Twobirds Flying Publication
Bushnell’s AR TRS-25
Copyright 2014, Towbirds Flying Publication. All Rights Reserved.
Bushnell’s AR TRS-25 – An excellent red dot sight betrayed only by its bargain price.
Bushnell’s AR TRS-25 – An excellent red dot sight for your AR, and it leaves with
enough cash to go shooting.
By: Sal Palma
About 3 or 4 months ago, I ran into a young guy
while at the range, he had just purchased an Mforgery, a red dot sight from Walmart and some
ammo. The poor fella was having problems
hitting the target and expressed his frustration
with a colorful expletive directed at the Chinese
made red dot sight. I offered my help, which he
gladly accepted. So, I took him from zeroing his
iron sights first; followed by the red dot, all of
which was done at 25 yards. We then switched
targets to a silhouette and again his results
were lackluster. He said to me, “See, it’s this f--ing cheap sight.” I asked him to let me shoot it
and proceeded to place 5 rounds, firing
unsupported, in center mass. After a few more
expletives we got down to figuring out what he
was doing wrong, which I’ll describe as just
about everything – stance, trigger pull,
mounting the rifle, using a magazine well grip,
etc. The diagnosis was poor skill sets; not his
From that interaction it became clear to me
that blaming poor results on equipment is more
common than one might think. That’s not to say
that a sight won’t fail to hold zero because it’s
happened to me. Or, worse yet, the mount you
thought was snugged down to 55 inchi pounds
is only hand tight. The truth of the matter is
that today’s equipment, at almost any price
point, is pretty darn good and you’ll find that
performance issues usually fall squarely on the
shooter’s shoulders. Having an Aimpoint Micro
H-1 or T-1 does not magically manifest itself
into positive results. It’s when you combine
sharpened skills with tier-one equipment that
you optimize.
So, given a choice between an Aimpoint T-1 at
$690 or a three day carbine class with ammo,
take the later because your return on
investment will be significantly higher. What’s a
shooter to do then? Research!
There are several large reputable companies
manufacturing red dot sights that do a very nice
job of getting you on target and keeping you
there. Bushnell is one, and in this review I’ll
share my impressions of their very fine AR TRS25.
There are numerous reviews of Bushnell’s TRS25 floating around; offering varying levels of
detail. Much to my chagrin they share a
common thread, a reviewer who qualifies the
sight’s performance with “for the price.”
“… and it holds zero really well for the price…”
Guys it either holds zero or it does not. It’s
binary; there is no in between, be it $10 or
$1,000. Get off the cost and address
performance. It drives me nuts because it’s
apologetic and sets up artificial barriers. What
the hell is wrong with value?
Copyright 2014, Twobirds Flying Publication, All Rights Reserved
Bushnell’s AR TRS-25 – An excellent red dot sight betrayed only by its bargain price.
Bushnell’s AR TRS-25 has nothing to apologize
for, and a great deal to tout.
Bushnell introduced the Trophy TRS-25 in
March of 2009 followed by the AR TRS-25 in July
of 2013. Although the technical specifications
are identical, there are two differences worth
First, the Trophy version
does not include the riser.
It was intended for
hunting rifles. The AR TRS25 includes a riser to
perfectly co-witness the
optic with your Backup Iron Sights (BUIS).
Second, the placement of the LED module on
the original Trophy model was at the 4 or 5
o’clock position and protruding slightly into the
field of view, as seen through the eyepiece. The
AR TRS-25 places the LED module at the 6
o’clock position so it lines up with the front
sight post and is less invasive to the field of
Bushnell chose a 3 MOA dot so at 100 yards it
covers a three inch target, an interesting
approach because at the time industry was
promoting 2 MOA and 4 MOA dots. Maybe it
was tongue in cheek, or Bushnell wanted to fill
a void space. I found the 3 MOA dot to perform
well at CQB/CQC ranges, which is what this
optic is designed to do. For 100 yards and
beyond there is no substitute for a magnified
optic, or a ballistic compensated sight.
However, the 3 MOA dot tries to strike a
balance between close quarters and longer
range shooting.
The AR TRS-25 has 11 brightness settings and an
“OFF” position in a bidirectional rotary switch
with positive detents at each setting. Every
position has a firm and positive feel even with a
gloved hand - an excellent implementation.
The aiming dot is clean and crisp displaying
blooming in the higher brightness settings.
One interesting comparison that comes up
regularly in TRS-25 reviews is the absence of
night vision settings. Let’s drill down on that
Most people I know who use night vision
devices professionally wear the AN/PVS14 over
the weak eye; leaving their dominant eye or the
eye on their strong side to interact with the
weapon’s sight. They also use IR laser aiming
modules or visible laser aiming modules for
targeting and / or designation. So, not having
night vision settings as part of the dot
brightness electronics should not present a
huge problem; in fact, it’s trivial.
Brightness settings moving left to right 1-5-11
The red dot brightness settings are more than
adequate under most ambient light levels, but
needless to say this is highly subjective and
there are ambient light and target color
combinations that interact to make the red dot
difficult to see;
that’s why cowitnessing is
important. I’ve
made a note to
task myself to
chase down a
tool that will
allow an objective measurement of dot
brightness relative to ambient light - I may try
doing that with a light meter but for now it’s
Copyright 2014, Twobirds Flying Publication, All Rights Reserved
Bushnell’s AR TRS-25 – An excellent red dot sight betrayed only by its bargain price.
The lenses are fully coated with excellent clarity
with a very slight tinge of green to the image.
This optic is powered by a CR2032 Lithium
battery with a statistical run time of 3,000
hours. You always want to keep in mind that
battery life is influenced by environmental
conditions so keep spares. CR2032 batteries will
run you about a $1 a piece so keep a few spares
handy. I’ve embraced a simple routine of
changing out the batteries in my optics once a
year, in January.
The TRS-25 has a hefty and solid feel
attributable to its aluminum body yet it remains
very compact at an overall length of 2.4 inches.
The exit pupil is somewhat narrow at 22mm but
no more so than that of the Aimpoint T-1. Any
misalignments of the head, or weapon cant, will
lose your dot. A slightly larger exit pupil would
help; however it does force good technique.
Another feature that some reviewers take issue
with is waterproofing. The TRS-25 is IPX7 rated,
which means complete submersion to 1 meter
for 30 minutes. The comparison is generally
made to the Aimpoint T-1 which is rated at 25
meters. Clearly, the T-1 does better so you need
to decide how important that difference is to
you. Personally, if you drop your weapon, or
yourself, in more than 1 meter of water you
have other problems to think about. Besides,
what the heck are you doing running and
gunning without a sling anyway.
Zeroing the sight is accomplished via the two
turrets, which provide wind and elevation
adjustments of .5” at 100 yds. Like some of the
older Comp ML2s you’ll want to make sure that
the laser tube is centered prior to zeroing.
Simply look through the eyepiece and confirm
that the internal tube is centered in the
The AR TRS-25 is an impressive optic that is
multi-platform capable and runs well on an AR,
SMG, AK, even a shotgun. So, there’s a lot to
In the “not to like” column, I placed just one
Please tether the turret caps with steel wire on the next
release. The optic requires nothing else.
The point of this article is to introduce you to
Bushnell’s AR TRS-25 to let you see for yourself
that it is a well-qualified substitute. I don’t wish
to suggest that you not purchase an Aimpoint T1, if that is your goal. What I am saying is that if
you cannot, don’t slash your wrists, or miss a
mortgage payment or car payment to do it.
Bushnell has you covered with the AR TRS-25;
this is one impressive mini red dot, and it rocks!
I’ve included a short matrix to let you evaluate
the differences, and what if anything you’ll be
giving up when choosing between the two.
Make your decision on the basis of what you
actually need then assess how well each
competing option meets those needs. After
you’ve done that, pop down to the dollars and
cents to decide if one or the other is actually
providing diminishing returns. Remember that
experiencing diminishing returns is not an
indication that something is bad; it is simply a
way of saying that to you the added cost is not
providing a corresponding increase in the level
of usefulness.
Copyright 2014, Twobirds Flying Publication, All Rights Reserved
Bushnell’s AR TRS-25 – An excellent red dot sight betrayed only by its bargain price.
Comparative Analysis between Bushnell’s AR TRS-25 and the Industry
Benchmark for Micro Red Dot Sights.
Bushnell AR TRS-25
Aimpoint Micro T-1
(1) CR2032 3V Lithium
3,000 hrs. continuous use
Manual Rotary 11 positions and off
4 or 2 MOA
(1) CR2032 3V Lithium
50,000 hrs. continuous use
500,000 hrs. continuous use
Manual Rotary 12 positions and off
(4 are NV positions)
Hard Anodized
.5 inches at 100 yds. (14mm at 100
25m, (80ft.)
3 oz. (84g)
2.4 inches (62mm)
Hard Anodized
.5 inches at 100 yds. (14mm at 100 meters)
3.7 oz. (106g)
2.4 inches (61.8mm)
Red dot sight
LED (Light Emitting Diode)
Dot size
Parallax Free
Eye Relief
Night Vision Compatibility
Lens Coating
Battery Life
Battery Life AT Night Vision Setting
Dot Intensity Control
Housing Material
Housing Finish
Housing Color
Adjustable Windage and Elevation
1 click value
Exit Pupil
Note: On some mounts, the cross bolt may sheer if tightened to 55 inch pounds. Always
contact the manufacturer for the recommended spec. On lighter cross bolts do not exceed 15 –
20 inch pounds.
Copyright 2014, Twobirds Flying Publication, All Rights Reserved