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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.
An extremely robust unit, the ELCAN is manufactured in, of all places, Canada. ELCAN itself is an acronym for Ernst Leitz Canada, its original manufacturer. I contacted ELCAN Optical Technologies master distributor, Armament Technology, in Halifax, Nova Scotia, to obtain a test sample. Upon hearing of my desire to evaluate an ELCAN optical sight they provided me an example, with the latest GEN-4 mount, which I subsequently purchased.
Examining an ELCAN, the first thing one notices is its size and weight. The outside diameter of the rubber covered tube is some 2.25 inches. From the front of the mount to the rear of the tube is approximately 6.5 inches. Tossing our test unit onto a scale showed it to weigh slightly over 1.5 pounds. Construction is, to put it mildly, over built. This scope was obviously designed with the clumsiest raw recruit and harshest combat conditions in mind.
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