Holographic sights and reflex sights (also referred to as red dot sights) are two of the most popular types of sighting mechanisms to be used in firearms. At first glance, the differences between the two sights might not be apparent to shooters.
Though they look pretty similar, a holographic sight is a type of a reflex sight, but a reflex sight may not be a holographic sight. In the sense of functionality, they are same like they create an illuminated aiming point which allows the shooters to see the target for accurate shot placement. The design of reticle and how it is generated and, projected image and also the sights form factor all are the differences between reflex and holographic sights. However, there are many variations between these two types of sights. So what are these differences? Read on to find out which sight would be best for your firearm.
Reflex vs Holographic Sights
Shape and Size
First of all, there is a difference between the shapes of holographic and reflex sights. Holographic scopes are slimmer in shape when compared to reflex sights, as the former does not require a similar type of focal length because of its internal mirror configuration. Holographic sights are less than 0.5 inches in width and have a square viewing window that lacks depth. All the other components are contained in the optic base that is located nearest to the scope mount.
Reflex scopes, on the other hand, have a tube-like configuration. Shooters who make use of magnified sights need to have familiarity with these sights in order to achieve best results. It should also be noted that magnified sights, such as the EOTech Magnifier, are quite shorter in length. There is an objective lens contained inside the cylinder-shaped tube which is generally about 2 inches in length with a diameter of around 30 mm. The elevation and windage knobs are placed on the top and the bottom of the cylindrical tube for ease of control.
It is commonly known that reflex sight reticles are more adaptable in both color & shape compared to holographic sights. Reflex sights can have a crosshair, ring or single point shape and can be red or green in color.
In a holographic sight, the reticle seems to hover downrange when you look through the sight’s optic window which actually reduces parallax considerably close to zero. If you are looking for the best holographic sight, I would recommend the EOTech 512. The most famous types of holographic sights that come from the stable of EOTech comprise of a one-of-a-kind reticle with an incredible 65 MOA (minute of angle) ring with a central 1 MOA dot.
Although both holographic and reflex sights can be used for any type of shooting and last for a long while, the red dot sight can provide you with more benefits. The LED of reflex scopes can draw a current of 0.6 mA, and even the low-cost ones can run for a span of around 50,000 hours.
A holographic sight has a lower battery life and can last for 500-1000 hours due to the fact that it uses a laser, which can draw a current of 200 mA. Because a holographic sight hogs more battery power compared to the reflex sight, it is recommended that you turn it off in order to prevent unnecessary loss of battery power when you are not using the sight. Common sense!
Use of laser in the Projection System
Now, this might seem a little complicated but this is a key difference between Reflex and Holographic Sights. A reflex sight makes use of the objective lens and an LED (light emitting diode) to project the reticle in the sight window. It does this by working as a partial mirror that reflects light from the LED back into the shooters vision.
On the other hand, the holographic sight makes use of a laser diode and mirrors to project a holographic reticle that is etched into the viewing window. A holographic sight reticle’s brightness can be adjusted meaning it is very simple to adjust when lighting levels change. This is a key advantage of the holographic sight.
The cleanliness of image is the most important aspects at the time of the shooting. Because, if the shooters cannot see the picture clearly, he cannot shoot accurately on the target.
For the projection technology, holographic sight gives the clear and bright image whereas reflex sight displays an obscure image.
Choosing Short chart comparison between Holographic vs Reflex Sight
|Type||Holographic sight||Reflex sight|
|Design||Typically square shaped||Typically tube shaped|
|Reticle||Cross hairs||Dot style|
|Battery||Shorter battery life||Long battery life|
|Magnification||No magnification||No magnification|
|Parallax||Highly minimal||Requires to be considered|
Frankly saying, holographic sight is superior as its performance than reflex sight. However, holographic sight means for close quarter battle environments, which also includes reliable resistances to dust and water. When you need pinpoint targeting accuracy, holographic sight is best. On the other hand, reflex sight target accuracy won’t limit dot visibility from any range. But, it is popular for use in shooting sports, on the pistol, and in military applications.
Above all, now it is easier to you to understand by reading this article about the basic differences between reflex sight and holographic sight, and making you decide to buy which one is better for you for your right choice.