EOTech’s Model 512 is America’s leading sight for several reasons. Among them are reliability and reputation; properly setup, but the Model 512 offers so much more. For instance, while building a new AR-15, I decided to top it with the 512. The unlimited eye relief eliminated any worries about parallax. All electronics run the risk of failure; with the addition of a set of flip-up BUIS, I can rest my head at night knowing my new AR will always be action-ready.
Another advantage of EOTech’s Model 512 is batteries. This one is really a catch-22 when put up against comparable models from other manufacturers. The Model 512 uses standard AA batteries. The upside to AAs is price and availability. The downside is a larger size and lower power. However, employing lithium batteries in the sight can substantially increase its longevity on a single set of AA batteries. With lithium batteries, you can reasonably expect to get somewhere between 600 and 1100 hours of use; on average, many shooters report averaging somewhere in the 800-hour range. This is less than the five years competing models advertise, and certainly enough time to enjoy plenty of use.
Just to be clear, that would be for continuous use. Some fast reaction forces may need to leave the sight on 24/7. Most of us will shut it off when not in use. For those with the potential of regularly using the Model 512 in life and death situations such as military or law enforcement, set up a reminder to change the batteries on a regular monthly schedule.
After installing the batteries, setup and mounting are simple. The Model 512 features two rubber-coated buttons on the rear of the sight. Press either of the arrow buttons and the sight powers on, retaining any previous brightness settings. Once powered on, you’ll immediately be treated to a large 65 MOA circle housing a 1 MOA dot in the center. Combined, the system makes for fast target acquisition. The larger circle frames the target and the eye naturally seats a single dot on the target. Focusing the subconscious by looking through a single dot is much faster and more reliable than aligning three dots on a target. Proving this is easy.
Start at 100 yards with a standard half silhouette target. Engage the target offhand with a slow, deliberate rate of fire. Then, repeat the test using iron sights on a fresh target. Note the speed between shots and compare the targets for accuracy. Next, move to the 50-yard line with a bulls-eye style target. Shoot from the bench using the EOTech Model 512 at the first target and iron sights on the second. You’ll quickly begin to wonder whether a magnet is guiding the rounds to the center. At a minimum, you’ll likely discover you are more accurate with a single-dot sight at both short and longer ranges whether shooting from the bench or offhand.
Since my initial testing, I have swapped my Model 512 among multiple platforms. The Model 512 was designed for the standard AR-15 platform—.223/5.56, a low recoil firearm. However, I have mounted my EOTech Model 512 on shotguns, a 6.8 SPC AR and a new 7.62×39 I was testing. It held its zero on each platform.
On a side note, EOTech did not design the Model 512 to work with night vision. The controls face the shooter, so you cannot mount a magnifier and access the controls. This is problematic for some. However, given the accuracy I have experienced—offhand at 100 yards or on moving coyotes—I do not see the need for a magnifier. Likewise, as cool as night vision would be, how many of us really see it in our future?
Other personal observations to consider when selecting an EOTech sight include the design’s wide field of view. The mount is integral and remains solid magazine after magazine. Any environmental condition, be it rain, snow or mud, the EOTech still performs and will not fog. That also included a cracked lens. A buddy often tells of using the 512 in the sandbox. At some time during a fall down a mountain slope, he cracked the lens; mission requirements dictated they continue their course. Although cracked, he noted no problems using the sight.
If you are a hunter, do not overlook the Model 512. The wide field of view and fast target acquisition are a hunter’s dream—particularly when your target will not hold still. I have never had the opportunity to use the Model 512 for deer, but I have busted a couple of nice double on coyotes with it. After the first dog posts up, the shot is easy; however, that second dog is most often heading for the next zip code. Finding a sight picture and zeroing in on a fast-moving song dog is a real blood boiler when you drop him!
Share your thoughts or experiences with EOTech’s popular Model 512 in the comment section.