US Marine Corps Release RFI for NEW Infantry Rifle Optic

    A Marine aiming his rifle (U.S. Marine Corps photo by Staff Sgt. Andrew Ochoa/Released)

    The US Marine Corps have released a request for information (RFI) notice calling for a new rifle optic, the Squad Common Optic. The idea of having a Squad Common Optic has been around for a couple of years, an RFI for the 1-8x optic was first released back in August 2017.

    The new RFI is very similar to the previous one seeking a commercially available, off the shelf optic. The new RFI calls for a 1-8x optic rather than a 1-6x and the potential number of optics sought has reduced from ‘between 18,000 and 194,000’ to ‘between 18,000 and 30,000’.

    The RFI is pretty lengthy and specific but here are the basics of what the Marine Corps wants from a new Squad Common Optic:

    • The Squad Common Optic should be less than or equal to 2.1 pounds (T), 1.4 pounds (O). Weight is characterized as including the optic, mount, turret caps, and battery.
    • The Squad Common Optic should be less than or equal to 2.1 pounds (T), 1.4 pounds (O). Weight is characterized as including the optic, mount, turret caps, and battery.
    • Magnification Range. The Squad Common Optic should have no point of aim shift when adjusting through the entire magnification ranges. The Squad Common Optic should have a magnification range of 1X +0.05X to ≥8X magnification range.
    • Adjustable diopter: The diopter should be adjustable from +2 to –2 diopters.
    • Adjustment Range. For all configurations, at least 15 Milliradian (mrad) (T), and 30 mrad (O) in Elevation and at least 12 mrad in Windage adjustment should be required. There should be hard stops at both ends of Windage and Elevation adjustment and no dead clicks. A dead click is defined as a tactile adjustment click that does not move the reticle.
    • Windage/Elevation Caps. For Squad Common Optic, the Windage and Elevation turret adjustments should be covered with a threaded cap.
    • Field of View. At minimum magnification, possess a minimum field of view of 18 degrees (T), 20 degrees (O). At maximum magnification, possess a minimum field of view of 2.5 degrees (T), 3 degrees (O).
    • Eye Relief. All Squad Common Optic configurations at any magnification should have an eye relief of at least 3.1 inches (T), 3.7 inches (O).
    • Focal Plane. Configurations should be first focal plane and/or second focal plane.
      • All Squad Common Optic reticle configurations should offer Mil-Reticle patterns vice a Bullet Drop Compensator (BDC) style of reticle pattern.
      • All Squad Common Optic reticle configurations should offer an illuminated central aiming point no greater than 1.5 minute of angle (MOA) (T) or 0.5 MOA (O) that is visible during daylight conditions.
      • All Squad Common Optic configurations should offer a variety of reticles (i.e., crosshair, German, duplex, Christmas tree, others).
      • All reticles should be level with a cant of ± 1 degree (T) or no discernable cant (O) when installed in its MIL-STD-1913 compatible mount.
      • Reticle should be usable in the event of degraded capability or no power situation.
    • Future Reticles
      • The vendor should allow for future reticle designs and operational needs to be included in the Squad Common Optic: Mil Dot, Milliradian Line, Ballistic, Velocity, and Grid hybrids. Graduated grid should provide a method that supports the ability to use Windage hold offs and Elevation holds and holdovers accurately. There should also be coarse and fine methods to quickly range targets. A method to allow for rapid engagement of moving targets should be provided on the main horizontal.
    • Magnification Change Capability. The Squad Common Optic should incorporate an attachable (T) or integrated (O) field-adjustable magnification change capability that will allow quick magnification changes from minimum to maximum magnification without passing between the eyepiece and rail interface, hitting the host weapon, or interfering with the function of the host weapon.

    The USMC’s budget 2020 justification book notes that  $98.122M has been set aside for Combat Optics, including the Squad Common Optic:

    FY20 funding supports initial procurement of the Squad Common Optic (SCO) which is a continuation of the Rifle Combat Optic (RCO). The SCO will be a variable-powered rifle sight designed for use with all 5.56mm service rifles. It will provide the Marine with an enhanced targeting capability to identify and engage daylight and near low-light targets during close quarters combat and throughout the maximum effective range of the weapon system.

    Sources: 1 2

    Matthew Moss

    _________________________________________________________________________ – Managing Editor – Managing Editor

    Matt is a British historian specialising in small arms development and military history. He has written several books and for a variety of publications in both the US and UK. He also runs Historical Firearms, a blog that explores the history, development and use of firearms. Matt is also co-founder of The Armourer’s Bench, a video series on historically significant small arms.

    Here on TFB he covers product and current military small arms news.

    Reach Matt at: [email protected]