Review: EOTech Red Dot HWS

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If there is anything I have learned in 40 years of shooting, it is if you buy cheap, you buy twice. When it comes to optics many that are OK for informal target practice and others are suited to some forms of competition. However, if you need a quality holographic sight for critical use, few if any, have stood the test of time as the EOTech sight has.

The sight window is generous.

Some look at the price and shy away, but the EOTech isn’t any more expensive than a quality riflescope—sometimes less so. The EOTech is proven the world over for fast target engagement and a first shot hit. If you practice, the skill the EOTech is a both eyes open sight. This is a formidable optic well worth its price.

The XPS2 installed on my rifle arrived in a hardshell case that protects the EOTech red dot and offers good storage. This is a relatively new design that offers a more compact sight with a smaller battery compartment than previous models, yet offers long battery life. The battery is a CR123, which you will not find at every retail outlet. The XPS2 offers either a four- or eight-hour automatic shut off, depending on whether you use the up or down setting for brightness to turn the red dot on.

Be certain to understand the owner’s manual and study it cover to cover. When battery life has waned some 80%, you still have a few days power at the remaining 20 percent battery life. The red dot itself will pulse as a warning at this point.

The sight window is a wide 1.2 x .85 inches. At a long 100 yards, the field of view is 30 yards. The EOTech sight features variable brightness. Some effort should be expended in determining the best setting for your scenario. In rapid fire work in bright light I find the brightest setting works best. In dim light, I like a lower setting as the contrast against dark clothing and targets remains good. The lower setting is generally the best for me for long range work, but it is up to the end user to qualify his or her needs.

brightness controls on the EOTech HWS

Brightness adjustment isn’t difficult to carry out.

No matter how bright the outside light, the EOTech provides a good aiming point. The reticle features a centered 1 MOA dot. The sighting ring is fast, very fast. Situate the bright red circle on the target, press the trigger smoothly, and you have a hit. As for precision, the red dot covers a single inch at 100 yards. This is less target area subtended by the average front post sight. That is one of the wonders of a red dot optic. If the operator and the rifle are capable of accurate shooting, the EOTech HWS will live up to 1 MOA at 300 feet.

The sight is adjustable for rail widths. When properly mounted, the sight does not lose its zero after long firing sessions. There is also a rapid on and off lever. I keep the EOTech mounted on my Springfield M1A1 Squad Rifle, one of the most formidable rifles ever built.

If you must remove the sight for maintenance or cleaning the rifle, when it is reattached, you may have the zero you began with and you may not, but a firing test shows that in every situation of a half-dozen removals and remounts the sight maintained its zero in half the instances and in the other half was off no more than 2 MOA. Close enough for government work I am certain.

Eye relief with the red dot is unlimited, which is why this sight was ideal for the forward mount of the M1A1 rifle. Sight adjustments are simple enough. Each click moves the point of impact one-half MOA. A feature that I like very much is that the controls, mounting screws, and battery cap may be adjusted or removed with a coin. No special tools are needed. The battery cap is tethered to the body another good feature. The lenses are coated and as shatter resistant as possible.

Windage and elevation controls on the EOTech HWS sight

The EOTech is easily adjusted for windage and elevation. Note tethered battery cap.

When these features are added up, the EOTech is a good choice for serious shooters. The shooter who is willing to pay half the price of the rifle for the red dot will elect to deploy the EOTech. (Considering the price war at present on low-end AR-15 rifles, the EOTech may cost more than the rifle.)

What you get is reliability and visual clarity. You should try the EOTech against a lesser light (pun intended) before making the decision. If the rifle is used for shooting dump rats and informal targets, the EOTech may be overkill. If you need a good optic, and cannot afford failure, the EOTech presents tangible benefits not the least of which is a spotless reputation.

My example was mounted on the M1A, and I snapped in a 20-round magazine of Winchester 147-grain USA to sight the rifle in. I began at 15 yards. A half-dozen clicks later, I was sighted and went to 25 yards, then 50, and the piece was properly sighted at 100 yards in minimal time with a modest expenditure of ammunition. My Scout Squad had been fired only with iron sights until the EOTech HWS was mounted. The results were excellent.

The sight is fast, very fast, and at 25 to 50 yards simply eats the targets up, leaving a ragged hole in the center. At 100 yards, it takes a good rifleman to keep the shots in a pie plate on demand firing off hand, but with the EOTech sight/Winchester ammunition/Springfield Rifle combination I am able to do just that.


Weight 11.2 oz.
Length 3.5″
Magnification 1x
Optic Type Transmission holography
Eye Relief Unlimited
Adjustment Range +/- 40 MOA
Adjustment (per click) 1/2 MOA
Limits Submersible to 10 feet, operating temperature -40 – 150 degrees F
Mount Type 1″ Weaver or MIL-STD-1913 rail
Battery Type CR123 Lithium—with 600 hours battery life at top setting

I have also used the Winchester 168-grain MATCH loading and delivered good results from the benchrest. The Winchester 150-grain JSP, designed for taking thin skinned game such as deer, has also proven accurate. The M1A in short is a great all around rifle. This is good kit well worth its price.

EOTech sights have taken a knock or two, but what has your experience been? Which EOTech or red dot style sight is your favorite? Share your answers in the comment section.


Bob Campbell is a former peace officer and published author with over 40 years combined shooting and police and security experience. Bob holds a degree in Criminal Justice. Bob is the author of the books, The Handgun in Personal Defense, Holsters for Combat and Concealed Carry, The 1911 Automatic Pistol, The Gun Digest Book of Personal Protection and Home Defense, The Shooter’s Guide to the 1911, The Hunter and the Hunted, and The Complete Illustrated Manual of Handgun Skills. His latest book is Dealing with the Great Ammo Shortage. He is also a regular contributor to Gun Tests, American Gunsmith, Small Arms Review, Gun Digest, Concealed Carry Magazine, Knife World, Women and Guns, Handloader and other publications. Bob is well-known for his firearm testing.

View all articles by Bob Campbell

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The mission of Cheaper Than Dirt!’s blog, “The Shooter’s Log,” is to provide information-not opinions-to our customers and the shooting community. We want you, our readers, to be able to make informed decisions. The information provided here does not represent the views of Cheaper Than Dirt!

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