The HS510C is consistently compared to EOTech’s holographic sights. From the way it looks to its reticle, it’s no wonder many mistakenly dub the HS510C a holographic sight.
To clear up the misconceptions and to provide practical comparisons of both optics, I weigh up the differences and similarities in my Holosun HS510C VS EOTech EXPS3 comparison review.
I specifically compare cost, red dot sight type, reticle, illumination, battery runtime, size, mounts, and special features.
By the end of this, you’ll know enough of the differences to determine which is best for you!
Quick Comparison Overview & Table
The EOTech EXPS3 is a high-quality optic with matching performance that has met my expectations as a duty-grade holographic sight. It’s pricey compared to the Holosun HS510C but features Shake Awake, an industry-best battery runtime, and a back-up power source in case of battery failure.
Though there are similarities at first glance to the reticle, HUD design, size, and mounting systems, the differences are in the fine details. Knowing what these are will narrow down the margins as to which one you prefer.
By the way, if you want to learn more about each optic in detail, you can read my hands-on reviews here:
|Features||Holosun HS510C||EOTech EXPS3|
|Price Range||Under $350||Under $750|
|Reticle||2 MOA dot/65 MOA circle dot reticle||1 MOA dot/68 MOA ring|
|Adjustment Value||0.5 MOA||0.5 MOA|
|Illumination Settings||10 DL/2 NV||20 DL/10 NV|
|Battery Life||20,000-50,000 hours||1000 hours|
|Battery Compartment||Side loading||Side loading|
|Dimensions||3.3 x 2.3 x 1.8”||3.8 x 2.3 x 2.9”|
|Weight||5 oz||11.2 oz|
|Mount Type||Quick release locking lever||Quick detach|
|Special Features||Multiple reticles, Solar Failsafe, Shake Awake||Auto-off, 1 MOA center dot, Hard case, Made in USA|
Feature Comparisons of the Holosun HS510C VS EOTech EXPS3
Overall, the EOTech EXPS3 is a true holographic sight and is more than double the cost of the Holosun HS510C. The 510C is more affordable as it’s a reflex red dot sight that is often compared to EOTech’s HWS sights for its similar reticle and HUD design.
When it comes to affordability, the Holosun 510C is cheaper. This could be the sole reason that it’s bought more often than the EOTech.
Winner: Holosun HS510C
Red Dot Sight Type
The Holosun HS510C is a reflex red dot sight that incorporates minimal lenses and an LED to reflect a reticle back to the eye. The EOTech EXPS3 is a holographic sight that uses a laser diode to illuminate a hologram of a reticle that is sandwiched between glass.
Generally, ‘red dot sights’ is a catch-all term for reflex, prism, and holographic sights for their iconic reticles. This can be anything from red, green, amber, or gold illumination to dot, chevron, horseshoe reticles and combinations of all the above.
However, prism sights or prism scopes are generally better for those with astigmatism – even over best holographic sights too. Additionally, EOTech is adamant that holographic sights are not red dot sights, but for simplicity’s sake, they're commonly categorized under the red dot umbrella.
There is a culture that deems holographic sights are at the top of the red dot sight food chain. It’s true that more expensive technology and components are used to make them. Though the EXPS3 can easily win out in this section, people will go with an alternative RDS type for affordability and vision compatibility. With this perception, it’s a matter of personal preference and is a tie.
Get more info on holographic versus red dot sights here.
The optical quality between the EOTech EXPS3 and the Holosun 510C is not a competition. Though the Holosun performs very well, the dichroic coating (blue or green tint) is obvious, and in the right conditions, reflections of the LED housing can be seen.
The sight picture through the EXPS3 is exceptional. It’s clear, I don’t get reflections or glare, and the color fidelity is as close to natural as it can be.
One thing to consider is that the illumination cannot be seen downrange. With the holographic sight, the laser diode is not visible through the front lens. This is important for those who want ultimate stealth and covertness.
Especially with HUD (Heads Up Display) red dot sights, the LED is visible through the front lens down range. Though it’s really only visible in absolute dark conditions or at very close ranges when positioned just right, it’s a good difference between red dots and holographic sights to note.
Winner: EOTech EXPS3
Both the EOTech EXPS3 and Holosun HS510C are well made. The Holosun is made in China while the EXPS3 is made in the USA - Michigan state to be exact. There is a preference for Made in America products, and EOTech certainly delivers to this buyer demographic.
The 510C and the EXPS3 are both waterproof. The Holosun has an IP67 rating that tells me that it’s dustproof and can be submerged up to 1 meter for at least 30 minutes. This is more than enough protection for hunting and realistic conditions seen in both range use and law enforcement.
The EXPS3 doesn’t have a spec rating for this, but I’ve submerged it in a super full washing machine and left it there, and I’ve also been caught in a storm and zeroed it in the rain. EOTech does state that it can be submerged to a depth of 33 feet. Though there is no dust rating, it is nitrogen-purged for fogproof protection, so it’s airtight. I’d say that its IP rating would be IP68 at least.
Both sights have a protective frame around the display housing. This does add to its overall bulk that is especially true of the EXPS3.
I think what really tips the edge over to the EOTech is that as a holographic sight, the front lens could break, and you’d still be able to use the reticle. If the front lens on a reflex sight were to break, the 510C is done for.
Though I think both are rugged optics and priced appropriately for the quality, the EOTech is combat-proven and is built like a tank.
Winner: EOTech EXPS3
In total, the reticles between the EOTech EXPS3 and the Holosun HS510C are similar. They’re not identical though, and the differences are in the details. The EXPS3-0 has a 1 MOA center dot and a 68 MOA ring. The 510C has a 2 MOA center dot and a 65 MOA circle.
Precision shooters and those who will use it with a magnifier will be picky about the size differences between the reticles.
1 MOA is smaller than 2 MOA and covers up only 1” at 100 yards versus 2” at the same distance. Add a 3x magnifier to both, and the EXPS3 dot is now only 3 MOA in size versus the 6 MOA dot in the 510C. I should make it clear that subtension remains the same! So, even with a magnifier, it’s still only covering up 1” and 2” at 100 yards because the target is also magnified.
Another point of judgement between the sights includes a special feature in the Holosun 510C. It has multiple reticles. The default reticle is the 2 MOA dot and 65 MOA circle while the other two are a 2 MOA dot without the circle and a 65 MOA circle without the dot.
This is one of those features where you can pick and choose the aiming reticle appropriate for the application.
As far as deciding a winner, I personally stick to one reticle even though my HS510C offers three reticles. With that preference, I’d upgrade to the 1 MOA center dot in the EOTech sights, and it’s still small even with use of a magnifier.
Winner: EOTech EXPS3
In general, those with astigmatism or who are near or far sighted can experience dot anomalies with red dot sights. This is also applicable with holographic sights. Light does not meet at the same focal plane within the eye causing a reticle to appear as double dots, clusters, smears, etc.
The reticle in the Holosun 510C was sharp but I was getting double dots when there should’ve only been one. I don’t have astigmatic eyes, but being far-sighted, I experience dot abnormalities just like those with astigmatism do. With the Holosun sight, I can make it work without my glasses.
With the EXPS3, it’s true that holographic reticles are pixelated and sometimes you can see it. The way to fix reticle clarity in the EXPS3 is to turn down the illumination (if needed) and focus on the target – the reticle sharpens right up. By the way, this is the correct way to use red dot sights!
As far as the EOTech and astigmatism, that center dot was a smear at its worst at long ranges (100+ yards) and especially if I focused on it. I opted not to correct for it with my glasses because it made the target slightly blurry for me. My LEO buddy who was with me during one range trip has astigmatism and had to keep his glasses on. With his specs, the anomaly he saw cleared right up.
When it comes to working with either red dot sight, my experience is about equal regarding reticle aberrations and being far-sighted.
To learn more about astigmatism and red dot sights, check out our guide on the issue!
Adjustments & Turrets
The Holosun HS510C and the EOTech EXPS3 both have 0.5 MOA adjustments. This provides a little more precision than red dot sights with 1 MOA adjustments. Out of the box and to date, the Holosun HS510C performs well with tactile clicks and tracks accurately.
Unfortunately, the EXPS3 was flawed out of the box. Though I have positive clicks with clockwise adjustments, counterclockwise adjustments were a bit soft. EOTech told me that there could be some debris on a coil spring that lies beneath the turret dial and some WD-40 can clear it.
It tracks excellently and I honestly don’t have any problems with it. I also suspect that maybe this is unique to me. Even so, because the HS510C performed excellently out of the box, Holosun gets it.
Winner: Holosun HS510C
The illumination can be described as bright in the EOTech EXPS3 and the Holosun HS510C. The illumination in the Holosun is powered via the battery or the solar panel but is not daylight bright. The EXPS3 offers multiple illumination settings and is daylight bright.
It’s quite impressive that the HS510C has a fail-safe illumination system made possible with the integrated solar panel. Though it’s not as bright as battery powered illumination, it’s still nice to have for the just-in-case moments. It has 10 daylight settings and two night vision compatible settings. This is about standard for most red dot sights.
The EXPS3 has 20 daylight settings that are more than enough for every lighting condition and terrain. For those running night vision gear, the holographic sight has 10 night vision compatible settings. I don’t think there is a red dot sight that can compete with that.
Winner: EOTech EXPS3
The power source has a lot to do with battery runtime. Without a power source to provide illumination, the red dot sight cannot be used. The Holosun HS510C has an advantage with the built-in solar panel. As a holographic sight, the EOTech EXPS3 can’t provide the same battery runtime benefits.
What is nice is that both the EXPS3 and the HS510C have side-loaded battery compartments. There’s no need to dismount the optic from the firearm. Both sights require a tool to gain access to the battery compartment. I suppose you wouldn’t need one with the EXPS3, but I like to tighten it with a flathead screwdriver for extra security – it also means I need a flathead to open it.
They each take different power sources. The EOTech sight requires a CR123A battery while the Holosun sight takes a CR2032 battery. Both are provided by the manufacturer in the box.
Since the EOTech requires a lot of power to function, it eats through batteries much faster than the Holosun. It has a runtime of approximately 1000 hours. To conserve battery usage, the EXPS3 will automatically shut-down after eight or four hours – depending on the button that is pushed to activate illumination.
The runtime with the simple HS510C and CR2032 battery is a lot more impressive with 50,000 hours. This is no contest – the Holosun wins it.
Winner: Holosun HS510C
Size & Weight
Overall, the Holosun HS510C is more compact than the EOTech EXPS3. The HS510C is 3.3 x 2.3 x 1.8” in size. The EXPS3 is 3.8 x 2.3 x 2.9” in size. The bulkiness of the EXPS3 can be forgiven as it has a large 1.2 x 0.85” window providing a wide FOV and an excellent overall build.
The HS510C has a 0.9 x 1.2” (approx.) window and weighs approximately 5 oz, but I’m sure it weighs a little more than that with the mount. It doesn’t feel like 5 oz in the hand. Either way, it’s still lighter than the EXPS3.
Winner: Holosun HS510C
The EOTech EXPS3 and the Holosun HS510C come with quick release mounts. The quick detach mount on the holographic sight is unique to the “E” series of HWS sights. The XPS series do not have quick detach mounts. Not all Holosun sights have quick detach mounts either.
Both quick release mounts operate on the same concept – a single lever cam mount that requires tension to remain secure. The HS510C also has a locking mechanism. Pushing the lever completely into its closed position, it engages a small locking pin. To open the lever, a push button is located at the rear of the mount.
The EOTech EXPS3 also has a locking mechanism. A push button is located towards the front of the mount, and it must be pressed to open the lever.
Though the HS510C mount is durable and has held up well, the EXPS3 mount feels like better quality. It's also larger making it easier for bigger fingers to use.
Another difference in mounts is the optical height for a co-witness. The HS510C provides an absolute co-witness with a 1.41” height. To get a lower 1/3 co-witness, you’d need to purchase a spacer separately. The EXPS3 provides a lower 1/3 co-witness.
This is a personal preference matter if you run back up iron sights, or which will mate with your magnifier without needing spacers.
For more about this topic, see our Co-Witness Sights Explained guide.
Overall, special features add cost to an optic, but it can also add value. The Holosun HS510C has multiple features of note while the EOTech EXPS3 has superior quality on its side. The HS510C offers a lot of bang for the buck while the EXPS3, as a Made in USA holographic sight, speaks for itself.
Probably the most recognized special feature of the Holosun red dot sight is the Shake Awake benefit. It powers down after a period of time of non-motion to conserve battery life. When the sensor detects movement, the illumination reactivates.
The Solar Failsafe panel is a neat feature to provide illumination in case of battery failure, but with a 50,000-hour battery runtime, it’s not really a feature I use. I also prefer to manually control the illumination. The Multiple Reticle System is also a fantastic feature for those who want reticle versatility, but again, it’s not really something I use.
The EOTech holographic sight might not have a motion sensor, multiple reticles, or a solar panel, but it offers quality. First off, it’s a holographic sight – the elite type of red dot sight in the industry. It’s also made in the USA, and that alone goes a long way with buyers.
I like the 1 MOA center dot, and there aren’t very many red dot sights with 1 MOA, so I count it as a special feature. It does have auto-off which is very much needed, and it also comes with a very nice hard case for storage.
These special features couldn’t be more different. The Holosun HS510C offers ‘more’ for the money but the EOTech EXPS3 has fundamental quality and you’re definitely paying for it. Because the HS510C is cheaper and has extra bells and whistles that will appeal to many, it reigns champion.
Winner: Holosun HS510C
Who is the Holosun HS510C Best Suited To?
The Holosun HS510C red dot sight will attract those wanting an upgrade without breaking the bank. The most appealing features are the reticles, quick detach mount, Shake Awake, and long battery runtime. It’s a quality red dot sight for the money and will last a long time.
This red dot is a favorite of mine, so much so that I personally bought its magnifier counterpart, the Holosun HM3X. It pairs excellently with the HS510C, and I recommend the Holosun red dot for recreational shooting, range use, home defense, and hunting.
Its overall quality is definitely fitting for a beginner and on zero recoil rifles. I use it a lot on my 15/22 and I always have a good time. However, it’s also suitable for intermediate and seasoned shooters, and it can handle a good amount of recoil for heavier kicking rifles too.
Who is the EOTech EXPS3 Best Suited To?
The EOTech EXPS3 holographic sight is a high-end optic and is priced like one too. Those wanting to own a holographic sight have their choice between an EOTech or the Vortex AMG UH-1. EOTech has Vortex beat when it comes to various models and a long-time reputation of making holographic optics.
I recommend the EXPS3 as duty-grade optic fit for law enforcement and professional applications. In fact, it’s been through my local law enforcement rifle qualification class, and I have it dedicated to an FN-15 rifle.
A possible issue is battery replacement. I have a ton on hand, so it’s not a big deal to me. It's neither a problem for those who are qualifying or cleaning their firearms at least every month and a half to pop in a new battery.
The EXPS3 would mainly appeal to those looking for solid and proven quality to handle daily use and aggressive conditions. Yes, it could work for range use, hunting, and competition too. For those that are running NODS, the EXPS3 would be perfect.
The EOTech EXPS3 will perform better in low light and dark conditions versus the Holosun HS510C. The viewing window is larger to allow more light to pass through, it doesn’t have glass tints to affect color fidelity, and it has 10 NV compatible settings.
EOTech EXPS3 in lowlight conditions - Image by Tina Fa'apoi (Own Work) for Target Tamers
The Holosun warranty can be considered superior to EOTech’s warranty because it’s limited lifetime coverage. However, the illumination system is covered for 10 years, and it’s valid to the original purchaser only. The EOTech warranty is for 10 years and is transferable.
There are conditions within both manufacturer warranties, and coverage changes if you’re using the sight for military or law enforcement applications.
The EXPS3 and HS510C are considered full-size red dot sights that are intended for mounting on rifles. They come with mounts that fit 1” Weaver or Picatinny rails. They are too large for mounting to a pistol slide.
The EOTech EFLX Mini Red Dot Sight has the Leupold Delta Point Pro footprint. It would be easy to mount thanks to all the available plate adapters and existing slide cuts for this footprint. The Holosun SCS-MOS fits directly to full-size Glock MOS systems.
Image by Tina Fa'apoi (Own Work) for Target Tamers
The number designation after the EXPS3 indicates reticle type. This model is the EOTech EXPS3-0 with 1x 1 MOA dot inside the ring. The -2 model has 2x 1 MOA dots while the -4 model has 4x 1 MOA dots. The -1 model means the reticle is a 1 MOA dot without the 68 MOA ring.
The EOTech EXPS3 does not have an option for multiple reticles in one optic. You must select the model with the desired reticle of choice when purchasing.
EOTech reticles (top) - Image Credit: EOTech VS Holosun MRS reticles (bottom) - Image by Tina Fa'apoi (Own Work) for Target Tamers
EOTech and Holosun do not offer dual illumination (red and green) in the EXPS3 and the HS510C. Green illumination is offered by both manufacturers, but they are a different model. EOTech has the EXPS2 in green illumination and Holosun has the HE510C-GR with green illumination.
The differences between the EXPS3 and the EXPS2 in green illumination is that the latter is not night vision compatible, and it provides approximately 600 hours of runtime.
EOTech EXPS3 VS Holosun 510C: Which is Best?
Overall, the real difference between the EOTech EXPS3 and the Holosun HS510C comes down to its internals. The EXPS3 is a holographic sight while the HS510C is a reflex red dot sight. This affects cost and quality. The EXPS3 is duty-grade and combat-proven and the HS510C is affordable and reliable.
Those not willing to spend over $500 will find value and consistent performance with the Holosun sight. It’s been a workhorse for me, and I use it all the time with and without a magnifier.
If you want the highest-grade, Made in USA quality you can get from a red dot sight, the EOTech holographic sight is worth its weight and cost.