Review: Trijicon’s New RMR HD
August 1st, 2023
8 minute read
When it comes to red dot optics, there are few names as respected in the tactical and civilian shooting communities as that of Trijicon. From the ACOG in use with the U.S. military to the RMR family of reflex shots topping off military, law enforcement and civilian handguns, this is a brand that is truly trusted by those in the know.
Which brings us to the topic at hand today — the newest iteration of the RMR. For those who may not be familiar with the RMR family, it is a compact red dot that has earned the reputation for being extremely rugged and capable of taking abuse and continuing to run.
The Trijicon RMR (which stands for “Ruggedized Miniature Reflex”) was first introduced in 2009. While red dots on a handgun may seem commonplace these days, that was not the case then. Considering the violent force a slide cycling back and forth can exert on anything riding on it, developing a reflex optic that could handle both that shock and the abuse of intensive operations was quite a feat.
One of the most noteworthy design features of the RMR was that the small, extremely durable optic featured a specially designed housing that was shaped and contoured in such a way to provide the unit with superior strength, diverting the energy of impacts it may endure away from the optic’s glass.
The proven capability to withstand punishment in the field, coupled with innovative optical design features, were undoubtedly some of the main factors that led to the updated RMR Type 2 version of the optic being chosen as the official US SOCOM Handgun Reflex Sight (HRS).
[Be sure to read our RMR Type 2 review here.]
Now, Trijicon has stepped up their game even further with a new update to the iconic optic — the Trijicon RMR HD.
New Red Dot Optic Standard?
The Trijicon RMR HD is the next generation of innovative red dot pistol optic specifically designed around the evolving needs of the law enforcement, military and civilian shooting communities.
While slightly larger overall than the RMR and RMR Type 2, the new RMR HD is designed to fit the same footprint as those earlier versions as well as be compatible with current duty holster configurations.
If you are familiar with the RMR, you’ll be right at home with the new HD model. This latest iteration was built on the foundation of the Trijicon RMR adjustable LED model, featuring the same housing shape made from 7075 T-6 forged aluminum as well as high-quality lenses and extremely rugged electronics. It is also waterproof to 20 meters. Weight is 1.66 oz. with the one CR2032 battery, and dimensions are as follows: 2.2” (length), 1.3” (width), 1.2” (height).
So, if it’s as tough as the original RMR units and slightly larger, what do you get with the new HD version? Remember that one CR2032 battery I mentioned? It’s now top-loading, meaning you do not have to take off the optic to replace the battery. Oh, and that battery is rated to run for more than two years of continuous use at dot-only day setting.
In addition to the top-loading battery design, you also get a larger sight picture window. Within that window, you will see a red dot (you can choose either a 1 MOA dot with the RMRM HD 01 model or a 3.25 MOA dot with the RMR HD 02) that will be quite familiar. However, you also now have the option of toggling on a 55 MOA segmented circle around the red dot. Both the dot and the circle include a new “super bright” setting and an additional night vision setting over the older RMR units.
Also new is a forward-mounted light sensor that allows the automatic brightness model of the RMR HD to read the lighting conditions at the target, rather than only at the user end. This new design approach helps minimize the risk of “reticle washout” or “reticle bloom” when utilizing the optic in varied lighting conditions from the shooter to the target. This also helps the RMR HD adjust to changing light sources such as the use of a weapon-mounted light.
The RMR HD gives the user a great deal of control over the illumination settings, with 11 total brightness settings. It gives you a “lock-out” model that secures the auto-brightness setting and is ideal for an EDC set-up. There is also a “lock-in” mode that secures the user-chosen brightness setting. Additionally, there is a “tunable-auto” mode that allows the user to tune the mid-point and range of the setting to their preferences.
Beyond the electronics controls, Trijicon has also tweaked the external controls for enhanced performance. For example, the windage and elevation adjusters have been tuned for tactile and audible clicks when zeroing. In addition, the adjustment controls — made up of a “+” marked button on the left of the body and a “-” marked one on the right — have been tuned to offer tactile and audible adjustments, even when used with gloves.
RMR HD Specifications
Before we hit the range with this red dot, let’s take a look at the Trijicon RMR HD specs:
|Reticle||1 or 3.25 MOA dot with 55 MOA ring that can be turned on or off|
|Weight||1.66 oz with battery|
|Dimensions||2.2″ long, 1.3″ wide and 1.2″ high|
|Body Construction||Forged aluminum|
|Water Resistance||Submersible to 20 meters|
|Operation||11 brightness modes with three night vision compatible settings|
|Power Source||Single CR2032 battery|
|Run Time||Up to 50,000 hours|
|Country of Origin||Made in U.S.A.|
Range Time with Trijicon RMR HD
Having had some experience working with Trijicon’s original RMR, getting to test out the RMR HD was a treat. I decided to test out the RMR HD on my new Springfield Armory Echelon pistol, which effortlessly afforded a low-profile direct mount to the slide using its Variable Interface System (VIS) optics-mounting system.
Taking the Echelon and Trijicon RMR HD to the range and shooting from broad daylight conditions to dusk, one of the features I really enjoyed most during my trip was the aforementioned forward-looking light sensor. Whereas I find myself routinely making small adjustments to other manufacturer’s dots in different lighting conditions or when shooting between different target colors, the fact that this tiny sensor on the RMR HD basically gauges the brightness for me at the target (not just at my shooting position) and thereby adjusts the LED intensity automatically according to lighting conditions downrange was a great feature.
I have experienced the dreaded “reticle washout” with other optics when engaging targets from a dimly lit area out to a brightly lit area, or that distracting and annoying “reticle bloom” when the lighting situation is reversed. This simply did not happen with the RMR HD when I operated and tested it in rapidly or regularly changing lighting conditions. For example, I activated and deactivated my weapon-mounted light and took the unit on the Echelon between rooms indoors with variable lighting conditions, and it ran like a champ.
Amongst other noteworthy features that stood out to me was the large, unobstructed and crisp field of view on this unit. I had no trouble obtaining my sight picture and finding the reticle with ease through the .92”x.69” window. The glass is parallax free and, although I greatly enjoy allowing the unit to automatically adjust brightness, I do like that it includes 11 brightness settings with multiple modes so you can manually adjust it for excellent visibility in any lighting condition.
Due to how low the optic sits on the slide since it is direct-mounted on the Echelon, I could mostly co-witness the irons on the pistol as well through the optic, which is a real plus. I asked Trijicon about this, and I was told that the RMR HD’s “deck height” is identical to that of the Trijicon SRO and only slightly taller than that of the standard RMR. The direct-mounting allowed with the Echelon’s VIS system makes it a great foundation for this (or just about any other) red dot optic in my opinion.
It may seem like a small thing to some, but the RMR HD housing has a small Index Ridge Alignment Aid on top of it. It’s basically a small protrusion running the length of the optic on top, but I thought it was a really nice feature that provides a built-in index point for obtaining a fast-sight picture. I found this to be useful when doing a few close-distance drills and practicing some basic point-shooting.
I detected no point of impact change or need to re-zero during my range session. The RMR HD also has three total night vision settings for use with any generation of night vision system. As far as adjustments go, the unit includes a 120 MOA total travel on windage and elevation, allowing you a great degree of control when sighting in.
I also really enjoyed the newly designed reticle options, which allowed me to switch between the “complex” reticle and the single crisp dot. After some time with the optic, I personally leaned towards the single dot, but found the ring helpful at greater distances. I found that adjusting the auto illumination as well as the dot/circle contrast was easy and intuitive.
Final Thoughts on the RMR HD
It was truly a pleasure getting a chance to try out this new optic from Trijicon as it represents the next step in the evolution of the RMR family. It keeps everything that was good about the originals, and adds in the features and modifications needed to take the design to the next level. Trijicon’s reputation for durability, reliability and quality are certainly intact with the new RMR HD, with the company seeming to have set its sights on further solidifying its place as the optic of choice for serious handgun shooters.
The RMR HD is truly a feature-rich optic that makes shooting with it an intuitive, enjoyable and hassle-free experience. MSRP of the unit is $849, which is by no means cheap. But, I believe you get what you pay for, and this is truly an impressive optic. I really enjoyed shooting with it, particularly on the Echelon, and I look forward to running it on a few other pistols here in the near future. I have no doubt it will continue to impress!
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