The United States Special Operations Command (US SOCOM) is looking for a new variable-power rifle optic to allow users to engage targets out to 600 meters, while still preserving close-in capability. The solicitation, released last week on Fed Biz Opps, announces a Firm Fixed Price (FFP) Indefinite Delivery Indefinite Quantity (IDIQ) supply contract for up to $33.2 million dollars worth of the new optics. The draft requires offerors to provide 12 sample optics before December 8th of this year. The solicitation follows a pre-solicitation notice issued in July.
This contract is the latest in official interest in variable-power low magnification optics for use on squad weapons. Such optics feature a low magnification mode – typically 1-1.5 times normal – and a high magnification mode, generally 6 or 8 times. Most variable optics of this type are continuously variable, meaning they can be adjusted through the whole range of magnification between their minimum and maximum magnification, but a few – like the Elcan Spectre DR – feature either/or modes. The purpose of such optics is to enable better clarity and precision of fire at medium range (out to 600 meters), while giving the user most of the capability of a red dot sight at CQB distances. The United States Marine Corps released a request for information (RFI) for variable power optics in late September of this year, which specified the ability to positively identify (PID) targets to 600 meters or more.