4 Best Holographic Sights + Buyers Guide By: Dave Chesson

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Getting the right holographic sight can really step up your shooting game, whether you’re a pro or just getting into it. With its precision and ease of use, holo sights have become a go-to choice for many shooters, including me.

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Now, when it comes to picking out a holo sight, there’s a lot to think about. Are you more concerned about durability and reliability, or do you want features like bright reticles and long battery life? Maybe you’re after a wide field of view for quick target acquisition, or perhaps you’re willing to sacrifice some visibility for a tougher build and better battery longevity.

If you’re not sure about your preferences yet, that’s okay. I’ve done the legwork for you. I tested various holographic sights in different shooting scenarios and sorted out the best ones based on clarity, reliability, ease of use, features, and value. Plus, I’ve put together a buyer’s guide to walk you through the process of picking the perfect sight for your shooting style.

Whether you’re a newbie or a seasoned shooter, this guide has got you covered. Let’s jump right into it!

Best Holographic Sights

Holographic sights and red dot sights are two of the most popular sights for pistols. They help you aim better and faster, but they work in different ways. Let me explain how.

Holographic sights work by shining a laser onto a special screen inside the sight. This creates a precise image, like a crosshair or dot, that helps you aim. What’s cool is that no matter how you look through the sight, the image stays accurate.

Now, red dot sights are a bit different. They use a light-emitting diode (LED) to make a simple red dot appear on the inside of the sight’s lens. This dot gives you a clear view of your target without any extra stuff getting in the way. It’s perfect for when you need to aim quickly and hit your target with precision.

Fore a deeper dive on the red dot vs holographic sights, check out this article.

Here is a table comparing holographic sights and red dot sights in a few key categories:

FeatureHolographic SightRed Dot Sight
TechnologyUses lasers to create a holographic reticle.Utilizes LED technology to project a red dot.
AccuracyGenerally offers better accuracy.Offers good accuracy for close to medium-range engagements.
ParallaxLess parallax error, more consistent accuracySome parallax errors, especially at longer distances.
Battery Life   Consumes more power, shorter battery life.Consumes less power, longer battery life.
PriceMore expensive.Generally more affordable.
Eye Position Provides consistent reticle regardless of eye position.May experience shift in reticle position if the eye is not perfectly aligned.

With over two decades in the shooting world, I’ve seen my fair share of holographic scopes and even had the chance to review some for different companies. But this time, I set out on a mission to find awesome holographic sights. I was looking for ones that performed well, were durable, and didn’t break the bank.

Before compiling the holo sight list for this review, I rounded the holographic sights that served me well, along with suggestions from my shooter buddies and pros in the field. After all, a collective perspective always helps.

When I tested these sights, I didn’t limit myself to the shooting range. I took them outdoors to see how they held up against the elements. Also, instead of ranking them with numbers, I categorized them. Each holo sight I picked works best for a specific category, so there’s something for everyone.

Finding the right sight is a personal journey. What works for me might not work for you. So, my advice? Read the review, give different models a try, and find the one that feels like a perfect fit for you. 

Best Holographic Sights

Best Overall

EOTech XPS3-0

EOTech XPS3-0
  • Lightweight design.
  • Clear reticle.
  • Reduced thermal drift.
  • Reduced recoil with horizontal battery placement.
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Best Reliable

Vortex AMG UH-1 Gen II

Vortex AMG UH-1 Gen II
  • Excellent reticle design.
  • Fast target acquisition.
  • Minimal parallax shift.
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Best Value

Holosun HE510C-GR Elite

Holosun HE510C-GR Elite
  • Comprehensive features
  • Easy adjustment.
  • Accurate and durable.
  • Value for money
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Best Beginner

EOTech HWS 512

EOTech HWS 512
  • Good for astigmatism.
  • Quick target acquisition.
  • Durable.
  • Lightweight design.
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Below is a table of the specifications for the best holographic sights.

Holographic SightsLength (in)Weight (oz)MagnificationReticleHousing Material
EOTech XPS3-03.89.01x68 MOA circle with 1 MOA dotAluminum
Vortex AMG UH-1 Gen II3.911.61xEBR-CQB (1 MOA dot and 65 MOA ring)Armored aluminum
Holosun HE510C-GR Elite3.34.941x2 MOA Dot and 65 MOA CircleAluminum & Titanium Hood
EOTech HWS 5125.611.51x68 MOA ring with 1 MOA dotRugged aluminum alloy

Since the right holographic sight for one person may not work for everyone, I’ve ranked the best ones I’ve used in several categories, instead of ranking them in order.

  1. Best overall: EOTech XPS3-0
  2. Best reliable: Vortex AMG UH-1 Gen II
  3. Best value: Holosun HE510C-GR Elite
  4. Best beginners: EOTech HWS 512
EOTech XPS3-0 Featured Image (1)

EOTech XPS3-0

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  • Clarity A+
  • Shootability A
  • Reliability A+
  • Features A
  • Value A-

Our Grade

A

Reader’s Grade

TBD

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EOTech XPS3-0 Specs

  • Length 3.8 in
  • Weight 9.0 oz
  • Magnification 1x
  • Reticle Pattern 68 MOA circle with 1 MOA dot
  • Housing Material Aluminum

EOTech XPS3-0 Review

As someone who enjoys shooting, I’ve always wanted to find the perfect optic to make my shots more accurate and enjoyable. With the XPS3-0, EOTech truly demonstrates why they’re leaders in the holographic sight industry.

When I first took it out of the box, I was impressed by how sleek and small it was. Its lightweight design makes it great for all kinds of shooting. The horizontal battery placement on this holographic sight reduced a lot of recoil from shooting big rifles. Plus, with the battery and electronics close to the rifle, I could get clearer views.

The reticle in the EOTech XPS3-0 is awesome. It helped me aim quickly and accurately at any distance. There’s a tiny dot in the middle for precise aiming and a bigger ring around it for quick target finding, especially up close.

Speaking of durability, I decided to test its water submersion capability by tossing it in the lake nearby for a few minutes. Surprisingly, it held up well. The reticle was still working fine despite some water on the lenses.

Older EOTech holographic sights used to drift a lot due to temperature changes. But the newer ones, like the EXPS 3-0, didn’t have this problem as much. It stayed more accurate even when the temperature changed.

In terms of design, the EXPS 3-0 has easy-to-use power buttons and adjustments for both daylight and night vision settings. The NV capability makes it compatible with night vision optics, a strength of the EOTech line.

There are a couple of downsides to this holographic sight too. The battery doesn’t last as long as other optics like Aimpoint, it only lasts 600 hours. The auto-off feature helps conserve battery, but it’s still something to consider. Also, unlike Aimpoint optics, the XPS3-0 doesn’t adjust the brightness setting automatically. You have to change it yourself depending on how bright it is outside.

Despite its drawbacks, the EXPS 3-0 offers speed and a large window, making it great for quick target acquisition. The Parallax is minimal, and the reticle stays on target even with slight movements.

Now, is it worth it? That depends on your needs. For range use, battery life might not matter much. But for professionals or those relying on it for defense, it’s a crucial factor to consider.

In the end, whether it’s the best holographic optic for you depends on your priorities and how you plan to use it. But from my experience, the EXPS 3-0 is the best overall holographic sight. We have a full length review here.

EOTech XPS3-0 Pros and Cons

  • Lightweight design
  • Clear reticle
  • Reduced thermal drift
  • Reduced recoil with horizontal battery placement
  • Limited 600-hour battery life
  • Manual brightness adjustment

AMG UH-1 Gen 2

AMG UH-1 Gen 2

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  • Clarity A
  • Shootabilty A+
  • Reliability A-
  • Features B
  • Value B+

Our Grade

A-

Reader’s Grade

TBD

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Vortex AMG UH-1 Huey Gen 2 Specs

  • Length 3.9 in
  • Weight 11.6 oz
  • Magnification 1x
  • Reticle Pattern EBR-CQB (1 MOA dot and 65 MOA ring)
  • Housing Material Armored aluminum

Vortex AMG UH-1 Huey Gen 2 Review

I got my hands on the Vortex AMG UH-1 Huey Gen 2 holographic sight, and let me tell you, it’s pretty awesome. This sight is made right here in the USA, which is a huge plus in my book. The Gen 2 version comes with some cool upgrades, like being compatible with night vision, which is super handy for low-light conditions.

It has 7 levels of brightness and at the highest setting offers an impressive 1500 hours of battery life. This is a fantastic feature for a holographic sight because it means you won’t have to worry about changing batteries too often. However, I do miss the USB recharge feature from the previous version. It now uses CR123A batteries, which are reliable but not as convenient for me.

Durability-wise, this sight is solid. It’s water submersible, which is great for various environments, and it held zero throughout my testing, even on a heavy-recoil machine gun.

The reticle on this scope is a classic “modified donut of death” style we’re used to seeing on EOTechs, with a 1 MOA dot in the center. The outer ring is roughly 65 MOA, and it’s segmented, which I find helpful for maintaining situational awareness.

The glass does have a slight blue tint, which some might find bothersome, but for me, it’s not a big issue. I prefer the extended battery life that comes with it. Plus, there’s no forward electronic signature emission, which is a nice touch for those concerned about being spotted with night vision.

Attaching the optic is simple, but it’s important to know that the mount is part of the optic itself. This might mean it won’t fit well with certain firearms. On an AR-15, it gives a lower one-third co-witness, which is usually preferred.

Comparing it to EOTech, the UH-1 Huey does look a bit large on the rifle, but the overall real estate it takes up is comparable. I appreciate the lack of thermal drift issues, and the parallax shift is minimal, which is a definite advantage.

In terms of speed, holographic optics like the UH-1 Huey are among the fastest I’ve used, especially in low light. However, the trade-off is battery life, so you need to be mindful of that.

Overall, I’ve had a great experience with the Vortex AMG UH-1 Huey Gen 2 holographic sight. It’s durable, and offers excellent performance, especially in dynamic shooting situations. While it may not be perfect, it’s certainly a reliable choice for those looking for a high-quality holographic sight.

Vortex AMG UH-1 Huey Gen 2 Pros and Cons

  • Excellent reticle design
  • Fast target acquisition
  • Minimal parallax shift
  • Battery type
  • Integral mount limitations

Holosun HE510C-GR Elite Featured Image

Holosun HE510C-GR Elite

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  • Clarity A+
  • Shootability A-
  • Reliability B+
  • Features B+
  • Value A+

Our Grade

A-

Reader’s Grade

TBD

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Holosun HE510C-GR Elite Specs

  • Length 3.3 in
  • Weight 4.94 oz
  • Magnification 1x
  • Reticle Pattern 2 MOA Dot & 65 MOA Circle
  • Housing Material Aluminum & Titanium Hood

Holosun HE510C-GR Elite Review

Okay, so the Holosun HE510C GR Elite is not entirely a holographic sight. It is similar to a red dot sight, but it uses some design elements from a holographic sight. Now, I’ve tried out a bunch of hybrid sights, from cheap ones to really expensive ones. But when it comes to what I put on my guns, I’m picky.

Here’s what matters to me: I need a sight that has an IPX six or seven waterproof rating, shockproof durability, quick detachability, solar fail-safe, auto-off with motion, or instant-on shake. It should also turn off when not in use, provide audible clicks for adjustments, and offer clear reticle options like a dot or a circle.

The Holosun HE510C GR Elite checked all these boxes. Upon unboxing, I liked how they packed everything neatly and even included tools for the battery compartment. The quick detach feature was cool, and finding out it has a solar power option was a nice surprise. Changing settings like the brightness and reticle style was easy.

But you know, what looks good on paper doesn’t always work out in real life. So, I tried it out on my CMMG’s mk10 Banshee, with a Holosun HM3X magnifier for longer shots. Zeroing it in and putting it through its paces, I liked how clear the reticle was and how easy it was to aim. With the magnifier, hitting targets at 200 yards was a breeze. But I did notice it wasn’t always super accurate, especially with certain types of ammo.

After testing it thoroughly, even freezing it to see if it still worked right, I can say the Holosun HE510C GR Elite is a good sight. It stayed accurate and tough through all the tests. Plus, the extra features like solar power and quick detachment make it useful for different guns.

The Holosun HE510C-GR Elite took me by surprise by giving me a multitude of features that typically come at a higher cost. Honestly, its performance exceeded my expectations for its price point, making it the best-value holographic sight in my book.

Overall, I’m impressed with the Holosun HE510C GR Elite. It’s a durable sight with a lot of cool features. If you’re looking for a tough, feature-packed sight without breaking the bank, this one is definitely worth considering.

Holosun HE510C-GR Elite Pros and Cons

  • Comprehensive features
  • Easy adjustment
  • Accurate and durable
  • Value for money
  • Occasional accuracy issues
  • Limited range effectiveness

Eotech 512

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  • Clarity A
  • Reliability B+
  • Shootability A+
  • Features B
  • Value B+

Our Grade

A-

Reader’s Grade

TBD

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EOTech HWS 512 Specs

  • Length 5.6 inches
  • Weight 11.5 ounces
  • Magnification 1x
  • Reticle Pattern 68 MOA ring with 1 MOA dot
  • Housing Material Rugged aluminum alloy

EOTech HWS 512 Review

The EOTech 512 holographic optic is one of the most beginner-friendly options in the American market. This thing is all about speed and quick target acquisition, which is super handy for close-quarters shooting and moving targets.

The design of this holographic really caught my eye. It was sleek and sturdy, with room for two AA batteries. I initially worried about the battery life with my setup, and it turns out I was right to worry. It didn’t last as long as a regular red dot sight, but you still get about 2000 hours with alkaline batteries or 2500 hours with lithium ones, which isn’t too shabby.

Operating this sight was easy, with clear labels for turning it on and off. You get about eight hours of continuous use with the “on” button and four hours with the “off” button. Pressing either one resets the timer, so you don’t have to worry about it shutting off at the wrong time.

Durability is a big deal for me, and the EOTech 512 can handle some serious beating. It can be submerged in water up to 10 feet deep and still keep ticking. Despite its toughness, it’s pretty lightweight, weighing less than 12 pounds with batteries.

The holographic reticle is a standout feature, making it super easy to acquire targets fast. The 1 MOA dot helped me with precision aiming, while the 68 MOA circle is great for quick target acquisition. Plus, the reticle stayed clear even if you have astigmatism issues like me.

An issue that I faced with this holographic sight is that its size might make it tricky to add extra accessories like magnifiers or rear sights. I also didn’t like the fixed adapter mount on it because it limited my options for adjusting or customizing the sight setup.

Still, the EOTech 512 is a great choice if you want a reliable holographic as a beginner shooter. It might not have all the fancy features of pricier models, but it gets the job done.

EOTech HWS 512 Pros and Cons

  • Beginner-friendly
  • Quick target acquisition
  • Durable
  • Lightweight design
  • Limited options for adding accessories due to size
  • Battery life

Before you buy a holographic sight, it’s important to know what makes shooting better and find one that suits your needs. Whether you’re new or experienced, picking the right holographic sight can overall improve your shooting experience. That’s why I’ve made this guide to help you choose the sight that suits you the best.

  • Reticle – Look for holographic sights that offer crisp and precise reticle projection using lasers onto a holographic film. Consider models with various reticle patterns and features like bullet-drop compensators for improved accuracy at different distances, catering to your shooting style and preferences.
  • Size and Weight – When choosing a holographic sight, keep in mind that they tend to be bulkier and heavier compared to other sight types. Opt for a size and weight that balance durability with comfort, especially for dynamic or tactical shooting situations, ensuring optimal handling of your firearm.
  • Battery Life – Prioritize holographic sights with reliable battery life and consider the type of battery used. Look for models that offer sufficient power for extended use or critical situations, minimizing the need for frequent battery changes or recharging to maintain reliability when you need it most.
  • Durability – Select holographic sights made from rugged materials with shock-resistant housing and waterproofing features to withstand recoil and harsh environmental conditions. Choose a sight that ensures durability and reliability in various shooting scenarios, providing peace of mind during your shooting activities.
  • Night Vision Compatibility – If you anticipate shooting in low-light or nighttime conditions, opt for holographic sights compatible with night vision devices. This compatibility is crucial for maintaining accurate aiming capabilities in compromised visibility situations, catering to military, law enforcement, or hunting applications.
  • Brightness Settings – Look for holographic sights with adjustable brightness settings to adapt to different lighting conditions seamlessly. Choose models that allow customization of the reticle’s brightness for optimal visibility and aiming precision across various shooting scenarios, enhancing your shooting experience.
  • Field of View – Prioritize holographic sights offering a wider field of view to enhance situational awareness and fast target acquisition. Select models with a generous field of view, particularly beneficial for fast-paced or dynamic shooting situations, enabling you to maintain awareness of your surroundings while aiming accurately at targets.
  • Price – Consider the price of the holographic sight in relation to its features, durability, and performance. While higher-priced models may offer advanced features and superior build quality, ensure the sight aligns with your budget and shooting needs, providing the best value for your specific requirements.

Considering these factors can help you choose the right holographic sight to buy. Once you’ve set it up and get used to how it works, you’ll have a reliable sight to improve your shooting experience.

Putting a holographic sight on your gun can make your shooting better. It changes how you use the gun and increases its effectiveness. Choosing a sight is a big decision because there are lots of options. We’ve done some work to help you pick the right one. Read the reviews, find the sight you like, and see how it works for you and your gun. With time, you’ll find the one that fits you best. Cheers!

What is the difference between holographic sights and red dot sights?

Holographic sights project a holographic reticle onto a special film inside the sight using lasers, offering consistent aiming regardless of eye position. Red dot sights use LED technology to project a red dot onto a lens, giving you a clear aiming point without clutter.

Are holographic sights better than red dot sights?

Both holographic sights and red dot sights offer advantages depending on the shooter’s preferences and shooting scenarios. Holographic sights generally provide you with better accuracy and consistent aiming, while red dot sights are simpler and more affordable.

Do holographic sights work well in low-light conditions?

Many holographic sights offer adjustable brightness settings and are compatible with night vision devices, making them effective in low-light conditions. However, you must choose a sight with suitable features for optimal performance in different lighting environments.

How long do the batteries in holographic sights typically last?

Battery life varies depending on the model and usage. Some holographic sights offer battery lives ranging from a few hundred to several thousand hours. You should consider the sight’s battery life and type to ensure reliable performance during extended shooting sessions.

Can holographic sights be used for hunting and tactical applications?

Yes, holographic sights are versatile and suitable for various shooting applications, including hunting, tactical operations, and competitive shooting. Its accuracy, durability, and fast target acquisition make it a popular choice among shooters.

Do holographic sights require special maintenance?

While holographic sights are generally durable and require minimal maintenance, you need to keep the lenses clean and free from debris for optimal clarity. Additionally, periodic checks on battery life and sight alignment can ensure consistent performance over time.

Are holographic sights compatible with different firearms?

Holographic sights come with various mounting options and can be compatible with different firearms, including rifles, shotguns, and pistols. It’s crucial that you choose a sight with appropriate mounting features to ensure compatibility with your firearm of choice.