It used to be the case that if you didn’t have a lot of money, there was no chance of being able to acquire a red dot optic that was tough enough for serious abuse, that had tremendous battery life, and that was lightweight. That all changed a few years ago when a new startup out of California decided to shake up the industry by offering extremely high-quality optics at prices that the common joe-blow could afford.
I’ll be the first to admit, I’m one of those guys. In my mind, I couldn’t justify spending more than $200 on a rifle scope, let alone a red dot, just to be able to go out and plink or maybe even participate in competition. So I did what anyone else in my position would do, buy a sub-par optic, go out and shoot with it a bit, suffer some of the many setbacks and get laughed at by all the oper8ters who had decent jobs and could afford a $600-$1000 Eotech setup on their $3000 rifle.
Thankfully, the guys who started Holosun saw that there was room in the market for their product, and brought that fantastic product in at a price that doesn’t make you have to decide on whether you want to default on your mortgage or not.
The Holosun comes in a nice little white package, with an iron sight co-witness height mount, which is great for the AR, as well as a low profile mount, which would work great on a gas tube mount on an AK. It also comes with two alan wrenches (one star patterned), a rubber lens cover set, and the only CR2032 you will ever need.
The side of the box reads the 4 primary features:
- Parallax-free with unlimited eye relief
- 2 MOA on dot size
- 50,000 hours battery life
- Limited Lifetime Warranty
The parallax-free/unlimited eye relief option is nice, a limited lifetime warranty is generally expected, 2 MOA started to get me excited, but the 50,000-hour battery life got me fully moist. All the cheap red dots I had gotten before that have used the same type of battery had usually died out if accidentally left on for 3-4 days. They are able to make the battery last this long through a few clever features; first, it has more efficient, power saving electronics, and second, it has an 8-hour auto shut off.
Over the course of two years, I have put this battery life to the test. The first six months I had it on my gun, I would take it out every day, and turn it on. After a while, that got boring, so I just remembered to turn it on whenever I had the gun out and was messing with it. Right now the red dot is on and just as good looking as it was when I first installed it.
While you can turn on the red dot by using the + or – buttons on top, the unit has an accelerometer that allows you to simply bump the red dot or the gun it is mounted on, it will sense that sudden movement and turn itself on to the last brightness level it was set at.
Have I given you enough to get excited about yet? Yes? Well, let me steal a little bit of that thunder. While it has a number of very attractive features, there is one flaw that, although fixable, is still disappointing to see this in a red dot that is trying to compete with other optics far above it in the price range.
The Holosun is relatively easy to sight in, especially with the windage and elevation covers that are notched to fit in the recess of the dials, and I was able to repeatedly hit small targets out to about 200 yards…for a while. And here is where all the great points about the Holosun become slightly less spectacular, because the most important issue, accuracy, is where this red dot ends up suffering thanks to one flaw. The screws.
You can see in the picture above where the screws in the base attach to the main body of the red dot. Though I have only put around 200-300 rounds of 7.62×39 through my AR, with this red dot attached the whole time, the screws came loose twice. I didn’t notice at first until my shots started becoming oddly inconsistent. When I grabbed ahold of the main body and twisted, slightly, there was a noticeable wobble. Using the provided star wrench, I torqued down the screws as much as I felt comfortable with, but over the course of time, they did become loose again. I do believe that this issue with the screws can be easily remedied by using a generous amount of blue Loctite, but I count this as a significant ding against the Holosun.
Overall, I believe that the Holosun is an acceptable offering for the price, which is around $167, but the issue with the screws should be seriously addressed in future models. The other features of the Holosun have proven themselves adequately and I think that this company still has a lot of potentials.