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EOTech 512 vs 518: Which Holographic Sight Is Better?

EOTech 512 vs 518

When I first tried the EOTech 512 and 518, I thought they were too similar. But after a few more tries, I think one is clearly better than the other.

How can you determine which of two similar products is better? I recommend looking at the following aspects and comparing:

  • Pros & Cons
  • Performance
  • Price
  • Night Vision Compatibility

Does it seem difficult to do on your own? Don’t worry. I’ve got you covered!

I will go through EVERYTHING you need to help you decide which holographic weapon sight is better between the EOTech 512 and 518!

EOTech 512 Holographic Weapon Sight Overview

EOTech 512 Holographic Weapon Sight

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  • Magnification: 1x
  • Low Light Capability: Not Applicable
  • Waterproof: Yes
  • Fogproof: Yes
  • Side Button Operation: No
  • Dimensions (L x W x H): 5.6″ x 2.0″ x 2.5″
  • Weight: 11.5 oz
  • Mounting: 1″ Weaver or MIL-STD-1913 rail
  • Country of Origin: United States of America

The EOTech 512 was a faultless choice when I needed a holographic weapon sight with speed and versatility.

It has a LIGHT and COMPACT design, and it also has a holographic 1 MOA red dot sight with a 68 MOA red ring.

It’s built with an ambidextrous design for its controls and has limitless eye relief.

Its durable design has an exceptionally sturdy glass lens and is significantly waterproof, adding value.

I was so tempted to just throw it on the ground to test it! Please don’t actually do this.

The cherry on top is its AFFORDABILITY over the 518!

It’s one of my top optics for AR-15s for a good reason. It works when you need it, as my rigorous testing has determined.

What Are Its Other Features?

  • Can be illuminated between 20 different brightness settings.
  • You can also MANUALLY change the settings using simple controls on the back of the optic.
  • Its optics are parallax-free!
  • Has an illuminated reticle powered by AA batteries (even alkaline batteries can power it up).
  • The battery provides 500 continuous hours of power and even offers an automatic shutdown system.
  • All-around weather resistant. It’s shockproof, water-resistant up to a depth of 10 feet, and fog proof!
  • Comes with a set of tool-adjustable windage and elevation adjustment dials.
  • It also comes with an anti-glare coating display window and a field view that extends to about 30 yards.

What Are Its Flaws?

The first flaw is no night vision compatibility. You may only use it during broad daylight.

While it performs excellently most of the time, I’ve found EOTech reticles to be hard to see under direct sunlight. Just something to keep in mind.

The EOTech 512, unfortunately, doesn’t feature any magnification settings, so I was limited to my normal shooting distance.

Instead, this EOTech holographic sight is meant to be used as a BOOSTER for accuracy in tactical engagements

They do so by providing an easy-to-see, bright red dot reticle rather than zooming in on your vision.

Apart from these, I’d say it is an amazing tactical companion!

  • More affordable than EOTech 518
  • Has an anti-glare coating display window
  • Contains an automatic shutdown system
  • 20 brightness settings
  • Weather-resistant
  • 500 hours battery life for continuous use
  • No night vision capability
  • No magnification settings

EOTech 518 Holographic Weapon Sight Overview

EOTech 518 Holographic Weapon Sight

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  • Magnification: 1x
  • Low Light Capability: Not Applicable
  • Waterproof: Yes
  • Fogproof: Yes
  • Side Button Operation: Yes
  • Dimensions (L x W x H): 5.6″ x 2″ x 2.9″
  • Weight: 13.8 oz
  • Mounting: 1″ Weaver or MIL-STD-1913 rail + quick detach lever
  • Country of Origin: United States of America

The EOTech 518 is the expected standard developed version of the 512.

I noticed it has faster aiming, thanks to its effective reticle, one of the many things an upgraded version should have.

The unit is designed with similar features to a red dot sight.

However, its holographic reticle is more advanced and eventually more useful than the general red dot.

Unlike a red dot, I’ve found that it helps draw your focus to the target, guiding your aim.

It’s shockproof and fog proof, which protects the sight window from any potential damage.

The EOTech 518’s holographic projection has unlimited eye relief that does not need more than a point of reference when aiming.

Therefore, its speed and efficiency are superior to any other known system.

What Are Its Other Features?

  • Features a quick detach lever that is adjustable.
  • Water-resistant and submersible within a depth of 10 feet.
  • Its projection of the reticle on the screen is done by laser and not by a mere LED like the others.
  • The EOTech 518 carries the laser battery caps that add to the optic and perform as visible lasers.
  • It possesses a dot grid of 1 MOA with a circle of 65 MOA that favors hunting in motion.
  • All adjustment, ignition, and compatibility controls are on the sides.
  • The multilayer treatment of the lenses provides an excellent transmission of light and sharpness of the image.

The EOTech 518 allows me to achieve fast target acquisition more accurately.

It is enough to place the EOTech grid on the target and shoot to get an accurate impact.

The runtime is 1000 hours with lithium batteries at a nominal setting and 600-hour runtime at the normal setting with an alkaline battery.

The EOTech 518 features a holographic viewfinder created by an American company.

What Are Its Flaws?

It doesn’t have night vision capabilities, just like the 512.

It is also a slightly heavier. The weight is not super noticeable to me, but it’s always better to have less weight while on the field.

  • Detachable lever
  • Holographic viewfinder
  • Extremely resistant to any potential damage
  • Reliable for most beginners
  • Does not have night vision
  • Slightly heavier
  • More expensive

EOTech 512 vs 518: Performance Review

After weighing the pros and cons of each product, let me take you deeper into their performance and other components.


Price tag icon

Between the two models, the EOTech 512 costs a lot less than the EOTech 518.

Why? It’s an older model with better ergonomics than its updated counterpart.

With that said, the EOTech 512 WINS this round!

Battery Life

Battery Life icon

Both EOTech 512 and 518 share the same battery life.

Each of them works with AA batteries. I have my choice of the following batteries, which should work for you as well.

  • Rechargeable batteries
  • Lithium batteries
  • Alkaline batteries

All of the batteries mentioned can be used for both holographic weapon sights.

From the power of AA batteries, you can get as many as 600 hours to 1,000 hours of battery life with continuous usage at minimal brightness.

With those kinds of optics, you can get up to 50,000 hours of usage!

One of the primary differences is that the holographic sights require MORE power, reducing the battery life or hours you can continuously use them.

If you’re really worried about losing functionality in the field, I recommend installing flip-up iron sights that you can use if your batteries go out.

This round calls for a DRAW.

Lens Quality

Lens Quality icon

The lenses for both are of high quality. My images were bright and crisp, almost as if I were watching a movie!

Thanks to their outstanding sharpness, they allow me to spectate objects and identify patterns from FAR away.

The center dot is small enough to allow precision aiming without blocking my view of the target.

The verdict: DRAW.

Night Vision Compatibility

Night Vision Compatibility icon

Neither the EOTech 512 nor the 518 have night-vision compatibility built-in.

If you strongly require this feature, I recommend the EOTech 558, which has the twilight-vision-enabled variant of the 518.

However, both of the EOTech 512 and 518 have similar 20 brightness settings but differ in the illumination setting.

Again with another DRAW.

Reticle Options

Reticle Options icon

The next battle is between the differences in their EOTech reticle patterns and reticle options.

The EOTech 512 only features a single dot -0 reticle pattern.

The -0 reticle pattern is the most common choice, and this reticle pattern is ideal when you need a fast target acquisition speed.

The newer EOTech sight features more reticle patterns of -0 and -2. EOTech 518 has three different aiming points:

  • The center dot is set to work for 50 and 200 yards.
  • The additional dot is for 7 yards.
  • The dual dot reticle is working for the same load.

That single-dot reticle is most useful for close-range shooting, long-range shooting, and medium-range engagements.

Reticle options are important because it guides long-range shooting while the other reticle pattern is limited to short and medium distances.

With a shotgun, the ring can be used to determine the shot pattern, but you also need to consider the choke and shell selection.

The EOTech 518 takes the win here!


Mounting icon

Both sight optics can be mounted in a 1-inch Weaver/Picatinny Rail.

But the EOTech 518 features a quick-release mount, which allows a more even application of tension when joined to a rail.

The older sight only uses the standard EOTech Picatinny mount.

Even if the EOTech 518 weapon sight also sits slightly higher than a standard sight, it also makes co-witnessing with iron sights easier.

With this, the EOTech 518 gets another WIN.


Design icon

The 512 model has ambidextrous controls, which makes it in favor of left-hand users.

The 518 uses side-mounted controls, giving its shooters access to them while keeping their eyes on the optic.

Having side-mounted controls can be helpful, especially for peripheral vision.

With this, the EOTech 518 optic takes this winning point.

Frequently Asked Questions

Frequently Asked Questions

Where Are EOTech Sights Made?

EOTech makes all their holographic weapon sights in Ann Arbor, Michigan, USA.

How Are Holographic Weapon Sights Different From Red Dot Sights?

Holographic optics use a laser diode and mirrors to project a holographic reticle that appears floatingon your aim.

It offers an UNLIMITED field of view!

Red dot optics require your eye to move back and forth between the optical plane and the target plane.

Holo-sights allow you to focus on both the aim AND reticle at the same time,

All achieved at first glance!

If you’re interested in more top options, you can check out my Buying Guide on Holo Sights.

What EOTech Sights Do the US Military Use?

Law enforcement agencies let the US military use the Model 553 and the EXPS3 model.

The kind of optics utilized by the military comes off as a big deal, especially for home defense.

Do Police Use EOTech?


The company proudly supports the country’s law enforcement, fire and rescue, and military front-liners who are critical to our safety.

It is best to provide them with equipment that can allow them to see the total length of distance from their targets and engage multiple targets quickly.

Final Verdict: Which Holographic Sight Is Better?

I can recommend both, but the EOTech 518 is a few steps ahead of the 512.

It’s much easier to use with the side-mounted controls, quick detachable lever, and mounting system.

It’s a bit more pricey than the 512, but its additional reticle gives the extra advantage for ensuring precise aim.

However, if you don’t have the budget or don’t need all the features that the 518 provides, the 512 is still a stellar choice that will NOT disappoint.

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