5.56 Timeline

Aimpoint VS. Eotech VS. ACOG. VS Aimpoint – Updated.

Aimpoint Eotech ACOG

An upper with no bolt carrier group was rested on wooden blocks.  Pictures were taken with a Samsung SIII.

100 Yards:

Eotech 552Eotech 552.  Reticle was hard to see.  Set to max brightness.

Aimpoint PROAimpoint PRO.  Reticle appeared clearer than in image.

Aimpoint T1Aimpoint T1

Trijicon ACOG TA01

ACOG TA01  Front sight base shadow was less visible then what the photograph shows.

200 Yards:

Eotech 552

Eotech 552.  At max brightness (with week old batteries) I could barely see the reticle at max brightness.

Aimpoint PRO

The Aimpoint PRO looked better then what the photo shows.

Aimpoint T1

Except for my finger in the picture, this photo well depicts the view thru the Aimpoint T1.

Trijicon ACOG TA01

The ACOG reticle was crisper then what the photo shows, and the front sight base shadow less apparent.

Tech Specs:

Aimpoint PRO – $400
11.6 oz
2 MOA Dot
One 3V 2L76 or DL1/3N
30,000 hours – about 3.4 years (@ setting 7 out of 10)
½ MOA clicks

Aimpoint T1 with mount LT660 – $650

3.7oz (not including mount)
4 (or 2) MOA Dot
One 3V CR2032
50,000 hours – about 5.7 years (@ setting 8 out of 12)
½ MOA clicks

Eotech 552 – $579

10.9 oz
1 MOA Dot, 65 MOA Ring
Two AA batteries
1,000 hours Lithium @ 12, 600 with alkaline (About 42 days) (@settings 12)
½ MOA clicks
Trijicon ACOG TA01
9.9 oz
Bullet Drop Calibrated Crosshair
No batteries
Tritium half-life ~12 years.
1/3 MOA click

Aimpoint VS. Eotech VS. ACOG VS. Aimpoint

I rounded up an Aimpoint PRO, Aimpoint T1 (4 MOA), an Eotech 552, and a Trijicon ACOG TA01 for a side to side comparison.  To try and get an unbiased opinion, I had a friend use all 4 optics on the same firearm, shooting both groups and assorted drills.

Comparing reflex sights to magnified optics is like comparing motorcycles to semi-trucks, but the subject is of much debate online.  The simple answer is that you need to select the optic that best suits your needs.

I had my friend start off by shooting groups at 25 yards.  His groups with iron sights and all the reflex sights were about the same.  However when he used the ACOG the group tightened up considerably.  I believe that because of having magnification and a crosshair that he slowed down and focused on the shooting fundamentals.

At this point my friend most preferred the ACOG.  After using the ACOG my friend stated, “This is more of a traditional scope, not a reflex or an ACOG.”  I proceeded to tease my friend about this statement for the rest of the day.

As for the reflex sights, my friend preferred the Aimpoint T1 the most, and the Eotech the least.  This Eotech had week old batteries and even at max brightness was hard to see in the Florida sunlight.  I must note that this is an older Eotech and newer ones may be brighter.

After the grouping exercise I had my friend practice bringing a rifle up from a ready position and engaging multiple locations on a target at 10 yards.  I started my friend with iron sights, then had him try the various optics.  I was surprised that for my friend, he found the ACOG faster and more comfortable for quick shooting.  Both the Aimpoint PRO and T1 were about the same, and the Eotech was still disliked due to it being dim and the reticle being cluttered.

Tried variations of multiple targets, and shooting left handed.  All the same results.  Trying to shoot left handed for my friend was awkward regardless of optic, but the reflex sights seemed to help.

While I was at the range, I got the chance to talk to a former Army officer and had him look over the various optics.  Without shooting with them, he came to the same conclusion that my friend did.  The Aimpoint T1 was the preferred optic, with the PRO being second choice.  The Eotech was disliked due to being dim.  My friend thought the Eotech reticle was cluttered and preferred just the dot in the reflex sights.  While they both liked the ACOG, both would have taken an Aimpoint over it.

When I asked about the difference in dot sizes or window size preferences, neither my friend nor the former Army officer noticed a difference, but they both liked the Aimpoint T1 better.

Personally, I used to be a big Eotech fan but then I had mine fail me.  Eotech’s record of failures keeps me from being able to like them anymore.  While I much prefer the Aimpoint T1, I highly recommend the Aimpoint PRO as the economical optic choice.  There are few bigger ACOG fans then myself, but I don’t believe that the ACOG is the right optic for most shooters, and that for the majority of people who plan to use their carbine as a home defense or close range firearm are better suited with a good Aimpoint over a magnified optic ACOG.

The Model 70 Laredo Ahead of Its Time



Back in the early 90s, Winchester started making an action that very closely resembled the classic much loved, pre 64 Model 70 action of legend.  This was an immediate hit with  riflemen with taste.  There was some differences between the new and old, but it was close enough. Some would say it was probably better, or at least made out of stronger modern steel.   After the initial offerings of the typical boring hunting sporters proved to be a hit, Olin started offering the good stuff.

The picture above is one of the very interesting rifles they made and sold in the mid to late 90s.   It is the Model 70 Laredo.   The Laredo came with a H-S Precision stock that was pillar bedded and had an aluminum bedding block.  Instead of having to send it off to a gunsmith or glass bedding it in some do it your self project, it was ready to go. The barrel was free floated and the bedding block gave a solid bedding that would not wear out or break down over time from recoil or solvents and oil. The fore arm was flat with stud for sling or bipod and the pistol grip and a very ergonomic palm swell that fit the hand nicely and was ambi in its shape

The action was the new M70 “classic” action, which as I said above was a modern pre 64 CRF action.  The Laredo was a long action and came in magnum chamberings. This one was chambered in 7mm remington mag.  The barrel was non SS and was 24 inches long with a medium heavy target taper to .950 at the muzzle with a very nice recessed target crown.  The trigger was standard Model 70 adjustable down to 2.5 pounds very easily.

The gun was marketed as a “beanfield” deer rifle. That was a marketing term at the time meant to get deer hunters interested in a rifle they could shoot  further with.  At the time of this guns birth. the AWb had not become law.   And in a sad twist of fate, this led to the guns demise.

If you are too young to know, or maybe not interested in this type of rifle during those years, here is the story.

Before the AWB of 94. it was easy to find just about anything you wanted when it came to semi auto versions of combat rifles. You could some stuff that is very exotic now and so hard to find it would approach Class III prices now.  On top of that. the popularity of snipers was non existent. Most shooters did not know much about the USA’s heroic snipers or the rifles used in sniping.   After the AWB, people wanted some kind of military or tactical type rifle and at the same time a few things got very popular, very fast.  A slew of Vietnam vets wrote books about their time as snipers.  Carlos Hathcock became more and more well known to shooters who otherwise never heard of him.  And of course, the government telling people “no” instantly drove them to want something “tactical.”  A few  other things combined as the 90s came to a close to make sniping and tactical rifles very popular.  Th e internet, more and more small custom shops, movies and more really made that market pick up.

But, it was too late for the Laredo.  the gun was out before  this wave of interest in long rage shooting hit big, and Winchester stopped making it right when it would have possibly taken off.  Another reason was  the gun rag writers constantly telling every one only the M700 remington was the standard.  The Army using the M24 and the USMC the M40 took people wanting what the military used sealed the deal on it having a chance at being considered.

It is a real shame.

I used the Laredo as my 1st 1,000 yard gun.  the 7mm mag may not be the best 1000 yard choice, but its a great choice for a college kid, with little money to spend and needed a factory offering.   I loaded the gun with 168 grain 7mm matchkings and later 175 gr HPBT match kings.  The flat shooting 7mm Mag and the mild recoil compared to the 300 win mag, made it pleasant to me since I am not a huge person.  The 7mm is more forgiving out to 1,000 then the 308 even if the barrel wears out faster.   Shooting that far  is mostly mental. Confidence is a big factory in making hits at 1,000 to 1,200.  And the 7mm helped me think i had an edge. Really , it is a pretty good choice, but not great.  Having a great deal of confidence in it did help me shoot better and shooting better let me concentrate on what mattered instead of worrying over the wrong things.

This rifle now belongs to some one else. Sold when I realized it was collecting dust more then being fired after I moved on to better rifles. Now the rifle has picatinny bases and rings canted for long range and a Millet scope.


Scope has a wide range of magnification up to 25x and has a 56 mm objective lens. It has target turrets in mils and has a mildot crosshair  along with a 30mm tube.  Base is Badger with leupold Mk4 rings.  To finish it off as a factory made affordable rifle for 1,000 yard plus shooting is a set of Harris Bipods.

The rifle still shoots sub MOA but is likely getting tired. I shot it a lot and new owner is hell on a rifle barrel and does not have my obsession with cleaning match barrels. the gun has been used to hit a 16 ounce coke bottle at 850 yards repeatedly when shooter actually meant to do it!!

The Laredo Model 70 is a fine rifle and it is a real shame it is not being made now.  Current FN produced M70s are fine guns but they  are not New Haven guns with that rich tradition and, worst of all, do not have the classic model 70 trigger that is so easy to adjust to whatever pull weight you wish within safety reason.

If, you are looking for a rifle to get your feet wet in the 1,000 shooting game. this is still a great choice. If you could find one in 7mm mag or 300 Mag and the barrel is in good shape I would not hesitate.   The reliability of the control round feed does not need even more words about how reliable and desirable it is from me. Its rep speaks for itself at this point.

The Laredo is a hard model to find these days. But in some areas of the country you are more likely to find a used one if good shape. Even if the barrel is shot out, this is a outstanding choice to start a custom project for a long range gun.  You would get a long action that would take a wide variety of long range chamberings and the stock is essentially a drop in match ready stock.  Having a new barrel installed to the caliber of your choice, would result in a rifle that could do anything you asked it to do within reason.


The 1990s did not have much good news for the gun world. We had the AWB, Clinton and other crimes against humanity. but it did give us the bitter sweat Laredo. The sweet, sweet laredo M70 with the pre 64 action  ready for anything and the bitter news of its early and sad demise before the next generation of shooters of tactical rifles and sniping could discover and rescue it from   the doom of countless other rifles ahead of their time.



Workplace Intruder Event Lessons Learned

A family friend had an experience this week that I thought was worth sharing. The quotes below are his own words:

“I run a company of close to 50 employees. I have always felt the responsibility to make sure they are safe and happy. I have carried a concealed weapon for close to nine years nearly every time I have left my house. That decision has nothing to do with feeling like a self-proclaimed security guard for our staff. I have carried as a personal choice for my own protection and it just so happens that I now lead 50 people.

I have been into preparedness for five years and always enjoy Cassie’s / Loose Rounds posts on food storage or other family preparedness. A week ago, I drafted an emergency response plan for our staff that was in much more detail than previous information we had. It included information about earthquakes, fires, power outages, pandemics, and intruders, such as a robbery or potentially-violent attack. I set aside time to train our receptionists on what to do in case of a robbery. I never expected that four days later we’d experience that in such an unusual way.

I am often the first person in our building each morning. I have security cameras up on my computer monitor just so I can see who is coming in the front door while I am there (I can hear the door chime but want to make sure I know who it is). A few employees had arrived and it was normal business, until out of the corner of my eye I saw someone behind our building. The back of our building isn’t easily accessible so that was the first red flag.

I zoomed in on that camera and followed a man I didn’t recognize. He then proceeds to begin inspecting our air compressor (which was stolen last summer), our doors, and even our security cameras. Something was up. At this point, no crime had been committed, but it seemed very odd. I quickly ran across the building to another exit so I would be able to watch him from a distance (because he would have left the view of the cameras) and call the police. As I exited the solid, non-window door, the man was standing right there! He had circled around the building and was literally 3 feet in front of me as my coworker and I exited the building. This was my first stupid mistake. I was completely vulnerable and could have been stabbed, shot, or hit over the head. Fortunately, that didn’t happen. Instead, I calmly and kindly asked if I could help him with anything. Expecting a response, I was very concerned when he lowered his eyebrows and just scowled at me as he walked past me.

He began his march toward the front door. I quickly entered the building and ran toward the front. (It didn’t feel right to pursue him and prevent him from going in the front door since we were on the outside of the building. First off, he was quite a bit bigger than me and, second, I wasn’t going to be the one to start a physical altercation.)

I arrived at the lobby about the same time he did, along with another coworker. Of all things, the man started demanding garbage bags (we don’t believe he was homeless nor do we believe he had a mental illness) and started taking business cards. My friend kindly introduced himself and the man responded “you’re a stranger and I don’t talk to strangers.” That was an odd comment. He was given the garbage bags and he left.

The entire time I was watching his hands and movements. I noticed a bulge under his shirt at 6 o’clock but I have no idea if it was a weapon. I immediately called the police and explained the situation, knowing that no major crime had been committed. But I wanted to report the individual casing our equipment. I was told that an officer was on his way. Well, it has been three days and he hasn’t shown up.

My coworkers and I reviewed the entire situation and watched the security camera recordings. We learned some very important things that will help us be more prepared if something like this happens again.”


Jon was very aware of several things that were going on. Most importantly, when he was face to face with the subject, he observed the subjects hands, movements and demeanor. He also was highly aware of a bulge under the shirt at 6 o’clock that could have been a concealed weapon. Jon was focusing on a few of the (Ten Deadly Errors) as it is known in law enforcement, without even knowing it. The Ten Deadly Errors are mistakes and missed signs that can lead to an officers death when missed. While the Ten Deadly Errors are primarily for law enforcement officers affecting an arrest, I find that most (excluding #2) can apply to concealed carry citizen applications and other unusual incidents.

The Ten Deadly Errors:
1. Failure to Maintain Equipment and Proficiency
2. Improper Search, Improper Use of Handcuffs
3. Sleepy or Asleep
4. Relaxing Too Soon
5. Missing Danger Signs
6. Bad Positioning
7. Failure to Watch the Hands
8. Tombstone Courage
9. Preoccupation
10. Apathy

While all of the errors don’t apply, there are several key indicators Jon was picking up on. This showed Jon was aware of possible danger and was also prepared to respond if needed. From my assessment of the total incident, Jon did everything a responsible Concealed Carry citizen should. Jon reflected on this experience and told me he learned some valuable lessons from this encounter.

Here are a few things Jon reflected on:

1. When adrenaline kicks in, your plan goes out the window unless your training is so engrained in your mind that it becomes natural.
2. I could have done a remote lockdown on the building as soon as I saw suspicious activity and prevented him from ever coming in the front door.
3. Do everything you can to prevent becoming vulnerable. I should have exited a door where I had a visual of what was on the other side
4. At one time, my coworker turned his back to the person which made him vulnerable.
5. Police are just as human as anyone else. Restaurants mess up orders and businesses lose shipments. Mistakes happen. We were just surprised when police never showed up. But again, this fortunately wasn’t an emergency.
6. Lastly, there is no such thing as being over prepared.

Jon is right, you can never be over prepared. When an incident happens take the time to think about it afterward. You can learn from these experiences and apply what you have learned in future incidents. Personal defense and being a responsible firearm carrier is a thinking person’s game. Read, train, think and apply your experiences to formulate the most advantageous response during an incident.