For the better part of a year, I’ve been agonizing over what optic to pick up for the Musket (my 20″ upper). The most obvious answer, of course, was an ACOG in either the TA31 or TA11 variety. I had long known about the SpecterDR optic, with it’s 1x/4x throw lever, but I am simply not prepared to drop $2K+ on optics yet. When I came across the SpecterOS line, I was immediately intrigued. But some research was in order.
For a long time, I planned to pick up a Trijicon TA11. I waffled back and forth between the horseshoe reticle or the crosshair, but I more or less knew I would get a TA11. The smaller and lighter TA31 is, of course, the issued optic to much of the US military, but I was never comfortable with the short eye relief rating. A 1.5″ eye relief may be ok for NTCH shooters, but I didn’t want to sacrifice a rear back up sight. The TA11 is longer and heavier, but offers what I perceive to be a better eye box. It is also .5x lower magnification, which I consider an insignificant difference.
Another option was the little TA33 compact ACOG. I had wanted one for years, as it provides great eye relief and reticle. But when I actually got behind one, I just found the field of view to be too small, almost like looking through a straw. Granted, it’s supposed to be used with both eyes open to mitigate this effect, but I was just never comfortable with it.
Additionally, a long known problem with the fiber optic illumination of the ACOG is that the reticle will bloom very heavily in bright sun, obscuring the target. This can be mitigated by taping something over the FO element, though.
When I found the Elcan, it seemed to be a nice little package. Eye relief is 2.7 inches, and it has a 6.5 degree field of view. It has a nearly 8mm exit pupil for a forgiving eye box. It also comes with a mount built in, so that won’t be an extra expense (though, the sources of the mount, ARMS, is a point of contention for many). The optic is battery powered rather than fiber optic, so bloom and washout are not concerns. I chose to go with the crosshair model, as it offers a more precise aiming point.
These were my basic stats comparing the two.
Field of view 6.5 degrees = ~34 ft at 100 yards
Magnification is 4x
Eye relief is 2.7 inches
Exit pupil is 7.8 mm
Weight is 17.4oz including mount and battery
Field of view is 5.5 degrees = ~28.9 ft at 100 yards
Magnification is 3.5x
Eye relief is 2.4″
Exit pupil is 10mm
Weight is 14oz without mount
But it’s not all sunshine. The ARMS mounts have a negative reputation in the shooting world. What I can’t figure out is whether that means they are actually of inferior quality, or if the owner of the company pissed off enough forum commandos that they decided to forever trash his company. For the record, though, I’d rather have ADM or Bobro latches- I just like those designs better.
The battery power will be an experiment. I certainly like the carefree illumination of fiber optic and tritium, but that also comes with the expense of replacing the tritium down the line at significant cost. Battery power lets me choose the brightness level (or turn it off completely). However, batteries can always fail. But, unlike a red dot, the etched reticle will still be preset. Lastly, the company is based in Canada, which makes any warranty work complicated- but I’ll cross that bridge when I come to it.
As far as the ruggedness of the optic, I’m not concerned. While the ACOG has an incredible reputation for toughness, I don’t believe the Elcan will be slouch. In fact, the Brits adopted it as their standard issue optic over the ACOG. It appears to be built every bit as tough.
Anyway, I should have it in my hands next week. I’ll report back with my first impressions then.