Bushnell CQTS 1x32mm Red Dot

The new Bushnell CQTS red dot optic.

Bushnell, an industry leader in optics, has released a new red dot optic in their Elite Tactical line.  The CQTS 1x32mm red dot optic looks to take aim at the higher-end market of red dot optics, such as EOTech and Aimpoint, with competitive features and a significantly smaller price tag.

The CQTS has a very similar appearance to the older Bushnell TRS-32.  In fact I think the two share the same basic housing unit with some minor cosmetic changes for the CQTS.  However, beyond that the CQTS is a completely new optic, with all new and enhanced holographic technology, better multi-coated lenses for enhanced clarity, and a 3 MOA dot instead of the TRS-32’s 5 MOA dot.

The right side of the CQTS.  Note the rubberized screw cap covers for elevation and windage.

The right side of the CQTS. Note the rubberized screw cap covers for elevation and windage.

Bushnell offers several red dot optics, including 3 MOA dot options, but the CQTS appears to be a combination of the best features in one product.  Besides the smaller 3 MOA dot size, the CQTS comes with 8 brightness settings, a lighter weight of only 6 ounces, and a larger field of view (FOV) of 68 feet at 100 yards.  Eye relief is also unlimited with no need for parallax adjustment.

The Bushnell CQTS has a 3 MOA dot that is easily observed while not being too large to obscure the shooter's view down range.

The Bushnell CQTS has a 3 MOA dot that is easily observed while not being too large to obscure the shooter’s view down range.

The CQTS comes in a fairly compact package, with larger dials for easier control.  The optics are well protected inside the housing, but come with rubber flip-up lens covers as well.  Point of impact adjustments of 0.5 inches per click provide a much greater potential for accuracy than previous models.

The brightness setting dial is large with textured cuts for easy manipulation.

The brightness setting dial is large with textured cuts for easy manipulation.

The 30mm tube is attached to a Picatinny rail with a cantilever style mounting bracket that comes included.  The mounting ring has (6) retention screws, three on each side, for a very solid hold despite heavy shooting.

The CQTS mounting ring has (6) retention screws for a very secure hold even in heavy firing.

The CQTS mounting ring has (6) retention screws for a very secure hold even in heavy firing.

The Bushnell representative I talked to at SHOT Show said that MSRP had not been set, but he estimated it to be around $350.  If that is correct, the big retailers will likely drop that number by at least $100 or more, as has happened with past products.

Red dot scopes are generally purposed for instinctive or reflexive shooting at close-range targets, even though a properly sighted red dot can be accurate to beyond 200 yards.  For close range shots, many shooters prefer smaller dots with better clarity and less clutter in the lens, to allow for the greatest possible image of the target.

The CQTS lenses are multi-coated for protection and clarity.  Note the protection offered the amber colored recessed lens.

The CQTS lenses are multi-coated for protection and clarity. Note the protection offered the amber colored recessed lens.

The CQTS should fit those needs very well.  Though the Aimpoint has a very nice 2 MOA dot, the majority of EOTech sights have a rather thick 65 MOA ring around their 1 MOA dot.  And both will likely cost $2-300 more than the CQTS.

Here are the CQTS 1x32mm optic features:

  • Power/Objective Lens – 1x32mm
  • Reticle – 3 MOA Red dot
  • Tube Diameter – 30mm
  • FOV – 68 @ 100 yards
  • Weight – 6 ounces
  • Length – 5.5 inches
  • Eye Relief – Unlimited
  • Exit Pupil – 28mm
  • Adjustment Value – 0.5 inches @ 100 yards
  • Adjustment Range – 50 inches @ 100 yards
  • Mount – Cantilever style
  • Battery – (1) CR2032 – included
  • Service Life  – 940 hours at 68-Fahrenheit, 910 hours at 140-F, 850 hours at 32-F
  • Matte Black Finish
  • MSRP – $350 (Unofficially).

CQTS flip-up lens covers

Bushnell claims to have the leading market share in all of the sports optics categories.  Their goal is providing high quality optics at reasonable prices.  The CQTS appears to meet that objective.

Having shot an EOTech, Aimpoint, and the Bushnell TRS-32, my favorite red dot optic has been the Aimpoint Pro with its simple and small 2 MOA dot.  However, if the Bushnell CQTS does come out $200 cheaper with only a nominally larger dot (3 MOA), I just may have to switch my aim.



Aaron is a life-long firearm enthusiast and hunter. He has been a police officer for nearly 19 years, and currently is a Sergeant in Special Operations. He has served on the department’s SWAT Team for 14 years, with 8 years as the Sniper Team Leader. When not fussing over fractions of inches, and gut-less wonders, he can usually be found sipping from a ridiculously large coffee mug. Aaron is also the editor and main writer at BlueSheepDog.com.


  • dp

    Looks like good PoK overall; however does anyone have any idea why the mount is angled so sharply?

    • JumpIf NotZero

      Cantilevered to fit with other sights/accessories. But this is a very poorly designed mount in particular. Cantilever on a small red dot means you’re always pushing it forward instead of mounting as rearward as possible in order to get the largest FOV possible.

      You can tell who knows their stuff by where they mount their red dot. As far back as possible users usually know way more than the people who intentionally mount forward.

      The reason people mount forward is almost always because they are using the optic wrong. So here is an optic that forces you to always mount a little forward of where you could.

      Cantilevered but it seems for no reason. And it seems the mount is weak anyhow.

      • Timothy G. Yan

        Hmmm. It’s designed to give more space on the rail for magnifier or NV behind the sight.

        • JumpIf NotZero

          …. Which makes ZERO sense if you think about it.

          The AR doesn’t have a ton of top rail space before you span the upper receiver to rail gap. So you cantilever a scope in order to get the right combination of eye relief, height, and avoidance of the charging handle. You can only do this by floating over that gap with a cantilevered mount.

          …. On this red dot… You are not limited in space because if you needed to mount a rear BUIS, you move the sightly forward to do so, if you need that and NV gear (head gear nod we must be talking) then again, you move it forward. There is no PROPER scenario that you have pushed the red dot so far forward to the end of the upper receiver, that you must push it 4 rail spaces further past that gap. There is no amount of nv gear that would not fit pushing this optic forward without the cantilever. That is a nonsense claim.

          No, the real reason this mount is cantilvered is because whoever drew it up thought it would look cool. There is no scenario that you want a red dot pushed past the gap on the receiver of an AR. Even with NODs.

          • erwos

            Certain magnifier setups make that cantilever mount helpful… but I’m not really sure I can change your mind anyways. Did Bushnell murder your parents or something? What’s with all the self-righteous know-it-all hate?

          • JumpIf NotZero

            There is no hate. Stupid products are stupid and should be called out as such.

          • Aaron E

            I see you’re not really a fan of this sight, but why do you feel this is “stupid”?

            This is a “decent” alternative to an Aimpoint or EoTech for those who can’t make the $500-600 payment happen. And I really don’t think Bushnell is marketing this as equivalent to the Aimpoint or EoTech, but a sight that offers better internals, lens coatings, and a smaller dot than many of their previous offerings.

            The 1 MOA difference between the Aimpoint is not as noticeable as one might think. I tried to capture that in my picture, but that’s always hard to do, especially one-handed.

            I love the Aimpoint PRO, but I can learn to turn my sight off when not shooting, and 1 MOA is not a deal breaker for most.

          • JumpIf NotZero

            The mount is stupid, the optic is fine enough.

          • Aaron E

            Ah, I got it. Yeah, I’m not sure exactly what the thought process was there. Since it has such a similar appearance to the TRS-32, maybe they wanted a distinguishing characteristic.

      • erwos

        Um, what?

        The forward mounting crowd does it so as to avoid getting tunnel vision by looking through the optic instead of using the proper two eyes open technique.

        And if you somehow decide you want that optic as far back as possible, let me tell you about this neat trick a cantilever lets you do: REVERSE IT.

        • JumpIf NotZero

          The “forward mounting crowd”…. Like I said.

          If you’re getting a “tube effect” / tunnel vision it’s an Indian and not an arrow problem. The tube, optic, window, everything should disappear and only the dot is superimposed on your vision. Like I said, training issue.

      • livefreeordie92

        If you mount it farther forward it probably means you are shooting with both eyes open as intended and thus the sights housing takes up less of your peripheral vision. If you mount it far back, you’re probably looking through it with one eye closed and are wrong.

    • dp

      Oh, I did not mean to get you into sparring ….. ))))) but appreciate your reactions. Thanks.
      The reason I asked is that I was bit mystified as were some of you too. If I was to design it, I’d go straight down to get maximum stiffness in given space. I have already Bushnell field glass for many years, that got me interested into this product.

  • JumpIf NotZero

    Ah, dat battery life…….. NOPE.

    • erwos

      But that battery life is going to cost you, street-wise, about $150-$200. That buys a lot of batteries.

      If this thing is really as tough and reliable as an Aimpoint PRO, and I think that’s doable, they will sell a hojillion of them at $250.

      • JumpIf NotZero

        It has nothing to do with the cost of the batteries.

        • erwos

          No, it doesn’t. But the Aimpoint crowd is deliciously hypocritical when they suggest that battery life is everything, but ignore tritium-powered optics that last 2-3x as long. Not everyone needs 50k hours of battery life.

          Some people just turn on their optic when they need it, and regular maintenance will be fine for them. Some people don’t want to, and bully for them, but it’s not a necessity for everyone, and shouldn’t be cast that way.

          • JumpIf NotZero

            If you don’t understand the disadvantages of tritium, I’ll be interested in what you say when Trijicon starts shipping more battery powered options.

          • erwos

            The biggest disadvantage of tritium is ITAR restrictions on export. It has nothing to do with inherent technical issues. Mind you, I wouldn’t mind seeing them pick the Tri-Power concept back up.

          • livefreeordie92

            Try using it in a dim room. Or from a dim area to a bright area. Also, that tritium is good for about 15 years. My Aimpoint Comp M4 battery lasts for 8-9. It’s a hell of a lot cheaper and easier to replace an AA battery than tritium inside an optic. Yes, the tripower is a good concept but it was poorly executed. The fiber optics didn’t get it very bright and battery life was abysmal. The SRS shows promise but has it’s kinks. As you see, trijicon is doing more battery powered sights for this reason. Also most optics are regulated in terms of international travel anyway.

    • AK™

      That battery life is good for 39 days at 68F.

      Just because one sight has a magical 50,000 hour battery life,doesn’t mean it’s the end all-be all sight to use.

      I paid $800 for my AR-15 Carbine. I’m not planning on taking it “Long Survivor” down an Afghani mountain. I’ll just use it at my private firing ranges.
      I don’t want to pay almost the full cost of another AR,just to get a sight that has some magical battery life. Also,if the sight goes down or gets damaged and doesn’t work..I’d feel much better about having to spend $200-300 for a new optic.

      This or a Vortex is what I would use if I already didn’t have a Bushnell TRS-25 on my AR.

      If I were to drop say..$2k on a LWRC or a POF AR-15..then I definitely would go with something a little more..like a EoTech or an ACOG.

    • ak1134

      I don’t like the optic but 940 hours is not bad compared to an Eotech/600 hours

      • livefreeordie92

        For an LED powered sight of this price it’s abysmal especially considering they squeezed 3000 out of the TRS-25. The Eotech projects it’s reticle with a laser vs an led. That’s why the battery drains quicker. If Primary Arms can get 50,000 hours of a CR123A and 10,000 out of an AA, then surely Bushnell could have used a better power source or gotten more time off of a CR2032 for their $350 sight. Do I think it’ll be a bad sight? No. Or at least I hope not. I’d also like to know where this ones made…. Chinese red dots have a bad habit of being rebranded…..

  • gggplaya

    Battery life is why people buy the aimpoint, because you can depend on it. This battery life is no better than an eotech, except the eotech is way better up close.

    Also if battery life is going to suck, the optic should use AA’s.

  • Anonymous

    I can understand spending $100-150 on a cheapy optic for a plinking rifle, or for someone who is on a truly limited budget using a $600 AR.

    But if you’re going to spend $250-300 on a red dot…*WHY* would you not spend another $100-150 and get an Aimpoint PRO? Smaller dot size, better durability, and approximately 30 times the battery runtime of the Bushnell. It’s not much of a comparison between the two. Bushnell will sell these, but not in anywhere near the quantity that they could if it were priced down under $200.

    • Tom

      agreed. This dot needs to be $120 at most to fit in the market.

    • Aaron E

      I think you’re right Anonymous. Bushnell is moving towards tackling the higher end red dots like Aimpoint and EoTech, but what they’re offering here isn’t quite enough to skirt the price point of the other two. This is a step or two up from the TRS-32, with its large 5 MOA dot, and I think will be a successful seller for Bushnell, but may be only a midway point in the narrowing of the gap.

    • erwos

      How do you know if this thing is any less durable than a PRO? Engineering is what makes a reflex sight tough, not a brand name. Also, this thing doesn’t look appreciably larger than the PRO.

      So, let’s rephrase your question: why not spend 50% more to get 30 times the battery life? That’s much more of a thinker, methinks.

    • mike gee

      Sorry, but if I’m not some highspeed operator hunting taliban snipers in caves, or a swat entry guy, I see no need for aimpoint or eotech. Don’t get me wrong both are the bees knees in red dot and reflex optics, but on my M4 clones I run vortex and primary arms red dots and haven’t cried yet about it!!!

      The bushnell 32 mm red dot looks like a carbon copy of my PA gen II red dot, and sadly way too overpriced than
      My red dot

  • nobody

    I am not a a big fan of red dot x1 magnification scopes, but that mount… it just disturbs me.

    Same goes for the LaRue and other forward-offset mounts. Why? Please explain why? Other than “looking cool” this type of mount does not have any advantage what so ever. For some scopes where the eye relief distance is just too great and the buttstock is too short I can understand why this is a necessity. But here it makes no sense at all.

    The clamp on top is held down by 6 bolts, and looks much like the ones that Era-Tac makes. But the stupidity further down just ruins what could have been a very good mount.

    Oh and yes those kinds of mounts cost more as well.

    “Bushnell, an industry leader in optics,”

    What a joke. This pretty much sets the tone for the rest of the article.

    • Aaron E

      I’ll agree that Bushnell does not have the same name in red dot sights as the big name competitors, but their rifle scopes have improved noticeably in the last few years to present a less expensive option to Leupold, and Nikon scopes.

    • livefreeordie92

      It’s so that you can mount it as far forward as possible while still keeping it on the upper receiver. Anyone who tells you to mount a red dot far back doesn’t know what they’re talking about. A zero magnification optic is designed for rapid target acquisition and to be used with both eyes open, thus maximizing your peripheral vision. If your red dot is mounted so far back that you can’t properly run buis and you’re peering through it with one eye shut like a magnified optic, you’re wrong. Also, it allows you to run a magnifier by moving the housing up as far as possible while still being mounted on the upper.

  • William J Gollatz

    If you are buying Aimpoint Pro’s for $550, you need to seriously learn some Google, or find just about any other optics seller.