The Real Eotech 551:
Eotech (http://www.eotech-inc.com/) makes holographic reflex sights for both military and law enforcement use. The Eotech 551 is the lighter, smaller version of the 552. This leaves more room on your picatinny rail for 3x magnification, backup iron sights, or night vision when compared to the 552.
The sight itself has a 65 MOA circle with a 1 MOA aiming dot. It has windage and elevation adjustment, adjustable brightness, and a switch to turn on nightvision mode. Nightvision mode turns the brightness down low enough that the sight doesn't bloom when viewed through the nightvision scope. The manufacturer's suggested retail price is $449 dollars.
Introduction and Purchasing:
I'd been looking at Eotech clones for a while now and there's always been a problem. The clones were just red dots, there was ghosting, there was no windage/elevation adjustment, etc. The worst part were the retailers, because all too often they were overseas and didn't give ANY details and a real "buyer beware" return policy. FA-Tony posted a link to a quality replica ACOG and after surfing around the site I ran into Eotech clones that were advertised as holosights without ghosting and they had full adjustment. To top it all off, they sport trademarks. SOLD!!!
Purchasing from DragonRed Airsoft (http://www.dragonredairsoft.com/) was literally just a paypal buyitnow button. Apparently they've been real busy so I didn't receive a shipping confirmation until I asked about a week later. This wasn't much of a problem because two days later I get the sight in the mail from Hong Kong. Total shipping time from order placement to having it in my hand was 8 calendar days. The fact that they actually give full details on their products and that their pricing is exceptionally reasonable will have me going back to them for an ACOG in the future.
The sight didn't come in any packaging of its own, just packing and wrap. I don't really consider this a downer because international shipping is atrociously expensive and I don't really need packaging that isn't in english or is in very poor english. It did come with the batteries already installed.
The unit itself is made of nicely finished aluminum. The lenses were clear with no scratches. The battery cover is made of textured plastic and the trademarks were intact and very nicely done on both the plastic and the aluminum.
Power Source: 4 LR44 Batteries
Objective diameter(mm): 22x33
Exit pupil(mm): 22-23
Eye relief: free
Field of view( @100YD ): 57'
Attachment is achieved by unscrewing the large single thumbscrew and mounting it onto a picatinny rail with the battery cover facing away from the user.
To turn it on you just press the labeled button and the sight lights up in red at its maximum brightness. Its really intense even in daylight so you just hold the other button down and the sight slowly changes intensity in clearly noticeable stages. You can also toggle intensity levels with each individual push of the button. Holding down both these buttons turns the unit back off. I haven't noticed any auto-off feature yet.
Pushing the nightvision button turns the reticle from red to green.
The windage and elevation adjustment are on the side of the scope. The dials are screwdriver slotted and do require more pressure to turn them than I can apply with my thumbnail.
Pros & Cons:
The major difference between this sight and the real thing is the lack of nightvision compatibility, but if you can afford nightvision you can also afford a real Eotech to work with it. Personally I like the ability to switch it between green and red, especially if you've also got a laser attached to the gun.
The reticle on the real Eotech has crosshair markings on the outside of the 65 MOA circle, the circle on this one is plain.
The L3 Eotech trademarks are in gold on the replica and in silver on the real one.
I have noticed that the sight is just too darn tall to use with low-profile backup sights like the standard g3 or g36 iron sights. You either need to consider using a see-through mount for this or just skip having backup iron sights. However this problem does solve a seperate issue I have which is getting my sights aligned while wearing goggles. This sight sits up high enough that there's no issue whatsoever in getting a full sight picture quickly and comfortably.
My only problem with this unit is that the exit end of the sight doesn't have any coating to prevent the light from the sight escaping. You can clearly see a pinpoint of light coming from it from 20 feet away. Take into consideration that I was looking for it and that if you're seeing that light you're probably being shot at. Whether this factors into any real tactical weakness during night games remains to be seen, I'll certainly update accordingly if this is the case.
I suppose that considering this is a toy replica that this sight is going on that 105 dollars is a bit pricey for a sight but you simply aren't going to get the amount of functionality and level of realism out of any other replica holosight at this price. I couldn't be happier with this product. Its a solid 350 dollars cheaper than its real counterpart and definitely works well and looks fantastic.