Photos by Jessie Indracusin
Low-power variable scopes with illuminated reticles have grown in popularity in recent years. With the magnification turned down to the lowest setting, which is typically between 1 and 1.5X, and the illumination on, they can be used to quickly engage close-in targets. With the magnification turned up, they can be used for distant targets as well as to positively identify potential threats.
The trend has been to increase the maximum power while keeping the low power as close to 1X as possible. While effective in concept, execution is considerably more complicated.
Trijicon became known for their excellent line of Tritium night sights. They soon expanded into optics with their rugged fixed-power ACOG line, which has become a standard with the USMC and is also used by the U.S. Army and other world militaries. It was only natural that Trijicon would want to add a tactically oriented variable-power scope suited for tasks from three-gunning to hog hunting to patrol rifles.
The 1-8X28 Accupower offers a true 1X at the low end of its magnification. The optic employs a 28mm objective lens and a 34mm tube. This gives it a field of view at 100 yards of 13.1 to 109.2 feet, depending on the magnification. Eye relief is listed at 3.9 to 4 inches. The scope weighs 25 ounces and is 10.8 inches in length.
The new 1-8X Accupower comes in either MILs or MOA in terms of adjustments as well as the spacing of the stadia lines on the reticle. The scope offers an adjustment range of 100 MOA of total travel.
Depending on the model, the scope is adjustable by either .25 MOA increments or by .1 MILs per click. To adjust the point of impact, just pull up slightly on the knob and turn it. When finished, push it back down, which protects against any accidental bumps to the knobs changing the point of impact.
When the scope is zeroed, unscrew the threaded top cover of the knob, slide the knob cover off, and turn it back on so the “0” on the knob aligns with the indicator. Once sighted in, you can make changes to windage and elevation and still be able to return to your original zero point.
The buyer has the choice of red or green illumination, which is turned on and off by a turret on the left side of the scope. This turret also controls the level of illumination, from 1 to 11, with the first three settings compatible with night-vision devices. The illumination is powered by a CR2032 lithium battery.
Changing batteries is a snap, requiring only that the turret cap be unscrewed by hand. The battery is rated to last 31 hours with the illumination set on maximum brightness, though at lower levels it will last considerably longer. Best practice is to turn the illumination off when not in use.
The reticle is set up on the first focal plane, which means the reticle does not change size in relation to the target as the magnification changes. The reticle itself is unique. At 8X, you can see the short stadia lines that bisect the crosshairs. These perpendicular stadia lines extend along the length of each of the crosshairs. The MOA model features stadia lines that are spaced two MOA apart, while the MIL model has them spaced two MILs apart. The MIL model also features additional shorter stadia lines that are interspaced 1 MIL apart between the first ten stadia lines on each side of the intersection of the crosshairs.
The segmented circle reticle features four semi-circles, each set off from a quadrant of the crosshairs. The purpose of the segmented circle is to help the shooter quickly center a target in the optic. This is especially useful at close range.
At 1X, the segmented circles are visible without illumination, though the crosshairs are very hard to pick up for most people’s vision. At 1X, the segmented circles perfectly frame the head of a silhouette target at a distance of 25 feet.
With the illumination on, the intersection of the crosshairs is illuminated along with the segmented circles. At five MOA thick, the segmented circles tend to overpower the intersection of the crosshairs. At low power, the intersection of the crosshairs appears as a dot, but as the magnification is increased to the higher settings, it resembles a slightly thick plus sign. Nevertheless, it does not interfere with precise shooting whether the illumination is on or off.
When set at 1X with the highest illumination setting, only the segmented circles are visible in bright daylight. Under those conditions, the scope needs to be cranked up to at least 3-4X before you can see the illumination at the intersection of the crosshairs.
I mounted the 1-8X28 Accupower onto an AR I was evaluating and spent an extended range session sighting it in and firing a few hundred rounds through it from the bench and offhand. All its features check out as described.
Developing a variable-power scope that provides daylight visible illumination is a very challenging task. The Trijicon 1-8X28 Accupower features solid construction and quality glass with usable features for those seeking a 1-8X variable optic.
Though the list price is $1,699.00, a simple Internet search will find reputable dealers selling it for several hundred dollars less.