ZeroTech Optics Thrive HD Reflex Red Dot [REVIEW]

The one thing about reviewing firearms and outdoor equipment is you get to test and evaluate a lot of cool gear.

One company that I’ve been very excited to see their optics repeatedly is ZeroTech Optics.

Recently we reached out to them and were able to get our hands on our featured optic the Thrive HD Red Dot.

ZeroTech Optics Thrive HD Reflex Red Dot

Why ZeroTech?

Before we get into the specs of the Thrive HD, let’s talk about its manufacturer, ZeroTech Optics. The company was founded in 2018 in Australia and has since been in the field all over the Southern Hemisphere and Africa. Providing sportsmen and women with quality glass.

The company stands behind its gear with a lifetime warranty and the simple motto, "Any Owner, Any Problem, Always Covered".  If you read the company’s origin story, you’ll see they’re a subsidiary of a company founded by an American WWII Veteran, James Watkins. (ZT Story – ZeroTech Optics USA)

The Reflex Red Dot Optic

The market for affordable red dots is very competitive these days. But ZeroTech didn’t let that bother them when they launched the Thrive HD in the Summer of 2022.

The optic has great features such as a built-in mount, auto-on and shutoff, 50,000-hour battery life, and easy-to-use controls. Plus it’s built to function in a temperature range of more than 162*F.

ZeroTech Optics Thrive HD Reflex Red Dot Sight [Video]


  • Manufacturer: ZeroTech Optics
  • Models:
    • Thrive HD (with riser)
    • Thrive (without riser)
  • Mounting Type: Picatinny Rail
  • Country of Manufacture: China
  • Objective Lens: 1.1" Tall x .78" Wide (28mm x 20mm)
  • Reticle: 3 MOA Dot
  • Adjustments: 1 MOA /Click (Torx T10 needed for adjustments, supplied)
  • Settings Options: 11 Adjustable
  • Battery: CR2032 (1 supplied)
  • Battery Life: Max 50,000 Hours
  • Dimensions:
    • Length: 1.77" (45mm)
    • Height Minus Riser: 1.1" (28mm)
    • Height With Riser:
    • Width: .78" (20mm)
    • Weight: 3.1 Ounces (88 grams)
  • Operational Temp Range: -4*F to +158*F (-20*C to +70*C)
  • MSRP:
    • Thrive HD (With Riser): $349.00
    • Thrive (Minus Riser): $349.00

Set Up & Field Testing

I chose to start the testing of the Thrive HD on my favorite gun, the Dakota Tactical D54 Short Barrel Rifle MP5 clone. My D54 has been my go-to rifle and has seen many varieties of small optics on it over the last 10 years. When it comes to testing optics, I have found that using a rifle that has an impeccable history of reliability and accuracy provides one less variable to consider in testing and evaluating optics.

Setting up the Thrive HD for field testing was easy since it comes with its own mount. I didn’t have to do anything special after unboxing. Simply loosened one clamp bolt via a T15 Torx key, then install and retightened it to 30 in/lbs. of torque with my Wheeler Torque Wrench.  The fact this optic uses a tried-and-true Picatinny rail-style mount system makes it very easy to install. The whole process was super easy and done quickly.

ZeroTech Optics Thrive HD Reflex Red Dot
Illumination controls are easy to find and use. Photo: Rick Dembroski

One thing to mention here, the Thrive HD comes with the CR2032 battery installed, however, there is a protective wrapper around it that must be removed before use. I found this out the hard way when I tried to power on the optic. Once I realized my mistake, I removed the two T6 Torx screws on the battery door and removed the offending plastic cover. Had I read page 8 of the user’s manual I would have caught my mistake, remember to always read the manuals.

Controls & Dialing It In

Once the power issue was resolved it was time to turn it on and dial in the 3 MOA dot on the 25-yard range. Powering on the optic is as simple as depressing either the up or down illumination button. The 3 MOA dot was crisp and clear, and the anti-reflective glass was perfect for one of our only sunny days so far this summer.

There are 11 brightness settings on the Thrive HD reflex red dot so there are plenty of illumination settings, but no night vision settings. The optic does feature an auto on / off feature that needs to be highlighted. If the firearm is not moved and the Thrive HD isn’t disturbed the optic will power down after 3 minutes. It will automatically turn on and back to the last setting once it detects motion.

ZeroTech Thrive HD Reflex Red Dot Sight HIGH REFLEX 3 MOA Red Dot

at Natchez Shooting and Outdoors
Prices accurate at time of writing

If you need or want to power off the optic for longer periods of time all you will need to do is depress either of the illumination controls for 3 full seconds and the optic will go dark. In order to "wake up" the Thrive HD from a manual power-down scenario is to depress either button like a normal start-up sequence.

Zeroing the Thrive HD

Once we settled into our shooting lane and the Defense Targets RST was in place, it was time to make the steel ring and dial in the optic at 25 yards. Out of the box, the red dot was ringing steel, but it was a little low and left on the A/B/ Partial C zone target. A few adjustments of a Torx T10 screwdriver and I was center mass just like I needed to be.

Something I did notice on the Thrive HD is that the adjustments are not very audible and aren’t overly stiff. I had to slowly pay attention to the adjustments. This by no means is a knock on the ZeroTech Thrive HD at all, just something I noticed and wanted to bring to people’s attention. It should go without saying that the windage adjustment screw is on the side and the elevation is on top as expected.

ZeroTech Optics Thrive HD Reflex Red Dot
When shouldered the front sight appears in the lower 1/3rd of the optic. Photo:Rick Dembroski

In our testing session, we ran 250 rounds of Winchester white box 115-grain full metal jacket. A brand and load that sometimes is not the most consistent in accuracy or reliability, however, the gods were happy today and we suffered no issues in our short-range session. The rest of the session was boringly reliable, and we didn’t experience any shifting of point of impact or loosening of the Thrive HD riser.

Another point of note with this optic is that the high riser comes supplied and mounted to this red dot. I can look below it and utilize my iron sights if the need arises. On some other small red dots, I have seen similar set-ups but they were off a little dimensionally and drew my focus away from the optic. ZeroTech found a way to make a see-through riser that doesn’t distract the shooter and provides a nice backup plan should the optic have a catastrophic failure. A job well done by their design team.

Overall Impressions

The ZeroTech Thrive HD performed excellent in our short-range test. Providing us with clear glass and a well-defined 3 MOA red dot that didn’t bloom out.

The combination of simple controls, a great warranty, and a nearly universal mounting system means you can use this red dot across platforms with ease. This red dot could easily work with pistol caliber carbines, AR-15s, and shotguns. It’s even small enough without the riser to be mounted on an AKM-style rifle with an RS Regulate pattern side mount.

As we previously mentioned, this is the beginning of our testing cycle and we will be using the Thrive HD out a little longer on the D54 SBR before it moves to the Kel-Tec KSG-12. Then onto a short barrel AR-15 and finally a 16" AKM pattern rifle. We really want to work this over in terms of types of weapons and felt recoil.

ZeroTech Optics Thrive HD Reflex Red Dot
The glass on the Thrive HD is wide and clear. Photo:Rick Dembroski

If this optic performs as well across platforms as I expect it to, then it will mostly likely make its way back to my D54 SBR for its forever home.

It just felt like a natural fit, luckily I have another 500 rounds scheduled to run off in the near future, you know …In the name of science and testing.

What do you think about the Thrive HD by ZeroTech? Is it something you would consider? Is there another red dot you would consider? Drop us a line and let us know. Until then, stay safe and get out and shoot responsibly.

*Originally published on The Gear Bunker

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