EOTech XPS2 for Patrol?


Good rifle optics all have various environments where they shine, things certain optics do better than others, the plusses and minuses.  In order to properly select an optic, one must honestly consider the role the gun and optic will take on.  Is it going to be a safe queen that comes out for range days on special occasions, or is this going to be your SHTF rifle that you keep ready at all times?  In my case, another of the situations I have to consider is my patrol rifle that rides next to me in the car all day, every day, that needs to be ready to go at the drop of a hat.
Let me start by telling you I am biased.  My favorite non-magnified optic is the EOTech line.  I have used the model 512 quite a bit on various rifles, and I own an XPS2.  This is the one red dot optic that I wish I could afford to put on just about every rifle I own.  There, I said it, now lets move on.
I recently read an article by a range instructor who teaches beginner shooters, and he commented that over the years, he has noticed that approximately 25-30% of his students are cross-dominant shooters.  He was not referring to their desire to shoot while wearing a dress, but rather referring to the fact that their dominant eye is on the opposite side of their body from their dominant hand.  He further noted that this can raise some issues in training, but nothing that cannot be overcome.  Lucky me, I am part of that minority!  When shooting handguns, it has never caused me any issues because with my long monkey arms, I just adjust my stance a little and tilt my head a touch and the gun lines up with my good eye.  However, it is a whole different ball game when using a rifle, especially when trying to keep both eyes open like one is supposed to when using a red dot sight.
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The EOTech XPS2 in particular is an excellent optic, and when compared to many of the other top of the line red dot optics out there, it is priced fairly reasonably ($500+/- depending on source).  It boasts 600 hours battery life (at brightness setting 12, 20 settings total), weighs a fairly light 8oz, is waterproof to 10 feet and it has a fairly small footprint on your rail system.  The elevation and windage adjustment screws are recessed to prevent accidental turning, but can easily be accessed without removing anything in case the shooter needs to make changes on the fly.  The screws are a bit too stiff to use a fingernail, but a dime or the tip of a blade will work in a pinch.  The adjustments are 0.5 MOA (1/2” at 100 yards) for both elevation and windage.  The XPS2 is powered by the quite common CR123 battery, that also happens to power many weapon lights and small flashlights.  The reticle and objective window heights are designed to perfectly co-witness with an AR-15’s iron sights so any of the array of AR style backup sights will also co-witness fine with it for those looking to mount it on any other rifle, like an FAL as pictured, or a Tavor   Finally, it comes with two mounting screws, a thumb screw as pictured and an Allen screw for a more permanent installation.For people such as myself, the cross-dominant shooter, the EOTech is the perfect tool because its short length (total lack of a tube) and the larger, more distinct reticle make it much easier for my weak eye to pick up the reticle and simultaneously see what I am doing, such as performing a field or building search.  In my opinion, this is where the EOTech shines!  It is so open, with such an easy to pick up reticle, even those who find it very difficult to shoot with both eyes open soon find they can do so with ease when using an EOTech.
I have owned my XPS2 for several years, and for the first two of those years, it lived on my LWRC M6A1-S that I carry every day at work.  I love this optic, and used my rifle on a large number of calls over approximately two years.  After all the banging around getting it in and out of the car on a daily basis, and probably 40,000 miles of rattling around in a patrol car, it never lost its zero.  I had the deployment down.  Hit the lock release, open the lock, grab the gun, get my strong hand on the pistol grip, charge the rifle, hit the power button on the EOTech with my support hand and get it forward onto the handguard, shoulder the gun and fire.  I did this often, and even practiced it, to where I thought I had it down pat.The controls on the XPS2 are fairly simple, but do require a solid press. Pressing either button will power it on, but pushing the down arrow button sets the run time at 4 hours while pressing the up arrow sets the run time at 8 hours.  To turn it off, you must press both buttons simultaneously.  The rest is pretty basic, up arrow makes the reticle brighter, down arrow dims it. The battery compartment is under the large knurled and slotted cap, that is o-ring sealed, at the front right corner of the optic, and the cap has a retention wire so it will not become lost while swapping batteries in the field if need be.
Then one night, a call I went to drew my attention to the one MAJOR drawback the entire EOTech line suffers from, at least from a patrol rifle standpoint.  And when I say drew my attention to it, it pounded me on the head with that shortcoming like it was a 12 pound sledge hammer.  It is easy to practice deploying your rifle in static environments, under little or no stress.  However, that night, when I pulled up to my call in my patrol car, I immediately came under fire.  I was taking rounds from a bad guy armed with a rifle, and I was sitting in my car with my gun in the rifle rack.  Everything else went as practiced, hit release, open lock, grab gun, establish grip, charge, shoulder, but turning the EOTech on was something that just did not happen, at least not until I regrouped.
In the days that followed that incident, I did some serious reflection both in respect to how I  performed my job in general and in respect to the equipment I carry daily.  One of the victims of that self-evaluation was my EOTech.  That incident drove home the one and only truly negative thing I have to say about the EOTech line, especially when compared to the Aimpoint line, and that is battery life, which is directly linked to runtime.  The EOTech XPS2 will run 600 hours at brightness setting 12, however, the optic powers itself off after either 4 or 8 hours depending on which button you use to turn it on.  Either way, that does not cover my 10 hour shift, and 600 hours goes by pretty quick causing battery expenses to rise.  Compare that to the battery life of just about any Aimpoint, which is measured in years, not hours.  Another place the Aimpoint line beats out the EOTech is the power/brightness adjustment controls, but this is only a minor quibble.  The EOTech uses rubber coated buttons, which are not the easiest to use, but they do work.  The Aimpoints, at least all of those that I have had the chance to play with, use a single knob, which both simplifies the controls and makes them easier to operate with gloved hands or when your attention is primarily directed somewhere else.
In summary, the EOTech XPS2 is a fantastic optic, probably my favorite.  It is an optic that will serve the user well for a long time.  There are many situations and environments where this optic is my number one choice.  If I were the member of a dedicated tactical (SWAT) team, it would definitely be on my gun.  If I were looking for a red dot optic to put on a rifle for hunting, this would definitely be my choice.  If I were looking for an optic to put on a 3-gun rifle, this is it.  However, for use on a patrol rifle, I can no longer recommend the EOTech, and as such, I have since replaced my XPS2 with an Aimpoint PRO
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