March 03, 2021
“It’s built in America.” That’s one of the takeaways that SIG Sauer wants us to understand about the new Romeo2 red-dot optic, and that statement was emphasized during an interview with Andy York, president of the Electro-Optics Division at SIG Sauer. “In fact, they are made in Oregon,” he specified.
Many optics are made overseas, which is a subject that is becoming important for concerned Americans who want this country to support U.S. job growth and become less dependent on other countries. In terms of optics, many intended for the commercial market come from Asia and feature pirated intellectual properties, as well. The reason? Cost. Some manufacturers can produce all-American optics, but the price of a scope jumps from $500 to $3,000 with other aspects being equal. It’s that dramatic. The only customer that doesn’t hesitate to pay the higher price is the U.S. government who even passed the Berry Amendment in 1952 to require the Department of Defense (DOD) to give preference in procurement to domestically produced or manufactured products. However, exception and exclusion laws have also passed since to ensure sufficient quantity could be delivered without delayed production.
With factories in Arkansas, Oregon and New Hampshire, SIG Sauer can design and produce every part of any product in the U.S., and it’s moving in that direction with the Romeo2. Nothing on the Romeo2 is sourced from China. Some small components such as resistors on circuit boards have to come from overseas, but SIG Sauer is stocking up on those specific components so production would safely continue if the U.S. found itself in another crisis. With those few parts in hand, SIG Sauer can even make the small circuit boards for its optics.
Meet Romeo. The Romeo2 is SIG Sauer’s greatest red dot to date. Designed for use on pistols, it can be installed as an open-emitter, half- or a fully-sealed closed-emitter red-dot sight. The half- and fully-sealed configurations are protected by steel shrouds. In the open-emitter configuration, the sight looks similar to the Romeo1 with a larger window, similar weight plus a few new tricks. With the steel half-shroud installed, the durability and protection is increased with the LED emitter exposed. Until now, the first and only closed-emitter sight for a pistol was the Swedish-made Aimpoint ACRO ($599). The Romeo2 includes an optional steel shroud and lens that encloses the emitter to prevent dust, moisture and debris from interfering with the emitter’s operation or collecting on the back of the lens when holstered. When completely shrouded, it’s also tougher against extreme impacts. It can endure the slide recoil velocities of a 10mm, and offers maximum water resistance and protection from foreign objects. It is the first red-dot optic to offer these protections in user-convertible configurations.
Phase 3 “When we started this division 6 years ago, we partnered with some of the Tier 1 suppliers I had worked with in the past,” York said. “Let’s call that ‘Phase 1.’ Then the LE and military division of SIG Sauer wanted us to ruggedize the optics so they could submit a complete system for bid on military contracts. At that time, we were still using an international supply chain. That was Phase 2. If you sit there with a clean sheet of paper, ruggedize an optic from the ground up, that’s what the Romeo2 is. It’s Phase 3.”
When SIG Sauer was developing the U.S. Army’s M17/M18 standard-issue pistol contract winner, there was no SIG Sauer E-Optic division. So, when the government wanted the slide to be machined to accept a red-dot sight, SIG went with Leupold’s DeltaPoint Pro footprint.
“I didn’t have an optic that I felt comfortable having a soldier fight with,” York recalled. “The Romeo2 is now that sight.”
The Romeo2’s footprint remains the same but features a pair of indentations for pistols and adapter plates that have bosses at the rear.
The Romeo2 has been repeatedly dropped from 10 feet on concrete, tortured, and the sight still works. Third-party lab testing showed that the Romeo2 will withstand all of the military’s requirements. It’s now believed that a 10mm round’s recoil impulse is harder on a slide-mounted optic than .40 S&W, so SIG Sauer tested it further with thousands of rounds and experienced no failures.
Innovative Features One issue with red-dot sights on handguns has always been with changing the battery. With the Trijicon RMR ($699), for example, you have to remove the optic to access the CR2032 battery, which means re-zeroing once installed. The ACRO’s CR1225 battery is easy to change, but hard to buy. Plus, the CR1225 has one-fifth the power capacity of the CR2032. At a usable illumination setting, you have to change batteries more frequently than advertised. That said, law enforcement and military servicemen tend to change batteries more often than a manufacturer recommends anyways. In fact, some police officers I’ve interviewed indicate they change batteries once a week to be certain their electronics never go down on duty. To make battery changes quick and easy, SIG Sauer cleverly designed a button at the rear of the Romeo2. Press it to unlatch the spring-loaded battery tray to change the CR2032 battery without having to remove the sight and rezero.
On a medium brightness setting, the advanced circuitry manages a 20,000-plus-hour life for those not religious about changing batteries. That many hours translates to a little more than 2 years of constant on, but the Romeo2 carries over SIG Sauer’s Motion Activated Illumination, also referred to as “MOTAC.” MOTAC has proven to increase practical battery life by shutting down the system when not in use. It instantly powers on illumination of the sight when it senses motion, and the red-dot reticle remains on for 2 minutes after idle.
New to the Romeo2 is “Magnitac.” A magnet activates this feature and turns on the red dot instantly. This technology is designed to work in conjunction with special holsters which have a magnet built into the holster’s material. SIG Sauer is actively working with a number of holster makers to exploit this innovation, and they’re doing it royalty-free. Worth noting, the Romeo2 will come with a protective cover that shrouds the optic. The rubber cover will have a magnet to utilize Magnitac and guard battery life when the optic or pistol is stored.
The Romeo0 features an aspherical lens made of polymer. The lens is clear, lightweight and helps keep cost down, but the Romeo2 features a glass-molded aspherical lens. Unlike complaints about other mini red dots where the clear part of the lens may be a circle in the center of the window, or the outer edge appears magnified, the Romeo2 was engineered differently so that the entire lens is clear, scratch resistant and void of distortion.
Look under the front of the lens and you’ll notice a U-shaped pocket. This pocket was designed to accept a clever blast shield made of plastic. Two will be included, but none were available for this review. Developed in response to the gas that comes out the loaded-chamber indicator (LCI) behind the ejection port, this shield protects the Romeo2’s lens from the carbon film that dulls image quality. The Army wanted the M17 to have an LCI, and a little bit of gas escapes out of that. LCIs are an exhaust pipe that sits in front of the lens. After firing a magazine or two, you can wipe any red-dot sight and see the difference.
The integrated rear sight is low and easily co-witnesses with standard iron sights, unlike many others. It’s finely serrated at the rear and given two black dimples that flank the notch, which can be painted if you prefer a three-dot iron sight setup. Further, this rear sight encloses the clearly marked sight adjustments. The Romeo2 will be available with either a 3- or 6- MOA dot at 12 daylight and three night-vision brightness settings.
The Romeo2 exists for those wanting the most advanced, adaptable and rugged option currently available.
SIG Sauer Romeo2 Specs:
- Magnification: 1X
- Reticle: 3 MOA or 6 MOA red dot
- Length: 1.83 in.
- Width: 1.31 in.
- Height: 1.24 in.
- Weight: 2.1 oz.
- Materials: Aluminum, glass, steel
- Finish: Matte black
- Adjustment Range: .6 in. at 100 yds. (1 click)
- MSRP: $780
- Manufacturer: SIG Sauer, sigsauer.com
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