There have been a ton of local police departments that took advantage of the Eotech trade in after the military sued L3 over the falsification of what the optics operated under. Apparently Eotech fixed the problem to some degree but if wood has fluctuations and variables with 10F and 120F, you better bet your bottom dollar that electronics do too. I’ve heard from companies like Vortex and Trijicon that there is always going to be some level of “thermal drift” but the 6moa point of impact shift that some older models of Eotech had were disturbing. What should you know if you are looking for a wide field of view and still like Eotech optics?
Well, Eotech took over 26 Million dollars of Eotech optics back and claim to have great fixed the problem, but if you were not running your optic in drastic temperature or humidity conditions, you would never have noticed. I am in the boat of people that sent their Eotech 512 back but I still long for the field of views that Eotech optics had. You will not find many red dots that have the speed that the holographic gun sight have and there is still something that they do right that you should consider. The F16 gun sight heads up display works for fighter pilots and it still works well for operators running M16 or AR15 Carbines. I still wish Eotech would come up with a better battery life and improve on that technology.
It makes a lot of sense to have a red dot sight on your handgun because after all, remember how easy it was to use your Laser Tag gun? Yes, that did have a red dot built into it and it was fun and easy to shoot. Most people think red dots are for rifles when in all reality, it’s because putting a red dot optic on a handgun is often a hassle and needs a gunsmith that most people don’t want to deal with the fact that they need a gunsmith and have to wait for it to get done. We sell a lot of rifle and pistols sights and reference a local gunsmith so they can have them get put on fairly quickly. Another hassle of having optics on your handgun is trying to find a holster that will mount the gun properly and protect the sight. Other than that, it’s going to be much easy to hit moving targets and acquire them with an optic.
I will say that the vast majority of my experience is with the Trijicon RMR optics and they have a proven history of working, but just like we are seeing red dot prices for rifles come down, with companies like Vortex $200 red dots and even Trijicon coming out with a commercial market $450+ red dot, people have found that companies like Burris and Vortex are really taking a chunk away from Trijicon with their own product line. I will say that track records really matter because there is always going to be a failing point. The companies that have ties to the military have the longest history of putting stuff out that lasts but there are always going to be pros and cons and definitely educate yourself on the warranties before you buy. Eotech Mini Red Dots are also something to consider checking out but it’s always nice to find a place that you an look through before buying. With sights like this there is always one that works better with your eyes and that’s how you should choose them.
I can’t confirm why it happened but I heard a credible rumor from one of my sales reps that there has been a shortage on Eotech sights because L3 shutdown their manufacturer facility to retool and bring in new manufacturing equipment. I guess that means the new Eotech 512 sights that just came are right off the new tools. I do notice that the body of the Eotech 512 does look a little more polished but other than that, nothing has changed. It will be real interesting to see how the Trijicon MRO competes in the red dot market, but Eotechs seem to have always been kind of one foot in the red dot market and one foot out.
The thing that always sold me on the Eotech Holographic Gun Sights are the field of view. Most military engagements are still under 200yds and air strikes usually for things further out than that, so the need for magnification is minimal. Considering what the ballistics of the 5.56 Nato round is, it’s such a flat shooting round that there are no extreme hold overs under 400yds if it’s zeroed properly. I do tend to lean toward the EXPS 2-0 Models since adding an Eotech Magnifier to the setup is much easier, but only if you are right handed, that is one reason Trijicon put the adjustment knob on the top of the MRO so maybe that’s something else Eotech is going to want to consider. They also recently released an Eotech for the 300 Blackout so if you are running 300 Blackout, you have an Eotech option.
There are plenty of good deals that you can get on used optics, we’re actually thinking about taking in some used optics because in all reality, how much is a 2yrs old Aimpoint Patrol Rifle Optics worth? I’ve purchased plenty of firearms that holster wear or were technically used, but probable had less than 500rds through them. Optics really don’t loose value, or shouldn’t. One thing you have to be careful about when shopping on Ebay or Amazon, is that sometimes if the price is too low, it might not be what you think it is. There is a great post from Larry Vickers that had a student show up in a class and didn’t know he had a knock off Aimpoint. Unless you have a friend getting divorced I doubt you’ll find any used Eotech, Aimpoint or Meprolight M21 for under $325 that is real or working condition so beware.
I understand the reason for red dot optics, but just never adapted to it, I see a lot of Special Ops guys running the Aimpoint T-1 and I get it, but my eyes track the Eotech Sights much better and the Meprolight M21 Bullseye is 90% of what an Eotech is with maybe 10% difference as far as Pros and Cons. If you noticed, Eotech has discontinued several optics all due to the mounts that they use to have and now are sold with QD mounts. That is something worth thinking about because a broken optic that needs to be removed with a tool is not something you are going to want to do under stress. The Aimpoint Patrol Rifle Optic is probable the best of everything, longer battery life, night vision compatible, excellent mount, but do you need night vision? The field of view is smaller with the Aimpoint Patrol Rifle Optic so for open range use that may mean something. All of the above can get new or used in and around the $400+ or – range and all worth considering.
I’ve got a little experience with the Vortex Magnifiers that I can give some comparison and feedback for anyone interested in one. First things first, and even our Vortex Rep said to us, these aren’t combat or military optics but they are pretty darn good. I was able to compare the an Eotech Gen 3 and the Vortex, as well as My own older Eotech Gen 2 Magnifier. I’m probable going to sell off My Gen 2 at some point because it’s pretty obvious to me that the lever you push to let the spring loaded release just begs to break. I often say to people when they start mounting stuff on their firearms that “every screw comes loose and every part can break” and the fewer parts and screws you have the less you have to fail. The Gen 3 is kind of clunky but it just seems to be a better idea.
Now back to the Vortex option, we get a lot of calls from people asking us if these are as good as the Aimpoint magnifier or the Eotech, after playing with Vortex 3mx-3t I have to say that it seems to be all about the mounts, the clarity differences was almost zero, I did find that the eye relief was better on the Vortex magnifier than the Eotech but not by much, maybe 5% difference. These make excellent target identifiers so you don’t have to call a cease fire on the range, just flip the magnifier over and you’ve got 3x. These have been hard to keep in stock and several local Police Departments are giving us feedback about them so I’ll probable post a follow up at some point.
All you have to do is look at some of the real combat images and see that optics get shot off of rifles and sometimes concussion and shrapnel can damage an optic, for most of us this will probable never be an issue, but if you have learned to use a Carbine for defense purposes, how would you feel if your optic was dropped or hit by something and the lense was shattered to the point you couldn’t look through it, what if your optic had damaged electronics and it no longer functioned. Sure you can send it in for warranty or repair, but what if you were in the middle of defending yourself or needed to hold off in attack or intruder. Would you want to fumble around the house looking for a screwdriver or allen key to remove your optic? I see Larue Tactical and Bobro Engineering mounts everywhere and they have outstanding reputations, but this year it looks like Eotech has discontinued a whole bunch of Holographic sights in their line for newer quick detach versions.
I was hoping there would be some major technological improvement to the battery useage but I still can’t seem to NOT like Eotech Holographic Sights. I find the Eotech EXPS2-0 to be my favorite do to it’s size and especially, if you are using an Eotech Magnifier. There are plenty of ways to get around buying the Eotech magnifier but there are definitely some quality issues. I personally find the reticle to have improved clarity when using the model G33 Magnifier. The red dot market is changing and recently we have seen that L3 Inc has axed the 556, 553BLK, 553TAN, 516 and 517 for the new 518 and 558. Also check out the new laser battery caps, there is a visible laser version and a civilian legal IR cap.
I personally can’t trash Eotech sights or Trijicon or Aimpoint. There are a few other optics that I have personally worked with that are moving up to that category, and that’s just my personl opinion about worthiness. I haven’t spent time in the Canadian Military, Russian Military or Royal Forces to talk about what they are using, but durability means its going to last. When I look at all of the internal technological changes that many of these optics have had, even a good design, when fielded, will have its weak points. Just think about how much of an improvement the M14 was over the M1 Garand, but as soon as the M14 was fielded in Vietnam, the M14 stocks swelled and just didn’t hold up in that climate that changes needed to be made. There are plenty of arguments about how bad the M16 did in Artic testing so don’t think desert warfare is the same as Artic. Even snow speeders had trouble adapting to cold.
Remember that trying to have a perfect cheekweld in real world conditions isn’t always possible, cutting corners, climbing stairs and running full speed is something you might want to do, movement is important to survival and the Eotech Sights have a very unique holographic gun sight. It’s not a dot that you can easily loose track of depending on it’s brightness and this was copied after the F16 fighter gun sight because they knew that with all of the ducking and weaving that a fighter pilot would be engaging in that it’s impossible to have your head completely still. Just moving a half inch back and forth with iron sights means not having a sight picture or losing your target. The batteries don’t run as long as a Trijicon SRS sight or the Aimpoint Patrol Rifle Optic, but it might be the best and fastest sighting system for you.
We see a lot of cringing when people ask us about the cost of the Eotech Magnifiers because it’s sometimes more or as much as what the Eotech sight cost in the first place. At some point there will be a combat optic that you can go from zero magnification to 50X at the flip of a switch, but right now there isn’t anything like that on the market. Zero Magnification tends to be more practical for most situations because magnification will slow you down in target acquisition at close ranges although there is a certain amount of training you can do to offset that a little but it’s not going to be the same. I would suggest that, especially if you are right handed and putting your Eotech sight on an AR15, that you get an Eotech model with the buttons on the left side, ergonomically this is going to be easier to adjust with your left hand no matter what, and if you decide to put a magnifier on it later, you’ll be much happier.
Clarity is going to be very important when looking for a magnifier, I haven’t tested out the Mako Magnifiers but I hear about them a lot, there are optics out there like some Sightmark optics, but in all honesty, I am not the type of person to constantly look for the less expensive optics and hope it’s going to hold up. My best frame of reference is what Police Departments and Military Personnel are using. Durability means more to mean then just holding zero because all devices have their breaking point and the difference between someone that is using it on an airsoft gun, might put 500rds through and AR15 and someone that is taking a Carbine Course where he needs to bring 1000rds of 5.56 and 400rds of 9mm is the difference between making it through a Carbine Course without any failures and someone that will be the laughing stock in his class. As much as I love my Mini 14 Carbines, when put through the rate of fire that an AR15 can handle, the Mini 14 just won’t cut it. $400 for a good optic, Aimpoint, Eotech Sights, Meprolight M21, and possible a used Trijicon Reflex Sight are my personnel starting point, when shopping for a magnifier, don’t buy a cheap one.
Well, the short answer is because it take more manufacturing know how to get all of those electronic down to a durable and reliable combat optic and the benefits of having a reliable and lighterweight optic can improve performance of an operator. Sticker shock is always something that people have when they come in here and check out the pricing on Trijicon Optics like the RMR sights because they think that a small optic would be cheaper than a hunting or sniper scope. Although the expensive stuff like Night Force and Leupold seem to be acceptable, paying $700 for a red dot like an Aimpoint T1 seem to be frowned on except for the people that are using them. If you just pickup a scale and put down a Trijicon TA01NSN and compare it to an Eotech EXPS2-0 or the Aimpoint T1, you’ll seem there is a considerable weight difference and knocking off a pound of weight from your firearm and carrying more food, water, or ammo is far more important considering that Military Statistics show that most engagements are under 200yds and needing larger “reach out and touch someone” optics rarely occurs and normally there is a designated marksmen in a unit for that role with a different optic.
We really don’t have an option as to what is better, Aimpoint or Eotech, but you can’t beat the pricing and reliability of the Aimpoint Patrol Rifle Optics that comes with its standard mounting system. We have picked up Bobro Engineering mounts for quick detach capabilities for some of the Aimpoint Optics, but there are those options with the Eotech Sights. With Aimpoint you have night vision optics, with Eotech Combat Optics for your AR15 or M4 variant, you’ll need to know ahead of time and purchase a night vision compatible version of the sight. Think about which type of batteries you want to have around whether you decide on CR123 batteries or AA Batteries, make sure you have storage units on your person, in your go bag, or on the AR15 Accessories like the pistol grip, stock extension ect and keep a few new condition batteries there.
There is a saying that I learned in NRA Firearms Instructor Training that, “there is a Lawyer attached to every bullet” and this is something I bring up as soon as someone shows the slightest sign of complacency. Lately I have been getting more calls for people to come to their home for a security evaluation and often people are saying they want a firearm in their home. 100% of the time these people have either never fired a gun or know nothing about ballistics and that bullets pass through walls, and, in Urban Environments, that means it’s highly likely that someone else in an in the neighborhood will have a whole in their wall too. Situational Awareness is the first thing you need to have an knowing how to avoid being a victim. The Travon Martin case was the worst possible way to handle neighborhood concerns about crime. A properly trained Police Officer goes into a low light situation with a flashlight and normally has less lethal devices available before every needing to draw a firearm. They deal with the same or possible more, when using their firearms.
Several years ago we had some customers that served in Iraq they said that Aimpoint and Eotech Sights were preferred optics, but one of the problems with them is they had zero magnification and they had trouble identifying trip wires, IED wires running across the ground ect. With Police Officers identifying the difference between a knife, cell phone or a firearm can mean a Civil Lawsuit if your SWAT Team doesn’t have the ability see the difference from 25-50yds. From a hunting standpoint, accidentally shooting another hunter or taking a deer that is not legal to harvest because you thought you saw antlers and it turned out to be branches from a tree behind it. Little things like a small set of binoculars that is on your tactical vest, inside your closet might help you know if it’s your neighborhood kid cutting through your yard to sneak back into it his parents house, or if it’s a prowler looking to break into your home.