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from The Tactical Wire : Tuesday, February 2

Editor's Notebook: Separation of Church and Sights
by Rich Grassi

A provider of lifesaving military gear was put on the spot by the "consolidated news service." Trijicon was put under the spotlight for marking gunsights with biblical references. For our "Separation of Church and Sights" department, I've whittled on Jim Shepherd's feature from yesterday's Shooting Wire, which is, in part reproduced here:

And another U.S. company, Trijicon, has quietly come through a trying time. During SHOT Show, we learned that an ABC News report had reported- somewhat sensationally - that the highly-regarded optics company had, since its inception, been put Bible verses on their optics.

For many of us who are familiar with the company and its background, the report wasn't really news. Trijicon founder Glyn Bindon had been including those references since before the military had adopted the Advanced Combat Optical Gunsight (ACOG) based on Bindon's two-eyes open shooting concept know as the Bindon Aiming Concept (BAC).

All those verses, incidentally, included the word "light" - a reference to Bindon's faith -and the tritium used to illuminate the company's optics.

The now ubiquitous Trijicon ACOG.

Trijicon's ACOG and the BAC have become accepted standards in the United States military. The United States Marine Corps has an ACOG on each of their combat rifles, and a $660 million contract for 800,000 ACOGs and related parts and pieces to the Corps.

The ABC News, report, however, made short work of the years of credibility and reliability of Trijicon. The Council on American Islamic Relations (CAIR) took advantage of the opportunity to attack the company and call on Secretary of Defense Robert Gates to remove all Trijicon optics from combat immediately, calling them "inflammatory to Muslims."

Surprisingly, Gates didn't immediately cave to the pressures, and the Army brushed the matter off. The USMC, however, seemed poised to join New Zealand and the United Kingdom in the "we're sorry, we'll pull those ASAP" - issuing a statement that it was reevaluating its contract for ACOGS.

To their credit, Trijicon refused to take the matter public, asking instead that the whole matter be kept private in the hopes something could be worked out.

We had known of the problem, but agreed that this was one instance where trying a ridiculous incident like this one - in the court of public opinion - might win the public opinion battle, but remove a valuable warfighting tool from our soldiers in the field.

An agreement has been reached on the matter. Trijicon will stop putting their references on military units, and will provide kits to remove the references from optics currently deployed in the field. The company, however, says it will not stop inscribing their consumer products with the biblical references. They are, as the company says on its website, "a reflection of out company values."

Knowing how Trijicon has reacted regarding another recent matter involving an unscrupulous service provider, that reflected value is one they take very seriously.

This episode points out that the U.S. military seems perfectly capable of warfighting, but top leadership seems to lack the fortitude to stand up to manufactured outrage and ridiculous double-standards.

Rather than telling the professional victims of the CAIR to grow up or pound sand (other, more colorful phrases wouldn't be appropriate here), they instead attempted to disclaim any knowledge of the whole matter and toss Trijicon under the political correctness bus. That wasn't just disingenuous, it was dishonest. Equally ridiculous was their claim that the ACOG inscription made the optics "out of specification" - they are not out of spec, and never were.

Bottom line, the top military leadership actually considered removing an integral tool from United States troops in the field rather than stand up to a political organization created to cause these sorts of problems at any opportunity.

Seems "death before dishonor" might be in danger of being replaced by "we'd risk our soldiers' lives before we'd risk offending anyone".

If military leaders are more concerned with political correctness than the lives of their troops, it's high time for them to either reaffirm their oaths, or tender their resignations.

Politicians might be able to live by measuring with rubber-band rules and standards, soldiers can not.

--Jim Shepherd

I say "Good on ya, again, Trijicon!!"