What to Consider When Purchasing an ACOG
When considering an optic for a Modern Sporting Rifle (MSR) one should consider purchasing an ACOG by Trijicon. There are several different types of optics out there designed for use on an MSR and each one has its benefits. Typically, a Red Dot style optic is used and these are great for short range shooting and can even be effective up to several hundred meters. The downside to distance shooting with a red dot is the lack of magnification and can make target identification difficult if the target is smaller. There are additional products to purchase that assist in this area, such as magnifiers, which mount inline with the red dot.
Riflescopes are rapidly becoming more popular and are used by many three-gun competitors on their MSR platform. Scopes are great for distance shooting as they have improved and constant magnification. I have a scope on my hunting rifles and had a scope on the department issued patrol rifle when I was a Deputy. When it comes to accuracy a scope is hard to beat as you can focus on a much more specific area. There are downsides to having a scope that can limit the application of the rifle it is mounted to. Close range shooting becomes difficult as the magnification can distort the target and then eye relief can create issues as well.
There are options for addressing the close-range issues with scopes be attaching off-set iron sights for close range use. This will require additional practice with the rifle to ensure familiarization with the transition from optic to iron sight. There is also the need to practice with a red dot and magnifier set up to ensure the transition is smooth. There are other downsides that affect both, to include the amount of light for a scope or battery power for a red dot. These are minor issues, but they could prove to be an annoyance when using your rifle.
I may be biased by my military time and using the ACOG issued with my service weapon, but I saw great positives that address many of the issues faced by red dots and scopes. The Trijicon ACOG is a durable and rugged optic designed for combat conditions which make it great for non-combat conditions. The first benefit is you don’t have to be overly careful so you don’t knock the sights off. Many of the scopes I have for other rifles are sensitive to shock and vibration that can negatively affect the accuracy of the scope. When choosing an optic for an MSR, one must consider what it will be used for.
Three-gun competitions are becoming increasingly popular with many in the nation, this includes actor Keanu Reeves. Yet we rarely see an ACOG on these rifles, a fact that confuses me due to the ease in which an ACOG makes close-range and long-range target acquisition. Much of the traditional scope use I see is due to sponsorship as optics tend to get pricey. Trijicon is growing in popularity as the team they sponsor travels with samples for people to try at matches. But enough of this let's get down to the things to consider when purchasing an ACOG.
The first thing we should all consider when looking for an optic, any optic, is the price. The biggest hurdle I had to overcome was the price of an ACOG as these are on the higher end of the cost range for many people. I am a lost cause on this one as I fell in love with the ACOG while I was in the Army and vowed to myself that I would get an ACOG and needed to set money aside so I can get one. This hurdle clear I now needed to decide what I was going to put the ACOG on and the model of ACOG I wanted.
As with anything in the Military, I was not given a lot of information regarding the ACOG and what is required in the realm of product application. When I started shopping for an ACOG I went with the thought process I used when buying a scope, which one do I like. This thought process came to a screeching halt when I was at the 2018 SHOT Show and spoke with a representative from ACOG at their booth. While talking to the Rep, I learned that you cannot just slap any ACOG on any rifle. While the Rep was talking, I started to get fuzzy brained as he was getting into a lot of technical details about barrel length, twist rate and caliber of the specific rifle.
When he asked me about my rifle, I got the deer in the headlights look because I did not have the answers at that time. This did get the hamster in my head moving as I now had knowledge presented to me to further my quest for my beloved ACOG scope. Now we fast forward to February 2019 and the fateful decision to get my ACOG. Lesson two was now underway and I would be armed with the knowledge needed to obtain my goal. I started shopping for my ACOG and looked for the best price I could get. I recommend shopping around as ACOGs are expensive and some stores and websites can offer better deals than others.
The first step in this process was to go on Trijicon’s website and research the various ACOGs they have that fit my need. I started looking for the setup I had in the Army and learned it would not fit the platform was going to put this on. The first thing to consider is the caliber of the rifle it will be used on. I was going to put this ACOG on a Bushmaster ACR 6.8 SPC, thus eliminating the desired sight picture I was looking for. This was not a set back for me and I was determined to get my ACOG. Next, I chose the model, specifically magnification and size, 4x32BAC as my intended purchase.
Once here I then searched for the specific caliber as there are differences for each. The ACOG includes drop compensation marks for distance shooting and these are specific to the ballistics of the specific round. Next in this area is the adjustment of the Minute of Angle (MOA) when sighting the scope in. This seems trivial but it will matter in how accurate your scope will be. Once the caliber and model have been chosen, it starts to get easier for the shopper and the remaining selections are aesthetic rather than technical.
Now that you are looking in the right place you are left to choose from aiming reticle style and color that are available with the criteria needed for the ACOG rifle pair. These are small choices in what type of reticle do I want, such as a chevron, crosshair, horseshoe or doughnut and what color do I want that reticle to be. Once these choices have been made, the purchase can be made, the ACOG placed on the rifle, and it is time to go to the range and enjoy life the way it was meant to be enjoyed. Life is best lived with the smell of recently fired ammo and the ping of a round on target. Happy shooting my fellow gun lovers and may your magazines be ever full!
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