Hard Data: Irons v. Variable v. ACOG v. EOtech


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Bartholomew Roberts
April 8, 2006, 07:29 PM
It has been my experience that an EOtech is faster close up and optics slowest. This is based on generalizations of watching people shoot for score; but I have never bothered to quantify exactly how much difference it makes...until today.

For our experiment, we needed a place that would let us shoot how we wanted as long as we were responsible (and we also needed to do some long-range shooting and zero from a bench for other unrelated stuff). There is only one public range around DFW that qualifies - Tac-Pro Shooting Center (http://www.tacproshootingcenter.com/index.html).

After talking with Bill & Alice, we grabbed a range and proceeded with our experiment. The sights being evaluated were irons (Troy folding rear, PRI folding front), a variable scope (Leupold 1-4x shotgun scope), an ACOG (TA11), and an EOtech (552 Rev E). Our test would be a "box drill" from 15yds. For this test, two IDPA targets were set 18" apart. On the buzzer, the shooter would engage with two to the body of each target followed by one to the head of each target (making a "box" with the muzzle). This drill would be done stationary first and then with movement. Each shooter would get up to 30rds to familiarize themselves with the sight and then would execute three stationary drills followed by three moving drills.

We used IDPA targets and the IDPA scoring system (no time added for hits in the center 8" circle or the head, 0.5 seconds added for hits outside those areas, 1.5 seconds for hits on the very outer ring of the silhouette and 2.5 seconds for a miss).

In order to reduce the variables, each shooter would use the same rifle. However, we did get lazy and rather than remove the variable from the rifle it was already on and rezero it, we used an Armalite midlength 16" HBAR with muzzle brake for that portion of the test. The reminder of the test was conducted with my 16" midlength rifle pictured below:

http://www.ont.com/users/kolya/AR15/midLilja.jpg

Shooter 1 was me. I have trained regularly with the ACOG for several years now and have three formal carbine classes. I was most unfamiliar with the EOtech 552.

Shooter 2 was a former military small arms instructor and member of the USAF marksmanship unit. He has a lot of time with irons; but is most familiar with Leupold 1-4x shotgun scope. He was least familiar with the EOtech.

Raw Time is time without any penalties for missed shots. Final time is with penalties for dropped shots.
======================================================================================================

Results:
Shooter 1 Irons
Avg. Raw Time: 5.19
Avg. Final Time: 6.52

Leupold 1-4x
Avg. Raw Time: 4.98
Avg. Final Time: 5.31

TA11 ACOG
Avg. Raw Time: 4.78
Avg. Final Time: 5.68

Eotech 552
Avg. Raw Time: 4.37
Avg. Final Time: 5.70

Best Stationary Raw Time: 4.50 w/ Leupold
Best Stationary Final Time: 4.50 w/Leupold

Shooter 1 Moving Irons:
Avg. Raw Time: 5.81
Avg. Final Time: 9.31

Moving Leupold 1-4x
Avg. Raw Time: 5.42
Avg. Final Time: 7.42

Moving TA11 ACOG
Avg. Raw Time: 5.39
Avg. Final Time: 7.05

Moving Eotech 552
Avg. Raw Time: 4.27
Avg. Final Time: 5.43

Best Moving Raw Time: 3.99 w/ Eotech 552
Best Moving Final Time: 4.49 w/ Eotech 552

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Bartholomew Roberts
April 8, 2006, 07:42 PM
Results:
Shooter 2 Irons
Avg. Raw Time: 4.26
Avg. Final Time: 4.76

Leupold 1-4x
Avg. Raw Time: 3.55
Avg. Final Time: 3.71

TA11 ACOG
Avg. Raw Time: 4.26
Avg. Final Time: 4.42

Eotech 552
Avg. Raw Time: 3.81
Avg. Final Time: 4.98

Best Stationary Raw Time: 3.30 w/ Leupold
Best Stationary Final Time: 3.30 w/Leupold

Shooter 1 Moving Irons:
Avg. Raw Time: 4.32
Avg. Final Time: 7.30

Moving Leupold 1-4x
Avg. Raw Time: 3.99
Avg. Final Time: 5.32

Moving TA11 ACOG
Avg. Raw Time: 4.06
Avg. Final Time: 5.90

Moving Eotech 552
Avg. Raw Time: 4.03
Avg. Final Time: 5.87

Best Moving Raw Time: 3.89 w/ Irons
Best Moving Final Time: 3.90 w/ TA11 ACOG

==============================================

Some commentary: Both of us found the Eotech fast; but since we had both trained with irons and magnified optics primarily, the floating sensation of the reticle is still weird (despite the fact we have both used Eotechs before)

Despite both of us being pretty familiar with irons, we both did better with almost any optic compared to irons.

The muzzle brake on the Armalite gave the Leupold a bit of advantage; how much we couldn't say exactly; but there is no question it was a slight edge. Still the Leupold 1-4x shotgun scope came away the clear winner on value with both of us shooting it well and a price tag of only $179 (not including mount).

I saw a significant advantage during movement using the Eotech. The other shooter, who trains more frequently and is more talented, didn't see the same benefits and actually lost time with the Eotech.

In any case, I hope these numbers give some of you a rough idea of exactly what types of time and accuracy differences we are talking about with different optics. Perhaps with a little more hard data, we can all make better choices about what kinds of tradeoffs we are willing to make to fit our needs.

jungle
April 9, 2006, 10:01 AM
Great post. My experience is similar, although not as well quantified as yours. I have found the low power variables from Leupold to be excellent all around sighting systems on the flat tops. My eyes aren't what they used to be and the optic really helps with the longer shots and doesn't hinder the close work at the lower power settings. Mounting at the proper height in a solid set of rings gives a firm check weld and speeds up everything.
The performance equals sytems costing five times as much, although the Milspec aura of "tacticality" isn't there this may be an advantage in many areas.

Bartholomew Roberts
April 9, 2006, 12:14 PM
The Leupold was great out to 300yds; past that it started to get iffy because as a shotgun scope it just wasn't designed for those distances. Parallax was fixed at 75yds on the Leupold and the adjustments were coarse and not always consistent, making it difficult to dial in elevation and windage changes at range.

At 300yds, the Leupold did a 7" 10-rd group with PMC 223A and Shooter 2behind the trigger. The group was high off the target though since the shooter was forced to holdover about 9" to compensate for drop.

lycanthrope
April 9, 2006, 12:14 PM
There are quite a few three gun shooters using the Simmons Pro Diamond 1.5x-5x shotgun scope on their AR's. Since you can shoot the low power scopes with both eyes open, I find them just as fast as my EO in tight in good lighting.

mattf7184
April 9, 2006, 01:55 PM
I have the simmons set up on one of my ARs. At sub 15 yards Im faster with an EOTech (not by much though) but beyond that i'm about the same. Like you said you do need good lighting for the Simmons set up.

bratch
April 9, 2006, 03:06 PM
Lighting is one thing I was curious about the Leopold. How did/would it perform in low light situations?

jungle
April 9, 2006, 03:53 PM
I find the low power variables to work well in low light, much easier to use than irons. At low power they will pass all the light your eyes can handle. The only downside is loss of crosshairs in a very dark background. Leupold makes an illuminated reticle also.

I'm using a standard duplex so the limitations of the adjustment and coarse aiming point are avoided. Quarter minute clicks allow a fine enough adjustment. It allows another neat trick, using the top of the lower thick post as a holdover at extended ranges. It varies with brand, but get an idea of MOA size on a grid at 100 yards and see if it will work for you.

lcarr
April 10, 2006, 03:04 PM
For shooter 2, there seems to be an error in the numbers, as follows:

Moving Leupold 1-4x
Avg. Raw Time: 3.99
Avg. Final Time: 5.32

Moving TA11 ACOG
Avg. Raw Time: 4.06
Avg. Final Time: 5.90
...
Best Moving Raw Time: 3.89 w/ Irons
Best Moving Final Time: 3.90 w/ TA11 ACOG

Which is correct? Was teh Leupold actually faster for Shooter 2 on the move? Or is the average final time fro the ACOG listed incorrectly above?

Lincoln R. Carr
lcarr@cs.indiana.edu

lycanthrope
April 10, 2006, 03:09 PM
It looks like they made several passes in each configuration with 3.90 being the best run for the ACOG, but not the only run with that optic. I guess other runs were higher whihc pulled the average run up to 5.90.

If this is correct, how many trials with each optic were there and did times generally reduce with usage?

lcarr
April 10, 2006, 03:15 PM
OK. I get it now. Thanks!

Lincoln R. Carr
lcarr@cs.indiana.edu

Correia
April 10, 2006, 03:37 PM
Bart, interesting stuff.

I bet that if you open this up to more shooters, especially those that have zero baseline, the EO would do better.

I've got more time on irons than anything, followed by magnifying optics, and I'm still faster with the EO.

Bartholomew Roberts
April 10, 2006, 03:38 PM
Each shooter was allowed up to 30 rounds (neither of us used all 30) to get comfortable with a sight. Each shooter then conducted three stationary drills and three moving drills with each sight system. Times did tend to improve with repeated drills (though not always).

I bet that if you open this up to more shooters, especially those that have zero baseline, the EO would do better.

Yeah, I had hoped to have as many as four shooters, including some new shooters, for the test; but it probably worked out for the best since this took us about three hours to shoot and set up. I think you are probably right that the EO would do better with more novice shooters. I was surprised to see that even with quite a bit of trigger time with the ACOG, I still was a full second faster with the EO and more accurate as well under those circumstances.

dmftoy1
April 10, 2006, 08:07 PM
Nice post!!

Does the TA11 ACOG have BAC? If it doesn't then I wonder if that would've made any difference?

Have a good one,
Dave

Bartholomew Roberts
April 10, 2006, 08:55 PM
It does have BAC (daytime illumination of the reticle via fiber optic)...all of the TA11 series have that.

taliv
April 10, 2006, 09:35 PM
maybe i'm missing something. is your contention actually that you shoot better moving with an EO than you do stationary? offhand, i'd say that's highly unlikely, and if the numbers came out like that, it's probably because you didn't shoot enough.

355sigfan
April 11, 2006, 03:24 AM
This is a good effort but you need to reshoot it with more shooters and at more varing ranges. Also with more shooting on each system. You may have got lucky with one system on been more dialed in vs another.
Pat

Coronach
April 11, 2006, 04:10 AM
Yeah, you need a larger n. Still, that's really interesting preliminary data. Establish a solid protocol, keep everything constant (As much as possible) except for the variable of optic, and start rotating in shooters.

If you want to be really complex, have each shooter tell you how much experience they have with each type of optic (or irons), establish criteria for different categories of experience, encode that datum for each shooter and include it with your results.

If you do that, you can (eventually) see what sort of "crossover" of skills you get in moving from irons to magnified optics to BAC to holosights.

Mike (who used to teach statistics and research design, once upon a time)

PS Okay, I used to TA it. Not quite the same thing...

ghost squire
April 11, 2006, 04:12 AM
Great post! I have a few questions about the Leupold shotgun scopes. Would you say these would be suitable for mounting on a milsurp rifle such as an Enfield or Mauser? The 3-9x40mm in particular seems like it would make a nice close-longish range scope. As in out to 300-400 yards perhaps?

Sorry for hijacking!

Bartholomew Roberts
April 11, 2006, 08:23 AM
maybe i'm missing something. is your contention actually that you shoot better moving with an EO than you do stationary? offhand, i'd say that's highly unlikely, and if the numbers came out like that, it's probably because you didn't shoot enough.

I'm not contending anything. I am just telling you all what the scores were. Since the deviation is only 0.10-0.20 sec, I would say it is probably more representative of pure luck than anything - although it is interesting that both shooters were faster on average moving than they were stationary? Perhaps it had a little to do with both of us being least familiar with that sight and the fact that the moving exercises came last.

This is a good effort but you need to reshoot it with more shooters and at more varing ranges. Also with more shooting on each system.

Not a problem. You just tell me what variables you want tested and I'll tell you where to send the research grant check.

Yeah, you need a larger n. Still, that's really interesting preliminary data. Establish a solid protocol, keep everything constant (As much as possible) except for the variable of optic, and start rotating in shooters.

Yes, it would be interesting to do with a larger sample. Part of the problem is processing a decent number of shooters with just one rifle though. That is the only way I know of to eliminate other variables (other than have two identically set up rifles on two different bays). It took us three hours (including set-up and policing brass) to shoot that sequence. There is also the logistical effort of getting shooters in one place and getting all the sights.

However, I am wiling to try it again if anyone here wants to donate time and equipment. Also the Leupold and Eotech were loaners, so we would need to come up with those sights again.

Great post! I have a few questions about the Leupold shotgun scopes. Would you say these would be suitable for mounting on a milsurp rifle such as an Enfield or Mauser? The 3-9x40mm in particular seems like it would make a nice close-longish range scope.

Couldn't comment; but the Leupold 3-9x40mm is definitely not a shotgun scope.

dmftoy1
April 11, 2006, 09:09 AM
BAC is actually the "Bindon Aiming Concept". Some of the ACOG's have it and some of them don't. What it allows you to do is keep both eyes open and you automatically transition from tracking with the eye that's not looking through the scope to the eye that is using the scope. (that's the best explanation I can give you). It's a little freaky, but in about 95% of people they will do it automatically if they keep both eyes open. It took me a bit to get used to it, but I'm much faster using it than without.

It looks like all of the TA11 models have it. I'm curious to know if the shooters you were using were using both eyes open, or one open, one closed. :)

Bartholomew Roberts
April 11, 2006, 10:01 AM
BAC is actually the "Bindon Aiming Concept". Some of the ACOG's have it and some of them don't.

Bindon Aiming Concept describes the two-eye open method of shooting that was used with the Armson Occluded Eye Gunsight and carried over to the ACOG. It can be used with any scope (illuminated, unilluminated, non-BAC, and even non-Trijicon) where the shooter can get enough contrast between the reticle and the background that his brain will combine the field of view from his non-dominant eye and the reticle view from his dominant eye. This is mostly dependent on the shooter's vision and some will have more luck than others; but the bolder the contrast, the easier it is.

When Trijicon says a scope has "BAC", they just mean that it has fiber optics to illuminate the reticle during daytime and tritium to illuminate it in lowlight. This helps provide the kind of contrast that makes it easy to use the concept.

What it allows you to do is keep both eyes open and you automatically transition from tracking with the eye that's not looking through the scope to the eye that is using the scope. (that's the best explanation I can give you). It's a little freaky, but in about 95% of people they will do it automatically if they keep both eyes open. It took me a bit to get used to it, but I'm much faster using it than without.

Keep practicing to where you can NOT transition to the magnified when you want to. This lets you use it like a red dot up close and is VERY fast; but the downside is the point of impact is different (different geometry because you are using the weak eye). For this test both shooters used the magnified view, which helped accuracy; but hurt speed.

It looks like all of the TA11 models have it. I'm curious to know if the shooters you were using were using both eyes open, or one open, one closed.

Both of us shoot all sights with both eyes open. I'd also note that target transitions with the TA11 are much smoother right to left (if right eye dominant) than they are left to right. That is one of the things I liked about the box drill, it tests both directions. In fact, one reason the moving ACOG times for Shooter 1 are slower is because I overswung the last head target during one of the transitions precisely because of the narrower field of view and magnification.

NMshooter
April 11, 2006, 07:44 PM
Having been kicking around the idea of getting the Trijicon Accupoint 1x-4x for a while I found your results with the shotgun scope interesting.

While it is easy to remove the Aimpoint and drop on the ACOG on the one way range, I suspect it is not so easy on the two way range...;)

So much stuff, so little money.:D

I was a bit suprised that irons were slower than everything else, the ACOG close up is slower for me.

If you enjoyed reading about "Hard Data: Irons v. Variable v. ACOG v. EOtech" here in TheHighRoad.org archive, you'll LOVE our community. Come join TheHighRoad.org today for the full version!