The Remington And Trijicon Event At Gunsite Academy (Part One)

I had the good fortune this week to be invited to a joint Remington and Trijicon Optics writers’ event. This event was held at the world famous Gunsite Academy in Paulden, Ar.

Gunsite Academy

The Gunsite facility covers over 2000 acres of range facilities of all types catering to the civilian shooter, competition shooters as well as law enforcement and elite military units. There’s no better facility a shooter could ask for. This is why major companies in the firearms industry use Gunsite for many of their events. Any product the shooting sports industry wants to put through its paces can do so at Gunsite.

Being a joint event between these two industry leaders gave both companies the opportunity to showcase their products used together in this well organized event.

Four writers from our community of gun writers were invited to Gunsite not only shoot but to acquire more in depth information and knowledge about the weapons we would use as well as the Trijicon optics mounted to these guns.

Standard Reflex

The guns we used for this event were the Remington Versa Max Tactical shotgun,DPMS Gen II in .308 and the S&W M&P 9L CORE pistol mounted with the Trijicon RMR sight. The AR15’s used the SRS sight with the Versa Max utilizing the standard reflex sight.

After an orientation covering the three Trijicon reflex optics and the guns we would be using we loaded up and headed for the range.

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I’ve included a large number of photos so please excuse the page possibly loading slowly.
We started out by firing a few hundred rounds among the four of us to allow those not familiar with the M&P Pro an opportunity to get used to the Pro’s trigger and using the RMR optic on them. After this it was time to get down to business and see what we could do with this gun/optic combination.

Now I have to be honest when I say I’ve never really been all that fired up about adding a small optic on a handgun. I don’t believe I was alone in this opinion. After shooting several cases of ammo between the four of us I can say with some confidence that our 50/50 split went by the wayside. We all saw the benefits of using the RMR sight not only on this pistol but also on Glocks as well as other handguns. I think it can be used for more than competition to include hunting, defense and just plain old fun on the range.


Does it take getting used to shooting a handgun with an optic such as the RMR? Yes indeed it does. We all are so used to looking for the front sight and basing our sight picture on that it took us awhile to switch over to seeing the red dot placing it on target and firing. You don’t entirely disregard the front sight since you sight the pistol in with the red dot riding on top of the front sight. You do have to learn to use the red dot as the primary reference though.



It takes a fair number of rounds to get to the point it begins to feel natural. By the noon hour we pretty much had it down and were getting excellent accuracy and our speed was picking up a significant amount. Not that anybody would admit it but I got the feeling some were shooting better with the red dot than the usual iron sights.

We did move around to different ranges. One had use firing from 25 yards in to 3 yards. The next range had all steel targets of several types. I do love shooting steel so that was one they had to drag me away from. This range really allowed us to work on our speed.

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We did switch to the AR15’s later in the day and will shoot them tomorrow as well. The Versa Max shotgun will also get a workout. Tomorrow evening I’ll report on the results of using the SRS and standard reflex Trijicon on these weapons.

Yes we did crawl into a cage!

Finally I’ll conclude with an overall impression not only of the optics but the guns themselves and why these optics were chosen for these guns. We also intend to switch optics between these three guns and see how well the RMR works on a shotgun as an example of one switch we’ll be making. I fully intend to obtain an RMR for review while mounted on the very short Kel-Tec KSG. That’s for another time though.

I would encourage readers to post any questions they may in the comments. I’ll check these questions through the day and have the Trijicon and Remington representatives answer them. Of course I’ll post the answers they give.

Phil White

Retired police officer with 30 years of service. Firearms instructor and SRU team member. I still instruct with local agencies. My daily carry pistol is the tried and true 1911. I’m the Associate Editor and moderator at TFB. I really enjoy answering readers questions and comments. We can all learn from each other about our favorite hobby!


  • Nosmo King

    What’s the purpose of the cage?

    • JumpIf NotZero

      Unconventional shooting situation. ESP when timed, you need to crawl in, get shots and get out. You quickly discover that things you think work really well or things you do naturally like in this case maybe you don’t keep your body inline with the rifle, or you flare your elbows out, or you are just quite overweight are all ready-to-discover problems when you get into uncommon shooting positions.

      Not NEARLY enough people use a carbine in ways like this, so it’s unlikely they will ever understand the limitations of their gear. Situations and positions like these are really where carbines shine, not sitting a 50y bay trying to make tiny groups with a red dot.

      Other examples for the cage specifically… How easy do you think it is to reload from a vest while proned out in that cage? Rack a pump? Use those 3-gun shotgun loaders? Draw a handgun from a retention or dropleg holster? Deploy a bipod? Etc etc.

    • It actually was a wooden box last time I was here. They welded this one up to challenge you to get inside and present your rifle or pistol out the 6 inch by 6 inch hole in the front.
      The cage is part of a course that is timed. There are seven stations where you engage steel targets at unknown distances then move to the next firing point. You’ll be breathing hard by the time you get to the cage which makes the challenge that much greater.

    • Peadair

      Also handy for policing your brass. 😀

      • LOL—there was a lot there by that time in the afternoon. Students and visitors don’t police the brass they have staff that picks it all up everyday.
        I actually feel kinda bad just leaving brass laying there. I feel like I should be helping:-) Course they make some bucks off of selling the used brass.

  • Eurocopter

    Does anyone have experience with the TARS riflescope?

  • I’d love to hear the company line on the problems associated with the R-51.

    • They really haven’t come out with an official statement yet. I know the head of the company is super passionate to get any problem guns repaired or replaced as soon as is possible. That process is almost ready to begin. I’d say in the next week or so.
      The handmade prototypes we had such a wonderful experience with last December at Gunsite are different when you compare them to those first guns turned out in general production. It’s not unusual to have a first gen gun have a problem that needs addressing.
      I don’t know the parts but I believe two were changed. I don’t have the technical material to be able to explain what those are and what changes were made.
      I should get mine this month I believe and I’ll immediately perform a range test with a LOT of ammo of assorted types and weights. I know I’m confident enough to spend my own money to buy one.

      • The one I shot had a multitude of problems, with the severe slide bite being the least of them.

        For all of its failings out of the gate, I still want to like the gun. But, for a firearm that anyone would rely on for protecting themselves or others – I would strongly advise against it until the fix/next gen/whatever comes along.

        • JumpIf NotZero

          But, for a firearm that anyone would rely on for protecting themselves
          or others – I would strongly advise against it until the fix/next
          gen/whatever comes along.

          Exactly the reason firearms are held to a different standard than other products. They had their first impression and it was not good.

        • I’d call this new one a version 1.5:-)

  • JumpIf NotZero

    I’m curious about the SRS, not so much in as a product, because I’m sure it’s a fine product that who’s heavy does what they say it does. But more so what Trijicon had to say about it, or how hard they seem to want to push it.

    Because it’s an absolute failure in the market.

    • KestrelBike

      I was strongly considering one (for a tavor!) but opted to go with the slightly less $$ aimpoint Comp M4S, mostly for the tested, tried & true factor. The SRS was a much newer entry to the market.

      • JumpIf NotZero

        Very cool option that the SRS runs immediately on solar, and uses a single AA battery. Although I can’t really argue about the aimpoint micro’s 2032 battery.

        Yea, it’s around an additional 50% over the cost of an Aimpoint Micro, it’s 350% the weight, and offers really no useful extra features as battery life and durability is excellent on both (assuming on SRS). Tougher call on the M4S, but I’d still make the same choice you did.

        I think there is a reason the only SRS I’ve seen are in stores and with sponsored events/shooters. Not a single person I can think of has even ever recommended one.

        It’s a market failure at it’s weight and price point. Maybe “tried and true” factor has something to do with it, but look at how people hop on new designs. I think they must know they have a dog here.

        • As far as the remark of having a dog product in the SRS—well I really can’t repeat what was said.
          We used them a lot and everyone enjoyed using them especially because of the narrow body that surrounds the optic window. It provides good situational awareness because of the wide field of view. There’s also no flare from the dot like other red dots have.
          I couldn’t in all honesty call it a dog or failure. In fact it’s a nice optic. I didn’t really notice the weight of the sight mounted on the Versa Max or the Gen II DPMS .308.

          • JumpIf NotZero

            I suppose even if all the issues with the sight weren’t documented and available… And it didn’t weigh an EXTRA 10oz over more popular and cheaper options… then it’s still a ‘marketing’ failure for their inability to even come up conversations of prospective customers. Right?

            I get that you are at a Trijicon event, and they are have plenty of them laid in front of you, it might even seem like they are popular from that sampling. But from my porch, I see nothing but aimpoints and eotechs roaming the field.

        • The 2032 battery under normal use and settings last about two years in the RMR if I recall correctly.

    • I have to disagree it’s a failure in the market. How are you measuring that to come to that conclusion.
      I know when I asked your question to the company rep he looked at me like I had four eyes and asked where did that idea come from. We’ve had good reception to them and sell a good number of them.

      • JumpIf NotZero

        Anecdotal evidence that the SRS is a failure:

        – Not a single student in any class I’ve been to has one

        – Not a single instructor in any class has ever even used one in a class or even mentioned one, and optics are always a hot topic

        – At no point in the last two years have I seen one at a competition

        – Have yet to see one positive mention of SRS’es outside of trijicon promotional material and paid reviews

        – Can not recall a single positive thing mentioned about them on any forum

        – Honest reviews like this and then this

        – Likewise, threads like this: start with optimism, lead to discussing production issues and part failures, then end in ambivalence

        – Retailers like OpticsPlanet are carrying the SRS at 2/3rd the MSRP, and some retails are often running sales. How many “sales” do you see for Aimpoint Micros?

        – Height of the gun panic, I could find SRS units everywhere for lower than MSRP prices. Aimpoint T1 was very hard to find even at MSRP.

        The SRS has some impressive tech with the solar panel, and run time on a AA. Don’t get me wrong, there are some cool aspects there. But unfortunately it’s a dog. It’s been a market failure. I can think of no one that actually wants one, certainly not enough to pay for it.

        But!!! Here’s hoping for Gen2!

        • I hope you didn’t mean paid reviews the way it sounded. You know we get nothing for the reviews we write. I know from our discussions that Trijicon doesn’t pay for reviews to be done.
          You’ve been around long enough to know I get pretty fired up when somebody directs that kind of accusation at me or anyone with TFB.

          I have had companies call and ask what we charge for reviews and the answer is always the same we don’t. One even offered merchandise as a way to “pay”. I email them back and tell them they need to go elsewhere. When that happens, and rarely I must say, I get livid and cut the conversation then and there.

          • JumpIf NotZero

            Whoa. Back up there Phil! That was no aimed at you or TFB. You could have asked and I would have been happy to clarify that.

            There ARE paid reviews out there. Either by sponsored shooters, or people who receive and keep free gear in order to write something nice. This industry is absolutely inundated with this. Remind me the last time you saw a negative review in any magazine? Everyone has sponsors to please. I dislike gun forums but you can be assured you’ll get closer to the truth.

            I do not imply TFB is guilty of this.

            That said, I’m still curious how anyone can be objective and not realize the SRS has been a dud. But I’m perfectly happy to agree to disagree and let it go at that. I’ve posted my points above.

            You’re taking to the Trijicon people directly and they say it’s not. OK, seems like that’s the end of it then.

            I am looking forward to an SRS Micro.

          • Ok—explanation understood and accepted. That’s why I phrased it as “I hope”.
            I’ve seen several in use. The last one that comes to mind was a Daniel Defense select fire during the SHOT Media Day at The Range. They are high end.
            I’m going to try and get some solid figures if possible which may indeed be a tall order. For now I agree we’ll just disagree:-)

          • dan

            I’ve seen them around, our local Police department has them on their patrol rifles and the “swat” team also has a few rifles wearing them. I know most of the officers and know that a few have them on their personal rifles at home. I’ll do a little asking around to see how they like them.

          • Sounds good Dan

  • JumpIf NotZero

    I’m one of those people that just doesn’t get the RMR on a handgun. I used. Deltapoint on an M&P Pro-L for about 400 rounds over a weekend, switching between that a a glock19 with old sights, and a PPQ with good fiber sights.

    It took me about 50 rounds to determine that there were massive differences in training required.

    For one, like you said Phil, there is the front sight issue. I attribute this more to FIND THE DOT! That is, I draw, I’m coming up, if I do my part the front sight is right there, I see the optic I line everything up, and MAYBE I have the dot right away, great. But more likely at first I’d draw and see clear optic, no dot. Then begin the wiggle process of finding the dot, “oh, there you are, what were you doing way up there!?”, and get it lined up.

    The similar but different to me issue was the offset needed. When I draw a handgun I’m drawing the slide to eye level. With the RMR, I found if draw the slide to eye level, then have to drop the entire gun vertically about 3/8″ down to use the optic. The sights on the M&P aren’t tall enough to co-witness so without dropping it down I was blocking the dot.

    This meant everything I did was wrong for an RMR. Seems to me if you are going to own one, you need to practice double with it. Handgun practice doesn’t really do much for handgun+mrds experience.

    I was bummed. And came to the conclusion that I have good accuracy at very long range with my PPQ that I’ll just stick with that (I was always faster vs the mrds) but I see only limited groups of people who might benefit from optics on a handgun.

    1. Anyone using NODs, this is pretty obvious
    2. Anyone that won’t practice any handgun at all. That is, if you hand a handgun to a new shooter and say, here make a 50y shot with this, an mrds handgun might actually happen. If you aren’t aware of the training scars, go for it.
    3. Anyone that will TRUELY train on, or replace all their non-mrds handguns. I just don’t see them co-existing and makin a positive difference for casual shooters who go back and forth. Yes, they look cool. But I really don’t think they will make you a better shooter, for most people it’ll just be a range toy or a crutch, but that’s nothing new.

    Trying one for a little while, completely put me off of owning one. So as I always I’d recommend people investigate what they “want” before buying it.

    • We all did better today after training and going through several hundred rounds. We found if you adjust the red dot to sit right on the top of the front sight it gets much easier to locate the red dot right away.
      It is indeed a commitment to train until you gain proficiency with it. I was feeling comfortable later today shooting steel as fast as I could go at 20 yards and dropping the five targets four out of five tries.
      You just have to commit to the amount of training you need on a personal level until you get it down.

      • JumpIf NotZero

        Call me skeptical that’s a likely scenario. I’m going to guess that since maybe 5% of people I meet even mildly train with their firearms and about 1% or less formally train, the that number of people buying rmds will pale in comparison to the number of people that adequately can use them.

        I’m a good handgun shooter who trains regularly and just near immedaitely figured out I personally have enough time/money for handgun OR handgun+mrds.

        I do look forward to next gen handgun optics, that is, optics that are specifically designed to go on handguns, and likewise, handguns for those.

  • Max

    Would you please let me know where you got the extended and threaded barrel for the S&W M&P 9? I’m desperately looking for one!!

    • JumpIf NotZero

      Back when I was looking at M&Ps, you could call S&W and order one. Short of that, Remington bought StormLake iirc and now their barrels are coming as “AAC” barrels, that would be my pick.

      Although KKM barrels are the ones people seek for the best accuracy out of the M&Ps. Most accurate might not be drop in though.

    • These are actually equipped in this way. It the CORE version of the M&P. You can also order these barrels from S&W or buy one from Storm Lake.
      These barrels are nice quality. We practiced shooting them at 100 yards equipped with the RMR Trijicon reflex sight.
      This setup actually only requires the shooter to master the trigger. Sights are no longer a factor as long as you can keep the red dot on target which is super easy compared to iron sights. We were nailing the steel targets at 100 yards really pretty often.

  • Garrett

    I actually like running a micro red dot on a carbine rifle. Currently have it set up co-witnessed with Daniel Defense fixed iron sights. I’m not using an RMR, but a Burris FastFire II. I would like to get an RMR since I’ve heard it is a much more robust, and doesn’t require the battery as much.

    Since the RMR comes with either a yellow or green reticule, which do you guys find is better? I’m leaning towards the green right now, since I think the yellow would get lost in tan backgrounds.

  • Hyok Kim

    How does it affect the malfunction clearance drill? Would the glass portion bid or fog or dust up during raining or frosty or sandy/dusty/windy weather/environment?