The Sig Romeo Zero Elite: A Real User Review

A few years ago, Sig Sauer Optics came out with the Romeo Zero. This small red dot sight was designed for the Sig P365 and other micro-compact handguns. The initial offering got a lot of criticism, particularly about its “plastic” housing and “plastic” lens. (More on that later). Sig didn’t sit still though. They have developed more variations, specifically the Romeo Zero Elite, Romeo Zero R, and the Romeo Zero Pro. In this article, we’re going to look at the Romeo Zero Elite.

The Original

The Romeo Zero was designed with the small and slim pistol market in mind. It was also lower in price than many of the competitors. The Zero is made to fit on the Shield RMSc footprint. This is a common footprint and a good choice by Sig.

Where the Zero got a lot of heat was for its use of polymers. The knock on it was a “plastic body and plastic lens.” True, both were made of polymers, but that was amusing since most of the pistols it would be mounted on also had polymer frames. Their polymer lenses were touted as more scratch resistant. The truth is, Zero did ok for the average user. Yes, there are some guys who will be slamming it against barricades, but most civilian users don’t do that. I’m not saying that one shouldn’t train for one-handed operation. I’m saying most won’t.

The Romeo Zero Elite

Enter the Romeo Zero Elite. This version came out in late 2021/early 2022. Like its forerunner, it has a Shield RMSc footprint. It is also a lower price point than many competing red dots.

While the housing is still “plastic” (actually a carbon-infused polymer), the Elite also comes with a steel shroud that covers the optic’s lens area. The lens is an aspherical glass lens that cuts distortion. The glass is very clear, with a noticeable blue tint.

It has eight daytime illumination settings and uses a CR1632 battery for up to 20,000 hours of run time according to Sig.

The Elite comes in two configurations: a 3 MOA dot or a 2 MOA dot with a 32 MOA circle. I chose the 3 MOA dot. For testing, I put it on a Sig P322 pistol and a Glock 43X MOS.

That brings up one other thing that changed. The compatibility. While the Zero was not recommended for use on the Springfield Armory Hellcat, the Elite is. It comes with custom screws to direct mount the optic to both the Hellcat and the Glock 43X MOS, no additional plates or spacers are needed.

You can read the full specs on the optic here.

The Good

Ok, so what did I like about the Romeo Zero Elite? It was easy to mount, and the window is pretty good sized for an optic made for smaller guns. As mentioned, the glass does have a blue tint, but you forget about it after a couple of minutes. The glass is, however, very clear and I don’t see any distortion in the viewing area.

The optic has a ‘shake awake’ feature that works great. It has never failed to be on when I’ve brought the gun up. Through all of my shooting, the Elite has held zero with no issues. The steel shroud had been rock solid (and protected the optic a couple of times as I bumped it into my safe door when I was putting it away).

The 8 illumination settings are plenty bright. I live in South Florida, so shooting in the bright sun is a real possibility. The Elite’s brightness is more than sufficient for those occasions. Just in case the optic goes out or you forgot to change the battery every even-numbered year, there is a “Grade A Swiss SuperLuminova” stripe (translation: a glow-in-the-dark line) on the rear of the housing that can be used as a rear sight.

The Not So Good

I’m not even going to call this the bad, because much of this is either personal preference or convenience.

Probably my biggest gripe is the battery is bottom-loading. That means that the red dot has to be removed to replace the battery. Why does that matter? Well, it’s inconvenient because you need the right tools, and you will have to zero the optic again. It also gives you a chance to mess up (or lose) the screws. The delicate threading can get damaged easily if you don’t take care when putting it back on.

The other thing is the brightness adjustment button. Sig calls it T.A.P. (Touch-Activated Programming) and makes it sound super easy, barely an inconvenience. This involves first pushing the tiny button that is almost touching the lens. I have pretty average-sized hands, and this is a chore. I can’t imagine what some of my friends go through. There’s no tactile feedback, so you have to see if the dot starts flashing, but your finger is in the way. (Oh, and I leave fingerprints on the lens that I have to clean up)

The last thing I’ll mention is the sight adjustments. Unlike most of the competitors that use a small screwdriver to make the windage and elevation adjustments, the Romeo Zero Elite uses a tiny allen wrench. There is no audible or tactile feedback during the adjustments, so making the adjustments is a total guessing game. For the experienced user, this will be inconvenient. For the new users, this could be a real struggle.

The Bottom Line

The Sig Romeo Zero Elite has been a solid red dot so far. I’ve put about 1,000 rounds through it with the P322 and about 200 with the 43X. Like I said earlier, it has been reliable and held zero the entire time. I don’t monkey with the brightness that much because of the little button thing. Instead, I put it on a low/medium setting and left it there. Coming in at a street price of around $180 or so, the Elite is a pretty good value.

Will I use it on my EDC guns? Probably not. Not because I think it’s too fragile or that it doesn’t perform well enough. I just have other options that are a bit better for me. The brightness adjustment is probably the biggest reason I say no. If I do need to adjust on the fly in the real world, I’m simply not confident that I could do it quickly enough. You, however, may not find this to be an issue at all.

That said, the window is bigger than the Holosun 407K I put on the 43X and the Elite’s dot is easier/faster to pick up. If you are interested in the Eotech EFLX red dot, that review is here.

What do you think? Have you tried the Romeo Zero Elite or one of the other variants? What did you like or dislike? Let us know in the comments below.

2 Comments

  1. Jim Martino on December 16, 2023 at 5:41 pm

    I am a veteran and I’ve owned a pistols. Right now I am loving for a sub compact 9mm for my wife. If h you may direct me as to what you may think on the matter I would appreciate it

    • Alan Hughes on December 17, 2023 at 7:16 pm

      We’ve done reviews on the Smith & Wesson Shield Plus and the Ruger Security 380. Both are good choices in that size. The Sig P365 is also an excellent choice, as is the Glock 43x. My daughter has a Hellcat that she loves. It’s not my favorite, but it has been reliable.

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