So, you have gone through the motions of justifying the purchase of a ‘Modern Sporting Rifle’ for home defense. Perhaps your property is big enough that a shotgun might not reach out and touch someone at distance. Or perhaps the look of a black gun will even further intimate any intruder to go farther. But really, say what you will, it is badass to be able to play with the same equipment our troops use to annihilate the bad guys in the sandbox.
For fast target acquisition, the big debate has always been red-dot sight vs. holographic sight (a.k.a. Aimpoint vs. Eotech). Red-dot sights do have their advantages in size, weight, and battery life. But for the cool factor, nothing is like the Eotech. Having an electronic heads-up target reticle in a window that is basically bomb-proof rules in Fallujah and the range. At the MSRP of $609, it is the coolest technology at about half the price of the Jesus scopes (a.k.a. the Trijicon ACOG).
The XPS3-2 would be well suited for a flattop M4 carbine or your AR-15 with a flat top receiver. You can probably do some goofy carry-handle mounts, but the EOTech cries to be mounted on a nice slab of stable Picatinny rail. It is one of the smallest EOTech units to date, and will not cramp the style of any AR build.
However, I also set mine up with the optional EOTech 3x Magnifier with swing-away mount. This set-up WILL cramp the style of a lot of set-ups but it will also get you the long distance accuracy that is nice beyond the 50 yard line. The quick-flip mount made by Samson is a great feature, it gets the magnifier out of the way faster than Miley Cyrus ditched her innocence routine.
I mounted the works on my LaRue Tactical 16” Stealth Series upper that is ideal for testing- it has more rail length than the balconies in New Orleans and can just about accommodate as many baubles as the necks of the flashing babes. To turn the unit on just press one of the brightness buttons. To turn it off, press both buttons simultaneously.
Guys (and some gals) purchase EOTech units because of their renowned target acquisition speed. So you look through a window and see a reticle- you get a 65 MOA big circle with two little 1 MOA dots- one is centered, one a little lower. Most EOTech units only have one big circle and one little dot.
Why two little dots on the XPS3-2? The second lower dot is used when you really want to reach out. If you use the standard military 50 Yard zero on your AR, at 50 and 200 yards, the little dot in the center should be dead-on. The lower dot allows you to reach out to 500 yards. Nice.
The other reason guys and gals use the EOTech: they are virtually bombproof; the hologram and the reticle image is recorded in every particle of the glass. If the glass is shattered or covered with debris, the sight is still fully functional. This means zero, point of aim, and point of impact are maintained and the operator can, according to EOTech, ‘engage with confidence.’ I didn’t shatter my glass to test the theory but I believe them.
Zeroing in the unit is easy with the pre-labeled dials ‘Down’ and ‘Right’- just make your clicks. If you can get the EOTech to jibe with your iron sights, zeroing it in is easy and then you just need to fine tune.
The EOTech units are designed to be used with both eyes open, and your brain eventually will pick up the concept with a little range practice. The reticle blends into your vision and you essentially become part of real-life first person shooter video game. I can imagine those soldiers in Iraq who come home only to see a ghost reticle as part of their daily lives can be frightening. And you thought you were going mad when you could have sworn you heard your cell phone ring only to find it didn’t…ghost ring syndrome.
The Aimpoint guys will point out the battery life of the EOTech sucks. Well, regular people are logging more than 500 hours per battery. Moreover, they are programmable to shut off after either four or eight hours of operation from the time the last adjustment is made. When you power her up and the battery is low, the reticle will flash to tell you to buy more juice.
The battery in this model, CR-123 style, unfortunately just isn’t the kind you can get at any place in the uncivilized world. But that isn’t a big problem, I would just chuck an extra in my bag next time I am on a mercenary mission in Kandahar. Oh yeah- I am probably never going to do that. However, if I were that concerned, I could go with an EOTech model that runs on double-A’s.
Drawbacks. The reticle is not as crisp as you would like it to be for $600. That is just the nature of the holographic image. Even putting mine up against other test samples in a store the circle is not 100% perfect. It is not out-of-round, it just looks slightly pixilated. However, I found that using the magnifier actually tightened up the image.
The magnifier is really an essential if you want to go to the range and play past 25 yards. It allows you to see what you are doing rather than guesstimate. And although I will not brag about my shooting prowess because I know there are guys out there a lot better than I am, I do have 20/20 vision.
Purchasing this particular model with the two dots in the reticle screams for a magnifier. Don’t even think about getting the version designed for the AR with four dots (557.AR223) without a magnifier because they’ll just look like a fuzzy mess if you don’t have good eyes (even if you do have good eyes, actually). Might as well just buy a 3D LED TV and only watch The Honeymooners reruns on it in B&W. Here a magnifier is mandatory. Even though in increases the size and weight, it is a hell of a lot of fun.
For my purposes, the EOTech unit is the best choice of capability and fun. Unless those Jesus scopes get a little cheaper, this is the way to go.
Style * * * *
Black boxes can’t really be sexy, but with ‘For Law Enforcement / Military Use’ emblazoned on the side it kicks up the tactical style factor. Hello Kitty riflemen may be disappointed, but Tim Gunn would be proud; it’s only available in black.
Ergonomics * * * *
It really does not get any easier. Push the right button to make it brighter, push the left to make it dimmer. Night Vision button is in the middle if you happen to be Law Enforcement.
Reliability * * * * *
I dropped mine on a hardwood floor and the floor now has a permanent mark. You could run over it and probably only get a couple of cosmetic dings.
OVERALL RATING * * * * ½
It works well and works great. In my opinion, the technological answer to fast-acquisition optics does it best.