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MILITARY TECHNOLOGY (MILTECH) is the world's leading international tri-service defence monthly magazine in the English language. MILITARY TECHNOLOGY is "Required Reading for Defence Professionals". Follow us on Twitter: MILTECH1

20 May 2015

SOFIC 2015: Interview with Trijicon - ”In a Word: Precise”

In an interview with John Rupp, Vice President of Business Development Trijicon, MT was informed on the company, customer preferences, and Trijicon’s future.

John Rupp, Vice President of Business Development Trijicon standing on the right, next to Volker Schwichtenberg, CEO of Mönch. (Photo: Mönch)

What are the main demands your customers ask for at the moment?
J. Rupp: Our customers in the US, as well as most of our customers in Europe and in the Middle East, are very interested in the precision that our products provide, the reliability of our products, and also the durability. The ACOG and VCOG and the entire series of Trijicon products now have a reputation for durability and a proven combat record. The ACOG, in particular, has an extensive combat record for incredible durability and also minimal life-cycle costs. When you are purchasing a Trijicon product, you have it for an extended period and the product just does not seem to fail.

What will we see in the future? What will be the next steps in development?
J. Rupp: I think what we are trying to do is - particularly with respect to Europe - is to provide a line of products that have our traditional capabilities (which are tritium-based products), but also some battery-powered products. So, for those countries that cannot accept tritium products, we will now have the battery-powered options in our four power and three and a half power ACOGs. So, you will see a series of battery powered ACOGs emerging. We will expand the Trijicon product line in the European market with this development. Also, the traditional ACOG is now being reinforced by the variable power optical gun sight (VCOG) which is a one to six power magnified sight, on the first focal plane. So, there are really minimal adjustments that the soldier has to do. All he has to do is mount the VCOG onto his weapon, zero it, and then he is ready for training or combat.

The Trijicon VCOG (Variable Combat Optical Gunsight) is a rugged variable powered riflescope with an LED illuminated first focal plane BDC reticle. The VCOG is designed for extreme durability and features superior glass quality. (Photo: Trijicon)

What is the philosophy of your products and your company? What makes you outstanding in comparison to others?
J. Rupp: Well, I think the philosophy of our company is that it is a small family company of about 210 employees in Michigan and another 20 employees in Virginia – and we try to remain responsive to our  customers and agile. Our products are known for their unique use of tritium and fibre optics. The company is also known for the precision of our optics. That we will tailor our reticules, to what the force that is buying our optics wants, whether it is 5.56, 7.62 or some other calibre ammunition. The US Marine Corps has bought almost a quarter million of our products. The US Army has bought about another 150,000. Worldwide, we now have surpassed the million mark for the number of ACOGs that have been purchased. And, our customers buy them mainly because the product lasts. The product is seen as a unique value because once the acquisition force, or the armed force, purchases them, they are going to have that product for an extensive period of time with very minimal cost. The US Marine Corps is now approaching 7 to 10 years on their family of Trijicon optics. They will come out of Afghanistan, and most of the optics are working like the first day they went into combat.

But what if I need service for example in Europe or in the Middle East? What service are you offering there?
J. Rupp: The service we offer is a limited lifetime warranty. Also, if any work has to be done on the optic due to combat or extenuating circumstances, the force just sends it back and we set up a service contract. The work is done at our factory in Michigan. So, those optics that come out of combat that may have been damaged by explosives or damaged by extreme wear and tear, they are reworked at our factory and returned to the user at a fraction of what the original cost is. So for example, an optic that was purchased for $800-1000, generally the repair is run at approximately $200 or less.

At the moment in Ukraine we have a very unstable situation. Does that influence your products or your work?
J. Rupp:  It does. I mean, we would like to pursue a business arrangement with all the nations of central and eastern Europe: our allies, partners and in some countries, they are NATO nations. So, the countries of Ukraine, Poland, Lithuania, Latvia, Estonia, and Germany are very important strategic partners for the United States and therefore very important potential customers for us. We see the potential for those nations to work with the USMC and United States Army soldiers who already have ACOGs and Trijicon products on their weapons - to be a force multiplier. That we are able to sell our products to those nations and offer them the same high quality optic of a US serviceman or woman.  Those nations will either be able to receive training by US forces at their joint training and exercises, or by Trijicon employees who will provide free training and free support from Trijicon’s office in Virginia.  This is standard practice for Trijicon.

Will Trijicon have news in 2015?
J. Rupp:  Yes, Trijicon will be offering new products at Shot Show in 2015, and, more importantly, Trijicon will be offering a series of new products throughout the entire calendar year. We are excited about the new products being developed for 2015, but more importantly is the company’s dedication for new product developments and introductions on a consistent, year-round, basis.

Thank you very much.

Trijicon at a Glance

Trijicon, based in Wixom, MI, manufactures and distributes optical sighting devices for firearms, and specialise in self-luminous optics and night sights, mainly using the slightly radioactive isotope tritium, light-gathering fibre optics, and batteries. Trijicon is a contractor for the US military and supplies the Advanced Combat Optical Gunsight (ACOG) and RX01 reflex sights. The ACOG, Reflex, TriPower, AccuPoint, and Night Sights are available to military, law enforcement, and civilian markets.

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