This was an early holographic type of sight offered by Bushnell optics. This same sight has lasted for quite some time and is still built to this day.
Of late, the folks at EOTech have moved into conventional rifle scopes as well. The industry seems to have no upper limits.
Sit in the cockpit of an F-16 or drive a Corvette down the highway and you will know at once what a “HUD” display is all about. Heads up, the lens of a "Holo" sight has been around for a while. It has been used on both AR platform weapons and handguns for starters.
The holographic sights allow the shooter to shoot with both eyes open and simply line up a dot or other configuration of the sight on a target. Then, turn loose some lead down-range.
Burris FastFire 3
Burris FastFire 3
Vortex Razor AMG UH-1
Vortex Razor AMG UH-1
Sightmark SM2600 SDE
Sightmark SM2600 SDE
Simple is the word---with an easy to use learning curve. These are popular sights among both novice and professional shooters.
Table Of Contents
Best Holographic Sights for the AR15
1. Burris FastFire 3
This HUD display sight is one that has been selected by Benelli shotguns as a part of the very high end SBE II in a Turkey Special. I just reviewed the gun and sight for a major publication and, as such, found it to be ultra solid as a game sight, with very good options as a gun fighter's sight as well.
Shooting coyote loads, slugs for deer, or heavy turkey loads on the grand birds was made easy by way of this sight. This FastFire, as its name implies, is quick to mount and shoot. The HUD display comes up clear and fast and allows the shooter to gain a center impact point very quickly.
The sight is ultra lightweight and when applied in the field it seems as though it is not even on the gun.
The brightness sensor system on the sight is automatic and functions with the available light outside the sight system. In low or bright light, the sight will adjust to your needs. For locating a target, the sight comes with a choice of 3 MOA dots, or a larger 8 MOA viewing surface.
The larger one is better for combat related shooting at close targets when speed is deadly and very critical to the shooter. The smaller one is better for a hunter wanting to see around his or her target surface.
The mounting system on this sight is the standard Weaver-style Picatinny rail. This makes it a snap to mount on many hunting models of handguns, or rail systems attached to shotguns or rifles. When adjusting for windage or elevation, no tools are necessary.
The sight is dirt simple. It carries a total of 86 MOA in full windage adjustments, and elevation correction as well.
2. EOTech XPS2 Holographic Weapons Sight
This is a high end HUD display sight that uses a 68 MOA outer ring with a centered 1 MOA red dot. Like other heads up display models, this one is combat-ready for the military or the police, and is popular among hunters too.
The base mount is Weaver-style and will tie down on any handgun hunter with a rail system, an AR-15 with a Weaver top rail, or scatter gun in a combat mode that again carries the Weaver base rail. Mounting time is about 30 seconds with some light practice.
Like others, these sights are very lightweight and compact. They will not get in the way if packed tight to the body in an entry situation, or when coming out of a drag bag or field case.
The sight has a total of 20 fully adjustable brightness settings. That is enough to cover any lighting situation in the field, or in police/military service. Even if damaged, the sight will still function if any amount of window is still visible.
This is a mil-spec weapons sight first and a sporting sight second, and it carries a full 10-year warranty.
As a side note, I have used the HUD sight for late evening and even night hunting with the aid of lights. These sights are dependable, lightweight, and can take a pounding
My current HUD sight has been on a 22 LR Ruger for more than 25 years, and is still sending the mail accurately when on the trail for raccoon, beaver, or other critters along a stream well after dark.
3. Eotech 512 Holographic Sight
EOTech is a company that bought into the Holo sight through Bushnell Optics some years ago. The company is a leader in military-type holographic sights. They advanced the Bushnell brand design to what it is today.
This sight uses a 68 MOA ring with a center 1 MOA dot. This is almost a standard with a combat-style Holo sight nowadays. It has a flexible Weaver-style mount, is easy to get to and simple to use on a wide variety of AR-15 platform styles.
The unit is adjustable for brightness. This is very important because day or night shooting require different levels of amplified light across the red dot/circle surface. Too much light in a low light situation will blank out the target. Too little light and the dot will be hard to align with the target.
The EOTech 512 illustrated here retains up to 20 light intensity settings. This can meet any requirement of the combat shooter, general plinker on a Sunday afternoon, or hunter. The system provides for both day and night vision modes.
Water resistant to a submerged depth of 10 feet, the sight could be regarded as mil-spec in terms of survivability in the field.
This sight with all its levels of adjustment is state of the art in HUD sight technology. It uses simple 1.5 volt AA batteries.
The spec includes the optical transmission Holo, parallax-free, magnification X1, eye relief unlimited, sealed fog-proof internal optics, and sight adjustment of one-click per 0.6 MOA (½ inch) at 100 yards.
The housing material is one-piece aluminum. The system is built to last a very long time.
4. Holosun HS510C Holographic Sight
This Holosun holographic sight offers the use of both dot reticle and a ring style sight. This sight is state of the art in terms of its design and retains a built in a solar power energy source. I believe taken from the ACOG military development this unit also makes use of advanced LED technology.
When you combine the use of a battery as a backup and a solar energy function, you have a unit that will run 50.000 hours in terms of field operation according to the manufacturer. With a wide, unlimited field of view and the use of high-quality optical glass as part of its reticle design, this is a grade A unit by all standards.
Reticle aim point/dot measures 2 MOA. The outer, second ring measures 65 MOA. This makes for easy sight in pickup against a moving target or static subjects.
Built of titanium as a one-piece unit, this sight is indestructible as a professional adaptive system on a police or military AR-15/M-4 class weapons system.
Non-professional shooters will also like this unit when used in three gun competition games and in most forms of close quarter shooting. This unit is a “gunfighting” sight system.
5. Vortex Razor AMG UH-1
This is a newer entry to the HUD optical range of sights. The Vortex engineers learned from the past and built a totally new unit for the most part.
This Vortex “ Razor” is a paradigm in holographic sight construction. The system makes use of very high-quality, energy-efficient systems that have no moving parts.
The sight picture based on the glass used in this sight is outstanding in terms of quality. The reticle delivers zero distorted features on a target surface. What you see is what you can shoot.
When using this system eyepiece, glare and stray light are eliminated completely.
The Vortex Razor AMG UH-1 retains a very efficient battery unit that can be recharged by way of an onboard USB port when rechargeable batteries are used. Or, you can just change out standard dry cell batteries over time.
6. Sightmark SM2600 SDE
This is the Ultra Shot M-Spec HOLO sight by Sightmark. This field reflex sight is designed to be fast and work quickly as a room/structure clearing system, street fighting tool, or gaming system for three gun and others. As a close range sight, it is designed to meet the task when used with the best AR 15.
This holographic weapon sight is parallax corrected and scratch resistant in terms of the lens system. The sight retains unlimited eye relief with an illuminated red circle as a sight base.
The main housing is made up of a cast magnesium material. This unit measures 6X4X2 inches and weighs one pound. The available colors include flat dark earth or matte black.
The eliminated brightness reticule makes use of a 1 MOA dot and as such becomes a ranging tool. It covers a 5' 9” man's vitals at 100 yards. The issue with these systems among hunters is that they block too much target surface at any extended ranges.
Accuracy in terms of placing shots on vitals becomes compromised. In effect, these are combat sighting systems and best used over other sight systems for close range work.
Recoil rating on this optical system is very high. The sights have been attached to the 50 BMG successfully as applied to field use.
This sight uses a common R2/3V lithium battery and will return 90 hours on the high setting and 1000 hours of working life using the lower energy setting.
Operating temperature will be from -22 -F. to +160 – F. The total range of sight adjustment is 120 MOA.
7. Vortex Venom
The Vortex Venom sight is like a HOLO display in that I uses a single window with a red dot 3 MOA aim point that is set by windage and elevation adjustment controls. This is a rapid target acquisition sight and will still provide precise aiming within its proper range reference.
This optical system makes use of an all aluminum housing that is one piece constructed. The optical glass is high quality and is fully coated for protection.
It offers a clean wide field of view for both eyes open shooting. You see the target and area on both sides as well.
The power controls are located on the left side of the sight making it easy for the right-handed shooter that wants to maintain target visuals while changing the light intensity an easy task. This unit has 10 total brightness levels for the various light conditions in the field.
This system also has an auto ambient light sensor control that alters light handsfree for the shooter. This is an optional control and need not always be applied to adjusting the point of the red dot optic for ar 15.
Range adjustment controls are easy to use and retain a 1 MOA level of adjustment per click. Battery install is very fast and simple. The unit uses a CR1632 lithium battery that is commonly found in stores. The installation and use of an AR riser are recommended with this sight.
8. Eotech-HHS EXPS2 Magnifier Combo
The EX-PS2 Magnifier Combo makes this HUD display sight an effective long-range system. The combination of the EOTech Holographic sight Hybrid sight with the G33 magnifier enhances the capabilities of the total sighting package. With the 3X increased magnification system, the weapon's sight range is extended greatly.
The click value is ½ MOA. The battery life is 600 hours when on a selected setting of 12.
The total system weight is 22.4 ounces. The unit has a black matte finish
Specs associated with the sight are the same as those listed for the EOTech optical systems. The magnifier allows a second green dot sight that is user-friendly in bright light conditions. This sighting system does not provide a night vision mode.
9. EOTech Blackout / Whisper HOLO sight XPS2-300
Heads up gun sights are increasingly evolving due in part to the advancements in ordnance systems. The AR-15 is not just a .223 Remington chamber rifle any longer.
There are many sights that will accommodate other chambering as applied to the M-16, AR-15, and M-4 weapons systems.
This holographic weapon sight was developed with the tactical shooter in mind. Those who participate in three gun and other related combat games, as well as law enforcement and military personnel, will like this optical system. It is a good fit for budget AR-15 shooters in general.
The sight allows the user two different ballistic reticles that work well with both standard velocity ammunition and sub-sonic loads as well. The 300 BK is known as a door building entry style weapon in some cases with sub-sonic (quiet ammunition applications).
Offered in the XPS2 platform, this is the shortest and smallest sight package available in the HUD style sight system today. Again, developing sighting units for the 21st-century warfighters as well as general AR-15 shooters.
10. Trijicon RMR
This 6.5 MOA LED RMR adjusts for light level automatically. No controls or buttons to push here. This is a self-contained/built in system. As light changes so will the reticule value. There is not a single light adjuster to be found on this optical system.
This unit has a very dependable electric design. The sight is a harsh conditions survivor without question. After all, it is a Trijicaon product.
From years of field experience, I can tell you this is top of the pile when it comes to special grade A gear whether being used for gun fighting or hunting game.
The housing is made of aluminum and is designed to push stress away from the housing center and maintain the integrity of the total system. The sight retains a “ True Color” system and will bring back area colors as they are out ahead and around the sighted object
As a final note, this sight retains adjustable windage and elevation clicks to 1 MOA per click.
What is a Holographic Sight?
The Holo sight dates back to the heads up display on a jet fighter's windscreen. Known as HUD, this system transfers the image the sight sees through its electronics to the small sight screen in line with the pilot's line of sight.
When it comes to firearms, the system has not changed much, save for the fact that the shooter gets a red dot and ring in most cases that is eliminated in the small glass window in the position where the scope sight would normally be mounted.
While the jet fighter sight is complicated with other information being transmitted to the HUD display at all times, the gun sight system needs only to maintain the ring and dot symbol centered in the window of the sight.
Holographic Sights vs Red Dots
The HUD display sight is faster then a scope or red dot, easier to pick up in low light conditions, and as a combat sight very effective when clearing rooms or in other close-quarter shooting situations.
For example, a home-defense situation with the aid of backup iron sights can make the difference in winning a gun fight or going the other way.
As you can see, even though I use both systems I favor the HUD display if I have a choice, as long as my targets are not long-range. When that occurs, it's reticle glass and crosshair time, without question.
How does a holographic sight work?
When asked what the difference is between a red dot sight and this HUD display sight, the clear and obvious answer is that the red dot acts like a rifle scope, and when viewing through the sight, you see only what the reticle picks up beyond the scope.
In other words, your overall viewing area is limited. This limitation can result in not seeing incoming targets from one side or another, or getting a clear unobstructed view of a target that steps in at a close-range. Let’s say point blank, for example.
The HUD display allows complete viewing of everything around the sight and in front of it. All you're doing is observing a hologram image on the glass, and after that everything around it is totally visible.