Tag Archives: Elcan

Optic of the week: Trijicon TA01NSN ACOG

The TA01NSN ACOG is a classic at this point.  A compact fixed 4x scope with a bullet drop chart calibrated for M855 out of a carbine barrel.  People assume it is calibrated for a 14.5 inch M4 barrel, but every time Trijicon has given numbers it sounds like the Bullet Drop Chart (BDC) was based around a 16 inch barrel.

The main thing that sets the TA01NSN ACOG apart from the majority of the other models of ACOGs are the iron sights mounted on it.

The iron sights on this ACOG are more for emergency use, for example should you manage to break the ACOG, or for use in heavy rain at close distances, etc.

The front sight is adjustable for windage, the rear sight is not adjustable.  This front sight also has a vial of Tritium in it allowing it to be seen at night.  In the past, there have been people who expressed a concern about this revealing their location.  If this is a concern to you, the sight can be removed, or simply taped over.

I’ve found some of the TA01NSN ACOG iron sights to shoot massively off left or right, so you will want to check it out before you rely on them.

Older ACOGs have 1/3 MOA adjustment that requires a tool like a coin to adjust.  Newer ACOGs have a 1/2 MOA capped turret that is tool less.

The adjustment caps on the TA01NSN are not tethered.  On some other models they are.  When I was zeroing this old ACOG, the O-ring used to seal the elevation knob broke apart.  I notice this O-ring is amber, while ever other O-ring on the ACOGs I own (and on the windage) are orange leading me to believe that this was a replacement done by the previous owner.  You can see the failed amber colored O-ring in the picture above.

I have seen the adjustment cap threads cross threaded or stripped from abuse.  While ACOG scopes are tough, nothing is impervious to user error. & abuse.

ACOG adjustments can be very annoying.  First, don’t try to turn the adjustments to the extremes, that can damage the scope.  Second is that the scope adjustments can hang.  The scope is compact due to a prism and the adjustments rely on the prism moving against a spring.  This means that sometimes when you dial in an adjustment the scope prism won’t actually mode until you smack the scope or fire a couple of shots.  Normally this would be considered very unacceptable in a scope, but in this case it is considered a quirk of the compact tough ACOG.

The center of the TA01NSN crosshair is meant to be zeroed for 100 meters.  Then each hash mark represent a 19 inch width (a mans shoulder width) at the distances of 200 to 500 meters.  The very top of the bottom thicker bar is the 600m mark.

The 4x magnification aids in locating and identifying targets.  When used on a rifle with a fixed front sight base the shadow of the base will appear in the field of view.  Personally I don’t think it seems as bad as it shows in the picture, but I know it really irritates some people.

I took this opportunity to try the Elcan Specter DR in 4x mode and the TA01NSN side by side.  For speed of acquiring a target, or moving from target to target I felt they were the same.  I would say the increased eye relief of the Elcan may make it a far better choice for a .308 or other higher recoiling rifle.  But for shooting 4x on a 5.56 I didn’t feel one offered any significant advantage over the other.

A last point, the ACOG scopes have tritium illumination.  There are some newer models that use batteries.  The idea behind the tritium is to provide battery free illumination of the reticle in low light situations.  I’ve found that often when it is dark enough to use the illumination, I can’t see the target.  Since the half life of Tritium is about 12 years, some of the older ACOGs got gotten very dim.  Trijicon will relamp a scope for a price, but it will likely be more cost effective to sell an old ACOG and just buy a new one.

I really love the old TA01NSN, but now variable 1-X scopes are taking over that nitch.  While the newer 1-X power scopes tend to be larger, heavier, and far less durable than the venerable ACOG, the capability they offer are leading more people to choose that over the ACOG.  If you are primarily expecting to identify and engage man sized targets at 100-600 meters the ACOG is hard to beat.  If you need the fastest speed for up close, or precision sub-MOA shooting, look elsewhere.

Optic of the Week: Elcan Specter DR

I was going to review the Glenfield 4×15 scope.

But when I went to remove the cap on the elevation adjustment, the whole set of adjusters broke right off the old scope.  Guess that means I don’t have to say that I could see better with out this old cheap scope than with it.

So, I guess I’ll have to review some other scope, something less interesting.

The first thing people tend to notice about the Elcan Specter DR is the price tag.  With a MSRP a little over $2200 it puts well above the cost of the majority of carbine optics.  What isn’t as obvious until you pick it up is that is fairly heavy.  That said, nothing else offers quite the same capability.

The main draw to the Elcan Specter DR is the ability to quickly switch between 1x and 4x with the throw a of a lever.

It is very easy and quick to flip between the two settings.  A spring pushes the lever up and holds it in place.

Zeroing is easy, adjustments are in 1/2 MOA.  A coin or screw driver can be used to adjust the windage screw on the left front of the scope, elevation is adjusted via a dial that has a lock on it.

 The lock on the elevation wheel slides up and down to allow for adjusting elevation.

Glass clarity and brightness are excellent.  Raytheon Elcan uses great glass in these optics.  While the eye relief is longer than an ACOG, it is still rather unforgiving like an ACOG.

There is a combination reticle, 1-600 has hash marks for either 5.56 or 7.62 depending on the model.  700-1000 marked for use on squad automatic weapons.  On the civilian and military models the reticles differ slightly as the civilian models add circles in the 700-1000 markings.  The civilian Elcan Specter DR is also a different color tan than the military model.  The calibration is only accurate on 4x.

Using the scope at 1x with the red dot illumination it feels very much like using a reflex sight.  But if you move your head away from the sweet spot, it becomes very apparent you are not using a reflex sight.  Yet it is still quite usable with out ideal head positioning.  Keeping the optic on target during rapid fire is easy in both 1x and 4x.  The added weight of the optic even helps reduce recoil slightly.

It even comes with emergency sights for use in case the optic is damaged or heavy rain.

I found at 25 yards the iron sights hit on for elevation, but about 4 inches left.  I don’t know if they are adjustable for windage or not.  It looks like the front sight might be adjustable.

The reticle can also be illuminated, I found this illumination option photographed poorly doing the day, so I put my hand over the object lens so it would show up in the photo.

So many awesome features are stuffed in the Specter DR.  I owned a Gen 2 Military Model in the past, and got rid of it over 2 reasons.  First were the built in ARMS throw lever mount, the second the Elcan base.

In the past I’ve seen the levers on ARMS mounts break, and have had multiple issues with ARMS mounts not fitting on various firearms.  The first ARMS scope rings I had would either be too loose or so tight they couldn’t be mounted on my various firearms.  When I asked about this, I was told that my firearms were out of spec.  So I asked if my Armalite, Bushmaster, CMMG, Colt, Daniel Defense, S&W, and etc stuff was all out of spec.  Now this was some years ago, and I had this issue with several different ARMS mounts including the Elcan Specter DR I owned.  Now I own a set of ARMS rings that work fine on multiple brands of uppers, and I tried this Elcan Specter DR on multiple brands of rail (including some Russian stuff) and it has worked fine.  While ARMS thrower levers would not be my first choice, I could settle for them now.

I really don’t like the external adjustments on the Elcan.  It relies on a spring to take up all the slack.  I worry that grit or debris could get in the external adjustments throwing off your zero.

This is a really cool optic with a couple of built in weaknesses.  Price, weight, ARMS mounts, and external adjustments are what I could say are the downsides.  It is up to you if the capability of the Specter DR are worth it to you, but I’d bet the majority of people do not be using their carbines in a way that would get them their monies worth from the Specter DR.

Best, Worst And Meh Of 2016

Here we are again at the end of all things.  Nope, not Mordor, the end of HIGH PRICES!!!.or hillary  clinton, though it is the end for her as well.   It’s the end of 2106. No wait, that isn’t right. I jumped the gun a little.   It’s the end of 2016!  With the end of the year comes the “Best of” picks from things I was sent to review or purchased over the course of the year.  As before not everything on the list is necessarily new for 2016. It may be something that has been around for a while and this year was just now the time I got around to it.

List of products are in no particular order.

  1. The Colt Delta Elite 10mm

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No surprise there, you know I loved it.  It is a classic brought back from the past and updated.  It has the extra “custom production” features I like my serious carry 1911s to have and its something I had wanted for a long time.  it is accurate reliable and a real pleasure. No it does not have the supported barrel/chamber, but that has never been something I cared about. If I wanted a hotter round that this gun will handle, I will buy a revolver in .454 or something.

2.The Inland MFG M1911A1

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You know I’m a sucker for a 1911s, You also know its very hard to please me when it comes to production 1911s.   The Inland M1911 surprised me and exceeded my wildest expectation. Shown above is the NM model standing in for the USGI model.  The Inland model is just a GI  plain vanilla .45, but its a great value and a tough reliable gun.

3. The High Com Security PC & Plates

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Comfortable, flexible, well made, affordable and meant to be used and depended on. Highly recommended if you are looking for a carrier and armor.

4. The SCAR-H & Specter Optic

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I have already said a lot in the original review so I don’t think I can say much more. The H is a good battle carbine.  I still would not recommend it over a 762 patter AR  for every role, but it impressed me.  Further testing of it earlier in December further enhanced it’s status with me. The optic also got high marks from me though it is heavy and expensive to the point that I would just opt for a Leupold or Nightforce model if I was going to pay out that kind of cash.  Even though, it did everything expected of it and was very fast to get hits on target out to 850 yards and was clear as a winter sky.

5. Model 37 Ithaca/Inland Combat Shotgun

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An excellent re-issue.  Well made and as smooth and slick as a shotgun three times its price. The M37 is already a classic and it is nice to now get one done up like a military model.  This gun stood up to more abuse and ammo though it than is healthy for a grown man to fire in a 12 gauge.

Some products are still being tested even if I received them this year.  If something I have talked about earlier has not shown  on this list. it’s because I  have not spent enough time with it yet.   Not being on the list does also not make it bad. It just means it did not really stand out in my mind.  If I gave it a good review earlier in the year, that opinion still stands.    On the other hand, products listed below..

Worst of 2016

  1. “XM8”

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This is one makes it on the list but with a side note.   From what I understand it is still being tweaked by the shop that makes these.   This one worked about as well as the original.  Maybe worse.  I fired 1 round before things went south.  It just did not work.    Pathetic since the gunsmith and shop told the owner he test fired it before sending it to him.  No excuse for that.    I will update on this gun as the new year progresses. It may well get the bugs worked out of it and I hope it does just for the sake of the owner who is an awesome guy.  As it stands I am unimpressed by the shop turning these out after telling buyer it was test fired before it left.

Biggest “Meh..” of 2016

  1. KRISS Vector

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It worked fine.  Accuracy was not even close to my personal standards though.  A little over hyped in my opinion.  While the factory stock has a uncomfortable vibration that it translated to the cheek, I have no real complaints.   Though I fine no real reason to get excited either.     I would opt for an MP5 clone if I wanted something like this, or better yet, an AR15 carbine in 9mm.

2 H&K MK23 SOCOM  “Offensive Pistol “

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Of course it worked fine and it was as accurate as any glock.  In the final analysis, it’s HK’s attempt to make a M1911 more or less. Now its a bit of an oddity these days and has fallen out of the lime light in the world of “operator marketing .”   If you want one or you are a collector of this niche, you won’t be let down.     But, in the end it is  the “offensive pistol”    ’nuff said.   It is a .45 though so it has that going for it!