Life-and-death situations require proven equipment—you can’t just use any scope or untested gear for tactical deployments. In my days as a police officer, I carried a patrol rifle equipped with a Trijicon ACOG. I employed it in several life-and-death situations, and it never failed me. I still have complete confidence in that scope. At the time, I had no doubt that the ACOG would hold its zero, stay in place and operate precisely as it had over the previous year of use. I knew exactly where a shot I needed to take would go. It is a feeling many police officers, soldiers and operators experience every day of their working lives. Ask them why they prefer Trijicon, and they will tell you the company’s products work every time, no matter the conditions.


Proven In Combat

Trijicon ACOG scopes remain a favorite among U.S. soldiers these days. Most in service are fixed 3.5X ACOGs with reticles providing bullet-drop-compensating (BDC) lines and simple aiming points that are illuminated via tritium and/or sunlight, making them easy to see in just about any lighting condition.

These ACOGs are great scopes, but they have a couple of limitations. Fixed 3.5X scopes certainly can be used at CQB distances, but they are designed for typical battlefield conditions. While they are parallax free, they are a compromise at close range. They are great for young eyes, but older vision can have difficulty seeing a crisp reticle. This is why low-power variable scopes are starting to become very popular. But, while most of these scopes are well suited for competition or target shooting, few are truly prepared for the harshest conditions of combat or deployment. One that bucks this trend is the Trijicon VCOG. It may be the best offering to date for real-world use.


Variable VCOG

Many have been clamoring for a low-power variable scope from Trijicon for years—one built like the ACOG, but using the technology of the day. Trijicon’s new Variable Combat Optical Gunsight (VCOG) is just that, and it’s extremely versatile.

Built like a tank, the VCOG is a 1-6x24mm, first-focal-plane (FFP) scope with high-quality glass for clear vision and a built-in mount for installation on Picatinny rails, eliminating the need for rings. Two illuminated reticle styles are available, the “horseshoe dot” and the “segmented circle,” with six brightness levels, including night-vision settings. The reticles can come with BDC lines calibrated for 5.56mm, 300 BLK and 7.62mm rounds.

The VCOG is waterproof to 66 feet and includes 4 inches of constant eye relief. The sight’s 0.5-inch adjustments provide 90 minutes of angle (MOA) of elevation and windage adjustment. The knobs are large, knurled and covered. Designed to be used with both eyes open, the VCOG is perfectly suited to combat, police or even competition environments.


Range Performance

Trijicon sent me a VCOG with a segmented-circle reticle calibrated for 77-grain 5.56mm ammunition. It arrived in a really nice hard case with foam inserts. For testing, I mounted the VCOG on my most accurate AR. Half-inch groups using match-grade ammo are the norm for this rifle, and it’s my primary competition and training rifle.

The VCOG was easy to install on the top rail, and one of its strong points became immediately evident—its generous eye relief. Having 4 inches of eye relief can be incredibly handy on a multi-purpose rifle. It allowed the scope to be mounted farther forward while maintaining a suitable target picture. With 4 inches of eye relief, moving from standing to prone, roll-over prone and several unconventional positions, it was always possible to see the reticle. Similar scopes have reticles that are hard to find from odd positions, but the VGOG was the best so far at this. In essence, I had a great sight picture from just about any position, with plenty of room to run the charging handle.

First-focal-plane reticles can be problematic at this power range. Most use the lighted dot or center section on 1X, as the reticle is all but gone. Based on the Bindon Aiming Concept (BAC), this scope is designed to be used with both eyes open, with the threat in focus, not the reticle. At 1X, the reticle remains clearly visible. Illuminated, the entire center section stands out. The rear quick-focus knob keeps it crisp, even for my 55-year-old eyes. Move to the higher powers, and the BDC lines come sharply into focus. I was able to use them effectively as low as 2X. The power adjustment is large, with a built-in paddle for fast movement between high and low power settings. Moving from close to long range, it was possible to move quickly from 1X to 6X with no sight picture loss.

My accuracy was excellent and, zeroed at 100 yards, it was possible to produce a 0.25-inch group on the target. Starting at 200 yards and shooting out to 400 yards in 50-yard increments, each BDC line was spot on. Shooting 10 rounds at each range, the scope/rifle placed everything inside 12 inches on the target center at 400 yards in a pretty significant wind. For those who use a number of calibers, a riflescope with mil lines or general adjustments may be better, but officers and soldiers don’t choose their ammunition—it is almost always the same—making the VCOG an excellent choice. Even competitors often use their own loads, so this would work just fine for most, no matter the field or endeavor.


Standout Sight

I’ve used several very-high-quality, low-power variable scopes lately, and the VCOG really stood out. So far it is the best blend of an FFP reticle, BDC compensation, simplicity and ruggedness. It also runs on a single AA battery, so it’s easy to keep powered. Its super-strong construction and built-in mount make it ready for work right out of the case. The Trijicon VCOG is suitable for 3-Gun competition, and it’s just about perfect for a working professional. None so far have been better at transitioning from the battlefield to the field of competition. If you are looking for one low-powered variable scope to do it all, you really need to consider the VCOG—it may be just what you need. It was for me.

For more information, visit or call 703-445-1600.

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