Do you want an ACOG scope, but don't want to spend a whole rifle's worth of money on it? Don’t feel like joining the Marines to play with one?
Well no need to worry, there are a lot of affordable ACOG clones that have the same form factor and performance without the Trijicon price tag. We’ve laid out 6 of our best ACOG clones and alternatives below so all you have to do is pick the best one for you.
Don’t know what you need? No problem, we’ll help with that too.
Let’s get started with...
What the Hell is an ACOG, Really?
The ACOG, or Advanced Combat Optical Gunsight, is one of the best optics you can put on a rifle. There's a reason that it is the go-to optic for the US Army, Airforce, and Marines.
The illuminated reticle combined with a magnification of between 1.5X and 6x makes for better target acquisition than traditional iron sights. ACOG’s are designed around the AR platform and are ready to mount to a Picatinny rail in seconds so any flat-top AR can accept one quickly and easily.
The ACOG was designed around the Bindon aiming concept. Glyn Bindon, Founder of Trijicon, recommends shooting with both eyes open with the scope on the dominant eye.
The shooter’s brain superimposes the optic onto both eyes allowing for faster target acquisition and reduces the time between fighting your target and aiming down sight.
ACOG’s excel at short to medium range, with many sights having additional sight markers to allow for easy bullet drop compensation or medium speed windage adjustments on the fly. This makes the ACOG great for almost every situation. You could call it the Swiss army knife of combat scopes.
If you’re running an AR (or compatible system) an ACOG makes a great addition to your rifle. Plus any AR platform rifle looks naked without a proper scope.
How Do You Choose the Best ACOG Clone or Alternative?
The main things to consider while shopping for an ACOG scope are build quality, magnification, price, illumination method, and the reticle.
First, you have to find something that you feel comfortable putting on your gun. Truck guns, range toys, and hunting workhorses all go through different levels of abuse (or lack thereof) and the scope should have the durability and price to match.
If you’ve got a $400 AR, do you really need a $900 optic to go on top of it for plinking at the range? Probably not.
On the other hand, if you’ve got $1500+ invested in a home defense rifle you might as well put some decent glass on top of it, right?
Second is the reticle illumination method. Traditional ACOG’s rely on tritium for their glow, however, many alternatives use batteries or fiber optics to get their glow.
Are you the kind of person who will remember to charge your rifle scope, or would you rather throw some button batteries in your rifle case and call it done? Can you rely on ambient light while shooting or do you like shooting after sunset?
Lastly is the reticle itself. Do you like red? Green? Chevron reticle? Red dot? Some Call of Duty custom malarkey? You’re going to be looking at your reticle more than you will look at your anodized front grip or engraved dust cover, might as well make it something you like to look at.
The big draw of the Trijicon ACOG (aside from the overall robustness of the design) is the reticle that makes for easy combat shooting when used with a 5.56x45mm NATO rifle. The proper ACOG reticle has BDC and windage markings for specific military 5.56 out of a 16” barrel.
If you aren’t shooting those loads out of that length barrel, all those fancy reticle markings won’t mean a thing to anyone, other than telling them that you bought the wrong scope. Make sure your reticle matches your rifle caliber and the rounds you’ll be shooting the most.
In some cases, a more traditional Mil/MOA dot reticle or something without a fixed BDC reticle may make more sense if you aren’t shooting the same ammo all the time.
Objective Lens Diameter
Vortex Optics Spitfire
Primary Arms SLx
Sig Sauer BRAVO5
Wipboten Optic Scope
1. Vortex Optics Spitfire 3x Prism Scope
First on our list is this middle-priced option from Vortex. This fog proof and shockproof rifle scope with 3X magnification is made out of anodized aircraft-grade aluminum and ready for whatever you throw at it.
Adjustable in .5 MOA intervals, this scope is ready to be dialed in exactly how you like it. Need to take a shot way farther? Don’t worry, the reticle is an EBR-556B MOA, allowing you to adjust for distance on the fly. It’s also parallax-free out to 100 yards so at most common carbine ranges will be good and won’t need any adjustment.
Running off a CR2032 button lithium battery, you can leave the reticle on for up to 3000 hours before you need to replace the battery. This is due to the five different brightness levels available in both red AND green. Now that is some customization right there!
It also has an anti-glare coating on the objective lens to help with light transmission and to avoid spooking game.
Finally, the true fiber optic lighting system keeps your reticle illuminated in even the lowest light conditions. That fiber source provides great illumination in everything but full darkness.
This scope offers no compromise at less than half the cost of a Trijicon ACOG, how could we not recommend it? It’s not really a “clone” per se, but it offers several of the same benefits and is an excellent optic in general.
2. Sightmark Wolverine 1x23 CSR Red Dot
Maybe you want an even more budget option. Look no further than the Sightmark Wolverine!
With a 4X magnification at a sub $150 price point, this red dot sight will do what you need. With a tough 6061 aluminum housing this isn’t some airsoft accessory, this is the real deal. Plus its IP67 water-resistant in addition to being dustproof, shockproof, and fog proof.
This scope gets its power from a single AA battery, making it more convenient than button cells. You could even steal a battery out of the TV remote before you head to the range if you needed.
While the reticle is a 4 MOA red dot only, its more than adequate for close-range shooting.
A point to be noted is that Sightmark themselves advertise this as a sight for shotguns and SBRs. So don’t plan on doing super long-range precision shooting with this scope.
3. Monstrum Tactical 3x30 Ultra-Compact Rifle Scope
Say hello to the only scope on this list finished in Flat Dark Earth. This option from Monstrum provides 3X magnification and is a fantastic option for close to medium range engagements. The hardened aluminum body is built tough and designed to mount to a Picatinny rail or a Weaver rail.
With a large crosshair illuminated in either green or red, you’ll be able to adjust for range “on-the-fly”, making this scope fairly versatile for its low price point. This scope has a comfortable 3-inch eye relief boasts of .5 MOA sight adjustments. Its multiple brightness settings combined with its fog and water resistance make it ideal for a foggy day of shooting.
This rifle scope runs off of a button battery, a CR2032 to be specific, so throw a couple of spares in the case. Maybe even buy a whole stack from Amazon and keep them in your gun safe. But if you run out of battery the BDC reticle is still crisp so you can keep going as long as the light conditions are in your favor.
This scope also gets a lot of praise for being incredibly light. At 14 ounces it feels light on the rifle without feeling cheap. If you plan on spending a lot of time carrying this rifle with you then you will thank yourself for the weight reduction, trust me.
4. Primary Arms SLx 5x36mm Gen III
So this rifle scope completely blew me away. The 5X magnification may seem only slightly better than the 3X and 4X, but it makes landing your shots so much easier. This high-quality aluminum alloy option comes with a built-in AR-15 riser making the installation quick and easy for your favorite Picatinny clad rifle.
The reticle on this rifle is my favorite of the entire list, the ACSS. Its got a bit of CQB-style red dot, BDC, and Left/Right dots for dialing in windage on moving targets and a built-in range finder. The center dot and horseshoe are illuminated red, running off of a CR2032, to give a little more flexibility across different lighting situations.
The BDC option works well (as long as you have the right ammo that matches the bullet drop hash marks in the scope) and makes long-distance shooting a breeze.
Another pro for this optic is its adjustability. This rifle scope adjusts in ⅓ MOA intervals, as opposed to the typical ½ MOA. It’s these tiny details that cemented Primary Arms with its spot on this list.
5. Sig Sauer BRAVO5
Sig Sauer’s wide field lens is an interesting change compared to the other optics present on this list. While the scope has a magnification of 5X, the incredibly wide field of view allows for better transitions between targets and faster target acquisition. Its magnesium housing protects the HDX coated lenses inside while looking great in a graphite finish.
The reticle is a red dot and horseshoe combo and combines with a BDC as well as windage markers so this scope can do whatever you need it to do. There are 8 levels of brightness adjustment as well as 3 levels of night vision.
Yeah, this scope prepared for anything and everything. It runs off of a CR2032 and has an incredible battery life due to the optic being motion activated through Sig’s MOTAC. It’s also waterproof and the wide FOV makes for fast target acquisition.
A point in this optics favor is that it has 3 Picatinny rails on the optic itself. You can use these for your flashlight, laser sight, or you could mount three more of these optics to it. We cant tell you what to use your rails for!
6. Wipboten Optic Scope 4x32
Are you chasing the aesthetic of the traditional Trijicon ACOG, but are not willing to spend anywhere near that much money? Have I got news for you! This optic from Wipboten has the classic hooded shape with a fiber-optic pipe on top.
This scope is a little more budget in feature than some of the others on this list. 4X magnification helps when looking through the giant crosshairs with integrated BDC. This optic gets its illumination from a fiber optic pipe on top. This means that your sight will never run out of battery. On the downside, your sights aren’t illuminated at night. If you mostly shoot in well-lit ranges or on your sunny property then this is perfectly suited to your needs.
The aircraft-grade aluminum-alloy body is built tough but doesn’t boast any kind of fog or dust resistance. Overall this scope is great for the looks and price, but we wouldn’t recommend torture testing it.
That’s all we have for our Trijicon ACOG clone buying guide. These are all great options if you want the ACOG look and some of the features without having to spend $1,000+ on a Trijicon optic. These are all great options for any rifle and are far from a knockoff, they’re each excellent options in their own right.
The Vortex and Primary Arms options stand up well against a “real ACOG” and offer excellent performance under all lighting conditions. The others give you that classic ACOG look without the price, so there should be something here for everyone.
Which of these scopes stood out the most to you? What do you think is the most important part of an ACOG style scope? Let us know in the comments below! If you’re looking for a more budget option check out our 9 Best AR-15 Scopes for under $100!