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Rob Reaser

TruGlo’s TruTec Xtreme: The Best Tactical Red-Dot Performance-to-Price Option?

The TruTec Xtreme is taking economical, tactical red-dot optics to the next level.

Editor's note: This article is sponsored content from TruGlo.


Magnified optics may get much of the attention these days as MSR fans seek to push the limits of long-distance accuracy, yet it’s the red-dot that continue to rule the practical tactical side of town — and for good reason. From CQB work to fast-action steel ranging from “here” to “way out there,” nothing beats a red-dot optic for lightning-quick target acquisition.

Choosing a red-dot that's right for you, however, can be an exercise in excessive frustration. With so many models to choose from amongst so many different manufacturers, many consumers give up the hair-splitting decision process and simply default to the seemingly best value for their budget. Yet even at the “price value” level, choosing one optic over another can be challenging. This is when a manufacturer's reputation and peer reviews come into play.

The TruTec Xtreme 30mm Red-Dot Sight

One of the leading sight-solution manufacturers that has earned benefit-of-the-doubt status is TRUGLO, Inc. As an industry leader in fiber-optic sight technology for the last quarter century, TRUGLO has gradually expanded its product offerings to encompass a broad range of weapon platforms and applications — all while keeping product innovation and cost-to-performance ratio in clear view. Their latest product for the MSR crowd — the TruTec Xtreme 30mm red-dot — certainly follows that well-trod path.

The Xtreme 30mm, as the name implies, is built on a 30mm tube chassis to deliver a wide field of view. That’s a major plus for close-range work when you need to get that sight picture fast. It's also a treasured asset during low light conditions.

Another big thumbs up comes from the included machined aluminum cantilever mount. Designed to secure to Picatinny or Weaver-style rails, the mount is confidently solid and proportioned to allow the Xtreme to co-witness with iron backup sights — another win for real-world tactical applications. The height of the co-witness is an added benefit — the TruTec Xtreme comes with the perfect height instead of trying to determine the needed mounting height.

Downrange View Of The TruTec Xtreme

The operator's view of the TruTec Xtreme is on par with optics we've tested that carry a significantly higher price tag. The glass offers sharp downrange visibility and the 30mm objective lens provides good light transmission even toward the ragged sides of dusk and dawn. What we most appreciate about the sight picture, though, is the 2-MOA reticle. While most optics in this price range come with a 3- or 4-MOA red-dot, the Xtreme presents a crisp 2-MOA dot. For targeting silhouettes and steel beyond the 100-meter mark, that's exactly what we want.

To set point-of-impact, the TruTec Xtreme makes the job easy with windage and elevation adjustments calibrated for 1/2-MOA. That means one click moves the point-of-impact approximately 1/2-inch at 100 yards. Since most shooters zero their red-dots for 50 yards, one click moves the POI about 1/4-inch. Combined with the 2-MOA reticle, this allows for some tight zeroing. Once you've set your zero, screw-on caps keep your adjustments safe. For added convenience, the Xtreme comes with integrated cap lanyards to keep the caps secured to the optic chassis (another high-end touch without the high-end price).

Astute optic buyers are probably wondering about parallax. TRUGLO sets the TruTec Xtreme's to be parallax-free at 50 yards. Shooting on the extreme near or far sides of 50 yards can cause a POI shift, but we've found that staying within the recommended middle two-thirds of the field of view effectively kicks this issue to the curb. As for eye relief, it's unlimited, so place the Xtreme on your rail where it's most comfortable for your shooting style.

The Circuitry Of The TruTec Xtreme

Regarding the user interface and electronic function of the TruTec Xtreme 30mm, TRUGLO keeps it simple, yet the operation has a sophisticated flair. The “+” and “-” buttons located on the left side of the housing control everything. These, of course, allow you to adjust the brightness level of the red-dot to achieve just the right sharpness for the ambient light conditions.

This is a good ergonomic design because the buttons are large enough to manipulate while wearing gloves and their side-mount position lets you control the unit easily with your supporting hand, so you never have to disturb your grip to make adjustments. Also, there’s no independent on/off switch to complicate matters. Simply depress either button to turn the sight on if the TruTec Xtreme is in full shut-down mode.

The cool thing about this sight, though, is that you never really need to shut it down. That's because the TruTec Xtreme 30mm has “intelligent” wake/sleep modes that utilize a sensitive motion sensor. When the optic is turned on and no motion is detected after 10 minutes (the default time), the unit automatically saves the current brightness setting and enters sleep mode. Any movement of the rifle/optic while it’s in this state will automatically turn on the red-dot, making the firearm ready for action as soon as you pick it up.

As mentioned, this is an extremely sensitive motion sensor so, unlike most motion-sensitive red-dots on the market, there’s no need to bump the Xtreme to turn it on. (Yeah, striking your optic to turn it on never seemed like a good idea to us, either.) The Xtreme also lets you change the sleep mode to activate after one hour or 12 hours instead of the default 10 minutes, or it can be completely disabled. The choice is yours.

If you're worried about long-term sleep mode running down the battery, don't. TRUGLO has developed a rather sophisticated electronic technology that allows the Xtreme to remain on (or in sleep mode) at a very low power state. Although we have not been able to test the duration of battery life while the optic is sleeping, the company states that the single CR2032 battery source can last for several years in this mode.

Again, this is performance that matches or rivals optics costing twice as much. Of course, if you're more comfortable with completely shutting down the unit for long-term storage, a hard shut-off is a simple matter of pressing both the “+” and “-” buttons simultaneously. The longevity of this scope is accentuated by its water resistance design and features an O-ring sealed battery.

Stylin' And Profilin'

Although most tactical firearm enthusiasts acknowledge that guns are tools, not works of art, aesthetics often factor into the purchasing decision. The TruTec Xtreme 30mm and cantilever mount exude authority and an all-business demeanor with their matte black finish and crisp lines. In other words, this is no poser optic — the looks back up the performance.

With an MSRP of $258 (we've found it on online for as low as $148.81), that's our idea of “bang for the buck.”

TruTec Xtreme 30mm Red-Dot Key Features

  • 2-MOA reticle for precision aiming
  • 30mm objective lens
  • Digital push-button controls
  • Programmable automatic sleep mode
  • Motion-sensitive wake feature automatically turns on the dot when the optic is moved
  • Multiple brightness settings
  • Operates for thousands of hours on single CR2032 battery
  • Click windage and elevation adjustments
  • Machined aluminum cantilever Picatinny mount included
  • Integrated lanyard system prevents loss of screw-down W/E caps
  • Wide field of view
  • Unlimited eye relief
  • Optimal co-witness height for backup iron sights
  • Flip-up lens caps included
  • Water-resistant / fog-proof
  • Mounts to standard Picatinny or Weaver-style rails

For more information on the TrueTec Xtrem Red-Dot, please visit: www.truglo.com

Sighting-In for 3-Gun

The country's hottest practical shooting competition continues to grow. If you are looking to get in on the fun, TRUGLO offers one-stop shopping for all your pistol, shotgun, and AR sighting needs.

If you do it, you already know. If you don't, you'll find out as soon as try it…3-gun competitions are a blast. Not only do 3-gun matches scratch that itch we all have to get out on the range, but participation in this popular and ever-growing sport has real-world benefits the likes of which you just can't get from static range shooting. The practice of engaging multiple courses of fire with your three primary defensive weapons—pistol, shotgun, and semi-automatic rifle—allows you to hone your self-defense skills. What's more, the trio of weapons you may use on a 3-gun course can be the same ones you employ for your daily personal and home defense.

Getting into 3-gun shooting is simple. All you need is a pistol in 9mm or larger chamber, a pump or semi-auto shotgun in .20- or 12-gauge, and, for most divisions, a .223 chamber semi-auto rifle, the most popular of which is the AR-15 platform. From there, it's a matter of refining your weapons to suit your needs while staying within the rules for the division in which you want to participate. If you have questions, there are many resources to help you get started, including your local participating gun range or shooting club. The 3-gun fraternity is a friendly lot, and experienced shooters enjoy every opportunity to help new shooters get involved in the sport.


Although 3-gun equipment rules are in place, they are fairly simple—especially when compared to some competitive shooting associations. One area where the rules are fairly straightforward involves sights and optics; depending on the division in which you chose to participate, no magnified optics are allowed or one magnified optic is allowed in your 3-gun set.

For those of you who are ready to give 3-gun competition a try, these three products will get your gear ready for the buzzer.

TFX Pro Pistol Sights
If you've done any serious pistol shooting, you know that your original equipment front and rear sights do not provide an ideal sight picture in all lighting conditions. The TRUGLO TFX™ Pro tritium/fiber optic day/night sights, however, work in all lighting conditions, such as you will often find on a 3-gun course. The advantage the TFX™ Pro sights have over conventional open sights, fiber optic-only sights, or tritium-only sights is that they combine Swiss tritium and fiber optics with a contrasting color front sight ring. This combination provides optimal sight picture acquisition whether you're shooting with a high-noon sun overhead or you are on a woodland course darkened by storm clouds. What's more, the tritium/fiber optic elements are encased in almost indestructible, hermetically sealed capsules that won't be compromised by oils and cleaning solvents. Another advantage these sights have for the 3-gun shooter is their radiused, snag-proof design, which allows you to draw and holster your pistol smoothly and quickly.

TRU•BEAD Turkey Universal Sights
You're probably thinking, “A turkey sight for a tactical shotgun?” Well, listen up. Three-gun courses are increasingly diversifying their courses of fire, and this includes the shotgun courses. In a shotgun course, you may encounter everything from close-quarter target “hosing” with #6s or 75-yard slug targets. As a result, you need an equally diverse sighting system. An ideal middle-ground sight is the TRUGLO TRU•BEAD™ Turkey Universal. You can use the orange fiber optic front sight to focus on your close-range targets. When it's time to send a chunk of lead far downrange, the contrasting color rear sights will give you precise targeting. Of course, the rear sights are adjustable for elevation and windage, so you'll know the steel is in trouble as soon as you hit the stage.

To Magnify or Not to Magnify
That is the question you must answer before deciding in which division you want to shoot. The Limited division, which is popular for those just entering the 3-gun world, does not allow any magnified optics. If this is your chosen path, you'll want to consider using a fast-acquisition red dot, such as the TRUGLO TRU•TEC™ 30mm Red Dot. This sight provides a wide field of view and unlimited eye relief for the fast-paced 3-gun environment while the 2 MOA reticle ensures precise targeting for those way-out-there shots.

TG8516TL_NIf you want to jump right into the highly competitive Tactical division, you will be allowed one magnifying optic in your arsenal. This, naturally, would be best served on your rifle. While some competitors combine canted open sights with a higher power scope to cover both short and long distance targets, fixed power or variable power scopes (1-4X and 1-6X) are commonly used for both. The scope is set at its low setting for engaging close targets, then the shooter cranks up the magnification to engage the 200- and 300-yard plus targets. For this, the TRUGLO TRU•BRITE™ 30 Series is your huckleberry. The TRU•BRITE™ 30 Series can be purchased with either 1-4X or 1-6X magnification and includes two pre-calibrated BDC turrets (one for .223 caliber/55-grain and one for .308 caliber/168-grain) so you can be confident of your shot placement. Another feature that makes this scope optimal for 3-gun shooting is the ergonomic magnification adjustment ring, which minimizes fumbling and grip slip when you need to quickly transition between magnification settings.

Try It Out!
Three-gun competition is great fun, and it is a terrific opportunity for developing real-world defensive shooting skills. There are firearms clubs and associations around the country which host three-gun matches throughout the year. The National Shooting Sports Foundation maintains a listing of shooting ranges in the U.S., many of which host 3-gun competitions. Contact your local ranges for more info. You can also check out 3-Gun Nation for additional shooting opportunities in your area. In the meantime, check out the NSSF introductory video to 3-gun competition above.