ROK Marine Mystery Glass

Official caption: “A sniper of the 5th Battalion, 2nd Marine Brigade (ROK) uses a scope to draw a bead on a Viet Cong during Operation Dragon Five, Oct. 22, 1967. The operation is taking place on the Batangan Peninsula, South of the Chu Lai Marine Air Base.”

Marine Corps Photo A421954 by SSGT Gary Thomas/1st MAW. Via NARA 127-GVB-320-A421954 

Of interest in the above photo, besides the fact that he has a horrible cheek weld and the dust cover is closed, is the ROK Marine’s early M16, equipped with a non-standard low-powered optic.

While Colt marketed the Dutch 3x25mm Delft scope on 601 model AR-15s in the 1960s– before they marketed their own 4×24 optic, the above is neither of those. The ROK’s optic looks sort of like a basic Weaver commercial scope of the time. 

Compare:

1960s Pasadena California Police Dept. Colt AR-15 Model 601 Automatic Rifle with a Dutch 3x Delft scope

The Delft 3x had a G3 Hensoldt-style reticle, and the Dutch State Arsenal (Artillerie Inrichtingen) marketed it with the license-produced ArmaLite AR-10 before the M16 was even a thing.

Ad from 1969, showing the Colt 4×24

I’ve also seen another non-standard optic, possibly a Redfield, in at least anecdotal use with an M-16 in Vietnam: 

K co 75 Rangers Larry Flanigan 1st Bgde 4th Div LRRP 1968

If anyone knows more, drop me a comment or email and I’ll be most appreciative. Watch this space for updates.

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