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Battle sight showdown: Trijicon's ACOG takes on Canada's ELCAN
by David M. Fortier
During the Great War, Imperial Germany fielded During Scarfshutzen (Sharpshooters) equipped with optically sighted rifles. These early and relatively crude optical gun sights gave German sharpshooters an edge in the trenches. This was due to the fact they gave a magnified and improved sight picture in good light.
More importantly though, they allowed the engagement of targets in low light where iron sights were useless. Over the years, specialized optical sights have been developed and issued to snipers, and now are starting to become standard issue on many of the worlds combat rifles. Austria, England and Canada are just a few of the countries whose standard issue combat rifle is topped with an optical sight.
With this growing proliferation of optical sights for combat rifles, your correspondent decided to toss two of the better known units into the ring and see which one would come out on top. The sights chosen were Trijicon's TAOl NSN 4x32 AGOG, and Canada's ELCAN. This model ACOG was chosen by the U.S. Special Operations
Command (SOCOM) as standard issue for all Special Forces units. The ELCAN is standard issue on the Canadian C-7 combat rifle. Both these sights are current military issue and are being used in combat in Afghanistan.
At the exact opposite end of the spectrum to the ELCAN is Trijicon's ACOG. Highly respected for their premium optics, Trijicon's wares are selected by many professionals, including our Special Forces. Their TA01 NSN is a lightweight and compact gunsight, featuring a forged 7075-T6 aircraft aluminum alloy housing, hard-anodized to match the receiver of an M-16 rifle. The unit is a very compact 5.8 inches in length and weighs only 9.9 ounces. It is, without a doubt, the sexiest of all optical gunsights.
The unit features 4x magnification and a large 7 degree FOV. Objective lens diameter is 32mm. This generates an impressive exit pupil of 8mm. Again, this is larger than the eye can dilate, and the lenses are multicoated to enhance performance. Eye relief however is a stubby 1.5 inches. The reticle consists of a "christmas tree" with thick crosshairs that turn fine in the center.
Holdovers and rangefinding are provided on the vertical stadia for engagement out to 600 meters. Each holdover line corresponds to 19 inches in width (average width of a man) at that distance. To facilitate this, the reticle pattern is parallax free along its vertical axis. In addition, the reticle is Tritium illuminated for use in low light.
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