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Trijicon 1 Millionth ACOG
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TRIJICON ACOG® HISTORY

OPEN CLOSE

This is the story of the legendary Trijicon ACOG® 4x32 scope and its path to one million units in use. Explore its beginnings in the Bindon family home, its evolution with the U.S. military and allies, and how it took 18 years to sell 100,000, then 18 months to sell the next 100,000.

THE IDEA

1986

Before it was the riflescope that changed everything, the Trijicon ACOG® was half a pair of binoculars.

It was 1986. In the Detroit home of a Ford Motor Company aeronautical engineer, where a pair of binoculars lay wide open to show its eyepieces, prisms and objective lenses, Glyn Bindon looked intently at the product and had an idea that inspired the legendary ACOG.

GLYN BINDON, TRIJICON FOUNDER, 1937-2003
GLYN BINDON, TRIJICON FOUNDER
1937-2003

Glyn, who had worked on the Navy's F-8U Crusader and also on projects for NASA during their pinnacle, wondered if moving the prism in a riflescope (similar to a pair of binoculars) could make it more compact than the big, bulky scopes on the market. He talked to optical experts and was told that moving the prism would be optically inelegant, potentially altering the light path and creating aberrations and a poor sight picture.

In theory.

He naturally ignored the naysayers and created a working, battery-free prototype with the help of a friend's machine shop. He incorporated tritium to provide a red reticle at night and found a way to move the prism— without lubrication—inside the aluminum spherical seat in the external housing. (This was another feature that was predicted to fail.)

Glyn then created a minimalist design that simply followed the new light path.

Not only did the prototype lack significant optical aberrations, it was substantially lighter and more compact than anything on the market.

But this engineer wasn't finished. Glyn had previously worked on Department of Defense military contracts with Picatinny Arsenal, and he saw a unique opportunity. A light, compact riflescope could benefit American troops. However, a light, compact, tough-as-nails riflescope could be a game-changer.

Glyn named his concept the Advanced Combat Optical Gunsight (ACOG), and his goal was to strengthen it from the very beginning. He started with the same durable alloy as the M16 (7075 aluminum) and forged a housing that could withstand military drop tests, the harshest environmental extremes, and the rigors of military shock and vibration—all while using the lightest shell housing (with only a .047-inch wall at its thinnest point).

Tough-as-nails, while extremely light and compact. In fact, many later called the ACOG "over‑engineered."

GLYN BINDON, TRIJICON FOUNDER, 1937-2003
GLYN BINDON, TRIJICON FOUNDER
1937-2003
Before it was the riflescope that changed everything, the Trijicon ACOG was half a pair of binoculars. ACOG line diagram

THE LAUNCH

1987

ACOG sketch ACOG sketch

From the very beginning, "follow the light" had dual purposes. Once Glyn discovered that changing the scope's prism maintained an excellent sight picture and designing around the path of the light created a lighter, more compact design, he chose to celebrate his faith in God by adding a Bible verse reference on the original ACOG's housing: JN8:12

This refers to: John 8:12 When Jesus spoke again to the people, he said, "I am the light of the world. Whoever follows me will never walk in darkness, but will have the light of life."

Trijicon ACOG 4x32 TA01
The ACOG® 4x32 TA01 was introduced to the world in 1987.

The first models were not illuminated in the daytime like most current ACOGs. They featured black crosshairs for daytime and a tritium-illuminated red reticle at night.

Early reticles

Contrary to popular belief, the ACOG did not immediately set the world on fire and Glyn did not quit his job at Ford. However, Glyn's "side hobby" did move out of the Bindon house and into an official office in 1987.

During nights, weekends and holidays, Glyn, his son Stephen (currently president at Trijicon) and other family members continued to import OEG sights into America and also pursue other tritium technologies. In fact, Glyn obtained the first "exempt" license from the U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission for his pursuit of tritium-equipped iron sights. The company also sold a handful of ACOGs.

At this time, Glyn found difficulty trademarking the name Armson, so he changed the company name to Trijicon (a combination of "tritium" and "icon," with a "j" added to create three dots). The patent on the ACOG soon followed on February 21, 1989—the same year the company's first big break occurred.

Trijicon ACOG 4x32 TA01 ACOG Patent Drawing

THE U.S. ARMY ADVANCED COMBAT RIFLE
PROGRAM & OPERATION JUST CAUSE

1989

Army emblem

In 1989, the U.S. Army investigated the replacement of the M16 and M4 rifles. Manufacturers from around the world competed for the contract, and three manufacturers chose the Trijicon ACOG® 4x32 TA01 as their combat rifle optic of choice. (Word had slowly reached them of this "cool-looking" scope with amazing clarity and durability).

ACOG TA01 on the AAI Corporation Advance Combat Rifle Taken from DOD public archives gov.dod.dimoc.709024
ACOG® TA01 on the AAI Corporation Advance Combat Rifle
Taken from DOD public archives gov.dod.dimoc.709024

During one of the tests, a manufacturer's rifle blew up. The ACOG was still functional even though two-thirds of the front lens had been blown off. This made quite the impression on the researchers.

The U.S. Army did not choose a new rifle that year, but word of the ACOG's success started to spread throughout the military. In fact, a handful of ACOGs were used in Operation Just Cause in Panama.

ACOG TA01 on the AAI Corporation Advance Combat Rifle Taken from DOD public archives gov.dod.dimoc.709024
ACOG® TA01 on the AAI Corporation Advance Combat Rifle
Taken from DOD public archives gov.dod.dimoc.709024

OPERATION DESERT STORM &
THE FIRST "BIG" ORDERS

1991

The Trijicon ACOG® was selling by the ones and tens. Then the big order came: 36. It was early 1991, and this was the most ACOGs sold in one military order, going to the U.S. military's efforts in Operation Desert Storm.

Navy emblem

The U.S. Navy SEALs also started to purchase the brand new 3.5x35 ACOGs for field testing that year. (These were small, but important, wins.) Between 1992 and 1995, the SEALs purchased several hundred more.

ACOG 3.5x35 with Red fiber optic illumination
The new ACOG came with an updated feature: a red fiber optic- illuminated aiming point which allowed the Bindon Aiming Concept (BAC) to function.

This year, Trijicon® also received a rare patent from Japan for the ACOG and continued to pursue patents around the world.

WORLDWIDE PATENTS:
U.S. - 4,806,007
Canada - 1,305,341
France - EP0315379
UK - EP0315379
Japan - 2632976
South Africa - 88/8185
Switzerland - EP0315379+NO
Austria - EP0315379
Australia - 605 076

ACOG 3.5x35 with Red fiber optic illumination

THE BINDON AIMING CONCEPT

The curiosity of looking through an optic with "both eyes open" had gnawed at Glyn Bindon for years. He sold the popular Armson OEG product successfully since 1981, but because it depended on the relationship of the shooter's two eyes, its zero could vary widely between two soldiers. This made it impractical for any military force.

All magnified telescopes on the market lacked the speed of target acquisition that was provided by keeping both eyes open. Glyn wondered if an illuminated red dot reticle would help the user acquire the target with both eyes open while keeping the reticle in the sight picture the entire time.

He discovered that with both eyes open, if there is a bright enough light in the reticle field when the weapon is being moved, the primary eye will see the illuminated reticle inside the sight, while the other eye sees the target and the background. These are two separate images, but the brain receives the signals from both eyes and automatically merges the images then automatically selects the magnified image received by the primary eye.

Monocular View vs Binocular View Monocular View vs Binocular View Monocular View vs Binocular View

Because this was a discovery of how the brain works and is possible with any magnified scope with a bright enough reticle, it could not be patented. It was simply a discovery that Glyn made, and he named it the Bindon Aiming Concept, and became known in Trijicon circles as "BAC."

GERMAN S.W.A.T. & NEW MAGNIFICATIONS

1993

In 1993, the ACOG® 3.5x35 was officially adopted by German GSG9 SWAT on their SIG Sauer 550 rifles. It was also being thoroughly tested by U.S. Special Forces, as its illuminated reticles were becoming an ideal solution for close quarter battle (CQB) scenarios found in the Middle East.

Trijicon continued to expand its ACOG line with the introduction of 1.5x16, 1.5x24, 2x20 and 3x24 models.

ACOG 1.5x16
ACOG 1.5x16

U.S. SPECIAL OPERATIONS COMMAND & ISRAELI SPECIAL FORCES

1995

U.S. Navy SEALs from SEAL Team 8 train with M4A1 carbines in Kuwait, 1998. DoD photo by JO2 Charles Neff, U.S. Navy U.S. Navy SEALs from SEAL Team 8 train with M4A1 carbines in Kuwait, 1998. DoD photo by JO2 Charles Neff, U.S. Navy
U.S. Navy SEALs from SEAL Team 8 train
with M4A1 carbines in Kuwait, 1998.

DoD photo by JO2 Charles Neff, U.S. Navy
Navy emblem

Based on the overwhelming success of the riflescope—both in testing and in theater—the U.S. Special Operations Command purchased 12,000 ACOG® 4x32 scopes, choosing the TA01 as their official scope for M4 carbines.

The Trijicon ACOG 4x32
This was the first official optic enhancement of the M16 family by the U.S. military.

And it was, by far, the largest ACOG order ever received at Trijicon.

The ACOG's prowess in the field grew steadily and it started to gain acceptance from military marksmen worldwide. In 1996 and 1997, the Israeli Special Forces purchased 5,000 ACOG 4x32 scopes for their designated marksmen.

The Trijicon ACOG 4x32

LOW, STEADY GROWTH TO 100,000

1996–2003

Sales of the ACOG® dropped back to lower levels after these two large purchases. Iron sights were still Trijicon's number-one-selling product by a substantial margin, thanks to contracts with leading pistol manufacturers such as SIG Arms, Glock, Berretta and Smith & Wesson for their law enforcement customers.

A soldier is pictured aiming a practice NLAW with a Trijicon 2.5x20 ACOG optic. United Kingdom MoD Photo | Image sourced from public domain
A soldier is pictured aiming a practice NLAW with a Trijicon 2.5x20 ACOG® optic. United Kingdom MoD Photo | Image sourced from public domain

In 2001, Trijicon introduced the ACOG 5.5x50. And the ACOG 2.5x20 was adopted as the official optic of the British and Swedish armies' new light antitank weapon, NLAW.

The Trijicon ACOG 5.5x50

In September of 2003, Glyn Bindon passed away unexpectedly and was not able to see his invention rocket to the top of the industry.

In fact, Glyn and the Trijicon team had recently expanded their manufacturing footprint in their headquarters in Wixom, Michigan. But since the ACOG sales were not growing as fast as they had hoped, they were steps away from renting the new space out.

ACOG Patent Drawing
A soldier is pictured aiming a practice NLAW with a Trijicon 2.5x20 ACOG® optic. United Kingdom MoD Photo | Image sourced from public domain
The Trijicon ACOG 5.5x50

THE OFFICIAL RCO OF THE U.S. MARINE CORPS

2004

U.S. Marines zero their weapons systems - U.S. Marine Corps photo by Lance Cpl. Dexter S. Saulisbury/Released U.S. Marines zero their weapons systems - U.S. Marine Corps photo by Lance Cpl. Dexter S. Saulisbury/Released U.S. Marines zero their weapons systems - U.S. Marine Corps photo by Lance Cpl. Dexter S. Saulisbury/Released U.S. Marines zero their weapons systems - U.S. Marine Corps photo by Lance Cpl. Dexter S. Saulisbury/Released
Trijicon ACOG 4x32 TA31

It took 18 years to produce and sell 100,000 ACOG® 4x32 scopes, from 1987 to 2005. It then only took 18 months to manufacture the next 100,000.

Navy emblem

The impetus behind this amazing growth was the adoption of the ACOG as the first-ever Rifle Combat Optic (RCO) of the U.S. Marine Corps. This was a multi-year contract that included a first delivery order of 104,000 ACOG 4x32 TA31 scopes. This model incorporated Trijicon's exclusive dual-illuminated, red chevron-shaped reticle and bullet drop compensator (BDC).

Trijicon ACOG 4x32 TA31

The Marines had, in fact, kept the ACOG on file for years after extensive, successful testing. However, the inflation of conflict in the Middle East created the immediate need for more rifle and riflescope support.

"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."


Major General J.N. Mattis
Commanding General, 1st Marine Division
Operation Iraqi Freedom

SUPPORT FOR THE
SPECIAL FORCES & U.S. ARMY

2005–2007

U.S. Army Staff Sgt. Kyle R. Petko uses his weapon's optic lens to scan the area while providing security during a patrol to clear routes in Khowst province, Afghanistan. U.S. Army photo by Sgt. Justin A. Moeller/Released U.S. Army Staff Sgt. Kyle R. Petko uses his weapon's optic lens to scan the area while providing security during a patrol to clear routes in Khowst province, Afghanistan. U.S. Army photo by Sgt. Justin A. Moeller/Released
U.S. Army Staff Sgt. Kyle R. Petko uses his weapon's optic lens to scan the area while providing security during a patrol to clear routes in Khowst province, Afghanistan. U.S. Army photo by Sgt. Justin A. Moeller/Released
U.S. Army Staff Sgt. Kyle R. Petko uses his weapon's optic lens to scan the area while providing security during a patrol to clear routes in Khowst province, Afghanistan.
U.S. Army photo by Sgt. Justin A. Moeller/Released

That new manufacturing facility space that Glyn planned to rent out? It was now humming with ACOG® production.

Navy emblem

The U.S. Army chose the Trijicon ACOG 4x32 RCO as their field carry optic. The ACOG 3x30—featuring long eye relief, a BDC reticle and battery-free illumination was launched. At the same time, the U.S. Special Forces helped Trijicon create the ultimate combat optical sight.

During the battles for freedom in Afghanistan and Iraq, a few U.S. Special Operations Forces began modifying their ACOGs by mounting a small red-dot sight on the top. Word got back to the Trijicon team, and the result was the creation of the ACOG 4x32 TA31 with a Docter Optic Red Dot Sight in 2006—the ultimate solution for both close-quarter battles (CQB) and long-range lethality.

The Trijicon ACOG 5.5x50

The next year, Trijicon released the ACOG 4x32 Enhanced Combat Optical Sight (ECOS). It was the first combat optic available to the public with the new Dark Earth Brown color required by special operations forces.

Trijicon ACOG 3x30

MORE GROWTH & PRODUCT EXPANSION

2008–2011

ACOG in action ACOG in action

In 2008, Trijicon introduced its largest and smallest ACOGs to date. The ACOG® 6x48 was created to handle the unique, heavy-duty needs of a .50 caliber weapon crew. And the ACOG 1.5x16 was a light, compact scope for fast-moving tactical operations in close quarters (which had also become popular among speed-oriented competition shooters).

Trijicon ACOG 6x48 was created to handle the unique, heavy-duty needs of machine gun weapon crews
Trijicon ACOG® 6x48 was created to handle the unique, heavy-duty needs of machine gun weapon crews
In 2009, the 500,000th ACOG 4x32 scope was produced.

Trijicon also introduced green illuminated reticles for select ACOG configurations.

The Trijicon RMR® (Ruggedized Miniature Reflex) Sight was introduced in 2009 to replace the Docter Optic Red Dot Sight. The RMR featured a uniquely shaped housing for superior strength and offered two versions: an LED-illuminated reticle and a tritium/fiber optic‑illuminated reticle.

In 2010, the ACOG 1.5x16s (Short) TA44S-10 went on to win the NRA Golden Bullseye Award for "Optic of the Year."

Trijicon ACOG 1.5 x 16S Winner of the 2010 NRA Optic of the Year

During this time, the ACOG success stories continued coming back from the battlefield. Law enforcement agencies across the world also began to take notice that the ACOG made an excellent scope for patrol rifles.

Trijicon ACOG / RMR Combo Trijicon ACOG 6x48 was created to handle the unique, heavy-duty needs of machine gun weapon crews
Trijicon ACOG® 6x48 was created to handle the unique, heavy-duty needs of machine gun weapon crews
Trijicon ACOG 1.5 x 16S Winner of the 2010 NRA Optic of the Year

CUSTOMIZATION IS KING

2012–2014

Trijicon ACOG 4 x 32 LED

Trijicon® expanded the ACOG® line in 2012 with the addition of a battery-powered ACOG 4x32 LED. As the ACOG product grew in popularity, Trijicon responded to the need for customized colors and multiple ammunition-matching reticles.

reticles reticles

INTRODUCING GEN2

2015

Trijicon ACOG 3 x 24 LED Trijicon ACOG 3 x 24 LED

Trijicon® expanded the ever-growing ACOG® line with the introduction of the GEN2 Compact ACOG. The new ACOG retained the same legendary features as traditional models, while also offering easy-to-use, finger adjusters, watertight gaskets and a redesigned forged housing. Select GEN2 models featured a standard and low base height to better accommodate a variety of firearm platforms.

That year, Trijicon also reintroduced a 3x24 model to the Compact ACOG line. This model offered a 24mm objective lens, 1.4 inches of eye relief and precise 1/2-inch click adjustments at 100 yards. The 3x24 ACOG featured popular Crosshair and Horseshoe Dot reticles, both calibrated for 5.56 and 7.62x39.

THE ONE MILLION MARK

2017

One Millionth ACOG emblem

Trijicon is proud to announce the soon-to-be-produced 1,000,000th ACOG® 4x32. More importantly, we're proud to count as our customers the United States Marine Corps, United States Army, United States Navy, United States Air Force, United States Special Operations Forces, United States Government, state and local Law Enforcement and all of America's allies. Not to mention the hundreds of thousands of civilian enthusiasts who trust the ACOG for their dedicated riflescope.

ONE MILLIONTH ACOG® CELEBRATION: 2017

If you’ve made it this far, you must be itching for an ACOG. Great news: you can get a $150 rebate right now when you purchase any ACOG. But hurry, the rebate ends October 31, 2017.

ENTER NOW, ENTER DAILY FOR YOUR CHANCE TO WIN.

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