The world of red dots is an interesting one. The incredible price disparity between the low-end red dots and the high-end red dots doesn’t exist in many product categories.
That puts the Bushnell in an interesting spot – it’s cheap compared to some and premium compared to others.
So the question “Should you buy it?” is a little tougher to answer, but in this article, I will cover every situation I can think of in which the TRS-25 is a good buy.
Is the Bushnell Trophy TRS-25 Worth Buying?
If you want a red dot for distances within 50 yards, particularly in dusk/dawn outdoor or well-lit interior situations, then the TRS-25 is a fantastic buy. It will do just OK in full sunlight, and OK in complete darkness, but there are better red dots out there for those conditions.
In my opinion, the biggest knock against the TRS-25 is its lack of versatility.
It’s not night-vision compatible, the dimmest setting is still a little brighter than I personally want in a near-darkness condition, and the brightest setting isn’t quite bright enough for comfortable use in bright daylight.
Bushnell Trophy TRS-25 Features
Having said that, it’s still a solid little red dot, and as long as you’re using it for what red dots, in general, are supposed to be used for, then it will perform well — here are more details on my thoughts of those different situations below.
1. 3-MOA Dot
I love 3-MOA dots. They’re big enough for quick target acquisition and small enough for an acceptable level of precision within about 50 yards or so.
Even at 100 yards, the dot itself will only cover about a 3-inch portion of your target. There are other reasons why this particular device isn’t great to take you out that far, but the dot itself is absolutely capable of it.
For contrast, other common dot sizes you see are 2-MOA and 6-MOA. I’ve seen 8-MOA as well but not nearly as frequently.
A 6 MOA dot is great for a handgun, but I think it’s too large to make much sense for mounting on a long gun. A 2-MOA dot can be great, but it starts to get small enough that they’re hard to see, especially in full daylight.
2. Brightness Settings
The TRS-25 comes with 11 different brightness settings, which is enough to cover the vast majority of situations.
Of those brightness settings, I found that the range between the dimmest and brightest settings wasn’t quite big enough.
When I took the dot to the basement to see how it did in near-darkness, the lowest setting was just a little brighter than I would want.
It wasn’t too bright to be usable, by any stretch, just a little brighter than I would want. There was no blooming or obscuring of the target beyond the dot, so this may be a complete non-issue for you.
On the other end of the spectrum, taking the dot out in full daylight, I was able to see the dot, but I did have to look a bit before I found it, and it was easy to lose, especially when I aimed the dot at the gravel on the ground.
If you’re pointing at dirt, foliage, or anything else, it’s easier to keep track of.
It’s there, I promise…
There it is!
All this is why I say that it’s fantastic for non-extreme lighting conditions. You might run into some comfort issues on either end of the spectrum, but it will still work.
The brightness is set by using the big wheel you see in the picture, and you can spin it in either direction.
The wheel starts at 0, and you can either turn to go to “1” or turn in the other direction to go straight to “11” and work your way down. It’s a simple mechanism, but I like it a lot.
3. Full MOA Adjustments
The TRS-25 windage and elevation adjustments use 1 MOA jumps with each detent. It’s not uncommon to see 1 MOA jumps on red dots, but I would say ½ MOA is more typical.
The complaint about 1 MOA adjustments is that the dot itself physically cannot zero more accurately than within 1 inch at 100 yards.
If you’re using a red dot for something where you need more precision than that, at 100 yards and beyond, then you may want to re-evaluate anyway.
That said, the counter-argument would be that some red dots on the market are designed to have their limits pushed and get you out a lot further than 50 yards.
They are more expensive than the TRS-25, but if you’re looking for a red dot to be an SHTF or one-size-fits-all optic, then the TRS isn’t a great solution, and the 1 MOA adjustment instead of ½ MOA is a piece of that puzzle.
4. Construction & Durability
Let’s get back to something I love about the TRS-25. It’s built like a little miniature tank. It’s waterproof, o-ring sealed, and nitrogen purged.
The nitrogen ensures that it should never fog up from the inside, and the o-rings make it waterproof. It’s also shockproof and you shouldn’t ever have a problem with the TRS-25 losing zero.
Humidity is no issue, it will withstand almost all weather conditions with no problem, and if you drop or bump it it will keep on keeping on.
You obviously don’t want to go around hitting it with a hammer, but normal wear and tear shouldn’t bother it much at all.
Here’s another aspect where I must quibble with the design of the TRS-25. It does not ship with a riser mount.
Not only that but the weaver mount is molded into the bottom of the red dot, meaning you have to specifically buy a riser with a pic or weaver rail on the top and a pic or weaver mount on the bottom.
As long as you know this going in, it’s not that big of a deal, and Amazon even shows a couple that is “frequently bought together” with the TRS-25, but it does add another $12-$15 to your purchase, so it’s something to be aware of.
And a riser mount is not optional for most rifles that you’ll be mounting this too. You can see from our video review how hilariously low-profile the TRS-25 is if you don’t get a riser mount, and it’s completely unusable.
The weaver mount that comes with the TRS-25 is nice and tight, no worries about slipping or losing zero as long as you mount it correctly.
6. Battery Life
The battery life on the TRS-25 is rated to be up to 3000 hours on the dimmest setting. However, a vigilant Amazon buyer measured how much power it was drawing and compared it with the total capacity of the CR2032 battery that the Bushnell takes.
He found that the maximum battery life at the dimmest setting would be 750 hours.
He also found that it would only last about 9 hours at the highest brightness setting, which is really bad.
I don’t know what kind of magic other manufacturers pull to get the same (or better) brightness and still get significantly better battery life, but only 9 hours of brightness is hard to spin.
No Shake Awake
Compounding the issues with battery life, the TRS-25 does not come with any form of shake-awake or motion activation.
I’m alright with this, as I’m not a big fan of shake awake most of the time anyway, but it means that you’ll find the Bushnell harshly unforgiving every time you forget to turn the red dot off after shooting.
Pros and Cons of the Bushnell Trophy TRS-25
- 3 MOA dot
- 11 brightness settings
- Usable in dimmest and brightest conditions
- Durable, tough construction
- No shake-awake
- 1 MOA windage and elevation detents
- Poor battery life
Yes, it is, at least it should be. Nowhere in the manual or in the online product information does Bushnell specify to what waterproofing level the TRS-25 is rated; they simply say that it is “o-ring sealed” to ensure waterproofing. Since they don’t make any specific claims about how waterproof it is, I didn’t immerse it in water like I did the Sig Romeo 5.
Bushnell manufactures different product lines in different countries. The TRS-25 is in the Trophy series, and is manufactured in South Korea.
No, it is not. The dimmest setting on the device is still a little brighter than I find comfortable in near-darkness, and night vision devices require very dim dots that won’t overload the IR sensor. If you are looking for night vision compatibility, you’ll need to look for a different dot.
Hopefully, my statement at the beginning of the article makes more sense: for all the things that a red dot is supposed to be good at, the Bushnell Trophy TRS-25 is a solid choice that will serve you well.
Any time you want to stretch your red dot and use it in situations where red dots aren’t necessarily the best choice anyway, the TRS-25 will struggle a lot more than others.
For the price point, the Bushnell Trophy TRS-25 is at the higher end in quality, though if you’re willing to spend a little bit more money, you can get something that has a little more thoughtfulness put into the design.