Choosing a red dot sight can be a tricky prospect, as nowadays there are numerous top brands producing high quality holographic, reflex and laser red dot sights . It’s not just Aimpoint and EOTech and their various clones any longer. Nonetheless, if you’ve got your heart set on reaping the huge benefits of using a holographic sight, there is only one EOTech.
Originally designed for military and law enforcement purposes, the EOTech 556 is one of the more popular models in the company’s wide range of holographic weapon sights. Still, a product’s popularity doesn’t tell you much about its suitability for your specific purposes. For this reason, we thought we’d see how this model stacks up against various other holographic sights in our EOTech 556 review to allow you to decide if the 556 is the right model for you.
EOTech 556 Review
Before we get into the actual review, it’s important to note a few things about the EOTech 556 as it relates to hunting. The 556 is one of many night-vision compatible models produced by EOTech , and it also happens to be one of the true military-grade models the company produces. For these reasons, it is generally more popular amongst AR owners and tactical shooters than it is among hunters. Nonetheless, if you like the idea of having a night-vision compatible sight—whether it is for home protection purposes or any other reason—the 556 isn’t a bad choice.
Still, as it is night-vision compatible, this review will focus mainly on comparing the 556 to some of EOTech’s other most popular night-vision models, such as the EXPS2, EXPS3, and 552.
Like the majority of the company’s other sights, the EOTech 556 features the famous 65MOA circle/1MOA dot reticle. Hands-down the best reticle style available on any red dot sight , this circle and dot combination provides quick and accurate targeting for both short and longer range shots. However, as it’s the same as most other EOTech sights, there’s no need to go into too much detail about the reticle, except to say that this type of holographic reticle is the best money can buy.
Features and Ease of Use
One of the biggest features of the EOTech 556 is that it’s compatible with Gen I-III+ night-vision technology, which is why it’s primarily designed for military/law enforcement use. With 10 night vision settings to go with its 20 daytime brightness settings, you can be assured that you’ll be able to easily see the holographic reticle in any light condition you could possible encounter.
The sight mounts easily on any Picatinny/MIL-STD-1913 rail, taking up around 3.5 inches of space, which is similar to the popular EOTech 512 model and its night-vision compatible counterpart the 552. However, the fact that the EOTech 556 only mounts on a 1913 rail does count against it slightly, as other night-vision compatible models like the EXPS2/3 and the 552 can be mounted on both a 1-inch Weaver and MIL-STD-1913 rails.
Like most red dot sights, the 556 is parallax free and has zero magnification. However, it can be used in conjunction with a 2x or 3x magnifier, which can be mounted directly behind the sight and flipped up out of the way when not in use.
The buttons for turning the sight on and adjusting the brightness setting are located on the left side of the side instead of on either the right side or the rear as on many other holographic sights. This is because the 556 is designed specifically for use with night vision and magnifiers. By placing the buttons of the left side, EOTech has ensured that they are still fully reachable when using night vision or a magnifier .
In addition to the up and down scrolling buttons for changing the brightness settings, there’s also a button that turns night-vision mode on and off. As well, the sight features a programmable auto-shutdown function that can help to save battery life, while there is also a check battery indicator to tell you when the batteries are running low.
If you’re looking for a high-quality, rugged sight that you can basically be assured isn’t going to break, the 556 definitely fits the bill. The EOTech 556 was built to military specifications and has been tested by both the company and the US Special Operations Command for use in the most extreme conditions. The sight is fully shockproof and fogproof, as well as water resistant up to a distance of 33 feet. It is also guaranteed to hold its zero, even up against the heaviest possible recoil.
The display features 3/16-inch shatterproof glass laminate, ensuring you’ll have a clear, precise picture even if the sight is subjected to drops and huge abuse. A rugged, rolled-metal housing covers the upper portion of the unit, offering added protection to the optics and making the entire sight about as strong and durable as it gets.
One of the biggest things that sets the EOTech 556 apart from popular models like the 512 and XPS2/XPS3 is the battery. The 556 is powered by two CR123 lithium batteries, which provide it approximately 1,100 hours of battery life at the nominal brightness setting. This is nearly double the battery life of the EXPS2 and EXPS3 models, which only use one CR123 lithium battery.
Of course, the fact that the EOTech 556 uses two batteries means that it is a bit larger and thus takes up more space on your rail. Compared to the 512/552 models, which have a 1,000 hour battery life from two AA batteries, the 556 is quite similar in size, but weighs slightly more due to its more robust nature.
EOTech 556: The Final Word
EOTech discontinued the 556 model a while back, but that doesn’t mean that this model is without value despite its slightly older age—even if there are more advanced options now available. In terms of price, the 556 generally sells for about the same as both the 552 and the EXPS2/3 night-vision models, making it tough to decide between them.
Overall, the added battery life of the EOTech 556 definitely sets it above the other comparable night-vision compatible models. As you can see from this EOTech 556 review, this model compares quite closely to the 552, with the biggest difference being the type of batteries they use. However, if it comes down to a choice between the 556 and the EXPS2 or EXPS3, you’ll need to decide which is more important—the extra battery life of the 556 or the smaller size of the EXPS2/3.