Military personnel and law enforcement officers have realized the benefits of illuminated reticles for decades. Hunters are catching on, too, and Trijicon is one optics company lighting the way to good shots in not-so-good conditions. Trijicon earned its stripes with the ACOG (no one calls it the Advanced Combat Optical Gunsight), which has been mounted on our military's rifles, carbines and machine guns since the late 1980s. The ACOG is a wonderful optic, but it looks weird--especially to hunters used to traditionally shaped riflescopes. It's also a fixed-magnification optic, which during the last 30 years or so have fallen out of favor among hunters. We just gotta have our 3-to-9s.
Trijicon responded by taking the same reticle-illumination technology it employs in the ACOG and putting it in the AccuPoint. Now here's a scope that looks like a scope, complete with variable magnification, and a conventional eyepiece and objective lens. A fine dot ("point") in the middle of the crosshair is illuminated by two methods: fiber optics, which transmit available light, and tritium, which for simplicity's sake let's just say "glows" in low light and darkness. No batteries required.
If you think the AccuPoint would be a good scope for dark-colored critters like bears and Cape buffalo in dark environs like overgrown swamps and thickets, you are right. A conventional, black crosshair can be difficult to see on a black hide when light is scarce. But the AccuPoint's red, green or amber dot (take your pick of color) can also be tremendously helpful in bright light--as I found out last September on an aoudad sheep hunt with Desert Safaris in West Texas.
Guide Jared Aguilar and I watched a big ram bed down in a high basin at mid-morning. Nine hours later, the sheep was finally on his feet again, feeding down the slope in our direction. We had the perfect setup, save for one thing: The ram was between us and the sun hanging just above the horizon. To see him, I had to look directly into that blinding yellow-white ball.
Strongly backlit by the sun, the sheep turned from tan to black. With a standard black crosshair, I would have been out of luck. But the AccuPoint's fiber optics grabbed the sunlight and transferred it to a bright, amber dot that I pasted high on the ram's dark shoulder to anchor him with one shot at 300 yards. I guess you could say it was an illuminating experience.