Home Blog Why Trijicon Acog 4×32 Clones Equal Useless Crap

Why Trijicon Acog 4×32 Clones Equal Useless Crap

Trijicon Acog replica vs original version comparison
Which one is cheap replica?…. Yes, you can Google.

I am Spartacus!” a famous line uttered over and over in any good Spartacus movie tells of the time a group of Spartacus’ soldier all claimed to be him to save not only him but the idea of Spartacus and freedom. What does that have to do with ACOGs? Well, there is certainly a lot of companies out there producing ACOGs, or ACOG lookalikes. Unlike Spartacus’ slave soldiers, though, they are imitating the leader, purely out to sell a product.

There Is A Reason Behind Acog Price

The ACOG by Trijicon is an optic in a class by itself. Use by both the U.S. Army and U.S. Marine corps the ACOG has proven itself through a decade of war as being a precise, accurate, and tough as nails piece of glass. The Trijicon ACOG has also become one of the most popular optics among civilian shooters for the same reason it’s beloved in the military.

Quality costs money, but like a gun, an ACOG is an investment. A cheap copy of the ACOG is in no way an ACOG, and can’t possibly touch the level of quality an ACOG. There are many reasons why one should avoid such an optic, but the best reason is it’s like owning a Corvette with a Honda motor. Sure it looks cool but does it perform? I get it, ACOGS are expensive, but it’s an optic that’s proven itself through mud, rain, through the harshness of combat. What has the Chinese made knockoff done?

Look at the best optic companies on the market Eotech, Aimpoint, Trijicon, and even budget optic makers like Vortex. they all produce optics with their own style and brand. They are proud of what they produce and try hard to ensure that people recognize the shape and look of their optic wherever it is. No serious optic company is going to copy the design, or even the look of one optics company for their own benefit.

Why You Should Not Trust Clones

The makers of knock-off ACOG are simply trying to steal one style to impress those folks who may not know better. These optics are often cheap, made from thin metal and plastic. Durability issues will make themselves apparent after kind of hard use. They rarely hold zero over a long period of time, and if you try to use a heavy caliber like 7.62 you’ll have even less luck.

Depending on one in a life and death situation is not advisable, in fact, I would just trust iron sights if I was given the choice between a knock off ACOG and nothing. These optics are rarely waterproof, and they certainly are not nitrogen purged or shockproof. It’s not even economically possible to produce anything that even remotely performs like an ACOG for 30 bucks.

I typically own guns for one purpose or another, and if that purpose is going to be self-defense, hunting, or competition I’m not going to rely on something that is often built overseas for rock bottom cost. Competition is what I consider the lowest priority of the three tasks I listed and if I couldn’t afford a real ACOG, a near bullet proof optic, I’d rather settle for a cheaper, brand name optic, than a knockoff.

Ending Words

The ACOG is a wonderful optic. It’s hard to beat it when it comes to strength, durability, accuracy, and proven performance, so i understand why it’s so widely copied. However, there are quite many low priced optics available for AR platform ( see them here) so its not like you have no choice, but to buy an ACOG clone.

The main question I want to ask shooters out there, is would they rather have a Daniels Defense AR, made in America, or a Chinese knockoff AR? Which would they put their lives on the line with? An optic is no different. Is there any time I would suggest a knock off ACOG? Sure, if your gun has Mattel Toy company stamped on it you’ve found the right optic for it.




  1. Ive been told that around 1998 the Trijicon Acog optics cost around $100 but after many online games such as “call of duty” came out people started buying them up like candy so as anyone with a basic understanding of economics could tell you “price and demand” is the main factor on why they are so expensive, they are extremely nice optics and I don’t think a replica could match but I wouldn’t say that there is not a replica that could not stand up to the trijicon acog mainly you are paying for the name that Trijicon name is what sells

  2. Hey John,
    I have to disagree with you here. First and foremost, majority of first person shooters do not have a branded scopes on selection, they just have generic red-dots, because average gamer would not really care or differentiate between Aimpoint, ACOG, Vortex etc.

    Secondly, even when scopes in games were branded, average person would not pay attention to it and would be educated enough to not to associate scope game performance with real life performance. Players have favorite weapons in game, but how many players you know who have a favorite scope in a game?

    In addition, you need to understand that making a scope which is fog, shock, waterproof, has battery free illumination and ultra clear glass will cost money. There is a reason why ACOG is used by US marines when it can literally be difference between life and death.


  3. I agree with John. I learned about Eotech, ACOG etc. through games like battlefield and call of duty. Millions and millions play these games. I’ll guarantee these games made some of these scopes more popular!

  4. I have one and it works fine with me. I’ve got it on an SKS. so far no problems. If it ever breaks I’ll come back and leave an update.

  5. Oh I might add that the only complaint I DO have is there is no brightness adjustment. When in daylight it depends on however bright the outside is. At night there is only one setting and it’s pretty high. I should have got it red maybe because it affects my night sight. Only thing I can think of doing is draining the batteries so it will get dimmer that way.

    Of course if you know you’re going into a warzone i’d get something better like the real deal but for target shooting, hunting, it’s fine. For self defense it could work too, better looking through an illuminated sight then trying to look down iron sights at night. Then again I probably wont be using my SKS for home invasions, that’s what my handguns are for.

    • I have a vortex optic that lights up red with a battery. I have to say that without a 1-11 brightness adjustment, its nearly impossible to see on the highest setting in a dark environment.

  6. Cdubz:

    This is interesting. I must admit I don’t play video games that much so I do not know exactly how many rifle scopes in those games are branded and how many not. However, if the EoTech and ACOG name is clearly visible on COD or Battlefield games then yeah these brand can get some additional exposure.

    However you need to keep it mind that just because someone sees a brand in video game, does not make a rational person obsess over the brand when it comes to real life performance. It can be the case with teenagers or in other markets, but generally people who are into shooting are rational thinkers and majority of them make decisions based on product specifications and real world performance.

    Alex Johnson:

    Whether it breaks or not can heavily depend on how you use it, for what purposes and on what rifle. Try putting it to heavy caliber rifle, see how well it holds zero for longer periods. How it deals with rain, fog or after accidental impact? When hunting or even self defense scenarios you need to depend on optic 100%. If you are using it just for range shooting couple of times a month then you probably won’t experience these the durability issues, but in this case I have another question for you…

    Why Acog clone when there are so many other cheap optics from proven manufacturers? For red-dot, look at Bushnell TRS, even with UTG Bug Buster at least you know exactly what you get. Also slightly over $100 you can get really decent Nikon scopes like P-223 or Buckmaster II. It does not make any sense to buy from these unknown Chinese manufacturers.

    Make sure to let us all know, how long it takes for your clone to break. I would give it 4 months max if you are active hunter.

  7. Here’s what I’ll say; ultimately you get what you pay for. But when you start off in bold font with “There Is A Reason Behind ACOG Price” I would simply say pipe down because it surely is not that serious. One of the primary reasons behind the price of anything is that someone somewhere is willing to pay it, which is by no means indicative of quality. That’s the kind of mindset that leads a person to spend thousands of dollars more on an Yukon Denali vs a GMC Suburban and will give you a plethora of reasons as to which makes the Denali superior; mostly to justify the increased purchase cost to an almost identical vehicle which would do very little more than the latter. Cost by no means has a monopoly on quality but more so brand loyalist. Don’t get me wrong, by no means would I slap some airsoft ACOG clone on any of my rifles, but there most certainly are many lower priced optics that would not only suffice and compete, but also equally if not surpass the ability and ease to put rounds on target by comparison. Most importantly there is almost very little necessity for the common non operator, plinker and leisurely shooter to actually spend 1k + on an optic in my opinion. If you have the money to spend and it is just an absolute want, by all means do what makes you happy. Lastly it’s truly about the execution of the shooter. The basic fundamentals of marksmanship were built around iron sights and without mastering said fundamentals the cost of your optic is irrelevant anyway. A thousand dollar optic won’t make you a better shooter; it will just make your current level of shooting skills easier to employ.

  8. I don’t know if a ‘Corvette with a Honda motor’ is a good example. Honda makes some very good engines which would probably rival anything Chevrolet (Corvette) could produce..

    • John Smith:
      An American/Canadian made body with a Japanese engine? Really bad analogy. As a mechanic I have worked and seem many of those… the body and interior falls apart but the car runs darn near forever.

      Lets face some hard trues here. The ACOGs are pricing for a plethora of reasons, but the main reason(s) are because they are used by the military. The company doesn’t NEED average consumers and as such the “supply/demand” argument is null. They can charge whatever they want, and likely charge the average consumer the same or similar to what they charge the government. It is because of this contract that quality is such a big deal with them, if they weren’t tough as nails, the government wouldn’t buy them. The Chinese knockoffs are not ALL gonna be bad or low quality, they just don’t have to worry about 100% QC and they know they are not selling a battlefield-grade scope, just an enthusiast scope.

  9. First, the ACOG is an amazing optic. There is a reason the Army and Marines use it. All that being said, the civilian retail price is ABSURD. We can all go look and see what the government pays for equipment, including the ACOG. Here’s a FACT for you. The Marines purchased over 100k units, and those units included accessories like mounts, covers, killflash etc. They paid $600 each. Read it again, $600. The very same product that at this moment is available to us all on Amazon for $1200. That means that Trijicon can sell these with all the accessory goodies with them and make a profit at HALF retail price. The markup is enormous for an optic, especially considering that the optic has been around for coming up on 30 years. Granted buying in bulk gets better prices, but it has been discovered that most dealers are paying around $700ish for them. How many items do you think in the retail market make that kind of markup in that price range? Not many. Perhaps it isn’t hard for a manufacturer to make a .10 cent pill and sell it for $3 and make a huge margin, but we ar en’t talking about something that they are going to make hundreds of millions of in mass.

    There is a place for the clones, and that place is in civilian hands. There are quite a few clones that have proven to be good quality for their intended use. That use is paper punching range AR’s that the average person owns. If you really want to get into home defense, get something more like the EOTech holographic sight that allows for fast and easy target acquisition and less of a “scope” style optic. The average Joe isn’t a military trained shooter. The average Joe also probably fires less than 200 rounds a year, which doesn’t necessitate a $1200 optic. I have several AR’s, and I own both EOTech and ACOG optics. I also have a couple clone ACOG’s that work perfectly fine for what I use them for. If you can’t afford, or simply dont’ want to throw down a grand on an ACOG, do your research and find an acceptable clone that will work for you and ignore articles like this one that simply refuse to acknowledge not everyone is using their rifle in mud, water and war situations.

  10. I went out to the range the other day, My friend has a SBR with a true ACOG on it, I’ll tell you that thing is awesome, It’s super clear, and super accurate, The reticle is also very nice. No joke, i was nailing a 6×9 piece of steel at 500 yards with it, Out of ten shots, i missed my first, and hit the remaining 9, My buddy was amazed, (just because his eyes arent quite as young as mine 30 vs 36)
    He however was easily hitting targets at 300 yards with it.

    It made me want one, VERY bad, BUT! i almost NEVER shoot my AR, especially out to those distances. I did take it out after that and shoot irons out at 200, and 350 and did very well, this made me want a little bit of magnification even more. But like i said i almost never shoot my AR, thats wghy no optic is sitting on top of it. So i decided i’d buy a clone, i know its only got the fiber optic cable, no tritium or anything, the reticle wouldnt be as nice, and it lacks a few of the nice features, but reviews on some of the rip offs are pretty decent actually. I just cant justify myself spending a grand on a scope i’m almost never going to shoot.
    At 80 bucks for a knock off (not 30) i started looking at name brand ‘clones’ which are not clones anymore, they are scopes of their own, and a good ones gonna run me around 150, So i havent made up my mind, I dont mind paying for the name brand one, and have seen some pretty exhaustive reviews on those… Who knows…
    if i had a grand to throw away on a rifle i never shoot, … Well believe me, id be picking up a true trijicon

  11. I had one on my hog rifle (AR15 in 5.45×39) and it performed flawlessly for 3 years. I got it for $99, when they 1st came out, just to see. Gave the whole rifle to a friend that took over my “killing hogs for farmers” when I had to move on from it. STILL doing the job, 3 years later. Soooo…I guess I have to disagree. Hog hunting equals “Life and Death”, or you’ve never done it.