As a responsible gun owner, you may want to add onto your weapon with a few extra accessories. One of the most common accessories you can attach to an already unstoppable gun, is a scope. Scopes refer to any attachment on top of your weapon that allows you to take better aim at your target. Most of these are ranged scopes, from short to long range. If you don’t think a long-range sight is right for you, there are a couple of other options to consider. The military and law enforcement option is a holographic scope (similar to quality reflex sights).
A holographic scope is very much like a red dot scope. It is meant for close quarters combat. Its primary use is within law enforcement and the military because there’s no real reason one should be needed in civilian life. Like the red dot scope, there is no magnification, so it makes a great option for good shotguns. The field of view, though, is much higher on a holographic scope. The biggest advantage is the range precision the MOA provides and the much larger reticle.
The absolute best holographic sight out there is EOTech 512 Tactical Holographic Sight. There are the kinds of sights you may see mounted on top of a police officer or military officer’s sidearm. The small, thin attachment weighs only 10.9 ounces and holds a battery life of over 1000 hours.
Unlike its weaker partner, the red dot scope, the EOTech 512 Tactical Holographic Sight offers 20 different brightness settings, making sure that an officer’s environment is perfectly matched to his scope, or vice versa. With unlimited eye relief, you can also get as close to the sight as you feel you need to be. The field of view is a stunning 30 yards at 100 yards with four inches of eye relief!
EOTech has essentially raised and set the bar with their holographic sights, and none are better than the 512. They are made in the United States of America and provide trained officials with the kinds of accuracy they need in the impossible situations they face every day.
So, if you are looking for something a little different than a ranged scope, but something a little more advanced than a simple red dot scope, you will find exactly what you want in the EOTech 512 Tactical Holographic Sight. The biggest speed bump you’ll run into when purchasing your new addition will be in your wallet. This baby doesn’t come cheap, retailing at almost $400. If you can afford it and have dreamed up some use for it, you may want to try it out. Probably also worth hiding in a concealment coffee table.
Remember that safety and responsibility come first, though, and this is technically a military option. As long as you have the know-how, you can be the next Navy SEAL, right in the comfort of your own home!
The Best Holographic Sights Reviewed
EOTech HWS EXPS2
EOTech is the undisputed leader in holographic weapon sight technology, and the HWS EXPS2 is one of the best all-purpose holographic sights on the market. The EXPS2 delivers an unwavering targeting experience for recreational or tactical shooters, and has an increased height for lower ⅓ co-witness of iron sights.
Like most high-quality holographic sights, the EXPS2 makes it incredibly quick and easy to focus with both eyes open on targets with a wide rectangular field of view and a brilliant 68 MOA ring with two tiny 1 MOA red dots (for range precision greater than 300 yards). The EXPS2 delivers a razor-sharp view of reticle and target and EOTech claims that the EXPS2 makes it 6x easier to focus on target compared to other red dot reticles.
This optic has a transversely mounted lithium battery with 600 hours of continuous power, and a detach lever that’s compatible with a 1” Weaver or MIL-STD-1913 rail. The EXPS2 is a remarkably durable, combat-tested holographic weapon sight that can survive intense temperatures, g-forces, and recoil forces.
Vortex AMG UH-1 Gen II
Vortex Optics is the only real holographic weapon sight manufacturer that can compete with EOTech. The Vortex AMG UH-1 Gen II, along with the very similar Razor AMG UH-1, is one of Vortex Optic’s best holographic systems optimized for close-quarters combat in the dark, and other lightning-fast combat situations. This is a very tough optic with an impressive, unobstructed sight picture with zero image distortion.
It offers very fast holographic display and target acquisition, along with 4 night-vision brightness settings and 15 brightness levels. Like the best holographic sights, the UH-1 Gen II has a large viewing window and ultra-quick, highly versatile EBR-CQB reticle (w/ bright red 1 MOA dot) that looks amazing and is designed for close encounters and other engagement scenarios. It’s also parallax free with non-critical eye relief for rapid acquisition. Plus they look really futuristic and cool on something like a great Kel-Tec.
Fully multi-coated to increase light transmission and FHQ technology that gets rid of stray light emissions for stealth application. The sight has a sleek and snag-free design that looks and feels great. The UH-1 Gen II and Razor AMG UH-1 give you impressive speed and accuracy, with the strength and energy efficiency of traditional red dot sights, and are definitely the best alternatives to EOTech sights.
EOTech HWS Model XPS-2 Grey
Continuing EOTech’s tradition of developing the fastest and most intuitively advanced holographic sighting systems in the world, the Model XPS-2 Grey is the shortest and lightest EOTech HWS in the XPS line so far. This design gives more space for rear iron sights and magnifiers.
The XPS-2 features EOTech’s popular reticle patterns like the 68 MOA ring with 1 MOA dot for quick target acquisition. There are also multiple brightness settings available. The XPS-2 increases speed-to-target acquisition and enhanced situational awareness with it’s large field of view that’s characteristic of all EOTech holographic sights.
Very few sights, if any, can beat the overall quality and performance of the EOTech XPS-2 Grey with it’s super clear sight window, perfect reticle patterns, and fast target acquisition capability. Like all battle-tested EOTech sights, this model is durable enough to withstand the toughest environmental conditions.
The Holosun 510C isn’t technically a true HWS (holographic weapon sight), but it’s the closest thing you’ll find to a HWS if you prefer an open reflex LED sight with much longer battery life than most holographic optics (50,000 hours!). Honestly, it’s very similar to typical holographic sights and recreational shooters won’t really tell the difference.
Compared to other top of the line holographic sights, the Holosun HS510C is a very affordable open reflex sight for rifle/carbine users who want a cheaper sight that captures the holographic features and functionality of a true HWS. Holosun is all about bringing affordable cutting-edge functionality to end users. The HS510C has one of the highest battery life on the market utilizing its patented Solar Failsafe technology. It also has a multi-reticle system (Circle Dot with 3 reticle options) that allows certain sections of the reticle to be switched on or off. Also, a “shake awake” motion-activated feature provides quick target acquisition at a moment’s notice.
The HS510C is parallax-free with unlimited eye relief so the reticle will stay in place when you reposition your head. It’s built with a protective titanium alloy hood with an open frame for wide viewing display and minimal obstruction of sight.
The Holosun HS510C may not be a true HWS, but it uses a holographic reticle and it’s definitely the closest open reflex alternative you’ll get to experiencing a holographic sight. It’s very affordable and reliable too.
EOTech HWS 512
The EOTech Model 512 is the most affordable and popular holographic weapon sight (HWS) in the EOTech lineup. Recreational/tactical shooters, who don’t need ultra advanced combat-ready sights, usually choose this optic because it’s affordable, dependable (1000 hours with lithium AA batteries), and durable (although a little longer and heavier than other models).
It offers the lighting quick target acquisition and toughness you expect from the best HWS brand in the world. The Model 512 features ambidextrous power buttons on the rear and 20 brightness settings for hunting from dawn to dusk. However, it does not come with night-vision so you’ll have to check out the Model 552 for that feature. But like all EOTech models, the 512 is extremely durable and the sight window will still function if partially damaged or obstructed with dirt and debris.
The 512 comes with the same unique reticle patterns used by the elite combat models for fast target acquisition, featuring a 68 MOA ring with 1 MOA center dot or a two-dot reticle pattern. Put this solid device on a 5.56 rifle or pump-action shotgun and experience superior sighting capability even at long range without magnification. If used on a shotgun, the 68 MOA ring can represent shot patterns depending on the type of choke or shell.
Holographic weapon sights (HWS) are preferred by recreational and tactical shooters because they offer a better sighting experience than typical red dot systems. They are built with larger, rectangular sight windows to enhance the user’s field of view (while some red dots are enclosed in a tubular scope) and are parallax-free with unlimited eye relief.
Whereas traditional red dot scopes use an LED to reflect the red dot back to your eyeball, a holographic sight shoots a laser diode off glass mirrors to project the hologram reticle out in front of the sight. What this basically means is your eye has to sluggishly adjust its focus on two things simultaneously with red dot scopes (the red dot and the target) while the holographic sight superimposes the reticle on the target for slightly easier acquisition.
Holographic sights also use more power to create brighter reticle patterns, which means they are better in darker lighting conditions but will run out of power faster than LED red dots. A lot of these will even fit on pistols, be them 9mm, 45mm, or many others.
Finally, one off the biggest differences between a HWS and a typical red dot sight is in the reticle pattern. HWS systems utilize a ring and dot pattern which doesn’t change size when the magnification level is adjusted. Although most holographic sights are standard 1x magnification, if a magnifier is used the red dot/ring pattern will stay the same size while covering the target, whereas a typical red dot will expand in size at greater magnification and sometimes obstruct the target. The ability of holographic reticle patterns to provide a clear view of the target at all times is one of the advantages or preferences that users have for HWS over traditional red dot sights.