Over the past few weeks, three separate issues have come to our attention regarding EOTech’s line of Holographic Weapon Sights (HWS). While we initially thought they weren’t related as they came up one by one, we realized they were all connected once we had looked into all three. Consequently, we believe they should be presented together, along with the source documentation.
…While there is a great deal of information in the SOUM, two glaring issues stick out. The first is the reliability of the HWS in extreme temperatures, referred to as “Thermal Drift”. The PMO has noted a +/- 4 MOA shift at -40 Deg F and 122 Deg F. Second, is the concern over the claim by EOTech that their HWS are parallax free which was the subject of a previous Safety of Use Message from the same office issued 16 March, 2015. In this case they noted between 4 and 6 MOA parallax error depending on temperature conditions. Despite the PMO working with EOTech to rectify the issues, they still have not been resolved.
I began to buy EOTech products well over ten years ago, shortly after they came out. I loved mine.
I still find the unique reticle intuitive and easy to use, and the target acquisition speed to be second to none. It is FAST, even with an imperfect cheek weld – and in low-light or no-light scenarios, it absolutely rocks. Have you shot your rifle in low-light or no-light? Try it some time. Putting hits on target in dark and near-dark conditions without a (more or less) parallax-free HWS sight system or tritium inserts on your irons is difficult, to put it kindly. There is no "looking for the dot" issues, or anything of that nature. The EOTech HWS system remains extremely fast, friendly and enables me to shoot to the Rifleman's standard (4MOA) out to 300 plus yards without any difficulty or additional add-ons/magnifiers. In short, at $500ish, it is an expensive product, but it does what it is supposed to do.
It isn't perfect. In heavy rain, the battery compartment is prone to water seepage. After 5,000ish rounds, I need to replace the battery compartment cover as springs begin to show signs of fatigue and the sight will go off under the stress of recoil. EOTech has always shipped me replacements, and after the second or third time, they even sent me two or three extras at no charge with merely a phone call or an email. Most safe queens don't see 6,000 rounds of use in their life, but my rifles (save the back-ups) aren't safe queens. They get bumped around, borrowed and used. They get muddy, dirty and wet. They get used and abused. And they still work to provide hits on targets and not excuses.
When news came out of zero-shifts appearing after large (80-100 degree) temperature changes, I felt concern. Sure, I don't shoot at -40, but someday I might. Parallax-free was no longer an absolute. Some others reported that the seals inside the unit failed and they were getting condensation, but I saw none of that in mine.
In short, as the owner of several EOTechs, I lost absolute confidence in the product and when I heard EOTech had begun offering "No Questions Asked" complete refunds to civilians users of their products, my ears perked up. I waited a few weeks, thinking it was too good to be true.
Then I took the plunge on January 7th. I went online to the EOTech product return authorization page, filled it out, entering the model and serial numbers for three of my units and their dates of manufacture.
The page is much more user friendly today than it was back in January when I initiated my return. Today, it comes with this verbiage:
Note: Refund Requests will be considered for HWS, HHS, and MPO products only. Individual Magnifiers, MRDS, and Aftermarket Accessories are not eligible for a refund.
All refund claims are subject to EOTech final review and approval. Refund processing may take up to 8-12 weeks. Status updates are available through our Refund Center by phone at (888)952-9092 or by email at email@example.com.
They didn't require me to submit receipts (good thing, because I didn't have them for two of the three units).
On January 15th, I received a reply: They approved two of the three purchase price amounts, as I recalled them, and said they would pay $50 less than what I paid for one that I was able to secure in the post-Newtown craziness. I accepted their reduced offer, which was still suggested retail price. They also refunded sales tax(!) on all units. They also added $15 to cover my shipping costs.
I sent them just the sights, sans batteries (to save on weight), with a minimum amount of packing material.
And then I waited.
And I waited.
And on March 23rd, I received a check from EOTech for $1592.
And I'm pleased to report the check went through without a hitch.
I've still got an undisclosed number of EOTech HWS. Basically, I had one on each of my social-use AR-15s.
I'll probably send them in down the road after I buy and install replacements for the EOTechs, and make sure those sights are 100% reliable.
I applaud EOTech for doing the right thing in refunding owners who no longer feel absolutely confident in their EOTech HWS systems. John Farnam suggests that for the overwhelming majority of civilian owners, these temperature-induced zero-shifts will be a non-issue for continued happy use of the EOTech sights. I concur.
At the same time, I can't help but feel better safe than sorry.