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EOTech EXPS3 vs EOTech XPS3 – What are the Differences?

EOTech is mostly known for the probably best holographic weapon sights (HWS) you can get today. Using holographic technology in a sight is what EOTech is known for.

Comparing the EOTech XPS3 and EXPS3

The best-known sight from EOTech is the 512 model or the latest variant, the EOTech 518. These sights are battle-proven laser red dot optics that are slightly bulky to accommodate the batteries used in the 512/518.

The EOTech XPS and EXPS models are quite similar in capabilities to the 512/518 with the major difference being that they use a CR123 battery which allows to build them a lot smaller. The downside is that the battery life is quite a lot less on the (E)XPS holographic weapons sights.

What are the EOTech (E)XPS Optics?

Both the EXPS3 and XPS3 are highly sophisticated holographic red dot sights designed for close-quarter to medium-range distances. They offer similar shooting and aiming capabilities compared to the EOTech 512 or EOTech 518 but come in a smaller package. This makes both the XPS3 as well as the EXPS3 a better choice on short mounting rails.

The downside of the shorter mounting space is that the EXPS3 and XPS3 use a single CR123 battery which significantly reduces battery life compared to the EOTech 518/558. You’ll end up with around 1,000 hours of battery life on the (E)XPS3 compared to roughly 2,500 hours on the 518. Both at medium brightness settings.

Comparing the EOTech XPS3 vs EXPS3

EOTech Reticle

The EOTech XPS3 compared to the EXPS3 looks very similar. The differences are under the hood, so to speak. Both holo sights offer 20 brightness settings for the red dot. This allows finding the perfect level of brightness for your overall lighting conditions.

In bright sunlight, you will usually have to increase the brightness to get better aiming support from the green dot or red dot. Otherwise, you might not even see the dot at all when it’s bright and sunny.

Similarly, in low-light conditions, you want to dial down the brightness so you’re not losing focus on your target from being blinded by too bright of a red or green dot.

Night-Vision Support on the EXPS3

Another requirement is added into the mix when you combine your HWS with a night-vision-capable optic. You’ll need specific night-vision settings on your sight to work seamlessly with the NVD mounted on your rifle.

This is where the EXPS3 comes into play. In addition to the 20 brightness settings, it also provides 10 additional settings for NVD’s. The EOTech EXPS3 supports Gen I through III+ night vision devices.

Brightness Adjustment Button Position

The EXPS3 has push buttons for brightness adjustments on the side of the optic. The XPS3 sight has them on the back of the optic.

If you use the sight with a magnifier or NVD that is mounted behind then the position on the XPS3 can have a significant downside. You simply can’t access the brightness buttons if anything is mounted behind the HWS.


EOTech Co-Witnessing with Iron Sights

The XPS3 comes standard with a mounting option that allows for absolute co-witnessing of the sight and your iron sights. This works well and if you prefer an absolute co-witness then the XPS3 is your choice. It’s best to use an absolute co-witness setup if you use folding iron sights (What Are Iron Sights?) so you keep them out of your sight picture when they are not needed.

The EXPS3 comes with a 7mm riser. This increases the mounting height to provide a ⅓ co-witness setup. Most shooters will prefer the ⅓ co-witness as you typically have a clearer, less obstructed, view through the HWS.

Mounting Options

The EXPS3 comes with a quick detach lever. This allows to quickly attach and detach the sight without the use of tools.

The XPS3 sight is mounted with a traditional system and screws onto the Picatinny rail.

Reticle Options

Both the XPS3 and EXPS3 come with the EOTech One Dot or Two Dot reticle. The One Dot reticle provides a single 1 MOA dot in the center of the sight. It offers three usable aiming points. The dot itself is used for 50 and 200 yards aiming points. The bottom of the right for 7 yards.

The Two Dot reticle has an additional aiming point that is useful at 500 yards. The EXPS3 sight can also be ordered with a Four Dot reticle. This adds two additional aiming points for 400 and 600 yards.

All aiming points are calibrated for a .223 cal. 62 gr. 2,900 velocity load. The four-dot reticle is calibrated for the 5.56 Nato/.223 cal with 62 gr M855 FMJ at roughly 2,680 fps with a 14.5″ barrel. If you use a different caliber, load, or velocity then you’ll have to figure out the ranges that match those aiming points.

Additional differences between the EOTech EXPS3 vs XPS3

Besides the difference mentioned above, the weight is another aspect to consider. The XPS3 sight is quite a bit lighter compared to the EXPS3 sight. The XPS3 weighs 9.0 oz/255 grams while the EXPS3 adds 11.2 oz/317.5 grams to your rifle. Part of that comes through the riser and the quick-detach mount.

If you are looking for a lighter weapon setup then the XPS3 is clearly your HWS of choice. While the additional 2.2 ounces of the EXPS3 don’t sound like much, they can throw the balances of your setup off.

Both the EXPS3 and XPS3 can be submerged to 33 feet/10 meters without a problem.

The last item to consider is the price difference. The EXPS3 is a bit more expensive. The MSRP is different by $50 so it’s not a huge difference but if you do not require the additional capabilities of the EXPS3 then you might be better off sticking with the XPS3.

EOTech HWS with Magnifier

What are the differences between the (E)XPS2 and (E)XPS3?

Both optics are holographic weapon sights that look very similar and have overall comparable features. The reticles, battery life, adjustments, and button locations are the same. There are a few differences though.

Night Vision Capable

The XPS2 and EXPS2 sights are not night vision compatible. The XPS3 and EXPS3 can both work with night vision devices (NVD) but only the EXPS3 has 10 different brightness settings that specifically work with NVD’s.

Water Resistance

The XPS2/EXPS2 can resist being submerged in water down to a depth of 10 feet/3 meters. The newer XPS3 and EXPS3 optics are waterproof to 33 feet/10 meters. Depending on whether you need to dive with your HWS and rifle, make sure you get the sight that survives the dive!

Which one to get?

Well, that depends on whether you want to start a competition of underwater shooting. If that is required then you need to go with either the EOTech XPS3 or the EOTech EXPS3. If you want to do underwater night shooting with 1/3 co-witness then it has to be the EXPS3.

If none of these is a strict requirement then you can save yourself some bucks and go with the EOTech XPS2 or EXPS2. The question there is mostly whether you want a quick-detach mount and 1/3 co-witness (EXPS2 or EXPS3) or a regular mount and absolute co-witness (XPS2 or XPS3).

No matter whether you pick the EOTech XPS3/EXPS3 or XPS2/EXPS2 holographic sights (or alternatively one of the available EOTech clones), you get a fantastic weapon sight with unrivaled depth perception. We’ve outlined the different capabilities of each of those sights and hope this will help you pick the HWS that works best for your needs.

Comparing the EOTech XPS3 vs EXPS3
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Kevin Collins