Sig Romeo5 XDR red dot sight

by Tom Gaylord
Writing as B.B. Pelletier

Sig Romeo5-XDR
Sig Romeo5-XDR.

Sig Virtus MCX PCP air rifle: Part 1
Sig Virtus MCX PCP air rifle: Part 2
Sig Virtus MCX PCP air rifle: Part 3

This report covers:

  • XDR?
  • The big deal!
  • Long battery life
  • A compact sight
  • Manual
  • Illumination
  • How bright is the light?
  • LED versus holographic dot
  • Top of the line
  • Mounting
  • Overall impression
  • Summary

I have linked this report to the Sig Virtus report because this sight is going on that rifle for the next test. I should have mounted the Romeo5 on the Virtus for the first accuracy test, but I discovered too late that I hadn’t.

But maybe that is a blessing in disguise, because I will now review the sight by itself before putting it into use. Pyramyd Air doesn’t currently carry the Romeo5 line but I received an email from a blog reader who goes by the handle SqueezeBox. He owns two of them. He was glad I was reviewing the sight because in his opinion it is the best dot sight on the market. Let’s see what he feels that way.

Sig Romeo5 Super Target
SqueezeBox mounted a Romeo5 on his Sig Super Target. He loves the sight!

XDR?

I conversed with Sig representatives as I was researching this report and they told me what XDR means. The X stands for extended battery life and the DR stands for dual reticle. I’ll cover both today.

The big deal!

Okay, the reason I don’t like sights that use batteries is I believe the batteries always go dead at the most inopportune times. I remember the days when the Tasco Pro Point that uses two CR2032 button batteries would eat them up in just a few hours — maybe 20! Now quick, try to find two CR2032 batteries in the gift shop at Tanana Adventure Sports trading post at the end of the Alcan Highway, just north of Delta Junction, Alaska! No? Too bad! I guess you don’t get to hunt on this trip.

Not realistic? Maybe not, but that was always my fear. Sure you can carry spares and of course you do — but they were in the pack you left back in Seattle. With your camera, extra clothes and spare water jug? I know a lot of you feel the same.

Long battery life

The Romeo5 uses one triple A battery that you can find almost everywhere — even in the GUM department store in Novosibirsk. Better yet, that one battery gets over 50,000 hours of operation under normal use. The sight has what Sig calls MOTAC — motion activated operation that powers the sight off when it doesn’t sense motion for a period of time and back on when motion is detected. Of course I had to test that and found that the sight I am testing turned off after 220 seconds of inactive time. A slight jiggle turned it back on. MOTAC works. I know — this is a tough job but somebody has to do it! If it wasn’t me it would fall to one of you.

A compact sight

The Romeo5 is considered a compact sight. It’s certainly smaller than the large tube dot sights you see these days. It’s 2.5 inches long by 1.4 inches wide and 2.6 inches high — though some of the height is reduced by the amount of sight that clamps around the base it’s attached to. It weighs 5.6 ounces with a battery installed.

Manual

I know — manuals are for beginners, right? Well, color me new because I read it! I had to, to find out how to turn the thing on. I installed the battery they sent and pushed one of the two illumination adjustment buttons on top of the sight and nothing happened. Oh, oh! Did BB get a bad one?

No, BB got a good one, but there are several things he needed to know when turning the Romeo5 on. First and most important is — the sight does not turn on by just clicking one of the adjustment buttons! You have to hold either one of the adjustment buttons down for longer than one second to turn the sight on. I would estimate that it takes close to 1.5 seconds for the sight to respond to these buttons. The same to turn it off. The manual tells you that.

Sig Romeo5 buttons
The two buttons on top of the Romeo5 increase and decrease the illumination of the reticle. They also turn the unit on and off and they toggle between the two reticles.

Sig Romeo5 battery and adjustment
The battery goes in under the cover located in the front of the sight (yellow arrow) and the windage is adjusted by the screw on the right rear (blue arrow).

Illumination

Next — what level of illumination was the reticle set at when it was turned off? Because that will be the level when you turn it back on. There are eight levels for daylight operations and two for night vision. If it was set very low you may not be able to see it when it comes on again. That was the problem I had, because, before reading the manual I fiddled with the buttons for quite some time. I’m an airgunner — so of course I did! The solution is to hold the button down long enough to turn on the sight, then keep toggling the plus button while looking for the dot. If you are not sure whether the sight is now on or if you just turned it off, repeat the process until you see the dot. Then leave the dot on max until you need to use the sight. The good thing is when you get to the top it doesn’t drop back to the bottom. You need to push the other button for that.

How bright is the light?

One concern I have, being red/green colorblind, is seeing a red dot in bright light. But the designers thought of that. First, they didn’t make the dot pure red, but skewed it to the orange like a traffic light to make it stand out. And second, at its brightest setting I can see the dot against the clouds on an overcast day. I can also see it against my neighbor’s spotlight on their house about 100 yards away. Then I shined a 120-lumen flashlight into the front of the sight from 8 inches away. I could see the dot right up to the point it entered the bright light that was shining back. I have never done a test like this before, but this is such a serious sight that I wanted something to express the brightness of the dot. I will do this when testing all dot sights in the future.

There are eight levels of daylight illumination. I can see six of them in a darkened room —  five in a room that’s well-lit. I can’t see the two lowest levels at all, nor can I see either of the two night vision levels below that. I don’t own a night vision device so I’ll take Sig’s word they are there. Having them might sound silly to you, but there are airgun hunters using night vision right now for things like rats and feral hogs. So, this feature has value to some, if not to all. And you get it in the Romeo5.

LED versus holographic dot

One big reason the dot is so visible is it is an LED that’s reflected off a specially coated glass screen instead of a laser that’s run through several lenses before it gets to your eye. The additional lenses the laser uses make the dot less bright and also more susceptible to parallax problems. With the 20mm Romeo5 you give up a larger window for improved clarity and less parallax.

Sig Romeo5 dot on driveway
This driveway is about 40 yards away. As you can see, the reticle can be seen easily against a light background.

Top of the line

The Romeo5 exists in several versions. The high mount version is on sale at this time for $159.99. The Romeo5X, Romeo5 TREAD and Romeo5 standard height sights are all retailing at $199.99. The Romeo5 XDR that I am testing for you retails for $299.99. So — what is the difference? The choice of two reticles.

Circle dot reticle

The XDR has a choice of two reticles. One is a conventional 2 MOA red dot and the other is a 2 MOA red dot inside a 65 MOA circle. You would use the circle for faster target acquisition in operations like clearing buildings and so on. When I was in the Army my tank had what we called an infinity circle sight for our coaxial machinegun. Put your target in the circle and hold down the trigger. It’s like spraying wasp and hornet spray on a nest — gets rid of everything it touches. For hunters and precision shooting, use the dot by itself.

Sig Romeo5 reticles
The two reticle choices.

Mounting

The Romeo5 XDR comes with an additional plate to increase the mounting height. Folks with AR rifles care about that — airgunners don’t. We want our sights as close to the boreline as we can get it.

Sig Romeo5 plate
The plate and screws to raise the sight, the Torx driver and screwdriver and the bikini lens caps.

Along with the plate come 4 longer screws to attach the plate to the sight, plus a Torx wrench and flat-bladed screwdriver in the shape of a key, for mounting the sight and adjusting the reticle. You also get nifty bikini lens covers. 

Overall impression

I haven’t mentioned the lifetime warranty on the aluminum case or the 5-year warranty on the optics and electronics. Sig has you covered.

There is more going on with this Romeo5 XDR than I have ever encountered in another dot sight. It was built for high-end applications and we just lucked out that Sig chose to send it to me for testing both the Virtus pellet rifle and the Virtus airsoft gun that I haven’t started yet. We’re going to have some fun.

Summary

That’s it for the sight. The next time you see it, it will be atop the Virtus pellet rifle and we will be testing it for function during an accuracy test.

33 thoughts on “Sig Romeo5 XDR red dot sight

  1. I get your apprehension with batteries but all my scopes use 2032 as well as a remote and motherboards & a watch so i keep a stock on hand BTW i have found the lithium 2032 from dollar store test out as good as name brand. I got roped into the old cr123 for led shooting light and only use lasers that use the same and in lights as well as IR torches that use double 18650 i now use single 18650 in my first light. The 18650 batteries for those who have not used cr123 are 2 cr123 cells combined anyhow you can buy quick or boost charge device shells in a number of sizes that are then filled with 18650 cells and are then used to charge cell phones and other devices.

    I don’t like the battery situation, but everything is high draw any more and lithium batteries are the answer. As far as this red dot well you can get away with lower power however the 2032 profile is arguably better in most applications.

    I guess if i had a point it is that the shift to lithium batteries i just no longer see as an issue. I think most of us use pellets we cant run out and buy and well i just buy what i need online and lay in a supply, but what do i know i don’t hunt with a pistol and do not use red dot sights.


  2. B.B.,

    So what color is the sight when you look through it? You did mention that it set up as more orange than red. Since you are Red-Green colorblind what do you see? Just trying to understand/imagine what background would the sight possibly become difficult to see.

    Siraniko

    PS: Introduction 2nd paragraph last sentence: “Let’s see what (why) he feels that way.”
    PPS: Section The big deal! 1st paragraph 2nd sentence: ”I remember the days when the Tasco Pro Point that uses two CR2032 button batteries would eat them up in just a few hours — maybe 20 (2)!


  3. B.B.

    What a great bit of technology they have put into this little device. Since it has an LED screen, I assume that the future options will be limitless? Connect to you phone, connect to your camera, change the screen background from plinking in your backyard to stalking a Big Horn in the Rockies. Add a little VR and AR in the future????

    Seems Sig Sauer has really upped their game when it come to optical sighting devices. Perhaps we could have a review of one of their fancy scopes next?

    -Y


  4. These look a lot like the new hawke red dots that are out. I guess some new asian factory have a new set of plans and everyone is buying a version.

    ps the hawke ones are a lot cheaper.


  5. BB,

    The battery thing has always been an issue with me also. Trijicon has a dot sight I like that does not need batteries, but it has a few drawbacks from what I understand and I cannot afford it either.

    It does seem kind of silly to spend more for the sight than the airgun under it. Of course I have that issue no matter what I put on top of my Tomahawk. 😉


  6. BB,

    How about elevation adjustment? I assume that is the screw behind the +/- buttons.
    The one on the pistol looks different. Battery cap? and a knob/cap? at top rear.
    Mounting is with 11 mm or P/W? What about odd ball 11 mm and P/W rails like we sometimes see?
    There is no magnifying effect with this optic?

    2 MOA means the dot covers 2″ of target a 100 yards? What would it cover at 50 yards,.. 4″?
    2 MOA is good,.. right? Some are like 5 MOA as I recall.
    If this is dialed in to be on at 50 yards (for example),.. how is a person supposed to (accurately) perform hold over or hold under? Windage hold off too, for that matter.
    Is there any dot sight that uses a graduated reticle?

    The 2 night levels (the dimmest) are meant to be used in very low light/dark? Maybe shut yourself in a closet to test?
    If so, this means this sight does (not) have night vision, but rather supplementary lighting would be required to light the target area?

    Sorry for all the questions. I am not all that familiar with dot sights and these seem like questions that somebody that is not familiar with them might ask,… like me. 😉

    Chris


    • Chris,

      Yes, the slotted knob at the top is elevation.

      I was almost in a dark closet when I tested the illumination.

      No magnification on this model.

      If the dot covers 2-inches at 100 yards it covers one inch at 50. Yes, 2 MOA is good.

      There are dot sights with graduated reticles but I have no experience with them.

      With night vision you wear the goggles and look through the dot sight with them. They don’t work for scopes, but do with this dot.

      B.B.


  7. It isn’t a good idea to store a AAA battery or similar type in a device long term since they can leak. It is less of a problem with high quality batteries but something to keep in mind.

    Mike


  8. The CR2032 battery has really become a mainstream item. They have replaced double A batteries in many devices. Many new TV remotes use one. My wife’s Accu check meter takes two. And of course my UTG scope takes one. I keep some spares on hand
    The battery I dread buying is the 9volt. They are not hard to find but the cost is off putting.
    Gerald


    • I see photos of firearms on which the owner has attached a laser, a powerful light and a red dot. That adds up to a lot of different batteries (amounting to 4.5 – 9 volts) and on-off switches. Might there be a manner or device to combine the power and switching of all three such devices?

      Michael


  9. B.B.,

    I have some questions that are quite basic.

    What are the practical advantages and disadvantages between red dot sights that are entirely encapsulated, such as this one, and those that project the dot to a screen in an open configuration? Is one (in general) quicker than the other for sight acquisition? is one more (in general) precise? Is one (yes, in general) more durable than the other?

    Michael


    • Michael,

      Sig says this kind is more precise n– more accurate. I agree with them. The holographic type sight is great for rapid target acquisition, but it does have more parallax.

      As far as durability, I don’t know the answer.

      B.B.


  10. Off topic:

    Was looking at the latest HAM report on the new semi-auto M-rod. 10 shots, 1.7 seconds, 897 fps with a 5 spread, 14.3 domes. Estimating release June 2020.

    To me, the impressive part of that was the low spread and the fact that regulator recovery time is ZERO by all rights. Pretty good engineering I would say. A tad bit better than waiting 30 seconds between shots for some other regs. to “recover”.

    Chris



      • Michael,

        🙂 Point taken. They do seem to be taking their time and getting it right. I at least give them a respectful nod for that. Better than some stuff hitting the market.

        Chris


    • Chris,
      I am waiting on that auto M’rod! I had my heart on the Sig but the accuracy turned me off. I do like the cool factor but I am a student of Col. Townsend Whelen ‘only accurate rifles are interesting’. I hope the Mrod comes in carbine form as well.


      • Ton,

        I am not in the market, but I was very impressed with the functionality. I was hoping that they took the opportunity of a new launch to give the stock a more streamlined/stylized look. Add in some nice curves,… in other words.

        Chris


  11. B.B.,

    There are multiple models of the ROMEO5 available some powered by solar as well as other batteries (2032) and some have only one Retical a 2MOA dot. Some are very waterproof (IPX8) to one atmosphere (10m or 33.8′) depth.
    You can also add a JULIETTE magnification unit that allows various levels of magnification; they have a mount that lets you flop (technical term) them out of the way when no magnification is desired. To answer one of Michael’s questions; the tube enclosed red dots are typically far more robust than a REFLEX sight.
    Also NV works with regular scopes with properly illuminated (at NV levels) Retical. I recall using some of the earliest NV with Radium coated (shooter side only) Retical supplied by our friend at Primier Retical.

    shootski


    • Shootski,

      Are you saying that a dot sight can give away your position? Can (anything at all) be seen from the muzzle end,…. like a red or green dot/circle/disc?

      Chris


  12. ChrisUSA,

    Yes.

    The angle off is determined by how deep in the tube the Retical is located.
    Nightfighters have lots to learn in order to remain undetected.
    Do you wear a watch with glow in the dark hands and numbers? Worse yet; do you wear a Tritium tube watch uncovered? You are a target just like the guys in trenches or foxholes who didn’t cover their glowing cigar/cigarette ash. A Starlight Scope equiped shooter in ‘Nam would soon have your head showing an entrance and exit wound.
    For those that don’t believe check out the next night video with someone wearing or using NV gear, if they have it away from their eye socket you will see it all illuminated.
    But right down the tube you will see what Retical/size dot and color they are using with Gen 3+ NV.

    shootski


    • Shootski,

      Thank you. I thought you might have an informed opinion on the question. I don’t have one, otherwise I would have just looked down the front end.

      On ‘Nam,… A fellow I worked with years ago was there. He was an MP. He smoked. Not long after he was there (new), standing guard against a block wall, at night,…….. he lit up,.. took about two drags,.. maybe 20-30 seconds. A distant shot went off and just missed his head. He had to have fragments of cement block removed from his neck and head (minor).

      He right then and there decided to quit smoking.

      Thanks,…… Chris


  13. B.B.,

    Glad to see you finally got your hands on a Romeo5.

    I’ve had mine a couple of years now and am very pleased with it. I have the version with single reticule (plain 2 MOA dot) and CR2032 battery. It’s rated for 40,000 hours use with that tiny battery. And since it’s a watch battery, I figured it would much less prone to leakage than a triple A. Imagine if one of those leaked and cemented itself inside the tube! The MOTAC feature is great; you never need to worry about forgetting to switch the unit off and the battery getting drained.

    The only thing I don’t like about the Romeo5 is that the rail retaining pin is in the centre of the unit, unlike most other red dot sights I’ve seen where it’s at the front. I tried to mount the Romeo5 on my Zoraki HP01 pistol (Webley Alecto by another name) but there wasn’t enough clearance between the picatinny rail slot and the pistol’s front sight because of that.

    The Romeo5 sits on my Savage Mark II FV-SR these days and is a perfect complement for that fast-handling critter-gitter/plinker.


    • Bob,

      I thought that the center mount was a good idea (knowing little about them). But, you bring up a good point.

      The actual mount is separate from the actual sight. Having that offset mount would essentially allow you to flip the sight around, on the offset mount. Good point.

      Chris


  14. Mmmmmm?

    I am a bit “stumped” at the moment.

    The President is speaking live,.. right now,… on the Coronavirus,….. YET,… not a single local or national station is broadcasting it. FNC is,… maybe others?

    I guess,… given the mass (potential) impact, I have to wonder what they are thinking.

    Chris


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