Competition Optics Red Dot Sights Reviews

Holosun HS510C

There is no shortage of options when it comes to rifle optics. One of those options is an open emitter red dot sight with an extra large window, a doughnut of death, and an affordable price known as the Holosun HS510C.

Since I started competing with the PCC that Bear Creek Arsenal supplied me with I’ve started paying more attention to the PCCs that top competitors are using and how they set them up. One thing I noticed is that many of the top competitors use the Holosun HS510C, which I’ll refer to as the 510C, for their optic. There is usually a good reason behind seeing a product in common use by top competitors. That reason might certainly be that match sponsors provided those products for prize tables, but even when that’s the case those prize products wouldn’t be in common use if they weren’t any good. At any rate, Holosun has a reputation for making pretty decent products which are generally affordable. Furthermore, my curiosity got the best of me and so I decided to pick one up and see what they are all about.

What exactly is the 510C? It is an open emitter red dot reflex sight designed for long gun applications such as carbines (including pistol caliber carbines or PCCs) and shotguns. Street price for this optic fluctuates between $265 to $399, but has been typically around $305. While there are lower priced optics available, it’s still a fairly modest price and provides ample bang for the buck.

The complete package includes:

  • A pretty basic plastic foam-lined box wrapped in a four sided paper-based sleeve,
  • a manual for the Holosun HS510C series optic manual,
  • a warranty registration card,
  • a lens cloth,
  • an extra CR2032 battery tray,
  • a tear drop shaped adjustment and battery tray removal tool,
  • a T10 Torx wrench,
  • the red dot sight with a preinstalled CR2032 battery.

That’s essentially everything needed in order to mount this reflex sight to Picatinny rail on a long gun.

Time to walk the optic. Starting at the font we find the aluminum housing which houses the lens and electronics. The housing features a titanium hood which further protects the 0.98″ tall and 1.26″ wide multi-coated lens. That’s a really big window is arguably my favorite feature on this optic as it makes finding the multi-reticle dot exceptionally easy and fast to find when shouldering the long gun. Furthermore, the multi-reticle dot never leaves the window during recoil when the long gun is properly shouldered. We’ll discuss the multi-reticle dot in more detail shortly, but suffice it to say that the combination of the reticle and window size make this dot exceptionally well suited to rapid target acquisition, fast splits, and quick target transitions. Moreover, this makes the optic functionally suitable as a primary optic on long gun for home defense and competitive applications where there may be multiple targets at close distances (roughly 25 yards or less).

Along the left side at the bottom of the titanium hood we find the two operation control buttons. The button configuration and functions are identical to the operation buttons found on other Holosun reflex optics that feature a multi-reticle system. The one closest to the front is labeled with a plus symbol and the other is labeled with a minus symbol. When the optic is powered off, holding the plus button for three (3) seconds will turn the optic on. When the optic is on, a single press of the plus button increases the brightness whereas a single press of the minus button decreases the brightness. The optic features twelve (12) brightness settings. The two (2) lowest brightness settings are night vision compatible. The desired brightness setting can be locked in and unlocked by holding the plus button for three (3) seconds. Pressing and holding the minus button for three (3) seconds cycles through the reticle settings which include a 2 MOA dot only, a 65 MOA ring only, or both. Pressing and holding both buttons for three (3) seconds will turn the optic off.

On the opposite side of the optic also at the bottom of the titanium hood is the CR2032 battery tray. A couple of small screws with T10 Torx heads secure the battery tray in place. Even though the optic advertises a generous 50K hour battery life when the reticle is set to dot only mode and the brightness isn’t kept at a high setting, it’s a good idea to remember to keep a T10 Torx wrench or driver handy to change out the battery. For this reason, I like to keep a multi-driver tool pen in the range bag. However, some folks may not think that is necessary since right behind the titanium hood along the top of the optic is the fail-safe solar panel which is supposed to keep the optic powered when the battery dies. It’s a nice feature to be sure, but I would rather avoid relying on it as the ambient lighting may not be sufficient to maintain the desired brightness level or power the optic at all.

Behind the solar panel, we find the LED emitter which emits the multi-reticle dot, sometimes referred to as the doughnut of death, onto the back of the lens. A little further back we find the elevation adjustment dial (on the top side) and the windage adjustment dial (on the right side). The adjustment dials both have a travel range of plus or minus 50 MOA in 1/2 MOA increments. The increments have an audible click but aren’t very tactile which may make zeroing the optic challenging in noisy environments (such as a crowded indoor range).

Below the optic is the quick detach Picatinny rail mount which is designed to provide absolute co-witness or a dot height of 1.41″. I found the height to be on the low side for me. Even when I smash my cheek into the stock, the dot appears to be in the top third of the window. I’d rather have the dot closer to the center of the window. Not to mention I find that smashed cheek weld head position to be quickly fatiguing. Thankfully, a Holosun 510C spacer that raises the height of the dot by .22″ (or a lower 1/3 co-witness) is available.

Overall, my first impressions of the 510C are very positive. Granted I’m using this optic primarily for competitive PCC applications. However, I do think it would work very well in a home defense role. I’m hesitant to suggest it would do well in other applications. This is primarily because I think that emitter obstruction problems are more likely in other applications, especially on a rifle. I think an enclosed emitter red dot is better suited for those other applications. Something else to consider is that this red dot is on the big side. As such, I can’t imagine it lending itself well as a secondary sighting system. That said, I’m looking forward to abusing this optic in local matches and think that anyone looking for an affordable open emitter red dot as a primary optic for a long gun should put the Holosun 510C on their list of candidates.

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