Broadening the Scope of Optics Offerings

EOTECH continues to advance its Holographic Weapon Sights while expanding its product line.

Broadening the Scope of Optics Offerings

Optics brand EOTECH has been designing, developing and manufacturing its Holographic Weapon Sights in the U.S. since 1996. In the decades since their introduction, the product portfolio has expanded and the company has developed a reputation for performance and dependability. 

John Bailey, the company’s vice president of marketing, has been with the company in a variety of roles since 2003 and has helped build the brand into what it is today. We recently spoke with Bailey about the optics market, innovation and the company’s growth and development. 

SSR: Tell us a little about the history of EOTECH and its mission.

Bailey: EOTECH is a relatively young company when it comes to optics. While holography has been around for decades, there wasn’t really a viable use for it until lasers and other materials reduced in size and cost. That occurred about the time the M16/M4 became the standard in military and LE operations. EOTECH developed an optic that provided recognizable advantages in speed to target on these platforms as well as a product that can withstand the abuse that comes with combat situations. We quickly became the standard CQB optic for all U.S. Special Forces, DEA, FBI, and military groups around the world. This credibility, along with the expiration of the assault weapons ban in 2004, quickly grew EOTECH into an optics powerhouse. Since day one, our mission has been to provide high-performance weapon accessories and world-class service to our law enforcement, special operations professionals, and civilian consumers. We are a brand that is recognized for superior performance and dependability, and we will always develop products with these critical factors in mind.

SSR: Can you give me a brief overview of the different product lines?

Bailey: EOTECH’s main product line is the Holographic Weapon Sight. This product line began in the late 1990s and has evolved over the years. Today, it is still some of the greatest technology our industry has ever seen. It provides uncompromising speed to target and precision accuracy over any other 1X, non-magnified optic. In 2016, we introduced the Vudu line of premium riflescopes that diversified our product line and provided solutions to the same customer/consumer base that are focused on quality and performance. This line includes first and second focal plane solutions including several LPVOs and spread to high magnification, precision scopes for extreme long-range accuracy. With the explosion of optics-ready handguns, we launched the EFLX mini red-dot in 2022 to provide an easy-to-use, dependable optic for professional or home defense situations. Lastly, with our optical expertise, we recently entered the laser targeting market with our OGL or On-Gun Laser. This is a compact laser device that mounts directly on the firearm rail and provides visible and infrared aiming lasers as well as an infrared illuminator. We have significantly diversified our product portfolio over the last 10 years to even include night-vision and thermal solutions. All products, whether for Mil/LE or consumer use, are with a focus on quality, dependability, and performance.  

SSR: Can you talk a bit about the build and construction of EOTECH optics?

Bailey: We design, develop and manufacture every product under the assumption that every one of them will face a life-or-death situation. This could be through protecting country and community or personal and home defense. This assumption helps us maintain focus on performance, dependability, and reliability. Every product we make goes through the same stringent testing to ensure our products can be counted on when it matters most. 

SSR: How does serving the military and LE market benefit your civilian customers?

Bailey: We are innovators in technology. Our product development process focuses on dependability and performance for combat use. We lead with technology in the way we test and validate our new products under development as well as current products being produced every day. Sophisticated equipment to simulate recoil, thermal shock, water submersion, and more are all included in our process to ensure that the products we build will withstand all conditions and situations of its users. For the civilian customer, though, it means products that will improve their performance, whether it’s hunting, competition, home defense, or protecting the community or country. It means that they can depend on these products when it matters most.


SSR: The Vudu line of riflescopes has been around for 8 years now. How has it evolved since its launch?

Bailey: For years, EOTECH has been a leader in the firearms optics industry, but with a very limited line of products. The logical next step was to venture into the magnified optics space by developing premium riflescopes that match the high-quality, high-performance characteristics of our holographic sights. But the riflescope market is extremely crowded, and it’s difficult to stand apart. We went in with the goal of meeting or beating our competition in every way. This includes areas for the consumer such as features and benefits, warranty, clarity, craftsmanship, and price while providing solid margins and customer service and support for our dealers. This strategy helped us develop the Vudu line of riflescopes that include both first- and second-focal plane offerings and a wide variety of magnification ranges from which to choose. We pushed the boundaries of what can be optically achieved, and that is evident in our 1-10X and 5-25X super-short scope. We are very proud of the Vudu line, and it is doing very well. This year, we are launching an extension of the Vudu line called Vudu X. This line has more focus on the hunting and recreational user and is packed with features specific to these categories. We feel these maintain our quality and performance requirements but come at a more affordable price point. We are initially launching a 1-6x24 LVPO and a multi-purpose 2-12x40 scope and have plans to establish a robust product family in the years to come.

SSR: I think a lot of shooters and hunters don’t know the difference between holographic sights and standard red-dots. Can you explain?

Bailey: The EOTECH HWS is often lumped into the category of red-dots. It is true that it does have a red dot, but the differences between red-dot technology and holographic technology are many. Red-dot sights are simple in design. They consist of an LED light positioned at the rear of the sight that is aimed at the front lens. The lens has filters that bounce or reflect the red light back to the user in the form of a dot. One limitation is that the dot needs to be big enough for the user to find quickly and align with the target, but small enough so that it doesn’t obscure the target and reduce accuracy. 

Holography overcomes this compromise. EOTECH can incorporate any reticle design to include things such as stadia lines, ballistic holds, and range estimation. The most common reticle, known at times as the doughnut of death, is a 68 MOA ring with an 1 MOA aiming dot. Because the HWS is powered by a laser diode and not an LED, the aiming dot is a true point source and offers the smallest dot in the industry. Here, you have a large reference ring to get you on target quickly, but a very precise aiming dot to provide accuracy.

A major limitation for red-dots is that the dot is at a different focal plane than the target. This causes the user to shift their focus slightly to focus on the dot and then shift back to the target. An HWS reticle is focused at the target plane so you don’t have to shift your focus. You maintain your target focus and see your reticle clearly.

Another advantage the HWS has is that it is not dependent on the front glass for the reticle. In fact, if the user were to experience a catastrophic incident where the front glass was to break or be damaged, the sight would still work and maintain zero. Further, the back glass, where the reticle is captured, can also be broken and the user will still be able to see and use the reticle in the remaining pieces of glass. Red-dots are dependent on their front glass to reflect the dot back to your eye; if damaged or broken, the dot may not be seen or the zero maintained.

The HWS also has an advantage over a red-dot when using a magnifier. With the HWS, the dot size does not magnify with the target. The user maintains the small 1 MOA aiming dot, but now can see the target 3X to 5X closer. Red-dots grow in size consistent with the target when viewed with magnification, so there is no additional gain in accuracy like we find in holography.

Other advantages include the rectangular window for better field-of-view, common battery options, and an integrated mounting base that removes the need for additional mounts. Finally, the HWS is 100% made in the USA.

SSR: The optics market has expanded significantly over the past decade. Has that created more challenges or opportunities?

Bailey: The growth in the optics market has created several new opportunities. First, the acceptance of optics for pistol use has opened an enormous market and really reset the expectations of a pistol shooter. The volume of optics-ready pistols being sold to home defense, recreational, and competitive shooters create an opportunity to provide quality optics to help them perform better.  Second, the advancement of long-range barrels and ammunition really expanded the precision shooting market. Shooting ranges offering extended distance and the growth of PRS competitions have opened opportunities to provide quality magnified optics that can provide ridiculous accuracy at extreme distance. The challenge that comes along with these opportunities is meeting the needs of these users. Although you will never satisfy every person, we feel our focus on performance and quality typically exceeds the expectations of even the most sophisticated shooter. 

SSR: How can retailers be more effective selling your products?

Bailey: To be more effective, it is important that retailers know how our products differ from others. In the red-dot world, there are hundreds of brands and thousands of models out there and they all look very similar. The majority are inexpensive, unreliable products so knowing how to identify and filter a quality red-dot from the cheap models is a start. Once they understand that, it is critical that the retailer knows the holographic technology and how it performs better than this small handful of quality red-dots. If they know this, they can better inform and educate their customers. And we are confident that if they know our products well, they will better communicate their benefits and sell more product.  

SSR: What new products have you most excited for the future?

Bailey: There is a lot we are excited about. We have some really cool projects currently in progress to offer new and improved HWS models. We are also excited to fill out our product families in the pistol and magnified rifle scope markets. The optics-ready pistol market has exploded and acceptance both professionally and commercially has really changed this platform. Developing products around smaller pistol frames, as well as broadening our full-size offerings with an enclosed emitter model, will give our customers a dependable, affordable solution for all of their pistol needs. Broadening our magnified optic line will allow us to better serve all short, mid, and long-range shooters.

SSR: What does a retailer need to do to begin carrying EOTECH optics in their stores? Are there any dealer incentives or programs for new partners?

Bailey: One of EOTECH’s biggest assets is its distribution model. We invite any dealer to come on board with us and offer a variety of ways they can do so. Since the beginning, we have had a very simple direct dealer program that is fair and profitable for the small, independent store owner all the way up to the big box retailer. We have a host of quality wholesalers that can provide to dealers that choose not to go direct with EOTECH. We also partner with several buy groups to provide product access to those channels. In addition to easy access, we do provide incentives like promotional dealer kits, co-op opportunities, and direct sales rep interaction and support.  

Our goal is to create partners, so by offering every outlet for a dealer to purchase and sell our products, we feel they will see the value, profitability, and benefits and become our ambassadors.  Any dealer interested in carrying EOTECH products can simply visit our website or contact us direct at 888-368-4656 and we can provide the necessary information.


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