Trijicon Reflex and ACOG Optical Sights
by Jeff Quinn

photography by Jeff Quinn

June 10th, 2003



Here at, we have recently placed an emphasis on the AR-15 rifle system and its related accessories. With the high levels of crime and chaos in our world, we have determined that a good AR and the ability to properly use it will go a long way towards solving many crisis situations.

With a reliable AR-15, or any other rifle, the ability to accurately place the shots on target is paramount. Most rifles for social purposes come supplied with at least a serviceable set of sights that work pretty well in good lighting, but are sorely lacking in low light situations.  Also, aligning the rear and front sights with the target in a stressful situation can be difficult. As always, we are seeking a better way.

A good quality hunting type scope makes hitting the target easier under ideal conditions, but does nothing to enhance the hit probability in low light or high stress situations. Also, most hunting scopes are somewhat fragile in rough use.

Two of the better products that we have found to solve these problems are built by Trijicon in Wixom, Michigan. Both of these sights use tritium illumination, but differ in their area of practical usage.

The Trijicon Reflex Sight

The first sight reviewed here is the Reflex  sight. This sight is most useful on targets as close as across a small room to as far out as three hundred yards. The Reflex is a red dot type of sight, but is not to be confused with the cheap, fragile electronic dot sights on the market. The Reflex uses both fiber optic and tritium technology to provide a quick and easily-seen aiming point under all lighting conditions. The tritium provides a red dot aiming point that is enhanced in bright light by the fiber optic system, providing a brighter reticle in bright conditions and a dimmer reticle in low light.

With the Reflex sight, one merely looks at the target with both eyes wide open, aligns the dot with the desired impact point, and squeezes the trigger. Nothing could be simpler. There are no batteries to maintain, and no switches to flip. The weapon is always ready.  The point of impact is easily adjustable with the windage and elevation dials. Eye relief is not critical, so the weapon can be held in one hand if necessary.  Aiming is as easy as looking at the target. In dark conditions, the red dot is not overwhelming, and the brightness self-adjusts to any light conditions. The Reflex provides no magnification, and is best suited out to three hundred yards on man-sized targets. This sight would be ideal on a police rifle, and is very easy to use.  Weighing just a few ounces, it is very unobtrusive atop the rifle or carbine.

I mounted the Reflex sight on a flattop AR-15 for testing, and found that it was extremely easy to place shots accurately on target. Out to one hundred yards on man-sized targets, nothing that I have ever tried is faster than this sight.

Trijicon ACOG Sight

Filling the purpose of a more traditional scope sight is the Trijicon ACOG sight. In this role, the ACOG makes hitting accurately at long range easy, just as does a hunting type scope. The difference is strength and durability. While both compact and relatively light, the ACOG is built like a tank. ACOG is an acronym for Advanced Combat Optical Gunsight. The model tested is the TA31, which is a four power unit that uses both tritium and fiber optic technology to illuminate the reticle, which is graduated out to a range of 800 meters with the 5.56mm cartridge. The red circle reticle covers four minutes-of-angle (MOA), with a hollow center that covers 2 MOA. The ACOG sight is in use  around the world by U.S. and  coalition forces, and has been found to be very effective and rugged.  The ACOG, like the reflex, uses no batteries, and is pretty much maintenance free. The reticle is very quick up close, and the four power magnification is useful at longer range. The ACOG has one and one-half inches of eye relief and an eight millimeter exit pupil. The field of view at one hundred yards is about thirty-seven feet. Weighing about three-quarters of a pound with the flattop mount, the ACOG is compact and relatively light, while offering the durability needed in a combat sight. It offers much greater hit probability for most shooters, and is a lifesaver in low light situations.  I found that the ACOG made it much easier for me to get off a quick, accurate shot at extended range, and also very quick up close with the bright red four-minute dot.

For prices, specifications, and ordering information on either of these sights, or any other Trijicon product, check them out online at:

Jeff Quinn

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Click pictures for a larger version.


Shown mounted on a Colt HBAR, the Trijicon Reflex sight is simple, effective, rugged and easy to use.



The Trijicon Reflex sight mounts easily on any rifle with flattop adapters.



Adjustment of the Trijicon Reflex sight is easy and precise.



Trijicon's sights are made in the USA, and the quality of their products is apparent in their use.



The Trijicon ACOG sight easily mounts to a flattop receiver. This almost-indestructible, powerful and precise sighting system is one of the finest AR-15 sights available, and has proven invaluable to coalition forces using it under the most brutal conditions.



More than just a rugged battle sight, the Trijicon ACOG is as precise as any scope system, complete with precise click adjustments of 1/3 inch.