Anyone who knows me know that I like low power variable optics (LPVO) on many of my rifles. I have been privileged to own or use many of the popular 1-4 and 1-6 options on the market either on patrol, in training or in competition. In my opinion, a quality 1-4 or 1-6 scope should be standard on every patrol rifle. One LPVO area that is growing is the deployment of marksman-type rifles for the patrol officer.
One could argue the 1-4 or 1-6 would fill the optical requirement of such a rifle and no doubt a quality scope in that range certainly could. However there are times when more magnification would be welcome for better target identification, allowing focus on a specific threat area or when distance is increased. In order to increase the magnification one would generally have to then look at the 2.5-10 type of scopes that are commonly equipped on special purpose rifles (SPR) or more sniper type rigs. The recce rifle, marksman gun or quality accuracy-focused patrol rifle would benefit from a lower power range so it could be equally equipped for clearing a building when needed.
Enter the Trijicon AccuPower 1-8 introduced at SHOT Show 2017. When I first heard of the product announcement I was excited. I felt the optical range of a 1-8 scope with a true 1x bottom end could be an excellent scope for marksman rifles or 308’s as the higher level 8x magnification could provide a nice bonus over the 4x and 6x scopes. I was lucky enough to get my hands on the scope at the show both in the booth and at a range demo. See our video covering the scope here.
I reached out to Trijicon and asked if it would be possible for a long term demo so I could get some real time with the scope for a thorough review versus just a quick demo that sadly has become the norm in the social media driven world we live in. Graciously they sent me a demo of the scope in the MOA reticle version with red illumination. Industry disclosure: the scope was provided as a demo and is schedule to be returned, no compensation in either money or product was received for this review.
Out of the box the scope is on the hefty side, weighing in at 25 oz and having a 34mm main tube you will know you have this scope on your rifle. The scope is very well-built and reflects well of Trijicon’s reputation of quality. The magnification ring has a small knob that makes adjustment easy but the knob is not obnoxious in size. I had no issues with it snagging or catching on gear. While the elevation and windage knobs appear to be exposed, they are actually locking knobs and didn’t move or loosen during use. They require the user to lift and unlock before adjustment. Additionally they are easily set to zero by loosening a top locking cap. The adjustments are crisp and audible and come in either .1 mil or .25 moa depending on the model. The adjustments match the reticle, which is a first focal plane (FFP) reticle. More on the reticle later.
I installed the scope in a Midwest Industries 34mm QD scope mount which was mounted on my Midwest Industries 16” 308 AR. I felt a 1-8 scope would be an almost perfect fit for the 308. I also felt that the SPR crowd will take a liking to the 1-8 scope as the low end provides a lot of real word benefit.
Once mounted on the rifle, I went to zero and did some basic training drills to get familiar with the scope. This is my first LPVO that has a first focal plane reticle. This means that the reticle zooms in and out when adjusting the magnification. The benefit to this is the reticle markings and measurements stay true regardless of the magnification level the scope is set on. In traditional second focal plane scopes the ballistic drop markings and reticle markings are only accurate at one setting which is typically maximum magnification. The reticle has a thick center cross hair surrounded by a thick ring, this is illuminated by battery power when activated. The illumination is daylight visible but was not as bright as a red dot sight or some other scopes on the market.
For a LPVO I still am torn on whether or not a first focal plane is needed for a scope like this. Having accurate ranging or ballistic compensation at any magnification level is nice, however based on my experience when accuracy or ballistic holds are needed one would typically be at maximum magnification. The down side to the FFP is that in order for the center illuminated portion of the reticle to be visible at 1x it had to be thick so it can be seen. Then when zoomed out at 8x, I found that I wished the center crosshair was a little thinner for when I wanted to get some precise zero work done or needed to pick a fine point of the target. In reality, it was a very minor complaint and it didn’t hold me back from making several sub-minute-of-angle groups with the rifle and scope.
In shooting various drills, even using it on patrol for a short period, I found the Trijicon AccuPower 1-8 to be a great fit on the rifle and didn’t hold the configuration back at all. For a marksman-type patrol rifle or on the 308, it made an excellent build. Of course, it added some weight but the 308 rifle I used for testing the scope isn’t exactly a light overall package anyway.
In the fall of 2017 I hosted Steve Fisher of Sentinel Concepts where he taught his Practical Urban Carbine class. I was really excited to use my 308 with the Trijicon 1-8 for the majority of the class. I ran a few drills with my primary 5.56 patrol rifle mainly just to gather some performance data. My focus was to shoot the 308 a lot to gain some more training time with the rifle and the scope.
We shot out to 300 yards on paper and steel and had a low light night portion of the class. The Trijicon performed flawlessly. I was able to see the reticle easily and quickly during the day and having several illumination brightness settings made finding a good setting at night easy. At 1x, I could easily pick up the ring which looked more like a dot in the cross hair at 1x for close targets. Then when we did accuracy drills or increased the distance, I increased the magnification. Based on the speed and target, choosing a magnification level that matched the needed performance was easy. Having a large 1-8 range to pick the right drill level was a nice benefit.
At the class there was no shortage of quality glass to check out. Every high-end name you think of when one thinks of really nice rifle scopes was there. I was very impressed with the Trijicon glass quality and clarity, especially when compared to scopes that cost twice as much or more than the Trijicon. Glass quality is a little subjective, but I found my sample to be very clear and have great color rendering. I did not notice any haze or color fringing at higher magnification. One aspect of any scope is the exit pupil or “eye box” decreasing in size as the magnification is increased. While the exit pupil did reduce at 8x, it wasn’t an issue finding the reticle with a good mount on the rifle.
The scope has a suggested retail price of $1699. However, at the time of writing, the street price has been below $1200 for certain reticle options. This is a professional duty-grade optic that is built for work and is priced as such. It isn’t the cheapest or lightest option but it wasn’t meant to be. Trijicon wanted to build a very strong, robust scope and it appears they have. Talking with other shooters in the community who share the same thoughts compliment the product even more.
It’s disappointing that this was a long term demo because I don’t want to send it back. This scope was a perfect fit for my 308 and I would also love one on my 18” SPR build.
For information please check out www.trijicon.com.
Ben Johnson contributed images for this article.