By Jeff W. Zimba
A popular old adage is that, “Sometimes big things come in small packages.” In the case of the ACOG TA44S-10 from Trijicon, this could not be truer.
With an overall length of only 4 inches and weighing in at a miniscule 4.9 ounces, the new Advanced Combat Optical Gunsight (ACOG) from Trijicon looked like a standard ACOG in shape and design; even employing its distinctive fiber optic light gathering system, except it was smaller, MUCH smaller. After examining it for a few minutes and reviewing the literature it was put up to an eye and everything immediately came together.
This latest sight is yet another home run in a long line of hits for Trijicon. The ACOG is an extremely popular scope line offering several distinct characteristics that have taken it to the top of its class. We are pleased to announce that none have been cut from the lineup in order to make such a small and light package possible.
One of the first features the owner of a Trijicon ACOG is introduced to is the illuminated reticle, and the unique and long standing methods utilized to power it. The aiming point is always illuminated, day or night, yet there are no batteries. During the day and in bright conditions the fiber optic light gathering system provides the illumination. This light is gathered in the small tube visible between the windage and elevation adjustment knobs, on the top of the scope. In the dark, or low light conditions the aiming reticle continues to glow in the same color, except the source for this light is Hydrogen-3, commonly known as tritium. As the lighting changes, the automatic brightness control provides the optimum reticle illumination for the conditions.
The second most intriguing feature of the Trijicon ACOG line is the implementation of the BAC (Bindon Aiming Concept) allowing both eyes to remain open, even though the scope has a slight amount of magnification. Since this is something unfamiliar to many long-time shooters we will explain the process and how it works.
When using a sight with BAC, the key is keeping both eyes open all the time. This gives the shooter a much larger field of view and allows complete peripheral vision when watching the target. It is much harder to find and acquire a target with one eye closed than with both eyes open.
When a target is chosen the rifle is shouldered with the sight in front of the shooters dominant eye and the shooter swings the rifle toward the target. While it is moving quickly the unsighted eye takes over in the brain as it is providing the clearest picture. This is an automatic function of the brain. As the swing of the rifle slows to get on target, the sight quickly provides the clearer picture, especially combined with the lighted reticle, and the brain makes an automatic switch to using the eye behind the sight as the primary viewing source. This is an automatic function and happens instinctively. For some it may take a little practice (very little) but everyone who has had the opportunity to utilize the TA44S-10 caught on almost immediately.
The TA44S-10 is a 1.5x16mm weapon sight. As previously mentioned, the aiming reticle is always illuminated. Though there are several reticle types, colors and styles available in the 1.5×16 ACOG line, the reticle pattern on our test scope was an amber circle with a small dot in the center and a heavy black vertical line below the dot. Currently the TA44S-10 offers only the circle and dot reticle option and it is available in red, amber or green. All are suitable for use with BAC. The field of view through this 1.5×16 model is a large 7.4-degrees and makes target acquisition fast and easy.
This sight comes with a short base for mounting in the carry handle of a standard AR-15/M16/M4 rifle. For those using flat top upper receivers or full rail systems an adapter is available as we utilized on the POF-USA P-416 with a Predator Rail System for testing.
TA44S-10 ACOG Construction
The housing of the TA44S-10 is made from forged 7075-T6 aluminum alloy allowing a lightweight optic while retaining superior strength. It utilizes broadband anti-reflective coated lenses and it not just water resistant, but actually waterproof to 150 meters (500 feet). The field of view at 100 yards is 39 feet and remains very clear and useful from very short ranges to those far out of the standard useful range of the configuration.
Quality Starts in the Packaging
The TA44S-10 ACOG is shipped in a Pelican hard case with foam inserts. Several accessories accompany the sight from the factory including a TA30 carry handle screw and washer set, a Devtron neoprene (laminated with nylon) fitted “Scopecoat” for the compact ACOG, a LensPen with a retractable dust removal brush and a cleaning element on the opposite end, and owners manual with other assorted paperwork.
The ACOG TA44S-10 was placed atop a POF-USA P-416. Sighting in was a simple and easy task. After sighting in, since it was designed as more of a “high-speed” application than a higher powered scope, it was decided it would be tested under fast-pace, timed fire requiring little room for error.
We were accompanied to the Small Arms Research test facility in Maine by a master firearms instructor from the Maine Criminal Justice Academy. We asked him to run us through the timed qualification drills necessary for the law enforcement annual certification test. This included shooting in several positions from numerous distances including prone fire, kneeling fire, barricade drills and moving fire while walking both forward and rearward on command to engage. The testing started at 50 yards with 100 yard reduced size targets and commenced to close the gap moving from 50 yards inward. Some shooting necessitated multiple target acquisition from many positions in a single station including mandatory reloads. From kneeling and shooting on the right side of the barricade, dropping prone to shoot from the right side to shooting kneeling from the left side of the barricade, with left hand controls with a mandatory reload thrown in the middle, this represented one station and again, all under timed fire guidelines and command shooting.
Since the real selling point of the TA44S-10 was quick target acquisition in many different scenarios, and this seemed to be a perfect test opportunity, this writer qualified high enough to make instructor level on the very first run. This is a real testament to the ability of the system with the optics working exactly as intended.
The Trijicon TA44S-10 ACOG is an excellent weapon sight for serious shooters. The conditions in which we tested the claims of the fast action capabilities were much more grueling than most people will ever need to operate in, and it came away with very high marks.
The BAC worked exactly as described and was fast and easy for all shooters to master in very little time. The shooting transitioned from very bright light to low light conditions and there was never any degradation of the illuminated aiming reticle. The amber ring and dot made acquisition extremely fast and proved to be a good choice against every backdrop. We never noticed any type of background blending in any situation we encountered with this color. While the illuminated reticle remained bright in all environments it was never overpowering in any way.
The fit and finish was the same high quality we have come to expect from all Trijicon products and it looks as nice as it functions. The finish is a non-reflective dark gray to match the M4 family of rifles it was designed for optimum use with.
Based on the size, the proven performance, and legendary illuminated aiming reticle system the ACOG sights have long been known for, this small package scored big with all shooters who had the opportunity to try it during testing. If you are looking for something that you can rest assured will work when you need it and excel in all areas it is designed for, we believe the Trijicon TA44S-10 will make a great optical sight for your AR-15, M16, M4 system. Suggested retail at the time of printing is $1,010 and lead time for new orders is approximately 8 to 10 weeks.
49385 Shafer Avenue
P.O. Box 930059
Wixom, MI 48393 USA
Phone: (800) 338-0563
Phone: (248) 960-7700
Fax: (248) 960-7725
P-416 Weapon System
Ph: (602) 561-9572
Fax: (623) 321-1680
|This article first appeared in Small Arms Review V13N9 (June 2010)|