The Best ACOG Scope for AR-15
ACOG scopes or Advanced Combat Optical Gunsights are low-power telescopic scopes for most modern sporting rifles like the AR-15. ACOG scopes are manufactured by Trijicon and have reticles that are illuminated by phosphor.
You’ll find ACOG scopes in magnifications from 1.5x to 6x. Most ACOG scopes also have daylight reticle illumination that is facilitated by an external fiber optic or a battery.
If you’re not sure about what you should consider before buying an ACOG scope for your AR, skip down to our section on that.
In this post, we’re going to go over several of our favorite ACOG scopes that we think are best for the AR-15 rifle platform.
Here are our picks for the best ACOG scopes for AR-15 below:
If you want a bare-bones ACOG, this is about as simple as it gets. No battery, like most ACOG scopes, the ballistic reticle is illuminated by a nuclear source in low lighting conditions. If it doesn’t look like the typical ACOG, that’s because it doesn’t have the fiber-optic filament running along the top.
That said, it still performs. 4x magnification, and a wide 32mm aperture come standard on most ACOG scopes. This one in particular doesn’t come with a rail, so you will have to pick one up for a few extra dollars to mount it on your AR15. But for the price, you really can’t beat this humble scope.
This is more like the ACOG you are used to seeing. The glowing red ballistic reticle is tuned for bullet drop from a typical .223/5.56 round. The magnification optic is the standard 4×32 setup, and it comes with a rear mount if you want to add a reflex sight later on.
The red fiber-optic tentacle will add an imposing character to your AR15, and the reticle will have you punching targets out to 300 yards without any problems. It doesn’t come with anything fancy, but as with all ACOGs, if there’s some feature that you would like to add later, you can, like an anti-reflection cover for the main optic, or a reflex site onto the included mounts.
This model comes with a chevron reticle, so the sight picture is that familiar inverted ‘v’ above the bullet drop compensator that ACOG is known for.
Let’s face it, red isn’t for everyone, and neither is a Chevron sighting reticle. I’m actually a fan of the horseshoe design, featured on this scope. The little dot centered in a ring (closed or not) is my favorite way to sight a target quickly. You can get this scope in one of three different colors; red, green, or amber. Personally, I’d go with the green one.
The optic is typical of an ACOG, with a 4×32 design that works well on an AR15. The scope features a mounting bracket for a reflex if you should feel the need, and will look fantastic on your AR15. If you like the horseshoe reticule, then this is the ACOG for you.
Get everything in one package. This sighting system features a 4×32 ACOG with a red chevron ballistic reticle, the mount, and the piggyback reflex site. If you are going to keep your AR15 ready to defend your home, this might be the sight you are looking for. The reflex sight is perfect for covering short hallways, corridors, and other close-quarters areas. Meanwhile the dual-illuminated scope gives you accuracy at a distance. This is a powerful combination for the AR15 that needs to serve multiple uses.
When I think of an ACOG package, this is the setup I picture in my mind. It doesn’t come with a anti-reflection screen, but they can be picked up at a low cost and mounted easily.
For those wanting less magnification, you don’t have to go with a cheaper battle scope or a clone. These 3×30 scopes are terrific ACOGs for closer ranges. For good eyes, 3x is perfect for punching holes out to 100 yards, and some people can keep shots on a pie plate at 200 with low magnification.
Any magnification is better than irons when you are shooting at longer distances, and lower gives you a much wider field of view, whether you are scanning for animal movement or counting enemy troops.
This humble scope also supports the ACOG reflex and has the mounting bracket integrated near the eyepiece.
With a 30mm aperture at this magnification, your target will come in with perfect brightness, as much as your eyes can handle, even in the dark.
The 10mm exit pupil is great for delivering all the light you can see, straight to the back of your eye. This scope is especially good for popping varmints at sunset, though lower magnification isn’t the best for everyone.
Believe it or not, the best price for this awesome ACOG for your AR-15 is on Amazon right now.
I’ll kick this part off with the older looking, ACOG ECOS. Don’t let the looks fool you. That’s still a tritium powered lamp in there, guaranteed for 15 years of illumination.
Trijicon scopes have a lot in common with one another, so let’s take a look at this one in detail. The illuminated crosshairs give the feel of a standard scope. None of that funny chevron or horseshoe business. If you like a regular crosshair, and don’t care for the flashy fiber optic on top of the sight, then this might be the one for you.
The backup reflex site mounted on top of this package offers a close quarters solution when you don’t need the 4x magnification. The dot on the reflex is 3.5-4 MOA, so it’s perfect for putting shots quickly to pinpoint accuracy at close range, or keeping them in a three or four inch circle at 50 yards. For everything past that, you have a rugged 4x scope. This is your AR15 battle scope. The color is good for desert backgrounds. The downside, of course, is it won’t be as bright during the day as the fiber-optic assisted versions.
When you want to reach out and touch something with your AR15, you need a little more magnification. At dusk or in low light conditions, you want aperture. But you need a big scope for that, right?
Wrong. Trijicon keeps big scope features in a fairly small package with this one. Bigger than the standard ACOG, it contains the same setup that we are used to seeing. The light collecting fiber-optic collector boosted by a tritium lamp.
Designed for higher magnification, it has the same mount holes on the eyepiece that you expect on an ACOG, so you can optionally pick up a battle sight for close quarters, if you like, to add some more versatility to your AR15. The reticle is a chevron, basically and upside-down v at the top of your distance ticks.
In my opinion, the features on this scope make it perfect for turning your AR15 into the ultimate Texas hog-hunting weapon. You could optionally mount one on an AR10 for use as a deer rifle.
The TA31F is exactly what you expect from an ACOG. Chevron reticle illuminated by fiber-optic and tritium, easy windage and elevation adjustment, water and fog proof, but without any fancy extras. When I see this ACOG, I see everything I expect in a basic ACOG without the additional pieces.
The magnification on this guy is 4x, and it has the standard 32mm lens on the front to collect plenty of light for that magnification. (It gives an 8mm exit pupil, if you want to know why it’s plenty of aperture for this scope)
This ACOG will feel right at home on any AR platform.
Notice anything different about this scope? You might, but your enemies downrange wont, because of the glare killing screen that comes included. Keep your squad safe by tossing this on your M4 before you go into combat. No reflections, no glints of light giving away your position.
You can add an anti-reflection piece to the front of any scope, really, but if you need it, why not get it included from the start? And why not get a scope that was purpose built to the specs provided by the Marine Corps? This scope is tough, ready for battle, and if you still want the close quarters reflex sight, you can toss that on top too, though the extra glass of a reflex could cause glinting, which is probably why they didn’t include it.
There’s something I really like about a peep and post sighting system, and this sight has one mounted right on top of the scope. Pretty much an ordinary Trijicon ACOG in every other respect; 4×32, adaptable with all the normal accessories (but you will have to remove the peep sight to mount a reflex), no batteries, 15 year warranty on the tritium, etc.
The sight distance on the peep sight doesn’t really work to it’s advantage, giving you slightly better than pistol accuracy from your rifle if you use it (small sight distance but your eye is closer). But hey, it’s kind of cool, and it’s cheaper than mounting a reflex. This one made the list because it’s different, and variety is my favorite spice, especially when it comes to rifle optics.
What to Consider Before You Buy an ACOG for Your AR-15
If you’re still on the fence about whether or not you should purchase an ACOG for your AR, this article will help you. The Trijicon Advanced Combat Optical Gunsight (ACOG) is one of the best optics you can get for an AR-15. It has a proven combat reliability track record. The ACOG is also resilient and virtually bomb-proof (It’s survived years of use by the Marine Corps, who find a way to break just about anything).
There are a lot of different ACOGs to choose from, and it can easily get confusing when deciding on one. You’ll need to consider what magnification you intend on using. The ACOG isn’t a variable optic. It ranges from 1.5x to 6x magnification. You’re also going to need to decide on how you want the reticle powered. Some ACOGs are powered by batteries, while others are illuminated by a mixture of tritium and fiber optics. Some may think it’s unnecessary, but I prefer to have a backup optic or iron sights. I believe this is another thing to consider when searching for an ACOG. Some come with a Picatinny rail on top of the optic for micro red dots. Others have a built-in front and rear iron sight.
This isn’t a list of the best ACOGs. They’re all extremely reliable and worth every penny. Instead, the ACOGs I mention below are there to help highlight specific features each one has. That’ll help you determine what to look for when buying one.
Distance and Magnification
Do you plan to engage targets at close range?
As I mentioned earlier, the ACOG is a non-variable optic. You’ll have to consider what distance you expect to engage your targets, then choose your magnification accordingly. If you only have access to a range that reaches 100 yards, you’re going to have to limit your choices. An ACOG like the Trijicon ACOG 6X48 will be a poor choice. Instead, the Trijicon 1.5x24mm Compact ACOG would be a better decision. This compact optic has an eye relief of 3.6 inches and a 25.6ft linear field of view at 100 yards. You’ll be able to transition effortlessly from targets at 25 yards to targets at 100 with this fixed magnification.
Are you reaching out farther than 100 yards?
Most of us aren’t aiming to be the next Guinness World Records holder for the longest distance round placed on the target. Also, the AR-15 carbine chambered in 5.56 only has an effective range of about 547 yards. The 20” barreled rifle version has an effective range of about 600 yards. Regardless, if you’re planning on shooting at targets beyond 100 yards with your AR-15, the 1x magnification won’t cut it. If you’re blessed enough to have access to a gun range that reaches out well beyond 300yds, then you’re going to want an ACOG with a little bit more magnification.
The 6X48 ACOG by Trijicon is perfect for medium to long-distance shooting. This specific version has a bullet drop compensator with additional aiming points to keep track of the trajectory of the round fired. Your field of view and eye relief will be smaller compared to the 1x ACOG. If you’re engaging targets beyond 300 yards it won’t hinder you too much.
The TA55 ACOG is another great choice for mid-long range shooting. It has a fixed magnification of 5.5×50. Slamming lead into paper or steel at 300 meters will never have felt easier with this optic. It’s shockproof, so you can bang it around and trust it to keep zeroed. It’s also fog proof.
Is there a best of both worlds: close & long range ACOG?
In my humble opinion, the 4x and 3x magnified ACOGs are the most ideal if you want to shoot close and long-range. The TA110 ACOG has a magnification of 3.5 and an objective lens of 35. It’s a good way to find the middle ground of close to medium and long-range. Don’t expect to get a picture-perfect view at 500 yards with this optic, but with practice, you can rest assured you’ll be satisfied. If the 3.5×35 doesn’t cut it, you can also go with the TA31H ACOG. It’s 4x magnified compared to the 3.5x and has a slightly smaller diameter lens (32).
I’ve found that both of these magnifications are best for employing the Bindon Aiming Concept. This special aiming style was developed specifically for the ACOG by Trijicon founder Glyn Bindon. It allows the shooter to use both eyes for aiming and target acquisitions. One eye looks outside of the scope (you’ll use it to scan for threats and targets quickly). Your other eye will be looking through the scope (This lines the target up in your reticle). It’s a great technique you can use for close-quarters style shooting.
Battery Powered or Fiber Optic and Tritium
This is pretty straightforward. Most ACOG scopes utilize a non-battery-powered illuminated reticle for use both day and night. Trijicon achieved this by using tritium in a fiber optic cable to illuminate the reticle. It adjusts based on how much light is available in your environment. While less common, others use batteries for powerful daytime illumination too. The TA110 3.5×35 optic is a great example of the less common, battery-operated ACOG. It’s powered by a single AA battery and has 12,000 hours of battery life. AA batteries are common and can be found at any store nationwide. The pro you’ll get with the battery-operated ACOG is that you can adjust the brightness manually. The downside is that you’ll have to keep purchasing replacement batteries to keep the reticle illuminated.
Weight and Length
The ACOG comes in all different sizes. Some are very compact while others are long and cumbersome. If you’re running a standard AR-15 with a barrel length of 16 inches, then the length of the ACOG won’t affect you as much. However, the weight will, especially if you’re doing more than just sitting on a bench. The old saying, ‘ounces turn to pounds and pounds turn to pain’ is true. Lugging around a behemoth ACOG like the TA64 6×48 will become a nuisance. This scope weighs 44.3oz. The TA45 ACOG in comparison is just 6.3oz.
Short barreled rifles (SBRs) and AR-pistols chambered in 5.56 have become more popular over the years. Chances are you’re planning on getting one or you have one already. If you’re planning to attach an ACOG to it, you’re going to want one that’s not as long. If you’re using an SBR with a barrel length of 14.5 inches, you’re not going to want a TA55 ACOG that has a length of 12in.
Price: Are there any cheap ACOGs out there?
Unfortunately, the short answer is no. The biggest complaint you’ll hear about ACOGs is the price. It’s understandable. You won’t find an ACOG for under 900.00 dollars. Trijicon ACOGs are some of the strongest, accurate, and reliable scopes in the market. They’re used by competitive shooters, Soldiers and Marines in combat, and firearm enthusiasts. You get what you pay for and it’s much better to ‘buy once — cry once” instead of wasting hundreds of dollars on cheap optics multiple times.
There are a few things you choose that will lower or raise the price of the ACOG.
Backup sights and RMRs
The backup sights or lack of BUS on an ACOG will alter the price of it. The TA014x32 ACOG has a pair of fixed standard backup iron sights at the top of the scope. They’re nothing special in my humble but honest opinion. I’ve used it a few times and could not get accustomed to it. This particular ACOG is priced very well on opticsplanet.com.
You then have the TA01A 4×32 ACOG, which comes without any backup iron sights. You’re only getting the scope in this package which saves you about fifty dollars.
The third in this group is the TA01D 4×32 ACOG. This is the John Wick style ACOG of the group. It comes with a red dot RMR mounted on top of the scope. It’s cerakoted in FDE and comes with a quick-release Trijicon mount.
Additional features you may not need
As you may have noticed, Trijicon ACOGs come with different features that will alter the price. You can expect to pay more for an ACOG model that comes standard with a QD mount lever compared to one that doesn’t. Some are illuminated via a battery, while others use tritium which will affect the cost. You can save some of your hard-earned money by crossing out the ACOG models with features you won’t ever use. After all, a dollar saved is a dollar that can be spent on more ammo.
There are hundreds of more things to consider before buying an ACOG for your AR-15. I cycled through most of them and picked out a few that I believe are the most important. Make no mistake, the Trijicon ACOG is made to survive through the worst possible conditions. Whichever model or version you decide to buy, it will last a lifetime.