Tactical Skills for an Adventurous Life

Trijicon LED TA-110 ACOG: Raw Truth Reviews

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For whatever reason, I don’t think the Trijicon battery-powered LED ACOGs have gained as much traction as they deserve. Perhaps it’s the overall trend towards low-powered variable optics that’s hindering it, or maybe it’s the relative cost. Either way, the classic combat optic paired with an efficient LED emitter is a great combination, and I want to take a deeper look at it. In particular, I’m going to review my TA-110 ACOG with the horseshoe-dot reticle and green LED illumination.

If you want, you can click here and skip right to my final thoughts.

When you talk about ACOGs, most people think of the classic 4×32 model in either TA01 or TA-31 format. There are several other models worthy of consideration, though. The extremely lightweight TA33 3×30 and TA44 1.5×16 remain relatively popular in niche markets and are excellent optics in their own right.

Trijicon originally designed the TA-11 for use on heavier-recoiling machine guns. It also holds a place in my nerd-heart as my favorite scope on sniper rifles back when I played a lot of Medal of Honor: Warfighter, but it’s better known for its history as a popular 3-gun optic.

Before buying my ELCAN back in 2015, I went back and forth between it and the TA-11. At the time, I reasoned that the battery-powered illumination was more useful for my needs.

Still, I often suggested the TA-11 to friends in need of combat-worthy scopes. When the battery-powered TA-110 arrived in 2016, I knew I needed one.

I purchased the 3.5×35 LED model with my own funds early in 2017.

The LED-Powered TA-110 ACOG

TA-110 ACOG 3.5x55

This rifle scope is a perfect example of my categorization of Class II optics.

Straight off of Trijicon’s website, here are the specs for the LED 3.5×35 model.

Magnification3.5x
Objective Size (mm)35mm
Bullet Drop CompensatorYes
Length (in)8.0 in.
Weight (oz)16.8 oz. w/out Mount
Illumination SourceLED
Reticle PatternHorseshoe Dot
Day Reticle ColorRed
Night Reticle ColorRed
Calibration.308
Bindon Aiming ConceptYes
Eye Relief (in)2.4 in. / 61.0mm
Exit Pupil (mm)0.39 in. / 10.0mm
Field of View (Degrees)5.5
Field of View @ 100 yards (ft)28.9
Mount Comes WithTA51
Housing MaterialForged Aluminum
BatteriesSingle AA Lithium or Alkaline Battery
Battery LifeOver 12,000 hours on setting #4 using supplied alkaline battery at 21ºC (70ºF)
Adjustment Increments (Range to Target)2 click per in. @ 100m
Adjustment Range40 MOA Total Travel
Illumination Settings6
Dimensions (LxWxH)8.0 x 3.0 x 2.6 in, 203 x 76 x 66mm

The key specs I want you to keep in mind from this list is the battery life and weight.

The battery life of 12,000 hours works out to about 500 days of constant-on time. The specs mention that this time is on setting number four of six. I’ve found setting four to be a good all-around illumination, rarely going higher than that.

The TA-110 has a weight of 16.8 ounces without the mount and battery. With the included TA51 mount, it comes up to 21.35 ounces. I replaced the factory mount with a quick detach model from GDI that brings the total weight to 21.4 ounces.

The dual-illuminated fiber optic and tritium model weighs 2.8 ounces less since it doesn’t have the battery.

In comparison, my ELCAN SpecterOS4x weighs 18.5 ounces total, and the TR-24G with ADM scout mount is 20.9 ounces.

Size and Weight

At eight inches long, the TA-110 ACOG is not a small optic, either. It’s much longer than my ELCAN, though not quite as long at the TR-24.

Size comparison between the TA-110 ACOG and ELCAN SpecterOS4x
Size comparison between the TA-110 ACOG and ELCAN SpecterOS4x

Mounted on top of a rifle, you certainly feel the weight. This is not an optic for you guys obsessed with the lightest weight possible in your rifles.

It’s a beast for what it is.

Sure, it’s lighter than larger precision rifle optics and beefier variables on the market like the Vortex Razor 1-6×24 (25.2 ounces without mount), but it’s still not light.

I’m not opposed to weight on principle. Like I mentioned in my article on weight and balance, I’m fine with additional weight if it brings some needed capability to the table. So the question is, do I think this heavyweight ACOG does that?

Yes, yes I do. But that comes with the caveat that you need to fit this into a particular role. This isn’t the kind of thing I would want if I was clearing a house every day, but it’s a fantastic optic for the field. The extra weight brings along a level of durability that I don’t think anything else in my collection comes close to.

Battery-Powered LED Illumination

This is where the TA-110 ACOG sets itself apart from other models in the ACOG lineup.

Trijicon only produces two models with LED illumination: this one and the 4×32 TA02. That’s a shame because it’s really good.

One of the benefits of LED illumination is choosing exactly when you want the reticle illuminated and how bright you want it. There are many circumstances, especially for more precision work, where I much prefer zero illumination. This provides a nice crisp black aiming point. In others, I want the bright glowing reticle to draw the eye and stand out from the background.

The fiber optic models make this awkward. If it’s bright outside, the reticle was usually too intense for precision work. The reticle tended to bloom, particularly with the horseshoe and crosshair models. I never liked the idea of slapping electrical tape over a thousand-dollar optic, but it worked. The other issue was looking at brightly-lit targets while standing indoors, like through a window. In those circumstances, the reticle washed out and was difficult to see.

Illumination Settings

TA-110 ACOG illumination knob

The TA-110 ACOG has six illumination settings controlled with a knob on the left side. There’s an off position between each one, so you can get to the setting you use 80% of the time and then bump it off by one to save power and keep it at the ready.

Setting number six is extremely bright. I consider it retina-searingly bright for most circumstances other than bright backgrounds in full sunlight. Most of the time, I’m more than happy with setting number 4.

TA-110 ACOG full daylight
A view through the scope during full daylight, please note that this is not a perfect representation, as the camera picks up illumination differently than the Mk 1 Eyeball

This is the opposite of my ELCAN. The highest setting of the ELCAN is bright enough to get noticed and draw attention in normal conditions, but it’s nowhere close to the LED ACOG’s power. I took the following two shots side by side at dusk comparing the two.

The ELCAN’s illuminated portion os also smaller, consisting only of the center crosshair. The horseshoe portion of the ACOG is bolder, which makes it faster at the expense of precision. The crosshair model of the ACOG compensates for this while keeping a larger illuminated area.

I will admit that the ELCAN has a nice full-reticle illumination for low-light, though. The TA-110 ACOG only illuminates the center horseshoe and nothing else.

Optical Performance

The TA-110 ACOG is the brightest and sharpest optic in my collection. That says something because the ELCAN is famous for its glass.

The objective of the TA-110 is 35mm, slightly larger than the ELCAN’s 32mm. I wouldn’t think 3mm would make much difference, but the glass of the ACOG does appear brighter. That may also come down to lens coatings as well.

The TA-110 has a field of view of 5.5 degrees, only slightly less than the 6 degrees of the ELCAN, but it’s noticeable in the pictures.

Here’s the truth, though: comparing these two fantastic optics is an academic exercise rather than a practical one. At this level of glass, both are more than good enough for practical use. It’s not really worth splitting hairs between them.

Reticle Design

The TA-110 LED ACOG series has three reticle options: horseshoe, crosshair, and chevron.

As you can see from the photos, I selected the horseshoe option. This is really a personal preference more than anything else. I find that the horseshoe dot reticle puts an emphasis on speed at closer ranges.

Had I not already had a crosshair reticle with my ELCAN, I probably would have gone that route.

A lot of people get too wrapped around the axel when debating reticles, though. Yes, the horseshoe is not as precise from 0-200 yards compared to the crosshair, but once you hit 300 yards it all falls to the sharply-defined BDC hash marks.

Speaking of bullet drop compensation (BDC), I selected the .308 model ACOG. Why you ask? Because 77gr Mk262 fired from an AR-15 has a similar trajectory to M80 ball fired from an M240B.

It’s not an exact match, mind you, but it’s close enough for the quick BDC to do its job.

Sight Adjustments

The elevation and windage adjustments are in 1/2 MOA increments. The turrets are capped, and the caps themselves are wired to the main body.

This is not a precision optic, so it’s more of a set-and-forget kind of configuration. The manual has you zero for 100 meters and then use the BDC from there. The center dot is fairly large, so I don’t think you’d have any issues with adjusting your elevation zero up or down a little to “true” the BDC.

That applies to the horseshoe-dot reticle, of course. A crosshair model would be a different story.

Mounting Solutions

Trijicon TA-110 ACOG with LED illumination

Like most ACOGs, the TA-110 has a base designed around the M16 carry handle. If can still mount it in the carry handle if you wanted to, but I don’t actually know anyone who does. The scope came already attached to a TA-51 mount.

The TA-51 is perfectly serviceable and clamps to your 1913 rail using two large thumb screws, just like the classic carry handle. I got a screaming deal on a GDI quick release mount, so I went that direction instead.

And that’s a huge plus of the ACOG series: there is plenty of aftermarket support for mounts. You can get one from GDI, Larue, ADM, and others. That was one of my biggest gripes with the ELCAN, you were stuck with the standard ARMS mount that may or may not work on all of your rails.

Accessories

I would be remiss if I didn’t talk about some accessories. The big two are miniature red dots and anti-reflective devices (ARD).

The TA-110 also includes two spots to mount an RMR or another miniature red dot sight. One is over the ocular end, as with most ACOGs, and the other is where the fiber optic rod would usually be. I’m very interested in leveraging this capability down the line.

This ACOG did not come with an ARD in the box, which disappointed me. That’s an additional $40 expense on top on top of an already expensive scope. The ELCAN came with one already installed, for comparison.

TA-110 ACOG Real World Performance

ACOG TA-110 from the front and on its side

So aside from peering through this thing at the range or around my neighborhood, how does it work in the field?

I took this optic along to a small unit tactics class in the woods. Sightlines extended out to 150-200 yards at times but most “engagements” against pop-up targets happened within 75 yards. This is exactly the kind of environment Class II optics rule the day.

Compared to my teammates who were all running Class I red dot sights, I I had a much easier time locating, identifying, and engaging targets. Many of the targets were “stick-ins” partially exposed behind trees. The clarity of the ACOG, and the ELCAN for that matter, were instrumental to locating those targets.

The eye relief on the TA-110 ACOG is very forgiving, and my less-than-perfect positions on the courses of fire were never an issue at all. To be fair, I also didn’t have much trouble with the shorter eye relief of the ELCAN, but the TA110 was just easier.

The green illumination never got lost in the woodland terrain, which is something I know people worry about.

The Final Word

When I received my ELCAN, I distinctly remember being a little…let down. For the amount of money I had spent on my first higher end optic, I guess I was just looking to be more wowed. I do really enjoy the optic, but I just remember having to “get there” first.

That was not the case with the TA-110. When I opened the nice hard-sided case it came in, I let out an audible, “Ohhhh Niiiiiiiiice!”

THE DEFINITE PRO COLUMN:

  • Amazing optical clarity and brightness
  • Good field of view, but not best-in-class
  • Very common battery with a great lifespan
  • Outstanding illumination
  • Usable ranging system
  • Built tough enough for armed conflict
  • Wide selection of mounts and accessories

THE “MEH” COLUMN:

  • At 21.4 ounces with GDI mount, we’re clearly into the same weight territory as low power variable optics but without the variable capability. I could easily put the weight in the “Cons” column, but I personally think the weight tradeoff is worth it for the world-class durability and extended eye relief
  • Did not include an anti-reflective device (ARD) in the package

THE DEFINITE CONS

  • None (unless you think it’s too heavy)

The Final Word: Should You Buy It?

As far as Class II combat optics go, this is king of the hill as far as I’m concerned.

Related Content Alert
I’ve made a lot of references to Class II and Class III optics in this post I’m deriving these from my own classification system. I definitely suggest checking out my article on rifle optic selection.

That said, do you really need something like this? I’m not so sure. The low-power variable optics that comprise Class III optics have gotten really good in the last several years. Trijicon’s own Accupower 1-8×28 costs about the same amount of money and provides a whole lot of capability, though at an increased weight penalty.

I don’t think Class II optics like the TA-110 ACOG are obsolete by any means, but they seem more geared towards specific niches. In particular, they’re for people who want a lighter-weight option, relative to variables, who need enough magnification to aid with target identification but not so much that it slows them down. In my opinion, that’s a fairly narrow audience compared to a quality variable optic.

Would I buy this again over one of those variable options? Probably, but only because I’ve gotten enough experience to know exactly how I’d want to employ an LED ACOG.

As always, thanks for reading and I hope you found this review useful. Let me know your thoughts in the comments!

Tene et Consta

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