Reviews

Initial Impression: Trijicon TA-110 3.5×35 LED ACOG

TA110 ACOG Right Side

As a retirement gift of sorts for my leaving the Air Force, my [awesome] wife bought this scope. The TA-110 is essentially a battery powered TA-11, which has been among the most popular ACOG models in the competition world due to its balance of longer eye relief and good field of view. I mentioned the TA-110 briefly in the Spring of last year, but I didn’t have plans to purchase one.

Originally,  I wanted to pick up the dual illuminated fiber optic model, the TA-11. I recommended that optic to a friend, and I was suitably impressed with it on his rifle. However, the more I thought about my real world uses (and not TEOTWAKI zombie apocalypse), I realized that I find more utility in user controllable battery illumination. This allows me to turn off the illumination when I need more precision (as opposed to the notable blooming of the fiber optic in full sun), and also lets me keep good illumination when lighting is poor. This question of battery vs fiber optic illumination was ultimately the deciding factor in why I went with the ELCAN over the TA-11 back in 2015.

I purchased the green horseshoe-dot reticle calibrated for 308. You may wonder why I would buy a 308 calibrated reticle and put it on a 5.56 rifle. The answer is that the 308 BDC is actually a closer match to 77gr SMK and 75gr TAP than the standard 5.56 reticle. That’s not to say that it’s perfect match. Some work will have to be done to determine actual holdover points, but it is closer. Using the 308 reticle also gives me the interesting option of mounting the optic on my M1A or 308 AR.

These are the specs found on Trijicon’s web site:

Magnification 3.5x
Objective Size (mm) 35mm
Bullet Drop Compensator Yes
Length (in) 8.0 in.
Weight (oz) 16.8 oz. w/out Mount
Illumination Source LED
Reticle Pattern Horseshoe Dot
Day Reticle Color Red
Night Reticle Color Red
Calibration .308
Bindon Aiming Concept Yes
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 With TA51
Housing Material Forged Aluminum
Batteries Single AA Lithium or Alkaline Battery
Battery Life Over 12,000 hours on setting #4 using supplied alkaline battery at 21ºC (70ºF)
Adjustment Increments (Range to Target) 2 click per in. @ 100m
Adjustment Range 40 MOA Total Travel
Illumination Settings 6
Dimensions (LxWxH) 8.0 x 3.0 x 2.6 in, 203 x 76 x 66mm

With the notable exception of using AA Lithium (or Alkaline) batteries, which last about 12,000 hours (about 500 days) on setting #4, these specs are almost identical to the TA-11. Setting #4, by the way, appears to be a great general purpose illumination level for overcast days and evenings. Setting #6 is extremely bright, as you will see in the photos.

The ACOG arrived in a nice hard sided case with egg crate foam. Upon opening the case, my immediate gut reaction was, “Ooooohhhhh Niiiiiiiicceee.” That instant positive feeling was admittedly lacking when I first received my ELCAN a couple years ago.

The TA-110 weights two ounces more than the TA-11 due to the battery housing. Trijicon supplied an Energizer AA Lithium with the optic. With the TA-51 mount, the total package weights 21.35 ounces. The scope is no lightweight by any means. For comparison, my ELCAN SpecterOS 4x weighs 18.85 ounces. I like that Trijicon saw fit to include retention lanyards on the turrets and battery cap.

Size wise, the TA-110 is a bit larger than my ELCAN.

ELCAN SpecterOS 4x next to Trijicon TA110

With the deletion of the fiber optic housing from the TA-110’s body, Trijicon has added a second forward position for mounting a miniature red dot sight like the RMR.

 

Important to me is eye relief, and the TA-110 delivers. I find it much more comfortable to get behind than my ELCAN, and the sweet spot seems much more forgiving. That’s not to say the SpecterOS is bad by any means, but the TA-110 is just excellent.

ThroughTA110

When it comes to illumination, the TA-110 is very bright. There is an off position between each of its six settings. This allows me to find the setting that I like, click one notch off of it to remove power, and then quickly get back to my preferred illumination level when needed. The illumination knob is large and easy to grab, though not quite as large as the Specter’s. I find the illumination on the TA-110 to be brighter than the ELCAN. The green reticle jumps out at me much better than the smaller red center crosshair of the SpecterOS.

I took some comparison photos at 11:30 AM and 4:45 PM. Unfortunately, the mid day shots were ruined by large amounts of glare (you can see it a bit in the photo above). The evening shots were better. The illumination on both is at full strength, and I used my iPhone 6s for these. It was my perception that the ACOG appeared just a bit clearer and brighter than the ELCAN under these conditions. However, after cleaning dust and debris from the Specter’s lenses, there is much less difference.

You will notice that the field of view on the SpecterOS is slightly wider than the TA-110. That was expected, and the difference probably isn’t enough to worry about. Something I haven’t quite figured out is why the photos through the ACOG to be more magnified than the ones taken through the SpecterOS, since the ACOG is 3.5x and the ELCAN is 4x. It is probably my own lack of skill with taking such pictures.

I mounted the TA-110 on my BCM 20″ upper and moved the SpecterOS to a 16″ BCM lightweight upper and set off for a range day. The TA-110 performed well, though I did run into the rather infamous issue of ACOG adjustments needing to be “knocked in.” I would make adjustments on the turrets and have to fire a few shots to see where they really ended up. I didn’t help matters by forgetting to bring an actual zeroing target with gridlines, so I had to improvise with Appleseed “Red Coat” targets.

I was able to squeeze a good bit of precision out of the horseshoe-dot reticle, especially with the ability to turn illumination off, but I do find the simple crosshair reticle of the SpecterOS to be more useful in that regard. The horseshoe-dot is built for speed more than precision. Against a bright sandy background on a sunny day, I had zero issues picking up the bright green illumination when turned up to max. In comparison, the ELCAN’s red center crosshairs looked red, but certainly not “OMG LOOK AT ME” bright.

I don’t want to talk group sizes, because I simply wasn’t prepared. My lack of practice lately showed in my shooting. I did manage a couple three shot groups in the 1 to 1.5 MOA range off a bipod or backpack, but they weren’t the norm. My positional shooting was poor, and I can tell that my muscles and joints are out of practice (and in need of stretching). I will report more after additional range sessions.

Overall, my initial impression of the TA-110 is very good. The TA-11 has a solid reputation behind it, so I see no reason that it wouldn’t apply to this one as well. It is not a lightweight optic, so I wouldn’t suggest it on any super light builds (maybe a TA-33, though).

 

 

 

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7 thoughts on “Initial Impression: Trijicon TA-110 3.5×35 LED ACOG”

    1. Honestly, they released it with very little, if any, fanfare. I only noticed last year while looking at their site for some specifications on the fiber optic model.

      Honestly, I feel like they are slightly behind the curve they have some solid competition in the rugged battery powered low magnification segment.

  1. I have been really enjoying your articles and the first I saw was on the Specter OS4x which was the first and only great in depth one I could find. Thank you very much. Then, you have to go and buy the TA-110, making that two optics I Have been looking at lol.
    In your opinion, which of the two would you go with? At the moment I can only afford one. I am also looking to do an offset MRD but wasnt sure if it would clear the battery (the line of sight) on the ACOG (I am a right handed shooter so I would have on right side/cant to left).
    I also read your article on low power vs fixed and this has also been something I have been mulling over. I only have an EXPS3-0 and magnifier and looking to get into optics but obviously due to money not sure where to go. Seems almost like LPVOs are “jack of all, master of none” type situations. I am looking for mine to not only be for plinking, but classes and home defense/self defense (and I guess the proverbial & hypothetical SHTF type scenario lol) and outside of a red dot, was wondering if LPVO or fixed w/ mrd is the way to go. Would you be able to give me some advise?
    Thank you very much for your time and your great insight with your blog. Have a great evening!

    1. Thank you for reading, I’m glad you enjoy my work!

      Yours is the constant struggle for everyone. What you ultimately choose is going to be a balance of cost, weight, and capability. Between the Elcan OS4X and the TA-110, I honestly lean towards the ACOG. I the stronger illumination, selection of mounts, and more forgiving head positioning of the 110 to be worthy trade offs over the slightly lighter weight and better range finding system of the Elcan. The reticle choices are a wash, since the ACOG has crosshair, horseshoe, and chevron reticle options.

      That said, what you pick needs to be based on your primary uses. If I were to mount a MRD, I would probably put it on top rather than offset. I don’t think the battery door would get in the way, but I prefer to keep everything in the center line.

      The fixed mag scopes really shine between 100 and 600 meters. Red dots really perform well from zero to 200. In the overlap range, 100-200, it’s a bit of a wash between speed and target identification.

      If you truly need a jack of all trades, I would probably lean towards the low peer variable. For about the same cost as the TA-110, you could get a 1-6x Accupoint, or a Vortex 1-6x Razor II. Weight is a significant penalty, but both of those would be fantastic choices.

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