What comes to mind when the word “mini” comes up? Mini Cooper? Mini Skirt? Maybe Dr. Evil’s clone Mini-Me from the Austin Powers movies? Probably not the much more pedestrian “Mini Red Dot Sight” or MRDS from EOTech. It is, quite simply EOTech’s Mini-Me (Yeah Baby, Yeah!). The parallels are simply too hard to ignore, so whether the MRDS designers were inspired by “The Spy Who Shagged Me” or “Goldmember,” we’re going there now… Seriously, both Mini-Me and the MRDS can be slung to your chest with the right mounting apparatus, and that’s just the beginning!
Let’s start this mini review with the size equation. Dr. Evil’s clone Mini-Me is 1/8 his size with a very clear family resemblance. EOTech’s MRDS is basically 1/4 the size of their XPS series sights. The family resemblance is pretty clear here, too. At less than two inches long, it takes up less rail space than a Magpul Back Up Sight (MBUS).
My tan MRDS package is the “Deluxe” version, equipped with a Picatinny rail mount base and protective shroud and currently lives on my AR pistol build. At just over an inch wide, the MRDS seems like the perfect size for the platform. While I like the full sized EOTechs – and killed my first hogs using one – when you look at an XPS sight sitting on a AR-15 Picatinny rail next to an MRDS on a picatinny rail, you can’t help but picture Fat Bastard from Goldmember sitting atop Lance Armstrong’s bicycle.
Which brings us to the matter of weight. Some people care what their rifle weighs. Some don’t. The Mini-Me MRDS weighs in at a mere .85 ounces, about the same as a fleck of Goldmember’s peeling skin or a slice of bread. The bigger and more familiar XPS sight weighs 8.5 ounces, about like an average avocado or the amount of hair goop required by Foxy Cleopatra’s 1969 character.
EOTech says the MRDS is rugged and milspec. As some have pointed out, the Mini-Me sight housing is polymer, not metal. So are countless other pieces of milspec gear I have, and given the aluminum shroud on mine I believe it’s every bit as tough as Dr. Evil’s Mini-Me. After all, he took quite the beating from Austin Powers swinging him around in a pillowcase and yet came out unscathed. I’ve not tried that specific test with my MRDS, mostly to preserve my living room from destruction.
Not everything mirrors the absurd trilogy, though. Comparatively, the mini sight has a maxi dot. The full sized XPS has a 1 MOA dot (essentially covering one inch at 100 yards) sitting in the middle of a 65 MOA circle. The dot on the diminutive MRDS sight is just that – a dot, but 3.5 times bigger. We’re not talking about a precision optic here, but I’ve shot steel at 600+ yards with a 3.5 MOA dot before, so it’s certainly up to the tasks of killing pigs, home defense or ringing steel.
The milspec MRDS is water proof to 66 feet and has four brightness settings including an Auto Brightness mode that works well. On the other hand, Hollywood has forever locked Mini-Me into a not-so-bright sub standard IQ and I don’t think he’d fair well deep underwater.
Full sized EOtech optics are mounted batteries forward, while the Mini-Me MRDS sight mounts batteries to the rear. Notably, the MRDS wafer battery is accessed from the top and doesn’t require removing the sight to replace the battery. You probably won’t have to do this often as the battery can last up to a year.
Lots of competitive shooters run the MRDS mounted to Glock slides. You’ll find shotguns equipped with the MRDS as well. But as mentioned, I have mine mounted on an AR. Unlike the high quality XPS lever mount, the MRDS mount suffers from a comparatively poor (read “cheap”) screw down tightly to clamp design. I guess EOTech likes it well enough. After all, in the immortal words of Fat Bastard, “Everyone likes their own brand, don’t they?” But honestly, this is a bummer for $599 list price optic. Of course, you can find it cheaper online, but seriously, I expected something better. Better mounts are available from aftermarket vendors.
Practically speaking, the MRDS really is a great fast sight for lots of applications. Anything you need to shoot close and fast won’t appreciate your use of this sight. I greatly prefer it on my AR pistol versus the full sized XPS optics. Some might find the smaller window harder to find the red dot in than in the full sized XPS. It took me only a short time to adjust and I definitely like the smaller visible interference from the mini shroud. I would not try to use magnification with the MRDS, however.
I haven’t yet tried this on the Benelli M4, but from what I can tell so far, I think it will be a great asset for shotgun hog hunting. I’ve tried a similar sight on a Smith and Wesson M&P 9 and found I’d need to train a lot with it before being competent.
So like Dr. Evil and Mini-Me, both the full sized EOTech optics and the Mini Red Dot Sight have their roles. Since Dr. Evil can actually talk, we can safely say that like the full sized EOTechs he’s a bit more versatile than his mute Mini-Me. But if sliding down a ventilation tube is called for, Mini-Me is the man. If super low profile and light weight are your priorities for optics, the MRDS is your answer.