5 Best Holographic Sights [2019 Real Views+Videos]

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

Oh…and even if your entire front lens gets destroyed…your holo will still keep on chuggin’.

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
Best Holographic Sight

What do you think?

Readers' Ratings

4.85/5 (222)

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
376
at Amazon

Prices accurate at time of writing

Prices accurate at time of writing

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)
Most Worth It Holographic Sight
299
at Amazon

Prices accurate at time of writing

Prices accurate at time of writing

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.

Best Holographic Sight

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

376
at Amazon

Prices accurate at time of writing

Prices accurate at time of writing

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.

Most Worth It Holographic Sight
299
at Amazon

Prices accurate at time of writing

Prices accurate at time of writing

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.

33 Leave a Reply

  • Karen

    U so hung

    6 months ago
  • PewPewPeter

    After looking at EOTech vs Holosun, I got the Holosun. One thing I noticed that sold me right away was how clear the Holosun was compared to the EOTechs. The shake and wake tech is awesome. My primary use is for home defense and at the range and the Holosun is perfect for my lifestyle. I ended up buying one from an authorized dealer because several sellers on Amazon have had complaints about counterfeits. Also, their warranty is only valid if purchased through an authorized dealer.

    6 months ago
  • Mike

    Great article Eric. What 3x magnifier are you using for the Holosun 510c? Does it line up perfectly

    9 months ago
  • ORRIN

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

    1 year ago
  • 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

    1 year ago
    • Eric Hung

      Hi Oliver, we're going to have a Best Pistol Red Dots article coming out in the next 2 weeks.

      1 year ago
  • Jjj

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

    1 year ago
    • Eric Hung

      I haven't tried that one out yet but it looks to be a reflex/red dot sight.

      1 year ago
  • 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 ???

    1 year ago
    • 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 bring the sight to your face. -the reticle is variable, so you can switch between circle, circle dot, or just circle. I like each for different applications. -its much crisper than an Eotech and doesn't have that fuzzy appearance -Price!!!! It's doing everything better for half the price -It has a titanium hood over the lense to increase durability. I don't believe either of the other sights is made of titanium. The other sights don't offer those options. In my opinion, the HS510c is a clear winner over the other two. I know it's mentioned above, but I had to mention in again 50,000 and solar! As long as you have light, real or artificial, it will work. I use it without a battery on bright sunny days just because I can.

      1 year ago
    • Eric Hung

      Hi JJ, it’s since the Holosun isn’t a true “holographic” sight so I can’t give it the win for the category. But if you like the reticle that’s used by EOTech and Vortex…the Holosun is awesome.

      1 year ago
      • Jjj

        I get the article is titled and categorized as "holographic", but as a user, I care more about the application than the technology, and what it does for me. To me, it looks like Holosun advanced the technology to combine both features of the holographic reticle with long battery life. BUT, I'm concerned about Holosun's open projection of the 510C, which would mean dirt/mud would block the projection. Does Eotech also have the laser exposed, and dirt/mud can block the projection? I'm thinking Holosun 512T tubular design enclosed the projection so dirt/mud won't be an issue.

        1 year ago
  • 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.

    1 year ago
  • Bill Jacobs

    Honestly this review makes no sense. Battery life? Holosun - Like 1500,2500 vs. 50,000. Price? Holosun - No questions. Innovation? Holosun - The holographic tech. is 22 years old and honestly is terrible clarity and is given to problems. An LED sight like Holosun or others that use an LED system and Holosun is not given to the same important issues ie massive thermal drift. Holosun also throws in a capacitor driven solar mode and 3 reticles? Just not sure how in the world you came to this conclusion.

    1 year ago
    • Eric Hung

      Hi Bill, it's since the Holosun isn't a true "holographic" sight so I can't give it the win for the category. But if you like the reticle that's used by EOTech and Vortex...the Holosun is awesome.

      1 year ago
    • J Striker

      I love Vortex products, but don't see how it beat out the Holosun. The Vortex "tube" partially obstructs your view, has the button placement issue when used with a magnifier, and is more expensive. As far as durability goes, I watched a video of the Holosun being torture tested+it did great. I think they even shot it with buckshot+it still worked.

      1 year ago
      • Bill Jacobs

        I agree man. Vortex magnified stuff is great. But that UH-1 vs. 510C is not even a competition. I also saw the video of the guy shooting it with a shotgun and then remounting it and ringing steel. I don't own an Elite Holosun yet, but I heard they upped their game to a lifetime warranty on that line. I know no one wants to admit it fully, but Holosun has wrecked a stale... either junky or overly expensive red dot market. New leaders IMO.

        1 year ago
  • Gga

    Question: do the holographic sights have the red dot flare problem of you have cataracts? Unfortunately, I sent back a d dot sight due to flare which turned to be my cataracts. My condition is mild per the doctor.

    1 year ago
    • Eric Hung

      I'm unsure about cataracts...but they still have the same problem as red dots with astigmatism. Best remedy is getting the correct prescription and/or choosing the smallest MOA dot.

      1 year ago
  • Newbie Here

    So what isn't to like about the Holosun? You seem to give it points on all aspects, but don't rate it with the others?

    1 year ago
    • Eric Hung

      It's great but isn't a true "holographic" sight.

      1 year ago
    • Bill Jacobs

      Asked myself the same thing. That 510C beats all the others hands down.

      1 year ago
  • Pat

    I have the Vortex, and I love it! But the shake and wake feature should be a given for any of these sights!

    1 year ago
  • Aaron Johnson

    I find it funny that none of your selections were tritium powered. My reflex2 (purchased in 2002) now is dimming down if you aren't outside. I personally don't like the bloom on any of the eotech, but I really like their magnifying dodad.

    1 year ago
    • Eric Hung

      Hi Aaron, I tried to stick with holographic technology ones only but decided to put the Holosun in there since many people are looking for the reticle.

      1 year ago
  • John Tafoya

    I've been looking for a holographic sight that would go best with the leupold D-EVO, which do you think would be best?

    1 year ago
    • Eric Hung

      Hey John, I've actually never seen a D-EVO in the wild yet so I can't give you a good answer. But all the pictures I've been able to find have been paired with a Leupold red dot.

      1 year ago
  • John

    Still run my 2013 512. Eotech always been good to go. Even in our harsh western NY (Buffalo) winters and humid hor summers. Never turned it in never failed.

    1 year ago
    • Eric Hung

      Thanks John!

      1 year ago
  • Steve

    Hello. one thing i would like to mention with the holosun 510c is that it has two features that i really like. One is the shake awake or motion awake feature. You can pick up your weapon and it will turn on, meaning you can always have it turned on ready to go. . Also is has a solar panel which can conserve battery life. I wanted an EOtech but just couldnt spend that much on an optic at that time, i feel like the holosun is an amesome compromise at 200 bucks less.

    1 year ago
    • Eric Hung

      Great points Steve!

      1 year ago
  • Monte Walsh

    Gotta agree. EOTechs have served me well for years. Have used different Vortex systems for a couple years (their customer service and replacement services are second to none). Red dots are ok but I wouldn’t use them on working weapons.

    1 year ago
    • Eric Hung

      Thanks Monte!

      1 year ago
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