EOTech is not a company normally associated with archery, but with the continuing legalization and acceptance of the horizontal bow, the crossbow, many strange and wonderful things are made possible. Today EOTech says it is the “exclusive manufacturer and world leader of holographic sighting systems for small arms.” Small arms that now include crossbows.

In 1996, EOTech debuted holographic sighting technology for sport shooting and hunting. The idea was to increase target accuracy and target acquisition speed with a nearly indestructible parallax free sighting device by allowing the aiming process to become almost instinctive and reflexive. The company tried to apply their technology to conventional vertical bows but it was not a marketplace success.

In 2005, EOTech was acquired by L-3 Communications, now the sixth largest defense company in the U.S in Intelligence, Surveillance and Reconnaissance (ISR), secure communications, government services, training and simulation and aircraft modernization and maintenance. The company also is a leading merchant supplier of guidance and navigation products and systems, sensors, scanners, fuzes, data links, propulsion systems, avionics, electro optics, satellite communications, electrical power equipment, encryption products, signal intelligence, antennas and microwave products.

Wow! So… what’s in archery for a company like this? Turns out that recreational sport optics is a serious division in a company that primarily supplies the Department of Defense.

John Bailey, marketing director and an avid hunter, says L-3 EOTech’s Model 512 Crossbow holographic sight and its integral ranging pattern “takes all of the guess work out of crossbow hunting with optics. Having ranging and ballistic aiming capabilities all within one viewing window eliminates the need for unnecessary movements in the stand, and offers you the ability to transition and get on target quickly.”

The 512 Crossbow sight ($489) utilizes the unique properties of holography to create optimal range scaling data in a heads-up display. A pre-calculated ranging scale—which depends on your crossbow’s arrow speed—is projected on the target and measures the back to the belly of a standard whitetail deer (about 16 inches). Successful use of the sight simply requires a crossbow shooter to position the base of the scale on the belly and read from where the back intersects the scale.

The 512 easily attaches to most crossbows. It operates on 2 AA batteries which EOTech rates at 1,000 hours for lithium (-40 to 150 degrees Fahrenheit) and 600 hours for alkaline (-20 to 140 degrees Fahrenheit) at the normal setting of 12. The sight is waterproof to 10 feet deep, the nitrogen purged internal optics are fogproof, and the unit mounts on a 1-inch Weaver or MIL-STD-1913 rail.

The L-3 EOTech 512 Crossbow has numerous features that are attractive for crossbow hunters. While eye relief is technically unlimited, holographic sights are non-magnifying, and so at the distances archers normally shoot—accurately out to 50 or 60 yards—this is not a problem. The compact 10.9-ounce sight measures 5.4x2x2.25 inches.

Surface coated with an anti-glare chemical, the small heads-up display window measures just 1.2×0.85 inches in size. The front window is 1⁄8-inch solid glass and the rear window is a shatter resistant 3⁄16-inch laminate. With 4-inch eye relief, the field of view is 30 yards at 100 yards. The brightness of the display is adjustable for lighting conditions over 20 settings with a scrolling feature, but the 512 Crossbow is not night vision compatible. A battery check indicator will flash upon start-up when the batteries fall into the low power range, but to avoid this, an automatic shut-down can be programmed from 4 to 8 hours.

Adjusting the 512 will be familiar to hunters and shooters who have used tube scopes. And users don’t really have to understand beam splitters and wave-front reconstruction to use this sight effectively. The adjustment per click is 0.5 MOA or ½-inch at 100 yards. Total adjustment range is +/- 40 MOA.

Customers might ask if L-3 EOTech sights like the 512 can alert game animals with a projected light, but according to Media Relations Manager Amy Miller, the answer is “Definitely not.” Unlike a laser or red dot sights, the holographic image projects no forward light onto the target and thus no position revealing light. The HWS sight (HWS stands for “holographic weapons system.”) does not emit any revealing light signature, even against night vision systems. The projected reticle pattern is visible only to the operator.

L-3 EOTech works through an international network of sales representatives and distributors. In the U.S., Simpson Sales handles the Southeast. Vincent Pistilli & Associates covers the Northeast. The West is split between Rocky Mountain Rubicon and Trans Western Sales. The central U.S. is covered by Bruce Odle in the North and the Ahern Sales Group in the South.

For more info: (734) 741-8868; www.eotech-inc.com.