USMC Trijicon Squad Common Optic


I was just reading this morning about the new “squad common optic” the USMC is buying to replace the old reliable stand by RCO ( also known as the ACOG) for use on rifles and carbines.

Fielding to Fleet Marine Forces will begin in the first quarter of fiscal year 2021 and will be completed by fiscal year 2023.

The Squad Common Optic provides greater lethality compared to the existing system, the Rifle Combat Optic,” said Lt. Col. Tim Hough, MCSC’s Program Manager for Infantry Weapons.

The SCO is a magnified day optic that improves target acquisition and probability-of-hit with infantry assault rifles. The system comprises a noncaliber-specific reticle and incorporates an illuminated or nonilluminated aim-point. Because the optic is variable in power, Marines can identify their targets from farther distances than the RCO.

The SCO supplements the attrition and replacement of the RCO Family of Optics and the Squad Day Optic for the M27, M4 and M4A1 weapon platforms for close-combat Marines,” said Tom Dever, interim team lead for Combat Optics at MCSC.

Above from Matt Gonzales, MCSC Office of Public Affairs and Communication

So what are we to make of this bit from the USMC Press & Propaganda office?

The Marines are going to get a variable power optics to replace the ACOG. They see this as a more flexible optic solution for the boys to have on their carbines. I wonder how useful it will really be for the average user. I would bet the optic gets set at either its lowest or highest magnification setting and rarely zoomed in and out. The ” noncaliber-specific reticle ” is also something I wonder about. Have they come up with a version that kinda works with several proposed rounds? The Vietnamese have a saying, a man with 10 thousand talents eats nothing for dinner. I think a reticle with a BDC would have been a smart move. Its easy for even the most blase rifleman to use.

I guess we will see. The variable low powered optic has become the new belle of AR15 users who want optics over the last few years. It was inevitable that it made its way to infantry rifleman.


  1. Good article. I think a variable power optic is a great idea as I struggled with the fixed magnification of the ACOG in some situations. However, as you pointed out, I don’t think a ‘generic’ reticle is a good idea. They should have come up with a reticle based on the standard 62 grain round and incorporated BDC.

    But, maybe there is some genius to the reticle design that makes it viable without specifics.

  2. Generic reticle means they’ve got one unit for everything they want to mount it to, present and future. I get the thinking there.

    In the end what they’re getting will work. A concept I’d like to see fleshed out more is the zoom selection ability of the Elcan DR. The Elcan is big for what it is but the concept is worthy. If you want magnification you want it, not all those numbers you pass through to get there. Conversely if you want no zoom. With conventional tube and glass sights that’s not easy so this may wait for better electro optics and digital sights.

  3. Does this mean that they are going to surplus out the old ACOGs? Or are they going to have to spend 30 years cycling through Guard and ROTC units first?

    • Those ACOGs will be used until they fall apart.

      Which I understand. They’re bought and paid for already. Use and abuse them. Here’s the but…sell off a portion and partially, or possibly fully, fund the new acquisition.

  4. Yeah… No. It’ll be about like it is with 90% of the hunters out there, or the damn A2 rear sight itself: Nobody is going to take the time to adjust that bitch under fire. They’ll hold over, under, sideways, or whatever, but they won’t really make use of the capability.

    I think they got things about perfect with the ACOG, and until you integrate thermals/night vision into something in that size and weight range, you’re not going to really effectively improve it.

    I think I’m gonna have to go comfort my RCO, now that she’s obsolete. Poor thing…


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