It all started in 1986. Before it was “the rifle scope that changed everything”, the Trijicon ACOG was half a pair of binoculars.
It was in 1986 that Glyn Bindon looked intently at a pair of broken up binoculars and had an idea that would inspire the legendary ACOG. Glyn wondered if moving the prism in a rifle scope could make it more compact than the big bulky scopes on the market, after seeking advice from optical experts, whom all said it would be optically inelegant, Glyn ignored the naysayers and created a working battery free prototype.
Glyn incorporated tritium and found a way to move the prism without lubrication-inside the aluminium spherical seat in the aluminium housing, another feature that was predicted to fail.
What followed was the design and forging of the new aluminium shell that would be tough as nails while still being light and compact, many would later call the ACOG “over-engineered”.
The launch of the ACOG took place in 1987. From the very beginning “follow the light” had dual purposes. Once Glyn discovered that changing the scope’s prism maintained an excellent sight picture and designing around the path of the light created a lighter, more compact design, he chose to celebrate his faith in God by adding a Bible verse reference on the original ACOG’s housing: JN8:12
This refers to: John 8:12 When Jesus spoke again to the people, he said, “I am the light of the world. Whoever follows me will never walk in darkness, but will have the light of life”
The first models were not illuminated in daytime like most current ACOGs. They featured black crosshairs for daytime use and a tritium-illuminated red reticle at night, this model was known as the ACOG 4x32 TA01, the same modern-day model is currently used by the South African combat rifle shooters.
At this time, Glyn found difficulty trademarking the name Armson, so he changed the company name to Trijicon (a combination of “tritium” and “icon” with a “j” added to create the three dots. The patent on the ACOG soon followed on February 21, 1989.