Red dots have gotten pricey. With top-shelf brands like Trijicon and Sig Sauer introducing reflex sights that cost hundreds of dollars, it begs the question: Are any "cheap" red dots worth the savings? We're taking a closer look at the Bushnell TRS-25 -- a small, tube-style red dot with a typical Picatinny mount that comes in right around the $100 mark.
Bushnell TRS-25 Features
- Full waterproof and submersible
- 5,000+ hours of battery life (CR2032)
- Nitrogen-purged and sealed lenses
- Shockproof against high-energy recoil
TRS-25 Additional Specifications
- Construction: 7075-T6 Aluminum
- Coating: Hardcoat Black Anodizing
- Adjustment Range: +/- 70 MOA
- Adjustment/click: 1 MOA
- Objective lens: 1x20mm
- Brightness Settings: 11
- Reticle: 3-MOA dot
- Weight: 3.6 Oz.
- Mount: Picatinny
Unboxing the Optic
The TRS-25 scope comes in a small, compact box that is easy to store. It’s packaged well and presents nicely (hint: it makes for some nice gifting). Inside, the scope comes packaged with a foam liner, and some documentation and manuals. The scope is a great gift for the hunter or marksman in your life.
The set comes with the typical Allen-head wrench that is used to adjust most optics. This wrench can be used to adjust the Picatinny rail adapter mount. The larger rail adapter, however, will require a separate socket or flathead screwdriver
The Picatinny riser mount that comes with the product is actually quite well made. It’s sturdy and the locking lever can be done up with just your fingers. However, if you’re firing anything that’s relatively powerful, we recommend tightening it with a flathead or the appropriate socket.
Optic Height With and Without Riser Mount
The TRS-25 scope is small, so the riser mount will be important in your final setup. Without the riser mount, the center of the optic will be only about 1.2 cm over the rail, or 0.47". This affords an incredibly short height-over-bore, which makes for better accuracy. But some shooters might not like feeling that cramped when they’re eyeballing downrange, especially on something like an AR-15.
In that case, you’ll want to use the included riser mount. The riser bumps up the optic’s height to about 3.8 cm over the rail, or about 1.5" since this is ’Murica.
The TRS-25 scope is comparable in size to most other compact red dots, which makes it a good choice for most shooters and their rifles.
Activating The Optic
The TRS-25 comes with a CR2032 battery installed. However, in order to get the unit up and running, you need to access the cell and remove a small protective film separating the cell from its contacts. To do that, you need to untwist the O-ring-sealed cap on the brightness adjustment knob. Additionally, we also pulled off the RIGHT-LEFT adjustment knob to show off the MOA adjustment turrets. These turrets also sport aluminum threaded caps with O-rings to keep the unit waterproofed.
With the battery exposed, just pop it out of its metal retaining clips with a razorblade or knife. Then use the edge of your blade to gently pull off the film covering the cell contacts. Then all you need to do is pop the cell back in (make sure the POSITIVE lead is facing you) and screw the waterproofing cap back on. By the way, Bushnell did a nice job with making this unit waterproof. Inside the battery compartment is yet another O-ring, providing double the protection.
Turret Caps and Ocular Lens
Keeping with the theme of making the Bushnell TRS-25 watertight, we spy more O-rings at the base of the threaded turrets. The caps are knurled and have a nice, positive locking feel when they’re cinched down. The O-rings are thick and don’t warp or crush easily, ensuring the unit can take on water while protecting the innards.
The eyepiece lens is also shown with its protective metal ring seated inside the rear of the aluminum one-piece housing. The glass on this unit is very clear and we saw no distortions, aberrations, or fish-eye effects when scoping with the Bushnell TRS-25 downrange.
Multi-Coated Objective Lens
The objective lens - where all the important sight action happens - is beautifully cut and coated. Like the eyepiece, it’s sealed well and slightly recessed inside the housing to protect against any impacts. The entire unit is also nitrogen purged to prevent fogging and condensation in wet-weather environments.
The Red Dot Reticle
It can be difficult to take a good picture of a laser reticle, especially if it’s moving, but we managed to get a still shot of the Bushnell TRS-25 on its highest brightness setting. The reticle is smooth and round, with no aberration, ghosting, or "double vision" effect that some lasers have at low brightness
Does it work well enough on its highest and lowest settings? Yes. The dot’s bright enough for mid-day shooting on its highest setting (pictured), and its lowest brightness setting is nearly invisible unless you’re in absolute darkness. There is, unfortunately, no night-vision setting, so even the lowest brightness setting is reserved for the naked eye. There are 11 brightness settings in all, and battery life is estimated to be around 5,000 hours at medium brightness (setting 5 to 6).
Making Windage/Elevation Adjustments
Making the appropriate elevation and windage adjustments for hold-overs or zeroing is easy enough. One click of each turret is 1 MOA, and each turret is clearly marked with which direction you need to click to make adjustments. The turrets are tactile with positive clicks. A small flathead, multi-tool, or flattened spent shell casing is best for making adjustments.
Final Thoughts: What’s Not to Like?
So, is the Bushnell TRS-25 red dot a great optic? Overall, yes. Especially at its roughly $100 price point. This shooter has worked with optics and dots ranging from micro’s and affordable units like this, all the way up to military-issued EOtechs and Aimpoints.
Having gotten my hands and eyes on one, I would trust the Bushnell TRS-25 to get the job done. It’s well built and feels like an optic that costs at least twice as much. The anodizing, aluminum body, O-ring seals, and adjustments all work quite well and they feel solid. Nothing is plastic and nothing feels wobbly or weak.
Is there anything not to like about the Bushnell?
If we get nit-picky, yes. The tension bar on the riser doesn’t run the full length of the riser itself, so you need to make sure that it’s lined up correctly on the rail when you torque it down.
Mind you, this is an incredibly minor annoyance that doesn’t affect its performance or overall clamping force.
Installing this on an AR-15, I felt a little kinked in the neck trying to get a bead downrange without using the riser. Of course, this is just one rifle platform and the AR tends to have a low rail-over-bore height already.
Other rifles or ARs running a high-rise Picatinny rail on certain upper receivers should do fine without the riser, and the low height-over-bore of the Bushnell does help with accuracy. So it’s a trade-off.
DISCLAIMER: If you are new to the world of DIY gun building, you likely have a lot of questions and rightfully so. It’s an area that has a lot of questions that, without the correct answers, could have some serious implications. At 80-lower.com, we are by no means providing this content on our website to serve as legal advice or legal counsel. We encourage each and every builder to perform their own research around their respective State laws as well as educating themselves on the Federal laws. When performing your own research, please be sure that you are getting your information from a reliable source.