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The Trijicon ACOG a Combat Ready Optic

If you have spent five minutes looking for the best AR-15 scope available you have probably already came across the Trijicon ACOG name several times. This Advanced Combat Optical Gunsight, ACOG for short, has become a favorite of the military, law enforcement and prepared citizen.



Durability - When it comes right down to it, durability is at the top of desired features for a combat optic, and you would be hard pressed to find an optic with more of a proven track record of the Trijicon ACOG. Red dots and holographic sights have reticles that will disappear if the battery or electronics fail. The ACOG doesn't rely on batteries or electronics to create the reticle, instead its utilizes completely different technology for improved reliability.


Illumination - Illumination is beneficial on an optic of this type for a variety of reasons, including increased speed in acquiring a target or providing contrast between the reticle and target in low light. Many (but not all) Trijicon ACOG's feature a fiber optic cable that runs on along the outside of the optic in a protective tube and this gives the ACOG its signature look. The fiber optic cable gathers daylight and transfers it to the reticle for illumination when light is available. Many ACOG modes also feature Tritium which will cause the reticle to glow in low light, much like handgun night sights, allowing for contrast between the target and reticle when there is little available light.


Weight - With all the gadgets and accessories we can put on our rifles keeping an eye on weight becomes critical to avoid creating an unwieldy setup. While durability and illumination usually come at the cost of increased weight; because of the simple fixed power design and illumination without need of a battery the Trijicon ACOG models are relatively light weight.


Bindon Aiming Concept - Trijicon ACOG's were designed for use with the Bindon Aiming Concept in which the shooter keeps both eyes open, allowing for quicker target acquisition and increased situational awareness. The benefits of rapid targeting and increased field of vision from keeping both eyes open while targeting are obvious in a serious situation. Here is a brief video describing the process. Click Here


Trijicon ACOG Comparison

Model Trijicon ACOG
Trijicon ACOG
Trijicon ACOG
Trijicon ACOG
Trijicon ACOG
Picture* Trijicon ACOG 4x32 Trijicon ACOG 3.5x35 Trijicon ACOG 3x30 Trijicon ACOG 2x20
Estimated Price $1199 - $1399 $1299 $1099 $1099 $1099
Magnification 4x 3.5x 3x 2x 1.5x
F.O.V@100yds 36.8' 28.9' 19.3' 29.5' 25.6'
Eye Relief 1.5" 2.4" 1.9" 2.1" 3.6"
Weight 10.6oz 14oz 11.7oz 5.5oz 5.6oz
Length 5.8" 8" 6.1" 5.3" 5.8"
Wind/Elev Adj .5" .33" .25" .5" .33"



Field of View - When compared to traditional riflescopes the Trijicon ACOGs have a significantly smaller field of view. Essentially this is the flip side of the Bindon Aiming Concept mentioned above. On paper this looks like a major disadvantage as field of view is important for acquiring moving targets or targets at close range. However, on most magnified optics shooters generally end up closing one eye while aiming which greatly decreases their total field of view. So while not technically a disadvantage if the optic is used as intended with both eyes open, don't be surprised when you look through an ACOG and see a lot less real estate than you are used to from other scopes.


Fixed Power - Trijicon ACOGs are only available in fixed powered magnifications, and the versatility a variable powered optic provides can be useful in some situations. However, adding variable power to an optic involves adding more internal lenses and moving parts which generally leads to an increase in weight and expense while causing a decrease in light transmission and reliability when compared to their fixed powered counterparts. One could certainly make a case for a variable powered combat optic and Trijicon themselves have started making one called the VCOG; the tradeoff being they start at $2500 and weigh 23 oz without battery or mount. 


Eye Relief - Because of their short eye relief these optics often have to be mounted at or very near the back of a mounting rail to get close enough to the shooter's eye to get the full sight picture. This rearward mounting position often leaves little or no room for mounting a rear back up sight; but then again the whole point of buying a combat grade optic is to have an optic that won't fail when you need it most.



Finding the right mount for the right model can appear to be a daunting task at first; however once you learn the basic models and available mount options things begin to clear up.

TA30- Most Trijicon ACOG’s feature a long narrow mounting channel on the bottom of the optic; essentially a TA30 mount is just a mounting screw that allows the optics round channel to be attached to the top of a M-16 style carry handle. So you will likely need an aftermarket mount if you get this option.

TA51 – This is a removable style Picatinny mount, so in this case the bottom rounded channel of the optic is attached to the TA51 mount which in turn can be mounted on a Picatinny rail.

TA60 – This mount works like the TA51 in that you attach the round channel to the mount and then attached the mount the firearm. The TA60 mount is setup up for flat top AR style rifles.


Aftermarket - While the above listed mounts are commonly available on many ACOG optics, there are many more mounts available for Trijicon ACOGs including quick release options. 


Summary: The Trijicon ACOG isn't for everyone, these optics are unique by design (short eye relief and small field of view) for keeping both eyes open when aiming, so if you aren't willing to commit to learning this style of shooting you would probably be better off with another option. Also, if you are just looking for a good plinking or recreation optic for your favorite black rifle this is overkill as there are more affordable options. However, if you want a reliable and battle proven optic you can depend on, few if any optics have a better track record than the Trijicon ACOG.  

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