EOTech 300 AAC Blackout Holographic Site – Coming Soonish!

EOTech 300 AAC Blackout XPS2-300

The EOTech XPS2-300 features two 1 MOA dots positioned inside a 65MOA circular reticle.

We had the pleasure of spending the past few days at the 2013 Professional Outdoor Media Association annual conference in Columbia, South Carolina. One of the joys of the annual POMA gathering is spending quality time with corporate members like EOTech. Away from the bedlam of SHOT Show or the NRA Annual Meeting, there is opportunity for lot’s of questions. Even better, the range day event allows more leisurely trial of new products.

One of this year’s range day highlights was the new EOTech .300 AAC Blackout holographic sight. On the outside, it shares primary features with other XPS models.

EOTech SM2-300 reticle

The EOTech 300 AAC Blackout reticle looks something like this.

For example, it uses a sideways mounted CR123 battery. There are two reasons for this. The sideways mount helps to shorten the overall length of the optic – handy for AR platforms with limited rail space. This is especially important if you also want to mount  a magnifier or backup iron sights. The hidden benefit of the sideways mounted battery is increased resistance to adverse recoil effects. As the rifle fires, the battery does not move back and forth against the battery contacts. The result? Longer life and improved reliability. Clever.

The XPS2-300 model also features rear mounted on/off and brightness buttons. This is primarily for true ambidextrous operation. Windage and elevation adjustments are 1/2 MOA, or about 1/2 inch per click at 100 yards.

The real deal with the EOTech 300 AAC Blackout is the multi-dot reticle. Like most other EOTech models, there is a 1 MOA center dot. With the XPS2-300, there is a second dot below the first. This is intended for an additional range zero with the 300 AAC Blackout cartridge. The idea is that you choose either subsonic or supersonic 300 Blackout loads and establish two range points corresponding to the two dots. For example, most 300 Blackout subsonic rounds, if zeroed at 50 yards, will have the lower dot corresponding to 100 yards. In all likelihood, supersonic rounds will match the top dot at 50 yards also and depending on your specific load, you can establish a range that corresponds to the lower dot. Or, with the wide variety of 300 AAC Blackout loads, you could zero the upper dot for your choice of supersonic load, then determine the range for your choice of subsonic load sighted with the lower dot. This will be a fun optic to experiment with if you’re a reloader.

The EOTech models for .223 / 5.56mm also have a 7 yard aim point. This is where the bottom post intersects the 65MOA circle. This aim point should also apply for the 300 AAC Blackout optic as there is minimal trajectory influence at just 7 yards – most of the difference between aim point and point of impact is a result of the height of the center dot over the barrel. We weren’t able to test this, but it should be pretty darn close.

We’re anxious to get one of these in so we can experiment with a variety of both subsonic and supersonic loads and report on the reticle function. According to EOTech, the unit will be out sometime in the late spring / early summer of 2013.

More to follow.

Red Dot Sight Review: Aimpoint PRO Optic

Aimpoint PRO Red Dot Sight Optic

The Aimpoint PRO is beautifully designed. Note the transparent rear lens cap.

Sweden has invented some pretty useful things over the years. Ingrid Bergman. Greta Garbo. Alfred Nobel, inventor of dynamite and that goofy prize for well-connected politicians. And of course, Sweden is responsible for bringing us the swingin’ pop sensation ABBA. Oh, Fernando, you dancing queen…

As if these contributions were not enough, Sweden also produced Aimpoint. As we discovered with our review of the Aimpoint Micro H1 red dot sight, the new Aimpoint PRO over-delivers. But is it the best red dot sight?

The Aimpoint PRO Red Dot Sight goes from tactical to civilian

The Aimpoint PRO is actually a new packaging release. The Law Enforcement only product, the Aimpoint Patrol Rifle Optic (PRO) was released in 2011. It was the latest iteration of sights based on the popular Comp M3 design. The Aimpoint Patrol Rifle Optic had a few key differences to the Comp M3 line:

  • 3 year battery life
  • Included flip up lens covers
  • QRP2 mount
  • Nifty lens cap (interior) sticker for battery replacement and in-service date reminders

In 2012, the Aimpoint PRO was made available to the civilian market. Got it?

High points – Is the Aimpoint PRO the best red dot sight?

Like the Aimpoint Micro H1 red dot, the Aimpoint PRO red dot sight runs 75% of forever. The single 3 volt lithium 2L76 battery runs for 30,000 continuous hours. That’s longer than the movie The English Patient. Although The English Patient seems longer once you’re trapped in the theater and doomed to hours of $14 cokes. In case you haven’t seen The English Patient, 3,000 hours equates to about 3 years of continuous use. We’re pretty comfortable with a design that runs for 3 years without switches or maintenance. Even if you’re really paranoid, just replace that single battery every New Years Eve before the festivities start and you become forgetful. Of course there is a real benefit to this longevity other than an exceptionally low battery replacement budget. Just leave this red dot sight powered on. Always. Then it’s ready to go without switches or any other manipulation. As we’ll see later, you don’t even have to open the lens covers.

The Aimpoint PRO red dot sight features a 2 MOA (minute of angle) red dot. Intensity is adjusted by a knob at the 2 o’clock position from the rear lens. The knob is designed with deep grooves for easy grasp, even with gloves, and allows 10 levels of dot intensity adjustment. We found that you can adjust it easily with your weak hand without obstructing the lens.

Aimpoint PRO Red Dot QRP2 Mount

The QRP2 mount does not require tools – and is self torque limiting

The mount has also been updated from the Comp M3 offering for effective use on AR / M4 type platforms. The QRP2 system accomplishes two objectives. First, it places the optic at such a height where the iron sights on an AR platform line up in the bottom third of the optic window. This allows easy use of the red dot without iron sights getting in the way – even if your rifle has a fixed front sight. Second, the mount features a large snap knob for mounting the optic on the rail. Simply place the optic on the rail and tighten the knurled knob until it clicks 3 times. This applies exactly the right amount of torque so your rail will not be damaged. And you can easily mount and unmount the optic without tools. Please sir, step away from the vise grips!It’s a really handy mount that proved to be solid over time and use. The height spacer of the QRP2 mount is removable if you want to mount the Aimpoint PRO on shotguns or sub-machine guns.

Both front and rear lenses are inset into the optic body for extra protection. The front tube is threaded inside in case you want to mount an optional anti-reflective device. By the way, the Aimpoint PRO red dot sight is compatible with all current generations of night vision devices. It also can be used with Aimpoint’s 3x magnifier if you need to reach out and touch someone at greater distance.

Like other Aimpoint products, the Aimpoint PRO is built with attention to detail. For example, windage and elevation caps, and the battery compartment cap, are all connected with a rubber strap so won’t lose any pieces. Aimpoint even includes a sticker to record battery changes and service dates. This round sticker fits on the inside of the front lens cap so you won’t lose track of it. And you’ll see it every time you open the lens cap.

Optical illusions

One of the first things we noticed about the Aimpoint PRO is the design of the included (and pre-installed) flip up lens covers. The front lens is made from black rubber and has two tabs that allow for easy opening. The front lens cover is spring loaded, so a light tap on either tab opens the cover all the way, and spring tension keeps it well out of the way once opened. The rear lens cover is particularly interesting. The cover itself is clear, so you don’t necessarily have to open it for use. As the Aimpoint PRO is designed for ‘both eyes open’ shooting, you can literally pick up the rifle and aim it accurately with both lens covers closed. The rear cover is clear, so you will see the red dot. Your offside eye will see the target. Your brain will put the two together and you’ll see a red dot on target. Of course, the sight picture is not as clear as with the lens covers open, but we found this scenario to be perfectly usable. This seemingly minor feature could make all the difference in a scenario where one has to react immediately. Obviously it could make a big difference in combat or defensive applications. Or it can help you avoid embarrassment in that upcoming 3 gun match.

You too can re-enact scenes from Act of Valor

We hear much internet wisdom about how quality optics are expensive. And how you can get the “same exact thing” from some other company. Some folks insist that the actual optic is made in the same factory as a knock off and different brand names are applied as the units are shipped out the door.

Aimpoint PRO Patrol Rifle Optic Red dot sight cowitness iron sights

The mount co-witnesses perfectly with iron sights.

Not so with the Aimpoint product line. They are made in Sweden by Aimpoint, for Aimpoint. Period. And the attention to quality engineering is apparent.

The Aimpoint PRO is constructed from a solid anodized aluminum housing. Watertight screw caps for the battery housing and windage and elevation adjustments ensure that you can completely submerge this unit up to a depth of 150 feet. If you’re engaged in activities that cover your optic with sand and salt spray, no problem, just dunk it in clean water and you’re good to go. Do make sure the caps are on though.

The Aimpoint PRO Red Dot Sight at the range

Of course the real test was at the range. We mounted the evaluation unit on a DPMS Panther A3 Lite 16 AR15 rifle. This model features a front sight post and rail on the back. We have it equipped with a Magpul flip-up rear sight. Even with the rear sight flipped up, the Aimpoint PRO’s red dot was easy to see. The front and rear sights lined up just about 1/3 of the way up the glass. Perfectly positioned in our opinion.

As the Aimpoint PRO is parallax free there was no sensitivity at all to position of your head and eyes. As long as you can see through the tube, you’ll see the dot on target. We found this sight very fast to acquire.

Just for kicks, we did try shooting some 25, 50 and 100 yard targets with the both lens covers closed. Remember, the Aimpoint PRO has a semi-transparent rear lens cap, so you can see the red dot without flipping the rear cap out of the way. With the front cap closed, your brain relies on your other eye to acquire the target. The eye looking through the optic will see the dot and your brain does a reasonable job of putting the two together. We found 25 and 50 yard targets easy to hit with the front cap closed. The 100 yard targets were a little harder to acquire accurately in this manner. The bottom line is that this feature works as intended. If you need to fire a quick shot, you can do it accurately without even opening the lens caps.

All in all, this is another excellent optic and mount from Aimpoint. We’re going to have to buy one.

Our rating

4 Nuns Four Nuns! Built like a tank. Clear and easy to acquire. Those little details that Aimpoint considers make all the difference. We highly recommend this one.
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Shop for the Aimpoint Pro at Brownells.com

Aimpoint Patrol Rifle Optic (Pro)
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Buyers Guide: Aimpoint Micro H-1 Red Dot Sight

My Gun Culture Shooting Buyers Guide

IMG_1277This is a fantastic red dot. One of our favorites.

In our recent in-depth review we used it on a DPMS A3 Lite and found it stellar. Battery life is 75% of forever so you don’t have to worry about turning the unit and and off. That’s great if it’s a self-defense gun.

When paired with the Micro LRP Mount, you can remove and remount the sight without loss of zero. We tested this and it worked as advertised.

This is a lightweight and very tough optic. The attention to detail in the optic and its accessories is icing on the cake.

Well worth the money.

Available Here Aimpoint Micro H-1 Red Dot Sight With with LRP Mount

Video Review: Aimpoint Micro-H1 LRP Red Dot Optic

We loved the Aimpoint Micro-H1–Great AR add on!

BUY NOW: Aimpoint Micro Series Optical Sights Micro H-1

Review: Bushnell Zoom Dot Red Dot Sight

The Good
Our aging eyes had no trouble at all picking up the very bright 10 MOA dot.
The Bad
A minor nit with the Zoom Dot was the placement of the windage adjustment. It’s partially blocked by the scope mount in its ‘factory shipped’ condition. This was a minor inconvenience at the range.
The Ugly
While the Zoom Dot claims water resistance, we did not have any 200 foot free dives planned during the evaluation period to test it out. Maybe next time..
Our Rating
3 Nuns Three Nuns!

Bushnell Zoom Dot Red Dot Sight

Suggested Retail Price: $423.95

Approximate Street Price: $235.00

www.bushnell.com

Zoom. Zoom. Zoom. That’s Bushnell’s approach to balancing rapid sighting capability with precision aiming in the same optic. Some optics makers elect to use a single red dot, an arrow, or a small MOA dot surrounded by a larger circle for close in and fast sighting. The Bushnell Zoom Dot approach is just like the name says – a variable zoom control knob increases the red dot size from 1 MOA all the way up to 10 MOA. Just for scale, that would mean the largest dot setting dot would just about completely cover a paper plate at 100 yards. Zoom is controlled by a large control knob on the right side of the tube. This control knob also serves as a battery disconnect for long storage periods of inactivity and houses the units battery.

Sensory Perception

 

The Bushnell Zoom Dot comes with rubber flip-up lens covers, and in addition to keeping dirt, grit, slime, and meddling politicians away from the glass when not in use, the covers serve a secondary purpose. The Zoom Dot is equipped with an automatic brightness adjustment. An onboard sensor detects light conditions and intensifies the dot accordingly. Outdoors, the dot gets brighter. Indoors, the dot gets dimmer. Best of all, when the lens covers are closed, the dot turns off altogether, thereby extending the battery life to thousands of hours. We’re leaving the unit turned on at about the 5 MOA setting just to see how long it will run. If the battery outlasts our patience with presidential election primaries, we’ll consider it a victory for all mankind.

Oops – Placement Counts

 

The Zoom Dot has a rock-solid six screw mount. However, when we went to make our very first windage adjustments at the range, we found that the factory default mounting position was too close to the windage adjustment and the adjusting hex wrench was not able to fit. So we had to loosen the mount, move the mounting ring further from the control area and re-seat the mount before we could make windage adjustments. Not a deal breaker, but it was unusual that you’re not able to make sight adjustments with the out of the box configuration. So your options are to move the tube permanently in the mount, allowing for future windage adjustments, or move the tube, adjust for windage, and move it back.

Flip Up Covers

The included lens caps are made of a rubber material. The optic has ‘nubs’ that will hold the lens cap in the open position. A firm push flexes the rubber cap back over the nub to close the cover. Nice touch. The rubber lens caps are mounted on a ring that can be rotated around the tube, so the covers can be positioned to open up, down, sideways, or diagonally if you’re feeling particular rebellious.

It’s Rugged

Judging by the cornucopia (a ‘cornucopia’ is about two and a half boatloads by the way) of gun, ammo, and accessory products hitting the market, zombies are everywhere. This is a good thing as we thought a reasonable durability test would be to red-dot whip a few dozen of the undead to make sure the Zoom Dot lived up to its sturdy appearance. Unfortunately there were no undead to be found in our area. Nor could we find any rapists at local Occupy events as a substitute target. No matter – Bushnell claims that Zoom Dots are in active duty use in Iraq and Afghanistan. We have been unable to verify whether the Zoom Dot is featured in Modern Warfare 3.

The Zoom Dot is also fully waterproof to an unspecified depth. We were going to take up high-performance free diving and bring this puppy down to a couple hundred feet, but the water was a bit chilly, so we postponed that. Maybe later.

Witnessing

 

The Bushnell Zoom Dot is intended to work with back up iron sights in the event the fudge hits the fan and your battery dies at an inopportune time. Our test platform was a DPMS Panther A3 Lite with a Magpul Back-Up Rear Sight and integral front sight. The height of the optic with included mount was a bit lower than we would have preferred as the optical sights lined up in the upper half of the tubes visible area. With the integral front sight of the A3 platform, we found the front sight to be too much in the field of view when using the optic. Of course, this would not be an issue with a fold-down back-up front sight setup. And if you’ve resorted to iron sight use, the height is irrelevant as you can see clearly through the glass. if the mount height really bothers you, the tube is a standard 30mm diameter so the mount can be replaced with one a bit higher.

Shooty-ness

We did most of our shooting at ranges between 10 and 100 yards. At 100 yards, the smaller MOA settings (1-3 range) were perfectly adequate to consistently hit clay targets and other small objects. For 25 yards and closer, we liked the higher settings, maybe in the 5-8 MOA range. Going with a larger dot size in bright sunlight was also helpful. While the dot intensity automatically increases in bright light, the optical illusion of even greater brightness with larger dot sizes was helpful.

Closing Arguments

The stand out feature of this optic was its feeling of solid. No, we didn’t drive nails with it, mainly because Paul at Bushnell might have used it on us if we beat the heck out of his red-dot. Nor did we have the opportunity to AR-whip any zombies with it, but it just feels substantial. We’re going to keep it on for a while and run it through the paces of several high school shooting club outings. 25 or so teenagers using it at the range should be roughly equivalent to a year or so in a combat zone. That ought to provide some real world perspective and we’ll post updates as appropriate.

 

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Review: Aimpoint Micro H-1 Red Dot Sight

The Good
This is a really well engineered piece of equipment. Versatile with thoughtful design.
The Bad
If I had to be really picky, I would prefer flip up lens covers instead of the connected rubber covers. They are designed to quickly pull down and rest around the sight base however so they don’t get lost.
The Ugly
I have to somehow convince her that we need one of these more than we need to do other things – like feed the kids or make car payments.
Our Rating
3 Nuns Four Nuns!

Aimpoint Micro-H1 Red Dot Sight

Approximate Street Price: $565.00 (as configured with mounts)

www.aimpoint.com

Note the optics co-witness height with back up iron sights

Note the optics co-witness height with back up iron sights

We met Kristi, Aimpoint’s Marketing Director, at this year’s POMA Conference Media Day at the Range in Ogden, Utah and had the opportunity to try the Micro H-1 Red Dot sight. We were impressed with the size, weight, and clarity of the H-1 and worked out a more in-depth evaluation opportunity. The H-1 seemed like a great option for an AR platform so we planned an in-depth test on a DPMS Panther A3 Lite 16.

The Skinny on the Micro H-1

The Micro H-1 and its slightly more tacticool sibling the Micro T-1 (night vision compatible) are, in fact, skinny. Just 1.6″ wide compared to the classic Aimpoint Comp M4′s 2.1″ width, the Micro H-1 (not counting the brightness adjustment wheel) was skinnier than the DPMS receiver it was mounted on. The Micro H-1 has a lens diameter of just about 3/4″.

Weight is also dramatically reduced over the Comp M4 unit. The Micro weighs in at 3oz while the Comp M4 weighs 9.3oz. As an additional comparison, the Eotech XPS2 weighs about 8oz, so the Aimpoint unit is light. Really light.

As light as it is, the Micro H-1 feels substantial. Made of aluminum with an anodized semi-matte finish, both the sight and it’s base were rock solid. No feeling of cheapness here.

It keeps going. And going. And going.

The Aimpoint Micro H-1 is powered by a CR2032 3 volt Lithium battery. The significance of all those numbers and letters is that the batteries are available in your local grocery or drug store. Very common they are. Not that it matters, because the Micro H-1 runs continuously on a single battery for about 5 years. That’s almost as long as the last State of the Union speech. Almost. Our evaluation period was 60 days, and we left it on. Just because we could. (It was still running just fine when we sent it back by the way.)

Attention to Detail

One handy detail is that the windage and elevation caps double as adjustment tools

One handy detail is that the windage and elevation caps double as adjustment tools

At BUDS Training, prospective United States Navy Seals are tested and drilled to internalize attention to detail. Apparently someone at Aimpoint took this concept to heart. We found numerous examples of really thoughtful design and engineering with the Aimpoint Micro H-1.

The Micro H-1 includes a multi-purpose tool that serves a variety of functions. One end has two nubs (our word) for adjusting the windage and elevation controls. The opposite end has a Torx bit sized to the base mounting bolts. The sides of the tool are wide, flat plastic blades sized to the battery cover. To top it off, the direction of rotation for right windage and upward elevation adjustments are imprinted on the multi-tool. This is a particularly helpful feature for those of us who tend to toss the instruction book. The tool also serves as a nearly lethal shuriken assuming one has the proper Shaolin training.

Another stand out feature is that the screw caps for the units windage and elevation adjustments are also shaped with nubs that allow the caps to be reversed and used as a tool to adjust the dials. So that neat nearly-ninja multi-tool is not technically required to be kept in the range bag. That’s just a nice touch.

Mounting Up

Aimpoint Micro H-1 with LRP Mount and Micro Spacer High Mount

Aimpoint Micro H-1 with LRP Mount and Micro Spacer High Mount

Our evaluation model came with a two part mounting system as it was to be used on a flat-top AR platform. First was the Micro LRP. This is a quick attach and detach system with a lever to clamp the unit on a Mil-Std Picatinny rail. The spring loaded clamp lever includes a notch that locks the lever in place when tightened. It’s not going anywhere. The neat part of the system is that zero is maintained when the sight is removed and re-attached in the same place. Translation: You hit the same dang thing you aim at no matter how much you take the sight on and off. Our unit also included the Micro Spacer High mount which is attached between the Micro LRP mount and the Micro H-1 optic itself. This combination of components places the H-1 at perfect height for co-witnessing with iron sights on a flat top AR system. On our DPMS, a Magpul flip up rear sight and integral front sight lined up just below the vertical half-way mark through the Aimpoint optic.

While we tested the Aimpoint Micro H-1 on an AR platform, it was designed with a multitude of uses in mind. Optional mounting accessories allow the H-1 to be used with 11mm dovetail systems, Glock pistols, Ruger 10/22′s, Ruger Mark III’s, bows, revolvers with Weaver mounts, and Merkel Double Rifles. Safari anyone?

Subjective Shooty Stuff

When we first opened the box of the Micro H-1, we were a little concerned about the diameter of the optic. It looks narrow. Measured with our precision wooden ruler, the lens appeared to be about 3/4″ in diameter. We thought it would be slow to aim given the relative small diameter of the glass. Not the case. If anything, the narrow dimensions of the Micro H-1 improved overall vision as the other eye field of view was not obstructed by ‘optic junk.’

There was an additional benefit to the small tube of the H-1. It provided a reasonable ‘fast and close up‘ sighting method on its own, without need to pick up the red dot itself. For short range shooting, the tube itself provided a decent ‘minute of evil d00d‘ sighting system.

The Micro H-1 has a 4 MOA (minute of angle) dot size, so it’s designed for tactical, competitive speed shooting, or hunting applications. The unit has 12 degrees of brightness adjustment for a variety of lighting conditions. We found that settings 7 and below provided an exceptionally crisp sight picture while brighter settings were useful in heavy sunlight conditions.

The Micro H-1 includes a nearly-ninja and handy multi-tool

The Micro H-1 includes a nearly-ninja and handy multi-tool

Because the specs said we could, we mounted the Micro H-1 and zeroed it at 50 yards, shot a bunch of stuff, then removed the optic and did some back up sight shooting. Remounting the Micro H-1 with the LRP quick mount system did in fact maintain the original zero. That’s a handy feature for folks like us that like to tinker with stuff, whether it needs tinkering or not.

Net-Net

We were a little skeptical about two things with the Micro H-1. First was the small diameter of the optic. Would that slow down target acquisition? Second was the specific mounting system for a flat top AR being made of three distinct parts. Would it be solid?

Both concerns turned out to be non-issues. Kind of like Justin Bieber becoming a threat in the world of Ultimate Fighting. Sighting with both eyes open was actually improved as it allowed better peripheral vision with the non-sighting eye. And the Aimpoint Micro H-1 was solid, well fitted, and well constructed. our test unit came with the sight, spacer, and LRP mount pre-assembled, and one wouldn’t know that they were three separate pieces without reading the documentation.

Four Nuns on this one – it’s a really impressive optic.

BUY NOW: Aimpoint Micro Series Optical Sights Micro H-1

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