Last Updated: October 2016
Red dots have fast become a favorite optic option for a variety of shooters. The military, law enforcement, three gun competitors, self-defense enthusiasts, and people looking for a simple optic that anyone can use. One of the main strengths of red dots is that they are so simple and easy to use. Optics like the Aimpoints and EoTech rule the market and has excellent reputations, but they tend to be a little high when it comes to price.
The budget market for red dots is not small, however, many of these budget red dots are pieces of foreign made junk. They do not hold zero very well, and the mounts are so weak they are suited for nothing larger than a rimfire rifle. In fact most shooters will not even consider a so-called ‘budget’ red dot for serious work. So the market has been demanding a high quality, but no frills budget optic and a popular company named Bushnell has answered the call. Does their new TRS 25 rise up as a quality, but budget red dot?
Let’s find out!
Out of the Box
The TRS 25 is a micro red dot so it’s going to to be smaller than the traditional Aimpoint Comp M4, but is the same style tubular design. The 25 mm objective lense is about the same as the Aimpoint Micro. The Bushnell has a good weight and it certainly doesn’t feel or look like a cheap knock off red dot. It actually feels heavier than the Aimpoint, which according to Bushnell is true by a little over an ounce.
Of course the optic is a simple 1x style, and features a 3 MOA red dot reticle. According to Bushnell the optic is 100 % waterproof, shockproof, and fog proof, which adds a nice piece of mind. The waterproof portion is limited to 10 feet. I’m not planning on taking this optic swimming, but it’s nice to know I won’t have to worry about a little rain.
I mounted the optic to an N PAP AK clone, and used a Midwest industries railed scope mount. I chose the N PAP over the AR because it turns out you need a riser to get above a fixed front sight. This wasn’t an issue on my AK with the Midwest mount. The N PAP has a nice high comb stock that is friendlier to optics than most AKs.
Once it was mounted, and batteries were installed I cycled through the 11 different brightness settings, and did a rudimentary bore sight. The so-called 3 MOA red dot definitely gets a bit bigger as the brightness is increased. However at 11 I could see the dot easily enough in the sunny Florida weather. The setting knob is stiff, but I assume it will loosen a bit with use. The optics adjustment turrets click nice and loud when used and require nothing more than the rim of a cartridge or a coin to adjust.
The TRS 25’s adjustment value is 0.5 MOA at a hundred yards. Which makes it pretty easy to get on target and adjust for windage and elevation.
The TRS 25 is not only an excellent budget optic, but is nice and simple for the beginner.
On the Range
Once we got the weapon sighted in on the 100-yard range we began a few basic drills. First off was the seated slowfire, a nice and easy benchrest with the optic. Simple and accurate enough where I put the dot is basically where I hit. I was pleased with the sight, even when factoring in the AK’s inherent accuracy issues.
We did a few rapid-fire tests, using 5 rounds strings of fire, for 6 total strings. Most importantly before we started anything crazy I wanted to insure the optic would 1. Stay zeroed and 2. Not suddenly fall off of my scope rail. The news was good, and the optic stayed firm on the rail and zeroed.
Next was a simple card drill. The card drill is eight playing cards on one piece of cardboard, in two rows of four. The idea is to shoot all eight in under ten seconds. The target is set at 25 yards and the shooter goes at the beep. I used an ISPC timer since I didn’t have a second person there to time me. At 25 yards I was hitting just a hair high, hardly noticeable. The optic made transitions from target to target easier, more precise, as well as much quicker when compared to traditional iron sights.
To get a better understanding on how this scope improved my times over iron sights I did the drill with the optic and without. The first run was iron sights, and I finished the drill in about 9 seconds, with 10 rounds for 8 targets. Equipped with the red dot I managed 7.4 seconds with 8 shots on 8 targets. I did have a brain fart when the timer went off, so I repeated the drill an additional round and scored a 6.87 with 8 for 8.
Failure to stop Drill
The next few drills were ran on a different day with a few friends whose perspective I wanted on the optic. We set up two USPA targets 3 yards apart, and attempted failure to stop drills at 15 yards, and then 10 yards. If you’re not familiar with the failure to stop drill it is two in the torso and one to the head.
The three of us ran the drill a few times, with two separate firearms. One was of course the N PAP with the Bushnell TRS 25, and a WASR 10 with iron sights. We used the A and B zones of both the head and torso for scoring only. At ten yards the difference was agreed upon to be minimal, since at that range it was harder not to miss. Headshots dipped into the B zone on occasion, but every torso shot was dead on.
At 15 yards we all noticed an increased performance with the TRS 25. Where the dot went, the bullets followed. Transition speed was improved, and a few shots drifted into the B zone for head shots, but overall there were more A zone headshots with the optic than without.
A few criticisms I heard of the dot were
- Dot flare was more so than an Aimpoint scope.
- The dot wasn’t visible enough in bright sunlight (I disagree here, but this is a common complaint of any red dot.)
- The circular view was not complete. In the lower right corner a ‘flat’ is present that slightly obscures a perfect circle.
- One shooter worried the dark bluish tint would make low light shooting difficult.
With these criticisms in place my friends and fellow shooters all agreed for the price, it really can’t be beat. The optic averages at around $100 online. At that price point, the optic really can’t be fairly compared to an Aimpoint or EoTech, especially if you are splitting hairs. The Bushnell TRS 25 marks an excellent compromise of price and quality, a rare feat for any optic.
The TRS 25 would feel at home on rifles, shotguns, or even pistols. The optic excels at everything a red dot should. The TRS 25 could be used for competition, plinking, home and self-defense, as well as a good training optic for new shooters. The TRS 25 is an excellent value optic which I would recommend to anyone looking for an affordable red dot scope.
Where to buy?
You can purchase from Amazon right here.