Bushnell TRS-32 Red Dot Sight Review
December 31, 2015
During the Black Friday sales in 2014, I had the opportunity to purchase a Bushnell TRS-32 Red Dot Sight at an unbelievably low price. The price was $49.99 from Palmetto State Armory (PSA) and PSA has become one of my go-to online stores for finding good deals for review products. The TRS-32 is part of Bushnell's AR Optics line which is geared towards providing optics compatible with today's modern sporting rifle (MSR) which is the AR platform.
I own several of the Bushnell TRS-25 sights and consider them to be great sights packed with high value. Back in 2010, I performed a review on the TRS-25 and you can checkout that review at this link. My hopes were that the Bushnell TRS-32 would deliver the same level of reliability and usability as the TRS-25, which after using the TRS-32 for a year, I believe it does match the performance of the TRS-25 but in a slightly different red dot platform.
During my reviews I like to compare my results to the manufacturer's claims where possible so the following text in colored italics was taken directly from the Bushnell website on 12/6/15 and gives the Key Features and Specifications for the Bushnell TRS-32 Sight. The , and are my way to keep up with details that I have covered in this review with either photos, commentary or both.
I'm trying to make an effort to provide more video coverage of my reviews, so this video below is the YouTube version of this review and covers the details in this review. Although, the remainder of this review does a better job of showing high resolution photos of the TRS-32 red dot sight.
The Bushnell TRS-32 sight came boxed as shown below. I think the sight is also available in one of those plastic clamshell style packages.
This next view shows the top of the box. Bushnell advertises itself as a "Proud USA Company", but like many optics, the actual optics are made overseas. Later I show that the bottom of the sight has the lettering "AW KOREA" which indicates that this may potentially be made in Korea.
The bottom of the box listed some of the key features of this sight which I have already identified above or will cover further in the review.
Inside the box were the:
A quick word on the warranty, it seems there may be a little confusion on the warranty period. The website states a 1 year warranty and the Instruction Manual states 2 years. Considering the price point of this sight, this is probably a reasonable warranty period.
The TRS-32 mount is shown in these next photos and the mount has a black matte finish. The width/thickness of the mount is 1" which allows the aluminum cap to be held in place with six Allen head screws.
Although the cap seems relatively thin across the top, the rest of the mount has a very beefy look. The mount is made from aluminum with what looks to be some type of matte black anodized finish. The mount also has a slight offset on the vertical portion but still allows the sight to be mounted and centered on the rail. The center hole helps to reduce the weight. The clamp bar has symmetric feet (top and bottom) so that you don't have to worry about getting the correct orientation when installing. The clamp bar is held in place with a nut that has a slot. The nut can spin off the screw so be careful if you are taking this on or off in the field. The optic centerline height of the mount is about 1.6" above the top of the rail which provides for a 1/3 co-witness. One thing to note is that the split between the mount and cap is not through the center of the optic. The split will sit slightly high on your 30mm tube.
The clamp bar screw acts likes like a recoil lug inside the rail slot and this mount can be installed on Picatinny or Weaver styled mounts. My overall impression of the mount is that it shouldn't give you any issues related to its sturdiness or ability to hold zero provided you torque the clamp bar nut sufficiently.
The Bushnell TRS-32 sight has a matte black aluminum body with a 30mm tube section. It comes with lens caps on both the front and rear lenses.
The turret covers include a rubber tether to keep them from being lost when making adjustments. The sight also has an overall length of 5.21" including the lens caps.
The sight body steps up from 30mm in the area for mounting to about 39mm at the objective end to house the 32mm objective lens. The area between the turret housing and objective bell is about 1.25" in length and Bushnell refers to this as the mounting length.
Although it doesn't show very well in the photo below, the bottom of the turret housing is marked with the model number "731305" and "AW KOREA" which I believe indicates it is manufactured in Korea.
On the left side of the sight is the battery compartment and illumination switch.
This next photo shows the sight with the lens caps flipped up. The actual caps are made from some type of harder polymer material while the part that goes around the sight is a softer more rubbery material. The caps are removeable and can be rotated to any position allowing the option for them to flip down if desired. The caps have a nice feel and snap into place and can be easily flipped open with a little pressure applied by a single finger.
Bushnell states that the lenses are "multi-coated" and it is clear that there is some type of coating on the objective lens. There is actually a clear lens in front of the gold reflective lens in the objective end.
The sight and mount weighed in at a total of 9.6 ounces including the battery and lens caps.
The rubber tether keeps the turret covers handy.
The turrets are adjustable in 1 MOA increments which is probably sufficient for this style of red dot sight. Each turret is marked with an arrow indicating the direction to turn the turret for making an "UP" or "L" (left) bullet point of impact shift. The turrets are also marked with hash marks and at 5 MOA increments thicker lines. Each turret adjusted with positive clicks and the spec says there are a total of 50 MOA of adjustments. I didn't adjust this sight through it's full range, but have installed it on three different rifles and have had no issue zeroing those rifles. In this next photo you can also see the O-ring at the base of the threads to ensure the sights waterproof capability.
On the left side of the turret housing is a pretty standard looking illumination knob. There are 11 different illumination settings and a single off position. The red dot stays illuminated as you move the switch between different illumination levels. The battery cap has a slot for a coin or you can use your fingers to turn it using the ridged outside edge.
Removing the cap reveals a pretty common looking battery compartment. Note that the battery cap does have an O-ring to seal the compartment which helps to ensure their "100% waterproof/fogproof/shockproof construction." I have used the sight for over a year with no issue related to waterproof/fogproof/shockproof, but I also have not truly put it to the test. The sight takes a standard CR2032 battery and I have been pleased with overall battery life. I have not done any tests to determine battery life, but a battery lasts a long time and there have been multiple times when my kids have left the sight on only for me to find out days later when it was time to clean the rifle.
One of the first things you notice when looking through the sight is that it has a blue-ish tint. I believe this is to improve the reflectivity of the red dot. This tint is something that you get accustomed to using, but it is clearly not a preferred viewing picture. Having the white background in these photos does make it more visible, but when looking at contrasted backgrounds, the tint is not as noticeable and also sometimes has a green-ish look. The photo on the left is with the focus on my camera set to show the sight and the photo on the right has the focus set to show the 5 MOA red dot.
These next three photos show the dot intensity level on the same white background. My camera efforts didn't do these photos justice. In all cases the dot seem brighter when looking through the sight when compared to the photos. At the 1 intensity level, the dot seems crisp and smaller. As you adjust to higher levels, the dot gets much brighter and starts to bloom around the 4 level. At the 11 level, the dot is extremely bright and you start getting some reflective issues around the outside of the lens. For my purposes, I found that using the dot at the 3 or 4 level is very sufficient for shooting in all types of lighting conditions. Over time, the intensity level might reduce slightly as the battery starts to weaken.
Overall I found the sight to be clear and crisp. This sight being a 1x power (no magnification) makes it seem like looking through a sheet of tinted glass.
As I mentioned earlier, I have installed this sight on three different rifles (.223 REM, .300 BLK and .22LR). At the moment I have it installed on my Beretta ARX 160 22LR Rifle shown below and this rifle gets an enormous amount of range time because it is one of two rifles that are always used by my family at my .22LR range when competing on the dueling trees. When installed on the .223 REM and .300 BLK rifles, the sight had no issues handling the recoil of those rifles which it was probably really intended to be installed on.
Since the sight has an unlimited eye relief, you can mount the sight at any location along your rail. During the installation of the sight, I torqued the cap screws to 15 in-lbs and the clamp bar nut to 40 in-lbs.
I did some very basic parallax testing to see how sensitive the sight would be when the red dot is not in the center of the field of view and found the sight to be relatively parallax free. You can see these tests in the video at the beginning of this review.
Overall, I'm pleased with the value, quality and performance you get out of the Bushnell TRS-32 Red Dot Sight. Over this past year it as proven to be reliable and battery life seems to be reasonable. I wish it didn't have the blue-ish tint, but without it, the ability to see the red dot might be diminished significantly. I feel the TRS-32 is one of those sights that you should do your research on figuring out what represents a great price so that you can take advantage of a sale when the time happens. Personally, I think I still prefer the TRS-25 sight's smaller profile, but that is just my preference. If you are in the market for an entry level, value priced, red dot sight, the Bushnell TRS-32 might be the one to choose if you can get a good deal.