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Published Feb. 17, 2022

If you still envision giant optic tubes and huge power source compartments that have to have the batteries changed once a week, then you are living in the past. Today’s best holographic sights have gotten much more compact. They’re very powerful, issues with battery consumption have been solved, and they’re incredibly reliable.

There will always be a place for traditional iron sights no matter how advanced technology becomes, but it would be silly to ignore the amazing advances that have been made with holographic sights over the past few decades. Holographic sights can help improve your shooting and make sure you hit more targets. We reviewed some of our favorites below.

Things to Consider Before Buying a Holographic Sight

Holographic sights may not be for everyone, and that’s OK. If you prefer a regular rifle scope or crossbow scope, we’ve got lists of suggestions for those, too. But for now, we’ll focus on the best holographic sights and what to consider before buying one.

Size

Holographic sights come in a wide variety of shapes and sizes, and they’re definitely not a one-size-fits-all solution. Think about the gun you’ll be mounting the optic on before you decide on which one to get.

  • Handguns: While it’s true that holographic sights tend to be a bit bigger than their red dot cousins, you can still get some fairly compact units that deliver the features of a holographic sight in a footprint that is similar to that of a red dot.
  • Long Guns: On long guns like AR-15s or defensive shotguns, the size of the optic is of a little less concern. Obviously, you don’t want something bigger than it needs to be. But there are a lot more options to choose from in the full-size holographic sight market than in the micro holographic market.

Design

The overall design of a holographic optic will play a big role in which one you choose. There are a lot of things to consider in this category, but here are three big ones:

  • Mounting Options: The most common way to mount a holographic sight is by using a rail that is either already on the top of the gun or that you can attach to the gun. This is most commonly found on long guns. On most pistols, the slides will need a cut for the optic to fit into. Some come cut from the factory and others will need to be done as an aftermarket alteration. Just keep in mind the mounting footprint of the optic when choosing the slide cut.
  • Accessory Compatibility: You might need to raise the optic up off of the mounting location to get the right field of view. This means you’ll need to consider compatible risers. Or, you may be wanting to pair the optic with a magnifier. Again, you’ll need to consider what sight-magnifier-combos work best together.
  • Power Source: Battery life has gotten much better in holographic sights, but they’ll still need to be changed eventually. Some have battery compartments that can be accessed without removing the sight, while others require you to take the optic off of the gun first. Others still are solar-powered with battery backups, so that’s an option, too.

Price

There are holographic sights to fit every budget, and just because one sight costs a lot more than another doesn’t necessarily mean that it is better. It may have more options and features than the less expensive one, but the basic technology will still be there—and that tech has come a long way.

It’s still true that you get what you pay for, but depending on how you’ll be using the optic (say, on an occasional .22 pistol for plinking), then you may not need a top-of-the-line holographic sight.

Best Overall Holographic Sight: EOTech EXPS2

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Why It Made the Cut: The EXPS2 is like EOTech’s other incredibly popular holographic sight – the EOTech 512 – but better making it the best holographic sight overall.

Key Features

  • Average 1,000-hour battery life
  • Water resistant
  • 20 brightness settings

Pros

  • Can be ordered with a one dot or two dot reticle inside a 68 MOA circle
  • Incredibly clear sight picture
  • ⅓ cowitness with iron sights

Cons

  • Not night vision compatible

Rail space is at a premium, and so that’s why the EOTech EXPS2 is so great. It takes the trusty 512 model and shrinks the footprint so that it takes up less space on your gun. While there are other options that boast better battery life, the fact of the matter is that an average life of 1,000 hours is going to last most users for a very long time. If you want to pair it with a magnifier, the side buttons ensure that you won’t lose any functionality by doing so. The QD attachment allows you to easily remove it and go back to iron sights if you need to run your rifle that way instead.

EOTech has proven its products to be rugged through military service, and they stand behind their products. The EXPS2 is covered by EOTECH’s HWS Prestige Warranty, a 10-year limited warranty, so you know it will last. And if it doesn’t EOTech will make it right.

Best Holographic Sight with Magnifier: EOTech HHS I

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Why It Made the Cut: EOTech is a leading name in the holographic sight industry and their products have always been top-notch. As an added bonus, the HHS I is a package deal with a holographic sight that comes with a magnifier.

Key Features

  • 20 daylight settings
  • Night vision compatible
  • 10-year warranty

Pros

  • Comes with a magnifier but can be used without it
  • Water-resistant down to 10 meters
  • 10 additional brightness settings with night vision compatibility, for a total of 30 settings

Cons

  • Not inexpensive, but that’s why it’s not in the budget slot on the list

If you’re in the market for a holographic sight and a magnifier, then this is a match made in heaven. You could buy them each separately and put together a pair on your own, but these two products were paired by EOTech for a reason – they work perfectly together.

The EOTech Holographic Hybrid Sight I (HHS I) pairs an EXPS3-4 with a G33 magnifier. This makes it a great choice for close quarter situations with just the sight and for targets out to 600 meters when you transition to the magnifier on a side-flip mount.

Best Premium Holographic Sight: Vortex AMG UH-1 Gen II

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Why It Made the Cut: With an industry-leading warranty and updates made to the Gen II based on customer feedback, the Vortex AMG UH-1 Gen II took an already fantastic holographic sight and made it even better.

Key Features

  • Night vision compatible
  • Large viewing window
  • 100 MOA of windage and elevation adjustment

Pros

  • Industry-leading lifetime warranty
  • 15 different brightness settings
  • Built like a tank

Cons

  • It’s not a large optic, but it still might be bigger than some people want on their gun

Vortex improved on their already great AMG UH-1 sight with the introduction of the Gen II model. They enlarged the viewing window, made it compatible with night vision to include a dedicated NV button, and more. Speaking of nighttime, Vortex’s FHQ technology keeps stray light emissions to a minimum, so you can sneak up on that sounder undetected.

The built-in QD rail mount puts the optic at a ⅓ co-witness height right off the bat, so there’s no need for any extra mounts or risers. Interestingly, while the mount and optic are one piece, they’re actually independent of one another when it comes to adjustments. Though the EBR-CQB reticle is designed to excel in close quarters situations, Vortex built the AMG UH-1 Gen II with 100 MOA of windage and elevation adjustment, so you can reach out if needed.

Best Budget Holographic Sight: Holosun HS510C

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Why It Made the Cut: Holographic sights can be pricey, but at less than $400, the Holosun HS510C delivers a lot of bang for a budget buck.

Key Features

  • Shake Awake Technology
  • Solar Failsafe
  • Up to 50,000 hours of battery life

Pros

  • Solar Failsafe ensures that your optic will still work even if the battery dies
  • Battery tray allows access without removing the optic
  • Parallax free with unlimited eye relief

Cons

  • Impressive battery life only applies to one specific brightness setting

Designed for the perfect pairing with rifles or carbines, the Holosun HS510C has a lot of features at a great price point. Weighing less than five ounces, the HS510C extends its battery life with Shake Awake Technology which comes on when it senses movement and turns off during inactivity. The 2 MOA dot and 65 MOA circle make for easy target acquisition and the brightness will automatically adjust to lighting conditions.

Despite the lower price, the HS510C is built to last. The display is protected by a tough, titanium alloy hood that should shrug off bumps and bruises from the range or in the woods. The rest of the housing is built from 6061 aluminum, so it can also handle some rough treatment. An IP67 rating protects the electronics from splashes, rain, and brief immersion. Battery life on the commonly available CR2032 coin cell is 50,000 hours, thanks to Holosun’s Solar Failsafe back up.

Methodology

Generally speaking, holographic sights aren’t an inexpensive option, so it was important that we really take a good look at some of the most important features when picking what models would make this list. Here’s what was taken into consideration:

  • Price: Does the cost of the product match the quality of what is being delivered?
  • Accessory Compatibility: Can you easily adapt the sight to other accessories, such as magnifiers or night vision?
  • Integrated Technology: Are there any bonus features, such as solar power, auto on and off, etc?
  • Battery Life: We aren’t looking for a lifetime battery life, but it’s got to last long enough that we have to stop and think about the last time it was changed.

FAQs

Q: Do holographic sights work at night?

Yes, holographic sights work at night. Like other sight options, they have a variety of different brightness settings and some are even compatible with night vision equipment.

Q: What’s better: EOTech or Aimpoint?

Figuring out is EOTech or Aimpoint is the better product is like trying to figure out if Ford is better than Chevy. It’s a really subjective choice with lots of personal answers. They’re both great companies with fantastic products, so whichever you choose, you’ll be happy.

Q: How much does a holographic sight cost?

The cost of a holographic sight varies widely, but you can generally expect to spend at least $200-$300. And it’s not uncommon to spend $800-$1,000 or more.

Final Thoughts

This list of the best holographic sights could have been a lot longer and included dozens of different sight options from which to choose. In the end, though, most people tend to already have things narrowed down on their own by the time they get to this point.

There are a lot of other choices than what’s featured here if these don’t tick all the right boxes for you. There are others that are also night vision compatible if that’s a deciding factor for you. There are also a lot of other holographic sights that work very well with magnifiers if you’re in the need of one as a part of your kit. Battery life and battery type vary widely and can often overlap with other features.

Don’t get hung up on one little thing here or there. Be flexible. The ultimate decision lies with you, but if you choose one of the optics on this list, you won’t be disappointed.

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