I started out using red dot sights in 1995, the models were the Aimpoint 3000 and 5000 if memory serves. Back then you couldn't get one until you had a little time in and had proven yourself with iron sights. Once you did get one, wow, what a difference in speed! My only complaint was the 4 MOA dots AP used and continues to use weren't that accurate. I was actually more accurate with irons!
In 1999, during a carbine refresher class, Jerry Barnhart introduced us to EOTech. Jerry was a Michigan boy and EOTech was headquatered there, so it was a natural fit for him to be using their sight. Jerry showed us the ins and outs of the sight, and we purchased about 100 or so. Again, if memory serves, it was called a Holosight at the time and Bushnell was the majority ownwer instead of L3 Communications.
I used an EOTech primarily because it was more accurate for our 200m quals with its 1MOA center dot, and the 6 o'clock portion of the 65 MOA ring was primo for CQB type shooting, as it provided a true POA/POI at 7-10m. Around 2000 we got the EOTech 552s that ran on double A's. At the time we were trying like mad to get all systems (sights, lights, goggles, lasers, GPS) to run off of one battery type and with the 552 we could achieve that. But because of the battery issues with the 552 I switched back to AP for my last 2 years in the military.
The problems with the battery compartments on the 512 and 552 models have been addressed before. I recently did a tutorial here on how to make the battery compartment bomb proof. This was the one weak spot in an otherwise excellant product. It is the reason I used an AP for so long until now.
And now..... EOTech has not only dramatically improved their product, they also upped the ante in the red dot world with the new XPS series. The biggest thing they did was listen to the end-users about what was needed, not needed, and they executed the final product in the XPS.
EOTech and I talked a few months ago about me giving the XPS a good thrashing. I made it known I preferred and reccommended to others the AP Micro. Rod Coons at EOTech sounded supremely confident in the XPS and said he even knew of my reputation for abusing gear. So began the beating.
Size comparison of the XPS vs. the 552
Notice the cool adjustment indicators on the right side of the XPS
I've got about 5000 rds through the XPS and I've had no problems whatsoever. I use the "standard" EOTech recticle. That is a 65 MOA ring with a 1 MOA dot in the center. That way I can be very accurate for distance and fast for up close work. There is no recticle that I know of that is "faster" than this one. That recticle is also useful in range estimation. Average man will fit in the ring at 100 yds, half the ring at 200, etc.
Notice that EOTech listend to our complaints about the battery compartment as well. They switched it to go perpindicular to the barrel and recoil. This eliviates the battery compartment problems of old. It also runs on 1 CR 123 battery, vice 2 AAs or 2 of anything else. This is key aspect in space (on the rail, think lasers) and weight saving.
The battery lasts a long time. EOTech claims 600 hours, which right now I believe it will do. I went over 400 hours in the cold before I inadvertantly changed the battery out.
EOTech also claims waterproofness to 33 feet (1 atm) for the XPS 3. I'm confident of that rating. So of course I threw it in the water. I didn't make 33 feet, but I got it to 12-15 ft for over 4 hours until I got bored. Re-mounted (as with most sights, it reatins a pretty close zero) and it was good-to-go.
I use the Larue LT-110 mount for EOTechs, puts irons in bottom of sight window (where they should be) and provides you quick detatch capability (also a must)
The Larue mount has a raised spot on the back for the magnifier. The magnifier will only work with flip down rear sights, which I don't use.
There is nothing wrong with using the mount backwards IF- you have solid irons that don't move (i.e.-you can't use the magnifier anyway) or you simply choose to not use a magnifier. This puts the sight closer to your eye (some prefer it that way). Keep in mind to use this mount backwards you have to have a front rail that is monolithic or lines up with the rail on the receiver. This is because of the location of the rail stud on the Larue mount.
-End mounting digression-
I'm switching to an EOTech XPS because I believe in it, its price is fair, and for the benefits of accuracy, speed, and now its durability and battery life. I don't convince easily when it comes to optics and sights in general. That's why I still run solid mounted irons. I'm paranoid! I ran a Micro for a while but I now think this is the best available optic for a fighting weapon. EOTech fixed the problems they had, actually improved the product and that says a lot.
There is one more reason that is important to me right now, the most important reason- EOTechs are made in Ann Arbor, MI, USA. EOTech is employing hundreds of Americans in a state that has seen the worst of our reccession. At a time like this, manufacturing quality usually doesn't improve in any industry. The good folks at EOTech are making an exception, and I, TigerSwan, and my bros that are still in sincerely appreciate it.