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"First look at the Trijicon TA11 with Green Horse-Shoe Reticle!"

I had an opportunity to take a first look at Trijicon's new TA11 with the Green Horse-Shoe reticle and here are my impressions. I was told that this unit was the first one available and that production will not start until later this fall. Because I do not know its actual model designation, I will refer to it in this article as the TA11-GH.

The TA11-GH differences are superficially apparent: green fiber-optic pipe and larger knob caps covering finger-adjustable elevatino and windage knobs. The pattern reticle is also new.

The Trijicon ACOG is one of the definitive Type II optics for a fighting carbine, and the TA11 is the most versatile and quickest of the ACOGs for practical shooting applications to about 400/500 yards (depending on target size). I have written about the TA11 model before in my 2008 articles Fighting Optics for the AR-15 and Evolution of the 3-Gun Tactical Rifle.

For additional background on the TA11, here are exerpts from those articles.

The author engages 425-yard flash targets with a Trijicon TA11 ACOG, a compact and robust optic optimized for fast engagement of targets from 75 to about 400 yards.
Type II sights are low-power magnified optics with reticle features providing aiming points for distant targets. The Type II optic should not have external knobs to prevent loss of zero due to the knobs being bumped. They are optimized for 75 to about 400 yards. Type II optics are generally either fixed magnification in the three to four power range, or are variable power in the one to four range. The most common Type II optic is the Trijicon ACOG, in either the 4x versions (TA31, TA01) or the 3.5x version (TA11). The US Military realizes these capabilities in the Designated Marksman Rifle (DMR) and Squad Designated Marksman Rifle (SDM-R).

At very close range, Type II optics are much slower to acquire a sight picture than the Type I red dots. They can be stretched to 600 to 800 yards provided the target is large and the reticle provides sufficient bullet-drop compensation (BDC) features. These optics provide good target spotting and identification. Close-range speed can be improved by the addition of a brightly illuminated reticle center, since the brain is drawn quickly to bright objects. The TA31 and TA11 ACOGs have this feature, as does the Schmidt and Bender Short Dot.

Low-power variable-magnification Type II optics improve close-range target acquisition speed at their lowest magnification setting; the closer to true 1x the better. The goal of these variable-power scopes is to provide the speed of the Type I optic, but still the target ID and distance capabilities of the Type II optics. The price for this flexibility is paid in increased purchase cost, less durability, and more weight and bulk on the carbine.

The TA11 ACOG has more eye relief and requires less precise eye placement to obtain a sight picture compared to the TA31 ACOG in use by the US Military.
For small but practical targets, such as a ten-inch plates, the Type II optic will limit engagement distance to 350-450 yards, where the coarse BDC, thick reticle lines, and low magnification inhibit the ability to achieve the correct point of aim and a clear sight picture.

In practical shooting competition such as three-gun, the 3.5x TA11 ACOG is one of the most common choices. It is chosen over the 4x TA31 ACOG because the TA11 provides longer eye relief (2.4-inch vs. 1.5-inch), require less precise eye positioning to obtain a sight picture, and takes up less of the shooter's natural field of view when shooting with both eyes open. Both have the fiber optic and tritium-lit reticle which aids acquisition speed. The TA11 is easier to use when on the move or when shooting from awkward and improvised positions. The US Military uses the TA31 ACOG, however, shooters would be better served with the TA11 model. Market price on the TA11 and TA31 ACOGs are around $1000.