EOTech vs Aimpoint vs Trijicon
These are not the ideal optics for what I would need. EOTech has a sordid history that started out as being good, then has slowly degraded over the years as people have been exposed to more options from other manufacturers. To EOTech's credit, they've tried to adjust to the market by evolving their optics. The big issue at hand is that EOTech was bought several years back by L3 Communications, and longtime EOTech users have noted that that was the point EOTech took a downturn with customer service. EOTech does have the ability to say they've had NAVSPEC contracts for a long time, as a long time ago they were able to score the CCO (close combat optic) contract for the Navy. The circle/dot reticle that EOTech is known for is their major selling point, as a lot of people prefer that reticle. EOTech has developed several models to accommodate different battery types and different operational needs like night vision capability and weatherproofing. EOTechs have options that are affordable.
So here's my first-hand observations of EOTech:
-At SHOT Show 2012, EOTech introduced an optic that was a collaborative effort between them and Brownell's, and this was the Zombie optic. It is an EOTech XPS 2.0 with a reticle that resembles a biohazard symbol, with a 1MOA dot in the middle. This shows that they're willing to pander to the commercial hobby market to make sales. The zombie/biohazard reticle was EOTech truly jumping the shark. The reticle is absolutely worthless and I saw a guy use it in training course and he just screamed "mall ninja"
-Battery life of the normal EOTechs is listed at 600hrs, but actually averages ~160hrs according to tests done by the Army. The XPS models are about twice that. A neighboring LE agency uses EOTechs and they have to carry spare batteries at all times, and they change out batteries monthly as a precaution.
-Auto batter shut off modes are either 4hr or 8hr intervals, depending on what you program in. The problem is that it can change without you knowing, and I've read AARs and write-ups by people who have been inadvertently in 4hr mode when they thought they were in 8hr mode. This is a problem because on long ops, you need to regularly shut down and restart the optic. The problem with this is that turning the optic on drains the battery heavily, further killing battery life.
-Windage and elevation adjustments are external, and have no cover. This allows dirt to get into the threads and shift the zero. I've seen this happen.
-Models with in-line batteries (parallel to the rail) have battery "bounce" issues under recoil. The springs weaken and the battery starts losing connection with the contact surface. The repair kit only lasts a year or two before you need another one.
-Transverse mounted batteries on the XPS/EXPS models are more reliable and have no bounce, but they mount the CR123A battery in a way that exploits the weakest point of the battery: the side. CR123A lithium batteries have longitudinal strength and were designed that way. They do not have latitudinal strength on the side, and impact or stress causes them to break and leak acid. This has been a reported issue with these models, and the battery sellers like SureFire and Streamlight will confirm this battery strength issue (regarding their weak points).
-EOTechs have a higher rate of malfunction than any other top level optic. I've personally seen three in the past two years go down on the range.
-The reticle is nice if you can see it, but if you don't have 20/20 vision, it's a giant blob/blur with no definition
-65MOA outer circle obscures targets at longer ranges. Jeff Gonzalez of Trident Concepts has noted that in his Mid-Range Marksmanship course, EOTechs have a lot of problems with this issue at extended ranges.
-EOTech lost the NAVSPEC/Crane contract
-EOTech bases loosen under movement, vibration and recoil, and they constantly need to be retightened, or you need to Loctite the threads.
I realize that I am very negative towards the EOTech, so I will lament that a lot of this is based on operational and training use. For the average shooting range patron, these issues likely won't surface often.
I should note that I am capable of writing a less biased overview of EOTech. I just chose not to.
Aimpoint has a concept of simplicity. They make a 2MOA or 4MOA dot, and they run off of several different types of batteries, depending on what optic you select. Aimpoints are proven to be bombproof, and have been tortured to levels that have made other models fail. Additionally, Aimpoint has Advanced Circuit Efficiency Technology (ACET), which allows their optics to run for tens of thousands of hours. Their current market offerings allow you to choose optics that can run 30,000 to 80,000hrs depending on what model you select. This is why Aimpoint continues to win the M68 CCO contract for the US Army every time they decide to upgrade. The current M68 CCO is the CompM4, and the last one was the CompM3, and before that the CompM2. The Aimpoint T-1 was mounted on a Daniel Defense rifle and abused to extreme levels in a Daniel Defense promo video, and that optic worked at the end, after being dropped out of a helicopter and blown up, among other things. The major downside to Aimpoint has been the price point, as they tend to be very expensive and the mounts always tack on more money. This has been a complaint of a lot of people, but Aimpoint responded by marketing the Patrol Rifle Optic (PRO) model, which is an integrated CompM3 and QRP2 quick-detach mount for $440 MSRP. This is currently debatably
regarded as the best value premium red dot system on the market. The other main complaint of the Aimpoint is that the dot isn't always round, which is true. Sometimes it's oblong, but it's a function of the optic design as a collimator red dot.
I currently use the Micro T-1, PRO and CompM4S, and I love them all. They've been phenomenal. The PROs that we have on our patrol rifles have been phenomenal, and they're easy to use by novices.
Trijicon is a company that is multi-faceted. They're based in the military/tactical world, but they have branched out into the sporting market with hunting and competition shooting. The Accu-Point scopes use high quality Japanese glass, and for the most part they're very good scopes.
The ACOGs are the standard for the magnified combat optic design, and the ACOG has been around a long time. It continues to be the standard, but other companies have shown up to take a bite out of this pie, like Browe Combat Optics and Elcan. The ACOG is being upgraded, with one version offering a AA battery illumination option, and the current 6x48 model being used internationally for heavy battle rifle use. The Bindon Aiming Concept (BAC) allows these magnified optics to work like reflexive red dots when using binocular vision, so this is a big asset.
The Reflex and the Reflex II were some of the first commercially available red dots that were actually quality and reliable. The dual-illumination technology that required no batteries was selected as the first SOCOM optic for the CCO selection. There are numerous issues with the Reflexes, including tritium dulling and being expensive to replace, and washout issues with the reticle disappearing into bright or light backgrounds. The newer Reflex 1x42 has partially solved the washout issue.
The TriPower was an optic that had a lot of potential, and the dual illumination portion with the fiber optics and tritium worked well. The battery assisted illumination was the problem and with an average battery life of approximately 14-18hrs, it was not ideal. The illumination in bright conditions or against bright backgrounds was not enough, so the battery-assisted illumination was often needed, so this was a problem with poor battery life. On max illumination setting, some people got as low as 2hrs of battery life.
The current trending optic is the SRS, which is their newest red dot variant. It's primarily powered by a solar cell that operates by ambient light powering the optic and being fully adjustable. This offers unlimited life. The backup is a single AA battery, and the optic can run for one year on the battery. This is far better. Additonally, the field of view on the SRS is huge.
Trijicons are EXPENSIVE. They're by far the most expensive of this group, and there isn't a whole lot of wiggle room. Trijicon spent a lot of time sitting stagnant, and now they're playing catch-up. They're making steps in the right direction, though.
EOTech: IF I HAD TO, I would still select an XPS model, but change out the battery more often to prevent any battery compromise.
Aimpoint: The PRO is by far the best based on the price point. It offers so much value, and 50,000hrs of battery life is hard to beat.
Trijicon: Hard to select one optic from them, as they are multi-faceted. However, the one I'd use would be the TA648 6x48 model in 5.56.