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The Best Holographic Sight: Top 10 Reviews & Buying Guide

Best Holographic Sight

The demand for holographic sights has increased, and we’re no strangers to the popular trend.

However, participating in this trend can be quite costly.

If the thought of purchasing holographic sights is making you see double, we’ve got just the solution for you.

We’ve compiled a list of the best holographic sights that will give you your money’s worth!

Best for Pros
EOTech EXPS3
Best Overall
EOTech XPS2
Best for Beginners
EOTech EXPS2

10 Best Holographic Sights for AR 15

1. EOTech XPS2

BEST OVERALL HOLOGRAPHIC SIGHT

EOTech XPS2

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Among the wide array of EOTech holo sights, the EOTech XPS2 is the shortest and lightest option.

The EOTech XPS2 has a CR123 lithium battery configuration, which provides additional rail space. This additional rail space ensures that the operator can include rear iron sights or magnifiers.

The EOTech XPS2 holographic weapon sight has other features that include:

  • Water-resistant (can handle up to 10 feet!)
  • Compact and lightweight
  • 1″ Weaver Rail
  • 20 daylight or brightness settings
  • 1,000 continuous hours (make sure that the nominal setting is on 12 and that it’s at room temperature)

For more details, you can check out our full review of the EOTech XPS2.

Pros
  • VERY durable
  • Crystal clear optics
  • Amazing accuracy
  • Lightweight and compact
Cons
  • Isn't night vision compatible

2. EOTech EXPS3

BEST FOR PROFESSIONALS

EOTech EXPS3

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The EOTech EXPS3 is an excellent EOTech sight for professionals and experienced shooters.

The EOTech EXPS3 holo sight offers a fast target acquisition and a 7mm raised quick detach base.

Additional features of the EOTech EXPS3 consist of the following:

  • Water-resistant
  • 20 daylight or brightness settings
  • 1,000 continuous hours (make sure that the nominal setting is on 12 and that it’s at room temperature)
  • Automatic shut-down feature
  • Made of durable aircraft-grade aluminum
Pros
  • Durability
  • Clear optics
  • Can easily handle recoil and brunt impacts
  • Increases precision ability
  • Easy to use
Cons
  • Can be quite expensive
  • Requires A LOT of battery power to operate properly

3. EOTech EXPS2

BEST FOR BEGINNERS

EOTech EXPS2

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The EOTech EXPS2 maximizes rail space because of its compact size. This EOTech model has convenient side buttons, which operators can use to add magnifiers.

This holo sight also features an adjustable lever that can be easily attached and reattached multiple times, making it suitable for beginners who aren’t used to the mechanisms yet.

Other features of the EOTech EXPS2 include the following:

  • Water-resistant
  • 20 daylight or brightness settings
  • 1,000 continuous hours (make sure that the nominal setting is on 12 and that it’s at room temperature)
Pros
  • Easy to operate
  • Very durable
  • Lightweight
  • Very beginner-friendly
Cons
  • Can be quite expensive
  • Low battery power

4. EOTech 512

BEST BUDGET HOLOGRAPHIC SIGHT

EOTech 512

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The EOTech 512 is another pricey EOTech model, but it’s actually the most affordable EOTech holographic sight you can get your hands on.

This model packs quite a punch with its quick target acquisition, reliability and durability. It also comes with AA batteries, which lessens the need for night vision.

It’s no wonder why the EOTech 512 is EOTech’s most popular holographic weapon sight!

The EOTech 512 also has the following features:

  • Water-resistant
  • 20 daylight or brightness settings
  • 1,000 continuous hours (make sure that the nominal setting is on 12 and that it’s at room temperature)

We also talk more about this product in our Aimpoint vs EOTech Optics review guide.

Pros
  • Durable and shockproof
  • Extreme precision
  • Is technically affordable compared to the more expensive EOTech models
Cons
  • Isn't night vision compatible

5. Vortex Optics AMG UH 1 Gen II

BEST FOR CLOSE-QUARTERS

Vortex Optics AMG UH 1 Gen II

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The Vortex AMG UH 1 Gen II is a good holo sight for close-quarters combat, as it offers an incredibly fast holographic display and an impressively quick EBR-CQB reticle!

The AMG UH 1 Gen II also has a dedicated night vision button and 4 (yes, you read that right!) night-vision compatible settings.

Some other features of the AMG UH 1 Gen II include:

  • A Weaver/Picatinny mount
  • 1x magnification
  • Unlimited eye relief
  • 15 levels of brightness settings
  • Parallax-free
Pros
  • Quick target acquisition
  • Pinpoint accuracy
  • Durable and reliable
  • Crystal clear reticle
  • Suitable for night vision
Cons
  • Can be quite bulky

6. EOTech Holographic Hybrid Sight

MOST VERSATILE

EOTech Holographic Hybrid Sight

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As part of their holographic sights project, EOTech came up with a series of hybrid sights. These include the following:

  • EOTech HHS I
  • EOTech HHS II
  • EOTech HHS V

For this review, we’ll be focusing on the EOTech HHSI.

The EOTech HHS I is good for combat situations in close-range situations, but their duality allows them to easily pinpoint 600-meter targets!

The other features of this holographic hybrid sight include:

  • Optimal magnification
  • 20 daylight settings
  • Switch-to-Side mount
  • Suitable for both close quarters and long ranges
Pros
  • Easy to set up
  • Diverse features
  • Is fog-resistant
  • Works for close to long ranges
Cons
  • Can be quite heavy
  • VERY expensive

Honorable Mentions

These sights aren’t exactly classified as holographic sights, but they use similar technology and designs that almost mimic the real thing.

They’re also just as durable, reliable, and a lot more affordable!

7. Vortex Optics Venom Red Dot Reflex Sight

Vortex Optics Venom Red Dot Reflex Sight

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This isn’t exactly a holo sight, but this optic is constructed from aluminum and is just as durable!

It can withstand most impacts and abuse, making it so resilient.

Its other features include the following:

  • Rapid acquisition of targets
  • Auto-brightness mode
  • Ambient light sensor
  • Battery power can range from 150 hours to 30,000 hours
Pros
  • Shockproof
  • Compact and lightweight
  • Multi-coated lens and optical clarity
  • Affordable
Cons
  • During days when the sun shines too brightly, it may be difficult to see the MOA dot

8. Sightmark SM26005 Ultra Shot M-Spec Reflex Sight

Sightmark SM26005 Ultra Shot M-Spec Reflex Sight

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The quality of this optic is, quite frankly, incredible.

It’s made out of a magnesium alloy and a protective shield for increased durability and less weight.

It includes the following features:

  • 65 MOA circle for quick aiming
  • 2 MOA red dot for accurate shooting (can handle up to 100 yards and above!)
  • 8 daytime modes and 6 night vision modes
  • Water-resistant (can last up to 40 feet)
  • Dual-pane glass
  • Parallax-corrected lens
Pros
  • Durable and shockproof
  • Crystal clear optics
  • Does not use up a lot of power
  • Offers a variety of features
Cons
  • Can be quite heavy
  • The control buttons are only located on the left side

9. Holosun 510C Reflex Sight

Holosun 510C Reflex Sight

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The Holosun 510C is an open reflex optical sight with an impressive 50,000-hour battery life.

So yes, it’s not technically a holo sight, BUT it has a multiple reticle system and a multilayer reflective glass.

Other features of the Holosun 510C include the following:

  • 10 brightness settings and 2 night vision modes
  • 3 reticle options (2 MOA dot, 65 MOA circle, 65 MOA circle with the 2 MOA dot inside)
  • Parallax-free
  • Unlimited eye relief
  • Utilizes solar power
  • Shake Awake (the optic automatically shuts down after a specific number of minutes; it automatically turns back on once it detects motion)
  • Quick-detach lever
Pros
  • Durable and shockproof
  • Impressive battery power
  • Easy to use
  • Good functionality
  • Diverse range of features
Cons
  • Can be quite heavy and bulky

10. CVLIFE 1x22x33 Red/Green Dot Reflex Sight

CVLIFE 1x22x33 Red/Green Dot Reflex Sight

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This is an inexpensive alternative for operators with a tight wallet!

It’s durable and tough because it’s made up of aluminum alloy.

Other features include the following:

  • Anti-glare coat for lenses
  • 2 reticle colors (red and green)
  • 4 different reticles (circle dot, cross, 10 MOA, 3 MOA)
  • Wide field of view
  • Comes with a rubber protective cover
Pros
  • Durable
  • Lightweight and versatile
  • VERY Affordable
  • Does not use up a lot of power
Cons
  • Not resistant to recoil and impact
  • May not hold zero well

Is a Holographic Sight Worth It?

Is the price of a holographic sight making you hesitate?

An important factor to consider in determining the personal worth of a holographic weapon sight is how useful it would be to you.

Holographic sights are nothing less than powerful, and numerous individuals are attracted to their benefits:

  • Fast target acquisition
  • High magnification
  • Unparalleled speed
  • Resiliency

If these benefits appeal to you as well, then we would HIGHLY encourage you to purchase a holographic sight as soon as possible!

However, the final decision ultimately falls to you. Only you can determine if you’d be able to maximize the use of a holographic sight. 

Make sure to weigh the various pros and cons before deciding whether or not to push through with purchasing a holographic sight.

When Is It OK to Buy a Cheap Optic?

If you’ve recently spent a lot of money on a high-quality gun, you might be tempted to purchase a cheap optic to save up.

DON’T fall into this trap!

It’s alright to cut down a bit in regards to your gun’s price, but buying an expensive gun and pairing it with a low-quality optic scope won’t do it justice!

High-quality optic scopes usually fall under the range of $2,000-$4,000.

However, it’s important to take note that you don’t always have to spend thousands of dollars to get the best optic!

If your budget can handle 3 figures, you’ll still be able to find quality optic scopes like the best holographic sights we listed above.

They’re complete with suitable magnification, rugged durability, reticle focus, and superb adaptability!

Benefits of a Holographic Weapon Sight

Are you still confused about the benefits of having a holographic weapon sight?

Here are a few features to keep you engaged:

#1 Anti-Reflective Coatings

Doesn’t this sound like something you could read about in a science fiction novel or something you’d hear from a paint ad?

Regardless of these images, anti-reflective coatings play an important role regarding optic sights!

If you want to minimize image distortion while simultaneously experiencing optimal off-axis usage, a holographic sight’s anti-reflective coatings have got you covered!

#2 Light Emitting Diode (LED) Light Source

Most devices stop working once a specific part is broken, and optic sights aren’t spared from this unfortunate fact.

But what’s amazing about a holographic sight is that it can continue to function even if its window gets broken or becomes obscured.

Not every optic sight can brag about this!

#3 Speed Ring

This may sound like a carnival ride, but the speed ring’s main purpose is to direct your eye to the circle dot reticle.

This is a bonus feature when you need to accurately pinpoint a target, and it’s even water-resistant!

It can also perform well in temperatures ranging from -4ºF to 1224ºF!

#4 Night Vision

Because of its night vision compatibility, the holo sight offers a wide field of view.

This means that it’s still effective even when used with a helmet or alongside weapon-mounted night vision devices.

They also have a night vision setting that can help you easily transition from night vision to daylight.

How To Choose the Best Holographic Weapons Sights — Factors to Consider

While there are various models of holographic optic sights, they’re usually separated into categories for customers to better understand what makes them unique!

The best holographic sights often stand out in terms of:

  • Price
  • Battery power
  • Accuracy
  • Improved sight picture
  • Water-resistance
  • Brightness settings
  • Holographic optics
  • Durability and resiliency

SIDE NOTE: If you’re interested, our Guide on EOTech 512 vs 518 can help you learn how to differentiate and pick between two top-tier holographic sights.

Which Is Better: Holographic or Red Dot Sights?

The red dot and holographic weapon sight have often been compared to each other because of their respective strengths and weaknesses.

If you’ve read through numerous “best holographic sight reviews” before this, you’ve probably already encountered these two terms.

In case you haven’t researched these two terms before, we’ll give you a quick breakdown of these two optic sights.

Holographic Weapon Sight

A holographic sight is known to have a complex design. Instead of imagining a projected dot reticle, imagine a laser bouncing from mirror to mirror. This results in:

  • Reduced parallax distortion
  • Optimal magnification

The resulting sight picture from the reticle is part of the optical sight window and is illuminated by the laser diode.

Red Dot Sight

A red dot sight is technically considered a broad term because it encompasses both reflex sights and holo sights.

Note that these two terms do not necessarily equate to the same sight!

Reflex sights have a relatively simple design. A reflex sight uses an energy-efficient LED to create an illuminated dot or dot reticle onto a concave lens.

The coating on the reflex sight can then detect the dot reticle and can transform it into a floating image.

Now, let’s get into the different aspects to compare holographic and red dot/reflex sights:

1. Price

A red dot reflex sight can come in 2 main styles:

  • Tube-style construction
  • Open lens protected by a metal hood

Because of their simple design, most reflex sights are compact and inexpensive. A red dot reflex sight tends to appeal to people on a budget.

In terms of price, a red dot reflex sight is definitely a good option to consider!

2. Power Use

Both the holographic sight and the red dot sight use power through an integrated battery.

If you’re looking for optics that last for a long time, the red dot sight is a better option because it uses less power than holographic sights.

3. Reticle

Both the holographic sight and the red dot sight provide a definite visual advantage over traditional optics such as iron sights or scopes.

A red dot sight aims its pointer and covers the target area, while a holographic sight surrounds the target through a laser image.

Both the holo and red dot reticle appears in red most of the time, which doesn’t strain your eyes. But sometimes, the reticle appears in green reticle versions, too.

SIDE NOTE: Many users sometimes prefer the green reticle versions since they can be easier to look at. Unfortunately, a definite drawback to this is that green doesn’t always hold up well when you move between areas with varying levels of brightness.

Both holographic sights and red dots excel in terms of accuracy and ensure that you’d need less time to aim and fire.

If you had to pick just one, though, a holographic sight would be your best option, as they have various designs for a reticle image (e.g., crosshairs or dot configurations).

4. Size

Torn between small sights and big sights?

You should go with a red dot sight if you find yourself leaning more towards purchasing and using SMALL SIGHTS.

Since the technology of a red dot sight is less complex compared to a holographic sight, they’re smaller and more compact. They can easily fit on both rifles and handguns!

On the other hand, while holographic sights aren’t alarmingly big, they’re still larger than red dot optics.

If you’re looking for an optic scope that would fit comfortably on a tiny handgun, a holographic sight wouldn’t be the best option.

5. Power & Battery Use

There are thousands of songs and movies about power, but how does this concept factor into optic sights?

A red dot sight uses a power-saving LED, while holographic sights are powered by lasers.

How does this translate into battery life?

  • The battery life of a red dot is very impressive, as it can last up to 50,000 hours of battery life. Translating this into years leaves us with over 5 years, which earns the red dot points for longevity and resiliency.
  • On the other hand, a holographic sight has 500-1,000 hours of battery life. This translates to approximately 20-41 days, which is a stark contrast to the hours of battery life of a red dot.

If power and battery life are important aspects for you, your best option would be a red dot optic.

6. Magnification

Did you know that both holo sights and red dots can have magnifiers placed in front of them?

What sets these two apart is the result of the magnification!

A holo sight has a center dot of 1 MOA, while the red dot’s center dot is 2 MOA.

But what is the role of a magnifier in this equation?

If you put a magnifier in front of the 2 MOA red dot, it would turn into 6 MOA. However, the larger the magnification rate, the less visible the target becomes.

But what happens when you magnify a holographic sight? The center dot (i.e., 1 MOA) of a holo sight would REMAIN THE SAME.

This is because 1 MOA is the smallest light that our eyes can see. If you apply this to the concept of a holographic sight, you will discover that the dot can be measured by microns.

This is why magnifying something as small as microns would lead to no change, as it would still be small.

Make sure to use a holographic sight if you wish to view the target at a comfortable rate of magnification!

7. Night Vision

Let’s be honest, night vision compatible devices for tactical shooters are often a popular pick among players because of the various features and benefits they offer.

If you’re interested in them, you might be curious about how the night vision settings of actual optic scopes fare in comparison.

If you’re looking for optic scopes that are night-vision compatible, there’s no need to look any further.

You’d be glad to know that both holo sights and red dots function well as night vision devices.

If you’re looking for unlimited eye relief, it’s also possible to adjust the night vision settings of either holo sights or red dots to get dimmer settings.

The night vision compatibility of both optic scopes is on the same page, which means that you can’t go wrong with either optic scope!

Of course, this would also depend on whether or not the product has this feature.

8. Acquisition Speed

If you’ve ever tried a traditional iron sight, you’d be pleased to know that red dot sights and holographic sights are MUCH faster.

Curious about their mechanisms?

  • Red dot sights ensure that the dot is perfectly aligned to your eye. This means that the focal distance is located at the sight.
  • On the other hand,  a holo sight ensures that the reticle hologram is projected directly in front of the holo sight.

Since our eyes were made to focus on one thing at a time, we waste precious minutes when we look between the red dot and the actual target. This type of thing hinders us from forming quick responses.

So what’s a feasible remedy to this?

Luckily for us, holo sights can superimpose on targets. Once you focus on a target, the holographic reticle would automatically focus as well.

In terms of accuracy and fast target acquisition, holo sights are the better choice over red dots.

Holographic vs Red Dot Sights: Pros & Cons

After learning more about the features and mechanisms of each optic scope, we can summarize their pros and cons into the following points:

Holographic Sights

Pros
  • The target remains in focus
  • Night vision compatible
  • Fast target acquisition
  • Optimal magnification
Cons
  • Bulkier
  • Shorter battery life
  • Expensive

Red Dot Sights

Pros
  • More affordable
  • Compact
  • Night vision compatible
  • Impressive battery life
Cons
  • Can't function well if the lens is damaged
  • Ends up covering the target once magnification is applied

Overall Summary

After absorbing all of the aforementioned information, we can now provide an answer to the proposed question.

Both the holo sights and the red dot optic sights have their respective advantages and disadvantages.

Choosing which optic sight to use depends on your personal preference, but our objective opinion is that the holo sight provides more benefits.

However, if you’re on a budget, then you’ll be glad to know that you can still get good quality and affordable red dot sights under a hundred dollars.

Frequently Asked Questions

Why Are EOTech Sights So Expensive?

Let’s break down the mystery by reading through a few facts about EOTech sights:

  • They’re good for precision shooting
  • They have good warranties
  • They’re resilient and durable
  • They have complex and accurate mechanisms to control zeroing
  • The military is their frequent customers

Another factor that comes into play is the fact that there are only 2 current manufacturers of holographic sights, which ensures that the demand is always high.

FAST FACT: Currently, there are only 2 manufacturers of holographic sights manufacturers: EOTech and Vortex Optics.

That’s why we’ve listed down several sights from EOTech like the EOTech EXPS3 and EOTech 512.

What Is a True Holographic Sight?

A TRUE holographic sight basically means an authentic product that uses the appropriate technology for holographic sights.

An easy way to tell if it’s a true holographic sight is if they’re manufactured by either EOTech or Vortex Optics.

If you’re confused with the terms “pseudo holographic sight” or “true holo sight,” they basically entail varying levels of authenticity.

Ensure the holo sight you’re using is a true holographic sight to get the intended benefits!

Does the U.S. Army Use Holographic Sights?

YES, the U.S. Army uses holographic sights!

Did you know that the military first adopted holographic sights in 2001?

This was after multiple military communities became hooked by the various features of the holographic sight (i.e., fast and easy target acquisition, full peripheral vision, and accuracy).

FUN FACT: The Bushnell HoloSight even won the Optic of the Year Award from the Shooting Industry Academy of Excellence!

In terms of basic training, though, the military often used iron sights until 2015.

While iron sights can be quite reliable, they’re also slightly old-fashioned, which is why the Army chose to switch to close combat optics or resort to co-witnessing.

What Holographic Sight Does the Military Use?

The 2005 Special Operations (SOCOM) and the United States Marine Corps used holographic sights as their optic standard for close-range combat.

If we’re delving into specifics, it might be useful to know that the military often uses EOTech holographic sights.

Conclusion

Now that you’ve finished reading about the various types of holographic weapon sights and their features, you might be ready to start purchasing a holographic sight! 

In our earlier list, we’ve determined the following:

  • The overall best holographic sight is the EOTech XPS2
  • The best holographic sight for professionals is the EOTech EXPS3
  • The best holo sight for beginners is the EOTech EXPS2

If you’re planning to purchase one immediately, make sure to take care of it so that it can last a long time!

 

CHANGELOG:

May 19, 2022 - minor content edits
April 19, 2022 - Added 1 new article link

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