Holosun red dots review

First I need to state a few things. I pay full retail for all of my gear. No one gives me anything to review. Heck, no one knows who I am, but I’d gladly take gear and still post honest reviews. If what I’m sent sux I’d write that. But again, I’m sent nothing that I didn’t buy using my own money.

The second thing I need to state is that I have no connection whatsoever to Holosun. Unlike biteme and his China connection, I don’t collect graft or get any other kickbacks. Why is that important to know?

That brings me to the third item… the negative part of the review, where these optics are made, China. Yes, they are ChiCom. I wish they weren’t made there. I don’t like subsidizing our enemies. And the ChiComs are definitely not our friends.

OK so the reviews of 2 of their products. One is the HS515cm, of which I have at least 3. The other is the HS507c.

Here are links:
HS515cm: https://www.holosun.com/index/product/detail/id/143.html
HS507c: https://holosun.com/index/product/detail/id/183.html

Don’t believe the price shown for the 507c. Anyone would be a fool to pay $10k for one.

Both models use a cell to power it, and both also have the option of solar power. My choosing that wasn’t by chance.

The 515cm is a closed tube sight. I like closed tubes because there’s just nothing that can go wrong inside with the emitter. Mud can get on the outside lenses, but that can happen with any optic. It’s Mil’ Spec’ but that’s meaningless since it doesn’t state what military. It could be north Korean mil spec where they have fake guns for their military, just for show. But I’ve used the 515cm for a few years now and while I don’t crawl through the puckerbrush I do use them in competition and have thousands of rounds under one with zero problems. If I was at all unhappy with how it’s holding up I wouldn’t have 3 of them.

The adjustment caps are protected by the body itself.

It attaches to the rail with a really nice lever type 1/3 QD mount that locks the lever closed. To unlock it just push a button. Where does it get mounted on the rail? Anywhere, placement isn’t critical, so put it where it works best for you. It has no specific eye relief. Want it close to the eye, go for it. Want it out near the muzzle or in scout scope position? That works too. Why would you want it a bit away from the eye? To see what’s going on around you. That’s the way I have all of mine mounted. It just seems right to me, but you mount yours where it makes sense for you.

This model comes with a kill flash filter installed, but it can be removed and I have them removed on 2 of mine. I just haven’t decided yet on the 3rd which just arrived today. It also comes with clear end caps fore and aft that are hinged. The caps are “permanently” installed (nothing is permanent). But hinge open if that’s ever required. The kill flash filter is inside the lens cap. One of mine had ill fitting lens caps that would flip open all on their own when they got hot. I removed the worst offender (what was that about being permanent?) and the other isn’t as bad so it remains.

It does have a cell (battery) for power and that slips in from the side after being placed in the battery holder. Sight in isn’t disturbed since the sight isn’t removed to change it. The battery holder is also the cover for the slot and has an O-ring to seal the battery slot. There are extremely tiny Torx screws that hold the cover/holder closed and a special driver is included for them. Just in case it gets buggered up a 2nd holder/cover is included. Lose that tiny tool and you’re screwed (no pun intended), just don’t lose it.

To turn it on push either the + or - button on the side. to turn it off push both simultaneously.

Changing the cell… Well, it may never be required. The models I chose are powered by the sun when in Auto mode. Auto mode is only available with the circle dot reticle. (See the link above to save me lots of typing) In that mode the optic is powered by the available light and as the light gets brighter or dimmer the reticle follows it. The cell isn’t used in this mode, just the ambient light. In extreme darkness it’s said to have a NV setting. I have not tested that (yet). In manual mode both the circle/dot and dot reticles are available and brightness is adjusted using the + and - buttons. The dot has a 50k hour life when using the cell and the circle/dot has a 20k hour life. So at the worst, running it 24/7/365 that’s 833 days. But there’s more. It also has shake awake technology. Don’t touch the firearm that the optic is on for a few minutes and it turns off. Just jiggle it (it doesn’t take much!) and it comes awake at the last setting. I was skeptical about that at first, but it works every time.

How do I use mine? Why turn it off? Just keep it on and use the shake awake feature. If it’s needed for that bump in the night it’ll come on. I leave mine in Auto mode and never turn it off. Mine are on the critical rifles that I would grab in a SHTF scenario. That also means my competition PCC. Why? What if batteries are no longer available for an extended time? With the solar feature as long as there is light I have a red dot. No light? Well, open sights are no good then either, and it’s been many years since I could use open sights. But for young eyes open sights work great. They did for me too until I got to 40ish years old. Now I must have optics.

As I wrote I’ve used one for years on my 9mm competition PCC and it has worked flawlessly. I like this optic a lot.

One potential negative when using the auto feature, but it’s not a potential flaw of this sight alone. If the optic is in the dark and the target is in the light the reticle might not be bright enough. But that’s what manual mode is all about. It needs to be selected before it’s needed though since it takes a few seconds to get into it and adjusted. But during daytime and in competition outdoors and indoors the auto feature has been flawless. I just needed to point it out as a potential flaw.

The vert’/horiz’ caps have “slotted screwdrivers” molded into the outer surface and once they are removed the reason is obvious. They fit the adjustments below them. There is redundancy there as the tool supplied for the tiny Torx screws also has an end that fits the adjustment screws.

The packaging is really good. The plastic box it comes in is inside a snug fitting plastic(?) sleeve. The sight is cradled in a foam fitted insert. It comes with the required cell, 2 cell holder/covers, a torx bit wrench, a lense wipe, and the tool for the tiny torx screws for the cover/holder. It comes with a manual and for those who don’t read manuals there is a quick user manual.

In short it’s a really nice optic and if I didn’t like it alot I wouldn’t have purchased one over and over. It’s faults are very few with the biggest being, as I already wrote being ChiCom built.

OK, regarding the 507c, it’s much the same as the quality of the 515cm, so this is going to be short and sweet. I bought it based on my experience with the 515cm. I don’t remember if it’s claimed to be mil’ spec’ but I’m no longer mill spec, so that was never a consideration for me. It’s solar powered and has a cell. I keep it in the same “on” condition as the 515cm with shake awake. I’m not a huge fan of open “projected” micro red dots sights, but when they’re required they’re required. I bought it for a CP33 because the weight it added was meaningless. It has many of the same functions as the 515cm.

One of the things I don’t like with ALL open red dots is the potential to get crud covering the open emitter. But in the right application it’s close to meaningless. The odds of me ever getting mud or some such on the emitter is close to zero.

So far not many hours on it, but it works nicely and weighs almost nothing. Since it’s solar it’ll always work as long as there is light.

With the lever type QD mounts, so far I’ve found them to always return to zero after removal and putting them back in place as I do when I clean the guns. If they don’t return to zero the difference is so minute as to be meaningless for my usage.

In short, if you think I like these optics you’re absolutely correct. My biggest objection to them is as I already stated, they are made by the ChiComs.

Need an optic and think you won’t like to run out of batteries if the SHTF? I expect the sun to keep shining and if it doesn’t having a working sight is the least of our problems.


I have the 510c with the same features. I timed the shut off time at 12 minutes and the shake to wake is more like any motion will turn it on. You can’t touch the weapon with out it coming on. I will be getting two more for the Mini 14 and the shotgun.


@BrianK Great review Brian. Really good and thorough.


FWIW, I played musical sights today and the MRO that was on the 300BLK came off and the hs515cm went on*. I didn’t think I would get time to do that for awhile. It’s sighted in and in auto mode and right now is just waiting to be shaken awake. The shake awake feature is exactly why the MRO came off. One less thing to do if I need it in a hurry. I’ll probably take the Kill Flash filter out as well but I’m still undecided on that. The KF filter affects what I see for a target, it really screws up the definition.

edit: I made the decision. The kill flash is off. If I was an operator (I’m not) it might be worthwhile to keep in place. But for me, where I’ll use it at the range for load development and at worst when 2 legged vermin will know I’m there it just makes no sense. It took decent optics and screwed them up with no benefit for me that I could envision. So now the KF is off all 3 of my HS515cm units.

*Where did the MRO go to? After all, I did write musical sights, right? I have an overweight bullpup, a Desert Tech MDR which started life designed to be a 7.62, but mine is a .223 Wylde. The mass of the 7.62 parts are all still inside. It’s an anchor and doesn’t need more mass. I had a 30mm scope on it that added another 1 1/2# to it. The scope came off (QD lever mounts) and the MRO went on. I did buy a DT red dot for it, but it’s just a piece of garbage and I don’t have it on any firearm today; money spent and wasted. Maybe someday I’ll have a suitable POS that it will be superb mated to.


I stole a few of these from the other half, and keep them in my pack with a couple of green vegetable wide rubber bands for a flash kill should I ever need one.

BTW can’t tell you who taught me that… :sunglasses: