U.S.A. –-(AmmoLand.com)- I’m a big fan of micro red dot sights (MRDS) on pistol slides. I’m also a fan of competition in the market to drive innovation and provide options for the consumer. One area that has been growing recently is the closed emitter optic. For quite some time, the only options were the Aimpoint ACRO and the Holosun 509T. That is until Steiner released the MPS earlier this year. Having never interacted with a Steiner product but liking the MPS conceptually, I decided to pick one up myself. After several months with the MPS, how does it compare?
Construction and Use
The Steiner MPS is a closed-emitter MRDS, meaning that the LED is entirely enclosed by the housing and lenses of the optic, protecting it from rain, dirt, and other debris. Size-wise, the MPS is pretty much on par with the ACRO, making it a fairly large optic. Coming in at 2.05 ounces, it is just barely lighter than the ACRO, and slightly heavier than the Holosun 509T.
One of the big wins with the MPS is that it uses the already established Aimpoint ACRO footprint, so no special mounting plates are required if you’ve already jumped aboard that train. I opted to use an ACRO plate on my Glock 19 MOS from Forward Controls Design, which worked like a charm throughout the review process.
The Steiner MPS is powered by a single CR1632 battery. The battery is housed on the top of the optic using a large, screw in battery cap. This cap requires a proprietary tool to open and close, one of which is provided by Steiner. This compartment is a bit difficult to open and close thanks to the rubber O-ring inside the cap to help ensure a proper seal and positive battery connection. I’d like to see this cap changed to be compatible with standard tools, like other MRDS on the market.
Battery life on the Steiner MPS is listed at 13,000 hours, paling in comparison to its nearest competitor, the ACRO P-2. Unfortunately, the quoted 13,000 hours of life is only for a middle level of brightness. If you’re like me, and live somewhere sunny, you keep the optic on its highest setting. When doing this, the MPS battery dies is under three weeks with Duracell CR1632 batteries. This was a shock to me, as none of the big names who got these ahead of time mentioned that in their reviews and overviews. There is currently no shake-awake available to help improve battery life.
One thing that Steiner initially implemented, then later removed, was an auto-shutoff. The initial run of MPS optics would automatically turn off after 13 hours, with the alleged justification being 13 hours exceeding a common 12 hour shift. In a rolling change, Steiner allowed users to turn off this auto-shutoff, which wasn’t possible initially. To my knowledge, there’s no way to tell the difference between the two variants, so be cautious if buying used. Anyone picking up a new MPS shouldn’t have anything to worry about. To turn off the auto-shutoff, hold the + and – buttons for roughly 15 seconds until the reticle flashes.
Design and Durability
The Steiner MPS is slightly wider and longer than the Aimpoint ACRO, though not by enough to significantly impact concealment. Interestingly, there is a sort of protective shroud around the housing, with serrated top edges, which I imagine could help with one-handed manipulations. Despite the theoretical benefits of these serrations, I am not a fan. On more than one occasion, I have sliced by hand during remedial actions on these serrations, which is what I’d describe as suboptimal.
Thanks in part to the top-mounted battery, the MPS sits relatively low on the slide. Due to this, standard height iron sights should work perfectly fine with the optic. My gun is equipped with Ameriglo GL-429 suppressor height irons, which aren’t overly intrusive, covering less than half the height of the glass in the MPS.
I have mixed reports on the durability of the Steiner MPS. The first class I attended with this optic was FPF Training Street Encounters. Upon my return from class, I noticed what appeared to be a tiny screw bouncing around inside the housing of the MPS. The optic was still fully functional, and I could not determine the source of the screw nor what its loss was impacting. However, I opted to pause my review here for maintenance, not wanting to spoil the process with a damaged example. Total rounds on the MPS at this point were 409, all of which were fired with the use of a KKM compensator.
I contacted Steiner upon seeing the screw and they replied to me before noon on the next business day with a prepaid return label. I was initially told to expect a 2-4 week turnaround time upon their receipt of my MPS for repairs. Instead, Steiner opted to send me a complete replacement for my MPS, which arrived within two weeks. After I received my new MPS, I restarted the testing cycle, resetting my round count to zero.
Since receiving the new MPS, there has been nothing significant to report regarding durability. It appears that brass impacts the top edge of the housing. However, I haven’t seen any damage to the glass and only minor scuffing of the housing.
Controls and Adjustments
Controls and adjustments of the Steiner MPS are very straightforward and comparable to other MRDS. There is tactile and slight audible feedback for the brightness adjustment, with the rubberized buttons being slightly raised from the surface of the optic with further raised + and – text on each button.
For zero adjustment, the tactile and audible adjustments are fantastic, probably the best in class as of the time of this writing. Each click provides 1MOA of adjustment. Zero has remained across all rounds fired, and there have been no issues with the brightness adjustment either.
Reticle and Glass Quality
Glass quality is reasonably high but falls short of the Aimpoint ACRO for the top spot. There’s a very little tint, or notch filter, on the glass, leading to a clear sight picture at the cost of low battery life. Additionally, there’s next to no distortion, even around the edges of the window, and magnification is essentially non-existent.
Reticle quality is very good, roughly on par with the ACRO for my particular eyes. The reticle itself is 3.3MOA, making it very similar to the average reticle size across most MRDS. Currently there are no options for different reticle sizes on the MPS.
There are eight brightness settings, two of which are night vision compatible. Max power on the MPS looks to be roughly comparable to the second highest setting on an ACRO P-1 for those familiar with that optic. During a recent Armed Parent class, I had the opportunity to shoot while in direct sunlight. Unlike some Holosun and Leupold options, the MPS had no issues with direct sunlight, which was is a big benefit.
Between my two MPS examples, I’ve fired a total of 1199 rounds through Steiner MPS optics. This includes time in Gunsite 250 Pistol, The Armed Parent/Guardian, competition, regular range time, and more. Below is the division in round count between the two optics.
409x Rounds Fired through my first MPS:
- 50x Winchester 124gr NATO FMJ
- 50x Speer Lawman 115gr FMJ
- 300x Magtech 124gr FMJ
- 9x Speer Gold Dot 124gr +P JHP
790x Rounds fired through my second MPS:
- 50x Remington UMC 115gr FMJ
- 50x On Target 115gr FMJ
- 50x Aguila 124gr FMJ
- 75x Winchester White Box 115gr FMJ
- 90x Blazer Brass 115gr FMJ
- 340x Speer Lawman 115gr FMJ
- 135x Federal American Eagle 124gr FMJ
Overall the Steiner MPS hasn’t really stood out from the crowd in a massively positive or negative way during the review. Felt recoil is increased from my Holosun 509T, and similar to that on the Aimpoint ACRO. Reliability of my Glock hasn’t been impacted by the optic, nor has compatibility with concealment holsters. For duty-style holsters, this configuration is compatible with the Alien Gear Rapid Force, Blackhawk L2C, and Safariland 6360RDS for Glock 17 and RMR. It was not compatible with my Safariland 6354DO setup for a Glock 34 and DeltaPoint Pro.
To date, the optic has remained firm on the plate with Vibratite VC3 applied to the screws. Of course, 800 rounds isn’t a big test of durability, but it’s safe to say that my first experience was likely an outlier, and the combined rounds provide a decent evaluation of the type from a user standpoint.
Final Thoughts on the Steiner MPS
The Steiner MPS is okay. It is my first optic to fail across 8 different makes/models, and while it was still functional, that wasn’t acceptable. Steiner took care of the problem quickly and without issue, but the experience lingers in my mind. That being said, I’m very happy with the customer service I’ve received from Steiner, and give them huge props for that. I do think the first was a lemon, and I have not heard of others encountering that specific issue.
Overall the Steiner MPS feels a bit like “We have ACRO at home”, coming in just slightly cheaper for a slightly degraded user experience in my opinion. While I don’t plan on buying another, I will keep the MPS for use as a backup optic on my rifle, which seems like a solid role for it. If you don’t want to buy an ACRO or a 509T, give the MPS a look. It wouldn’t be my recommendation for a first optic, but maybe as a later purchase. If it weren’t for that screw coming loose in my first sample, I’d probably be a little warmer on the MPS, bringing it to a solid choice.
Current MSRP on the Steiner MPS is $574.99
About Dan Reedy
Dan is an Air Force veteran, avid shooter, and dog dad. With a passion for teaching, he holds instructor certifications from Rangemaster, Agile Training & Consulting, and the NRA. He has trained with Darryl Bolke, Mike Pannone, Craig Douglas, among several other instructors, amassing over 400 hours of professional instruction thus far. In his spare time you’ll find him teaching handgun, shotgun, and less lethal classes.