The Story Behind the EOTech Fraud Settlement

The sight at the center of the storm: EOTech 556.A65 Holographic.

The sight at the center of the storm: EOTech 556.A65 Holographic.

There has been a lot of news in recent weeks about a major fraud settlement (>$25 million) between L-3 Communications’ EOTech and the DOD, over deficient holographic sights distributed as part of the SOPMOD II case and other military and government channels. As is often the case when suits settle, it’s not entirely what it seems. Whether your narrative was “greedy defense contractor rips off troops,” or “bozo government buys crap again,” you had only one blindfolded finger on the underlying elephant of truth. You probably missed the bit about “lawyers twist negotiations to privately enrich lawyers.”

To start with, we have an allegation that some EOTech Model 556 holographic sights were defective, and that “testing” performed by L-3 consisted, actually, only of paperwork falsely representing that environmental tests were performed. From Guns.com:

Since 2004, L-3’s EOTech sold holographic weapons sights that they knew were defective to the Department of Defense, Department of Homeland Security, and the Federal Bureau of Investigation, the lawsuit says. EOTech was paid tens of millions of dollars in government contracts.

“Tens of millions” is an understatement.

What was the specific deficiency of the EOTech holographic sights? It was environmental failure, to wit, collapse of performance in low (but hardly extreme) temperatures. A lot of the readers of this blog are former special operations personnel or grunts from various services (and nations). Ever needed to use your sights in temperatures below

The defects caused the optics to fail in both cold and humid environments (effective in temperatures -40 to 140 degrees Fahrenheit), but EOTech claimed it tested the sights in accordance with military standards.

The lawsuit says in sub-zero temperatures the defect distorts the aiming dot within the optic by more than 20 inches fore every 100 yards.

Yes, that last sentence collapses into gibberish (it almost makes sense with for in place of fore).  But we think we understand what was intended, and we’re not going to hurl stones at the writer from our blog’s crystal chateau.

How did the .gov find out about the problem? Turns out, EOTech solved it… then decided to sell their solution to the military.

The lawsuit adds that EOTech waited to disclose the problem until 2013, when the company thought they had a solution and then pitched the fix as an upgrade.

via L-3’s EOTech to pay gov’t $25.6 million in fraud case.

Tacky. That’s what woke up the slumbering lawyers, who then pounced.

The settlement is a big loss for the military and a big win for EOTech, as it doesn’t solve the problem of the bloated aiming point, but leaves the company able to keep the majority of the money it got for the defective sights, and sell the fix for their own failure to Uncle Sam for more money.

So why did the .gov accept the settlement? It looks like a lot of money, and gives the lawyers something to crow about and put on their CVs as they seek better-paying jobs in the Dreaded Private Sector. Maybe with L-3 Communications, or another firm in the industry, or a law firm that serves such contractors and promises “connected” former Federal lawyers.

In other words, a settlement process operated entirely by lawyers has been corrupted to detriment of the nominal client, and to the personal benefit of the lawyers. Stop us if you’ve heard that one before.

11 thoughts on “The Story Behind the EOTech Fraud Settlement

  1. Jim Scrummy

    As Bill Shakespeare’s character “Dick the butcher” said: “The first thing we do, let’s kill all the lawyers.” How about tar and feathering about 80%? Excluding many of our esteemed legal profession commentators here, such as Mr. Branca and Mr. Kratman of course.

  2. LSWCHP

    Optics are great, but iron sights, while old-school, are still good even if young folks tend to underrate them.

    I have shot boars using iron sights on my lever gun and they do the trick just fine. They don’t cost millions. Sub zero temps won’t affect them. Rain, snow, mud etc? Wipe them and continue firing.

    Sigh. I guess espousing iron sights is a lost cause though…like arguing the virtues of horses over cars.

    1. Miles

      Oh no. Everyone I worked with had the best set of BUIS (Back Up Iron Sights) available.
      It’s this “suspenders and belt” idea, don’t you know.

    2. looserounds.com

      LSWCHP yeah the old irons is great. unless its dark. or low light, or they got mud in the peep hole or crudded over the front post. and some one is shooting at you and you dont have time to wipe them off, where a red dot can still be used even of the front is blocked off completely or you have to lay in some position you are not used to and need to line them up. or need to absolutely ID the target. or your eyes are not perfect. or you have have to shoot with a gas mask on. or you need something that works with nigh vision devices or a 100 other things. irons are great and I love them. but people going around claiming they are the only type worth using are greatly naive or … well..

      for a lot of people. hunting is not exactly the make or break reason for optics my friend

  3. Miles

    This is how things go in the military industrial complex.

    Just my opinion, but the #$ was hammered out quite awhile ago.
    Mainly I conclude this because L-3’s VP for DC Operations in the former Army Vice Chief of Staff, Richard Cody.

    Not that I don’t hold the real Commander Cody in high regard, just that both sides in the equation use the “good ol’ boy” network.

  4. John D

    I don’t think I could ever get the batteries to last long enough in an Eotech to determine a fault anyway…..

    1. looserounds.com

      Indeed John. Eotechs have a hell of a lot more problems than then one stated. eating batteries, battery contacts breaking off. Optics falling off the gun all the time. etc etc etc.

      they may not be pure shit. but they are better at home. I have personally seen many fail for many reasons. I would never trust my life to one

  5. Cap'n Mike

    soldiersystems.net has had excellent coverage of this.
    I highly recommend anyone that has a concern read the below linked post.

    http://soldiersystems.net/2015/11/25/the-details-united-states-of-america-v-l-3-communications-eotech-inc-l-3-communications-corporation-and-paul-mangano/

    The scariest take away from this for me is that the problem still exists.
    Eotech tried for years to fix it, but obviously failed. It is apparently a design flaw. If there was a fix, they would have found it by now.

    ” Defendants, however, waited to disclose the problem until 2013, when, once again, they believed they had arrived at a solution. And again, EOTech pitched its fix as an upgrade to a
    quality product that conformed to specifications.

    Once again, EOTech never disclosed these issues to the Government. Instead, internal testing at the FBI brought them to light.

    Finally, in March 2015, the FBI discovered what EOTech had known for years. In conducting its own testing of the sights for zero stability, the FBI exposed the sights to normal temperature variations for the state of Virginia, a temperature range much narrower than -40 to 140 degrees Fahrenheit. A ballistics team then tested the sights for point of aim/point of impact accuracy, or zero stability, and similarly found significant drift at both higher and lower temperatures. ”

    At 122 degrees it looses zero and doesn’t go back.
    Thats a normal summer day inside a cruiser parked in the sun.
    This thing is on my issued Patrol rifle.
    How can I now trust it?

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