Holosun 510C Review 2024: Red Dot Reflex Sight Hands-On Test

Chris G.

In recent years, one optic that has caught my attention is the Holosun 510c. As both a hunter and competitive shooter, I found that the 510c really stood out from the pack in the red dot sight category. Its impressive quality, array of features, and reasonable price point made it a standout option compared to many competitors.

The Holosun 510c is a reflex style red dot sight featuring an open frame design. It’s intended for rifles, carbines, shotguns, and other long guns where rapid target acquisition and effective close to medium range performance are priorities.

As I’ll explore throughout this review, the 510c really seems to deliver an exceptional balance of durability, optical clarity, advanced power management, and reticle flexibility. And Holosun manages to package these capabilities together at a price that outshines many legacy optics makers.

To provide some context up front, some key alternatives in the red dot sight space include the Trijicon MRO, Aimpoint PRO, and Vortex Sparc AR. I’ll be referencing these competitors at times throughout this review for side-by-side perspective.

Now let’s jump into unpacking everything that sets the 510c apart!

Unveiling the Holosun 510c: Detailed Features and Technical Specs

closeup of holosun 510c

Right out of the packaging, the Holosun 510c makes an excellent first impression. The materials feel solid and durable while still maintaining a lightweight 4.94oz design ideal for rifles and shotguns. Some key specs and capabilities that stand out:

  • Multi-Reticle System – The 510c provides flexibility between a 2 MOA dot or a 65 MOA circle reticle around the center dot. This allows quickly toggling between precision aiming and rapid close quarters target acquisition.
  • Power System – An integrated solar panel works in concert with a single CR2032 battery to provide up to 50,000 hours of runtime on a mid-level brightness setting of 6/10. This is a huge advantage over most competitors in the battery life department.
  • Enclosure Rating – With an IP67 rating, the 510c is fully waterproof and can be submerged up to 1m deep. The optic is also sealed from dust and debris ingress.
  • Shake Awake – When movement is detected, the 510c instantly powers on and is ready for action. After 10 minutes of inactivity, it will automatically power down. This saves battery life compared to optics that are always on.
  • Night Vision – The 510c includes 2 night vision compatible settings allowing it to be used with night optics. Many competitors at this price point lack dedicated NV modes.
  • Lens Coating – Holosun enhanced light transmission and optical clarity by fully multi-coating all exposed lenses and using quality LED and optics.
  • 10 Brightness Settings – With 10 daylight settings, the 510c can be adjusted precisely for the ambient light conditions at hand. Minimum output is compatible with night vision while max is surprisingly bright.
  • Materials – Durable aluminum construction with a titanium-alloy hood provide shock and impact protection necessary for a hard use optic. An anodized matte black finish gives it a sleek aesthetic.

Optical Specs

CategorySpecification
Reticle2 MOA Dot & 65 MOA Circle
Light Wavelength650nm
Reticle ColorRed, Green
Parallax FreeYes
Unlimited Eye ReliefYes
Magnification1x
Multi-CoatingsYes

Electronic Specs

CategorySpecification
Power SourceBattery
Battery TypeCR2032
Battery Life (Hours)50000
Brightness Setting10 DL&2 NV

Physical Specs

CategorySpecification
Window Size0.91×1.26
Dimension (in)3.3×1.68×1.78
Weight (oz)4.94

Mechanical Specs

CategorySpecification
Housing MaterialAluminum & Titanium Hood
Surface FinishMAO
Adjustment per Click0.5 MOA
W&E Travel Range±50 MOA

Environment Specs

CategorySpecification
Storage Temperature-40℃~70℃
Working Temperature-30℃~60℃
SubmersionIP67
Vibration1000G

Mounting and Compatibility

CategorySpecification
Mounting OptionsQuick-release mount compatible with Mil-Spec M1913 Picatinny rail
Night Vision CompatibilityYes, with two night vision brightness settings

Additional Information

CategorySpecification
Accessories IncludedAbsolute Cowitness QD Mount, T10 L Key, User Manual, CR2032 Battery, Lens Cloth
WarrantyLimited Lifetime Warranty, with specific terms for different components
Country of ManufactureChina

For a sub $300 optic, this collection of features allows the 510c to effectively compete with $500+ market leaders. While alternatives like the Aimpoint PRO and Trijicon MRO certainly have merits, I’ve found the innovation packed into the Holosun allows it to trade punches outside its weight class.

Performance Analysis: Accuracy, Precision, and Versatility of the Holosun 510c

a gun with holosun 510c

When it comes down to on-range performance, the Holosun 510c delivers excellent accuracy and precision across a variety of shooting platforms and conditions. Here are some of my key findings:

Accuracy and Precision

  • Provides consistent 2 MOA groups out to 100 yards off my AR-15 with match ammo
  • Easy to achieve and maintain zero even transitioning between multiple firearms
  • Maintains tight shot placement from close range out to 200+ yards
  • Able to make hits on small reactive targets at 25 yards with quick target acquisition
  • Reticle stays crisp and defined regardless of lighting conditions or magnification

Versatility

  • Mounts easily to picatinny rails including on my ARs, shotguns, and pistols
  • Multi-reticle system excels for both slow precision shooting and rapid CQB engagement
  • Daylight/night vision modes allow use from bright sunlight to dark indoor ranges
  • Reliable and consistent performance out to 500+ rounds without loss of zero
  • Durable enough for .308 and shotgun recoil over thousands of rounds

While every optic has its limits, I’m continually impressed by the accuracy and versatility the compact 510c maintains across diverse scenarios. It’s not recommended for true long range shooting, but within its optimal 50-300 yard envelope, it provides an outstanding shooting experience.

User Experience: Handling and Operating the Holosun 510c

Beyond just bench testing, evaluating how an optic handles daily use and real-world conditions can make or break whether it truly stands up. Here’s my first-hand user feedback running the 510c:

Mounting and Sighting In

Mounting was a quick and painless process thanks to the included Picatinny mount. I was able to rapidly attach to the rail on my AR and snug it down with the provided Torx wrench. Sighting in took less than 20 rounds achieving a reliable 50 yard zero.

Controls and Interface

The buttons offer solid, tactile feedback when adjusting brightness up or down. The prominent plus/minus symbols make it intuitive to dial in preferred settings. Toggling between the dot only and dot+circle reticle is as simple as pressing both buttons simultaneously.

I’m also a huge fan of the automatic Shake Awake feature. It provides peace of mind that the optic will be instantly ready when needed but not constantly draining battery in storage.

Day to Day Use

Throughout range sessions and 3-gun matches, I never have issues with the 510c losing zero or being difficult to run. The generous eye relief accommodates fast target acquisition and awkward shooting positions. Optical clarity remains excellent even as carbon and dirt build up on the lenses.

Being able to quickly toggle between precise dot aiming and rapid CQB circle targeting has proven extremely versatile. I feel confident relying on the 510c whether I’m engaging small reactive silhouettes or snapping between multiple close targets.

Long Term Durability

After nearly 2 years of regular use across half a dozen firearms, the 510c still looks and functions like new despite many dings and scratches. The battery is still on its original charge thanks to the solar panel supplementing power. All components including the lenses remain secure and rattle free. This level of longevity gives me confidence in trusting the 510c for serious use.

While every shooter’s needs and experiences will differ, I’ve been thoroughly impressed by both the out-of-box functionality and long-term resilience of the 510c in real-world use. It’s a perfect do-it-all optic to consolidate most of my rifle and shotgun needs into one rugged and reliable unit.

Mounting Solutions and Compatibility Insights for the Holosun 510c

A key benefit of the 510c is its mounting versatility. Let’s take a look at some top options for getting it securely attached to your favorite firearm:

  • Picatinny Rail Mount – Included with the 510c is a low profile mount with Picatinny interface. This allows direct attachment to the rail of any AR, shotgun, rifle, or pistol equipped with rail sections.
  • Holosun Lower 1/3 Co-Witness Mount – For AR platforms, Holosun offers a mount riser placing the 510c at lower 1/3 height above iron sights. This maintains a usable co-witness sight picture.
  • American Defense QD Mount – For a bombproof QD mount solution, the AD-510C from American Defense provides a sturdy monolithic Picatinny base machined from aluminum.

Ideal Mounting Practices:

  • Ensure the rail section is free of paint and debris before mounting
  • Apply blue thread locker to mount screws for optimal adhesion
  • Alternately tighten opposing screws to evenly torque down
  • Verify reticle holds zero after test firing
  • Reapply thread locker if changing rail position

With proper installation, the 510c maintains consistent return to zero after dismounting. While best suited for Picatinny rails, weaver base compatibility also expands options. Just be mindful of eye relief needs based on stock/grip configurations.

Maintaining the Holosun 510c: Longevity, Battery Life, and Care

holosun 510c battery tray removed

To keep your 510c running in peak form for years to come, here are my top maintenance tips:

Preventative Maintenance

  • Perform function check AND zero verification approximately every 6 months
  • Check lenses for cracks/damage and external body for dents or missing components
  • Ensure lens covers are clear of debris like dirt/skin oils which can obstruct light transmission

Battery Management

  • Replace CR2032 annually as cheap insurance against unexpected failure
  • Stow optics in a sunny location periodically to fully charge the solar cell
  • Disable automatic Shake Awake when storing to avoid battery drain

Cleaning Best Practices

  • Blow dust/debris off lenses before wiping to avoid scratches
  • Use included microfiber or soft cotton cloth with lens cleaner/water
  • Rub gently in circular motion – avoid pressing heavily on glass

The 510c is a durable, forgiving optic but reasonable preventative maintenance will keep it looking and operating like new. Considering the low cost, replacing the battery annually provides worthwhile peace of mind.

Comparative Review: Holosun 510c vs. Industry Competitors

How does the 510c measure up against other proven industry leaders? Here I break down a head-to-head comparison of key strengths and weaknesses:

Holosun 510c vs Trijicon MRO

  • MRO offers reputation of combat proven pedigree but costs nearly 2x as much
  • Glass clarity is virtually indistinguishable between the two models
  • Battery life advantage goes to Holosun thanks to the integrated solar panel
  • Trijicon provides better accessories support and aftermarket options
  • For most shooters’ uses, 510c gets you 90% of MRO capability at half the price

Holosun 510c vs Aimpoint PRO

  • Aimpoint comes with reputation as the gold standard in “always ready” bombproof sights
  • PRO battery life rated to 30k hours falls short of Holosun’s 50k+
  • Aimpoint lacks the multi-reticle capabilities found in the 510c
  • Price is no contest with PRO costing 2-3x more than the Holosun
  • 510c delivers 85%+ of PRO’s durability at a fraction of the cost

Holosun 510c vs Vortex Sparc AR

  • Vortex is the value leader optimized for entry level cost over bells & whistles
  • Sparc AR lacks solar power supplementing battery life
  • Only single dot reticle option in Sparc limits versatility
  • Vortex warranty provides peace of mind but so does Holosun’s lifetime guarantee
  • For a few dollars more, 510c provides substantially more capability and features

While competitors like Trijicon and Aimpoint best the 510c in absolute durability and their brands carry more clout, I found the Holosun punches far above its weight class when you objectively compare performance and features. Only the super demanding will experience compromises versus legacy market leaders. But for budget-focused buyers, the 510c represents a game changing balance of capability and cost.

Holosun 510c: Personalized Use Cases and Recommendations

a gun with holosun 510c

The right optic ultimately depends on the needs of each individual user. Here are my personalized recommendations for how the 510c can best serve key shooting audiences:

Hunters

With its generous eye relief and clear sight picture, the 510c excels for hunters needing quick target acquisition in dawn/dusk lighting when game is most active. The solar power virtually eliminates concerns over battery life even during multi-day trips. I rely on mine for everything from tree stand whitetail hunting to hunting in the backcountry.

Target Shooters

For recreational plinkers and target shooters, the Holosun provides an affordable platform to upgrade skills without breaking the bank. The precision 2 MOA dot aids consistently punching tight groups. And the multi-reticle ability allows you to toggle between bullseye aiming and action rifle/pistol practice.

Law Enforcement & Military

The 510c’s rugged aluminum/titanium shell and reliable electronics make it ready for professional duty use. Generous 50,000+ hour battery life means it will be ready when you need it. I recommend the Holosun as an budget-friendly but duty ready optic for patrol rifles and tactical shotguns.

Competition Shooters

If tight stages requiring rapid transitions and target acquisition sound like your thing, the Holosun deserves a close look. The circle-dot aiming possibilities combined with quick “always on” Shake Awake power-on all contribute to shaving precious seconds off your time during close quarter engagements.

While personal tastes and needs vary, I’m confident the well rounded capabilities of the 510c make it a versatile choice suitable for most shooters. It provides an unbeatable blend of value, features, and performance.

FAQs on the Holosun 510c

Here I address some common questions prospective buyers have asked about the 510c:

How does the 510c perform for shooters with astigmatism?

The fully multi-coated lenses optimize light transmission and image clarity. I’ve found it performs better for users with minor astigmatism compared to cheaper alternatives. The dot stays round without excessive bloom. However, those with severe astigmatism may still see some distortion.

What is the warranty?

Holosun provides a limited lifetime warranty covering defects in materials/workmanship. It does not cover damage from misuse or improper modifications. Unethical users may be denied support.

How do I change the battery?

The battery compartment is located under the optical housing secured by 2 small screws. Remove the screws with a small Phillips head screwdriver, then replace the CR2032 coin cell battery observing proper polarity.

Can the 510c mount to a shotgun?

Yes, the included Picatinny mount allows the 510c to be attached to magazine fed shotguns like the Benelli M4 or Saiga-12 providing a great close quarters aiming option.

Does the 510c work with magnifiers?

Yes, magnifiers like the Holosun HM3X can be mounted behind the 510c on a rail section to provide 3x magnification while maintaining a wide sight picture. This expands the effective range considerably while preserving CQB abilities.

Final Verdict: Is the Holosun 510c Right for You?

After extensive testing and comparisons, I give the Holosun 510c a rating of 4.5/5 stars. The value provided is incredible given the features and performance stacked into this budget-friendly package.

Pros:

  • Amazing value for capabilities
  • Excellent optical clarity
  • Unlimited eye relief
  • Multi-Reticle System enhances versatility
  • 50,000+ hour battery life with solar power
  • Fully waterproof and shock/impact resistant
  • Backed by Holosun’s lifetime warranty

Cons:

  • Slightly heavy for its size class
  • Limited mounting options out of the box
  • No brightness adjustment turret

For most shooters from recreational plinkers to law enforcement officers, I’m confident the 510c will provide an excellent user experience. The price tag makes it accessible for nearly any budget. And the high end features you expect in $600+ optics are nearly fully realized here by Holosun for under $300.

If you’re looking for an affordable, do-it-all optic ready to excel across diverse shooting experiences, look no further than the 510c. This little powerhouse punches high above its weight class and carries my highest recommendation!

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.

Leave a Comment