Best AR 15 ACOG Scopes On The Market 2021 Reviews
The acronym ACOG stands for Advanced Combat Optical Gunsight. This tells us that these scopes were originally intended for combat situations and for use with combat-style rifles. In the civilian shooting world, an AR-platform rifle is a perfect example of where this optic fits very nicely.
Our best AR 15 ACOG scopes review intends to get through a lot of detail. We will look at what these scopes are, what benefits they offer to AR 15 owners, and give some buying tips.
We will also touch on the all-important area of fakes and clones. It is common knowledge that the firearms world is awash with fake accessories. In this respect, optic devices rank highly.
By considering the details below, it should place you in a stronger position to make an informed ACOG scope purchase. So, let’s get scoping!
What is an ACOG?
As mentioned at the very beginning of the piece. ACOG stands for Advanced Combat Optical Gunsight. This red dot style sight was invented by Trijicon as a military requirement but is now also available in many different models for civilian use.
Purposely designed as fixed magnification
The design is based around an internal reflex sight. One which has multiple lenses and is tube-shaped. All ACOG scopes are fixed magnification and as such are not adjustable
However, the manufacturer quickly caught onto the fact that different fixed magnification levels (and objective lens sizes) were necessary. This was to provide shooters with a much-needed choice.
To meet this demand, you can select an ACOG scope to suit your shooting application and style. Fixed magnification power comes in between 1.5 and 6x, along with a variety of objective lens sizes.
So, what are the most popular sizes?
To give you an idea of popular magnification/objective lens sizes, the AR 15 ACOG scopes come as:
(Fixed magnification/objective lens size): 4×32, 3.5×35, and 3×30, but for extra magnification and clarity of view, you will also see such combinations as 5.5×50 and 6×48.
If you take the US Military as a benchmark, they have gone for the 4×32 combination ACOG scope.
Why the ACOG?
There are several very valid reasons as to why the ACOG is a perfect choice for tactical, hunting, and certain competition applications. Three that really stand out to us are:
Simplicity of use
The joy of using an ACOG scope has to come in the ease of use. The AR 15 ACOG scopes do not require batteries. Once your scope is mounted and zeroed, there is no fiddling with power buttons or anything else. Simply open the lenses, take your aim down the sight, and fire your weapon.
We have also mentioned the Bindon Aiming Concept (BAC) several times. This method of firing is extremely important in the fact that shooters can fire with both eyes open. The real benefits seen here are:
- Improved target ID.
- Rapid initial sighting.
- Fast target acquisition.
24/7 shooting is yours
Trijicon has mastered the dual illumination process. Their patented method couples fiber optic and tritium based technology. This combination gives your ACOG scope self-illuminating abilities, which means you can use it day or night.
- Daytime/acceptable light use – This activates the fiber optic feature.
- Nighttime, poor/no light – The tritium illumination feature kicks in.
This flexibility means you are at liberty to use the scope in any conditions and 24/7/365.
The best AR 15-platform ACOG scopes will last a lifetime and longer. Look for quality and durability in terms of forged aluminum construction along with fully multi-coated lenses. There is no doubt that the cost of a top-quality ACOG scope should be a serious consideration. However, over the lifetime of the scope, this equates to excellent value for money.
Along with a robust build, you will also benefit from long use. Due to the fact that there are very few ‘moving’ parts included means there is less to fail. The best quality ACOG scopes are ones that shooters can put through the mill of harsh field conditions and expect them to come out the other end as reliable as ever.
Before purchase, check out the guarantees and warranties offered. Many are for the lifetime of the scope.
ACOG Fakes and Clones
Optical devices are some of the most copied and cloned outdoor accessories available. When it comes to riflescopes in particular, less than scrupulous manufacturers are quick to jump on the bandwagon. In short, they are stealing designs and turning out sub-standard copies at very low prices.
Don’t be fooled, in relation to supposed “genuine” ACOG scopes being sold very cheaply, stick to this premise:
You get what you pay for! If the price seems too good to be true, double-check exactly what you are buying into.
We have already touched on this point. There is no doubt that investing in a genuine ACOG scope will mean your bank balance takes a hit. However, purchasing a fake or clone model should only be done with extreme caution. In general, these models will be of sub-standard quality.
Copies are often made from very thin plastic and metal and will not withstand heavy use. As for claims of full water, fog, and shock proofing, by and large, forget it! Perhaps they will hold zero for a short period of time, but those using a heavy caliber such as 7.62 ammo with a fake scope are very likely to be short-changed.
If you can’t justify the ACOG price…
It is quite understandable that some shooters simply cannot justify the price of an original ACOG scope. Examples being those shooters who use their weapon for occasional hunting or only visit the range on a sporadic basis. That is, only occasionally either for the odd hunt, down the range or plinking now and again. Then hunt around for a genuine fixed magnification scope from an established manufacturer.
There are plenty of good quality, low-mid priced models from respected manufacturers out there. It is true that this sort of scope will not give all the benefits of an ACOG scope, but the major consideration needs to be: Do you need the features and functionality that a true ACOG scope offers if you use it so infrequently?
Answer that, and you have made the decision on whether the significant investment in an ACOG scope is a worthy one or not.
Best AR 15 ACOG Scopes Buying Guide
Going for a genuine ACOG scope requires a noticeable investment. This means intended use and personal preference should be paired. Here are some major considerations to take into account. Tick them off against your personal needs. Doing so will go a long way to helping you find the ACOG model, which is fit for your purpose.
Battery-Free or Not?
As can be seen from our best AR15 ACOG scopes, the vast majority of models operate without batteries. They have been designed to utilize special fiber optic and tritium technology. The fiber optic element gives very reliable daytime illumination. The tritium feature illuminates the reticle at night or in lower or even no light conditions.
If you do opt for a battery-powered illumination, check the run-time per full battery and purchase additional batteries as back-up.
There is no ‘one fits all’ solution here. The style of the reticle that suits one shooter is not necessarily the best for another.
ACOG reticles come in five different designs:
The classic crosshairs reticle design. Very popular among civilian shooters.
This is the reticle style used by the U.S. Military on their ACOG issued scopes. It has an upside-down letter “V” aiming point and can be used to estimate range. To give you an idea of sighting use with a Chevron reticle, a silhouette target 300 yards distant fits exactly inside the “V.”
Very similar to the Chevron reticle. It has an upside-down triangle as opposed to the ‘V.’
Comes with a large semi-circle that surrounds a center dot.
This does not have a center dot, rather an open circle (known as the donut).
If you have reticle experience, then reticle choice is made much easier. Those with little or no reticle experience should try different styles to find the one that suits them best.
Again, this will depend upon personal choice and the environment you are shooting in. Trijicon offers the choice of three colors. Green, amber or gold, and the traditional red. Think about your shooting environment. The green and amber or gold reticles generally appear brighter than the red.
However, hunters shooting in a wooded setting should be aware that the green reticle can fade into a green background. Those who mainly shoot in sandy areas will have the same issue with the amber or gold reticle.
Caliber or Cartridge Match
Make sure the model of ACOG scope you choose matches the caliber of your rifle. By doing so, you will ensure the reticles BDC hash marks correspond to the ballistics of ammo you are shooting.
Trijicon reticles are specifically designed for the most common calibers. Examples being:
.223/5.56, .300 BLK, 308/7.62×51 (NATO), 7.62×32 and 6.8 SPC.
Because all ACOG scopes are fixed magnification, you should establish the distances you most often shoot at. Lower magnification will suit those who go for short to medium range targets. Longer-range shooters should go for higher magnification power.
We cannot stress how important this factor is. Those who use high caliber weapons must consider eye relief. Low eye relief may be all well and good if you have a vice-like grip each and every time you fire your weapon. However, the majority of shooters (and in particular those new to the sport) should err on the side of caution.
Choosing a scope with acceptable eye relief will leave you feeling far more comfortable. It will also reduce your chances of scope bite. Believe us, that is one aspect of shooting you do not want to entertain.
Scoping Out the Competition
With so many options out there, you got to be curious! So, check out our Best ACOG Clone review, our Best Long Eye Relief Scopes reviews, our Best 1-8x Scope reviews, the Best Scopes for 17HMR, our Best Sniper Scope Rifles review, our Best Varmint Scope Rifle review, and the Best 1-4x Scopes for AR-15 currently on the market.
So, what are the Best AR 15 ACOG Scopes?
An originally manufactured ACOG scope will give you long years of dependable service. It is certainly an investment requiring serious consideration. However, gauge this against your shooting style and regularity of use. By doing so, it will quickly tell you if the investment is a worthwhile one or not.
In terms of a recommendation from our reviewed models, we would have to go for the…
Trijicon ACOG 3.5×35 Scope w/ Dual Illuminated Red Crosshair .308 Ballistic Reticle & TA51 Mount, Color: Black
This virtually indestructible ACOG scope gives 3.5x magnification, a 35mm objective lens, and acceptable eye relief of 2.4-inches. In terms of suitability for a wide variety of shooting situations and applications, this model scores highly. Hunters, in particular, will appreciate the ability to hunt and hit prey among multiple moving targets.
The reticle is a classic crosshair style and gives a choice of three different colored illuminations. With no batteries to power it, you can shoot day and night with clarity. We would certainly class this model as a sound investment — one which will surely enhance your shooting experience.