1981—THE VERY BEGINNING (THE PATH TO TRITIUM-POWERED OPTICS)
Glyn Bindon, at the time an aeronautical engineer at Ford Motor Company who had worked previously on the U.S. Navy’s F-8U Crusader and other NASA projects, was visiting a family friend with his brother in South Africa in 1981.
His brother, had a friend who made gun sights. Specifically, the tritium-illuminated red dot Armson OEG.
This friend needed a salesperson to launch the product in America. Glyn, who had experience hunting and plinking, decided to give it a shot as a small “side job.”
1983—ARMSON COMES TO AMERICA
Glyn’s first Armson sale was for six pieces. Then 12 pieces. The Armson OEG red dot was similar to the original single-point used in 1970 Son Tay raid in Vietnam, but with more robust features and a variety of mounting systems for popular rifles and shotguns.
Armson then supplied Glyn with the first tritium-illuminated gunsight, from Armson OEG, available for sale in stores in 1983. At the time, Glyn ran sales and warehousing out of the family house, with his children helping.
1985—TRITIUM POWERS Trijicon INTO THE FUTURE. (AND OVERWHELMS THE BINDON FAMILY GARAGE.)
Armson OEG sales continued to grow. And the Bindon family garage continued to be overwhelmed. Yet, Glyn wasn’t about to leave his job at Ford Motor Company, which he had loved since 1972.
In 1985, Glyn introduced the world’s first tritium-reticle riflescope—the Spectrum Riflescope—to the general public, as well as the world’s first commercially available tritium-illuminated iron sights for handguns: Bright & Tough™ Night Sights.
At the same time he was considering a company name change, and came to create the name Trijicon. The meaning behind Trijicon stems from the combination of two words: "Tritium" the key element in the company's innovative illumination technology, and "icon" meaning a picture or image. The "j" was added to combine both words to form Trijicon. Additionally, the "iji" in Trijicon mimics the "three-dot" design of the Bright & Tough™ Night Sights being manufactured.
1987—THE Trijicon ACOG® IS INVENTED
For days, possibly weeks, an opened pair of binoculars sat on Glyn Bindon’s work bench. (He would often take apart optical technologies, dissect them and explore them.) This one in particular gnawed at him.
Glyn wondered if moving the prism in a riflescope (much like in a pair of binoculars) could make the riflescope more compact than the big, bulky scopes currently on the market.
Short answer: it could. In fact, it revolutionized riflescopes. (And continues to do so to this day.)
In 1987, Trijicon introduced the TA01 4x32 Advanced Combat Optical Gunsight (ACOG®), which was included in the U.S. Army Advanced Combat Rifle program almost immediately.
This implementation by the U.S. Army was just a small hint at what would soon become a life-changing partnership with the U.S. Military.
1988–1994—Trijicon PRODUCTS BECOME “COMBAT PROVEN”
In 1988, Trijicon Bright & Tough™ Night Sights were adopted by the FBI on the SIG automatic. Then, Trijicon products were used in service in Operation “Just Cause” in Panama.
Then the military partnership started to ramp up. Trijicon sights were used extensively in Operation “Desert Storm” (including many Armson OEGs used by the Marines).
ACOG innovation continued as Trijicon launched the ACOG® 3.5x35 in 1992, which introduced the Bindon Aiming Concept (BAC). (Which couldn’t be trademarked but was discovered by founder Glyn Bindon.)
Bindon Aiming Concept
The U.S. Navy SEALs started to test the new ACOG 3.5x35 with great fanfare, while the product was officially adopted by German GSG9 SWAT on SIG 550 rifles, just as other ACOG magnifications were introduced: 1.5x16, 1.5x24, 2x20, and 3x24.
This was when Gly Bindon finally decided to leave Ford for this “side gig,” which had moved out of the family home into a 2,000-square-foot warehouse.
U.S. Navy SEALs from SEAL Team 8 train with M4A1 carbines in Kuwait, 1998. DoD photo by JO2 Charles Neff, U.S. Navy
Based on the overwhelming success of the ACOG 4x32 riflescope—both in testing and in theater—the U.S. Special Operations Command purchased 12,000, choosing the TA01 as their official scope for M4 carbines. This was the first official optic enhancement of the M16 family by the U.S. Military.
Yet Glyn and his Trijicon team kept inventing.
In 1996, Trijicon launched the 1x24 Reflex Sight, which was adopted by the U.S. Special Forces for the SOPMOD M4 Carbine kit.
In 1996 and 1997, the Israeli Special Forces purchased 5,000 ACOG 4x32 riflescopes for their designated marksmen.
Word was getting out. Yet even as Trijicon was busy meeting the needs of the U.S. Government and its allies, a new audience emerged that required accuracy, and tough-as-nails ruggedness.
1998–2003 Trijicon GOES HUNTING
Glyn Bindon and his family grew up hunting, so they understood the need for accurate riflescopes that could take a beating (either in the back of a truck or on a safari in the middle of nowhere).
So, it was only natural that, in 1998, Trijicon introduced the Trijicon AccuPoint® 3-9x40 dual-illuminated riflescope with hunters in mind, which features BAC rapid target acquisition.
In 2000, the AccuPoint® line expanded with the 1.25-4x24 model riflescope, designed to help safari hunters.
During this time, Trijicon continued to support tactical needs of the military and 2nd Amendment supporters. The TriPower® tactical sight—the industry’s first triple-illuminated reticle—was launched in 2002.
And in 2003, SAAB Bofors Dynamics chooses the Trijicon 2.5x20 ACOG® sight for its new NLAW advanced one-man weapon systems.
A soldier is pictured aiming a practice NLAW with a Trijicon 2.5x20 ACOG® optic. United Kingdom MoD Photo | Image sourced from public domain
SEPTEMBER 2003 – THE LOSS OF A VISIONARY
In September 2003, Glyn Bindon, founder of Trijicon, died in a plane crash in Alaska. He was not able to see his invention skyrocket its way to the top of the industry; however, his son Stephen saw to it that Glyn’s vision for the company continued.
As a visionary, however, Glyn was not finished. He had recently expanded the company’s manufacturing footprint in Wixom, Michigan, hoping to utilize a portion of the new building for Trijicon and rent the rest of the footprint. This bold move to expand would come in handy, as Trijicon would soon have no need to find a tenant.
2004–2005 “THE OFFICIAL RIFLE COMBAT OPTIC (RCO)” OF THE U.S. MARINE CORPS
U.S. Marines zero their weapons systems U.S. Marine Corps photo by Lance Cpl. Dexter S. Saulisbury/Released
It took 18 years to produce and sell 100,000 ACOG® 4x32 riflescopes, from 1987 to 2005. It then took only 18 months to manufacture the next 100,000. The reason? The ACOG TA31RCO, based on the TA31F, becomes the first-ever official Rifle Combat Optic (RCO) of the US Marine Corps.
That next year, the 100,000th 4x32 ACOG® riflescope was produced,
along with the new 2.5-10x56 30mm tube AccuPoint variable powered riflescope.
2007–2008 SMALL NEWS. THEN BIG NEWS.
U.S. Army Staff Sgt. Kyle R. Petko uses his weapon's optic lens to scan the area while providing security during a patrol to clear routes in Khowst province, Afghanistan. U.S. Army photo by Sgt. Justin A. Moeller/Released
As Trijicon continued to upgrade its respected ACOG riflescope line—with the 3x30 ACOG, for example—it also turned its eyes to making its technology smaller. As in, miniature red dot sights.
In 2007, Trijicon launched the Trijicon Red Dot™ Sight, its first-ever miniature reflex-style red dot sight. Trijicon engineers got word of U.S. Special Forces soldiers modifying their ACOGs by mounting a small red dot sight on the top (for CQB and long-range precision—the best of both worlds).
This helped them create the ACOG 4x32 with a Docter Optic Red Dot Sight. Trijicon then launched a similar product to the public, the ACOG® Enhanced Combat Optical Sight (ECOS) in Dark Earth Brown color.
This same year, the U.S. army chose the Trijicon ACOG® 4x32 RCO as a field carry optic.
In 2008, Trijicon expanded the popular ACOG line with the introduction of the 6x48 ACOG, designed for .50 cal crew serve Machine Guns. Trijicon® launched a 42mm objective reflex sight with a larger field-of-view and improved reticle illumination.
Also, the AccuPoint® variable powered riflescope series, featuring the world’s only battery-free illuminated reticle, added crosshair reticle configurations.
2009 – TWO MILESTONES, AN EXPANSION & AN ENGINEERING MARVEL
The first milestone: The 500,000th 4x32 ACOG® scope was produced.
The second milestone: Trijicon RMR® named “Optic of the Year” by Firearms Marketing Group (FMG).
The expansion: Trijicon introduced green illuminated reticles for select ACOG® and AccuPoint® riflescope configurations and expanded the AccuPoint® variable powered riflescope line with the addition of the 5-20x50 and 1-4x24 30mm tube riflescopes.
The marvel: Trijicon introduced the revolutionary RMR™ (Ruggedized Miniature Reflex) sight, the world's first battery-free red dot sight. The two versions, an LED-illuminated and Tritium / Fiber Optic illuminated reticle, feature a uniquely shaped housing for strength.
2010–2011 MORE HUNTING BREAKTHROUGHS
Many of Trijicon's associates are hunters. Serious hunters. So in 2011, Trijicon met the needs of the archery market with the revolutionary AccuPin™ Bow Sight system featuring tritium, fiber optics and BowSync™ mounting technology.
The company also launched the TrijiDot™ single bead shotgun sight, featuring advanced Trijicon fiber optics, as well as the 3x24 ACOG® XB Scope later that year.
2012–2013 MORE PRODUCT EXPANSIONS & LAUNCHES (INCLUDING THE VCOG®)
These two years brought more line expansion and product launches than ever before. The Trijicon team was busy, to say the least.
The new RMR® product line expanded with an Adjustable LED version.
Trijicon also expanded the celebrated ACOG® line with the addition of a AA battery powered 4x32 LED ACOG®.
The New Launches
The HD™ Night Sights improved daytime acquisition accuracy with pistols.
The SRS® Sealed Reflex Sight featured a large field of view compressed length and powered by a solar panel and AA battery.
TARS™ (Tactical Advanced Riflescope), a ruggedized high performance, long-range riflescope, was launched.
The Trijicon CCAS™ (Continuously Computed Aiming Solution), a revolutionary new aiming system for warfighters, was introduced.
A Launch All Its Own
In 2013, Trijicon launched the VCOG™ (Variable Combat Optical Gunsight), a 1-6x24 riflescope, to the world. It brought (and still brings), legendary ACOG® durability and performance to a variable power optic. Competitive shooters rejoiced.
2014—CUSTOMIZATION IS KING
As more and more civilians—from hunters to plinkers to competitive shooters—fell in love with Trijicon products, they requested customized options. So the Trijicon team got to work.
In 2014 alone, Trijicon offered the following customized options:
3 CERAKOTE® finishes, Sniper Gray, FDE (Flat Dark Earth) and OD Green on select ACOG®, Reflex and RMR® models.
New Integrated RMR adapter and night sight combo for model 1911 pistols.
New red and green reticle options added to the ACOG® 4x32 LED line.
Custom Adjustable Turrets for the Trijicon AccuPoint® riflescope series.
New ACOG reticle options for M193 ammunition, available in the fixed power, self-luminous 4x32 and 3.5x35 models.
Custom 300 Blackout reticles (3.5x35, 4x32, 4x32 LED models.)
New Bright & Tough™ and HD™ Nights Sights for Walther PPX and HK VP9 pistols
New green reticle options for Trijicon® Reflex line
2015—“OPTIC OF THE YEAR”
In 2015, Trijicon launched the Miniature Rifle Optic (MRO®), a red dot sight tough enough for combat, the law enforcement, competition shooting or hunting in the harshest of environments.
Reaction was positive, to say the least. Guns & Ammo awarded the MRO “Optic of the Year.”
The Trijicon team was, of course, honored to win. However, instead of celebrating, they decided to get back to work. The result:
RMR® line expanded with a 1 MOA red dot reticle offering.
AccuPoint® variable powered riflescope line added 1-6x24 and 2.5-12.5x42 models.
GEN2 Compact ACOG® is launched
AccuPower® LED riflescope series is launched, with variable power offerings of 1-4x24, 2.5-10x56, 3-9x40 and 4-16x50.
Green reticle options added to VCOG® line
2016–2017 “YEAR OF THE NEW PRODUCT LAUNCHES”
To start 2016, Trijicon launched the new 3.5x35 LED ACOG® line and the MGRS® (Machine Gun Reflex Sight).
Then, in 2017, Trijicon introduced best-in-class thermal imaging technologies that offered 12-micron technology, 640x480 thermal sensors and digital OLED display.
That would have been a very exciting year. However, that was just the start
Trijicon launched the HD XR™ Night Sights, which built on the features of the HD® Night Sights and offered next-level target identification.
Trijicon launched the RMR® Type 2, which is designed to be as durable as the legendary Trijicon ACOG®, while also improving precision and accuracy with any style or caliber of firearm.
Trijicon launched the MRO® Patrol, which is combat ready right out of the box.
Trijicon expanded both the AccuPower® series and AccuPoint® series with new additions, a 1-8x28 and 4-16x50, respectively.
2017—THE MILLIONTH ACOG
In 2017, Trijicon produced the 1,000,000th ACOG® 4x32 riflescope. We think Glyn Bindon would have been proud. And amazed.
To celebrate with the industry, Trijicon hosted a 24 Days of ACOG® Sweepstakes with select industry partners and gave away a prize package a day for 24 straight days—culminating with an amazing gift on the last day: a Trijicon ACOG® 4x32 TA31F, a Smith & Wesson® Performance Center M&P® 15 Competition rifle and a Trijicon REAP-IR™ mini thermal riflescope.
2018—THE LAUNCHES CONTINUE
We’re constant innovators, like our founder before us. This is why we continue to improve technologies year-after-year, so the U.S. Military and allies, law enforcement and civilian hunters, shooters and believers of the 2nd Amendment can do what they love, come home and do it again tomorrow.
In 2018, Trijicon launched the 4.5-30x56 AccuPower® and 5-50x56 AccuPower® riflescopes.
We also launched the MRO® Green Dot, which gives the user a reticle that has a greater contrast against forest, grassland and tropical environments.
2019—THREE NEW PRODUCTS. ONE PRODUCT LINE EXPANSION.
In 2019, Trijicon launched three new products: Trijicon® Fiber Sights, the Trijicon SRO® and the Trijicon VCOG® 1-8x28..
The company also launched the Trijicon® OASYS line of thermal optics—high-performance, military-grade thermal optics.