Red dot optics of all types and price points proliferate a growing firearms accessories market. At the hundreds-of-dollars side of the price scale, some offer tritium-powered dots, aircraft-grade aluminum housings, and ruggedness to stand up to the harshest conditions known to man. For those who want the quick acquisition capabilities of a red dot but who are more “once-and-a-while” hunters and shooters, or those who simply want a basic red dot optic to use on variety of guns, TruGlo offers its 30mm red dot sight (model TG8030B). Available for under $50 in many stories and online, the TruGlo Red Dot sight is the value option. But it is still fun, easy to use, and quite effective.

Specifications

  • 30mm red dot sight
  • 5 MOA reticle
  • Unlimited eye relief
  • 11-position rheostat
  • Multi-coated lenses
  • 95 percent light transmission
  • Anti-reflective interior coating eliminates stray light
  • Click windage and elevation adjustments
  • Shock-resistant to 1000gs
  • Waterproof and fogproof
  • Integrated Weaver mounting system
  • 3V CR2032 battery included
  • Lifetime limited warranty
  • Weight: 6.9 ounces
  • Length: 3.8 inches
  • $39.70 at Cheaper Than Dirt!

Quality

With a 5 MOA reticle, the TruGlo optic offers unlimited eye relief through its multi-coated lenses. Depending on lighting, the red dot shows up very well and is controlled by an 11-position rheostat. It was easy and intuitive to look through the objective and quickly see the red dot in relation to the target. I liked the protective, flip-up lens caps and, while they’re removable, kept them flipped up most of the time. Built-in safety caps covered the controls for adjusting windage and elevation.

The body of the TruGlo sight is made of plastic and while it feels sort of cheap, nothing about its performance suggested that it wasn’t shock-resistant and waterproof as claimed. Mounted on top of an AR-15, it looked like many other red dot optics—tactical and functional.

TruGlo's red dot is inexpensive but offers excellent performance.
TruGlo’s red dot (center) is inexpensive compared to other sights, but offers excellent performance.

Reliability

TruGlo says this model of red dot is intended for shotguns, handguns, rifles, muzzleloaders, paintball guns, and crossbows. While using on an AR-15 might have been least appropriate of all those weapons options, it handled shorter-range aiming duties very well, helping me consistently place accurate shots on steel silhouette targets at an outdoor range.

Installing the TruGlo red dot was easy and, because of its larger size, required no additional extended/raised mount. The screws that secured its Weaver-style mount to the rifle seemed strong, although at times I worried that I might accidentally break the plastic teeth on the screw heads if I turned them too far or too hard. Once installed, the sight stayed secure.

The controls moved quietly and positively and while the red dot was easy to adjust, it was dead-on accurate right out of the box and stayed that way over several shooting sessions and several re-installations.

Powered by a lithium battery, the red dot glowed brightly and evenly. Shooting during the day, I set the rheostat at “7,” which provided a steady red dot that was bright enough but not overpowering.

After the range session atop the AR-15, I let one of my sons borrow it for use on his Airsoft rifle—an exercise that would push the sight’s shockproof claim to the extreme, as he and his friends play hard. It more than survived the plastic pellet firefight and the running-through-the-backwoods test; my son didn’t want to give the sight back to me.

Price/Value

Made in China, TruGlo red dot sights are available in a myriad of online stores. Cheaper Than Dirt! sells them for $39.70. At under $50, the TruGlo sight is a tremendous value, providing an effective red dot aiming system that can be used on a variety of arms.

Referability

Despite being one of the least costly red dots on the market, the TruGlo earns four stars for referability. Not only did it generate a few looks and questions at the range, it also provided an almost unbeatable combination of low cost, high versatility, and good performance.

Images by Mark Kakkuri

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