We know, we know. We were as surprised as the next person to hear that Crimson Trace was breaking into the optics market. For darn close to 25 years, the company has made laser-aiming systems for handguns. Before this most-recent development, it had branched out into weaponlights—most often in conjunction with lasers, but some standalone units—which are still well-within the company’s purview and expertise. With this latest direction, which is still not a major shift in the company’s focus, Crimson Trace offers even more options for its customers.
Earlier this month, Crimson Trace announced a line of red-dot optics, with estimated availability at the end of this year. We managed to get our hands on one of the reflex-type sights, the CTS-1300, intended for rifles and shotguns. Coming with a standard Picatinny-style mount and small footprint, the CTS-1300 measures a mere 2 inches long, 1.7 inches tall and 1.3 inches wide. Weight is only 2.7 ounces, so adding the CTS-1300 to a magnified-optic rifle as a backup or close-range option won’t significantly affect the overall weight.
Power is supplied by a single CR-2032 battery with an externally accessible drawer. Additionally, Crimson Trace is extending the company’s “Free batteries for life” program to include the new sighting systems, as well as a three-year warranty. A 3.5-MOA dot cycles through seven brightness settings at the push of a button, and the CTS-1300 is compatible with other industry-standard mounting platforms in addition to the Picatinny version.
Examining the CTS-1300, it’s a solid (aircraft-grade aluminum), simple design. There’s not a lot going on—the dot turns on, the dot turns off; you can adjust brightness and sight it in. It’s a standard, simple device that should serve quite well for a shotgun sight, close-range option for a rifle, or a lightweight aiming system for a carbine. MSRP is $249, and Crimson Trace estimates delivery will occur before the end of 2018. If you’re on the market for a simple, rugged reflex sight that won’t strain your budget, the CTS-1300 is worth a closer look.