TRUGLO’s newest red dot optic finds that delicate balance of reliable performance and comfortable price point.
by Rob Reaser
For a personal/home defense rifle that is going to live beside the bed or other quick-to-reach location most of the time, it’s tough to justify a red dot system that costs nearly as much or more than the rifle itself. Similarly, opting for a low-cost optic with a questionable pedigree is never a good idea. Instead, we want to find that delicious balance—a red dot that delivers the kind of reliability we demand for this “at-ready” mission yet one that doesn’t wipe out our firearm fund.
Recently, TRUGLO introduced its Ignite line of digitally controlled red dot optics that sits in that happy medium of manageable price and dependable performance—a 1x30mm version and a 1x22mm version. Of the two, the Ignite Mini caught our eye due to its compact profile and smart electronic controls. That it comes with both high and low mounts was a bonus since we always run backup open sights on any rifle primarily intended for defensive use.
The Ignite Mini body measures a lean 2-7/8 inches long and around 1 5/8 inches high. The objective lens is 22mm with 1X (zero) magnifications. It runs on a single AAA battery, with the battery compartment integrated into the left side of the CNC-machined aluminum housing.
The side-mount battery is a plus in our book. It is positioned for easy access, and the machined cap is easy to remove/install—more so than the CR2032-type battery cap found on some red dots.
Operation of the Ignite Mini is controlled through two soft-touch buttons located on top of the chassis. Depressing the forward “+” button turns the optic on. From there, you can run through the 10 different brightness settings to match your shooting conditions. We found that illumination seven or eight to be about right for full sunlight while four worked well in low light/night situations. To turn the unit off, simply depress and hold the “-” button for 3-4 seconds.
Something we really appreciate with the Ignite Mini is its intelligent digital functions. The first is its automatic illumination recall. Whatever the illumination setting is when you turn the optic off is the same setting when you turn it back on. This offers a clear advantage for a defensive optic because you will most likely use it in low-light conditions. This feature lets you pre-set the illumination that works best for you in a nighttime scenario so that if you do need to grab your gun in the middle of the night, all you need to do is turn it on and the illumination is right where you need it. No need to fumble with the illumination when your mind is already in hyperdrive with other concerns.
Second, the Ignite Mini has an auto-off feature. This turns the unit off four hours after the last button is pushed. This is perfect for folks like us who invariably forget to turn off their optics after use, thus saving battery life.
Naturally, the Ignite Mini is fully adjustable for windage and elevation. The factory does us a big favor by pre-aligning the optic with the mounting base, so zeroing is relatively quick. It took us three shots to achieve a 25-meter zero.
This optic features a 2-MOA red dot, which is sized for precise point-of-aim for close- to mid-range work. This means that the dot covers around two inches of a bullseye at 100 yards. If you wish to zero for 100 yards, we recommend using a standard NRA 100-yard small-bore rifle target, as it will help you align in the center of the target rather than trying to cover a bullseye with the red dot (not an easy task with a 1X optic).
Turret caps on the Ignite Mini include a protrusion that mates with the adjustment knobs, so no tools are required to make windage and elevation changes. Each click moves the red dot 1/2 MOA. We use the term “click” rather loosely because it was barely audible on our unit and we could not feel the clicks at all during adjustment.
Included with the Ignite Mini are low- and high-mount bases. The former is used if you want to run your optic as close to the rifle bore as possible for multi-range target or steel shooting. If defense is your rifle’s main mission, then the high mount used in conjunction with flip-up backup sights is the way to go. TRUGLO’s literature says the high mount will allow the Ignite Mini to absolute co-witness to backup sights (meaning the alignment of the red dot matches the alignment of the open sights). On our setup, the high mount delivered a 1/3 co-witness (open sight alignment about 1/3 from the bottom of the optic field of view). We actually prefer a 1/3 co-witness to keep our sight picture less cluttered, so no problems there.
Overall, performance of the Ignite Mini was as expected. Zero adjustment proved quick and easy, and the optic’s unlimited eye relief combined with the high mount allowed us to set up for an optimal sight picture and cheek weld whether shooting off the bench or freehand. Our long-term evaluation will continue, but with its fog proof and water-resistant construction combined with a multi-coated objective lens and nitrogen gas-filled housing, we anticipate years of reliable service from this compact red dot optic.