September 13, 2022
Subcompact optics-ready carry pistols are one of the best-selling firearms, and SIG’s new-for-’22 Romeo Zero Elite might be the best reflex optic available for today’s micro-compact pistols. As you might expect, the Elite version is similar in many ways to the original Romeo Zero, which was already an outstanding optic, but the Elite receives several noteworthy upgrades that make it a standout in its class.
“The Romeo Zero Elite takes the innovation of the award-winning Romeo Zero to the next level with premium features, beginning with a glass lens for unmatched clarity, scratch-resistance, and a distortion-free picture,” says Andy York, president of SIG Sauer Electro-Optics. The new Elite model is available with a three-m.o.a. dot as well as a new reticle option that features a two-m.o.a. center dot and a 32-m.o.a. circle. The dot/circle combo is designed to offer maximum precision for longer shots and a large, easy-to-see aiming point for close, fast shots.
One of the other notable upgrades to the new Elite optic is a high-tech polymer housing that resists shock and protects the optic from damage. According to York, the new housing features an all-new carbon-infused construction and is more rugged, promising category-leading drop protection. A hardened steel shroud is also included, and it provides more protection against damage. The Elite reflex sight comes with SIG’s TAP (Touch-Activated Programming) that allows the shooter to adjust brightness settings and reticle options by simply tapping on the optic. To initiate TAP, hold the brightness button for three seconds until the reticle blinks slowly. Once it does, you can tap anywhere on the optic to raise brightness settings.
Once the optic reaches the highest of its eight brightness settings, it will begin to toggle down through the brightness settings. Once you have the desired brightness setting, don’t touch the Elite for five seconds. This allows the setting to be stored. To save battery life, all SIG Romeo Zero optics are equipped with MOTAC motion activation that automatically powers down the optic when no motion is detected and activates the optic when it is moved. When you draw your pistol and MOTAC activates the optic, the reticle will automatically return to the most recent brightness level.
TAP can also be used to toggle between reticle options with the circle/dot version of the Elite optic, allowing you to use the 32-m.o.a. outer dot, the two-m.o.a. inner dot, or both. If you’d prefer not to use the TAP feature, you can make adjustment settings using the brightness button that is tucked away under the shroud and just behind the lens. Adjusting windage and elevation is simple with the Romeo Zero Elite. The windage adjustment screw is located on the left rear side of the optic, and the elevation screw adjustment is located within the notch of the optic’s integral rear sight. Both screws are adjusted using the provided Allen wrench.
The Romeo Zero Elite uses the popular Shield RMSc/J-point footprint common to most subcompact optics-ready pistols. And in a change from the original, while that sight wouldn’t work with the Springfield Hellcat due to a lack of thread engagement, the Romeo Zero Elite includes mounting screws that are compatible with the Hellcat OSP as well as other optics-ready pistols with the same footprint. Naturally, the Romeo Zero Elite functions perfectly with SIG’s P365 series guns.
The Romeo Zero Elite is powered by a single CR1632 battery with a runtime of 20,000 hours—well over two years. You must remove the optic for battery changes. Should you pass that mark and neglect to swap out a dead battery, SIG has you covered because the rear housing of the Elite comes with an integral notch sight. And it’s not some afterthought. It features glare-reducing serrations and a strip of Grade A Swiss SuperLuminova pigment that allows you to see this rear sight in dark conditions. Honestly, the rear sight on the Elite is more functional than the cheap rear sights that come installed on many subcompact carry pistols.
In carrying the SIG Romeo Zero Elite I used two different holsters with optics cuts, and the sight doesn’t cause the optic to print under a light cover garment. The rounded design of the optic and the shroud prevent the SIG from hanging up during a draw, and the optic sits well back of the pistol’s chamber—at least on the Glock I mounted it on—so there’s no risk that an errant empty case will strike the optic and bounce into the action.
SIG’s Truhold lockless zero system incorporates twin adjustment springs to eliminate shifts in point of impact. After 200 rounds of 9mm ammo and a week of carry—and the associated and unavoidable bumps and dings to the optic—the SIG never lost zero. The Romeo Zero offers a full 50 m.o.a. of adjustment for both windage and elevation. I carried the optic with the metal shroud in place because it adds just .18 inch to the width of the sight yet offers a substantial level of protection. The metal shroud has a very thin base, too, so it doesn’t increase sight height much. The shroud doesn’t preclude reaching any of the function buttons.
This sight will improve the accuracy potential of a carry pistol. Toggle through the reticle settings until you have the two-m.o.a. dot and this reflex sight will ring out the best accuracy from your micro 9mm. When firing defensive drills on the range, the Elite’s 32-m.o.a. circle makes a superb setup. It’s easy to pick up and allows you to make fast shots accurately. The SpectraCoat aspherical glass lens of the Romeo Zero Elite comes with LensArmor, an abrasion-resistant coating. The lens is clear and distortion-free, an upgrade from the original Romeo Zero.My complaints with the optic were minor. I’d prefer not to have to remove the sight to change batteries, but it’s pretty much standard for this type of sight.
The SIG can’t match the Springfield Hex Wasp’s 90 m.o.a. of windage and elevation adjustment, but the SIG’s TAP technology is a worthwhile addition. The Romeo Zero Elite carries a suggested retail price of $230 with just a three-m.o.a. reticle and $260 for the circle/dot combo. That’s a lot more than original Romeo Zero at $150 but less than the Springfield Hex Wasp ($299) and the Shield RMSc (about $400).
There are very good reasons to own a red dot optic for your carry gun, but if you do find yourself in a life-or-death situation, you need your sight to work under the worst conditions. Based on the time I’ve spent with the Romeo Zero Elite, it seems SIG’s new micro reflex sight will do just that.