The 3x30mm ACOG TA33-8
Photo courtesy Trijicon
FEATURED IN TACTICS AND WEAPONS
As a fan of military documentaries, I try to get a sense of what the troops are using in Afghanistan and Iraq for perimeter and entry work they ought to know what works. I often see Trijicon s ACOG riflescopes mounted to our guys M-16s. This equipment is truly battle tested.
Trijicon s ACOG (Advanced Combat Optical Gunsight) is an internally adjustable, compact telescopic sight with a tritium-illuminated reticle pattern for use in low light or at night. Trijicon offers the ACOG in numerous magnifications, reticle patterns, mount configurations and eye-relief combinations for both long standoff marksmanship and close-quarter battle aiming. Although the ACOG includes many features that offer advantages for military use, Trijicon developed it without government funding. Designed for use with the M-16 family, every feature of its mechanical and optical design was chosen for a single purpose: to provide increased hit potential in all lighting conditions, without batteries prone to failure.
I evaluated the newest addition to the ACOG line, the 3x30mm TA33-8 scope. The scope came equipped with the company s TA60 Compact M-16-base Flattop Adapter mount. I mounted it easily to a Colt H-Bar Match Target rifle by removing the carry handle and securing the scope to the rail with two screws.
Forged from aircraft aluminum alloy, the ACOG s main housing is hard-anodized, yielding a thin surface that Trijicon claims is as hard as sapphire. (Gene Stoner, the inventor of the M-16 rifle, used this process when he designed the M-16 s upper and lower receiver.) The scope s fiber-optic housing is constructed from Lexan polycarbonate. Even after slamming around in my overstuffed car trunk, the scope performed without problems.
The TA33 utilizes the Bindon Aiming Concept (BAC), a both-eyes-open aiming method developed by Trijicon s founder, Glyn Bindon. The scope s bright, daytime reticle uses fiber optics that collect ambient light. This aiming system is available with Bullet Drop Compensated (BDC) reticles calibrated to the trajectory of the .223 and .308 cartridges, and it provides precision-aiming for targets out to 600 meters. The extended eye relief allows you to mount the TA33 on larger caliber weapons, giving you ample eye relief for all shooting positions.
The aiming point remains constantly illuminated. It glows at night from tritium and during the day from the fiber-optic light-gathering system. The automatic-brightness control provides ideal reticle illumination for all shooting conditions.
The ACOG sight is internally adjustable, similar to other riflescopes. The adjuster mechanism is located inside the caps in the top and right side of the scope. The top screw adjusts the elevation, and the side screw adjusts windage. Both adjustment screws are designated by the letters U/R with an arrow symbol. This could prove confusing without studying the manual every time you adjust the scope. I d prefer the windage be designated with an R for right, and the elevation with a U for up.
You can make the adjustment with a small screwdriver or a bullet case. For each click, the bullet will move 1cm on a target at 100 meters. The arrows on the adjustment screws point in the direction you want the bullet to move. The sight was shipped in a centered condition for 100 meters, and I did not have to adjust it.
The TA33 scope was equipped with a red, triangle reticle pattern with bullet-drop compensator crosshairs. Other patterns available include a dot or crosshair, and an amber color option. The 3x scope is just right for a perimeter or spotter position. Field of view at 100 yards is almost 20 feet. The scope provides a good wide view, and the both-eyes-open aiming method allows you to easily detect movement.
The triangle reticle is somewhat small, especially for entry work. During low-light entry practice, the reticle remained visible, although not as bright. Trijicon has remedied this problem by adding its RedDot sight, designed for mounting atop the ACOG. Developed for quick target acquisition, the sight features a light-emitting diode (LED) insert to sense the target s light level and control the light output of the LED.
The ACOG TA33 scope is ideal for a perimeter/scout/spotter position. The 3x magnification proves ideal for this range and allows enough field of view to detect movement of the suspect. Plus, the always on, no-battery feature gives you one less thing to worry about.
3x30mm ACOG TA33-8
- Good for perimeter or spotter work;
- Durability appears very good due to construction; and
- No batteries to run dry.
- The adjustment screw designations could prove confusing; and
- The reticle is somewhat small for entry work, although adding a Trijicon RedDot fixes the problem.
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Bill Michalek is a corporal with the Carlsbad (Calif.) Police Department traffic division. He is also a sniper on the tactical response team and a member of the team s training committee. He has more than 15 years experience on a tactical team.