Crimson Trace CTS-1550 Review | Worth The Money In 2024?

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Crimson Trace CTS 1550

Overall Score 7.5

Tested With Scoring System 2.0

Optical Quality
Durability and Build Quality
Weight and Size
Battery Life
Ease of Use

Learn How I Test & Score Here

⭐️ Verdict: High Precision (7.5)

As a shooter who’s put the Crimson Trace-1550 through its paces, I’ve got to say, it’s a game-changer. This ultra-compact sight packs a punch with its ambient light sensor, 20,000-hour battery life, and a clear 3.0 MOA red dot.

During my hands-on testing, the ambient light sensor really stood out. It adapted smoothly to various light conditions, keeping the red dot visible and crisp. Its lightweight design meant my firearm’s balance wasn’t thrown off, a huge plus for those long shooting sessions.


Adaptive ambient light sensor

Long-lasting battery (20,000 hours)

Integrated co-witness notch

User-friendly interface for adjustments

Versatile mounting options (J-Point/RMSC)


Dot brightness could be better in strong sunlight

Requires a tool for windage and elevation adjustments

Price Comparison

Available at 2 shops 
Optics Planet

What really catches your eye about the CTS-1550 is its promise of a whopping 20,000 hours of battery life and an ambient light sensor for automatic brightness adjustment; features that are meant to be game-changers. 

However, during my time with it, I found that while these features deliver on their promise to an extent, there are areas where the sight could be improved. 

Efficiency Test of Crimson Trace-1550

1. Optical Quality

The Crimson Trace-1550’s optical quality is a mixed bag. 

On paper, the 3.0 MOA red dot reticle and ambient light sensor (CT Radiant) promise crisp, clear target acquisition in various lighting conditions. 

In practice, the red dot performs admirably in most scenarios, adjusting brightness efficiently, which is a notch above many in the market. 

However, when the sun’s blazing, the reticle could do with a bit more punch. It’s not a deal-breaker, but in direct comparison with some competitors, the CTS-1550 falls a tad short in extreme brightness. 

On the flip side, in low light or indoor ranges, the dot is sharp and distinct. 

As a shooter who’s experienced a range of sights, this one feels like it’s overperforming in adaptability but underperforming in extreme conditions. 

The automatic brightness adjustment is a great feature, saving time and hassle, but if you’re shooting in bright, sunlit environments often, you might find it a bit wanting.

Score: 7/10

2. Durability and Build Quality

The build quality of the Crimson Trace-1550 is solid, which is what I’ve come to expect from the brand. 

On one hand, it contributes to the sight’s feather-light feel, making it almost unnoticeable on the firearm. 

On the other hand, compared to some metal-constructed competitors, it might feel less rugged. 

However, in my field tests, the CTS-1550 withstood the rigors of shooting exercises without a hitch. 

The polymer frame didn’t show any signs of wear or weakness, even after repeated recoil impacts. It’s a testament to the quality of materials used. 

The waterproof and shockproof claims hold up well, which is in line with what’s advertised. 

In the broader market, while some sights might offer a more ‘tank-like’ build, the CTS-1550 strikes a good balance between durability and weight. 

For shooters who prioritize a lightweight setup without sacrificing toughness, this sight checks the right boxes.

Personally, I appreciate a sight that doesn’t add bulk but can still take a beating.

Score: 8/10

3. Weight and Size

The Crimson Trace-1550 scores high in terms of weight and size. Weighing a mere 0.65 ounces with dimensions of 1.7 x 1 x 1, it’s one of the most compact and lightweight sights I’ve used. 

In the field, this translated to a significant advantage. The sight added virtually no noticeable weight to my firearm, maintaining the weapon’s balance and handling. 

The lightweight polymer construction, while durable, does raise questions about its long-term resilience compared to metal counterparts. 

However, in my experience, this didn’t detract from its performance. Its compact size made it an unobtrusive addition to my pistol, and the light weight ensured that my shooting wasn’t affected by any additional bulk. 

For those looking for a sight that won’t weigh down their firearm, the Crimson Trace-1550 is a top contender.

Weight0.65 ounces
Length1.7 inches
Width1 inch
Height1 inch

Score: 9/10

4. Battery Life

On battery life, the CTS-1550 truly excels. 

Its advertised 20,000 hours of runtime is a standout feature in the market. This claim held up during my tests; the sight showed no signs of battery drain. 

The convenience of a single CR2032 battery, which is included, is another plus. 

The under-device battery compartment doesn’t interfere with the sight’s profile, maintaining its sleek design. 

The only drawback is the need for a tool to access the battery compartment, which can be a minor inconvenience. 

However, given the extended battery life, this is a rare concern. 

The long battery life is a practical feature for shooters who use their sights extensively, offering peace of mind and reducing maintenance.

In terms of delivering on its promise, the CTS-1550 sets a high bar for battery life in compact reflex sights.

Score: 7/10

5. Reticle

The 3.0 MOA red dot reticle of the Crimson Trace-1550 is a critical feature for any red dot sight, and here it performs well, but with room for improvement. 

The size of the dot strikes a good balance between precision and quick target acquisition. 

In my testing, I found the dot to be crisp and clear in most lighting conditions, thanks to the ambient light sensor adjusting brightness effectively.

However, the reticle’s performance in extremely bright conditions was a bit underwhelming. 

It wasn’t as bright as I would have liked, which is a point where it slightly falls short compared to some other sights in the market that maintain dot visibility even in intense sunlight. 

This aspect can be crucial for shooters who frequently find themselves in varied lighting conditions. 

Nevertheless, for indoor ranges or overcast days, the reticle’s visibility is spot-on. 

The overall performance of the reticle is commendable, but if you’re looking for a sight that can handle the brightest of days without faltering, you might find this one a tad lacking.

Score: 7/10

6. Ease of Use

The user-friendliness of the Crimson Trace-1550 is one of its standout features. 

Installation is straightforward, thanks to its compatibility with the industry-standard J-Point and RMSc mounting interface. 

This makes it a great choice for shooters who aren’t looking to fuss over complex setup procedures. 

The sight’s adjustments for windage and elevation are intuitive and provide tactile feedback, which I found to be very helpful during my field tests. 

Adjusting the sight to zero in on targets at various ranges was easy, and the controls remained consistent throughout my testing. 

The sight’s design is such that even beginners can make these adjustments with relative ease. 

The one area where it could improve is the need for a tool to adjust these settings and access the battery compartment. 

Overall, the Crimson Trace-1550 scores average in ease of us.

Score: 6/10

7. Price

Evaluating the Crimson Trace-1550 from a price perspective is an interesting exercise. In the market of red dot sights, it sits in a competitive position, offering a balance of advanced features and affordability. 

It reflects the quality and technology it packs, particularly the ambient light sensor and the 20,000-hour battery life. 

Compared to other sights in its category, it offers good value for money, especially considering its performance and the reliability it brings to the table. 

From a professional shooter’s standpoint, the investment in the CTS-1550 is justified by its performance, ease of use, and durability. It strikes a sweet spot for shooters looking for a reliable sight without breaking the bank. 

That being said, if you’re on a tight budget, there are cheaper alternatives available, but they might not match up in terms of overall quality and feature set. 

In my experience, the CTS-1550 performs in line with its price, providing a good balance between cost and quality, making it a smart choice for serious shooters.

Score: 8/10

Final Verdict

After thorough testing, I can confidently say the Crimson Trace CTS-1550 is a solid performer in the red dot sight market. 

Its ultra-compact design, combined with the 3 MOA LED red dot and ambient light sensor, makes it an excellent choice for enhanced aiming and accuracy. 

While it shines in battery life, lightweight design, and ease of use, it slightly underperforms in extreme brightness conditions. 

The sight is durable, user-friendly, and offers a great balance between cost and quality, making it a smart choice for both seasoned shooters and beginners. 

It doesn’t revolutionize the field but represents a significant evolutionary step in red dot sights, providing reliable performance without adding bulk to your firearm.

For those seeking a blend of efficiency, affordability, and reliability, the Crimson Trace-1550 stands out as a worthy investment.

Types of Guns Suitable for The Crimson Trace-1550


Is the Crimson Trace CTS-1550 good?

Yes, the Crimson Trace CTS-1550 is a good choice, offering reliable performance, compact design, and a clear 3.0 MOA red dot for enhanced aiming and accuracy in pistols.

What is the battery life of the Crimson Trace 1550?

The Crimson Trace 1550 boasts an impressive 20,000-hour battery life, with an ambient light sensor for automatic brightness adaptation.

What is the difference between CT 1500 and 1550?

The main difference is that the CTS-1500 features a 5 MOA red dot and is factory-installed on specific models like Kimber Mako R7 OI, while the CTS-1550 has a 3 MOA dot and is widely available for aftermarket purchase.

What footprint is Crimson Trace CTS-1550?

The Crimson Trace CTS-1550 uses the Shield RMSc footprint, making it compatible with a range of compact and sub-compact pistols.

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