Is an ACOG [Trijicon] worth it?

BLUF (Bottom Line Up Front): For the military or law enforcement: Yes. As your preferred optic in a lawless scenario: Maybe. Any other reason than the above and you are wealthy: No.

Let me start out by saying this is NOT an attack on the Trijicon ACOG or any of their optics. They make some of the best quality and trustworthy optics in the entire world that customers count on to work in rugged environments where life or death decisions are made. However, most Americans will never find themselves (hopefully) in such a scenario.

As such, “Do I need an ACOG?” “Is an ACOG worth it?” are not the same questions as “Are Trijicon ACOGs the best?” “Are Trijicon ACOGs worth the money?”

Yes, of course we know that Trijicons are some of the best optics out there, but that is not what we are asking. We are asking if perhaps there is a better use for $1500 for the average AR15 rifle owner than Trijicon ACOG. We believe the answer to that is yes, considering most AR15s cost less than the optic.

Rule #1 Never spend more on an optic than the rifle.

This pretty much eliminates any .22lr from consideration for an ACOG. If you have a .22 and want to go plinking, we support you 100%, but please buy an ACOG clone. If you want to spend under $200, check here. Less than $100? Click here.

If you do not have at least a standard mil-spec AR15, meaning you didn’t splurge for the forward assist, dust cover, 1/7 twist, etc. you do not need a Trijicon ACOG. A quality, reliable rifle with iron sights that will work in all environments is more important than your optic quality. Do not be that guy with $2000 rims on a junker car.

Rule #2 Know why you own a rifle.

What is the primary reason you own a rifle? If the number one reason is not for some type of work or home defense, you do not need a Trijicon ACOG. If you are having trouble sorting why you own a rifle, place in order these common reasons: hunting, target shooting, just-in-case, self-defense, fun, work, investment, and family heirloom. If work or self-defense was not number 1, keep on moving.

Rule #3 Know your environment.

Okay, so you own a Daniels Defense with the primary purpose of self/home defense. Do you need an ACOG? Maybe. Consider your environment and where you are likely to need to use your rifle.

If you live in a heavily urbanized area, I would argue you are better suited to some type of CQC/CQB optic such as a holographic sight or red dot sight.

If you live in flat farmland, I would argue that a long range adjustable telescopic sight and a caliber higher than 5.56 makes the most sense.

If you live in hilly terrain or suburbs where you may need precision shots and magnification between 100-300m, then a Trijicon ACOG is probably right for you.

Analyze your environment and decide what makes the most sense. It probably is not an ACOG, but it could be.

Rule #4 Consider your budget and opportunity costs.

Opportunity cost is the cost when you select something over something else. For example, if I choose to major in Accounting, I lose the benefit of majoring in Engineering. On a more personal level, if I buy an ACOG, I lose out on what else I could have spent that money on. In our case that is probably range time, ammunition, rifle quality, and/or another weapon entirely.

Now if funds aren’t a constraint, you probably didn’t read this far and you certainly probably already bought an ACOG from Trijicon. However, if you made it to this, you are still undecided.

Consider your best use of $1500. The best defense weapon is one that works and one that you are proficient with. If you feel confident in your current rifle and your level of proficiency, then by all means pull the trigger and purchase your ACOG. You will not be disappointed. If you feel that maybe you need some more trigger time or rather have the peace of mind of having a higher quality weapon, then that is probably the right choice.

If you’re sure you don’t have the money to spend on a Trijicon, but still want an ACOG, check out our Best ACOG Clone Under $200 and our Best ACOG Clone Under $100. If you aren’t sold on the ACOG, but want a product that will perform like a Trijicon at 1/4 the price, check out the Best ACOG Substitutes Under $400.

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