How the Trijicon VCOG is Designed for Today’s Military
Trijicon has always built optics with the warfighter in mind, creating sights that can withstand the punishment endured in combat zones with the functionality to deliver fast and accurate shots when it really matters.
The latest addition to their riflescope lineup has been designed with feedback from soldiers fighting in the dynamic battlefields of today’s wars. To address the need for a single sight that can be utilized in both CQC and long-range engagements Trijicon has developed the Variable Combat Optic Gunsight, or the Trijicon VCOG.
Trijicon VCOG – The Military’s Need For a Variable Scope
Over the past decade the wars in the Middle East have shown that target engagements routinely come from a variety of ranges, and that each individual soldier must be prepared for close- mid- and long-range combat when setting out on any given mission.
A typical scenario may find an infantryman in a convoy or on patrol of a wide open area, where a magnified optic is needed for threat assessments and aiming up to several hundreds of yards out. A few minutes later the same soldier can be kicking in doors and clearing rooms of a compound where enemies are a handful of meters away, making a 1x optic the best choice. Seeing this type of action has become the norm and is requiring squad members to play the dual roles of marksman and rifleman with a single optic.
It has been typical for marksman rifles to be equipped with a fixed power 4x scope like the Trijicon ACOG, which gives the shooter a good amount of magnification to be accurate to a few hundred yards. On the other hand, CQC rifles primarily use either an Aimpoint, EOTech, or equivalent dot sight that provides the quick target acquisition needed when the fighting is up close and happening fast.
The problem here is that neither of these optic types can adequately fill the role of the other – scopes are useless for CQC and dot sights don’t have the long-range accuracy when its needed. When you’re only issued one optic for a service rifle it means that your performance will be lacking in one area or another.
Trijicon has listened to its military customers’ needs and has came up with a single sight solution that can work in in both long-range and short-range scenarios, and anywhere in between. Their answer is the variable power Trijicon VCOG, and its combination of unique features aim to make it a combat standard for future dynamic conflicts.
VCOG Specs Breakdown
The key spec that allows the VCOG to be so versatile is it’s magnification power range. Trijicon went with a 1-6x power because the minimum and maximum setting spans the full spectrum of close-range targeting out to the maximum effective range of service rifles.
At this power range, and paired with a 24mm objective lens, the scope is able to remain relatively compact compared to other high power variable scopes. Coming in a 10.05 inches an 23.2 oz the VCOG leaves plenty of rail space for accessories, and is light enough for soldiers to haul around for hours at a time without a problem.
Unlike other Trijicon optics which use passive technologies for reticle illumination, the VCOG opts for the more conventional battery power. Its red reticle is powered by a single AA battery that provides 700 hours of continuous runtime at a mid-power setting. A rheostat located on the side of the main tube allows users to adjust the brightness to six different levels, with an off position located between each one.
The scope features an integrated mount built into its base so that users don’t have to worry about pairing it with a conventional ring mount or riser. With two slotted thumb screws it provides a quick, secure connection to any rail system that will hold its zero through plenty of rounds.
Zoom settings are controlled by a large, easy to grip dial located just in front of the eye piece. It has a series of grooves and a single large fin running along its length to give it some added traction for the hand to latch on to. The large fin also doubles as an indicator for the scope setting – just a quick look or feel of where its rotated to will let you know what they scopes current magnification is.
The design is perfect for soldiers who are often wearing gloves and won’t be able to manipulate fine dials, especially during high stress situations.
Like the ACOG before it the Trijicon VCOG is built to take the beatings that come from daily combat usage and still work without a problem. Its matte-black housing is constructed 7075 aircraft-alluminum-alloy and is dry nitrogen filled to prevent internal lens fogging, also making it waterproof up to 20 meters. The sight has been tested to U.S. Department of Defense standards (MIL-STD-810G) which includes a series of tests that simulate service conditions in the field. While its built to mil-spec standards, civilians can still find the VCOG for sale through gun shops or online.
Unique Reticle Design
Because the scope can be adjusted quickly to meet the task at hand, its crucial that the reticle perform at every magnification level. This is easier said than done, but Trijicon has come up with a unique reticle pattern that is usable across the entire magnification range.
The VCOG’s reticle is available i two different versions – either a segmented circle with a crosshair or inverted horseshoe with a dot. Each style is illuminated and includes BDC and ranging subtension lines, a popular feature carried over from ACOG sights that allows for estimating target distance and applying holdover. These ballistic markings come calibrated for various rounds with options including 55gr .223, 77gr .223, 175gr .308, and 115gr 300 BLK.
Reticles fall on the first focal plane (FFP) of the VCOG, meaning they change size with the magnification level. At 6x zoom the circle and horseshoe are large and open, freeing up the center of the FOV to use the finer ballistic reticle. At this size they’re great at catching the eye and leading ti in toward the FOV center for precision target arrangement.
As the magnification is cranked down to 1x the entire reticle appears to shrink towards the center. The circle and horseshoe collapse in on themselves until they’re equivalent to what you’d see in a typical 1x red dot sight – a single illuminated aimpoint a few MOA in size. With a reticle this size and a 1x magnification the scope is now optimized for CQC operations.
A FFP reticle also ensures that BDC and ranging markings are usable at any setting because their spacing remains constant relative to the target. If instead Trijicon went with a second focal plane reticle the subtension would only be true at the maximum magnification, requiring shooters to know what setting they’re on at all time and adjust accordingly – not ideal for the VCOG’s intended applications.
Other Options To Fill the Need
While the Trijicon VCOG is a great single sight solution it isn’t the only option available to shooters. There are a few other optics that can also adapt to both CQC and long-range scenarios on the fly.
For rifles using a fixed power scope as a primary optic, there is the option to add secondary iron sights offset from the top rail. These sights sit at 45 degrees offset and become usable with a quick rotation of the rifle. It may take some practice to get used to this aiming while holding the gun in this orientation but the iron sights deliver the close-range benefits the scope can’t give.
Users of the Trijicon ACOG will find the company also makes a miniature reflex sight, the Trijicon RMR, which is designed to easily be mounted on top of the ACOG. This attachment works as a secondary 1x sight that users can switch to instantly by just changing their eye position. It also is small enough to mount on offset rails.
Rifles using a dot sight as a primary optic can be given an extra boost of range with the addition of a tandem magnifier. These mount behind the dot sight and magnify the view through the objective window, reticle and all. Most come enabled with a ‘switch to side’ feature that allows users to flip the magnifier to an angled position offset from the top rail to give a clear view of the non-magnified dot sight.
The key to all these options is that there is a quick transition between the ‘CQC mode’ and ‘ranged mode’ that lets them adapt to the situation on hand. A key difference here is that the two ‘modes’ are the only magnfication levels available in the setup, whereas when using a variable optic like the VCOG its magnification can be any level between 1x and 6x.