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Posted: 10/30/2004 6:23:50 PM EDT
So now the Marines have adopted the 4X ACOG as their main combat optic, and have ordered over 50K of them for issue to all troops in the infantry battalions. Meanwhile, the Army has gone with the 1X Aimpoint, with 200K in service and another order just placed for 70K more.

Any opinions as to which is better suited as a combat optic for the individual infantryman?
Link Posted: 10/30/2004 7:29:27 PM EDT
I would think the Aimpoint is great for CQB, and the ACOG is better suited for close range to mid-range and I suppose with USMC marksmanship quality, that includes long range engagements as well. ACOG has no limitations due to batteries either.
Link Posted: 10/30/2004 8:46:34 PM EDT
Yes, but does the individual infantryman NEED 4X? Given the typical engagement ranges seen since the advent of modern warfare, wouldn't 1X be just fine, with magnifying scopes reserved for Designated Marksmen? Given the extra cost of the ACOG, is it a waste to issue them to every trooper? Or, given what may now be a new and lasting style of combat shooting, is the newly re-discovered idea of a "Squad Marksman" already obsolete? Given the capabilities of a scoped M-16, are all infantrymen now potential "Designated Marksman"?

I'm not too sure. Not everyone is that good a shot, even with an optic. And, even though the M-16 has an automatic fire capability, we stll adopted the Squad Automatic Weapon, because there are certain mechanical feature that typify a SAW (belt fed, quick change barrel, etc.) that would be out of place on an individual assault weapon, and that the M-16 lacks. Similarly, the M-16 needs certain modifications for it to produce precision accuracy.

So, do we issue one type of M-16 with a costly optic that offers more capabilities than most will need, or have a version for most infantry with a 1x optic, and an accurized version with 4X or greater optics for "Designated Marksmen", who will also recieve more specialized training?

Or, is the M-16A4 "ggod enough" for squad-level engagements, while backed up at platoon level with a more capable (hopefully 7.62!) rifle?
Link Posted: 10/30/2004 8:50:54 PM EDT
[Last Edit: 10/30/2004 8:54:38 PM EDT by knightone]
Both services issue both optics. Each has a job and each serves its purpose. Both are valid in combat and they complement each other. The Aimpoint (and the EOTech that is also now being issued) offer greater speed for close engagements. The ACOG offers increased hit potential at greater than close quarters. Both types are needed as they fill inportant niches in the field of combat.
Link Posted: 10/30/2004 9:38:25 PM EDT

Both types are needed as they fill inportant niches in the field of combat


I agree.

Problem is, that only works when the two tyes are integrated in at the unit level.

These two optics are about as far from "integrated" as can be...they are in DIFFERENT SERVICES fer crissakes!
Link Posted: 10/30/2004 9:46:06 PM EDT
I guess you missed knightone's first sentence.

I agree fully with knightone's assement.
Link Posted: 10/30/2004 9:50:25 PM EDT

Originally Posted By StormSurge:
So now the Marines have adopted the 4X ACOG as their main combat optic, and have ordered over 50K of them for issue to all troops in the infantry battalions. Meanwhile, the Army has gone with the 1X Aimpoint, with 200K in service and another order just placed for 70K more.

Any opinions as to which is better suited as a combat optic for the individual infantryman?



USMC, definately...

The fixation with 'CQB' on this board aside, any optic on a rifle should be designed for use in engaging targets across the full effective range of the weapon...

The ACOG is far better for this, with it's 4X magnification, than the unmagnified red-dot...
Link Posted: 10/30/2004 9:54:27 PM EDT

Originally Posted By knightone:
Both services issue both optics. Each has a job and each serves its purpose. Both are valid in combat and they complement each other. The Aimpoint (and the EOTech that is also now being issued) offer greater speed for close engagements. The ACOG offers increased hit potential at greater than close quarters. Both types are needed as they fill inportant niches in the field of combat.



Outstanding post.
Link Posted: 10/30/2004 10:00:20 PM EDT
I did not miss knightone's first sentence.

But it is not accurate.

The Marines have adopted the ACOG as the Rifle Combat Optic. Not the "mid-range" RCO. And they do not call the Aimpoint the "CQB" optic. The ACOG will be THE combat optic for all infantryman. Sure, Recon types and other specialists might have the Aimpoint...but in the rifle companies it will be all ACOGs. No integration.
Link Posted: 10/30/2004 10:23:18 PM EDT
Link Posted: 10/30/2004 10:32:26 PM EDT
[Last Edit: 10/30/2004 10:39:56 PM EDT by knightone]

Originally Posted By StormSurge:
The Marines have adopted the ACOG as the Rifle Combat Optic. Not the "mid-range" RCO. And they do not call the Aimpoint the "CQB" optic. The ACOG will be THE combat optic for all infantryman. Sure, Recon types and other specialists might have the Aimpoint...but in the rifle companies it will be all ACOGs. No integration.



This is contrary to what is being practiced and what has been seen. If the Corps is wanting to issue ACOGs across the board and not make the Aimpoint availalble to the infantry units, I have not heard of it (not that I would). While I'm sure the statement has been made about the ACOG becoming the standard optic for the A4, I have doubts as to whether or not it is actually going to occur across the board. The Aimpoint is supposed to be the standard optic for the Army, yet there are many, many ACOGs in service with that branch and the EOTech has also been adopted and is trickling into the supply chain.

However, it's not like I haven't been wrong in the past and anything is possible, so take the statement for what its worth. Maybe you could point me toward evidence that your statement is the new policy? I would like to know.
Link Posted: 10/30/2004 11:14:16 PM EDT
Is it less of an issue using the ACOG as a standard optic with the newer TA31 version that's available. Since this version of the ACOG has the ability to be used easier as a CQB then the older TA01 or TA01NSN. The TA31 is not an Aimpoint but it could serve as one if need be with the proper training.

Seems like a good choice to go for the optic that can fill multiple purposes.
Link Posted: 10/31/2004 12:41:19 AM EDT
Which ever optic is chosen, I can't see them going wrong. I agree wth Lumpy. Anything's better than irons. What's most important is the man or woman behind the trigger. If that person is trained on that optic, then it's the right combo.

I personally think the ACOG's a better choice for general purpose. If the enemy is close enought that the ACOG FOV it totally filled and ineffective, then the soldier may need to remove their head from being burried in the optic, point and shoot.
Link Posted: 10/31/2004 12:56:02 AM EDT

Originally Posted By quick-enough:
Which ever optic is chosen, I can't see them going wrong. I agree wth Lumpy. Anything's better than irons. What's most important is the man or woman behind the trigger. If that person is trained on that optic, then it's the right combo.



True that. True that.
Link Posted: 10/31/2004 2:39:58 AM EDT
In my opinion, an optic (either an ACOG with BAC capability, or Aimpoint with detachable magnifier) and a collapsing stock upgrade on every rifle would be a much better investment of funds than a change over to the XM-8 system. Magnification is important for ever soldier these days, because it greatly aides in target identification. With the way casualty numbers (that includes our casualties, enemy casualties, and innocent casualties) influence our actions abroad during times of war, killing the wrong people could have a disasterous effect on the conflict. This makes it important (at least in my opinion) to be able to tell who has a gun and who doesn't, or better yet, who are the friendly indigiouns personnel with guns, and whose hostile. Now, not having experience with either the ACOG with BAC capability, or the Aimpoint with 3x magnifier, I cannot recommend one over the other, but it is (again in my opinion) importnant for any future combat optic upgrades to feature some sort of magnification.
Link Posted: 10/31/2004 3:29:40 AM EDT
How about a 1x Red dot that can be converted to a 4x scope with the twist of a few knobs? I mean for $700-$1000 you can buy an ACOG and if you can afford that, you probably can afford an extra few hundred for a 1x dot/4x scope combo if they can make it right.
Link Posted: 10/31/2004 3:49:04 AM EDT
There are many good points stated here.

I see the Marine’s use of the RCO as a validation in their belief of long range marksmanship. They qualify at up to 500 meters while the Army qualifies at up to 300 meters. I assume that the Marines still qualify with irons though. But I believe that the Army qualifies with the Aimpoint if available to that unit.

Could it be that the Army had enough forethought to expect Aimpoint’s 3X magnifier? I doubt that. Big Army, forethought, words not often used in the same sentence. Anyway, they save a little money now and spend a little money later on the magnifiers. Maybe the brass thought that they couldn’t afford to outfit all the line infantry companies with ACOGs.

As stated, either is better than none at all.
Link Posted: 10/31/2004 3:57:25 AM EDT
ISSUE RIFLE COMBAT OPTIC (RCO) AND INTEGRATED INTRA-SQUAD
RADIO :
A. DISCUSSION: GCE EXPERIENCE IN OIF AND MCWL EXPERIMENTATION
IN PROJECT METROPOLIS SHOW THAT MARINE INFANTRYMEN ARMED WITH THE M16A4 AND A MAGNIFIED DAY OPTIC ARE SIGNIFICANTLY MORE EFFECTIVE THAN WITH AN M16 WITH IRON SIGHTS. WITH AN ADDED INTEGRATED INTRA-SQUAD RADIO (IISR) THE INFANTRY SQUAD HAS A CAPABILITY THAT DRAMATICALLY INCREASES THE SQUAD'S OVERALL EFFECTIVENESS. THE GCE HAS IDENTIFIED BOTH THE RCO AND IISR AS TOP PRIORITIES FOR POM-06, AND HAS LINKED THEM WITH THE MODULAR WEAPONS SYSTEM (MWS) PROGRAM AS A SINGLE CAPABILITY SET. FIRST PRIORITY OF FIELDING FOR THE CAPABILITY SET WITHIN THE GCE IS TO THE INFANTRY, DIV RECON, LAR, CEB (MINUS ENGINEER SUPPORT COMPANY (ESC), AND MP CO. SECOND PRIORITY FOR GCE FIELDING IS ARTILLERY, TANKS, AAVS, ESC, AND HQ BN.
B. ACTION: PP&O LEAD; COORDINATE WITH OPERATING FORCES, MCCDC, AND SYSCOM FOR DETAILED NUMBER OF RCO AND IISR, AND BANDING OF CAPABILITY SETS FOR POM DISCUSSIONS
Link Posted: 10/31/2004 6:01:30 PM EDT
Thanks for the input, guys. And STLRN has given us confirmation that the Corps indeed is proceeding to an all-ACOG issue.

Corporal_Chaos rightly brought up the 3X Aimpoint module, which I had momentarily forgotten. This complicates the matter some, but a Aimpoint even with a magnifier is not the equivalent of an ACOG because it has only a static dot as an aiming mark; it lacks a range-compensating reticle. Still, it would assist in target identifacation.

IMHO metroplex is on the right track; perhaps what we need is a variable-power optic; but this still leaves the issue of the utility of a "Squad Designated Marksman" in question.
Link Posted: 11/1/2004 6:15:54 AM EDT
I think the big question is still "Will widespread use of a magnified optic allow average engagement ranges to increase?"

If the answer to this is "Yes" then I expect to see the ACOG get a lot more acceptance for more general issue. If engagement ranges remain static with most happening in the 20-50m range despite the optic, then I imagine that the Aimpoint will become more dominant and the ACOG will be relegated to a DM role primarily.
Link Posted: 11/1/2004 7:19:28 AM EDT
My $0.02 would be, generically, Aimpoint for the M4 and ACOG for the M16. Each command should be able to tailor this general rule to best utilize their resources and personnel.
Link Posted: 11/1/2004 7:36:51 AM EDT

Originally Posted By mongo001:
My $0.02 would be, generically, Aimpoint for the M4 and ACOG for the M16. Each command should be able to tailor this general rule to best utilize their resources and personnel.



+1

.... i do feel that aimpoints are better bargins than acogs.... for the money... you getting an amazing optic for a third of the cost... most combat ranges are closer than further... but the acogs definately have their role...
Link Posted: 11/1/2004 1:06:02 PM EDT
When considering the deficiencies of the ACOG in a CQB role, you have to identify at what range the ACOG's magnification becomes a hindrance rather than an asset, and then bounce that off of typical engagement ranges encountered. Just a WAG on my part, but I'm guessing the ranges where it's a problem probably only extend out to 15-20 yds or so. We're talking 4X, not a 10X sniper scope. Beyond that it's superior -- great optics which gather light, extending its capability; BDC for long range; magnification to allow positive ID of target; etc. For close in stuff, BAC training becomes cruicial, but I suspect the military will take care of the training.

One thing we know, the Marine Corps isn't going to pay $1,000 a copy. Methinks they are getting a discount here. I'm really glad to see military planners are acknowledging the superiority of optics on a fighting rifle. Anything to help the troops make good hits quicker, I say.
Link Posted: 11/1/2004 1:40:31 PM EDT
If there is still the inter-service rivalry that was there in the 'Nam era, the J-Heads probably went with ACOG not to give any thing to the Army.

Or...they saw a chance with the FAT sand-war budget to get the best to be had for all.

Always easier to BS down to a "lowly" Aimpoint {or ?} afterwards in the Military.

At least they're buying from a US Co!
Link Posted: 11/1/2004 3:19:27 PM EDT

Originally Posted By StormSurge:
Yes, but does the individual infantryman NEED 4X? Given the typical engagement ranges seen since the advent of modern warfare, wouldn't 1X be just fine, with magnifying scopes reserved for Designated Marksmen? Given the extra cost of the ACOG, is it a waste to issue them to every trooper? Or, given what may now be a new and lasting style of combat shooting, is the newly re-discovered idea of a "Squad Marksman" already obsolete? Given the capabilities of a scoped M-16, are all infantrymen now potential "Designated Marksman"?...



Alot of troops around the world use magnified optics, Canada only uses the Elcan on C7's..
Link Posted: 11/1/2004 3:22:32 PM EDT
They both got it right!
I personally prefer the ACOG because my eyes are not what they used to be!
Link Posted: 11/1/2004 4:12:38 PM EDT

Originally Posted By jmart:

One thing we know, the Marine Corps isn't going to pay $1,000 a copy. Methinks they are getting a discount here. I'm really glad to see military planners are acknowledging the superiority of optics on a fighting rifle. Anything to help the troops make good hits quicker, I say.




I dont think so either, Marine Corps is POOR. (well compared to the other services) I cant see it paying that much.
Link Posted: 11/1/2004 5:18:37 PM EDT
Well, I know the Army has been issuing both the ACOG and the EoTech to units. As well as M-68's (aimpoints if they do not already have them) to fill shortages in where there are not aimpoint. Now there is some guidance coming out to try and give the ACOGs to squad designated marksmen. I have seen squad sized elements with all three devices on M-16A4's and M-4's.
Link Posted: 11/1/2004 5:27:28 PM EDT
The ACOG, with BAC has a 0-600 meter range and requires no battereies. The Marines love it because they can identify targets from 4 times the distance.
Link Posted: 11/1/2004 7:40:41 PM EDT
The Marines have alwaus been fixated on long range shooting. The decision should suprise noone.
Link Posted: 11/1/2004 8:35:18 PM EDT

One thing we know, the Marine Corps isn't going to pay $1,000 a copy. Methinks they are getting a discount here.


I'm a former Marine; I wonder if I could get in on the Corp's "group buy"...

*****

But seriously, I have a TA-31F and an Aimpoint. I was going to put the Aimpoint on my M-14 build when it is completed, and was wondering what optic to put on my General Purpose AR in place of the Aimpoint. The ACOG is prolly going on my "Recce Rifle" clone; I am giving the compact ACOG a hard look...
Link Posted: 11/1/2004 9:28:59 PM EDT
Does anyone know the average engagment distance? I would suppose that it is under 150 yards. If so....AIMPOINT ALL THE WAY! When chosing an optic I think that it needs to be designed for 90% of what will be done. Sometimes people look at that 10% of rarely done stuff and chose the optic around that. I would want an optic designed for the stuff I will most likely be doing.
Link Posted: 11/2/2004 1:54:51 AM EDT

Originally Posted By ALPHA9000:
Does anyone know the average engagment distance? I would suppose that it is under 150 yards. If so....AIMPOINT ALL THE WAY! When chosing an optic I think that it needs to be designed for 90% of what will be done. Sometimes people look at that 10% of rarely done stuff and chose the optic around that. I would want an optic designed for the stuff I will most likely be doing.



amen
Link Posted: 11/2/2004 1:55:51 AM EDT

Originally Posted By garr:
They both got it right!
I personally prefer the ACOG because my eyes are not what they used to be!



i can understand this totally...
Link Posted: 11/2/2004 4:16:07 AM EDT
Both sights are doing very well, but you are hearing more complaints from M68 users than from ACOG users.


M68 Close Combat Optic
General discussion:

Most units interviewed that were equipped with the M68 had the first generation model. Some units had received the latest model that has incorporated many improvements. These two models will be referred to as Gen I and Gen II, respectively. The consensus across the AOR is that the M68 provides a significant increase in capability over the traditional post-and-aperture mechanical sight. At least one unit elected not to employ the M68 because they received them just prior to deployment and were more comfortable fighting the way they trained—with traditional iron sights. Both models were praised for the speed of target acquisition and accuracy. Those soldiers who were comfortable with keeping both eyes open during engagements felt that technique provided superior situational awareness. Units that had a Small Arms Master Gunner expressed greater confidence in the M68 and showed a better understanding of its capabilities. The Gen I suffered from poor reliability and drew much criticism. The Gen II model was praised for its long battery life. Many soldiers stated they had gone over thirty days without changing batteries, despite an on/off switch that constantly turns on inadvertently. Soldiers were confident in the M68’s ability to return to zero when removed and replaced (both models). The Gen II model was also praised for its zero retention despite the rough handling associated with combat operations. Boresight procedures were not considered to be burdensome, and the resulting alignments generally lasted for the duration of the war. Reconfirming bore alignment was the exception, not the rule.
The issues listed below are common to both Gen I & II models. Those issues raised regarding Gen I models that were fixed in Gen II (such as battery life) are omitted from this report.

Issue #1: On/Off Switch Detent

Discussion: The On/Off switch constantly turns on inadvertently. This problem was reported universally. Soldiers had to constantly check to see if the M68 was turned on. The problem is critical in the Gen I model because of its short battery life, leading to a lack of confidence that the unit would be fully mission capable for an entire engagement. Some soldiers also expressed a desire for better tactile feel when adjusting brightness.

Recommendations: Change the switch design to require a more deliberate action. The pull switch of the AN/PVS-7 was cited as a good example.

Issue #2: Size of Red Dot

Discussion: The size of the dot masks personnel targets at approximately 300 meters. It is also difficult with closer targets to distinguish between center-of-mass and the target’s extremities. Several soldiers cited that a “circle-dot” reticle hastened aiming because it was more prominent.

Recommendations: Explore other aim point/reticle patterns that provide for both reflexive engagements and more precise long distance aiming.

Issue #3: Maximum Brightness

Discussion: The bright ambient light conditions of the Iraqi theatre often overpowered the red dot aim point of the M68. Soldiers equipped with the Back Up Iron Sight employed it to compensate. Those without either resorted to using the carrying handle, or engaged by “walking” rounds onto target. On the other hand, soldiers cited that the Anti Reflection Device reduced the glare and made the red dot more visible.

Recommendations: Provide brighter LEDs or incorporate ambient light collection to amplify the aim point’s brightness in proportion to the ambient conditions.

Magnified Optics

Discussion: Individual soldiers and some units have purchased magnified optics with personal or operational funds for an increased capability. The Trijicon ACOG, available from the SOPMOD kit was common. Many soldiers purchased scopes on their own to attach to the carrying handle of their M16/M4s allowing both a magnified scope and the use of the iron sights. (One soldier was seen with an Iraqi sight unit from an RPG launcher rigged to his weapon). Soldiers so equipped indicated they enjoyed better target identification, better sight picture and alignment, and more accurate shot placement. Leaders praised the target detection/location ability of their squads. When asked about close quarters battle (CQB), the response was mixed between those who felt magnification hindered reflexive firing and those who had no trouble with it. Most soldiers expressed interest in an optic that could switch from CQB to magnified precision. When asked how much extra size and/or weight they would accept for such a capability, the consensus was that they would accept some reasonable amount of growth. The combination of M68 and AN/PVS-14 was cited in one group as a target weight limit. It should be noted that magnification is not universally desired but is a significant trend that should be addressed by the development community. It also supports the emerging Squad Designated Marksman concept.



On the ACOG, the most I have ever heard bad about it was the magnification makes it hard to shoot from a moving vehicle. I think someone summed it up best, some people are overly interested in CQB. Despite shooting being closer than previous doctrine, it still far enough away that magnification helps.

Link Posted: 11/2/2004 7:28:04 AM EDT

Originally Posted By ALPHA9000:
Does anyone know the average engagment distance? I would suppose that it is under 150 yards. If so....AIMPOINT ALL THE WAY! When chosing an optic I think that it needs to be designed for 90% of what will be done. Sometimes people look at that 10% of rarely done stuff and chose the optic around that. I would want an optic designed for the stuff I will most likely be doing.



I think you have it completely backwards. You are looking at the problem from the standpoint of how far out can the AIMPOINT be used and still be considered effective. At 150 yds, at dusk, it won't be that effective. When trying to distinguish a target in a cluttered environment at 150 yds, it won't be effective. Then start backing the yardages back -- will it work in these scenarios at 100 yds, at 50 yds?

The ACOG excels in these scenarios. The rub against it is it isn't effective at rock throwing distances. The real question should be, "Does BAC, coupled with proper training, make up for these shortcomings?" If the answer is yes, then it's ACOG all the way. If not, then either issue, or at elast let the troops procure their own favored CQB optic.
Link Posted: 11/2/2004 8:58:38 AM EDT

The ACOG excels in these scenarios. The rub against it is it isn't effective at rock throwing distances. The real question should be, "Does BAC, coupled with proper training, make up for these shortcomings?" If the answer is yes, then it's ACOG all the way. If not, then either issue, or at elast let the troops procure their own favored CQB optic.


How about Plan "C"? Issue them one of each with a La Rue mount.
Link Posted: 11/2/2004 9:15:53 AM EDT

Originally Posted By Submariner:

The ACOG excels in these scenarios. The rub against it is it isn't effective at rock throwing distances. The real question should be, "Does BAC, coupled with proper training, make up for these shortcomings?" If the answer is yes, then it's ACOG all the way. If not, then either issue, or at elast let the troops procure their own favored CQB optic.


How about Plan "C"? Issue them one of each with a La Rue mount.



Works for me. I mean if we can tell each to get both, why not tell the same to the good ol' DoD?
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