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In an effort to improve the accuracy and effect of small arms, modern armies are equipping their infantry soldiers with optical weapon’s sights, previously used exclusively by Special Forces. These sights improve firing accuracy, enable soldiers to effectively and instinctively use their weapon in urban combat environment, while minimizing the risk to non combatant and friendly forces. Optical sights provide a clear view of the target area, and indicate the precise point of impact, with options for range correction.
In past years, the two products that dominated the field were the “red dot” optical sights enabling the soldier to aim the weapon with both eyes open. The Swedish Aimpoint sight is recognized as the originator of the “red dot” optical aiming device. The company supplied over 400,000 units to armies worldwide and is in US military service since 1997. Aimpoints’ red-dot sight is used by US forces in Afghanistan and Iraq. In the recent DSEi 05 exhibition, Aimpoint introduced a new magnifying attachment that has been combat tested in Afghanistan.
The non magnifying sight has unlimited eye relief allowing rapid target acquisition, which speeds recovery in situations where follow-up shots may be necessary. The sight can operate under any lighting conditions including at night, with NVG. The new generation sights introduced by Aimpoint use advanced circuit efficiency technology (ACET), combines red dot accuracy at reduced power demand enabling the unit to last up to 50,000 hours on a single DL 1/3N battery. Recently awarded orders for 120,000 rifle sights were added to the 280,000 already in use by US forces.
The new 3Xmag magnifying attachment is compatible with all the company’s sights, offering the operator a greatly extended range. The company also unveiled a new generation of infantry weapon sights. Aimpoint also unveiled the TwistMount, allowing the user to switch from semi-sniping to close-quarter fighting in a split second. In this way, the same firearm can be quickly adapted to different situations, giving the user increased confidence and performance.
A similar device was recently introduced by Elcan. The Specter DR dual field of view sight (1x/4x) enable troops to move safely through buildings or confined areas using red-dot mode and then instantly switch to 4x to accurately engage targets at extended range without changing sights. Situational awareness in both magnifications is improved with ultra-wide viewing angles. Specter DR is part of ELCAN Optical Technologies Specter range of rifle sights, including daylight optical sights (red dot and optical sights), IIR night and thermal sights.
The USMC recently announced a new procurement program for Trijicon’s Advanced Combat Optical Gunsight (ACOG), a telescopic sight using tritium illuminated reticle pattern operating under all light conditions without batteries. For daylight operation the sight uses the Bindon Aiming Concept (BAC) models featuring bright daytime reticls using fiber optics which collect ambient light. The corps refers to the Trijicon ACOG as a “rifle combat optic”. (see video).
EOTech took a different approach to a weapon’s sight, with its unique Holographic Weapon Sight (HWS) used by the US Special Forces. To date, EOTech is gearing for manufacturing of 70,000 sights of which 60,000 are on order for the US Special Operations Command, 6,000 for the Army and 2,000 for the USMC.
Additional parts of this article:
- Advanced Weapon’s Sights Improve Infantry Firepower, Accuracy
- Advanced Weapon’s Sights Improve Infantry Firepower, Accuracy (part II)