TACT3™ Tactical Tripods: Configurable Field Optical Platforms Night Vision & Thermal Imaging Cap
For more than 10 years and with more than 20,000 units fielded, APO continues to evolve the tactical field tripod platform. Forged on the battlefields of OIF and OEF, combat mission specialists, to include snipers, scouts, reconnaissance, forward observers, forward air controllers and engineers continue to employ TACT3’s to carry out a multitude of combat missions. The original requirement for a MIL-SPEC, rugged single use “amagnetic” tripod for geo-target location missions, has expanded into a family of five models, each with its own unique capabilities. TACT-3 stands for “Tactical Amagnetic Combat Tripod 3rd Generation” and started its life believe it or not, as a battlefield periscope for infantrymen.
The TACT3 Tactical Tripod has truly defined its role with the US Armed Services in
Afganistan and Iraq. In addition to its primary use with the VECTOR multi-purpose binocular laser range finder, the TACT3 is also kitted as a Tactical Tripod Kit by the US Army, take a look at this short orientation video.
Today, the TACT3 is gaining acceptance in the broad commercial shooting sports community with hunters, target shooters, precision rifle competitors, law enforcement surveillance and sniper teams and long range “rock busters”. The single fastest growing user group for the TACT3 outside of the military by far, is the precision rifle shooting community.
TACT3’s provide users with a unique height adjustable and detachable mast that allows optics use from the prone up to the sitting position. Yes, you can even remove the mast on selected models and use it as a monopod complete with hardened tip ground spike. TACT3 tripod heads feature either a detachable or hinged (non-detachable) base plate. The EL models have a vertical fine motion control that moves 6 degrees up or down, with one rotation of a separate control knob.
These tripods are rock solid stable. The apex of the TACT3 tripod base is either
fixed (as with the GP) or engineered with a “terrain leveling gimbal” that allows easy re-adjustment of the optic on un-even terrain. The tripod legs provide a wide stable base, that prevents annoying shaking and tipping in windy conditions. This high strength, lightweight aluminum alloy tripod is hard coat anodized in a dark gray, and can stand up to any weather condition.
The companion Tactical Interface Mount (TIM) is engineered for the Leupold Mark 4, 12-40x60mm Tactical Spotting Scope. The TIM mounts the spotting scope in a non-traditional “under slung” position. This positions the ocular of the spotting scope at its lowest possible position which is essential when observing from a low profile prone position. Designed for use by US Army snipers, the patented TIM also has specially positioned MIL-STD 1913 accessory rail mounts for laser range finders, laser pointers and illuminators.
Today we are even seeing users mount small hand held thermal imagers that provide a true day-night all-weather capability for tactical operations, predator hunting, or the occasional zombie interdiction mission. Those of you that are thermal sensor savvy, may say “wait a minute there cowboy” zombies are the un-dead and don’t have a heat signature. You, my friends, are correct! Wait for it…wait for it…
However, (you knew this was coming) with the TACT3 and the TIM in tandem you can attach the Spotting Scope Accessory Rail (SSAR) which allows you to mount your favorite clip-on night vision device in front of the spotting scope objective. This is called “co-linear or in-line” mounting. We are exploring some new observation capabilities that provides a combined night vision/thermal image overlay! Or, if that does not work for you, put that AN/PVS-14 monocular night vision device to good use in a Monoloc® and attach it to the spotting scope ocular.
Now you are cooking with gas, equipped with day, night and thermal channels. On really dark nights you might need, supplemental IR illumination so consider devices like the AN/PEQ-2, AN/PEQ-15 and for the big dogs on the porch take a serious look at the VSLIM from L3 . IR illuminators can work wonders lighting up an area and can be great for hunting, but they do have real world limitations. Pigs, coyotes, and yes even zombies….beware!
We’ve kind of saved the best for last. How about using that spotting scope to ID
targets at long range AND measure the exact distance? We engineered just this type of solution for the United States Marine Corps, so they could pair up their VECTOR 21 Binocular Laser Range Finder (BLRF) and the Long Range Thermal Imager (LRTI). The Electro-Optic Rail Mount (CLRF-LRTI mount as its known in the Corps) is known as “mechanical duct tape” because it works, and works well!
Using APO’s Electro-Optic Rail Grabber Mount with azimuth and elevation adjustment, you can mount a laser range finder above the spotting scope and co-align both reticles! The versatility of this mount extends to a number of visual augmentation devices. SWEET!!! In the slide show you’ll also see some very slick TACT3 tripod set ups with the STORM multi-function laser and the RULR laser range finder these are truly high performance long range rigs!
Safe shooting and thanks to our customers that allowed us to use pictures of their equipment in this blog post!