By Jay Grazio, Shooting Illustrated
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.