Trijicon is not one of the names that comes to mind when you think about Long Range or tactical rifle scopes, in fact, when you think of Trijicon you typically think of military ACOG battle sights or something along those lines. Trijicon has had their line of rifle scopes for several years now and they do indeed have a scope that is setup for long range tactical style shooting. Because Trijicon is known for their high quality battle optics, it would be interesting to see if that same high quality translates over to their day optic rifle scopes. The scope also lists some interesting features so it was worth bringing one in and conducting a review. I would like to thank a loyal Sniper Central reader, Ryan, for helping arrange the review.
As I mentioned above, Trijicon is a huge player in the combat battle style optics with their ACOG series of optics, which in their own right are excellent optics. They also have some reflex sights and other optics designed around battle rifles. Several years ago they did come out with what they call their AccuPoint series of rifle scopes that are setup more in line for hunting and not serious long range precision shooting. But they do have one model in that AccuPoint line of scopes that is setup for such work. That is the one we have here, a 5-20x50mm that comes with large style external adjustment knobs and a mildot reticle. The scope is in the upper price range with a street price of over $1000 which immediately puts it into the same price range as some other high end optics such as Leupold Mk4’s, Nikon Tacticals, Nightforce, and others.
The scope comes in a very nice box that includes a lens pen, 3″ sunshade, manuals and a bikini style scope cover. The box has cut out foam which is a nice touch and the presentation is very nice. The scope has a 30mm Tube made from aircraft grade aluminum and is of a traditional design. I will note that the tube does not appear to be a single piece tube but the forward part appears to attach at the turret shoulder. This is not uncommon and provided it is of high quality, which this appears to be, then it will be plenty rugged and should hold up without a problem. The knobs sit up on a slightly elevated shoulder that is flat where the knobs are. The over all shape of the scope is pleasing and there is plenty of tube area for the scope mounting rings. The size of the scope is about average for a tactical scope, not too large but yet not compact either. It has a good weight to it and appears well made and durable.
The entire scope has a very matte black finish that, according to Trijicon, is hard coat anodized per MIL-A-8265, Type III, and is Class 2 dull and non reflective. Well, I’m not sure what all of those specifications indicate in particular, but I can say that it is pretty darn non reflective and is really quite flat. All of the markings are in a slightly dulled white color, not brilliant white, and the markings show up well and are easy to read. The overall appearance is tactical in nature and it is a good looking scope. The eye piece is a fast focus eye piece and the complete dioptre range can be covered in less than one full 360 degree rotation. The eye piece itself has a slight ribbing on it to aide with grip and it was smooth with good resistance through out the entire adjustment range.
The scope has a unique feature that uses both fiber optics and tritium to illuminate a small dot at the very center of the cross hairs. Because of this, the eye piece is a bit different in that it has an added control not normally found on the eye piece of traditional scopes. On the eye piece there is a green window portion that is a light gathering area for the fiber optics that help light the reticle. This green area, as you can see in the pictures, does stick out on the scope and detracts from the tactical nature of the scope, but the good thing is that Trijicon thought to place a sliding ring over this light gathering window so you can rotate it to cover some or all of the light gathering area. This allows the shooter to adjust the brightness of the reticle by adjusting the amount of light being gathered in the fiber optics. It also gives the added ability to cover the bright green area for better tactical concealment if the operator really needed it. When the light gathering area is completely covered the center dot is still illuminated dimly by the tritium, which in low light conditions it is enough to be visible. The setup works well to have the fiber optics exposed to illuminate during the day time when you are viewing dark backgrounds, and then in low or no light conditions the tritium is enough to continue to make the reticle usable, all without batteries or electronics. This is a different arrangement than other scopes and while I could think of some conditions in which it may not be ideal, it does work well in an overall sense and with no electrical failure points. Though the tritium does have a life use of about 15 years, depending on the color, after which the warranty does not cover it. Beyond the tritium, there is a lifetime warranty on the scope. The lit dot is available in amber, green and red with a few different reticle choices as well. This scope had a green dot with a mildot reticle.
The sliding ring to cover or expose the fiber optic light gathering window has a nice ribbed ring to aide with gripping it and adjusting it. The force is not too much but it is stiff enough to hold it in place and prevent unintended movement. I had no difficulties adjusting it from behind the scope. Moving forward from the sliding cover is the power adjustment ring. This ring rotates independent of the eyepiece making the use of flip up scope caps no problem and the fiber optic light gathering rotating cover is far enough forward not to interfere with caps as well. The power range of 5 to 20 is marked on the scope and covers about 180 degrees and is more widely spaced between the numbers down on the lower end and then more tightly spaced up above 10 power. The ring itself is knurled and has a protrusion to make gripping it easier. The resistance is just about right and the sliding movement is smooth. The numbers are fairly small and difficult to see from behind the scope as they lay flat and actually are lower than the eye piece, so moving your head a decent amount is required when adjusting the power in order to determine which power setting you are on. The 5-20x magnification is a wide range and should cover just about any situation this scope would be used for and would work on a very wide range of rifles.
The elevation and windage knobs are a large exposed design with .25 MOA per click adjustments. The elevation knob has 12 MOA of adjustment per revolution and each of the clicks is widely spaced with very positive clicks. There is no mushiness in the clicks and the click is mostly tactile with an audible signature that is muted. I really like the clicks which are even easily felt with gloved hands. The knob is fairly tall and the numbers are large enough to be easily seen from behind the scope. The up and down direction is also clearly marked beneath the knob, right under the horizontal lines that indicate how many rotations you have covered. The top of the knob has ribs all around it for a good gripping surface and there are three set screws for holding the knob in place. To slip the knob once zero is obtained you follow the standard routine, just loosen those three set screws and slip the knob to zero and then tighten the screws. So what is there not to like about the elevation knobs? Unfortunately, the limited amount of up elevation adjustments is not to my liking. While 12 MOA per revolution is a good amount, the total amount of elevation adjustment is only 47 MOA on this particular example. I personally like to see about 60+ MOA on a scope intended for long range shooting and tactical use. The use of a canted base can, and does, help to make the full use of the limited adjustments, though I would prefer that they move the power magnification down to something like 4-16 or 4.5-18x if it would give more vertical adjustment in the scope. As it is, it can be made to work for long range shooting; you just have to plan your mounting hardware accordingly. Extreme range shooting with this scope may be out of the question though.
The windage knob is essentially the same thing as the elevation knob. Same design, same nice clicks, same numbers, same shape, etc. The numbers on the windage only count up in one direction, which is fine and the direction indicators are again nicely displayed in a fixed location easily visible from behind the scope. The direction indicators are not critical, especially if you are only using one primary weapon system, but if you are using multiple systems with different scopes on each, it can be nice, especially if you have a Zeiss or one of the other scopes where the adjustment directions are opposite than most.
This Trijicon has a side focus on the left side of the tube, opposite the windage knob and it is a slightly different shape than the windage and elevation knobs. The knob is a bit shorter and has more of a knurling on top instead of the ribbing on the adjustment knobs. The focus knob is marked using hash marks with only a 40 indicated at the bottom range and infinity marked on the top. There are no other numbers and in reality, on the focus knob that is fine as the range numbers rarely match up with where the focus for the shooter is best. The focus knob moves very smoothly, though the resistance force might be a bit light for my liking. But it did adjust precisely every time and provided no problems.
The reticle is a traditional mildot reticle, one of my favorites, and is mounted in the 2nd focal plane, so it stays the same size no matter the magnification. The mildots are set to be accurate at the full 20x magnification which does give you some flexibility in terms of how you use the reticle. You can have your scope set to 20x and the space between each dot represents 1 MIL, but if you wanted to have a larger field of view and better light gathering, you could dial the power down to 10x and then the spacing between each dot would represent 2 MILs. The reticle crosshairs themselves are a bit thicker than most scopes, which is good for tactical use by helping to make the reticle more visible against dark backgrounds and low light, but it is not as good if you are trying to print really tiny groups on paper at closer ranges. I found it to be a good thickness for tactical applications which is what this scope is designed for.
The optics on the scope is of high quality with very bright and clear glass with good contrast. Having compared the Trijicon with Nikon, Leupold Nightforce and some other higher end scopes that it competes with in this price point, I would say it compares very favorably. The glass is coated with high quality coatings and the optics on a whole work very well. The scope is made in Japan, as many of the higher end scopes are, and the quality of construction shows this.
The eye relief on the scope is large enough to be used on most all rifles and the magnification range is large enough to cover many applications, though as I mentioned before, the limited elevation adjustments might keep it out of use with extreme long range rifle systems. The 50mm objective and 20x power also generate a bit smaller exit pupil when it is cranked up to that highest power, which means precise sight alignment is needed to get the full scope picture. This is easily done with proper shooting technique and familiarity with the system.
For our shooting tests we mounted the scope on our Remington 700P ‘mule’ rifle that has seen countless number of scope swaps in its day. The rifle is chambered in 308 Winchester and has a Warne steel 1 piece 20 MOA picatinny rail mounted on it. We used a set of Leupold Mark 4 medium height 30mm Steel rings which set the scope just a few millimeters off of the barrel. I was worried the 20 MOA canted base might be too much to zero the scope at 100 yards with the limited elevation adjustments, but it ended up not being a problem for this particular setup and we quickly got it zeroed in. We shot around the box, shooting a group at each corner by using the same aiming point and adjusting five MOA between each corner and then shooting the fifth group right on top of the first. The adjustments were very accurate and the fifth group nicely clover leafed the first group, showing very good repeatability.
Moving to longer ranges and engaging targets that were not simply brightly lit white pieces of paper, the scope performed very well with good sharpness and contrast to allow me to pick up blended or camouflaged targets and then engage them in the mid 300-600 yard ranges. For testing purposes I also wanted to test out the lit dot against shadowed targets in a natural environment and it actually worked quite well when looking into deeply shadowed pockets under hanging tree limbs and other lower light situations. The fiber optics worked well even when the scope and rifle were under shade; I think it is a pretty clever system. The overall operational performance of this scope is good.
Overall the scope actually impressed me more than I was expecting. There are some things I did not like such as the power settings not being visible behind the scope and I would like some more resistance on the focus knob, and of course, the biggest limitation I see is the limited amount of elevation adjustments. But with a 15 or 20 MOA base this does allow the scope to be used out to 1000 yards and the overall capability of the scope is still impressive and it is nice to see some new innovations being developed by scope manufacturers. If they were to introduce either an updated version of this scope with more vertical adjustments or a slightly lowered powered version to allow for 80 or more MOA, it would make a nice scope even better. We’ll be keeping our eye on them…
Sniper Central (Originally posted in 2010)