Item Of The Week : Holosun Optics: Are they the new best red dot on the market?

“If you know the enemy and know yourself, your victory will not stand in doubt; if you know Heaven and know Earth, you may make your victory complete.” Sun Tzu

Budget prepping is a difficult thing to do. After all, there is a difference between budget and cheap, inexpensive and cheap. Cheap by definition does not mean something is necessarily bad or of poor quality, however, with some things cheap is bad. Red dot technology has progressed light years beyond the first bulky Aimpoint, EOtech, and Trijicons. Obviously, Aimpoint as a company has maintained a seriously good reputation and continued to progress with the times, as has Eotech and Trijicon, however, their pricing reflects no shifts for markets unable to afford spending $600 – $2500 on a simple 1-4 power red dot styled optic.

My search for a less expensive optic commenced several years ago. I worked my way through Bushnell T series which functioned fine but were hit and miss at best. Eventually, I settled on the Bushnell AR scope series and decided to simply move on from the red dot phase. After all, a solid scope with excellent glass and comparable abilities to other more expensive brands will work in most cases. This didn’t mean I had no need for a red dot, after all, a solid red dot with a solid pair of backup irons is an amazing thing to have. Quick on target and easy to use, good red dots mean the difference between hits and misses in many arenas, especially combat related training and combat itself.

Over the past year I decided to do some research and look around again for a solid red dot under $500. I found several brand names, Vortex, AIM sports and even Bushnell had new offerings on the market. However, I was drawn to a relatively new company, Holosun©, this optic had serious potential. After dropping $170 on the HS403B found on Amazon, I received the well-wrapped package and mounting hardware. Two sets, a low riser and high riser were included. The high riser fit my carbine exactly as needed. Co-witnessed with my irons I took it out too the range and started testing.

After around 100 rounds I set the rifle to the side as there were other reviews that needed fulfilling and it held zero very well, so what more needed testing. As I leaned it against the carbine rack it smacked the crossbar on the way by and snap, the red dot came off. I leaned over and realized that the screw holding it too the gun had snapped off at the head. I finished my testing for the rest of the products and called Holosun on the way home. They assured me that they both new about the problem and apologized for the inconvenience this had caused, I asked if this was going to be an ongoing issue or if it was a simple flaw in this particular part of the design. The person I spoke with grabbed another individual who explained that the model I had received was the last in a first gen run and the new gen had much stronger hardware.

Upon arrival 3 days after the call, I installed the part and decided to test it too its breaking point. After all, nothing to lose at this point as the people I had spoken with assured me they would replace the entire unit free of charge if it happened again. I dropped tested it on dirt, grass and concrete from approximately 5 feet. I also decided to “accidentally” smack the red dot housing into a few items during my next test run. Needless to say it held firm and I have not had a breakage or issue since.

Though I doubt it will take a bullet to the casing as say an Aimpoint will, at 50,000 hours of battery life and with a VERY clear dot picture and glass as well as solid easy on when you pick the gun up, well I think this is my new best friend in the red dot world. They have different variations, shotgun patterning dots, circle over dot, plain jane red dot and all of the varieties can be had with a nifty solar-powered recharger put on the top if you want.

The company offers a limited lifetime warranty to the original owner, and their customer service is very expedient and quick to respond, a truly rare commodity in todays age of somewhat lackadaisic service. They are located in the USA, Walnut California, to be exact. They offer a 50,000-hour battery life, a variety of aiming products from lasers too red dots. In this case, my interest lying completely in their cost effective, efficient and extremely solid red dots. The HS507A is compatible with the standard RMR mount and the other red dots have a variety of mountings available with some specifically designed for Aks and others for Ars. Some options have a quick release mount and others a kill flash and other essential needs for red dots. The best part is their red dots run between $165 and $350 dollars and you can order from Amazon.

Now obviously I have not been able to test the veracity of the 50,000-hour battery life, however, the unit I have has been on and working clearly for well over 6 months without a hiccup. I have no doubt that the longevity is easily better than Bushnells offerings and Vortex. The price point allows budget preppers and shooters to have (as the company motto says) “A military grade optic at under military prices” now personally, I have not tested it in combat yet. However, it has preformed well through many tests it is NOT designed for. I do not recommend you treat your optics badly on purpose, that is my pleasure to do for you! Having family and friends still in the military this is the question I ask myself, “would I recommend this to them?”


It works very well, it will be ready for them when they need it, and will function with general abuse and function well. This being said, I am not the desk personnel from the Pentagon and it isn’t my job to accept money to pass along new products to our soldiers.

This being said, what are the pros and cons listed out?


  1. 50,000-hour battery life with optional solar panel for charging and auto adjustment in all light conditions.
  2. Multiple reticle styles and mount styles available.
  3. Crisp clear dot, brightness easily adjustable or set for auto adjust.
  4. Movement activated red dot when you pick up your firearm, the red dot comes on!
  5. Built for shotguns, rifles of many calibers and even handguns.
  6. Limited lifetime warranty.


  1. They are a relatively newer company, so not as much time to evaluate and test as other more established companies.
  2. They have had some issues with mounts, however, this is being addressed and is easily fixed, upgraded with a call too their customer service.

Overall, this is a product I definitely recommend and run on my carbines now. MD Creekmore also has one and here is what he says, “I bought this sight a couple of weeks ago and mounted it on my Colt M4 and so far I’ve been very impressed and agree with everything Jesse has said here in his review. I have an Aimpoint and an EOTech on two other AR’s and the Holosun HS503GU (the model that I have) is just as good as either one of those for half the cost. ”

Free the mind and the body will follow…

About Jesse Mathewson

Arizona since 86', lifetime prepper, camper - criminal justice advanced degrees, numerous certifications, 1+ million rounds (shooting for decades), prior contractor, instructor, current volunteer, disabled, honest, father of two husband of one - all budget and prepared. Jesse Mathewson reviews because regular people need someone in their corner as well!


  1. Jesse Mathewson says:

    Absolutely love it, picking another up for my AKM as well. Getting the circle dot one with solar backup – cant wait for it to get here

  2. The fact that MD and you endorse this optics is enough for me. I have the Vortex Sparc AR, very nice but only a 600 hours battery life. And the Holosun function that activates the red dot when you grad your weapon is Avery useful, time saving feature. This is especially useful for dealing with things that go bump in the night at zero dark thirty. I am picking one up shortly. Thanks again for the review.

    • Jesse Mathewson says:

      Honestly, I was very surprised and happy, everything is clear and works well. Very good optic – glad you found it helpful!

  3. Just Brad says:

    Great review and good info!

    Thank You!

  4. Jesse:

    Since you and MD endoreced this, and the fact that I got a killer deal on the 503CU w/the extra high riser, I’m giving this a try.

    I’m looking for a quality optic that is light weight.

  5. JM, how much does parallax affect the accuracy? I notice it sets rather high.

    • Jesse Mathewson says:

      It seems high due to size, this model is quite similar to a micro- from aimpoint. – absolutely cowitnessed with irons- now if you ran it by itself or on an akm, you can use low riser and drop it down short.

      Accuracy is great, when you see the dot, thats where the bullet is going (plus or minus depending on where you sight it in at/ I sight my 5.56 at 50 yards/ basically equal 200 and 1 inch lower under 50/ 1 inch higher between 50 and 200

  6. Educate me a bit, please. I have used scopes on my hunting rifles, but am new to ARs. My AR has iron sights, is the basic purpose of the red dot to enable me to get on my target faster?

    I’ve been considering a Nikon p-223 or UTG Leapers Bug Buster, what advantage would a red dot have over these?

    • I easily ping steel at out too 500 yards at the local range using a red dot, and both eyes open. Red dots allow for fast target acquisition, both eyes open with handguns, carbines and you will find reaction/action times improve dramatically.

      Ohio Prepper and myself teach, I am positive he can teach better than I, however if you are in the Southwest I do teach and do so free of official charge, I’m not a business- but do have numerous certification’s

  7. Good article Jesse.
    I’m good-to-go with dot sights for use with my AR-platform firearms, Aimpoint M4, Bushnell TRS-32, and a great flexible Trijicon 1-4X accupoint.
    The only AR I don’t have a dot-sight for is an older Armalite AR-15 carbine with a A2 fixed carry handle.
    Jesse, how do you see a Holosun being mounted on a fixed carry handle?
    Is it doable?

  8. Well, here’s my 2-bits worth:

    Today I recieved my Holosun sight. I got the HS503CU. It is black with the 2 MOA dot/65 MOA circle.

    It has all the features pointed out in the article plus one that is important to me, a built in LED solar charging panel. Battery failure is something that always worries me (all though being rated at 50,000 hours is a long time).

    A couple of other points. Have a #0 phillips screw driver handy to install the battery. Mine has a very tight fitting slide-in battery plate (takes a small straight blade to get open), and the screws are small!

    I does come with both an installation wrench (looks like an allen/spline wrench that comes with Leopold rings/mounts), a tool for removing the battery cover, a spare slide/cover for the battery compartment, and a rubber slip-over “bikini-style lens cover.

    It comes with 2 mounts for different heights. The high one is installed on the sight and co-witnesses perfectly with the flip up sights on my Ruger SR556. I ordered the extra high sight also, but it will go back.

    Mine was a little more expensive at $189, shipping included. I look forward to the DW’s opinion and putting it through it’s paces, although I may go with the lesser expensive one in the future. So far, I’m impressed; it even comes in a study plastic reusable box.

  9. Justin Schmidt says:

    Man I can’t wait to put one of these on my 300blk pistol! Used eotech, aimpoint, trijicon in the army. Loved my eotech. Was never a fan of the aimpoints 2moa dot. Now that I’m retired I see absolutely no reason why I need a 500-700 optic. It makes zero sense. Unless you are military or police there’s really no point. I hate that people bash these sights. It’s really all you need spend the extra 500 bucks on ammo, or another gun, or training. I like to keep life simple. Great read btw!

    • Jesse Mathewson says:

      Just picked up my third one…both of the other two are still plugging away, have one on an AR pistol, a carbine and now an AK-
      Honestly havent had a single issue with them. Most of the whiners dont actually have one I have found, but they love the Primary Arms Optics… (made by Holosun) 🙂

      • Jesse Mathewson says:

        The low mount will cowitness with the aks sights….or so ive been told 🙂

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