I was instantly disappointed. No unicorns, no magic and definitely more optic than I thought I was getting. It was big, it felt heavier than most and I was just not expecting any of that at all. Preoccupied with Shot Show travel and arrangements I cast it aside vowing to deal with it upon my return from Vegas. Now, do not be fooled by the beginning of this story. As with many things in life, first impressions can be deceiving as well as poorly judged.
Upon my return from SHOT and the ammo shortage of 2013 descended upon us, I had to prioritize. Getting to the range and putting this optic through it’s paces began to sit more on the back burner as well as the disdain I had for this monster even being on my AR-15. But ethics prevailed and this thing was first on the To Do list. The remorse continued as I performed the sight-in only to notice that with as nice as the 1.75 MOA dot is, there is something there in my peripheral around the dot… a reflection. What the hell is this now, a reflection in an optic from a company of this stature? If I focused on the reflection and not the dot I could clearly see the LED and the circuitry surrounding it. I began obsessing, and then began abusing.
I punched it, I threw it both on and off the rifle. I threw it in a gravel and brass filled creek and let it sit underwater and buried it snow and mud. I put it on the shotgun and ran every type of round and then threw it again. I put it back on the AR and then… I saw the unicorn. Zero was still there. I ran some quick multi-target drills for acquisition testing, and I shot on the move. The Trijicon SRS was selling me, and had I not been so intent on punishing it for not being magical, it showed me not magic, but strength.
So I shot more and more and punished it and it came back for more. I suddenly understood what the SRS was all about. This optic was made to take a beating, it was made to hold true and it was made to be versatile and flexible. The versatility and flexibility are largely due to not just the thick rugged housing, but also to it’s solar panels. That’s right… I said Solar Panels. The SRS runs for 3 years of one AA (lithium preferred) battery, however there is a solar panel array on the top of the housing, wrapped in a polycarbonate for protection. This solar panel provides any and all power when there is light to be had and even adjusts the 1.75 MOA dot brightness automatically to the surrounding light. So even if you remove the battery or the battery dies, wherever you have light, you have a crisp red dot to help keep you on target.
The weight is another item of contention at 13.8oz. (390 grams) which gives it a little more girth than most optics. Keep in mind though, that this is no thin skinned sensitive lady. Whack it around, hits and drops here and there will not even phase this optic. Plus, it also protects the recessed and angled lens which has a threaded lip for a kill flash. After using and abusing this reflex sight, I have a lot more appreciation into the design and engineering put into this product.
The 7075-T6 Aluminum housing is as rugged as advertised. I was not gentle and I was surprised at the resiliency of the polycarbonate housing for the solar panels, but also by the large rubber recessed buttons. The buttons are easy to get at and manipulate even with winter gloves on to adjust brightness up and down to override what the solar panel thinks is best for you. The auto brightness does a good job though and when sighting a target you don’t even notice the brightness changing in real time. Let’s talk about that sighting for a second.
In the beginning I stated that you could see a reflection in the lens of the circuitry and the LED. This is true and there is no hiding from it. When you sit and stare at anything long enough, you find flaws. When you use any tool however and it does what it should do and then some, flaws melt away. This does not seem to be an optic built around staring downrange while slowly going through 30 rounds trying to get a gnats ass with a red dot. This is a get-to-work and get it done, day in and day out optic. This is meant for fast acquisition, two-eyes-open, beat the hell out of it without a care in the world for battery type of optic. If you told me I could have only one optic for the rest of my life, the Trijicon SRS just made it into the top 2 for me. It earned it.