Steiner is a high-end optics company that has built a reputation of making durable, military-grade optics with great glass. The Steiner Micro Pistol Sight (MPS) is the company’s newest entry into the pistol-mounted red-dot world. It is intended to be a super-rugged, closed-emitter pistol optic, and from all accounts, it has succeeded.
Durability Testing Performance Housing Optics Battery Footprint Comparison Conclusion
For the evaluation, I interviewed my friend, VisiBlue Chris, who was doing a multi-month T&E of the Steiner for his police department. Chris is a police officer in suburban Maryland and the co-owner of VisiBlue, a company that creates products to help reduce the chance of friendly-fire incidents for plain clothes officers.
He has been running the MPS for the last five months in his department’s test and evaluation process to see if the red dot is suitable for duty use. He mounted it on a 9mm Glock 45 MOS using a C&H Precision adapter plate. In short, the MPS passed the trials, so that should say enough.
Chris really loved this sight. He noted the big, clear window was very nice. Despite being an enclosed optic, there was no noticeable tubing effect. He also liked that the window was very close to the slide, so he didn’t need to use suppressor height sights. One could probably get away with standard-height sights.
Overall, he liked the rugged build quality, and the phrase “like a tank” was thrown around. But despite the robustness, it did not feel as big or bulky as the Aimpoint Acro, which I believe is the MPS’s direct competitor.
He said the dot size was excellent and allowed him to easily reach out to 175 yards! He experienced no sun glare or reflections during his testing. The buttons were big and easy to actuate but never got activated unintentionally. It’s also great that the Steiner was compatible with his Safariland duty holster. He commented that the windage and elevation adjustments had audible and tactile clicks as opposed to other sights where the adjustments turned but there were no clicks.
The only real issue he noticed was that the battery cap had to be cranked down or else the battery would lose connection. He had to tighten it more than he initially thought it needed. Part of this problem was that the battery door was made of a very soft metal, so if you didn’t use the included tool to tighten the cap, there was a good chance of marring the notch. Also, he felt the instruction manual was a little sparce and didn’t include enough detail.
In addition, he mentioned that he didn’t like the default auto-off feature after 13 hours. For a duty sight, that is a bad default setting. Steiner should add a shake awake function to complement the auto-shut off function. It seems as if in later models, Steiner has removed the auto-shut-off function, but be careful because both versions are still floating around.
During our interview, I was able to compare my open emitter Holosun 507c to the MPS. The most surprising difference was how much clearer the dot was on the MPS. I was amazed at how much sharper and clearer the MPS dot was when compared to the Holosun.
As for the housing size, the Steiner is actually around the same height and slightly wider than the 507. Of course, it’s also more block-like because of the closed emitter. The glass is noticeably clearer on the MPS.
The closed-emitter design protects the dot projector from mud, water, and debris that can plague an open emitter. If dirt gets into the cracks and crevasses of an unprotected red dot, it may require small tools to clear out the blockage. With a closed emitter, a simple swipe of the thumb is usually enough to get back into the fight.
Of course, the optic uses high-quality Steiner glass, which is known for its clarity. The glass is probably some of the best I’ve seen in pistol red dots. The notch filter, which is the blue tint used on red-dot optics to enhance the efficiency of the emitter, is hardly noticeable and much more discreet than on other pistol optics.
The red dot itself only comes in one size, 3.3 MOA. There is an auto-shut-off feature that powers down the sight after 13 hours. This is the factory default setting, but it can be turned off.
One thing that really set this optic apart from others is the quality of the dot itself. I have an astigmatism, so red dots tend to bloom as opposed to being crisp floating dots. However, on the MPS, there is a very minimal amount of the starburst effect as compared to other dots I have used. This indicates that the optical collimator used by Steiner is of high quality.
Finally, I really liked the design choice of mounting the emitter above the sight, which is in contrast to most optics that mount it in the bottom of the housing. First, this makes accessing the battery compartment more convenient because it is on the top of the sight. Also, this allows the window of the sight to sit lower on the gun, bringing the dot closer to the bore axis and requiring less holdover when shooting close targets.
The MPS has an advertised 13,000-hour battery life using a 1632 battery. There are eight brightness settings that, on the top end, are very bright and usable in sunny conditions. There are two night-vision settings. And, as mentioned earlier, the top battery tray allows the battery to be changed without having to remove to optic from the pistol.
Steiner says the MPS uses a Aimpoint Acro footprint. However, end users have reported that there may be issues using a standard Acro baseplate. It is recommended that a specific MPS baseplate be installed. The sight is shipped with a Doctor adapter plate as well.
Here are some manufacture’s specs of other red dots for comparison.
The Steiner MPS is meant to be a bomb-proof red dot intended for military or duty use, but despite initial impressions, its ruggedness does not really come at the cost of excessive size. In fact, the quality of the glass and emitter puts it in the top echelon of all currently available red-dot sights. For the MSRP of $574.99, it is actually quite competitive in the market and probably one of the best pistol optics available.
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