I recieved this in an industry email, and thought it could be important to share since most folks don't get the emails I do. I have only ommitted the photo that accompanied the article.
April 8, 2011
Beware the Bargain
Caveat Emptor - buyer beware- is an expression that's been around for centuries. It's still good advice to follow, especially in a time when online commerce means almost anyone can sell virtually anything- virtually.
The latest example of products that aren't what they seem comes from California where the owner of an online gun equipment business is on the run from federal agents after being indicted on two counts of manufacturing and selling a counterfeit mark, among other things.
Field Sport, Inc. owner Yongmin "Steven" Sui, 53, is accused of selling counterfeit EOTech optics via the internet. In March, Customs officers found 700 counterfeit rifle sights and 200 counterfeit magnifier system in a shipment from China headed to Field Sport's headquarters in Anaheim.
A continued investigation led to a raid on Field Sport headquarters. There, officers discovered an additional 778 counterfeit EOTech holographic sights. All told, the counterfeit equipment had a street value of just under $900,000.
At this point, EOTech's not talking about the counterfeiting, but they have offered some suggestions on how to determine what's real versus a counterfeit.
With the counterfeits looking exactly identical from the outside- down to the printing on the barrels of the optics, it's difficult to tell them apart-until it's too-late.
Some hints that you may have gotten stung on a counterfeit include uncommon batteries (some counterfeits often require several small hearing aid style batteries), interchangeable red and green reticle colors (the switch on a "real" optic changes between normal and night vision mode, not reticle colors), highly reflective optics, a visible LED light position inside the sight cavity, a NV push button that switches the LED to a different color instead of night vision mode, and the absence of a EOTech manufacturing and serial number sticker.
Here's one way to tell the difference between the real and counterfeit optics: "real" EOTechs have a "fuzzy" holographic reticle and counterfeits have solid lines.
That holographic reticle is what makes their product special. It is the delivery system that allows you to see the reticle at the target plane, increasing shooting speed and accuracy. Counterfeits just offer a bright red image that never leaves the window.
If you have what you think is an EOTech optic and can't seem to get the reticle on the target plane when shooting, check for the sharp reticle-it may be a bogus optic.
EOTech says the counterfeit optics are most often marketed toward recreational air-soft use. Simply stated, they're not acceptable on real firearms because they can't take recoil or shock from actual firing of rounds. They also can't consistently hold - or maintain- a zero, withstand drop tests, excessive shocks or handle moisture.
Those differences are all in addition to the holographic reticle difference. If it sounds like the difference between a real product and a cheap imitation, you're getting the accurate picture.
"Anytime you purchase a knock off or pirated product, it's a virtual certainty the quality and reliability will be inferior to the genuine article. When you're talking about counterfeit gun sights, the implications are frightening," says Claude Arnold, special agent in charge for ICE HSI in Los Angeles.
"This case serves as a powerful reminder about the public safety risks associated with product counterfeiting and demonstrates yet again why intellectual property enforcement is and will continue to be a top priority for ICE."
Counterfeiting in the outdoor industry isn't new.
SHOT Show 2010 saw federal agents close down some foreign exhibitors for counterfeiting, and there's been a concerted effort to stop this sort of piracy across the industry. But it's difficult to prevent. Companies have component parts manufactured overseas, and it's nearly impossible to keep small parts from being copied.
It's the reason many companies keep their parts and pieces behind glass at trade shows-and another reason there are strict regulations regarding photography, although today's smart phones make it virtually impossible to prevent unauthorized photography.
In many product categories, counterfeits are simply lower quality versions of basic equipment - think fishing lures. When it comes to optics designed for a military or law enforcement purpose, that "bargain" knockoff could cost someone lives.
This latest raid might bring another phrase into industry language: "caveat venditor"- let the seller beware. This expression says the seller must take responsibility for the product -and should discourage sale substandard products.
While it might discourage the honest sellers, but it's not going to stop the dishonest ones.
--Jim Shepherd, Publisher of the Outdoor Wire Digital Network
Copyright © 2011, The Dealer Wire. All Rights Reserved.
I've seen alot of counterfeit EOTechs for sale in the Orange County area in Craigslist. As they say, "If it's too good to be true, it probably isn't!"
Thanks for posting up the article GunDoc.
Slightly humorous side story: Last time I was at the range, some nice enough folks slid into the two lanes next to me. After I had finished playing with the LR for the day, I pulled out the AR15 (with an actual EOTech on it) and burned some rounds through it. We all got to talking and I ended up swapping AR's with one guy for a mag's worth of shooting. He mentioned that his buddy had an EOTech, but his could switch between red and green reticles. I said real EOTechs don't switch, they are red only. He says this is a new thing and oh yes, it's a real EOTech. I just said OK and dropped it.
Found this on the EOTech website:
Attention - Counterfeit Alert
L-3 EOTech has become aware of several counterfeit offerings of the HWS and magnifier product line. Produced in China and Korea, and distributed throughout the US, these counterfeit products are red-dot sights built to look exactly like a Holographic Weapon Sight on the outside. Often, the appearance between the genuine EOTech products and the counterfeits is nearly indiscernible, including replications of registered trademarks.
These counterfeit items are often marketed towards recreational Air-soft use and WILL NOT:
■Withstand recoil or shock consistent with small to medium weaponry
■Consistently hold or maintain battle zero
■Withstand drop tests or excessive shock
■Offer any waterproof protection
■Offer the advantages provided by true holographic technology
■Offer dependable, reliable performance for any military, LE or competitive real weapon application
To assist in identifying a counterfeit product, you should look for the following:
■Uncommon batteries. The Counterfeit products often, but not always require several small hearing aid style batteries
■A product that offers interchangeable Red and Green reticle colors
■Highly reflective optics
■Visible LED light position inside the sight cavity
■The NV push button switches the LED to a different color instead of to a night vision mode
■Lack of EOTech manufacturing and serial number sticker
L3 EOTech trademarks, patents, and many of the product designs are protected by registration. L3 EOTech is dedicated to protecting the company, products and customers and will use all available and appropriate legal means, against any other persons found to be dealing in counterfeits of our goods.
Download a .PDF describing the counterfeit sights in detail...
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