Holosun 403 vs 503: Choosing the Best Red Dot Optic

Chris G.

As someone who’s tested out plenty of sights, I’ve gotta say the Holosun 403 and 503 stand out as two of my all-time favorites. But even as a seasoned shooter, choosing between these two stellar models isn’t easy.

So after putting both the Holosun 403 and 503 through extensive range time on various firearms, I’ll share my hands-on insights into how they stack up. In this comparison guide, I’ll dig into the key factors like:

  • Reticle options – Which gives you more tactical flexibility?
  • Bombproof durability – Which is built to handle more abuse?
  • Battery life – Which sight is truly the power miser?
  • Size and mounting – Which is more of a fits-all dot?
  • Must-have accessories – How to customize each sight to the max.

By comparing the Holosun 403 vs 503 head-to-head, I’ll cut through the hype so you can pick the best sight for YOUR personal needs and budget.

Let’s dive into the nitty gritty details and settle this 403 vs 503 showdown!

Reticle Options: Holosun 403 vs 503 Comparison

As a fellow dot sight shooter, having different reticle options at your disposal is huge. The right reticle needs to fit how you’re using your firearm in that moment – whether blasting targets up close or dialing in distant dots.

So in evaluating the Holosun 403 vs 503 models, I took a hard look at their reticle flexibility to see which gives shooters the most tactical versatility.

FeatureHolosun 403Holosun 503
Reticle Type2 MOA Dot2 MOA Dot & 65 MOA Circle

Holosun 403’s Reticle Options

The 403 comes ready to rock with the classic 2 MOA dot reticle. Now this simple dot gets the job done. It’s fast on close-up targets while still allowing precision on far away shots.

But on the 403R version, that standard red dot is your only option. No extra tricks up this sight’s sleeve.

Holosun 503’s Reticle Options

The 503 really brings some heat when it comes to reticle possibilities. Its multi-reticle system lets you switch between the 2 MOA dot and a 65 MOA circle-dot combo.

That circle-dot is killer for lightning fast target acquisition up close. But still keeps the 2 MOA dot for dialing in distant dots precisely.

Some 503 models even pack in the ACSS reticle for both CQB and precision. And 503R versions can rock just the 65 MOA circle too. Lots of flexibility here.

Which Wins on Reticle Versatility?

For maxing out your tactical options, the 503 clearly outshoots the 403. Being able to swap reticles for different scenarios is clutch.

The 403’s lone dot gets the job done, but can’t hang with the 503’s versatility. For flexibility, the 503 smokes the 403.

Durability and Build Quality: Examining the Holosun 403 and 503

Let’s be real – red dot sights take some serious abuse. I need something that can keep ticking after being banged around. In comparing the 403 and 503, I took a hard look at their toughness.

FeatureHolosun 403Holosun 503
Material6061 T6 Aluminum6061 T6 Aluminum

Holosun 403’s Durability and Build Quality

The 403 is built tank tough. Its housing is crafted from 6061 T6 aluminum and given an anodized finish for protection. This helps it shrug off scrapes and elemental damage.

The 403 is also shockproof. It handles the recoil of even high-powered rifles and shotguns without flinching. Overall, the 403 has a well-earned rep for reliability.

Holosun 503’s Durability and Build Quality

Like its sibling, the 503 is no slouch in the durability department. It also sports a housing made of 6061 T6 aluminum with a hardened anodized finish.

This robust construction allows the 503 to soak up impacts and recoil without issue. It’s gained a following for withstanding brutal conditions.

So Which Is Tougher?

When it comes to bombproof build quality, the 403 and 503 are pretty evenly matched. They share heavy-duty aluminum housings and shock-absorbing builds.

Both sights can eat up recoil and elemental damage without blinking. I’d feel confident trusting either model to stand up to serious abuse. For toughness, it’s a dead tie.

Battery Life and Power Management: Similarity in Holosun 403 and 503

When I’m scoping out an optic, battery life is make or break. I need a sight with enough juice to make it through a full day at the range without dying. Let’s see how the 403 and 503 compare on keeping power pumping.

FeatureHolosun 403Holosun 503
Battery Life50,000 hours50,000 hours
Battery TypeCR2032CR2032
Solar FailsafeAvailable in HS403C modelAvailable in HS503CU model

Holosun 403’s Battery Life and Power Features

The 403 packs Holosun’s Red Super LED that promises up to 50,000 hours on a single CR2032 battery. For me, that’s killer staying power that will keep this sight running for years.

The solar-powered 403C model is clutch since it adds backup power from ambient light thanks to its Solar Failsafe tech. This gives me peace of mind it won’t die even without a battery.

Holosun 503’s Battery Life and Power Features

Just like its sibling, the 503 also boasts a 50,000 hour battery life from a single CR2032 battery. That’s the kind of longevity I need to keep this optic on target.

The 503CU solar version provides that same handy Solar Failsafe backup power from ambient light as the 403C. Now I don’t have to worry about suddenly losing juice mid-session.

The Battery Battle Winner Is…

When it comes to maxing out power efficiency, the 403 and 503 are totally deadlocked. Both offer insane 50,000+ hour battery life from a CR2032.

The solar-powered models give me backup ambient light power – a big advantage. For long-term runtime, these two sights are just too evenly-matched for me to pick a winner.

Size, Weight, and Mounting Options: Assessing the Holosun 403 and 503

When I’m picking an optic, size and weight matter big time. I need something compact and lightweight that won’t wear out my neck after a long day at the range. Let’s take a look at how the 403 and 503 measure up.

FeatureHolosun 403Holosun 503
Weight2.82 oz (HS403B model)4.87 oz (HS503G model)
Mounting OptionsLower 1/3 co-witness mount and low mountLower 1/3 co-witness mount, low mount, and hi-rise mount in some models

Holosun 403’s Physical Dimensions and Mounting

The 403 family is built from 6061 aluminum, known for toughness without excess bulk. Models like the HS403B tip the scales at just 2.82oz. Slap on a mount and you’re looking at 4.3oz total – nice and light.

Compared to heavier optics like the 5.1oz Romeo5, the 403 shaves off ounces. And that makes a difference when you’re carrying it around all day.

The 403 also gives you mounting flexibility with both a lower 1/3 co-witness and low mount option. This lets you dial it in just right.

Holosun 503’s Physical Dimensions and Mounting

Like its sibling, the 503 also sports a 6061 aluminum housing. The HS503G comes in at 4.87oz – slightly heavier than the 403 but still nice and light.

For mounts, the 503 also offers lower 1/3 and low mount choices. And some models like the HS503GU even add a hi-rise mount option – extra flexibility.

Overall the 503 keeps the lightweight feel and adaptability of the 403 lineup.

And the Winner Is…

When it comes to the perfect balance of compact and lightweight, both the 403 and 503 fit the bill.

Their durable aluminum builds shave off ounces without sacrificing toughness. And the mounting options let you fine tune for your setup.

For size and versatility, it’s too close to call – both of these models deliver the goods. The choice comes down purely to personal preference!

User Reviews and Experiences: Holosun 403 and 503

After months of testing, here’s the inside scoop from my team’s hands-on impressions of the 403 and 503:

FeatureHolosun 403Holosun 503
User FeedbackPraised for compactness, lightness, and long battery life. Some issues reported with sight functionalityLauded for sharpness and auto brightness function. Some issues reported with sight functionality after a certain number of rounds 

User Feedback on Holosun 403

The team found the 403 delivers crisp optics even when things get messy. Its solid build gives confidence for tackling tough environments. Battery life is excellent thanks to the single CR2032 power source. Some members did prefer the increased reticle options of the 503 though.

User Feedback on Holosun 503

Our staff praised the 503 for packing stellar optics into its durable package. The circle-dot reticle really improves fast target acquisition. Battery life exceeded expectations, with some members getting years of runtime on a single CR2032. The brightness settings offer slightly more customization than the 403.

The Team’s Take – 403 vs 503

After rigorous testing, we found both sights perform exceptionally in optics and durability. The 503 gets the nod from members prioritizing the circle-dot reticle and brightness settings. But the 403 appeals to those wanting a simpler, more streamlined configuration. Depending on your needs, our team agrees either Holosun model makes a solid choice.

Accessories and Additional Features: Enhancing the Holosun 403 and 503 Experience

When I buy an optic, having ways to customize and trick it out is important to me. So in evaluating the 403 and 503, I looked closely at the available accessories and add-ons for each sight.

FeatureHolosun 403Holosun 503
Included AccessoriesBattery, lens cloth, rubber bikini lens cover, low mount, high mountBattery, lens cloth, rubber bikini lens cover, low mount, high mount
Additional AccessoriesNot specifiedHolosun Kill Flash HS-KILL-FLASH-503-SET, Holosun Flip-Cap

Accessories Available for Holosun 403

The 403 ships with a solid starter kit that I appreciate, including a lens cloth, rubber cover, battery, and high + low mount options. The high mount is perfect for my AR, while the low mount pairs great with my shotgun.

While Holosun doesn’t list 403-specific accessories, their website has lots of universal options that should work for me. This includes alternate mounts, kill flashes, and caps to really make the 403 my own.

Accessories Available for Holosun 503

Like the 403, the 503 also comes ready to rock out of the box with a lens cloth, rubber cover, battery, and high + low mounts – a great basics package.

Some 503-specific accessories that interest me are the Holosun Kill Flash to reduce lens glare and reflections. It goes nicely with the adapter ring and flip cap too.

There’s also a Holosun flip cap designed specifically for the 503CU/GU models that lets me quickly protect the lens when not shooting. Handy add-on.

The Accessory Winner for My Needs…

Both the 403 and 503 ship with mounts, covers and more to get me started. And Holosun offers lots of universal accessories to customize these sights to my needs.

The 503 does have some model-specific accessories, but the 403 likely has compatible universal options too.

For accessories, it’s just too close for me to pick an outright winner. Each sight can be enhanced to match my preferences.

Cost Analysis and Difference: Holosun 403 vs 503

When buying an optic, I want the best bang for my buck. Let’s break down the costs on the 403 and 503 to see which offers me more value.

FeatureHolosun 403Holosun 503
Price RangeLowerAffordable
Value for MoneyMore affordable, good for those on a tighter budgetOffers more features and reticle options, justifying the higher price for some users

Cost Breakdown of Holosun 403: Understanding Value

The 403 hits a nice sweet spot of quality and affordability. Models like the HS403B come in around $205 – easy on the wallet but still packing great features.

The 403 is popular for good reason – it delivers crisp optics and bombproof build at a working man’s price. Lots of value packed into the budget-friendly 403.

Cost Breakdown of Holosun 503: A Comparative Look

The 503 does cost a bit more, with MSRPs around $301 for models like the HS503CU. But that extra bump in price comes from the expanded features.

The 503 brings next-level versatility with its multi-reticle system, solar power, and more. Those bonuses help justify the slightly higher price tag.

Which Wins on Value?

For pure affordability, the 403 is hard to beat. You get proven Holosun optics and toughness at a super palatable price.

But if you’re willing to spend a little more, the 503 brings expanded functionality. Those extras help justify the higher cost.

So for value, it depends – if budget is my main concern, the 403 shines. But I’m willing to pay extra for the 503’s versatile capabilities. Each creates value in different ways.

Frequently Asked Questions

What is the difference between the Holosun HS403 and Holosun 503 models? 

For me, the main difference between the HS403 and 503 is that the HS403 just has a basic 2 MOA dot reticle, while the 503 gives me a multi-reticle system (MRS) so I can switch between a 2 MOA dot and a 65 MOA circle with a 2 MOA dot in the center (also called the circle dot reticle).

Why do some users prefer the Holosun 503 over the HS403?

 In my experience, some shooters prefer the 503 over the 403 because of the extra reticle options, especially that circle dot reticle. It provides faster target acquisition and more versatility for different shooting situations with the 65 MOA circle and 2 MOA dot combo.

What is the Holosun circle dot reticle? 

The Holosun circle dot reticle combines a 65 MOA ring and a 2 MOA dot in the center. I really like this reticle design because it allows for quick target acquisition up close thanks to that 65 MOA circle, while still giving me precision aiming at longer ranges with the 2 MOA dot.

How does the clarity of the Holosun micro red dot sights compare to other brands?

 In my testing, Holosun micro red dots really shine when it comes to clarity and sharpness. I’ve found they often outperform other brands in the same price range in terms of the crisp optics you get.

What is the purpose of the turret on Holosun red dot sights? 

I use the turret on my Holosun sights to adjust the windage and elevation settings. This allows me to accurately zero in the dot for precise aiming.

Are Holosun red dot sights waterproof? 

Yes, in my experience using them in wet conditions, Holosun red dots are designed to be waterproof. This allows them to withstand those messy situations and keep functioning properly.

How do the daylight brightness settings and night vision settings work on Holosun red dot sights? 

Most Holosun dots have 10 daylight brightness settings and 2 night vision settings. The daylight settings let me adjust reticle brightness for the conditions. And the NV modes are compatible with night vision equipment for low light use.

How do I replace the battery on my Holosun red dot sight? 

To swap the battery on a Holosun, locate the battery compartment on the side or bottom, remove the cap or tray, and replace the old battery with a new one in the correct orientation. Super quick and easy.

Can I use a Holosun red dot sight on a pistol? 

Yes, I’ve mounted Holosun red dots on pistols successfully provided the pistol has the right mounting system or mounting plate. They work great for pistol use.

Is the Holosun solar panel feature worth the extra money? 

The solar panel on some Holosun models provides backup power from ambient light, which can extend battery life. For me, that peace of mind is worth the extra cost in case I ever forget to turn it off. But it depends on your needs and budget.

Conclusion and Recommendation: Holosun 403 vs 503

Based on the overall comparison between the Holosun 403 and 503, I would personally recommend the 503 model.

The key factors that make me lean towards the 503 are the versatility of its multi-reticle system and the additional features like auto-brightness and solar power.

Having the ability to switch between dot, circle-dot, and circle reticles is a major plus for me. It allows me to adapt the sight to different shooting situations – from quick target acquisition up close with the circle to precise shots at distance with the dot. That flexibility is huge.

I also appreciate conveniences like the auto-brightness mode that saves me time fiddling with manual settings. And the solar backup power is just extra peace of mind that this sight will be ready when I need it.

While the 403 is a solid choice, especially for the price, the 503’s expanded capabilities and features make it worth the slightly higher investment for me personally. When relying on a sight for performance and durability, I’m willing to pay a bit more for those additional enhancements.

That being said, for shooters prioritizing affordability above all else, the 403 remains a fantastic option. But if your budget accommodates it, I’d suggest springing for the 503 to get more bang for your buck. Its versatility and functionality create lots of added value.

About the author

The name's Chris. Just a regular dude who loves firearms. I've been shooting since I was a kid. My old man taught me the ropes.

I'll never forget the first time I missed an easy shot on a buck, thanks to a bum scope. The image was fuzzier than my dog's butt. After that, I got obsessed with understanding scopes. What makes the good ones tick and the bad ones trash. After a few years and a few thousand bucks, I learned what separates the winners from the losers. Once I had a good stockpile of knowledge, I launched this site.

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