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EOTech HWS XPS2 Sight: Gun Tech Review

The EOTech HWS XPS2 holographic sight offers fast target acquisition in a compact and lightweight package; here's a full review.

EOTech HWS XPS2 Sight: Gun Tech Review

The EOTech HWS XPS2, shown here in the limited edition Thin Blue Line (TBL) finish, is EOTech's shortest and lightest holographic weapon sight to date. 

As a police officer and former SWAT team member, I’ve used EOTech Holographic Weapon Sights (HWS) for years. While testing and evaluating them prior to SWAT selection, my teammates and I noted that the large, relatively square lens provided a wider field of view than many other sights. The wide lens makes it easier to shoot with both eyes open, which aided our situational awareness.

As technology tends to do, EOTech’s product line has improved. Its optics have become more compact and versatile since the XPS line improved on the 512 in 2012. Now we have the HWS XPS2. It’s just 3.8 inches long, 2.1 inches wide and 2.5 inches tall; it doesn’t take up much rail space and it weighs a mere 9 ounces, which means that it won’t wear you out. A single CR123 lithium battery powers the XPS2 for nearly 1,000 continuous hours. There are 20 daylight brightness settings, and windage and elevation adjustments move .5 MOA with each click.

One thing that hasn’t changed is EOTech’s signature reticle design. It features a 68 MOA ring around a 1 MOA center dot. The ring is intended to allow faster target acquisition than if you relied solely on a dot for a reticle. EOTech’s reticle remains the most intuitive and fastest aiming point that I’ve ever used. However, if you prefer a red dot only, i.e., without the ring, that’s one option as well.

The XPS2 is also available with a two-dot ballistic-reticle configuration. The additional dot is for long-range engagements. With this reticle type, the center dot is still preferred for distances out to about 200 yards. The lower dot is used for a predetermined distance depending on caliber, bullet weight, velocity and ballistic coefficient.

EOTech HWS XPS2 Reticle
The One Dot Reticle features a 68-MOA ring and 1-MOA dot. It’s sharp when magnified.

For close quarters, the bottom of the ring can serve as the aiming point for most carbines. Of course, the aiming point is also dependent on the load. In my experience, some experimenting is required. 

A sign of support toward police, the XPS2 was also available as a limited-time, limited-edition Thin Blue Line (TBL) model. That version wears an American flag with a prominent blue stripe to honor law enforcement. Twenty-five percent of the proceeds from the sales of the XPS2 TBL were donated to charities dedicated to law enforcement officers and their families. I appreciate that EOTech supports this cause at a time when doing so isn’t necessarily a popular choice. The TBL version was designed with the most popular One Dot Reticle; 68 MOA ring with a 1 MOA dot in the center.

Magnifiers are an increasingly popular accessory for 1X optics. They are often mounted behind electronic sights to extend the effective range. Among the most proven are EOTech’s G43 and G45. These are not only durable, but lightweight and compact. The G43 enables the shooter to instantly transition between 1X and 3X magnification, while the G45 offers 5X magnification. When not needed, they swing out from behind the sight.

EOTech HWS XPS2 with G43 Magnifier
Available in 3X or 5X magnifications, EOTech’s magnifiers are a compact and lightweight complement to holographic sights. When not in use, EOTech’s Switch-to-Side mounting system keeps it out of view.

Each magnifier features a quick-detach lever for repeatable, fast and secure mounting, and easy unmounting. An adjustable diopter enables the user to sharpen the reticle, while adjustment turrets will center it. EOTech magnifiers can be used with any red-dot optic, but I’ve observed a distinct advantage to pairing them with an HWS. That brings me to make an important distinction between red-dot sights and EOTech’s holographic technology. 

Red-dot sights use a glass lens to reflect a projected aiming point (i.e., red dot) into the field of view. The dot comes from a light-emitting diode (LED). Holographic sights, on the other hand, produce the reticle by way of a hologram that’s illuminated by a laser diode.  

Under magnification, a red dot sight and a holographic sight react differently. With a holographic sight, the 1 MOA red dot remains the same size under magnification; a red-dot sight will appear larger and more distorted the more it is magnified. Obviously, a big, blurry red dot is not congruent with accurate fire. 

The first HWS was introduced in 1996. Today, EOTech’s holographic technology is still a faultless pairing for any tactical carbine, especially when combined with a magnifier. The XPS2 and G43/G45 offer excellent target acquisition and a clear, focused reticle for precise results. 

Parting Shot

Priced at around $600, the EOTech HWS XPS2 holographic weapon sight is the shortest and lightest HWS to date. Powered by a single CR123 lithium battery, a sharp reticle comes from a laser diode. The XPS2 is now available with a black, OD green, tan or grey anodized finish. 


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