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ACM EOTech 552 Replica and ACOG-Type Illuminated Cross Hair Scope

ACM Budget Sights

One of the things that bugs us airsofters is to accessorise our airsoft replicas as close to the real thing as possible. We always want the realistic look in our loadout from airsoft replicas up to our own get-up such as battle dress uniforms and tactical accessories. Before, just trying to achieve a realistic look is almost a hard thing to do, as accessories tend to be authentic, or OEM, coming from real world makers, and thus are expensive since these are high quality products that are marketed towards military and law enforcement agencies, and those who have the extra cash to spare to support their real steel hobbies. Replicas are a god-send to many of us.

The proliferation of replicas coming out from manufacturers from East Asia, in particular, Mainland China, has made procurement of accessories much more affordable for many of us. While there is a large group of airsofters who still prefer getting the real and much more expensive accessories, many of us nowadays prefer just getting the replicas which at first glance can look like the real thing, even at close scrutiny.  Just to satisfy our weekend warriors' needs, replicas are it.

Now, the question is in getting these replicas, are we supporting those who are violating intellectual properties of other companies who have spent thousands, if not millions, of dollars in research and development (R&D), in order to provide these vital tools for soldiers and police? We are not sure if these products are designs licenced by the military industries to replica manufacturers. And in various airsoft forums, there is a huge debate on this.

Many airsofters would rather not care if the replicas they are procuring are cheap rip-offs of the real ones, licenced or not. With the growing popularity of airsoft around the world, market forces of course affect the supply and demand of products. If the authentic accessories are just not affordable, someone will try to supply these at a lower cost, by ripping off the designs, or by licencing which other manufacturers would prefer in order not to be blacklisted or shuttered. Overall, airsoft products and accessories are still going the way of DVDs being peddled in the streets of China, Hong Kong, Thailand, and the Philippines.

But enough of the intellectual property issues as the focus of this article is getting budget accessories. After getting your BDU, your AEG, your vest, your protective equipment, your tactical boots (not necessarily in that order), you're always tempted to accessorize your AEG. Everybody's doing it, so why can't you? As always, you'll need optical accessories, such as rifle scopes, snapshot scopes, and magnifiers.

I was able to get two cheap replica aiming devices when I went to Hong Kong last January 2008.  One is the ACOG-Type Illuminated Crosshair Scope and the EOTech 552 Replica short version. I was able to get these for almost US$100, which makes me such a happy guy indeed. If you buy both of these online, it'll cost you more than that, plus add some shipping costs and other charges bringing these in.

Some Real World Information

The EOTech aiming devices are made by L3-EOTech (L3 Communications acquired EOTech in 2005). Based in Ann Arbor, Michigan, USA, L3-EOTech manufactures optics and aiming devices, with a focus on laser and holographic technologiesy to create quick aim/reflex sights. Their popular line of 55x Holographic reflex sites are desired especially for close quarters and urban combat as these sights offer a better view for quick aiming and making that life-saving reflex shot.

EOTech 51x and 55x series will cost you around US$380 for the basic and old models up to US$1,000.00 for the latest ones that can work with night vision equipment and magnifiers.

The Advanced Combat Optical Gunsights (ACOGs) are manufactured by Trijicon based in Michigan, USA. Based on Trijicon's description, these “are internally-adjustable, compact telescopic sights with tritium illuminated reticle patterns for use in low light or at night. Bindon Aiming Concept (BAC) models feature bright daytime reticles using fiber optics which collect ambient light. The ACOGs combine traditional, precise distance marksmanship with close-in aiming speed...” These are designed for M16/M4 family, but can be fitted in many assault rifles that have picatinny rails such as the HK416.

Usually included in the M4 SOPMOD version, it comes in various variants, with the TA01NSN mostly used in the US Military for that designated marksman role in assault squads. More and more US Military personal are acquiring ACOGs from out of their pockets if these are not provided for by their quartermasters. Nothing beats investing more on this to protect your own life and limb and send the other one to hell or whatever place for eternal damnation the other side believes in.

If you want to get the real thing, be prepared to be US$990 to US$1,100 poorer.

What is surprising here is that authentic EOTech sights are cheaper than the Trijicon ACOGs. But for airsofters who seek out replicas,  the EOTech replicas are more expensive than the ACOG replicas. Perhaps materials and manufacturing of replica ACOGs are much cheaper than the EOTech replicas as the manufacturers of the EOTech replicas need to mimic the holographic features of the real one, costing them more.

Overall, EOTech and ACOG sights, in combination with the Aimpoint series are some of the most sought after optical sights in the world today, whether for military/law enforcement or airsoft applications.

ACM EOTech 552 Replica (Short)

Before you start buying this replica, let me state what it is not, so as not to put your expectations high on this:

  • It is not compatible with night vision intensifier tubes.
  • You cannot adjust for windage and elevation.
  • No automatic shut-off after a period of inactivity.
  • It does not automatically adjust brightness to avoid the “halo” or “ghosting” effect”.

If you're disappointed if the replica doesn't have these features, better prepare for a budget for the real EOTech 552 to have bells and whistles.

The package is a simple brown box that has no markings or packaging design that will inform you what the box contains before opening. What you get upon opening are the following:

  • EOTech 552 Holographic Sight short version
  • A pair of N-Size 1.5 Alkaline batteries

The cut-out of the foam packaging shows that you can fit the long version on this one. I did seek out the long version of this, but unfortunately, it was out of stock. I did not have time to go to other airsoft shops in Hong Kong as I just had a few hours left before I get my fill of dumplings in Tsim Sha Tsui and rush to the airport to catch my plane leaving for London Heathrow. Thus, I have to settle down for the short version, but nevertheless, I am not at all disappointed upon opening the box as I have received a well-finished replica with almost perfect markings on the sides.

To insert the battery, you'll need to pull the lever in front of the sight to reveal the battery compartment. Insert the batteries provided with the positive side of one battery pointing towards the connector on the right, and the negative side of the other on the left. I think you'll need to be carefully in putting back the cap of the battery compartment as you might just break the lever. But once you here the lever “click” into its proper position, you have a watertight compartment, and you get an all-weather reflex sight.

This replica sports red and green reticle, and you'll need to understand the controls before you start mounting the sight on your favourite airsoft replica.

You'll see the buttons at the rear of the sight and the following instructions can help you understand their functions:

  • Right Button “Up” - pressing this button turns on the light and makes a holographic projection to the centre of the sight.
  • Left Button “Down” - pressing this button adjusts the brightness or intensity of the  reticle
  • Left Button “Down” + Right Button “Up” - pressing both at the same time powers down the sight.
  • NV Button – This round button in the middle does not actually mean that the sight can turn on its night vision compatibility as mentioned previously, it is not night vision compatible. The makers have thoughtfully made this button useful by making it the red to green dot selection button.

The right side of the sight shows you two screws which in the real 552 holosight, you can adjust for windage and elevation. The left screw will be for adjusting for elevation, while the right screw for adjusting to compensate for wind speed and direction. But these are cosmetic features with the replica.

The left side has a large screw for mounting the sight on picatinny rails, making it very convenient as you'll need to only screw just one for mounting. You don't actually need a screw driver for mounting as your fingers can adequately do the job. Thus, you don't have to actually need to look for a screw driver to tighten it into the rail while you're in the middle of a skirmish.

The “For Law Enforcement/Military Use” marking is seen here, the same as the 551 replica, with the warning sticker as an added marking. While it may seem  nice, the stencil used for marking was awful as you'll notice that word “enforcement” is spaced as “enforce ment”. I just hope that yours won't be as bad as mine.

In the picture below, I am presenting you the red and green dot reticles as how my camera had taken them. While some retailers tout that this version does not have “ghosting” or “halo” effect, you better not believe them. Upon powering up the sight, it's immediately obvious that it does show this effect, and by lowering the brightness/intensity will minimise this effect. So the keyword for this is “minimised” rather than “no ghosting”.

The real EOTech 552 replica does not reflect a light signature on the sight, making you more stealthy as there is no light that might give your position away, especially in dark or low light conditions. Please do not expect this feature in the 552 replica as shown in the following picture.

I have to warn you though that after each use of the 552 Replica, you need to take out the batteries and store them somewhere else, rather than leave them in the battery compartment after powering the sight down. The batteries drain while inside the battery compartment even if it is powered down. I have wasted two pairs of alkaline batteries by making this mistake and I haven't even brought this to any skirmish. These types of batteries are not even cheap for me to ignore this issue. If you're just after the great look of this replica on your airsoft gun, and not for its functionalities as a reflex sight, better not install batteries at all.

ACM ACOG-Type Illuminated Crosshair Scope

I consider the ACOG to be one of the sleekest scopes for assault rifles in the market today and not having one in my own collection is like missing out a ticket to the World Cup finals. But with the real thing not within my budget, settling down for the ACM replica is the only option, and which I can live with.

This ACM version is based on the Trijicon ACOG TA01NSN but on closer scrutiny, it is not fully faithful to the details of the TA01NSN.  But I'm not actually expecting it to be so. This ACOG replica is an illuminated crosshair scope, rather than an optical sight which the TA01NSN is, as it features a 4x32 Scope with a glow in the dark tritium Yellow Center Illumination. This replica is more of a reflex sight rather than an actual marksman scope.

Compared to the EOTech 552 replica, this package is well thought of. The packaging comes in a blue box with the image on it indicating that what you have purchased is what you expect to be inside without opening the box first. Upon opening it, you get the ACOG scope, an extra rail mount, cleaning cloth, and a spare AG13 battery cell. Given the price of this ACOG which is US$40 cheaper than the 552 sight, this package gives more for your money.

First impression is that the material is made up of pot-metal with some hastily done wielding  as the polish is not excellent, perhaps due to poor craftsmanship. You'll notice rough surface on top of the scope. Otherwise, the look of the scope is good at first glance, almost like the Trijicon ACOG, but not 100% like the real one upon closer scrutiny.

The left side of the scope shows you two screws at the bottom with which you can mount the scope on rails. The knob powers up the scope and you can adjust the brightness up to 5 levels. The knob on top of the scope is for adjusting the scope for elevation. You'll have to screw off the cap first in order to reach for the knob.

At the rear part of the scope, you'll see a knob at the bottom just right above the rail mounts. You can remove the cap to reveal the battery compartment. With the spare battery, you can readily replace the battery and good thing that this type of battery lasts longer than the alkaline batteries used for the EOTech 552 replica.

Now, going to the right side of the scope, you'll find the knob for adjusting the scope for windage. I have tried adjusting both knobs for elevation and windage and I doubt that these work as I haven't noticed any changes in the orientation of the reticle.

Now, in powering up the ACOG sight, adjusting the brightness level clockwise will lower the intensity of the reticle, and to increase it, you have to turn it counter clockwise.  But on a bright sunny day, putting the brightness to its maximum level is a useless task. The sun's brightness will just wash away the illuminated red reticle, leaving you with nothing but a US$40 peep hole. Having a green reticle colour would be helpful during sunnier conditions.

You will do fine in darkness and low light conditions as you'll just need to adjust it to lower levels for the reticle not to cover up your target, especially from a farther distance.

They're both good, but...

There are still lots of rooms for improvements for both types of sights. For purposes of airsoft they'll do just fine, but if you need better performance, you better reflect on getting the real stuff. They might be expensive, but you'll be getting your money's worth.

If you're just after the looks and not willing to spend an arm and a leg for a scope, then these will do, and provide more value since their basic features will pull you through in any airsoft skirmish. As to which you would want to get as an accessory for your assault rifle depends on what environment you usually play airsoft in.

The EOTech 552 replica is much better suited for Close Quarters Combat (CQC) as it provides you with a wide view for quick shooting. You do not need to squint in your scope to zero in your target in a fast and furious environment where everything depends on speed and fast reflexes.

The ACOG replica looks even better on whatever assault rifle you want to mount it on. But I would not recommend it for CQC as it is not a point and shoot sight. It is much suited for more open and bigger environments such as woodland or arid areas. Very useful for you to pick your targets from afar.

As for me, I'd rather have both.





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