The party’s over…at least for me and the Sig Sauer P320RX Compact. I don’t typically do gun review stuff here, but I think this is worth sharing. I bought this gun about six months ago, looking to make the switch not just from iron sights to a red dot, but from a relatively low-capacity pistol to one with more ammunition on board.
After about a month of every day carry, I picked up the gun one morning and the red dot simply would not come on. Sig utilizes a technology they call MOTAC, which shuts down the reticle after two minutes of inactivity in order to preserve the battery. Then when the sight senses motion, the dot immediately reactivates. Of course, if you are carrying the pistol on your person for 10-12 hours per day (or more), the reticle remains on constantly, consuming power from the battery. I replaced the battery with a fresh one, and the sight came back to life with no problems. As I continued to carry and shoot the gun, I was finding that the dot was dying on me about once per month.
This bothered me, because it seemed a bit too frequent for a carry pistol, and I wanted more information on battery life. This is obviously a critical consideration in a carry pistol, since you need to be 100% comfortable that the gun will function in the event that it is needed in a defensive situation. And although the P320RX does have backup iron sights…well, I already had an iron-sighted carry gun, and I didn’t buy a gun with an optic in order to keep shooting with irons. Since I still really didn’t have a good feel for what sort of battery life I should expect, I did not have the confidence I thought I should. So when I went to the NRA Annual Meeting in Dallas, I sought out a representative of Sig Sauer who was knowledgeable on the Romeo 1 red dot, and asked him what his recommendation was regarding battery life in a daily carry gun.
Unfortunately, his answer didn’t inspire the confidence I was seeking. When I explained my concerns to him, and asked for a recommended battery change interval, he advised that for a daily carry gun the battery should be changed every 2-3 weeks. That’s 26 batteries per year based on the bi-weekly replacement schedule, and while the 1632 battery that the Romeo 1 isn’t terribly expensive if bought in bulk, I just don’t think I want to fool with that.
Don’t get me wrong. I like the gun itself, and although I was still getting used to shooting an optic-sighted pistol, I did like having the dot. If you don’t mind keeping track of bi-weekly battery changes, maybe this won’t be an issue for you. But for me…for now…I have to conclude that the Sig Sauer P320RX and its Romeo 1 optic are too high maintenance, and not quite ready for primetime. Maybe someday Sig will come out with an improved version with better battery life; maybe someday I’ll buy a replacement slide with iron sights and use that. I will probably keep shooting the gun in USPSA Carry Optics for the rest of this season, but as a concealed carry gun, I don’t think it works for me right now. Time to turn out the lights…