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Sixty-nine thousand documented rounds and counting, fired under one particular SIG ROMEO4B red-dot sight. It’s mounted on a SIG MCX SBR (Short Barreled Rifle) in 300 Blackout used by the SIG Academy.

This sight has ridden the subsonic and supersonic recoil so much that the gun has required three replacement barrels so far. It’s a suppressed select-fire gun, and when it gets too hot, it’s standard practice to submerge the whole gun in any available ultrasonic cleaning tank—optic still attached.

The ROMEO4B sights ride a variety of firearms at the SIG Academy, such as this one on an MPX.

The ROMEO4B sights ride a variety of firearms at the SIG Academy, such as this one on an MPX.

This is one of the variety of firearm packages that travel the country with SIG’s firearm instructors. These firearms and optics get abused substantially more than our personally owned equipment will ever be. The recoil from 69,000 rounds this ROMEO4B was subjected to is certainly a lot to ask of any red-dot sight.

However, it’s the abuse the sight takes from being handled by hundreds of people waiting for their turn to shoot at a SIG dealer range day that takes its toll on sights. Heavy-handed hooligans abound who treat guns like I treat rental cars and don’t baby the equipment—because it’s not theirs, and after all, “It’s supposed to be tough!” Some shooters can’t be trusted to not break an anvil.

Electronics and mounting systems are stressed to maximum from accidental forces induced by dropping the gun or banging it off the corner of a shooting bench. This type of stress is the toughest on equipment. It’s not the normal direction of recoil that the optic feels when firing cartridges; rather, it’s the sideways, upside-down and angled stresses from dings, bangs and bruises that equipment is subjected to during shooting events and teaching. An optic serving duty on a gun at the SIG Academy is proof-tested daily.

PERPETUAL MOTION

I spent a day at the scorched and dusty 140-acre SIG Academy in Epping, New Hampshire, with a handful of industry experts. We subjected a variety of firearms and optics to a day of trigger-pulling using unlimited ammo. Most SIG categories were represented, including AR and MCX carbines and pistols. Many of these were select fire and suppressed with SIG cans, as well as traditional pistols and ammo. Throughout it all, the ROMEO4B on the MCX was continually in motion.

Equipment serving duty at the SIG Academy has a hard life.

Equipment serving duty at the SIG Academy has a hard life.

SIG is constantly striving to stay on the technological cutting edge with its products, and the already excellent ROMEO4B discussed in this article has just been upgraded. The new version will be assembled in the United States, with the reticle life increased from 5,000 to 50,000 hours. The reticle has 10 daytime and two night vision settings and can be toggled between a 2 MOA dot to a 2 MOA dot with a 65 MOA circle around it—very similar to the easily recognizable EOTech reticle. The sight also has what SIG calls “MOTAC,” which means MOTion ACtivated illumination. With MOTAC, the reticle turns off when not in use to conserve battery life. Moving the gun instantly reactivates the dot.

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AS YOU LIKE IT

The ROMEO4B already comes with spacers to position it on your carbine for either an absolute or lower 1/3 co-witness, but the new version of the product will come with mounts that mimic the footprint of the Aimpoint Micro series of sights. This will enable you to choose from a variety of aftermarket manufacturers to select the attachment design that suits your needs the best.

The ROMEO4B has an IPX7 waterproof rating to 1 meter for at least 30 minutes. The body is CNC machined from aluminum, and the sight comes with cool and unique flip-down caps. The warranty on electronic components in Electro-Optics sights is five years, but SIG’s focus is more on the end-user experience than the time frame. Call if you have an issue, and you’ll be taken care of.

The street price on the quality 4B is affordable: around $350. Expect the improved version to have a different letter designation and to cost slightly more.

Hot and dirty guns at SIG events often get waterboarded—with their optics still attached!

Hot and dirty guns at SIG events often get waterboarded—with their optics still attached!

Other SIG sights also take abuse at the SIG Academy, such as a ROMEO1 mini reflex sight that rides the slide of a battered SIG Mk25 9mm pistol. The pistol, itself, is so deliriously sloppy from round count that all parts are worn perfectly in sync—like a noisy sewing machine.

The ROMEO1 sight mounted on it is remarkable, because it’s been on the gun for thousands of rounds with a cracked lens (courtesy of an unfortunately placed carbine muzzle during airport transport). There are no functional issues with this sight—other than the glaring and obviously broken glass on the bottom of the sight window. It’s just fun to shoot with it, and the fractures do not occlude any target area.

A great treat is that we, the consumers, can buy these exact products, and we don’t have to mercilessly abuse them to prove their durability. They have already been well vetted, so we can just enjoy shooting with them and relying on them.

We can even take good care of them … if we choose to.

SIG Romeo4B
TYPE: Red dot

MAGNIFICATION: 1x

OBJECTIVE LENS DIAMETER: 20mm

EYE RELIEF: Unlimited

ILLUMINATION SETTINGS: 10 daytime; 2 night vision

RED DOT SIZE: 2 MOA dot or 2 MOA dot inside a 65 MOA circle

ELEVATION/WINDAGE ADJUSTMENT RANGE: +/- 50

MOA WEATHER RESISTANCE: 1 meter submersed for at least 30 minutes (IPX-7); fogproof

WEIGHT: 3.4 ounces

DIMENSIONS: 2.65 (L) x 1.4 (W) x 1.6 (H) inches

POWER: 1x CR2032 battery; 5,000 hours (motion activated)

MSRP: $419 (the price of the 4B—discontinued)

*Note: The 4B has been discontinued and will be replaced by a U.S.-assembled and updated version with a mounting platform compatible with the Aimpoint Micro series of sights and an updated reticle with a tenfold life increase to 50,000 hours! It will still be called a ROMEO4 but will have a different letter designation. Expect the retail price to increase slightly.

 

SIG Romeo1
The ROMEO1 sight on this Mark 25 pistol is functionally unaffected by its cracked sight window.

The ROMEO1 sight on this Mark 25 pistol is functionally unaffected by its cracked sight window.

TYPE: Miniature reflex sight

MAGNIFICATION: 1x

OBJECTIVE LENS DIAMETER: 30mm

EYE RELIEF: Unlimited

ILLUMINATION SETTING: 5 daytime; 2 night vision

RED DOT SIZE: 3

MOA ELEVATION/WINDAGE ADJUSTMENT RANGE: +/- 50

MOA WEATHER RESISTANCE: 1 meter submersed for at least 30 minutes (IPX-7); fogproof

WEIGHT: 0.8 ounce

DIMENSIONS: 1.8 (L) x 1.3 (W) x1.1 (H) inches

POWER: 1x CR1632 battery (motion activated)

MSRP: $479

NOTE: The ROMEO1 Mini Reflex Sight was awarded the coveted Guns & Ammo Optic of the Year award for 2016.

 

Editor’s note: A version of this article first appeared in the October 2017 print issue of Gun World Magazine.

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