Sight Review: Holosun HS403C Red Dot

In the land of optics, Aimpoint is certainly King. From the Aimpoint Electronic through to the T1/2 and Comp M2/M4 giving a reliable and accurate option for the last 30 or so years, Which begs the question of where the other sights sit in the house of cards…

The Queen? You could say it’s Trijicon with their ACOG and to a much lesser degree their MRO sights.

Well let’s say for argument sake that The Jack or young pretender could arguably be Vortex with their lower priced yet well put together red dots and short dot optics, popular with the civilian shooting and European Airsoft markets… Also seeing use with a few units both in UKSF and other Military and Police units throughout the world.

The Ace? Eotech are worthy candidates due to their differences in optic design and massive influence in the CQB sight marketplace… Although confidences have been shaken since that scandal a few years back.

The numbered cards range from your typical ACM garbage through to the likes of Visionking… variable quality and often your paying for the overall look of the sight rather than the actual sight quality itself… If you’ve ever spent a night game looking at a glowing red reflection of your eyeball you’ll understand the struggle of inferior optics.

The Joker, it could be argued is Holosun. Providing a cost effective option that in ability punches well above its weight. Many of their designs replicating the look and design of their higher priced competitors but without the £500 price tag.

I was steered towards Holosun by my friend James (A regular instigator of my purchases) who I approached for advice regarding NV compatible optics. A brand that popped up as a personal recommendation was Holosun, putting aside Aimpoint and Eotech as a little above my modest budget… The Holosun series seemed to tick all the right boxes.

So, after a little research I bought a Holosun HS403C which was at a then modest price of £120 which was at the top end of what I was looking to spend, Especially considering it came from Hong Kong and the item could potentially be less than what I was bargaining for. Something worth bearing in mind is that I’ve owned this sight for 3 years, this isn’t an out to box review… It’s very much a review based upon my experience over the last few years.

The sight arrived sooner than expected and packaged well within a small white box, akin to what you’d find an iPhone or other quality piece of tech packaged in.

Alongside the sight itself, there’s a basic yet tough AR15 riser (which the sight is mounted to), A low mount for other applications, A bikini cover for the lenses, A spare battery tray, A star driver for the mount and a tool for the battery tray and included alongside the well written instructions and a microfibre cloth.

The bikini cover works well and helps protect the lenses from dirt and scratches whilst in transit, Although it is easily lost if not looked after and will attract virtually all the lint in your pocket if you should choose to keep it there.

The HS403C is a dual powered optic, using both a CR2032 and a small, rugged photovoltaic cell in the top of the sight. The cell is held in a tray beneath the optic tube, this is held by a pair of small bolts and an incredibly tough o-ring which also keep the unit watertight to IP67 standards which allows for immersion in water up to a metre deep for 30 minutes with no ingress.

In addition to its waterproof rating, the unit is nitrogen purged to eliminate the possibility of condensation forming on the glass in humid or damp weather. In the time I’ve had this optic its proven its ability to hold up to the worst that England and Wales can throw at it, the glass remains clear and able to be used in all weathers with only an occasional wipe if the glass should become covered in rain.

The real benefit to this sort of optic comes when in less well lit areas, The glass might not be to the same exacting standards as say the Aimpoint T1 it closely resembles. This resemblance goes deeper than mere looks… you’ll find that mounts and covers from the Swedish design will work with its US designed, Chinese made younger brother.

One such addition is the Guns Modify T1 Protector, this fits tightly over the front of the sight and offers a degree of protection against strikes that plague those who wish to use expensive optics in a contact environment. There’s actually a small strike mark I’ve only just noticed on the protector that undoubtedly saved my red dot…

The sight has 12 brightness settings ranging from the 2 night vision compatible settings at the bottom to the 10 brightnesses that are suitable for day and low light work.

The sight is generally powered though via its photovoltaic cell in the uppermost part of the casing, the battery being activated by pressing on the – button for 3 seconds. Once this is done, The sight will be automatically be at the selected brightness (Or higher if the panel at the top detects more light) which means that when moving between well and not so well lit areas your dot will always be at a suitable brightness, after 12 hours the sight will revert back to its solar powered mode. With this dual power functionality it’s ready to shoot as soon as you put hands on your weapon, Battery life is in the tens of thousands of hours, this though will massively depend on the quality of battery you decide to use. The sight however will remain functional even without a battery should you not have that option.

The dot itself is 2MOA which equates to about half a millimetre at the usual focal length, this is ideal for pin point shooting at range, it’s probably a little small for your average Airsofters needs but it serves well alongside those highly accurate weapons if your confident in getting your replica zeroed in.

The LED is tucked away on the lower right hand side and thankfully it doesn’t project excess light, a godsend when going up against other NVG users.

Zeroing the sight is straightforward, simply unscrew the caps and reverse them into the slots on the adjustment wheels.

The handy orientation markings will assist you in getting that dot on target, each click being a 1/2 MOA Of adjustment. The sight has never lost zero, even after some drops and knocks it’s retained a true and reliable point of aim.

Ruggedness… I’ve had this sight for about 3 years now and it’s certainly got a few scratches and superficial marks, However it’s retained it’s durability and works as well as the day it landed at my door, I’ve put it on TM Recoils and GBBRs and I’d not hesitate to stick it on a firearm if I should ever have that luxury.

It could be argued that Vortex offers a very similar product at a lower price point and with what is without a doubt an excellent warranty, but Holosun does seem to have the backing of some very prominent people… Travis Haley, Mike “Garand Thumb” Jones and several others have personally given their designs and those made for Primary Arms their seal of approval. And I’m sure you’ll agree that if Travis Haley thinks it’s a decent sight, then it’s good enough for Airsoft.

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