Interview: Trijicon's Storied Past and Bright Future

Trijicon VP of sales and marketing John Trull discusses how the company’s offerings go far beyond its legendary military optics.

Interview: Trijicon's Storied Past and Bright Future

After 40 years in the industry, Trijicon is practically a household name — at least among firearm enthusiasts. As technology continues to adapt and we add more gun owners to our ranks day by day, the company is working hard to stay at the forefront. Tactical Retailer spoke to John Trull, vice president of sales and marketing for Trijicon, about what we can expect from the industry and the company moving forward.

Tactical Retailer: Can you talk about the company’s history and its place in the industry today?

John Trull: Trijicon just celebrated our 40th anniversary in 2021, and it has been exciting to look back and see the innovations the company has brought to the industry in the last four decades. It started with pioneering the tritium night sights category in the mid-1980s and expanded to creating the first official optic enhancement of the M16 family by the U.S. military, the legendary Trijicon ACOG, which has been fielded in more battles than any other optic ever made. The RMR was originally designed to mount on top of the ACOG and therefore had to be just as tough — tough enough to survive a fully-loaded M4 drop, and certainly tough enough to mount to a pistol slide. The RMR has subsequently become the industry standard for pistol-mounted red-dots and has been adopted by SOCOM as their Miniature Aiming System-Day Optic. Most recently, the VCOG 1-8x28, the most durable variable-power battle optic available, has been selected as the U.S. Marine Corps’ Squad Common Optic, extending Trijicon’s position as the most deployed optic of the U.S. armed forces. As Trijicon embarks on our next 40 years, we’re continuing to invest in making the most durable optics in the world and bringing that next great innovation to the market.

TR: What specific product category or model have you seen the most growth in recently? 

JT: Low-power variable optics (LPVOs) have grown tremendously over the past few years. Combining the advantages of a red-dot at lower power with the range and precision of a traditional riflescope at higher magnification, this category is in strong demand. We responded to this demand and have continued to add to our LPVOs in recent years. We now have 1-4x, 1-6x, and 1-8x models that span several different families.

For end-users who want premium glass and adjusters and are upgrading their AR-build, the Ascent 1-4x24 is a great choice that doesn’t break the bank. In the Credo family, we have both first and second focal plane options for the 1-6x24, and our best-selling variable power is the Credo 1-8x28. The Credo family offers dealers a wide range of illuminated reticle options to carry.

The AccuPoint 1-6x24 is in a class of its own, with a dual illuminated fiber optic and tritium reticle. Its generous eye relief and an incredible FOV make it an end-user favorite. For the ultimate in durability, the Trijicon VCOG in 1-6x or 1-8x is unmatched. Manufactured in the U.S. in the same facility as the famed Trijicon ACOG, the VCOG carries on the reputation for extreme durability while offering users the additional flexibility of a variable optic.

TR: Is there developing technology in the optics world that might change the way shooters buy or use optics in the future? 

JT: Users might not give much thought to the importance of the LED, but for more than a decade, we’ve been at the forefront of refining and perfecting this technology in pistol optics. The recoil impulse of a handgun can be incredibly destructive to red-dot electronics, even more so than long guns. So, we have spent years developing a proprietary shock simulator that allows us to subject our models to tens of thousands of rounds. This has allowed us to design red-dot electronics that will withstand the most punishing conditions users can put them through. Our investment and the pursuit of the industry’s most durable pistol red dots has resulted in the RMR®, SRO®, and RMR®cc.

TR: Has the huge demand for firearms and the recent supply chain problems translated into supply issues in the optics industry as well? 

JT: There has been some limited disruption, but our operations team has done a great job anticipating and overcoming the obstacles that our industry is facing. Thankfully, we were insulated from large-scale disruption due to our long-standing efforts to source from U.S. manufacturers and other partners outside of China.  Like others, we enjoyed record demand over the past two years, and we’ve used that time to expand our capacity and strengthen our supply chain. We are in a good position to serve our dealers as we all return to whatever the new “normal” might be.

TR: Do you have any predictions on what we can expect out of the firearm and optics industry in the next year? The next five years?

JT: I think it is fair to say that whether they’re new firearm owners or long-time enthusiasts, consumers have come to expect their optic will work right out of the box — that it will come with everything they need to mount, zero, and start shooting. The brands that will do well over the next few years will understand that the vast majority of users simply want an optic that “works” with their handgun or rifle without a lot of trial and error with additional accessory purchases. Trijicon has always focused on reliability and performance, but we’ve also done some small things recently that will make a big improvement in the new-owner experience. For example, we’ve introduced Trijicon Dual Defense™ Kits that include an RMR and a set of Bright & Tough™ Suppressor Night Sights. This kit includes everything the consumer needs to upgrade their Glock or Sig Sauer handgun to make it red-dot-equipped. We want to make it as easy as possible for consumers to adopt red-dots because we think we’ll continue to see the transition to red-dot optics on pistols in the coming years, much the way we’ve seen the transition to optics as the primary sighting system on rifles in the last couple of decades.

TR: Where does Trijicon see potential for growth? How about non-growth? Is there part of the industry that’s shrinking?

JT: We are continuing to see a trend of consumers investing more in optics each year. The premium optics category has grown more than all the other categories. We think this trend will continue, as consumers need a quality optic to take advantage of the accuracy potential coming out of the firearm and ammunition industries today. Production rifles and ammunition have reached an unprecedented quality level, and the final piece of the puzzle is a quality optic. You wouldn’t invest in a high-performance sports car and outfit it with cheap tires. The same holds true for matching high-performance optics to the high-performance platform of today’s firearms and ammunition.

TR: What can we expect out of Trijicon in the second half of 2022? What products have you most excited for the future?

JT: While not an optic, we’re pleased to have recently launched a brand new family of premium riflescope mounts. Our quick-release mounts with Trijicon Q-LOC™ Technology feature a patented design that offers a spring-loaded attachment mechanism, allowing for easy, one-handed attachment. They also include a proprietary recoil lug design to ensure total rail engagement and superior return-to-zero performance. This line of specialty mounts was designed for the most discerning users and includes features like a snag-resistant knob for those who are carrying their firearm on the job or in the field. All the mounts are machined in the U.S. from the highest quality 6061 aluminum and are ready to stand up to the same tough treatment as the Trijicon optics they hold. We’ve introduced these mounts for our red-dots, thermal optics, and a wide range of riflescopes.

TR: How does Trijicon support its dealers? 

JT: Trijicon wants our retailers to be successful, and we understand the value to consumers of having the chance to look through high-end optics in person, so we make every effort to drive traffic to our local dealer network. We also make available a number of sales aids, from POP displays and merchandisers to marketing assets and sales tools. Last year, we started the Trijicon Science of Brilliant® Roadshow, which brings 100+ optics from across the Trijicon lineup to local dealers around the U.S. to provide training for dealer sales staff, as well as two days of engaging with consumers, providing free gear and product giveaways, and the chance to test out Trijicon optics consumers might otherwise have only seen online. We are also in the process of piloting a Range Optic Program to provide our stocking dealers who have an onsite range the opportunity to purchase optics at a discount for use on their range guns for customers to try. We hope to begin rolling that program out across the U.S. later in the year.

TR: Do you have any advice for retailers about selling tactical optics in general and Trijicon products specifically? 

JT: Finding out what platform the customer is planning to use the optic on and what the most likely distances for engagement will be can help quickly narrow the field of options. Many MSR owners will lean towards a red-dot, and often that is all that is needed, but a LPVO can extend the range of today’s very capable MSRs. For personal defense situations, simplicity is key, so having an optic that is always on, always ready to be put into action is essential. When it comes to selling Trijicon optics, it’s an easy discussion. There’s a reason Trijicon has been trusted by more law enforcement and military users than any other brand of optics in the world — durability you can count on when it matters.  

TR: As the total number of shooters continues to grow across the country, how has that impacted your growth strategy? 

JT: We make optics for every level of shooter, and certainly with so many people purchasing their first firearm in last two years, there is a lot of need for upgraded optics for those firearms. One area of opportunity continues to be introducing new pistol shooters to slide-mounted red-dots — it speeds up their journey to proficiency and makes shooting even more fun, which is good for everyone in the industry.

TR: What’s your personal favorite Trijicon product, and why?

 JT: I love this question, but it’s like picking your favorite child! If I have to narrow it down, I’d say my current favorite is the 1.5x16S Compact ACOG®. This is the smallest ACOG we make. It offers all the durability and functionality of its larger siblings but at a fraction of the size and weight. The 1.5x power gives me just enough magnification to extend my range but can almost act like a red-dot — all without electronics or a battery and with a great FOV and generous eye relief. I have mine on an AR pistol. We recently introduced two new reticles for this model that give users BDC holdovers for the .223 REM and 9mm cartridges, and every Compact ACOG now includes a Trijicon quick-release mount with Q-LOC™ Technology.




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