In in the high desert of Paulden, Arizona for Gunsite Academy’s 350 Intermediate Pistol class (we’ll have a full review next week), and so I don’t have the time today to dig into this story broken at Soldier Systems Daily, which suggests that EOTech is potentially in trouble for a holographic weapon sight (HWS) that doesn’t live up to what the company told the government and civilians it can do.
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.
Safety Of Use Message Issued
Although it’s the last one we uncovered, we’ll begin with the most glaring piece of information. On 14 September, the SOF Weapons Program Management Office at NSWC Crane released a Safety of Use Message regarding issues with EOTech’s Enhanced Combat Optical Sights (ECOS), which is how they refer to HWS. This certainly caught our attention as the PMO is responsible for USSOCOM weapons. That message ultimately serves as the linchpin, tying together the other two issues we’ll soon address.
This critical bit of information would have been a stand-alone article, but it added credence to the others and offered coherence to some otherwise inexplicable issues. It also allowed us to concentrate on the facts presented in the various documentation. We will introduce the other issues after you get a chance to read the SOUM, which was obtained by Soldier Systems Daily. The Message has no date-time-group but was transmitted via official email traffic to SOF units on 14 September, 2015 and there are no markings limiting distribution.
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 strongly suggest reading the entire article, which seems to mesh with field reports of EOTech HWS systems failing to operate in a much narrower temperature range than the company claims. Combine that with a temperature-dependent parallax shift, and you have a system that seems too fragile for any sort of serious work where lives may be on the line.
Watch this one closely, folks. I think EOTech is going to be in a world of hurt.