, the included high and low mounts, and the great warranty (not to mention stealth!) it’s easy to see why Sig is selling tons of these.
|• Model: Sig Sauer Romeo 5|
• Eye Relief: Unlimited
• Illumination Settings: 8 Daylight, 2 NV
• Objective Aperture: 20mm
• Red Dot Size: 2 MOA
|• Weight: 5.1 oz|
• Length: 2.47”
• Width: 1.5”
• Height: 1.52”
• MSRP: $199.99