Words and pics: Rich Norman
This isn’t the first EOTech I’ve owned, but somehow it’s never occurred to me to review one before now.
An EOTech 512 was the very first real steel optic I ever owned, way back in 2010 when I bought my first PTW. I was lucky enough to be introduced to EOTech by a couple of friends who’d run them for a few years; so I wasn’t freaked out by the fuzzy, shimmering reticle when I got my own. When I bought a second PTW, a second 512 was duly acquired.
At that point I was very much anti-Aimpoint but that all changed when one of the EOTechs dimmed within a year. I got a replacement, but that experience very much made me pause and think again about aiming devices. For a couple of years, Aimpoints became the norm for me.
With a bit of variation as the catalyst, I was coaxed back to EOTech by an EXPS2-0. The EXPS (and XPS) series does not suffer the complications of the 512 series and the 2-0 was just a better optic all round. I had absolutely no problem with it and I was happy to use it alongside my T1.
Here it is on my old Block II carbine PTW:
But then, EO-gate happened and tarnished the EOTech brand.
You can read all about EOTech’s refund programme online, but suffice to say my new EXPS3-0 came with a disclaimer – likely a direct consequence of EO-gate.
The latter two points are of greatest interest.
That said, I’ve never noticed the impact shifting on any of the EOTechs I’ve owned and I cannot recall one time I observed the parallax phenomenon. So for my purposes, EOTechs are good to go.
Back to the EXPS3-0 itself and it’s the first time I’ve owned a tan EOTech – and it’s a handsome beast. When I first received it I kept taking it out of its carry case every day to marvel at its tonal tan anodising.
What is it about tan ano that makes it so attractive (he said, typing away on his rose gold iPad)?
Tan ano is like proper treasure and deserves to be collected.
One of the things which made me go for an EOTech over an Aimpoint the very first time was the EOTech’s reticle.
After staring past a red dot for an extended period of time, to me it starts to look like a comet. The dot (which for me is never round due to my astigmatism) grows a tail. Blinking helps a bit, as does whacking in contact lens-compatible eye drops, but still.
With the EOTech’s 1MOA dot and 65MOA circle, the comet effect is less pronounced – so it’s easier on my eyes for extended use.
I also find the EOTech reticle faster to acquire than a red dot.
The ‘zero’ in EXPS3-0 means the reticle has just the one central 1MOA dot. 3-1 signifies two 1MOA dots; and so on.
There’s more information on the EOTech reticle format here.
The EXPS3-0 also comes complete with a really useful quick startup guide, although you can find the full manual here. Operation is pretty straightforward, however.
Windage and elevation controls are on one side of the optic and are well protected by a sturdy aluminium shroud. These controls work on a positive click-stop detente system. The edge of a coin or a screwdriver may be used to make adjustments.
The reticle intensity controls are on the opposite side of the optic, rather than the rear of the device. The reason for this positioning is to allow access while using a magnifier behind the EXPS3-0.
The intensity controls double as on/off buttons and there’s a third button for NV settings.
The unit does come with an auto-shutdown feature however, because it’s significantly more battery intensive than an Aimpoint – especially the newer ones like the H2, which I reviewed here.
If you turn on the device with the down arrow you get four hours of use prior to shutdown. The up arrow – or the NV button – gives you eight hours. If you use any of the three buttons during that time – to change the reticle intensity for instance – the shutdown time resets. So it’s four hours or eight hours after the last time a button is pressed.
So, there’s a lot more going on inside an EOTech as opposed to an Aimpoint (quite apart for the holographic reticle) and such complexity has its pros and cons.
Unlike earlier EOTech models, the EXPS series stores its battery (a CR123) in transverse orientation and thus has a smaller footprint than, say, the 512 series; allowing the user a greater variety of indexing positions, where an array of BUIS and other devices compete for space on the rifle’s top rail.
Although it is composed of plastic like most of the rest of the optic, the battery compartment is really solid and is sealed with an o-ring. It’s also captive, being tethered to the EXPS3-0’s protective aluminium shroud.
The compartment’s aluminium cap exhibits an aggressive grip pattern, but can be nipped a little tighter with the edge of a coin or similar implement.
The EXPS3-0 sits on a riser which conveys lower third co-witness with standard height AR BUIS. The base also houses the optic’s picatinny QD mechanism. This is easy to use and works well, utilising a lever; and a size adjustment screw on the opposite side. A locking button must be depressed in order for the QD mechanism to open. This button sits forward of the lever’s hinge.
Lastly, this EXPS3-0 features EOTech’s newer logo on the sides of the shroud, but also in relief on the back panel – which is also plastic.
I’ve barely used this optic but honestly: I really missed the little ‘Robin Reliant‘ and its massive, fuzzy reticle.
And, while you can buy clones which do pretty much the same thing as an Aimpoint (aside from the extremes of use and battery efficiency) there is still only one EOTech.
Plus, it’s tan ano!