Review: EOTech Red Dot HWS

By Bob Campbell published on in Gun Gear, Optics

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.

Sight window of the EOTech HWS red dot sight

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 for skill, the EOTech is a both eyes open sight. This formidable optic is 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.

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Comments (10)

  • George Dean


    I bought an XPS3 along with my 16″ DD M4. Outstanding kit for rapid deployment.


  • Gregory Gentz


    I have an Eotech 552 that is currently an expensive paper weight after three different times in which the battery springs compressed causing intermittent power problems resulting in unreliable usage. I attempted to get a replacement with the large recall they had previously and I was treated extremely poorly. I was eventually told that my unit was one month too old to qualify for the recall and was not offered repair service. I was a loyal customer, but I’m now out 500+ dollars and have bee abandoned by Eotech. Sad that I had used it for law-enforcement/SWAT and would’ve continued to be loyal if they would have stood behind their product. I can’t get myself to purchase another after the horrible treatment I received.


    • Retired Navy Spook


      Hard to believe they treated the two of us so differently, especially since you’re LE. My cousin is a deputy sheriff, and EOTech refunded his money on two EXPS2’s that were both well out of warranty. He loved the EOTechs but couldn’t take the chance that the temperature drift problem hadn’t been solved since one of the sights was on a duty weapon that he kept in the trunk of his patrol car. He ended up switching to Aimpoints.


  • Retired Navy Spook


    I bought an EOTech 565 in 2013 (same as 512 but with the buttons on the left side instead of the back) mounted on a custom build AR15 with Daniel Defense barrel and upper. It gets about 600 hours from 2 AA batteries, and is co-witnessed with Magpul pop-up iron sights. When the temperature drift problem surfaced, EOTech gave me the option of returning it for a full refund or having it replaced with a new one, even though it was nearly 2 years out of warranty. I chose a new one because I love the 1 MOA dot inside the circle, which gives about as rapid target acquisition as anyone could want. When I sighted in the new one, my last two 3-shot groups produced 3/4″ groups at 50 yards with only 4 holes, since each group had two shots through the same hole. Some of you are thinking, big deal, but that was with 73-year-old eyes and trifocals. To say I love this sight would be an understatement.


  • Daniel R. Thomas


    I have my EOTech mounted on a Daniels Defense SBR. The setup is what my son told me his TEAM was using at the time. Since he is a Navy SEAL, I figured he would know something about target acquisition. After a day at the range with this setup, I understand how so many soldiers were scoring head shots from distance. The combination is truly awesome. It weighs next to nothing and does not reduce my field of view like a traditional scope can. I spared no expense on this rifle, including the wait time for the Federal Stamp. But it was well worth the wait. Even though I now face the wrath of some of my In-Laws because it is an “AR” I still stand firm. If and when The Government comes to take it away, I will face that time too. It will be a very sad day. One that I just cannot believe will happen. I pray it does not. In the mean time, I have an outstanding rifle combination that can take just about any game animal here in Florida. Good article. Thanks for the lesson.


  • Mitch


    EOTECH has good products but has been deceptive for many years about temperature drift. Trijicon is a gr e at product without trust issues on specs


  • Sam


    Even though this is about optics, and the EOTech does appear to a good one, it is good to see mention of the Springfield M1A1 rifle – which I consider to be one of the best. I got mine new from Springfield many moons ago, and is the short-barrel “Tanker” model with a wood stock (what they call the Squad or Scout rifle today). Part of the reason I like it so much is because it is kind of an improved version of the M1 Garand – the rifle I trained with when in the Service. And, the .308 is almost as good as the .30-06. I like the platform so much that when it came time to consider a .223 I went with the Mini-14 instead of an AR.


  • Gary Johns


    And what happens when SHTF and you cant finfd any batteries There are fairly rugged dot out there that have 50,000-hour battery life with solar backup. Sure they are not as strong as an EOteck but close!…. and half the cost with no need to buy twice as your statement says,,, unless of course your counting in the $20.00 models LOL !


  • MacII


    Excellent article. Let me add one additional thought. Some years ago, around 1970, my shooting changed. Formerly I prided myself on my ability to hit running game. Ib those days, I used only iron receiver sights on my hunting rifles.
    Then, as I aged, my ability to hit running targets fell off. In despair, I asked for help from a good friend and gunsmith who was building full race competitive guns. He suggested I try a red dot sight that competitors were just starting to use.
    I bought a Tasco PDP and he mounted it on my .30-06. Suddenly, my ability to shoot was as good as it ever had been.
    I still have that sight and still use it. I have not missed a running shot since. Now, I do not take every shot that offers itself. But, when I choose to shoot, the target dies. It is not me, it is the red dot sight and shooting both eyes open.
    That is the reason when the military took up the red dot sight, I have no trouble believing their success. It can make an average shooter into a dead shot. If the Tasco ever fails, I would consider the EOTech.


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