Optics on pistols are like Marmite, some choose to slather it on everything they eat while others avoid it at all costs. So while Marmite reminds me of the smell of napalmed cow shit, I’m not opposed to sticking a red dot on the occasional pistol.
I’ve had an RMR cut pistol slide for a year or so now, but finding a suitable optic at a price I could afford was somewhat of a struggle. I’ve had a SOTAC RMR clone red dot on there until recently, but it really wasn’t doing the rest of the build justice.
One particular optic kept appearing in my quest for a replacement; The Holosun HS407C X2.
I’d seen this model being used by many well known shooting enthusiasts in the U.S. and had also heard good things from recreational shooters who had experience of this particular sight, but the big question is; Is it worth buying?
Holosun have been regarded as an entry level brand for quite some time in the shooting world, many people see them as a fantastic budget option but perhaps not in the same (battle proven) league as Trijicon, Docter or Leupold.
However, in more recent years they’ve started to take a bigger bite out of the overall market. Holosun now offer a selection of models that provide a range of peer-beating features such as Multi-Reticle sighting designs, Shake Awake motion sensing and Solar Failsafe photovoltaic back up.
When Tactical Kit announced a major restock of their Holosun range, I decided to make the jump. Looking through the available models, the HS407C X2 seemed the best option, sat firmly in the middle of their price range and with all the features I needed for my build.
The model numbering system used by Holosun is something I’ve covered before, so to keep this review under several thousand words, click here to view their nomenclature breakdown.
The only bit you won’t find explained on their website is the “X2” at the end of this model, which presumably refers to it being a second generation model of the older HS407C.
So what do you get and how does it perform? Let’s find out…
The HS407C X2 sight comes well packaged within a plastic box, sitting wrapped a white card sleeve. The interior of the box is padded out with a soft, dense foam lining and contains a few essential items:
- Microfibre cleaning cloth
- Sight installation and adjustment tool
- Star drive installation bolts
- Instruction Manual
After many years of buying cheap airsoft sights, I’d assumed that it would come with a rail adaptor. But the sight is sold flat bottomed, ready to mount directly to an RMR cut mount or slide. It shouldn’t be seen as a negative, but it’s something you need be aware of prior to buying this particular sight.
The body of the HS407C X2 is machined from 7075 T6 Aluminium, the surface is then anodised in black and the various markings/trades are etched on in white and red. An individual serial number sits on the left hand side, a nice touch that appears on all the Holosun optics I’ve owned to date and worth recording in case of theft or warranty concerns.
The choice of materials and finish is exactly what you’d expect from a sight that is designed to withstand a great deal of kinetic energy, a pistol’s slide cycling will impart a great deal of force onto any optic mounted to it.
The sight is also rated as IP67, therefore perfectly suited to wet or dusty environments and is tested to withstand vibrational shock of up to 5000G and work between temperatures of -30°c and +60°c. Finally and possibly most importantly, the sight weighs a mere 43g which is light enough to not drastically slow down a gas blowback airsoft gun, let alone a firearm.
On the top of the sight “bridge” sits a small photovoltaic cell, this provides a “Failsafe” power source should your battery die or can be used as the primary power source to conserve battery life. The solar power back up works well in direct sunlight and will continue to work in the shade or under artificial lighting with the maximum brightness of the dot being dependant on available light.
To the left of the sight sit a pair of buttons, marked + and -. both are rubberised and have subtly raised markings for low light identification but remain low profile enough to not be accidentally pressed.
An integral battery tray sits to the right of the sight, designed to accommodate an included CR1632 button cell. The battery tray can be opened using the included tool, giving the user an ability to change the battery without removing the sight. This has the obvious benefit of not needing to re-zero the optic each and every time you change the lithium cell, a real unique selling point amongst pistol optics.
Windage can be adjusted with a small screw on the right side of the sight, it is adjustable in 1 MOA increments (1 MOA = 1 inch at 100 yards) with each click being very defined and without any noticeable slop between clicks. Elevation adjustment is towards the back of the sight, also adjusted in 1MOA increments. Both windage and elevation offering 50 MOA total travel (25 clicks in either direction).
A multi-coated lens provides additional protection against ghosting, blurring and other unwanted optical issues. The coating on the lens does darken the sight picture a touch, but this normal for all reflex sights and is a byproduct of how the reticle is displayed.
The reticle on this model is a standard 2MOA red dot, Holosun do offer a Green reticle model (HS407C-GR X2). Whilst those who prefer a multi-reticle sight picture have the option of a 2MOA dot within a 32MOA ring on their HS507C X2 and HS507C-GR X2 models (red and green respectively).
Although I decided to keep it relatively simple with a 2MOA dot on this sight, I’d seriously consider buying one of the 507 models if your budget allows, having used a similar reticle on the HS503CU (reviewed here).
There are a total of 12 brightness settings, the lowest two of which are Night Vision compatible. No matter the brightness, you should be able to find a setting to suit the environment.
The HS407C X2 borrows it’s footprint design from Trijicon’s RMR optic, so it should fit on any slide or mount that’s been milled to the same dimensions. Be aware though, the fixing bolts supplied use an imperial thread and will not work if you’ve got a Metric threaded slide/mount, leaving you to source your own suitable bolts.
A lockout feature is accessed by holding down the + button for three seconds, the sight will cycle through Battery – Solar Failsafe – Lockout modes, lockout prevents the brightness adjustment buttons from working but can be disabled with an additional 3 second long button press, bringing the sight back into battery mode.
“Shake Awake” is arguably the standout feature, although it’s not unique to this sight. It extends the battery life and ensures that the optic is always ready and should activate the moment the pistol is moved. Shake Awake can be programmed to “sleep” after different lengths of movement inactivity, the four settings being 10 Minutes, 1 hour, 12 hours or Shake Awake Disabled.
Shake awake is rather sensitive though, as soon as you pick up the pistol it immediately turns the sight back on. It’s almost impossible to avoid triggering the sight into coming back on, meaning that whilst the pistol is on your person, even slight body movement will keep that red dot active.
Holosun claim that this particular model can provide up to 50’000 Hours on brightness setting 6 on a single cell, a seriously impressive number. For anyone whose life might depend on this optic, I’d seriously suggest swapping out your battery long before this, as batteries can deteriorate long before their maximum potential lifespan.
Mounting a red dot on the slide of the pistol can result in a rather unforgiving learning curve for newcomers, going from “front sight focussed” to “target focussed”. It’s something that I’ve personally had to work hard to become comfortable with, having only just become as fast with the dot as I was with sights. The difference now is that I’m able to shoot very accurately at longer ranges, transitioning between targets is now much quicker and the sight picture is much clearer than when using traditional pistol sights.
Without going down a rabbit hole of practical applications for slide mounted optics and the methods and tactics used to get the best out of them, one of the key benefits this type of sight has over the traditional optics is it’s use in conjunction with night vision devices (NVD/NODs).
Due to the nature of night vision, focussing on a set of conventional pistol sights (even those with tritium inserts) can be a little tricky. The use of IR aiming devices such as Crimson Trace grips or LAMs has been the preferred method for many years. More recently though, slide mounted optics have given shooters the ability to use a similar sighting system to that used on their primary weapons.
In my experience, the HS407C X2 works very well with NODs, allowing the user to aim with the same accuracy as I can with my primary but without sacrificing my ability to see in the dark.
As for negatives? It’s tough to find anything to complain about with this particular sight, some might be put off because it doesn’t come bundled complete with a rail mount, but it’s primarily designed for pistol slides or “piggyback” optic mounts that already have an RMR footprint.
Overall, I’m more than happy with mine. Having used it daily since it’s purchase, I’ve not encountered any problems that would make me hesitant in buying another. Quite the reverse actually, I enjoy shooting my Holosun equipped Glock so much, that I’ll probably use it as my preferred pistol for quite some time and I’m already eying up the HS507C X2 for a future pistol build.
A final note, Tactical Kit have been kind enough to provide a discount for followers of the blog. Simply enter ATRG10 for 10% off all Holosun products until the 15th June.