Red Dots Vs Holographic Sights: What’s Best for You?

Red Dots Vs Holographic Sights

1. Overview

Even if you are a new gun user and have merely seen the guns being used in movies and TV serials, you would know that when someone points the firearm, there appears either a red dot or a big ring. They both have the same objective: targeting the aim precisely!

But, how does one decide which sight to buy? Choosing between the red dot sight and a holographic sight could be tricky. Their history, features, and specifications often influence a buyer’s decision. In this article, we shall discuss the difference between these two in detail and which one you can get your hands on.

2. History of Red Dot Sights

History of Red Dot Sights

Though the red dot sights appear simple, they have a rich history! These sights have gone through a journey of transformation when compared to the traditional scope options. These reflector sights typically project the target image in the sight picture and can be used as a reticle and an aiming point. The single light source of the red dot sights connects with varied optical systems. They direct the light source tradition to the optics’ exit pupil. As a result, they turn the radiation of the light source into a red dot.

Also, don’t confuse them with laser as they appear like a laser but don’t work like them!

Invented by Howard Grubb, the red dots sights were initially very basic in appearance. They included only a few parts, including the lens, reflective glass, reflective material, and a small window. As these red dots became popular amongst gun enthusiasts, they started trusting them for better shooting experiences. The traditional dot sights made their aiming accurate and precise.

With time, the red dot sights became the most popular viewing window as electronic sights for shooters in accuracy and cost-effectiveness.

3. History of Holographic Sights

History of Holographic Sights

The holographic sights, just like the red dots sights, are used by the shooters for improved accuracy. It was invented in 1996 by EOTech. The EOTech holographic sight become popular in civilian shooting. A holo sight is well suited for hunting, and many shooters opt for it over the red dot sights

Still confused regarding the red dot vs holographic matter? Dont worry! By the end of this article, you will be clear about the features of both red dot sights and holographic sights.

4. Red Dot Sight vs Holographic Sight: What’s Best For You?


The main difference between the red dot sight and a holographic sight is not merely a dot or holographic reticle. Rather, the technology underlying these two sights makes a big difference. The traditional red dot sights come with a coated front glass. A beam is sent to this coated glass from the LED emitter, which is then reflected to the eyes. Comparatively, the holographic sight doesn’t come with the front glass like the red dot sight. Rather, it has a mirror sending the hologram to the eyes.

Compared to the regular iron sights learn how to use iron sights here that need a long technical process to view the target, the red dot sights and holographic sights require the shooter to place the reticle on the target simply. As a result, target acquisition gets faster and easier. Such sights save the battery life immensely, and aims are made efficiently.

Meanwhile, red dot sights are parallax-free and offer high accuracy. The dot is always parallel to the weapon’s bore, and the eyes’ angle to the sight doesn’t matter. Learn How to Bore Sight a Rifle Scope and augment your angle accuracy further!


These optics are durable and long-lasting. Due to their simple work technology, the red dot and holographic sights tend to endure a lot of pressure, especially the former ones. However, at the same time, it is also a reality that the more expensive a sight you buy, the more you will be able to keep it with you for the longest possible time. Temperature can affect the thermal drift of low-cost red dot sights. Various companies create long-lasting center dot and holo sights, including Trijicon, EOTech, and Aimpoint. Once you learn how to mount a scope properly, you will be able to save it from falling and getting damaged.


Both sights are powered in similar manners as their reticles are electronically powered. Their consumption of power comes in different manners. Some have battery power as the main power source, while others have solar energy as the main or backup power. Compared to the dot sight, the holographic sigh has a higher power consumption level, which makes it work for longer periods and has better battery life. The LED-based red dot sights surely work longer compared to others!


size of Red Dot Sight

Size and weight matter when using a sight, affecting the user’s efficiency. These two kinds of scopes don’t come in the same size! A high-quality holographic sight is much heavier compared to the red single-dot sight. On the other hand, the red dot sight is much smaller in size. Their size is appropriate even for a pistol! At the same time, the prism sights are bigger and bulkier compared to the reflex red dots.

Reticles (Color & Pattern)

Reticles of these sights come in two colors, red and green! The green reticle is a relatively newer option, and many holographic sights come with it. If it is nighttime and you are using night vision goggles, red would work better for you.

Regarding the pattern of these reticles, the 2 MOA dot aiming points are interchangeable. For mid-range shooting, they are quite appropriate.

Night Vision

The night vision feature while comparing red dots vs. holographic sights is crucial. You will naturally want a night vision-compatible scope if you love shooting during the night. The red dot sights, the expensive versions, come with a night sight setting and adjustable brightness. On the other hand, most of the holo sights do not have such a feature. If you are looking for a front sight that works well at night, you may have to do a lot of research to look for night sight-compatible items.

Field of View

The holographic technology works great when you look into the holographic optics while having a downrange vision. If target acquisition is crucial for you, you should opt for these sights as they offer a very sharp image of the target for projection.

In the same manner, a lot of red dot sight options offer a great field of view. Now it’s your personal preference which field of view you like! My personal experience, however, says that for a comfortable field of view with the red dots scopes, avoid the polarized glasses! Still struggling about how to level a scope? Learn it here!


The optics are not magnified, whether we talk about the red dot electronic sight or the halo ones. An extra magnifier can be used behind the sight, and once this is done, the red dot is magnified, but this doesn’t happen with the holographic sights.

Acquisition Speed

The red dot sights can slow your acquisition speed as your eyes will be focusing only on the red, slowing down your speed. On the other hand, the halo sights superimpose the target, bringing the reticle into the focus. Hence, tens of thousands of shooters go for the halo sights to quickly achieve and aim the targets at far and close quarters.

5. FAQs

Why are holographic sights so expensive?

The holo sight is a little expensive compared to the red dot sight. They become costly as they are a little more complex in terms of the technology used in them. Alongside this, currently, there are only two manufacturers of these sights, further augmenting the competitive prices of the holographic sights compared to the red dots sights. As far as it’s about the red dots, a reflex sight is an affordable option for shooters on a budget!

6. Final Thoughts

A thorough comparison between the red dot sights and holographic sights concludes that the former comes cheap for those with a tight budget while the latter is high-tech! On the other hand, if there is a need for fast acquisition of targets and speedy shooting, the hologram works best! For beginners, the moa dot sights are a great choice, and as they advance their skills, they can opt for complex versions!

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