Downsizing isn’t just for empty-nesters these days. It seems that just about every semiautomatic sporting rifle now has a .22 rimfire clone. Even rather esoteric rifles like SCARs, SiGs, and HK’s have their downmarket rimfire cousins, and rimfire AR clones are too numerous to count. Why? They’re lots of fun and much cheaper to shoot than their 5.56 big brothers. For the price of 2,000 rounds of bulk 5.56 for your AR, you can buy 2,000 rounds of .22 AND a .22 AR clone to shoot them through . . .
Given the popularity of these ‘tactical’ (God, I’m starting to hate that word) .22 sporting rifles, I’ve wondered which major optics manufacturer would step into the breach with a lower-priced and presumably lower-featured line of .22-specific ‘combat’-style optics.
Eotech has made this leap of faith into the rimfire market with their XPS2-RF holographic sight.
At a real-world price of $369, the Eotech XPS2-RF’s about a Benjamin cheaper than a standard Eotech XPS-2. (Click here to read my review of the similar XPS-3.) The two models are externally similar and have very similar operating specifications, but the rimfire version lacks the shockproofing and the armor plating that make other Eotechs nearly indestructible.
I’m cool with that, I suppose, since .22 rifles should certainly never be used or depended upon under the brutal combat conditions that military M4s have to survive every day.
But there’s one design feature I can’t quite get down with: it uses an integral .22 dovetail mount, and it’s not compatible with Weaver or Picatinny rail mounts. This prevents Cheap Bastards like me from buying a .22 Eotech and slapping on a real AR (and you know we would) and prevents the XPS2-RF from eating into the market share of pricier, beefier Eotechs.
Here’s the problem: quarantining the XPS2-RF in a small part of the ‘rimfire-only’ market segment will kill it.
If you can’t put this Eotech on your Colt .22 AR or the like, what good is it? It’s way too expensive to mount on a cheap semi-auto like a Mossberg or a Marlin, and it’s too inaccurate to mount on an expensive bolt-action tackdriver like an Anschutz or a CZ. Even if you had the money, I don’t see why you’d put one of these on a 10/.22 when you could use a ‘real’ (rail-mount) Eotech instead.
The .22 dovetail scope mount is going the way of the Betamax and the 3.5″ floppy disk drive, because it’s obsolete and basically sucks. Dovetail mounts are notoriously flimsy; drop your rifle and the scope rings are liable to tear right off the receiver. They also can’t handle any kind of recoil without sliding forward.
Why Eotech would market a sophisticated holographic sight with such an obsolete mount is a mystery to me. It’s probably the best .22 scope you’ll never use.