The EOTech EXPS-3 Battle Sight & G23.FTS 3x Magnifier

The EOTech EXPS-3 and G23.FTS mounted on a STAG Arms M4 rifle
The EOTech EXPS-3 and G23.FTS mounted on a STAG Arms M4 rifle.
The 3x magnifier in the down and out of the way position. If you need a precise shot, just flip it up
The 3x magnifier in the down and out of the way position. If you need a precise shot, just flip it up.
The manufacturer product photo of the Extreme XPS-3 (EXPS-3). Notice how stumpy it looks compared to the older 533 model EOTechs
The manufacturer product photo of the EXPS-3  (EXPS-3). Notice how stumpy it looks compared to the older 533 model EOTechs.
Another angle of the scope down and to the side
Another angle of the scope down and to the side.
This is the shooter's perspective. The pictures don't really do it justice though. This is a really sweet piece of gear
This is the shooter’s perspective.  The pictures don’t really do it justice though. This is a really sweet piece of gear.
The G23 comes with a 7mm spacer for the up-head models of EOTech sights. It is engineered to work with and without the 7mm spacer to fit all EOTech models
The G23 comes with a 7mm spacer for the up-head models of EOTech sights. It is engineered to work with and without the 7mm spacer to fit all EOTech models.
The new model EOTechs have one 3v battery instead of two smaller 1.5v batteries. The cap is also much easier to get off, and much harder to lose
The new model EOTechs have one 3v battery instead of two smaller 1.5v batteries. The cap is also much easier to get off, and much harder to lose.

The EXPS-3 Battle Sight at EOTech:
http://www.eotech-inc.com/product.php?id=38&cat=1

The G23.FTS at EOTech:
http://www.eotech-inc.com/product.php?id=14&cat=1

Close quarters battle has always been the proving ground for the EOTech line of holographic weapons sights.  You will find EOTech sights mounted on just about every type of small arms tactical weapon made, and they are equally at home on the SWAT team as they are in the battlefields of Iraq and Afghanistan. The EOTech 553 is in U.S. military service under the designation SU-231/PEQ and M553 in the commercial market.  I got a chance to look at two new products from EOTech, the updated top of the line version of their battle sight called the EXPS-3, and a new magnifier that sits in front of the EOTech sight for more precise shots and flips out of the way when you don’t need it.

This new generation of EOTech sights are very much like the last generation, with a few key improvements garnered from years of experience in active service.  They still have a 65 MOA outer ring for the classic heads-up battle configuration, and the dot in the middle is still about 1 MOA for those with 20/20 vision.

The most outwardly obvious changes with this EXPS-3 sight they sent us are quick detach mounts and a smaller mounting base. This allows you to leave your folding rear peep sight on the rifle, folded down, and if the holographic sight fails, you can take it off.  They have also solved some of the battery issues found in the old sights. The battery is now sideways and there is only one 3v, not two 1.5v lengthwise, so the sight is much less bulky and it is shorter. The battery cap is also now a screw cap with an o-ring, tethered on, not a clip in that can break and get lost easily.

Holographic sights are different than all the other red or green dot types of sights you may be familiar with.  They operate with a laser, not an LED, and the laser is projected on a three dimensional plane. The result is that there is no parallax in the sight, no matter where you see the image, and that to me has always been the strength of the EOTech. You don’t need to line your head up on a sighting plane to make the bullet hit where your dot is pointing.  If you can see the dot, and the target, no matter where you head is positioned, you will hit your mark.

There are 20 daylight settings and 10 Night vision compatible settings on this model and they are noticeably different from each other.When you turn on the sight, it starts at level 12 by default. What surprised me was that at the lowest levels, the dot is still able to picked up, but it is truly tiny. The actual dot size on an EOTech is not 1 MOA. It is infinitely small, depending on the visual acuity of the user.  At 20/20 that works out to about 1 MOA, but when you dial the brightness all the way back, the dot gets much smaller than it is at full or even half brightness, and if you have sharp vision you will get much less than one MOA out of it.

Bird on a Wire – the 3x Magnifier

We were fortunate enough to have EOTech send us a companion piece of gear that changes the whole perspective of what the EOTech sight can be.  It is called the G23.FTS and it is a 3x (actually 3.25x) magnifier that flips to the side when you don’t need it. That is what FTS stands for, “flip to side.”  This turns your close quarters EOTech into a medium range weapon sight capable of precise shots out to 300 or more yards and more, depending on the ballistics of the rifle.

I was able to test this scope with the EOTech and it makes a huge difference for even shots in the 50 yard range, let alone farther out. The dot on the EOTech feels course at no magnification. Even though it only covers an inch at 100 yards officially, with most people’s eyes, you have to dial it down to actually see that coverage.  Generally you are going to put the dot on the majority of the target and hope for the best in the standard no magnification configuration. But flip up the 3 power scope and all of a sudden you have a dot covering only that inch on the target. Because the whole target is bigger, the light from the dot has more chance to be clearer in your eyes, and the result is the ability to make a more precise shot.

Without the magnifier you are shooting at a  bird on a wire at 100 yards. With the magnifier you are shooting at the bird on the wire’s center mass, or a head shot. Take this out to 300 yards where an M4 is still somewhat effective and you will feel the ability to make shots within the accuracy capabilities of the rifle with confidence. The 3.25x is just enough to make a real difference, but not too much where you have to spend time finding your target.

There was a apparently a cruder version of this scope prior to this model, because one of the improvements listed is that the adjustments to it are inside the scope instead of in the base. The alignment adjustments have very little to do with actual point of aim or bullet impact. They are merely to center the EOTech reticle in the scope itself.  Again, with the holographic reticle, it doesn’t matter what angle you see it from. It is always on.  This model also has more eye relief than its previous version, 50mm.

You may have to re-adjust your zero a bit after installing the scope, but this is not because it alters your sight picture itself. If you felt you were zeroed and all of a sudden you are shooting a couple inches left, it is most likely because the coarseness of the dot at 100 yards was not finely zeroed. With the 3 power magnifier you can zero the sight much more precisely.

A True Battle Sighting System

Durability is something that you take for granted with an EOTech but it is worth mentioning. There are a lot of inexpensive “holographic” sights out there from Chinese manufacturers, and at the range you hear people claim that they are as good as the EOTech.  If you plan to use your weapon platform for actual protection of your life, I wouldn’t bet on this. The EOTech is one of the few battle sights that has actually been tested in battle. You can feel the durability on the site itself, and with the holographic system, even if the glass gets partially broken the sight still works.   I didn’t scrape and slam my test subjects against cement walls and intentionally drop my rifle on the pavement so I don’t know how they would perform under such circumstances. At an MSRP of $639 for the sight and $589 for the scope, I doubt I’m going to get permission to beat them up anytime soon.  Even in battle it’s a good idea to take care of your optics of course, no matter how tough they seem. This new generation of EOTech is very impressive and for those whose business it is to be in harms way, I don’t think they will let you down.

 

The EXPS-3 Battle Sight at EOTech:
http://www.eotech-inc.com/product.php?id=38&cat=1

The G23.FTS at EOTech:
http://www.eotech-inc.com/product.php?id=14&cat=1

These new EOTechs are shorter to leave more room on your rail. This can be used to fit an iron sight, night vision, or the accompanying magnifier you see here
This is the shooter’s perspective.  The pictures don’t really do it justice though. This is a really sweet piece of gear.
Some EOTechs are marked law enforcement and military use, but there is no prohibition from the government or the company itself on civilian use. There are export restrictions on the technology however.
Some EOTechs are marked law enforcement and military use, but there is no prohibition from the government or the company itself on civilian use. There are export restrictions on the technology however.
{ 11 comments… add one }
  • john August 25, 2012, 8:30 am

    Goto Brownells. They sell a backup iron site kit, made by a vet I believe, that attaches to top rail at an angle letting you keep your primary free. You just turn your weapon 45° for CQB/short range/backup use.

  • britton April 11, 2012, 2:32 pm

    i love ar’s n the double sights r awesome….but does anyone who what the thing is that u can put sights on the side of ur rifle…..i know if u have double sights u wouldnt really need it but i just wanted to know what it was called

  • Capt. Craig August 28, 2011, 6:03 am

    After reading the article, I put one on my new POF 415. It’s fast, accurate & a truly amazing optic!

  • Clint G August 15, 2011, 3:39 pm

    Thanks for this article. I just ordered one of these for my DPMS. I will let you know how it works for me!

  • bansi July 13, 2011, 2:41 pm

    prise

  • Chris Kuroda July 5, 2011, 5:42 pm

    thanks for the article. I was swaying between this and an Aimpoint Red Dot, but decided to get this set up after reading this article. Aimpoint makes good stuff, I hear, but the Holo sight is a little easier for me to acquire. Thanks, EOTech, for making such quality product for our military!

  • Dennis June 29, 2011, 8:12 am

    “There are export restrictions on the technology however.”

    Right and before the print was dry, someone making a buck sent a copy to China!

    When it comes right down to it, our export laws have no teeth, just watch Nick Cage’s movie..

    Money will buy it and it will be copied… Trust Zero Obooboo to do nothing…

  • Chris Borgerson June 28, 2011, 7:49 pm

    What’s my best bet for a good scope for my AK.I am on a budget but want something good and dependable.Thanks

  • K.S. Richardson June 28, 2011, 3:22 pm

    EOTech are the best, hard as nails, dependable optics that I have ever owned. If cost was no obstruction, I would love to own at least 4 more plus magnifiers. Especially on my 460VXR magnum hunting handgun. Now that would rock!

  • chicagogunsmith June 28, 2011, 12:07 pm

    I recall the kit Eotech used to sell which included the 557 & Gen 1 FTS was a real hot seller. I sold a couple of them and after Eotech ceased production I got numerous calls for more. The kit was an incredible price reduction vs purchasing the 557 and FTS magnifier seperately. Hopefully Eotech decides to bundle another kit. I want one for my own AR! 😉

  • allan c.underwood June 28, 2011, 11:06 am

    i would like to purchase your products

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