Crimson Trace is a name that many, if not most gun enthusiasts know. We recognize their name from laser sights and battle lights. That said, some are unaware that they are now making optics. These optics vary from electronic reflex sights to magnified rifle optics as well as budget to higher-end. Many of these bring a lot to the table in their price range. Here, I’ll be discussing their CTS-1250 Reflex sight. This little number is Crimson Trace’s middle-range priced reflex sight, falling around $250 MSRP, in-between their CTS-1550 on the lower side, and the CTS-1300 on the higher side. For the purpose of my testing, I mounted this optic on a Taurus TX 22 Competition and blasted away. Spoiler alert: I think this was a great pairing… but I’ll tell you some more.
This pistol reflex sight features a 3.25 MOA red dot, which is pretty much the norm. I found this to be the perfect size for good visualization and balanced precision. This dot has 3 night vision and 7 daylight levels of brightness, with the greatest levels being perfectly daylight bright. In direct, mid-afternoon sun I had no issues or complaints about the dot’s brightness. The CTS-1250 is also equipped with an auto-off which will prolong overall battery life. This feature shuts the reflex sight off, as you would have guessed, after 10 hours of inactivity. So if you put your pistol in the safe with the CTS-1250 powered on, you won’t remove it 50,001 hours later to find a dead battery. The sight can be powered back on instantly by pressing one of the brightness adjustment buttons on the side.
Crimson Trace states on their website, “the CTS-1250 boasts high efficiency LED for years of use.” Obviously, this is not a definitive number of hours specified by CT. They claim that battery life will vary with dot power level, battery, etc… but, it’s been widely accepted that this reflex sight is good for a 50,000-hour life on medium settings; perhaps because that is what it says on the side of the box that this optic comes in. Speaking of batteries, Crimson Trace offers free batteries for life with certain products and this happens to be one of them. All you have to do is go on their website once a year, fill out your name, address, phone number, product serial number and type, type of battery, and receive a free battery when you do. I really appreciated the battery location on the CTS-1250 because I was able to easily access it without having to remove the optic from the firearm, but it is also not adding any extra bulk.
The CTS-1250 held perfect zero on my TX 22 Competition, as I’m sure it would do on any centerfire handgun also. It was extremely easy to sight in, with windage and elevation being in 1 MOA/click values. You sight a reflex sight in with the same strategy that you would a rifle scope; adjusting up if your point of impact is low, right if your point of impact is to the left, etc… I adjusted this with the supplied tool (which also helps you change the battery) and found both windage and elevation to be quite stiff, rotating with an audible click.
This optic boasts being shock, impact, and water-resistant (not waterproof). And it is compatible with Burris FastFire, JP Enterprises Docter, Vortex Venom, and Vortex Viper mounting interfaces. Crimson Trace also offers a 3-year Protection Guaranteed warranty. Under this, Crimson Trace will repair or replace your CTS-1250 if it fails due to a manufacturer defect.
- $259.99 MSRP (likely ~$200 retail)
- 3.25 MOA dot
- FastFire, Docter, Venom, and Viper mounting interface compatible
- external battery compartment
- CR1632 battery
- 50,000 hour battery life
- auto off feature
- 3 night vision and 7 daylight brightness settings
- approximate dimensions: L 1.9″, W 1.2″, H 1″
- 1 MOA/click windage & elevation
Overall, I really enjoyed using the CTS-1250 Compact Open Reflex Sight. I feel like this optic is affordable and brought a number of great features to the table. The size is great, having a large viewing window while still being relatively small. The brightness is awesome, being clearly daylight bright. Unfortunately, this optic suffers from the same downfall as ALL red dot sights; astigmatism will cause the starburst phenomenon where the dot doesn’t appear perfectly circular. I suffer from this, but that didn’t stop me from hitting my targets just fine. I’ll even slap a picture through my camera of the dot so that you can see it is indeed round. After my experience with it, I’d be comfortable recommending this reflex sight to anybody who may be interested in it.