The 3 Best Holographic Sight [2020 Update]

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In this guide I’m going to show you the best holographic sight.

In fact:

These are the same sights that many optic experts and competitive shooters use.

The best part?

I’ve sorted the holographics by use. So whether you’re on a budget or need a solid holographic sight for your AR-15, you’ll find it here.

Let’s get started!

The 3 Best Holographic Sight

If you’re pressed on time, here’s a quick list of the best holographic sights:

  1. EOTECH EXPS3: Best Overall Holographic Sight
  2. EOTECH 552: Best Holographic Sight for AR15
  3. EOTECH 512: Best Budget Holographic Sight

1. EOTECH EXPS3: Best Overall Holographic Sight

The EOTECH EXPS3 is the best holographic sight overall.

I’ve used the EXPS3 for hunting a variety of game from sunrise to sunset and even casual to competitive shooting. It’s one of the few TRUE holographic weapon sights in my experience.

In fact, several of my buddies in the military swear on it as one of the best sights for lightning-fast target acquisition in close-quarter situations.

By the end of this review, you’ll know if the EOTECH EXPS3 is for you.

Let’s get started!


Glass Clarity & Reticle

The EXPS3-0 HWS comes with a 68 MOA Circle with 1 MOA red dot reticle that’s visibly clear and accurate.

Its glass stands out among the crowd by being the only one with zero tints. It’s super bright just on its own.

The sight has 20 reticle brightness settings that go from barely visible to blindingly bright, with level 12 as “standard.” It also comes with ten additional settings, compatible with Gen I through III+ night vision devices.

One minor setback:

The reticle is somewhat blurry, but that’s common with holographic sights. The solution? Close one eye or adjust the brightness until it loses the fuzz.

If that doesn’t fix it, you may need to check out a few different red dot sights for astigmatism and nearsightedness.

Also, if it’s your first time using a holographic sight, you may see a “grainy effect.” That’s because this kind of technology uses thousands of tiny red dots to create the reticle image.

Shooters who are used to LED-based sights might be surprised by this effect. So at first, this may bother you, or it may not. For me, It wasn’t a big deal.

The EOTECH EXPS3 takes a bit longer to turn on. For its price tag, it would’ve been great if it had an always-on feature for when something unexpected comes along.

This sight does come with an automatic shut-down feature and warns you of low battery.

The unit comes with two arrows. The down arrow gives you four hours of use before shutdown. On the other hand, the up arrow (or the NV button ) enables you to use eight hours before shutdown.

Take note: if you use any of these buttons, maybe to change the intensity of the reticle, the shutdown time resets.

Unfortunately, compared to other red dot sights – like the Aimpoint models – all Eotechs pale in comparison when it comes to battery life. The EXPS3 only runs around 600 hours on level 12 brightness.

I’ve learned that lesson when I left it on for too long.


Eye Relief & Eye Box

The EXPS3 HWS comes with unlimited eye relief.

This sight allows you to use your backup iron sights with a lower third co-witness.

It has a large eye box that gives you a wide field of view. This made shooting targets quicker for me, even with both eyes open.

Zeroing was easy and it held zero well.


Durability and Weight

The EOTECH holographic sights are known to be exceptionally durable and rugged.

The EXPS3 is manufactured from aircraft-grade hardened aluminum alloy and nitrogen purged O-rings, making it practically weatherproof and shockproof. I’ve never noticed any shift during hard recoil.

The EXPS3 stores its CR123 battery in transverse orientation, a feature that doesn’t come in earlier models of EOTECH sights.

With an overall length of 3.8 inches, there was plenty of room on my mounting rail for other accessories, like my G33 magnifier, which is use for long-range targets.


Elevation & Windage

For elevation and windage, the EXPS3 gives you 40 MOA travel with 0.5 MOA increments of adjustment.

The buttons were mushy and hard to press especially when I had gloves on. You can physically hear a click but it’s barely audible, and the buttons are recessed in its protective shroud.

A good thing, though, is you won’t accidentally bump the buttons.


Magnification & Parallax

The EOTECH EXPS3 comes with a fixed 1x magnification.

I’ve used this sight for over a year now, and I can’t recall a time I had issues with parallax—two thumbs up for EOTECH.


Mounting & Rings

The EXPS3 sports a built-in 7mm riser with a quick detach lever mount. It fits a 1″ Weaver and MIL-STD 1913 Rails.

It’s super easy to use. It mounted firm and tight on my AR-15’s rails.


Is the EOTECH EXPS3 worth it?

If you’re looking for a high-end scope that’s versatile and dependable, the EXPS3 is definitely worth the price.

Why? It’s got…

  • Bright optics
  • Wide field of view
  • Unlimited eye relief
  • Lightweight yet durable
  • 20 daytime brightness settings
  • Ten additional settings for night vision

Plus, this sight comes with EOTECH’s Prestige 10-year Warranty. Repairs and replacements can be easily done as long as its within coverage, just don’t lose your receipt.

The EOTECH EXPS3 is no doubt one of the best holographic sights on the market. Trust me, you’re not going to want to go back to any other optic after you experience it.


2. EOTECH 552: Best Holographic Sight for AR15

EOTECH 552 is a top of the line holographic sight that’s perfect for your AR-15.

In fact:

It’s the number one pick for most US military and law enforcement officers.

Want to know why?


Glass Clarity & Reticle

The glass on the EOTECH 552 is incredibly clear.

It has 20 different daylight settings and is night vision compatible, with 10 additional settings for that, promoting complete clarity at any time of day.

It has a 1 MOA dot reticle and a 68 MOA ring, for quick and easy target acquisition at short to medium ranges.

If you don’t know much about holographic sights, EOTECH has a great guide you can read.

What you need to know though, is that with a holographic sight, wherever the red dot is, the bullet goes.


Eye Relief & Eye Box

With the EOTECH 552 you get unlimited eye relief.

One of my favorite things about this sight is that it’s made to use with both eyes open. You don’t have to worry about eye alignment or head positioning at all.

Between that and the wide field of view you get from the eyebox, you’ll have maximum situational awareness, as none of your peripheral vision is blocked.


Durability

If you’re looking for the best AR-15 optic, knowing that you’ve got something that’s built to last is important.

The EOTECH 552 meets this need because it was made to withstand harsh conditions and is water resistant.

The most amazing thing about this sight is that it is still pinpoint accurate, even if the sight window is covered by dirt, mud, or snow. It even works if it’s partially shattered!

Plus, it comes with EOTECH’s HWS Prestige Warranty.

The only downside to its extreme durability, is that it’s a little bulkier and heavier than something like a red dot or prism sight.


Elevation & Windage Knobs

The elevation and windage turrets are 0.5 MOA adjustment clicks.

One thing I really like about these turrets is that the screws are exposed and can easily be turned with a screwdriver or even a coin. You won’t have to worry about taking off and losing caps.

What about zeroing?

It took me all of a minute to get the EOTECH 552 zeroed. I’ve banged mine around a bunch and the reticle is still exactly where I set. It’s deadly accurate!


Parallax & Magnification

The magnification for the EOTECH 552 is 1x, which makes it phenomenal at short range.

You get lightning fast target acquisition, so you’ll be better prepared in close quarters combat (CQB) and self defense situations.

With the EOTECH 552 and holographic sights in general, you don’t need to worry about parallax at all. They are almost completely immune to parallax issues.


Mounting & Rings

While the EOTECH 552 doesn’t come with a mount or rings, it is compatible with both 1” Weaver rings or MIL-STD 1913 rails.

This means that if you’re using your holographic sight on an AR-15 style rifle, it will mount directly to the standard picatinny rail that they’re usually equipped with.

I did buy a GG&G EOTECH lens cover for extra lens protection when I’m not using it.

Sale
GG&G Eotech Lens Cover for 512/552
  • 121 years of experience and expertise in the design, Manufacturing, and integration of optical mounting Systems and tactical accessories
  • Pioneers in the development of tactical weapon accessories with one of the most dominant and innovative lines of tactical products
  • Gag manufactures over 335 products of them proudly made in the USA

Is the EOTECH 552 worth it?

If you want the best holographic sight for your AR-15, the EOTECH 552 is the right choice.

While it is fairly expensive, you get what you pay for and the quality on the EOTECH 552 is more than worth the cost.

You get:

  • Unlimited eye relief
  • Easy to use turrets
  • Uncomparable durability
  • Maximum peripheral vision
  • Simple and easy to use reticle
  • Lighting fast target acquisition

There’s a reason this sight is popular with military and law enforcement officers. It offers predictable and effortless accuracy at close range, when lives are on the line.

If you want to know that you’ll be able to make precision shots when it counts, try the EOTECH 522. You’ll be happy you did.


3. EOTECH 512: Best Budget Holographic Sight

The EOTECH 512 is by far the best budget holographic sight on the market today.

In fact:

I’ve taken mine coyote hunting in -18 degree temperatures, to the range to ring steel, and swapped the same sight onto my home defense arms

Here’s why…


Glass Clarity & Reticle

The EOTECH comes with a very clear, non-reflective glass, and no red light bleeds through to the other side. There’s no hue or tint to it like other sights.

The window is generously sized allowing for quick and easy target acquisition.

The no-nonsense 1 MOA red dot reticle is clean and crisp, surrounded by a 68 MOA ring designed for fast target acquisition without the fuss.

At 100 yds, the 1 MOA dot is the perfect size. Some other products are 5 MOA or 10 MOA which generally obscures the target at the range.

The EOTECH ring is also great for shorter distances since it eliminates the hunt for the dot while sighting, resulting in almost immediate target recognition.

Brightness can be adjusted through 20 different brightness settings. The rear button adjustment buttons make this sight friendly for both left and right hand shooters.

Despite the brightness range, this is not a night vision sight. So long as I could see my target with the naked eye, I could see the red dot on the lowest setting.

The Holo sight is way more accurate than iron sights. The last mag I went through, I put 30 rounds in a 2″ bulls eye. I can’t do that with the iron sights.

As much as I love this clean reticle design, it’s not perfect.

Even though the reticle is visible at different viewing angles, it will ghost just like in other red-dot sights. When viewing the reticle from the far left or right, there’s a slight 3-4 MOA deviation.

However, depending on your type of weapon you might not even plan on using a proper sight picture, so this may not be an issue.


Eye Relief & Eye Box

The EOTECH 512 offers unlimited eye relief, making it ideal for two eyes open shooting. That style of aiming can be an adjustment for some shooters, but it’s a fast and lethal method.

The objective lens is .85 inches and its generous size only makes it easier to sight and shoot.


Durability

EOTECH takes the lead for most durable sights over other brands like the Vortex Holographic sight.

While not identical to the military contracted models, the EOTECH 512 retains its uncompromising durability.

Waterproof, fogproof, and designed for rugged use, all built in the USA.

The packaging alone is higher quality than the build of most reflex sights. It’s built like a tank: metal housing, sealed rubber push buttons, and a reticle that works in extreme hot or cold.

I’ve used my EOTECH for coyote hunting in below zero temperatures. I never had to worry about my breath fogging up the glass like regular scopes sometimes do in cold weather.

The 512 is on the larger size (11.5 oz and 5.6 in long), but this is because it houses AA batteries as opposed to more expensive lithium batteries.

At around 1,000 hours, the battery life isn’t as competitive as some other sights, but batteries are stupid easy to change out. The reticle blinks to let you know if the batteries are low, and an auto shut-off feature after 4 hours saves battery life.


Elevation & Windage Knobs

Elevation and windage are easily made on the side with coin slot adjustment knobs with tactile clicks.

Adjustments can be made with a screwdriver, dime, and I’ve even used shell casings too. Adjustments by hand are possible, but it’s not as easy.

The sight was practically zeroed right out of the box. After some fine tuning, I was ringing steel in minutes with lethal accuracy.


Parallax & Magnification

The holographic sight doesn’t feature any added magnification, but it can be paired with a magnifier for longer range targets.

The holographic ring and dot don’t expand with magnification which means that your red dot won’t grow to obscure your target.

I paired mine with the Vortex Optics VMX-3T Magnifier with Built-in Flip Mount for a killer combo.

Vortex Optics VMX-3T Magnifier with Built-in Flip Mount
  • The VMX-3T Magnifier and Flip Mount combo adds a 3x magnification to your rifle's red dot sight. Simple, fast, and effective, the push button design engages and disengages the flip mount allowing the...
  • The lens are fully multi-coated maximizing resolution, light gathering capability, and color fidelity. Eye Relief-2.2 inches. Field of View-38.2 feet/100 yards
  • The VMX-3T does not require any special sight-in. The dot centering screws can be used to help center your red dot image in the VMX-3T's field of view.

While this sight is nearly parallax free, I did encounter some at a distance of 2-3 feet, but this vanishes at any reasonable distance.


Mounting & Rings

The 512’s built-in mount is compatible with both 1” Weaver and MIL-STD 1913 rails.

The EOTECH 512 can co-witness with back-up iron sights as well. One nice feature is that I can leave the back-up iron sights up and still use the EOTECH. The sight doesn’t interfere with the hammer motion nor does it hit the iron sight.


Is the EOTECH 512 worth it?

Designed for close-quarters combat, this sight is ideal for home defense arms and even recreational shooting.

With some added accessories, it makes a great addition for game hunting.

Here’s what makes it stand out:

  • Universal mount
  • AA battery powered
  • Tactical grade durability
  • EOTech Prestige 10 Year Warranty
  • Crisp and clean 1MOA dot with 68 MOA ring

While this sight does dance on the higher end of budget sights, it’s worth every penny.

If you’re looking for a holographic sight that will stand the test of time and environment while giving you the best shots of your life, the EOTECH 512 is your next toy.

EOTECH 512 Holographic Weapon Sight
  • EOTECH 512.A65 - Holographic Weapon Sight in black with 68 MOA ring & 1 MOA dot reticle
  • Mount - Compatible with both 1" Weaver and MIL-STD 1913 Rails
  • Adjustable Brightness - The 512 has 20 brightness settings for use in any lighting scenario

Now It’s Your Turn

I hope you enjoyed my best holographic sight guide.

So as a recap:

If you’re looking for the best overall holographic sight, get the EOTECH EXPS3.

Looking for the best holographic sight for AR15? Choose EOTECH 552.

How about the best for the budget? Then opt-in for EOTECH 512.

EOTECH 512 Holographic Weapon Sight
  • EOTECH 512.A65 - Holographic Weapon Sight in black with 68 MOA ring & 1 MOA dot reticle
  • Mount - Compatible with both 1" Weaver and MIL-STD 1913 Rails
  • Adjustable Brightness - The 512 has 20 brightness settings for use in any lighting scenario

Now I want to turn it over to you:

Which holographic sight will you pick?

Let me know by leaving a quick comment down below.

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