Although the traditional gun optic sight is available to shooters more than one century, the modern red dot, reflex, and holographic sights appeared much later to became a favorite aiming device of professional operators hunters, and competition shooters. All of them have similar demands, they request a fast target acquisition, quicker follow shots, and increased situational awareness.
Although widely used by many law enforcement/military service personnel, these short-range optics are also excellent for hunting within a 100-yard range.
At heart, they are all purpose-built for close quarter battles, with a youngest Holographic weapon sights as a new type of sight technology, which uses the latest laser-driven holographic achievements.
Best Holographic Sights
1. EOTECH 512 Holographic Weapon Sight
One of the most reliable Eotech Holographic Sights is model EOTECH 512.A65 with magnification X1
The EOTech holographic weapon sights, without doubt, carries a higher price tag than most reflex sights on the market. However, the famous 512 model set the standards for military-type holographic sights and it is not overly expensive if you look at all the characteristics it offers.
The first of its kind, the augmented EOTech 512 is state of the art in HUD sight technology that provides benefits not seen before on reflex sights.
Compared to other red dot sights, EOTECH HWS 512 features a low-profile square body perfectly designed for neat and compact AR-15 series rifles. While the EOTECH 512 is the best holographic sight for AR 15, it would not be out of place used on other tactical rifles and carbines. With its robust aluminum construction and shockproof resistance, it could also be easily the best holographic sight for the shotgun.
The EOTech 512.A65 holographic weapon sight is equipped with Eotech`s A65 reticle wisely designed for engagements in CQB situation as well as for longer range shots. The red laser projects one MOA single red dot surrounded by a 65 MOA circle with four short lines radiating from it.
Compared to the standard red dot sights, the unit is entirely parallax-free, whereas the inclined glass screen offers 20 levels for brightness correction and adjusting.
Along with electronics and laser projector, the one-piece housing accommodates two common AA batteries that provide a battery life of 600+ hours or 1000 hours with lithium batteries.
With not so great battery running time, some customers also complain at lacking night vision compatibility of 512 model.
2. EOTECH 552 Holographic Weapon Sight – For Night Vision
If you are looking specifically for a holographic sight with night capability, then you should no look further. The EOTech 552 Holographic Sight is almost identical to popular 512 model, with added night vision compatibility. The 552 model is highly suitable for use with both image intensifier placed behind the HWS and head-mounted NV.
The EOTech 552 sight boasts open-frame style and ‘Heads-Up Display’ (HUD to ensure full situational awareness and fastest possible engagement.
Featuring the same user-friendly controls found on the 512 Sight, in the form of the two buttons on the rear, the 552 owns a third button that switches to night vision mode.
The Eotech 552 Holographic Weapon Sight (HWS) comes with 20 daylight brightness levels and 10-night reticle brightness settings to adapt to any lighting conditions.
This EOTech weapon sight is purpose-built for short to mid-range encounters, and this is found in its full designation. The Eotech 552.A65/1 means this Holographic Weapon Sight is equipped with a 1 MoA dot centered in a 68 MoA ring reticle. The 68 MOA ring provides an unobtrusive field of view and quick target acquisitions vital for close-quarter combat. In contrast, the 1 MOA dot reticle enables high accuracy out past 100 meters with ease.
Additionally, you can attach an Eotech G23.FTS 3x magnifier to further extend this range by several hundred meters.
The unit can be powered by ordinary AA alkaline, rechargeable batteries, or a lithium variant marked in that case as 14500 Lithium Batteries. The battery life varies from batteries type and range from 600 to 1,000 hours.
This close to mid-range sight is intended to take some punishment, so the manufacturer applied a robust aluminum construction sight body and hood to protects the optical glass and electronics.
3.EOTECH EXPS3 Holographic Weapon Sight
With a series of Holographic Weapon Sights (HWS) offered in the XPS2 lineup, Eotech has succeeded to produce the smallest and the shortest sight package in this technology. However, the XPS2 platform sights were incompatible with night vision devices, a common requirement for all global special operation forces.
Fortunately, the Eotech Company soon developed new and improved sights of this optical system, with a night vision capability. Because of the ability to work with NV devices, the upgraded EXPS3 units have buttons repositioned to the left-hand side to allow the NV scope to be mounted as close as possible to the sight.
Besides the NV mode selector, the EOTech EXPS3 uses a single-lithium 123 battery with roughly 600 hours of average battery life. The battery is installed across the body to reduce the length and provide a place for a quick-release lever for very fast installation and removal.
This Eotech holographic hybrid sight (HHS) is equipped with 68 MOA RING, but unlike other models, it comes with two 1 MOA DOT reticles. As its name says, it is a holographic hybrid sight, since it comes with an extra dot below the central one.
While the 68 MOA ring is recommended for shooting up to 50 yards, the central dot allows you to engage targets from 50 to 200 yards, whereas the dot below works well with a 3x-power G33 magnifier to reach out to 500 yards.
Like NV controls, the windage and elevation adjustments are located on the left side in the form of two recessed dials with clearly graduated marks.
4. Aimpoint PRO Red Dot Reflex Sight
If you want a quality alternative to the EOTech`s holographic sights and the tube-shaped red dot designs don’t bother you then the Aimpoint PRO might be a win-win combination for you.
Aimpoint’s PRO or Patrol Rifle Optic is an always-on red dot sight designed for military and law enforcement use, but it can be quite a useful optic for advanced shooters and hunters. Many shooters claim this is the best holographic sight for AR 15.
As you would expect, this tube-style reflex sight comes with 1x magnification just like the other red dot open sights or holographic sights.
In the manner of a standard rifle scope labeling, the Aimpoint PRO is a 1×26 weapon sight with 2 MOA red dot sight. The red dot boasts 10 brightness settings, with six for naked eye/daylight use and 4 of them which are night-vision compatible.
While these reflex sights are intended for fastest target acquisition at close range, a 2 MOA dot like this is better for use with a magnifier that will allow you to engage targets at long range.
Aimpoint Pro Red Dot Reflex Sight is powered by one 3V lithium battery (2L76 or DLI/3N type), which provides an incredible battery life of 30,000 hours or 3.4 years. In fact, this red dot does not possess turning off option, and the only way to shut it off is to take out the battery.
This Aimpoint PRO is shipped with QRP2 “rail grabber mount” for Picatinny rail, which employs a spring-loaded tightening knob.
The housing material is made from high strength 7 series aluminum to provide extra protection to internals from impact, dirt, and scratches. This extremely rugged, full mil-spec optics with a 30mm mount diameter tube is designed with military-grade reliability so they can withstand not only the recoil of the largest centerfire rifles but also the unique 2 directional recoil of springer airguns.
5. Sig Sauer SOR52001 Red Dot Sight
Most of the time, SIG Sauer is recognizable as a trusted manufacturer of firearms. Still, there is also an optic division known for the high-quality tactical scopes and electro-optics.
Sig Sauer Romeo 5 is a compact tube-style red dot sight that comes in 1X magnification with a 20mm objective lens. This is another good alternative to a Holographic EOTech sight since it is long 2.47 inches and weighs only 5.1oz.
Interestingly, the SIG Romeo series is manufactured by the Chinese Holosun factory, with a Romeo 5 being a clone of Holosun HS403GL.
Anyway, the SIG Sauer Romeo 5 is a middle ground reflex sight with a crystal-clear picture without visual defects and 2 MOA dot reticles. This Sig Romeo 5 is powered by a single CR2032 battery that provides more or less 40,000 hours of battery life with the very low-intensity setting. The Romeo 5 comes with 10 brightness level of parameters, of which 2 lowest settings are night-vision compatible.
One of the selling points is a Motion Activated Illumination (MOTAC), which serves to prolong battery life.
Like the more expensive models from Aimpoint, this conventional “tube style” red dot is shipped with a riser mount to co-witness with standard AR-15 iron sights.
The Sig Sauer Romeo 5 is made from aluminum and adequately sealed for waterproof and fog-proof features in various harsh conditions.
6. HOLOSUN HE508T-X2 Red Dot Sight
One of the biggest OEM manufacturers of optoelectronics sights comes from China under the name Holosun Technologies. Holosun is offering a quite extensive line of military-grade optics and accessories but without the military-grade price.
Combining an open frame with a great sight picture, Holosun HE508T red dot is a very good clone, or if you wish an excellent alternative to the EOTech holographic weapon sight.
With a quoted weight of 1.76 oz, the open-framed HE508T is an exceptional pistol-sized optic purpose-built for duty service and home defense and may be one of the best sights for pistol.
The HS508T is equipped with the Multiple Reticle System (M.R.S.) that enables the operator to switch between different reticles seamlessly. The Holosun HE508T sight is offering an EOTech-style 32 MOA circle with 2MOA center dot reticle, a 2 MOA dot only, or an option of 32 MOA ring only.
The Holosun HE508T LED Micro Red Dot Sight is powered by top-placed solar panel paired with a single CR2032 battery that sits underneath the housing.
The reticle features 12 manual brightness settings (with 2 described as night vision compatible), but the most astounding feature is an advertised battery life rating that exceeds 100,000 hours or more than 11 years.
The HE508T applies the “Shake Awake” technology, which is the standard option in this price range. While it conserves battery life and turns off the reticle after some time of inaction, it will turn back on instantaneously with very slight motion and with last brightness setting recall.
Holosun HE508T 1x Red Dot Sight is the first titanium-housed pistol reflex sight that comes with a Trijicon RMR style, low mounting pattern.
How Do Holographic Sights Work?
Unlike LED electronics used in red dot sights for reticle illumination, a holographic sight bounces a laser technology to produce a holographic reticle. The reticle in holographic sight is suspended between two layers of glass and it is actually placed around the target.
Are Holographic Sights Parallax-Free?
With an unlimited field of view, the holographic sights are almost immune to parallax distortion related to red dots. In plain words, a parallax problem occurs when the eye is not perfectly lined up with the sight.
What Ho Holographic Sights Look Like?
With a square design, a holographic optic offers a much wider field of view, which combined with both-eyes-open aiming technique provides you enhanced peripheral vision and situational awareness.
What Are The Holographic Sights?
Similar to reflector (or reflex) sight for firearms, a holographic sight offers instinctive two-eyes-open shooting and it does not magnify the image of the target.
Though commonly classified as a red dot sight, the Holographic sight instead of a red light-emitting diode (LED) to give the shooter an aimpoint, uses a laser diode to create a hologram reticle in the optical viewing window.
Do holographic Sight Use Batteries?
Whereas some reflex sights use tritium instead of batteries, the holographic sights operate exclusively powered by batteries, mostly lithium type. Unlike reflex sight using a low-power LED, the holo sight utilizes a more powerful laser that consumes more energy causing the reduced battery life.
Do Holographic Sights Have Downsides?
On the other side, holo sights are more complex and bulkier compared to red dot sights, and more expensive. Furthermore, holo sights have a lower temperature tolerance, causing them to shift in point of impact during sudden changes in temperature. Another downside of the holographic sights is battery life since these sights need a lot of energy to produce the hologram of the reticle.
The true holographic sights currently come only from Eotech company and compare to red dots they are more versatile with their holographic patterns visible in any light condition.
The best Eotech holographic sight comes in HUD configuration and uses a combination of 1 MoA dot in a 68 MoA ring reticle making them an excellent option for close-quarters use as well as for engagements at moderate ranges.
Though superb in many features, the best value holographic sight suffers from a small battery and may be sensitive to extreme changes of temperature.
However, because of your budget or preferences, you may also find a number of quality Eotech clones or alternatives that would provide you with almost equal reliability and versatility.
Dakota Potts is a gunsmith, armorer and gun rights advocates. He enjoys learning about firearm history and technology. He has his own website at pottsprecision.com