By Guy J. Sagi
Trijicon has never offered a rebate on its Advanced Combat Optical Gunsights (ACOG), but this month the company is celebrating the one millionth 4×32 to roll out of the factory by offering $150 back on purchases from an authorized dealer (1800GunsAndAmmo is an authorized dealer). If that doesn’t catch your attention, it’s also holding a special sweepstakes, with giveaways that include the company’s world-class optics, guns, gear and more. Entry is free, but you’d better hurry because the grand prize winner will be drawn on Oct. 26.
The TA31, which was the first ACOG to harness the power of the Bindon Aiming Concept. All photos courtesy of Trijicon.
The 4×32 ACOG has proven to be one of the most versatile combat optics ever fielded by the U.S. Military, and that fast target acquisition, rugged construction and cutting-edge performance hasn’t escaped the attention of thousands of civilians who press their long guns into home-defense duties. Visit a local 3-Gun match, and it doesn’t take long to figure out it’s no slouch at the range, either.
When the first ACOG rolled out of the factory sometime in 1987, the radical departure had the future of firearm optics squarely in its sights. Its legend is now undeniable—as well as the collision of scientific savvy and innovation that made it possible.
Company founder Glyn Bindon immigrated to the United States from South Africa in the 1950s, received a degree in aeronautical engineering and worked on a variety of technically challenging projects that would give the average person head cramps. While working for Grumman Aerospace, for example, he collaborated with NASA on a lunar module valve—one of the components that outperformed its design specs during the nearly catastrophic flight of Apollo 13 and played a role in bringing the spacecraft safely back to earth. Mention that story the next time somebody claims connecting at 1,000 yards “Isn’t rocket science” at the range.
The ACOG in action courtesy of the Department of Defense.
Sometime in the 1980s, though, Bindon’s focus shifted during a visit with family in South Africa. He began importing and selling Armson’s OEG gunsights in the United States, after his return, but by 1985 was developing his own self-illuminated aiming systems. Family-owned and -operated Trijicon was born.
The first ACOG was the TAO1, and it collected light almost as fast as criticism from self-proclaimed experts. It was tough enough to survive combat and had the kind of rugged looks only a mother could love, but it performed so well the Army included it in its Advanced Combat Rifle program that year. A few military contracts trickled in and some of the company’s sights were used in Operation Just Cause (Panama, 1989) and Desert Storm (Iraq, 1990 to 1991).
The first ACOG version to come out of the factory, the TA01. Photo are courtesy of Trijicon.
The Bindon aiming concept (BAC)—a both-eyes-open approach developed by the company founder in 1992—was first employed in the company’s TA11 model and it worked so well that an ACOG version was adopted by Special Operations Command in 1995.
The TA31RCO, which is based on the company’s TA31F version and employs the BAC, became history’s first official Rifle Combat Optic (RCO) of the Marine Corps in 2004. The four-power’s chevron-shaped reticle had tritium for low-light illumination and employed fiber optics for daytime brightness. Glyn Bindon died in a plane crash only months before the contract was announced, unfortunately. Then First Marine Division Commanding General Maj. Gen. J.N. Mattis, said during Operation Iraqi Freedom: “The ACOG mounted on the M16 service rifle has proven to be the biggest improvement in lethality for the Marine infantryman since the introduction of the M1 Garand in World War II.”
During the company’s silver anniversary in 2006, Stephen Bindon, Trijicon’s President/CEO and son of the founder, was modest about the firm’s success: “When you’ve been in business as long as the Bindon family, you learn a few things along the way. One is that if you treat all of the members of your team as one big family—trusting their input and valuing their ideas—your employees, your company and your customers all reap the rewards. Another is that innovation is an ongoing process, because there is always a way to make something better.”
There are a lot of ACOGs are out there—many serving in the Global War on Terrorism—and Trijicon is making it easier than ever to take one home. If the incentives aren’t enough, consider too, the limited-lifetime warrantee. “We’re excited to celebrate this one millionth milestone, but we’re also not content to rest on the ACOG’s success,” the company said in a statement on the feat. “We have exciting plans for the line. Every day, we work to earn the trust of those whose lives depend on the ACOG.”