When reviewing the various types of holographic and red dot tube sights, the question comes up as to which is the best of the two systems. When trying to answer this, it is advisable to look at the core function of the sights and then determine exactly what your requirements are from a red dot optic system.
With that task in mind, let’s turn at first to the Eotech system with attached magnifier.
This sight is a general HUD, head-up display sight that uses the window and MOA red dot center mark, and the 68 MOA outer ring. That ring allows rapid target acquisition in a gun fight, or should a coyote jump into your kill net view right out of nowhere. Been there, done that thank you. Speed can be everything there.
The sight uses brightness settings to allow use in various types of light. I have used this system often when night-shooting varmints, or when I was night-training for my law enforcement work.
I found this sight very useful when trying to take on running targets and move up into a target lead position as my partner was running a light across a departing coyote in the pitch black of a Texas brush country night.
Because Eotech sights come with a ten-year warranty, even if damaged the company will stand behind the sighting system. However, be advised that these sights are not as tough as the tube-house units and, therefore, can fail when used in very adverse conditions.
In terms of battery life, the sight uses of a pair of common 1.5V AA batteries, and these batteries will support the sight system for 2,500 hours of service time. I have one of the holographic sight systems and I have changed batteries once in ten years.
Now comes the kicker. This is a system I do not use on my night-shooting weapons as movement at night or under nasty harsh conditions tends to surface often when in the field. The Eotech system requires a magnifier when an increased magnification level is required. In general these are short range sights.
Say what they want, but an MOA dot at 300 yards on a target the size of a bad guy's melon, or a bob cat's neck, just will not cut it at all.
Now, adding the magnifier unit will pull up a fast 4X in a split second, but you're going to have some dues to pay by adding the second system. First of all, more weight. Secondly, more bulk and mass. And finally, another item that can fail in the field.
In effect, you're doubling the risk for the 4X gift of sighting through the twin system. While the magnifier can be moved aside in a split second, it will remain on the receiver housing or rail system ahead of the HUD display sights.
During the great American Shot Show this past winter, I took some extra time and seriously looked at these systems offered by SIG Arms and Eotech. I was impressed but still mindful that this was a whole lot of hardware hanging on my AR-15 receiver.
With this information in mind, the choice comes down to task-related sighting, and just what the buyer wants in terms of an end product.
Want an alternative for Eotech sight that suits your budget? Check out our guide on best Eotech clones & alternatives.
Now let’s look at the second item on the list of what's what: Aimpoint sights in red dot reticle viewing.
Aimpoint was the very first red dot sight ever offered to the American shooter. This sight differs from the previous sight in that it has an aluminum tube housing. As such, it is protected from harsh conditions or, in some cases, combat-related events (police or military).
Hundreds of thousands of these sights have been produced for military units all over the world. The sight is as tough as nails, battery life is measured in years, but like the previous unit the magnification is 1X and requires a separate magnifier when moving up in range applications.
Military-grade magnifiers will cost $1,249.00 at a 6X Aimpoint magnifier, and $1,208,00 when buying the 3X magnifier.
Also, as with the previous unit, the rifle will now carry extra hardware and increased weight and bulk, and there is also the chance of a system failure.
As I have had field time with both systems, I can say that I believe the military application for close-range fighting is paramount. As game hunters take up the system, it has been found to be deadly for turkey hunters as they pull targets inside 50 yards.
Also of interest is the tight shooting closer-range bow-hunter (crossbow) is right in the driver's seat with these sights regardless of which one is selected. I have harvested at least thirty whitetail bucks with a crossbow and red dot sights over 20 years of hanging around in a tree stand.
Keeping range realistic, the red dot is deadly.
Which one is best?
Now the answer to the question. The bottom line is need assessment here.
If you want a sight to be as tough as nails, by all means the best of the rest is the Aimpoint solid metal housing sight. If you want very wide open viewing, but require a bit more care afield, there is nothing wrong with the HUD display systems. I have used both sights for years, and both have served me well.
Much of my requirements have centered around night shooting however. If you're a night owl and need the night vision, go for the wide open HUD viewing system. If not, and if you hunt in very nasty environments, then the Aimpoint is the boss.