The Eotech 512 is a most popular holographic weapon sight ( according to manufacturer Eotech ) that is designed for close range fighting. Holographic optics fall into the realm of red dot sights but break the traditional mold. A holographic sight like the Eotech 512 is capable of reflecting a laser into a more complicated reticle than a traditional red dot optic. The Eotech 512 uses a square body and square lenses, with an open design, this allows the user to see over the sight more efficiently. This presents a wider field of view for the shooter, which allows to maintain a higher situational awareness.
Objective Lens: 1.2 in. x 0.85 in.
Field of View: 28 m @ 100 yd.
Length & Width: 5.6 in. x 2 in.
Weight: 11.1 oz.
Eye Relief: Unlimited
Reticle: 1 MOA red dot w/68 MOA circle
Brightness settings: 20, no night vision compatible
Battery life: AA Lithium 11,000 hours/Alkaline 600 hours
Waterproof/fogproof Submersible to 10 ft./Yes
First Impression of Eotech 512
Eotech presents their optics in an impressive way. The optics come sealed in a waterproof polymer box, with foam cut outs fitted for the optic. If I was going to read a book by it’s cover the Eotech’s box would definitely interest me. The optic comes with an instruction manual and a lens cloth.
Mounting the Eotech is very simple, and very easy to do. Simply turn the knurled weaver cross bolts counterclockwise, attach to any 1-inch weaver or Picatinny rail, and turn the bolts the opposite way. Once the optic is mounted it is rock solid. There is absolutely no play in the optic once it was mounted.
The Eotech 512 takes two double A batteries and installs in the forward portion of the optic. I do like the use of double A batteries for their simplicity, and worldwide availability. I can go to any gas station, drug store, auto parts store, etc and find a package of double As.
The battery life varies from 1,000 hours with lithium batteries or 600 hours with standard batteries. Maybe this sounds impressive, but in reality it’s quite low for high-end tactical optics. A comparative model like the Aimpoint Comp M4 can last 80,000 hours, also known as five years. Even a much smaller Aimpoint red-dot sight Micro T-1 which we did review on has a battery life of 50,000 hours. The holographic reticle is much more complicated than the red dot optic, so it does require a bit more battery power. The Eotech does have a low battery indicator that forces the reticle to blink several times when starting the optic up.
At the Range
The Eotech 512 is designed for shooting within 200 yards and works most effectively in bad breath distance. The model I got my hands on is properly known as the Eotech 512.A65. The A65 designation refers to the Eotech’s reticle. The A65 reticle consists of a 68 MOA outer circle, with a 1 moa internal dot.
The A65 reticle is designed for both close and extended ranges, so we decided to take the optic out for a spin at a range that permits dynamic movements. The range is commonly used for 3 gun and IDPA matches, so it’s well suited for move and shoot. The rifle range is 3 distinct stages with targets ranging from 3 to 300 yards.
After a brief zero we were ready to roll. We mounted the Eotech to our favorite M&P 15 AR and went to work. At close encounters, the A65 reticle is remarkably simple to use. From a low ready to a full presentation we were able to put rounds on target in under a second.
The Eotech works best with both eyes opened, this imposes the reticle over your vision. For ranges like this all we needed to do was fill the 68 MOA outer circle of the reticle and fire. The rounds tended to hit at the bottom of the circle, but since the reticle is small, the shot placement is hardly off.
Starting From Close Range
At 50 yards, we used the small, internal 1 MOA red dot and with the 5.56 round it was dead on. Placing the reticle wherever we wanted to hit was done with boring regularity. It was remarkably simple. As morning changed to noon we had to adjust the reticle brightness to properly see it. The Eotech 512 has 20 different brightness settings for day shooting, but unfortunately none that are night vision compatible. This is a disadvantage and somewhat short sighted in my opinion. The use of night vision has grown rapidly since the optics are getting cheaper and more effective.
The daytime settings were bright enough for sunny Florida, and I’m sure soldiers and Marines in Iraq would agree. At 100 yards, we found it simple enough to put the red dot onto the belt line of a man sized target to score upper torso shots. At 200 yards, the dot was in line with the rounds trajectory, and wherever the inner dot went the bullet hit. At 300 hundred yards, we aimed right above the target’s head and dropped rounds into the torso.
Pushing The Boundaries
Past 300 yards and the scope is getting out of the optics reach, but I have no doubt a skilled and experienced shooter can hit targets 400 yards and beyond. The Eotech performed flawlessly during all testing and maintained zero through several hundred rounds. We did stretch the optics range out significantly and it performed well, however inside of two hundred yards is the optic sweet spot. At further than 200 hundred holdovers become tricky when compensating for the wind. Without any holdovers, every shot is basically a guess.
The large circle made shoot and move simple when it came to a man sized targets. Compared to using basic iron sights getting shots on target was much swifter, and a lot easier to do when using awkward firing positions. The Eotech 512 is a great optic, it ran without a single issue during the testing phase. A variety of different people tested the optic and each walked away impressed. It so good in fact that we consider it one of the best optics for AR-15.
The Eotech 512.A65 performed exceptionally well. I personally prefer this reticle over a traditional red dot. The A65 reticle is simple, but also adds some versatility to the optic, and by proxy your weapon. One of the main downsides and sacrifices of this optic and its reticle is its low battery life. 1,000 hours is great for a single operation, but for those living in fire or patrol bases in the middle east that may be too little time.
Although this may not affect everyone the lack of a night vision mode is a clear downside for those who may one day decide to own the night. Considering the downsides, I believe the sub 500 dollar price is completely reasonable. Overall the 512 is an excellent optic, one I would trust my life too.
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