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  • Rowan

Trijicon SRO Review - Is it worth it?

Updated: Nov 13, 2023

When it comes to the world of handgun red dots there are a ton of great options. From rugged, combat-proven optics to specialized competition-specific products. There are open emitter optics and closed emitter optics, small windows, large windows, and everything in between. There are budget options around $75-$100 all the way up to $700-$800 units.

I recently decided to start participating in more competition shooting, starting with local IDPA matches. I knew I wanted an optic that would be a good match for competition-style shooting which emphasizes rapid target acquisition and tracking under recoil. Competition optics are generally not as durable as a combat-focused optic and often feature a larger window and footprint than you might want for something you are going to carry concealed.

After considering many of the options out there I decided to go with the Trijicon SRO. The SRO is a very popular optic in the competition scene. It features a large round optic window and in my case a simple 5 MOA dot. It also comes in a 2 MOA dot option but I felt the 5 was the perfect size for competition use which usually focuses more on speed than precise accuracy.

Walther PDP Pro Compact
Walther PDP Pro Compact with SRO

Initially, I was a bit skeptical that the SRO would live up to its high price tag. MSRP for the SRO is around $700 but I routinely see them at ( for under $500. I was able to get one on sale at around $470 which felt a lot better than shelling out $700.

Overall the SRO is a pretty simple optic. It does not have any auto-adjust features which for a competition optic is a plus for me. I have never liked auto-adjust optics and always turn that option off. There are large, easy-to- push buttons on the side marked + and - for the brightness settings. This thing gets plenty bright enough for use even in direct sunlight and will actually bloom fairly large if you turn it up all the way. During competition stages I like to set it as low as I can to where it is still easily visible but doesn't bloom the dot.

The battery is top-mounted and does not require the optic to be removed from the gun to replace the battery which is a big plus. Speaking of a big plus the battery tray has an annoying plus-shaped indentation to assist in unscrewing it. Unfortunately do to the layout of the hood over the optic is is difficult to get a screwdriver or similar tool in there without scratching the battery cover. You can get a 3D-printed tool that actually matches the cover but I wish they had just used a simple slot for a screwdriver.

Zero adjustments are easy and do not require a specific tool. With several thousand rounds I have not noticed any deviation in zero on any of the pistols I have mounted the SRO on.

The biggest benefits of the SRO in my opinion are the large window, the simple interface and reticle, and the shape of the optic window itself. I find acquiring the dot, especially under recoil, is much easier with a larger window. When red dots were first ending up on duty guns I put an RMR on my duty gun with suppressor height sights, just like everyone said to do. When dryfiring or doing basic qualification drills I had no problem with the RMR but when running the gun faster I found it extremely hard to track the dot through recoil as the window on the RMR was pretty small and 1/3 of it was taken up but the rear sights. Under recoil, the dot would completely leave the window and I struggled to consistently return it to center. I do not have that issue with the SRO as I can track the dot up and down through the recoil cycle without losing sight of it.

SRO reticle
Simple 5MOA dot

For some reason, I also like the circular shape of the optic window. Most of my other optics are Holosuns with a square optic window. I don't know if it has anything to do with how the eye works but I prefer looking through a round window vs a square one. That may be a personal preference but I'd call it a plus in my book.

As for the reticle, it is a simple 5moa dot. It also comes in a 2moa dot but for me, the 5 is perfect for competition use and I have no problem making longer shots with it.

As for durability and reliability...I can say mine has worked 100%. With that being said the SRO is NOT marketed as a "duty optic". At this point, I would personally trust it on a CCW pistol that sits in a holster all day but I don't think I would run it on a duty gun that might get bashed around or slammed into the ground in a wrestling match. The SRO is an open optic emitter which means if you happen to get debris on the emitter, whether that be snow, rain, or belly button lint, your optic will be no good. This is certainly something to consider if you are going to carry it exposed to the elements. The SRO is marketed towards competition and range use and I believe it excels at that and is currently my favorite optic for that purpose.

Trijicon SRO
Easy to actuate brightness buttons

Up until now, there has not really been a great competitor in my eyes to the SRO. Sig makes a competition optic that also has a large window but it is also quite pricey and seems to have hit-or-miss quality control. Thankfully there is a new optic that Holosun just released called the 507 COMP. It features an oversized optics window and their new competition-style reticles which look interesting to me. I have not tried one out but can't wait to get my hands on one. It seems the new optic will offer many of the benefits of the SRO with more innovative reticles and most importantly, a price tag well under $400.

Holosun 507COMP
Holosun 507COMP

Overall I would say if you are looking for a no-frills optic for range or competition use and you like to shoot fast, the SRO is a great choice if it fits in your budget. If the price tag is a bit too high I would suggest trying out the new 507COMP as it looks like it might just edge out the SRO with a lot of great competition-focused features.

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