EOTech EXPS2 vs EXPS3 Comparison: Is There a Difference?

Chris G.

Understanding firearm optics can sometimes seem like a complex puzzle. As a firearms enthusiast, I’m here to help you piece it all together, focusing on two well-regarded EOTech models: the EXPS2 and EXPS3. These holographic weapon sights are holographic, which is different from the more common open reflex sights.

Each model boasts distinct specifications that might influence a shooter’s choice, from reticle designs to compatibility with night vision.

I’ll break down their commonalities and distinctions, based on my firsthand experience. My goal? To assist you, fellow gun enthusiasts, in making an educated choice about which sight aligns best with your shooting requirements.

What are the EXPS2 and EXPS3 Holographic Weapon Sights?

a closeup of EOTech EXPS2 and EXPS3

The EOTech EXPS2 and EXPS3 are holographic weapon sights manufactured by EOTech, a company that designs and manufactures advanced optics for firearms. EOTech is a division of L3Harris Technologies, a global aerospace and defense technology company.

Red dots usually come in two types: holographic sights and reflex sights. Both are non-magnifying reflector sights, but they differ in their technology and reticle design. Holographic sights use lasers to create intricate holographic reticles, providing a larger field of view and parallax-free aiming, while reflex sights employ LEDs to project simpler reticles like red dots onto coated glass lenses. Reflex sights are generally more compact and have slightly smaller fields of view, but both types are popular for rapid target acquisition in various shooting applications.

Both the EXPS2 and EXPS3 are popular choices among shooters for their compact design, wide field of view, and advanced holographic reticle technology. 

Technical Specifications of the EXPS2

Material: Aluminum
Magnification: 1 x
Objective Lens Diameter: 0.85 in
Illumination Type: Holographic
Illumination Color: Red
Brightness Settings: 20
Eye Relief: Unlimited
Adjustment Type: MOA
Adjustment Click Value: 0.5 MOA
Attachment/Mount Type: Weaver, MIL-STD 1913
Battery Type: CR123
Battery Quantity: 1
Battery Life: 1,000 hours
Operating Temperature: -40 to 140 degrees Fahrenheit
Water Resistant Mark: submersible up to 10 ft
Length X Width X Height: 3.8 in X 2.1 in X 2.5 in
Weight: 9 oz

Special Features of the EXPS2

The myriad of special features incorporated in the EXPS2 reflects EOTech’s dedication to inventiveness and practicality. Here are some of the sight’s most notable features

  • Operator-Grade Holographic Weapon Sight: The EXPS 2 is an operator-grade holographic weapon sight designed for close-quarter engagements with fast-moving targets.
  • Reticle Options: The EXPS2 features unique reticle patterns that are effective in delivering quick target acquisition and MOA accuracy. The sight’s reticles feature a 68 MOA ring that surrounds a 1 MOA center dot. This me to rapidly spot, engage, and lock on a target. The EXPS2 also has a 2-dot reticle option.
  • Aiming Points: The sight provides three aiming points based on a .223 cal. 62 gr. 2,900 vel. load. For other loads and calibers, I need to determine and establish the ranges linked with those aiming points.
  • Range Estimation with Unmagnified HWS: The standard ring equates to around 68 inches at 100 yards.
  • Brightness Options: The XPS2 provides multiple brightness settings with both Standard and Night Vision modes.

Package Contents of the EXPS2

When purchasing a brand-new EXPS2, you get the following items in the box: 

EOTech XPS2 Transverse Holographic Red Dot Sight
HWS XPS2
Quick-Start Guide
Warranty Card
CR123 Battery
Protective Case

Technical Specifications of the EXPS3

Finish: Hard Coating
Material: Aluminum
Magnification: 1 x
Objective Lens Diameter: 0.85 in
Illumination Type: Holographic
Illumination Color: Red
Brightness Settings: 30
Eye Relief: Unlimited
Adjustment Type: MOA
Adjustment Click Value: 0.5 MOA
Attachment/Mount Type: MIL-STD 1913, Weaver
Battery Type: CR123A
Battery Quantity: 1
Battery Life: 1000 hours
Operating Temperature: -40 to 140 degrees Fahrenheit
Water Resistant Mark: 33 feet
Length X Width X Height: 3.8 in X 2.3 in X 2.9 in
Weight: 11.2 oz

Special Features of the EXPS3

The EXPS3 holographic weapon sight stands out for its distinctive features that set it apart from its sibling, the EXPS2. 

  • Operator Grade Holographic Weapon Sight: Like the EXPS 2, the Eotech EXPS 3 is an operator-grade holographic sights designed to track and engage fast-moving targets.
  • Reticle Options: The EXPS3 features unique reticle patterns for fast target acquisition and precision at any range. The reticles are in the general form of a 68 MOA ring surrounding a 1 MOA center dot.
  • Aiming Points: Like the EXPS2, the aiming points above are based on the following load: .223 cal. 62 gr. 2,900 vel.
  • Multiple-Dot Reticle Options: The EXPS3 is also available in 2 and 4-dot reticle models. They offer the benefit of additional long-range aiming dots.  

Package Contents of the EXPS 3

A brand-new EOTech EXPS 3 comes with the following components: 

EOTech XPS3 Transverse Holographic Red Dot Sight
Quick-Start Guide
Warranty Card
CR123 Battery
Protective Case

Performance Comparison

a closeup of a gun with EXPS2

Let’s have an in-depth analysis between the EXPS2 and EXPS3. For this test, I used my AR-15-type CAR 816 rifle and a Mossberg 930 semi-automatic shotgun for long arms.

For handgun/pistol testing, I used a SIG Sauer P320. Right away, I felt that both EXPS2 and EXPS3 were too big and heavy for pistols.

Battery Life

There’s no difference between the battery life of the EXPS2 and EXPS3. Both can run at 600 to 1,000 hours on a full battery. Both use a single CR123A lithium battery. One common feature both models share is an automatic shut-off after 8 hours, a useful feature to save power when the sight is idle.

However, the battery life is considerably shorter than most open-reflex sights that use solid-state LEDs. These sights usually have a battery life of 10,000 to 50,000 hours.

Windage and Elevation Adjustments

Each model provides incremental adjustments in 0.5 MOA steps, allowing me to calibrate to the particular firearm and bullet type I’m using. Adjusting these controls does not require any specialized tools, making the process more user-friendly.

Nonetheless, the EXPS3 pulls ahead when it comes to windage and elevation settings. It boasts lockable windage and elevation turrets, ensuring greater stability and eliminating the risk of unintended adjustments. This added security becomes especially beneficial in dynamic shooting conditions. 

Night Vision Compatibility

Unlike the EXPS2, the EXPS3 is night vision compatible, so you can use it with night vision gear. This makes, making the sight a standout performer when it comes to shooting in the dark. Whether you’re preparing for tactical situations or planning on hunting in dim light, this feature adds a great deal of adaptability. 

Your choice between the two sights may come down to this very feature of night vision compatibility. If you plan to schedule shoots during daytime, then you may find this feature unnecessary. However, if you’re in for nocturnal hunting or if you need to sight at night, then the EXPS3 should be on your list.

Reticle Options

Another main difference between the EXPS2 and EXPS3 is their reticle options. The EXPS2 offers two types of reticles: a single dot and a dot within a 68 MOA ring. These options cater to a wide variety of shooting circumstances. The ring, for example, can be used to determine where a shotgun spread can potentially hit. The ring also demarcates a target spread of 7 yards.

Another model of the EXPS2 has two reticles. The center dot can be used to mark a target at 50 to 200 yards. The lower dot is for targets at 700 yards, accounting for the bullet drop. These aiming points are based on the following load: .223 cal. 62 gr. 2,900 vel.

On the other hand, the EXPS3 adds another reticle to its repertoire: two dots within a 68 MOA ring, thus providing an added dimension of flexibility for shooting at different ranges. 

The EXPS3 also has a 4-dot model to mark targets at 200, 400, 500, and 600 yards. Similar to the EXPS2, the first 2 aiming points are based on a .223 cal 62 gr. 2900 vel load. The 3rd and 4th dot are based on a 5.56 Nato/.223 cal with 62 gr M855 FMJ at around 2,680 fps shot through a a 14.5-inch barrel.

Both sights deliver sharp, stable reticles, even under the strain of quick firing. The EXPS3, with its additional reticle, has a bit of an advantage, particularly for those who need a wider range of options. These additional dots are particularly useful for rifles but are almost useless in close-range engagements.

Brightness Settings

The EXPS2 comes with 20 daylight brightness level settings. This selection permits users to calibrate to diverse outdoor light levels, ensuring clear images even in the height of day.

The EXPS3, however, takes things up a notch with its 30 brightness settings—20 for daylight and 10 specifically for night vision. These extra settings provide the EXPS3 with superior performance in low-light or nocturnal environments, thereby extending my options. For those frequently operating in dim conditions, the EXPS3 is distinctly the better choice.

Lens, Parallax, and Eye Relief

Both models sport lenses of superior quality, coated for anti-reflection, providing a clear and sharp sight window for accurate target spotting.

Both models are designed to be parallax-free. My aim stays fixed on the target, irrespective of the position of my eye. This feature significantly improves accuracy and reduces the time to spot a target.

The EXPS2 and EXPS3 offer unlimited eye relief, enabling comfortable shooting and swift aiming. However, the EXPS3 gains an edge in low-light conditions due to its compatibility with night vision.

Durability

The resilience of a sight can often be as critical as its optical abilities. Both models are constructed with shockproof, waterproof, and fog-resistant features, indicating their ability to endure severe weather conditions and powerful recoil.

Their durability is reinforced by a sturdy aluminum casing. Both have proven to be able to resist recoil forces, rendering them a trustworthy option for high-caliber firearms.

Yet, the EXPS3 pulls ahead in terms of water resistance, with the ability to function submerged at 33 feet, compared to the EXPS2’s capability at 10 feet.

While these gaps are seemingly huge, it doesn’t matter if you’re not planning to submerge your weapon and the sight to such depths. In essence, the ruggedized construction makes these sights water-resistant.

Mounting Options

Both models have a universal mount that is integrated into the base. The mount can accommodate Weaver and MIL-STD 1913 interfaces.

Size and Weight

The EXPS2 and EXPS3 are the same in size and weight. They are both larger and bulkier than reflex sights. Their bulk makes them ideal for larger firearms but not for pistols. I can actually feel their weight on my SIG Sauer P320. 

Also, the battery compartment which bulges on one side of both models feels and looks weird and awkward. In some cases, the bulge even obstructs my vision. Due to their size and bulk, it’s not an ideal sight for concealed carry.

Price Difference

As an improved version of its sibling, the EXPS3 carries a higher price tag than the EXPS2; it’s priced at USD 789 on its website. This can be attributed to its additional features such as compatibility with night vision and more brightness settings. If these extra features don’t make a big difference to you, then the EXPS2, which performs just as well, might be a more cost-effective option at USD 679.

Real-world Usage

a closeup of EOTech EXPS3

Drawing from my personal experience, the EXPS2 and EXPS3 models are remarkable when used in real-life situations. The ease of use of the EXPS2 makes it a popular choice, while the night vision feature in the EXPS3 provides a distinctive edge.

However, it’s vital to note that individual performance may differ, so we’ll go ahead and analyze how these two models fare in diverse practical environments.

Users’ Experience with EXPS2

Using EXPS2 has given me practical experience of its efficiency in real-world applications. The holographic sight, which includes a 1 MOA dot within a 68 MOA circle, is helpful for accurate long-distance aiming and short-range shooting.

The internal optics of the EXPS2 are fog-resistant, which turns out to be a valuable feature during challenging weather conditions. The 20 settings for brightness, designed for daylight conditions, improve visibility in different lighting situations. 

Another practical function that I find useful is the automatic shutdown after 8 hours of non-stop use, which helps conserve battery life.

The quick-detach lever adds to the ease of handling, making it simpler to attach and remove. Its large size, however, makes it unsuitable for compact pistols. 

Nevertheless, the EXPS2 has proven to be a reliable tool, demonstrating its practicality and functionality in real-world usage.

Users’ Experience with EXPS3

After starting to use Exps3, I’ve experienced a variety of options that uplift my shooting experience. The added feature of night vision compatibility is a significant advantage as it allows precise and confident shooting in dimly lit conditions—perfect for nocturnal hunting.

The sight includes 30 brightness settings, giving me a larger range of options that are especially useful in changing light environments. The reticle options are versatile, catering to a range of shooting styles and distances, although I haven’t tried the 4-dot option.

The EXPS3 is indeed waterproof. However, I didn’t—and wouldn’t—submerge it to its advertised depth.

Firearms Compatibility

a closeup of EOTech EXPS2

Assessing the compatibility of my weapons with either the EXPS2 or EXPS3 is a factor that warrants close attention. These sights are designed to fit a 1′ Weaver or MIL-STD 1913 rail mount, accommodating a broad range of firearms, spanning handguns, shotguns, carbines, or rifles. As mentioned above, I feel they’re too large, heavy, and bulky for most handguns except for large-caliber ones like the Desert Eagle. 

Keep in mind that the compatibility may depend on the specific model and configuration of the firearm, as well as any necessary mounting solutions. 

  1. AR-15 and AR-Style Rifles: The EXPS2 and EXPS3 are frequently mounted on AR-15 rifles and other rifles with a Picatinny or Weaver rail system. These sights are well-suited for both civilian and military variants.
  2. AK-47 and AK-74 Rifles: Some AK-pattern rifles with a compatible rail system can be equipped with EOTech holographic sights.
  3. FN SCAR Series: Firearms like the FN SCAR 16 and FN SCAR 17 are commonly used with EOTech holographic sights. The SCAR rifles are designed with a top rail for easy optic mounting.
  4. SIG Sauer MCX and MPX: The SIG Sauer MCX and MPX series of rifles, known for their modularity, can be configured to accept EOTech sights.
  5. H&K (Heckler & Koch) Rifles: Some H&K rifles, such as the H&K416 or H&K MR556, are compatible with the EXPS2 or EXPS3, especially when equipped with a suitable rail system.
  6. Tavor and X95 Rifles: The IWI Tavor and X95 bullpup rifles, with their top rails, can accommodate EOTech holographic sights.
  7. Various Tactical Shotguns: Some tactical shotguns, particularly those designed with a Picatinny rail, can be equipped with these sights. This is more common for semi-automatic or pump-action shotguns used in tactical applications.

Pros and Cons

a closeup of EOTech EXPS3

Examining the benefits and potential downsides of both the EXPS2 and EXPS3, I’m eager to break down what each sight brings to the table.

EXPS2

Pros

  1. Wide Field of View: Holographic sights, in general, provide a wide field of view, allowing shooters to maintain situational awareness while aiming at their target.
  2. Quick Target Acquisition: The large, easily visible reticle of the EXPS2 aids in rapid target acquisition, making it suitable for close-quarters engagements.
  3. EOTech Reticle Options: The EXPS2 typically features a 1 MOA dot surrounded by a 65 MOA circle, offering versatility for different shooting scenarios.
  4. Waterproof and Fog Resistant: The EXPS2 is built to be durable and is designed to withstand harsh conditions, being both waterproof and resistant to fogging.

Cons

  1. Battery Life: Compared to some other red dot sights on the market, the battery life of the EXPS2 may be considered relatively shorter. The sight is powered by a single CR123 battery.
  2. Night Vision Compatibility: The EXPS2 lacks night vision compatibility, which may be a drawback for users who require or prefer night vision capability.
  3. Reticle Brightness Adjustment: I feel that the brightness adjustment buttons are somewhat small, and adjustments may require a moment to become accustomed to.
  4. Eye Relief: While holographic sights, in general, offer forgiving eye relief, some users may find that the EXPS2’s eye relief is not as generous as some other optics.

EXPS3

Pros

  1. Wide Field of View: Like the EXPS2, the EXPS3 provides a wide field of view. This allows shooters to open both their eyes so they can see the target and the surrounding areas. 
  2. Quick Target Acquisition: The large, easily visible reticle of the EXPS3 allows fast target tracking.
  3. EOTech Reticle Options: The EXPS3 has models that have 2, 3, and 4 dots, increasing its versatility and allowing target acquisition at longer ranges.
  4. Night Vision Compatibility: Unlike the EXPS2, the EXPS3 is equipped with night vision compatibility, allowing it to be used in conjunction with night vision devices for low-light conditions.
  5. Waterproof and Fog Resistant: Similar to the EXPS2, the EXPS3 is built to be durable and is designed to withstand harsh conditions, being both waterproof and resistant to fogging.

Cons

  1. Price: The EXPS3, tend to be on the higher end of the price spectrum. While they offer quality and performance, the cost may be a consideration for budget-conscious users.
  2. Reticle Brightness Adjustment: Similar to the EXPS2, I find the brightness adjustment buttons on the EXPS3 somewhat small, which isn’t friendly for fat fingers. 
  3. Eye Relief: The EXPS3’s eye relief is more limited than in other reflex sights.
  4. Complexity: The additional features, such as night vision compatibility, may introduce a level of complexity that some users may not need or prefer.

Conclusion

Wrapping up our comparison, it is clear that the EOTech EXPS2 and EXPS3 have demonstrated their value in various shooting scenarios. They’re resilient, dependable, and provide excellent performance.

That said, your final decision should be aligned with your specific requirements. If your shooting adventures or responsibilities extend into the night, requiring night vision, then the EXPS3 would be your best bet. On the other hand, if you prefer a reliable sight that doesn’t include night vision, then you might find the EXPS2 more to your liking.

Personally, I like the EXPS3 due to its myriad of features that are useful for me. However, you don’t have to invest in an expensive piece of optic if you don’t need those features. I also advise against using the EXPS2 and the EXPS3 for concealed carry; the bulk of the device prevents you from properly fitting your weapon in its holster.

Regardless of your choice, both these EOTech models have the potential to be a valuable addition to your shooting gear. As the saying goes, “Choose the right tool for the right job.”

About the author

The name's Chris. Just a regular dude who loves firearms. I've been shooting since I was a kid. My old man taught me the ropes.

I'll never forget the first time I missed an easy shot on a buck, thanks to a bum scope. The image was fuzzier than my dog's butt. After that, I got obsessed with understanding scopes. What makes the good ones tick and the bad ones trash. After a few years and a few thousand bucks, I learned what separates the winners from the losers. Once I had a good stockpile of knowledge, I launched this site.

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