The growing popularity of modern sporting rifles (MSR) and advancement of more and more lightweight rifles and carbines induced the new trending for the small and compact sighting devices.
Shooters have been familiar with red dots for a long time now, but the best holographic sights will give you an improved shooting performance compared to standard reflex sight.
What Ere The Holographic Sights?
Most gun owners and particularly long-barreled shooters are familiar with basic iron sights and classic scope or a telescopic sight. However, there is one group of sighting mechanisms for firearms designated as electronic sights.
While most people denominate these types of sights as a red dot, actually electronic sights consist of three different groups known as reflex sights, prism scopes and holographic sights.
The least common entries are the prism scopes or prismatic sights that resembling the general scopes but with fewer lenses. Prismatic sights may come in various fixed magnifications up to 6x and they have the reticle etched to the glass. Prism scopes work by using a lens to reflect the light to the reticle, which is usually illuminated by an LED emitter.
The widespread offering in the 1x sight market is reflex sights where the simple dot reticle is formed behind the objective lens. The reflex sights can be further divided into tubular and compact sights with a LED illuminated reticle in the form of dot, chevrons or triangles as a common trait. Some reflex sight also comes with reticle illuminated using a long-lasting Tritium.
- Tubular Sight
Tubular type of reflex sights is a red dot similar to the traditional scopes with both objective and eyepiece lenses, but they are basically the tube-based red dots.
- Compact Sight
The compact type reflex sights come in popular HUD (heads up display) design with a square-shaped window and one lens. Compared to the standard tube-shaped models, head-up red dot sports the reticle, which is formed closer to the shooter's eye.
Alike the compact red dots, the Holographic Sights (HS) or Holographic Weapon Sights (HVS), come in semi-square shape design, and at first glance, you cannot find the differences between these two electronic sights. Hence, many gun aficionados use the terms interchangeably and frequently lumped holographic sights into the same red dot category though this is incorrect.
Holographic ("holo") sight, are known as a head-up type of electronic sights and has a few advantages over the best red dot.
The best value holographic sight eliminates the need for eye relief, allowing you to move your eye closer or further depending on your preference. These features make holo sights an excellent option for close and medium engagements either in combat or home defense scenarios. Like red dots, holographic sights can be used for moving targets making them a viewable option for specialized and more popular hunting disciplines such as “Wild boar driven hunting”.
Who made holographic sights?
Though similar in exterior appearance with a compact reflex sight (red dots), holographic sights are only really “true” holo sights with Eotech, an American company as a single manufacturer. The first-generation of holographic weapon sights were introduced by the EOTech company relatively as recently as 1996.
Best Holographic Sight Reviews
1. EOTECH 512 Holographic Weapon Sight
As it turns out, a holographic weapon sight is going to upgrade your shooting performance significantly over the traditional reflex sight. With many substandard sights under $200 on the market, the 512.A65 Holographic Sight from the EOTech is the best offer for the money you can find today.
Since the Eotech is the only manufacturer who has the patent for holographic technology, there is no vast choice of Holographic Weapon Sights (HWS) at the market. Still, Eotech is offering a wide span of holo sights ranging from the models ideal for hunting or recreational shooting to the models tested and proven on battlefields throughout the world.
As the best value holographic sight, there is the Eotech 512.A65 model that can meet any requirement of the casual plinker on a Sunday afternoon or hunter.
Using a square body and square lenses, the Eotech 512 provides you with a wider field of view and at the same time allowing you to see over the sight for higher situational awareness.
The Eotech 512 is the best Eotech holographic sight designed to work with AR-15 series rifles perfectly, but it will perform on almost any platform of tactical rifles.
As its description suggests, the holo sight 512.A65 sports an Eotech’s A65 reticle, which consists of a single 1 moa internal red dot matched by a 68 MOA outer circle.
The holo sight features adjustment of one-click per 0.6 MOA (½ inch) at 100 yards, making it extremely versatile sight for both close (CQB conditions) and extended ranges up to 200 yards.
Eotech placed their reliable electronics in rugged one-piece aluminum housing with sealed fog-proof internal optics. This combat-style product can tolerate harsh terrain and recoil abuse of most high caliber rifles.
The sight comes with ready to mount design, enabling you an easy installation on any 1-inch Weaver or Picatinny rail systems.
The EOTech 512.A65 takes two 1.5-volt AA alkaline or two lithium batteries, that provides 1,000 hours of battery life.
2. EOTech XPS2 Holographic Weapons Sight
Without a doubt, the EOTech is a household name when we discuss the development of holographic weapon sights. While the largest Eotech's 512 holographic sight is a flagship model designed mostly for long-barreled firearms, this manufacturing company is offering an advanced design of compact combat-style Holographic sights available not only for rifles and shotguns but also for handheld weapons with a rail system.
The EOTech compact XPS series of Holographic sight is the smallest and lightest true holographic weapon sight on the market. The EOTech developed this HUD display sight primary as the sight of a mil-spec weapon for the 21st-century warfighters, but it is popular among hunters too.
EOTech XPS2 is one of the best holographic weapon sights design for shooting at targets less than 100 yards. Like its big brother model 512, the XPS2 HWS uses two different ballistic reticles. A 1 MOA red dot for longer shots is paired with a 65 MOA outer ring for quickly target engagements at short range.
As EOTECH 512 HWS, the XPS2 reticle has an automatic shutdown system and boasts up to 20 light brightness intensity settings for use in any lighting scenario. Unlike Eotech 512 controls located on the rear, this optical system comes with side placed button control.
As one of the smallest sight packages, the XPS2 HUD style sight system is powered by one CR123 battery, which provides up to 600 hours of use. The single battery configuration brings very short unit's length providing enough rail space for rear iron sights or magnifiers.
It is also compatible with one-inch Weaver and MIL-STD 1913 Rails, but with the addition of handy Quick Detach lever.
3. Trijicon RMR Type 2 3.25 MOA Adjustable LED Red Dot Sight
Trijicon, Inc. is an optics manufacturer renowned for their combat-proven an entire line of optics dubbed ACOG. Along with these scopes for battle rifles, Trijicon recently introduced its RMR (Ruggedized Miniature Reflex) series of reflex sights intended to be used on multitude firearm platforms.
While the Type 2 looks almost identical to the original, this very small size and lightweight sight are optimized for semi-automatic pistols, making it one of best holographic sight for pistol.
You will be able to mount it on any optics-ready handguns, but this is also the best holographic sight for AR-15, because you can mount the Trijicon RMR Type 2 on your AR-15 rail or on standard rifle scope to get a fast reflex option to use in CQB situations.
The Trijicon’s newest upgraded version is called the Ruggedized Miniature Reflex Type 2, and according to that name, it can withstand not only the recoil of the 5.56mm NATO and 300 Blackout rifle calibers, but it will perfectly perform mounted on large caliber tactical sidearms chambered in .45ACP or 10mm.
Granted to the 7075-T6 aluminum alloy forged housing and the tempered-glass lens this military-grade reflex sight will stay waterproof and reliable even in the harsh environments with precipitation, extremes of temperatures, or dirty and dusty conditions.
The Trijicon RMR Type 2 Adjustable LED Red Dot Sight comes in several MOA configurations with adjustable windage and elevation in 1 MOA per click. This particular model boasts a 3.25 MOA center dot, but you can also opt for 1.0 or 6.0 MOA dots.
A single CR2032 lithium battery with stated battery life powers this tiny reflex sight from Trijicon at over 4 years. The extended battery life is enabled by automatic shut off after 16.5 hours.
Because RMR type 2 features an auto-adjust brightness for the conditions you are in, the sight has only two control buttons located on the unit’s side.
Since the target groups for this small RMR Type 2 Sight are mainly law-enforcement and concealed-carry users, Trijicon equipped its unit with Button Lock Out Mode to help you avoid changing of the brightness level due to the rough handling and holstering.
4. Vortex Razor Reflex Red Dot Sight - 3 MOA Dot
Though its configuration resembles holographic weapon sights, this high-end Razor is not a true holo sight but rather a conventional open-emitted Red Dot. Like holo sights, Vortex Optics Razor Reflex Red Dot sight uses a single window with a red dot 3 MOA aim point perfect for use with rifles. It is also available with 6MOA reticle which more suitable for pistols and shotguns.
Measuring 1.8-inches) across and weighing just 1.4-ounces this Red Dot Sight can be mounted to a wide variety of firearms, ranging from assault rifles, shotguns to the smallest rimfire guns.
Based on the rugged one-piece chassis machined from the aircraft aluminum this tiny open model can sustain the recoil impact of large caliber pistol slide mounts.
As you would expect from the Razor class, this Reflex Red Dot Sight comes with XR fully multi-coated and ArmorTek coated objective lens for crisp, clear edge-to-edge image clarity.
This rapid target acquisition sight sports adjustable elevation and windage dials with 1 MOA level of adjustment per click. Power controls button and brightness adjustment with nine distinct brightness levels are located on top of the optic.
This very compact Razor uses one CR2032 lithium battery, which provides sufficient power for the maximum of 150 hours at full brightness, or when using on moderate settings, you will get up to 30,000 hours of run time.
The Vortex reflex sight is shipped with a Picatinny-style mount, but you can choose a number of different mount styles and adapt this red dot for a variety of weapons systems.
5. Holosun HS510C -2 MOA Dot or A 65 MOA Ring Open Reflex Circle Dot Solar Power Holographic Red Dot Sight
One of the fastest-growing companies in the reflex sights market is a Holosun company with headquarters in the USA and manufacturing facilities in China. Holosun is offering vast numbers of red dots in almost every configuration and price range. Holosun is known for the best holographic sight under 200, but in this overview we will present one more expensive and features richer holosight.
The HS510C Reflex Sight comes with an open frame and uses a technology similar to the Vortex to project by an LED either a 2-MOA dot, a 65-MOA circle, or both onto the lens.
Unlike the cylindrical design of closed tube sights, the Holosun opted for a semi-square shape design, which allows for maximum field of view and minimal reduction of ambient light. This large windowed optics provides you with a wide sight picture and enables you to shoot both eyes open.
The HE510C’s body is machined from 6061-T6 aluminum with a hood constructed of a titanium alloy to protect the recessed lens from impacts and damage.
Another selling point is the dual power source. Namely, the HS510C has a solar panel coupled with a CR2032 lithium-ion coin-cell battery. Besides illuminating the reticle, this solar panel acts as a light sensor to adjust a dot brightness.
The manufacturer claims this combination lithium battery/solar system will provide 50,000 running hours, which is almost 6 years.
The Holosun optic comes with integrated Picatinny mount equipped with a pretty decent little locking latch and a Torx screw to adjust the clamping force.
6. Sightmark Ultra Shot Plus Reflex Sight Multi Red & Green Plus Reflex Sight, Black (SM26008)
Along with big names in the optic industry, there fewer notable brands like Sightmark that offers a mid-range class sight at a budget price. If you are looking for best holographic sight under 100 the Sightmark brand is certainly a viable option.
One of the most affordable options in our guide is undoubtedly compact Sightmark Ultra Shot Plus reflex sight intended for a sidearm, shotgun or as a tactical rifle backup sight.
Many customers declare this model as the best Sightmark holographic sight and in the next part we will see why.
Unlike the mainstream sights using the more common aluminum in their construction, the Sightmark Ultra Shot series features housing built of a rugged cast-magnesium alloy and reinforced with aluminum to withstand heaviest of the recoils.
Sightmark Ultra Shot Plus is an upgraded model of the famous Ultra Shot QD Digital Switch reflex sight that comes with several enhancements.
Similar to holographic sights, it is an open frame configuration with a large window aperture to give you an unlimited field-of-view and unobstructed peripheral vision.
This Sightmark product has a built-in mounting base with a quick-detach mount for easy removal from either Weaver or Picatinny rails.
Most notably feature of the Sightmark Ultra Shot Plus is a red or green illuminated reticle, which you can switch depending on the situation and your preference.
The Sightmark Ultra Shot boasts four reticle patterns, projected as a combination of 65 MOA Circle Dot Crosshair and 2 MOA central dot. That familiar circle/dot reticle pattern as well as color you can change using a digital switch button on the unit's side.
You can also adjust the brightness settings to suit any lighting condition, but the Ultra Shot does not offer windage or elevation adjustment controls.
Without doubt, the holographic weapon sights are a step ahead of standard reflex sights with more advanced design and technology. From the marksman point of view, the holo sight creates the reticle as a holographic image that floats over the target.
The best holographic sights are faster and more versatile to use because they create an illuminated pattern in a circular or dot form, where the dot gets you finer accuracy for longer shots. At the same time, the large circle works perfectly for CQB.
While many optics manufacturers imitate holographic sights in form, you should note that currently, only Eotech company offers products with that technology.