Best ACOG Clone To Bring You Quality Without Breaking the Bank

best acog clone

ACOG’s optic systems are the most sought-after for rifle owners. Who doesn’t love an ACOG? It’s sleek, sexy and functional to the point that it has become the gold standard for combat rifle optics in the United States. But not everyone has the funds to spend on an ACOG, so you need to know all the best ACOG clone options.

That way, you’ll get the quality you need without busting your budget wide open.

As with most popular high-end product, a wave of clones, copycats and “knock-offs” enter the market to fill the demand for affordable ACOG-like optics systems. These ACOG clones often perform nearly as well as their brand name inspiration, and at a fraction of the cost. Of course, there are a lot of low quality, low price alternatives out there, but you don’t want subpar systems or add-ons anywhere near your firearms.

To help you separate the cheap knock-offs from the quality recreations, we made a list of some of the best ACOG clones on the market right now. These optics systems will not only give you the look and feel of an actual ACOG but the performance of one as well. And, of course, they do so without breaking the bank.

Key Components of an ACOG

Before we discuss how we came up with our viewpoint, it is a good idea to familiarize yourself with the primary components of an ACOG system. In this way, you can see what the clone needs to have or accomplish to achieve the verisimilitude of its progenitor.


One of the main characteristics of an ACOG is how it achieves its reticle, sometimes more commonly referred to as a “red dot.” Some models use a powered illumination system with an onboard AA battery which adds a bit of bulk. Most ACOG models, however, do not use batteries to create the illuminated reticle. Instead, it implements internal phosphor illumination provided by the radioactive decay of tritium.

Don’t let that scare you, though. Elements are radioactively decaying all around you at any given moment; only a few elements are radioactive enough to be harmful. Tritium is not one of them and is used in other devices like watches for power source free illumination. Just don’t go around cracking open watches and ACOGs to eat the tritium and you will be fine.

For daytime firing, ACOGs also implement a fiber optic system that directs ambient light into the optics to create a reticle. This causes some problems when you are using the ACOG in a shadow or are pointing it at the sun, but advancements in technology helped mitigate these problems and the result is a battery-free and reliable illumination system for the reticle.


Some ACOG models come in magnifications up to 6X. However, these magnifications are fixed. Trijicon, the producers of the original ACOG, believes (correctly) that variable magnification components add more moving parts and thus reduces the durability of the optics. As durability is a primary concern of the combat-centric ACOG system, variable zoom is not desirable over increased resistance to damage and wear.

How We Made Our Determinations

We looked at a few basic criteria when choosing entries for our list of the best ACOG clones out there. We arranged our criteria here in order of our perceived importance.


Durability narrowly won out as our most important criteria. Great reticles and performance don’t mean much if your optics fall apart after just a few uses. Your ACOG clone is in a precarious place on your firearm, as most optics are. It is prone to getting bumped around because it protrudes so from the body of the firearm.

A lower profile, quality materials, solid construction and robust components all lend to a more durable and usable optics system. While some users may simply find themselves leisurely using their ACOG clone at the firing range, we prefer to err on the side of rough conditions; you never know. Also, simply attaching, reattaching and storing your optics can take a toll, so it’s better to get one that will last.

Reticle and Performance

The quality of the reticle and the performance of the optics go hand in hand. If the reticle is poorly illuminated or an inefficient shape, your performance will lack. Additionally, low-quality projection surfaces or exterior illuminators such as fiber optics will also impede your vision and thereby your chance of hitting your target. You should be able to quickly and clearly acquire targets through your ACOG clone.

Power and Illumination

While true ACOG scopes use tritium illumination instead of battery powered LEDs, most ACOG clones do not have this luxury. If you want to keep the cost down, then you will likely have to settle for a battery powered or fiber optics only scope. Batteries add bulk and uncertainty to the reticle illumination, so we generally preferred fiber optics. However, some battery powered ACOG clones are better than others and offer long lifespans and stable illumination.


Finally, we looked at the little things. Add-ons and extras like rail compatibility, optional top mounted iron sights and more. Anything else that doesn’t fall into another category goes here. As long as it wasn’t a detriment, it was considered.

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The Top Best ACOG Clones

We’ll start at the top with our best pick, then go down from there. Don’t immediately discount second place or any others on our list; they might be better suited to your needs or meet your preferences better. The race was close, so just because an optics system didn’t come out on top doesn’t mean it isn’t worth considering.

BD Tactical ACOG Style Rifle Scope 1×32

In our opinion, this is one of if not these best ACOG clone out there right now. The BD Tactical comes in 1X magnification which we like for our rifles. If more magnification is what you are looking for, keep reading, we’ll get to some of those.

The BD Tactical is a great ACOG substitute because it is exceptionally sturdy. It takes blows and shock well and holds zero expertly even after being roughed up a bit. On the range or in the field, this scope will do the job well despite harsh conditions.

It has treated and coated glass that is fog proof and water resistant. The sight is clear, and the reticle is easy to zero in on. It uses fiber optics exclusively for illumination and does not use batteries. This setup means that it will not function in absolute darkness, but even low light indoors produces enough ambient light to produce an image.

This scope is best suited for 5.56/.223 rifles and is compatible with any 20mm RIS weaver standard rail.

Terminus Optics TOC1 Green True Fiber BDC Reticle

This ACOG clone is similar to our top pick, but it comes in 4X magnification; it’s great for longer-range engagements. It has a similar fiber optic system as the BD Tactical, so no batteries are required.

It is quite sturdy, being waterproof, shockproof, fog-proof, and weatherproof with a forged aluminum casing. It can take the hits and still hold zero at 600 meters. The picture isn’t quite as clear as we would have liked, but the reticle is actually more advanced and might be preferable to some.

As it has higher magnification, this scope is a little pricier than our top pick, but it is still quite affordable. It’s got everything you might need in a longer range ACOG clone and won’t strain your wallet.

Bushnell AR Optics 1X MP

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You may recognize the Bushnell name and trust it as quality, and rightly so. Their firearm accessories in other categories are great products that perform well. They recently moved into the tactical optics game, and these products don’t disappoint either. In fact, it was difficult not to name this one our top pick.

The optics are clear and easy to acquire, making this scope great for rapid target acquisition. It uses battery power to illuminate its reticle, which adds weight to the scope and another thing to worry about with batteries. However, this does allow the scope to function in any light conditions with adjustable reticle brightness. The reticle can also be zoom adjusted for longer or closer range targets.

And that’s not all

Of course, this Bushnell model is made to last and resists blunt force as well as all forms of weather. It also has nifty extras like the ability to switch between a standard dot reticle and an illuminated T-dot reticle. Furthermore, it has an iron sight molded on top so that you can quickly switch to normal sights should the need arise.

The only reason it didn’t make it to the top is that as a Bushnell product, it comes with brand name quality as well as a brand name price tag. It is significantly less affordable than others on this list because of its impressive specs. The extra weight and worry from batteries didn’t help either. Still, it is one of best ACOG clones around soundly dominating the mid-range market.

BARSKA 1X30 IR M-16 Electro Sight Riflescope

Purists will note that this scope isn’t a true ACOG clone, but it performs man of the same functions similarly. Most people would hardly be able to tell the difference, and would still like their purchase.

This BARSKA model is lightweight and compact despite requiring batteries. The reticle produced by its battery is crips and easily visible, with seven brightness adjustment settings for firing in all lighting conditions. It’s sturdy and robust, being able to withstand shocks, weather and even punishing recoil.

Our main concern is with battery life. You’ll likely be swapping batteries out of this scope more than you would like. Still, If you want a light, clear and affordable scope that runs on batteries for anytime function, this BARSKA is a good choice.

Monstrum Tactical 3X30 Rifle Scope

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This scope is another good ACOG clone for those that want a little higher magnification. At 3X magnification, it is well suited to short to medium-range firing. The reticle is battery-powered, but the scope itself is light and compact. Also, the reticle can be swapped between green and red color on the fly.

Despite the scope itself being rugged, there are some reports of the scope not being as firmly attached to its rail as some would like. The scope still holds zero but can get knocked around easily. However, this scope is quite affordable and is still well suited for the range.

Best ACOG Clone: Buyer’s Guide

When looking for the right ACOG clone for you, consider mostly your firing conditions. If you are firing at the range during daylight hours, fiber optic scopes will work for you nicely. If you are using it in the bush, a battery powered scope might provide better illumination, but it is possible that the worst happens, and the battery gives out on you at an inopportune time. This is generally why we preferred fiber optics. However, if stable reticle illumination or customization is important to you, battery powered is the way to go.