Best ACOG Clones and Alternatives: Top 4 Picks Reviewed

ACOG (Advanced Combat Optical Gunsight) is an acronym familiar to almost any serious shooter.  The first ACOG sight was brought to the marketplace in 1987 by Trijicon and has become an accepted standard for combat sights. 

The original Trijicon ACOG sight design was specific to the M16A1 with a carry handle.  However, later models incorporate modified mounts for a wide array of weapons systems.

Trijicon ACOG vs Other Optics…

Many people wonder why a thirty-plus-year-old optical design remains the standard against which we measure most other combat optical systems.  The simplest answer is it is the best.  That answer doesn’t satisfy some people, so we must look at the ACOG system more closely.

The ACOG is Tested and Proven

Nothing beats a solid record of performance.  Trijicon and the ACOG design certainly have a proven record.  Thirty years of combat in some of the toughest conditions and situations imaginable are the foundation on which the ACOG reputation stands. 

The ACOG system has been with the U.S. military in every conflict since its introduction.  Thousands of combat veterans know the ACOG and can attest to its reliability and its worth. 

A Simple Design for A Tough Job

Taking any piece of equipment into a harsh environment demands functionality and reliability.  The ACOG design incorporates the concept of simplicity to the core.  For example:

  • Battery-free illuminated reticle – The Trijicon ACOG design uses a tritium light source to illuminate the reticle.  Using tritium for a light source means no batteries, no battery changes, no dead batteries, and no useless optics. 
  • Fixed magnification eliminates sensitive internal adjustment mechanisms – Fixed magnification scopes are inherently more reliable.  The mechanisms required to move fragile optics inside scopes are susceptible to damage.  Fixed magnification optics tend to be tougher and lighter than variable magnification optics.
  • Bullet drop compensation reticle – The ACOG’s reticle provides bullet drop compensation for the shooter’s caliber.  Typically, ACOG scopes are calibrated on the reticle for the military 5.56 x 45, 55-grain FMJ bullet.  However, Trijicon now supports a wide array of bullet drop compensated reticles for other calibers and bullet weights.
  • The Bindon Aiming Concept – Glyn Bindon, the Trijicon founder, developed the “both eyes open” aiming system.  Using an ACOG and keeping both eyes open when aiming allows a much wider field of view.  The shooter’s dominant eye will focus on the illuminated reticle. The shooter’s other eye sees the target, the background, and any peripheral action. 
  • Quality in every aspect – Trijicon is known for the quality of the materials and the ACOG system’s optics.  The attention to detail during the manufacturing process ensures that every ACOG maintains the highest level of quality. 

So Why Not Just Buy a Trijicon?

For many of us, that would be the obvious choice.  However, the level of quality and durability of the Trijicon ACOG doesn’t come without a hefty price.  The adage, “you get what you pay for” holds true.  If you want the best, you pay the price. 

Most shooters will never face the kinds of conditions that a Trijicon ACOG can endure.  The common-sense solution is to find a less expensive optic that performs almost as well as an ACOG.  The decision is a matter of compromise and tailored to each shooter and their needs.

My Compromises – A selection of ACOG Clones and Alternatives

Many scope manufacturers have “ACOG Clones” in their product lines.  I looked at some of these products and have chosen as a reasonable compromise in price and features.  In the end, every shooter must find the optic that best fills their needs and expectations. 

It is hard to find a true clone of an ACOG.  Tritium is a radioactive material that requires special permits and techniques that many scope manufacturers aren’t willing to pay to use.  However, there are scopes on the market that are similar in their construction, design, and operation to the ACOG 

My list is not ranked.  Each of these ACOG style scopes has features and functions that make them a standout in the ACOG clone area.  Each of the optics on my list also has its disadvantages to consider. 

A Quick Comparison of Clones and Alternatives

Here is a quick comparison of my choices and the Trijicon ACOG features before we look at each of my selections.

Feature Trijicon ACOG Vortex Spitfire Sig Sauer Bravo 4 Crushhunt 4X Fiber Optic Scope Monstrum 3X Marksman Prism Scope
Battery-Free Yes No No Yes Mo
Magnification 4X 3X 4X 4X 3X
Reticle BDS Chevron BDC – MOA Horseshoe-Dot Chevron Circle and Dot
Length 5.8” 5.5 inches 6.3 inches 5.8 inches N/A
Weight 15.1 oz. 15.4 oz. 19.3 oz. 15 oz 17 oz.
Eye Relief 1.5 inches 2.8 inches 2.2 inches 1.5 inches 3.5 inches
Warranty Lifetime Lifetime Lifetime Limited Limited

Best ACOG Alternatives: My Picks

The Vortex Optics Spitfire 3x Prism Scope

The Vortex Optics Spitfire 3x Prism Scope

Vortex Optics is always somewhere on my list of optics, no matter the category or the style.  Vortex simply builds great products.  The Vortex Optics Spitfire 3X prism scope stacks up well with the Trijicon ACOG. 

Like the ACOG, the Spitfire 3X is a fixed-power prism scope.  The Vortex Spitfire is rugged and durable for long life under extreme conditions.  Some of the outstanding features that I like about the Vortex Spitfire prism scope include:

  • Etched Reticle – Etching the reticle onto the prism in the Spitfire scope ensures that even if the battery fails, you can still use the scope.  Dependability is a key issue and ensuring that your optics remain useable under any situation is critical. 
  • Red and Green Illumination Options – The Vortex Spitfire scope offers the choice of red or green illumination.  Whatever your preference, the Vortex Spitfire scope delivers.  The red or green reticle colors each have five intensity adjustment levels.
  • Wide Windage and Elevation Adjustments – Each click on the windage and elevation turrets changes the point of aim by ½ MOA.  In total, the windage and elevation adjustments can cover 120 MOA. 
  • Battery Life – When set to the lowest intensity level, the Vortex Spitfire boasts a 3,000-hour battery life.  At the brightest setting, the rating on battery life is 250 hours.  The Vortex Spitfire uses a CR 2032 battery. 
  • Tough Construction – The Vortex Spitfire features Vortex Optics multi-coated lens system to ensure maximum light gathering and transmission.  The coatings also protect the optics from environmental damage and reduce glare.  The single-piece chassis construction provides rigid support.  O-Ring seals and nitrogen purging make the Vortex Optics Spitfire scope waterproof and Fogproof.

The Pros

  • At one-third of the Trijicon ACOG price, the Vortex Optics Spitfire is still pricey but well worth the expense.
  • 3X magnification makes the Spitfire useable up close as well as at a distance.
  • The Vortex Optics BDC reticle makes longer range shooting simple and easy
  • You can’t beat the Vortex Lifetime warranty.

The Cons

  • The price is still on the high end of what average shooters can afford
  • The eye-relief is a bit short

My Thoughts on the Vortex Optics Spitfire 3X Prism Scope

If you can afford the Vortex Optics Spitfire 3X prism scope price, I recommend putting one of these on your rifle.  Short of being dependent on a battery for illumination, the Spitfire will perform at or near the same level as the Trijicon ACOG. 

Last update on 2020-11-29 at 22:52 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API

Sig Sauer Bravo 4 4X

Sig Sauer Bravo 4 4X

Sig Sauer doesn’t just build fine pistols.  They also manufacture high-quality optics, including the Sig Sauer Bravo 4 4x scope.  Innovation is part of the Sig Sauer tradition.  The Sig Sauer scope line also carries on this tradition of innovation.

Many shooters who mount the Sig Sauer Bravo optic consider it to be the best ACOG clone on the market.  Sig Sauer has built some unique and effective innovations into the Bravo 4 that qualify it as a top performer in the field of combat optics.

  • A Great Reticle – The Sig Sauer Bravo 4 has a horseshoe dot reticle that is also bullet drop compensating.  This reticle style makes target acquisition in CQB situations quick and easy while allowing shooting longer distances easy and reliable.
  • Integral Picatinny Rail Mount – No need to purchase separate rings to mount the Bravo 4.  The integral mounts are tough and machined as part of the optic chassis for rigid mounting to ensure stable and reliable zeros
  • Built Tough for Tough Conditions – Solid one-piece construction utilizing mil-spec aircraft grade aluminum ensures a scope that can contend with the most extreme conditions.  The Bravo 4 is submersible to 12 feet and fully Fogproof.
  • Twenty Illumination Setting – You will find an illumination setting to fit any light conditions your encounter.  The Bravo 4 is also night vision compatible. 
  • Battery Life – The Sig Sauer Bravo 4 uses a Cr2 battery to operate the illumination system.  Long battery life is a feature that is always appreciated.  Sig Sauers motion-activated illumination system also saves battery life. 
  • Megaview Field of View System – Sig Sauer has engineered its Megaview system to provide the widest field of view on the market.  The Bravo 4 optic offers a 53-foot field of view at 100 yards.  The Trijicon ACOG manages only a 36.8-foot field of view at the same distance.

The Pros

  • The field of view is amazing and beats any other scope in this class
  • Tough and durable.  The single-piece construction with integrated mounts creates a rigid and dependable system.
  • The clarity and light transmission of the Bravo 4 are unparalleled.
  • Easy to mount, easy to adjust, and easy to acquire targets

The Cons

  • If the battery fails, you lose the reticle as well.
  • The motion-activated reticle can lag if the rifle moves very quick

My Verdict on the Sig Sauer Bravo 4

Sig Sauer has a great contender against the Trijicon Acog in the Bravo 4 optics.  However, as we wrote this article, rumors were flying that Sig Sauer would discontinue this optic.  Retailers seem to still have plentiful supplies in stock, but if you decide the Sig Sauer Bravo 4 is your choice, don’t wait too long. 

Last update on 2020-11-26 at 08:59 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API

Crushunt 4X Red Fiber Optic Scope

Crushunt 4X Red Fiber Optic Scope

Not a well-known brand name Crushunt offers an ACOG clone for a budget price that rivals anything on the market.  If you want an ACOG clone that has the look of a Trijicon ACOG, the Crushunt 4X Fiber Optic scope may be a great choice for your rifle.

The only thing different is the lack of tritium as an illumination source.  The fiber optic that illuminates the reticle gathers light from ambient sources.  Using ambient makes the scope great during daylight hours but not so much at night.  However, the other features that Crushunt includes with this optic make it a great choice for a budget scope.

  • Glass etched reticle – It is unusual to find a budget scope in this category with an etched glass reticle.  The lack of a battery-powered illumination system makes an etched reticle almost mandatory.  The combination of the fiber optic illumination and the glass-etched reticle makes for quick and accurate sight acquisition.
  • 32mm Objective Lens – The slightly larger objective lens increases the clarity and light gathering ability of the Crushunt optic. 
  • No Batteries Required – The use of a fiber optic light source eliminates the need for batteries. The downside to no batteries is the lack of nighttime illumination for the reticle.
  • Waterproof, weatherproof and fog proof construction – The Crushunt 4x fiber-optic scope is well built and rugged.  The glass is multi-coated to reduce glare and increase light gathering. 
  • ACOG Style chevron reticle – If you are looking for an ACOG style chevron reticle, you can find it in the Crushunt 4x fiber optic scope.  Chevron reticles are known for fast and easy target acquisition, and precision shot placement.
  • Includes an integral Picatinny rail mount – The 20mm Picatinny rail mount is integral to the Crushunt optic chassis.  Integral mounts mean no additional mounting points to work loose and a more solid feel.

The Pros

  • During the day, the illumination is bright and clear
  • Well-built and durable.  All aluminum construction gives this scope a solid, well-built feel
  • This scope is an affordable option for the average shooter.  Great features without a hefty entry price.
  • Reliable fiber optic illumination eliminates batteries and battery changes

The Cons

  • No illumination after dark.
  • Short Eye relief

A Budget Option that Has Great Features

If night shooting is not part of your routine and you want a scope that looks and works like an ACOG, the Crushunt 4x Fiber Optic scope may be a great choice.  The features available on this optic and the price point make this one of the best choices for a budget option ACOG clone. 

Last update on 2020-11-26 at 08:59 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API

Monstrum Marksman 3X Prism Scope

Monstrum Marksman 3X Prism Scope

Another budget entry into our selection of ACOG clones and alternatives is the Monstrum Marksman 3X prism scope.  The Monstrum Marksman scope doesn’t have an ACOG look, but it performs like an ACOG and offers many of the same features.

One option that Monstrum offers is the option to purchase the Marksman optic in either black or flat dark earth.  If you operate a flat dark earth AR, you can keep your color scheme with your optic.  The flat dark earth color may not be a major concern for most people, but it can be a nice option in some cases.

  • The clean low profile looks – The Monstrum design is sleek and efficient.  The design keeps the overall profile of the Marksman scope low and close to the rifle.
  • Great for midrange target acquisition – 3X magnification is great for midrange target acquisition.  You can still shoot closer in, and the 3x magnification will take you out far enough for hunting.
  • Glass prism optics for exceptional clarity and light gathering – Prism scopes are known for their optical quality in small packages.  The Monstrum Marksman is no exception.
  • The Most Generous Eye relief on our List – The Monstrum Marksman has the longest eye-relief of any scope on our list.  The long eye-relief offers more options for mounting your scope.
  • Etched reticle – The reticle is etched onto the glass.  An etched reticle allows the shooter to use the scope without any illumination should the battery fail. 
  • Dual Color Illumination – The illumination can be set to either red or green based on your preference.  Multiple illumination intensities allow for any light conditions

The Pros

  • Well-built and rugged construction.  Feels solid out of the box and the supplied mounts are tight.
  • Clear images and great light gathering ability.   The reticle is clear and sharp
  • Fantastic features for a budget price
  • The etched reticle is clear even without the illumination.  Great way to save batteries
  • The low profile is great on top of my AR

The Cons

  • Won’t co-witness with the sights in my rifle with another riser
  • The battery life may be a little short

A Scope in My future

I am currently in the first phases of a project rifle.  The project is to convert a Hi Point 9mm carbine into a bullpup style stock.  Part of the project includes mounting an ACOG clone on the rifle.  Unless something drastic changes, the optic will be a Monstrum.  The Monstrum Marksman 3X prism scope is leading the list as of now.

Monstrum P330-B Marksman 3X Prism Scope

  • Next generation prism sight with 3x magnification and 30mm objective lens, for lightning fast target…
  • Features a glass prism optical system rather a refracting lens system like traditional scopes,…

Last update on 2020-11-26 at 08:59 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API

ACOG Clones – The Budget Wise Option

If an ACOG style optic is your choice, there are many options from which to choose.  The scopes on my list may not fill your needs.  However, I hope that what you have learned from this article helps you make the right choice for your situation.  Be safe and shoot straight.


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