5 Best Holographic Sights [2018 Real Views+Videos]

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Seeing if a holographic weapons sight is for you?

Top Holographic Sights
Top Holographic Sights

We bought the two most popular holographic sights right now…plus a third underdog contender.

And we break them down into what we think is the best.

*Update*: Now we have 3 tested EOTechs too!

Three EOTechs, Back
Three EOTechs, Back

Holographic vs Red Dots

Without going too much into everything…why would you even want a holographic sight compared to a red dot?  We have this super in-depth article for that.

Red dots (or reflex sights) operate by having an LED project a dot towards a lens, which is specially coated so that it bounces back towards your eye.

Check out our Best Red Dots Under $200 article.

Best Budget Red Dots
Best Budget Red Dots

Holographic sights use a laser transmitted hologram of a reticle through a series of lenses back to your eye.

Holographic Sight Light Path
Holographic Sight Light Path

If it looks more complicated…it’s because it is.

Budget Red Dots All On
Red Dots All On

Since it uses a laser to transmit the reticle, it uses up more energy than a simple LED.

EOTech Reticle, 3x Zoom
EOTech Reticle, 3x Zoom

But because of that…

There’s a relatively unknown (but super important) distinction is that the reticle is projected outwards at the target instead of bounced back to your eye?

Who cares?

It makes for faster acquisition since your eye is not battling between focusing on a red dot at the optic distance vs the target.

With a holo you’re focusing on the target AND the reticle.

You also tend to get a bigger view window with holographic sights.

Tested Holographic Sights
Tested Holographic Sights

There’s more reasons we go over in Red Dots vs Holographic.  But for now, onto our favorites…

Best Holographic Sights

1. EOTech EXPS2-0

EOTech is the giant in the holographic sight game.

Sure, they had a little snafu a few years back about thermal drift (where the reticle doesn’t return to zero if subjected to extreme temperatures).  But they are back and better than ever.

John Wick I'm Back
John Wick I’m Back

If you’re still worried about the thermal drift (all sights, red dot or holo, have them)…check out EOTech’s response for their new sights.

My favorite is their new EXPS2-0 which is shorter than the most popular previous model…the 512.

EOTech EXPS2-0
EOTech EXPS2-0

It has a big rectangular window that is very clear.  And the famous 68 MOA circle with a 1 MOA dot in the center.  Minute of Angle (MOA) means that at 100 yards, the big circle will cover 68 inches while the center dot will cover 1 inch.

EOTech Reticle, 3x Zoom
EOTech Reticle, 3x Zoom

All holographic sights will look a little fuzzy but that’s perfectly normal from the technology.  When you have both your eyes open and are shooting at targets…it doesn’t affect anything.

The reticle is the perfect blend of quick acquisition and fine-tuned accuracy.  Note that the above is 3x magnified using a Vortex 3x to show the reticle (Best 3x Magnifiers).

Here it is at the range.  I had trouble getting clear shots of the reticle in high brightness.  But it works great even in the sunniest of days in the desert.

EOTech EXPS2-0 At the Range
EOTech EXPS2-0 At the Range

And a better image of it inside.

EOTech EXPS2-0 Reticle
EOTech EXPS2-0 Reticle

The shorter EOTech’s have a couple variants…but I like the EXPS2-0 compared to the regular XPS line since it is 1/3 co-witness which doesn’t get in the way as much if you have irons or backup irons (Best AR-15 Backup Irons).

Co-Witness, Absolute vs Lower Third
Co-Witness, Absolute vs Lower Third

It also has a robust quick detach (QD) rail system and the buttons on the side (essential if you’re going to run magnifiers).

EOTech EXPS2-0 Side
EOTech EXPS2-0 Side

The 2-0 designates that it is the 68 MOA circle with 1 MOA center.  A must if you ask me.  If you’re running night vision, opt for the EXPS3-0 which has some settings for NVGs.

Here’s a video of it in action with a little simulated head movement to show how it’s devoid of almost all parallax (moving your head will keep the reticle on the same location).

The reticle makes it super easy for close up shots when I used the optic for pistol caliber carbine (PCC) competitions.  While the 1 MOA dot was useful for farther plate racks.

I even took it on and off a couple of times while testing and it always stayed in zero (plate racks at 25 yards).

My choice for best overall holographic weapons sight.

EOTech EXPS2-0, Adjustment
EOTech EXPS2-0, Adjustment

Stats

  • 11.3 Oz
  • 10 ft waterproof
  • CR123A Battery
  • 600 hours battery life
  • Not NVG Compatible

What do you think?

Readers' Ratings

5/5 (126)

Your Rating?

2. Vortex AMG UH-1

The AMG UH-1 is a newish sight from Vortex and is the only real holographic contender to EOTech.  It’s affectionately known as the “Huey” because of the UH-1 designation.

Vortex AMG UH-1
Vortex AMG UH-1

Built like a tank…it looks like it’s much bigger than the EXPS but it’s about the same length.  The extra hood that protects everything makes it seem much larger.

Since it’s new, it doesn’t have the military track record of the EOTech but so far no major complaints besides a first initial batch that had some reticle flaring that is now fixed.  Plus it’s Vortex so it has a lifetime transferable warranty.

Vortex UH-1 Reticle, 3x Zoom
Vortex UH-1 Reticle, 3x Zoom

Speaking of reticles…the Huey’s reticle is my favorite out of the bunch.  Still has the large circle for CQB (close quarters combat) but also has a nice triangle chevron at the bottom for shorter engagements.

I set my zero at 25 yards for the shorter PCC competitions…but if you zero at the standard 100 yards…the triangle will really help.  Also has a great integrated QD mount that maintained zero between testing.

Vortex UH-1 Reticle
Vortex UH-1 Reticle

One thing I gotta knock it down for is…the greenish tint.  It’s a lot more apparent than the EOTech which if it has one…is nearly imperceptible.

Vortex AMG UH-1 At the Range
Vortex AMG UH-1 At the Range

It didn’t matter too much during actual shooting…but looking at it by itself it bugs me a little.

Another downside is that the buttons are on the back so it might also interfere with magnifiers.

However, one cool thing is that it has a rechargeable battery inside that you can charge through USB.

Vortex UH-1, USB Charging
Vortex UH-1, USB Charging

I tried it out to see if it works…and it does.  But realistically I’m not sure if I’m really going to be plugging in my upper to my computer when swapping batteries seems so much easier.

Speaking of batteries…the AMG UH-1 has a sweet 1500 hour battery life compared to the EOTech’s 600 hours.

Overall, my runner-up if you want to get into the holographic sight game at a slightly lower entry fee.

Stats

  • 11.8 Oz
  • 10 ft waterproof
  • CR123A Battery
  • 1500 hours battery life
  • Not NVG Compatible

3. EOTech Model 512

Back to the EOTechs…the Model 512 is their most popular since it’s their most affordable.

EOTech Model 512
EOTech Model 512

It’s longer since it uses AA batteries which are normally easier to find than CR123 in the newer EOTech models.

You’ll get up to 1000 hours of battery life with a lithium AA and a matching 600 hours with regular alkaline AA.

Newer vs Classic EOTechs
Newer vs Classic EOTechs (L to R): XPS2-0, EXPS2-0, Model 512

It also uses a screw attachment instead of the quick-detach system of the EXPS2-0.  That means it weighs less, costs less, and gives you absolute co-witness.

Stats

  • 11.5 Oz
  • 10 feet water resistance
  • AA Batteries: 1000 hours on lithium, 600 on alkaline
Most Affordable
EOTECH Model 512

EOTECH Model 512

4. EOTech XPS2-0

We’re back to the “newer” smaller EOTech design with the XPS2-0.

Three EOTechs, Buttons
Three EOTechs, Buttons (L to R): Model 512, XPS2-0, EXPS2-0

Like the Model 512, the XPS2-0 is screw based so you save a couple bucks vs the QD mounted EXPS2-0 version.

EOTech XPS2-0, Green
EOTech XPS2-0, Green

The buttons are also moved to the front which works easier for most applications but if you plan on adding a magnifier…it’s better to have the extra height and buttons to the side of the EXPS2-0.

XPS2 vs EXPS2
XPS2 vs EXPS2

My pick if you don’t plan on moving your optic a lot, not using a magnifier, and want to save a few bucks with the new EOTech model.

Stats

  • 9.0 Oz
  • 10 feet water resistance
  • CR123 Battery at 600 hours

5. Holosun 510C

Holosun 510C
Holosun 510C

Ok…it’s technically NOT a holographic sight.

But instead the Holosun 510C brings together the best of both worlds by using energy-saving LED technology and the reticle found in holographic sights.

Longer battery life and a sweet reticle that isn’t “fuzzy” like normal holographic sights.

Holosun 510C Reticle, 3x Zoom
Holosun 510C Reticle, 3x Zoom

The center is a 2 MOA while the outside ring is 65 MOA.  You can also cycle between using the dot only, ring only, or the combo.

Holosun 510C Reticle
Holosun 510C Reticle

However, it does have a greenish hue on par with the Vortex.  Again, it was hard to get good pictures at the range.

Holosun 510C At the Range
Holosun 510C At the Range

If you’re solely looking for the circle and dot reticle (and not the slightly increased acquisition speed)…you can’t go wrong with this optic.

It’s crisp and nearly parallax free like its brethren.

AND with a 50,000 hour battery life since it runs off LED and not lasers.  PLUS it has solar capability that switches in the sun so you aren’t running off batteries.  FINALLY, it’s lighter and has a smaller profile.

Holosun 510C Side
Holosun 510C Side

Buttons are on the side for easy access and also has a QD attachment system that also maintains zero.  Has NVG capabilities but is less waterproof than the others.

My pick for the best worth-it “holographic-esque” sight.

Stats

  • 8.3 Oz
  • 1 meter (IP67)
  • CR2032 Battery
  • 50,000 hours battery life
  • NVG Compatible (10 day and 2 NVG)

And now they have their “Elite” version which has a green reticle.  I haven’t tried it extensively but it does help your eye see the reticle a little faster.

Conclusion

Three Mounted Holographic Sights
Three Mounted Holographic Sights

If you’re looking for something more than a simple red dot…holographic sights are the way to go.

The big player and my favorite model is the EOTech EXPS2-0 which has the clearest glass, great button placement, and decent battery life.

If you want to go with EOTech but save a few bucks…go with the Model 512 which is a little longer and heavier.

Most Affordable
EOTECH Model 512

EOTECH Model 512

My runner-up is the Vortex AMG UH-1 which is built tough, has my favorite reticle, has a longer battery life, but has a greenish hue.

Lastly…if you’re interested in the holographic reticle, go with the Holosun 510C which sports an impressive 50K battery life.

Did we miss any holographic sights out there?  If you’re set on EOTechs and want to see even more models…check out our Best EOTech Models.

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ORRIN
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ORRIN

WHAT ARE THE VIEWING WINDOW DIMENSIONS OF THESE THREE SIGHTS? HOW DO YOU RANK THEM IN TARGET ACQUISITION?

Oliver
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Oliver

Hi all,

I always get confused with titles like “best red dot” etc. If I understand correctly these are only for riffles, not handguns. Would really help to clarify that.

I am in the market for a red dot for hand gun and 90% of the reviews are for riffles. 🙂

Any help would be greatly appreciated.

Oliver

Jjj
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Jjj

How might the Holosun 512T compare?
Does the tube interfere with sight picture?
Just for looks?

Jjj
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Jjj

Can someone explain WHY the Holosun 510C is not the #1 choice?
The author wrote as if the Holosun has all the best features, except for the tint, yet rated it #3 ???

Eugene Ambrose Ray
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Eugene Ambrose Ray

I was wondering the same thing, but realized the article is titled best holographic sight. But based on his review, and my personal experience with them all, I don’t know why you would choose a holographic sight over one of the Holosun sights. They basically do everything the holographic sights do, but better. There are a few key features of the 510c not mentioned in this review -It has a shake awake and auto off feature, so you never have to worry about turning it on or off. It’s turns off after inactivity, and will turn on before you can… Read more »

J Striker
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J Striker

I never see the Meprolight RDS in any of these roundup reviews. It’s used by the IDF, so it’s a worthy contender. I got one b/c I always felt the viewing field was too small on the Eotech. I’ve shot about 2k 30 cal rounds with it on+it never failed.