Red dot sights do a lot of things for rifle shooters. Most importantly they simplify the aiming process. Having an optic means you’re aligning two things, the reticle and the target, rather than three things, the front sight with the rear sight and target.
Anyone who shoots iron sights well can shoot a red dot better. The sight is easier to operate, works 24 hours a day and makes any rifleman faster. For new shooters having a red dot makes it fun to shoot. The easier it is for a new shooter to shoot the less anxiety they will have and the more likely they are to shoot.
Because ar15 rifles are designed for 0-300yard shooting the red dot is the natural favorite for the gun. The light and fast handling of an ar15 style carbine combined with a parallax free, low magnification optic makes for a potent set up for coyotes, vermin or home defense.
Eotech makes great optics you can depend on to get the job done when it counts. Used by special operations, law enforcement and armed citizens one of their most popular models is the 512.
The Eotech 512 is a great optic because it brings the legendary features and construction of Eotech to a price point many shooters find attractive. In fact, the 512 is Eotech’s most popular model. The 512 is built around the Eotech ubiquitous housing and mount.
Eotech 512 Review
The built in mount mates up to any standard 1913 picatany rail and is sized for an ar15. While the height of the mount is perfect for ar15’s it can be a bit excessive for other guns. Ak style guns, shotguns, or other carbines that have a taller comb at the stock will be difficult to use with the 512 because of the height, you’ll have a chin weld instead of a cheek weld!
The whole unit is somewhat compact at 5.5” long and 2.5” tall. It fits the width of a standard 1913 rail at 2 inches wide. The height of the sight at the tallest point makes for a small footprint because the body of the optic tapers down to a slim compartment that houses the electronics and batteries. The sight is made of aluminum and good quality plastic that comes together to make a sight just 11oz. For it’s size the sight is surprisingly lightweight, but as Eotech’s tend to be they’re slightly heavier than the competition.
The batteries, thankfully are just 2 AA’s. Most tactical sights use hard to find cr123 batteries which in recent years have become somewhat available but still expensive compared to the extremely common standard batteries like AA’s or AAA’s. The down side of this set up is the battery life of the Eotch 512.
Battery life for the Eotech 512 is a scant 1,000 hours. This sounds like a good deal except competing sights, even within this price range, typical start at 35,000 hours and often go as high as 50,000 hours. If this sight is for hunting this is a non-issue, just change the battery before you leave and you’ll be good to go for over a month of continuous run time.
However, if this sight is for home defense some preplanning is needed. A simple fix is to toss in two high quality batteries every month and it should be good to go. Always be sure to use high quality lithium batteries. Lithium batteries work better in the extreme heat and cold, are less prone to leaking or blowing up and run the best in all devices. They’re expensive up front but if your life depends on your gear, get gear you can depend your life on.
If your life depends on your gear, get gear that you can depend your life on!
The sight is made of good materials. Plain and simple, Eotech expects you to thrash on these sights until they break. Eotech started by making optics for door kickers and they adapted them to civilian models much as the 512. They’re tough and they carry a warranty that they stand behind. Many people have had stories of battery acid leaking out, rifles being run over or dropped down a flight of stairs and their Eotech didn’t even lose its zero.
As previously mentioned, the sight is fixed for an M4/M16/Ar15 fat top rifle. The built in housing makes it a snap to install but it’s too high for AK style rifles, shotguns or other military or scout style rifles. The good news is that it will clear almost any back up iron sight that folds down in the front and rear. This means you won’t have a cluttered sight picture like you would if you had a low mounted mini red dot.
The housing of the Eotech is interesting because it isn’t round, it’s square. While this boils down to personal preference the extra edges can get caught on backpack straps or shrubs in the field. Because of the lip on the Eotech the glass can be hard to clean and falling snow can easily get trapped making it difficult to shoot quickly.
Eotech’s are famous mainly because of their reticles. They aren’t just a red dot, they’re a high visibility ring surrounding a smaller red dot. Users of this setup say it is faster to shoot because the human eye’s natural inclination is to center the target in the circle. If using night vision, the reticle can get cluttered but the Eotech isn’t night vision equipped so with this sight it’s really a non issue. The jury is still out on how effective the set-up is, but this sight does bring the awesome reticle to a price point where many shooters can try it out and see if they like it.
All the minor differences mentioned in this Eotech 512 review so far vs other red dots make little difference in the field. They largely become a non-issue if training and proper use is applied to make the sight more effective. If you need a red dot sight that just works, a sight that doesn’t need to be the smallest, lightest or most high-tech, just a sight that does its job and does it well – then the Eotech 512 sight is the sight for you.