Target recognition and identification is a problem of great military and scientific importance. To examine the correlation between target recognition and optical magnification, ten U.S. Army soldiers were tasked with identifying letters on targets at 800 and 1300 meters away. Letters were used since they are a standard method for measuring visual acuity. The letters were approximately 90 cm high, which is the size of a well-known rifle. Four direct view optics with angular magnifications of 1.5x, 4x, 6x, and 9x were used. The goal of this approach was to measure actual probabilities for correct target identification. Previous scientific literature suggests that target recognition can be modeled as a linear response problem in angular frequency space using the established values for the contrast sensitivity function for a healthy human eye and the experimentally measured modulation transfer function of the optic. At the 9x magnification, the soldiers could identify the letters with almost no errors (i.e., 97% probability of correct identification). At lower magnification, errors in letter identification were more frequent. The identification errors were not random but occurred most frequently with a few pairs of letters (e.g., O and Q), which is consistent with the literature for letter recognition. In addition, in the small subject sample of ten soldiers, there was considerable variation in the observer recognition capability at 1.5x and a range of 800 meters. This can be directly attributed to the variation in the observer visual acuity.