Holosun has become one of the yardsticks for shooting enthusiasts by which other brands are measured. They are one of the leaders in the holographic and reflex sight markets, and for a good reason. We’re going to take a look at two of their leading close-range optics, the 510c, and the 512c, covering not just the similarities but the crucial differences as well.
Who is Holosun?
Holosun is one of the leaders in holographic and reflex sights. They produce some of the highest-quality optics on the market and do it without sticking you with a four-digit price tag. You can afford to outfit any close-range gun with holo sights without putting holes in your budget.
Two of the most popular models they have right now, the 510c and the 512c, are incredibly close in performance and features. However, some differences set them apart from each other, and for many shooters, those differences help them decide which is right for their kit.
There’s a lot to discuss when looking at Holosun optics, so we’re going to look at where the rubber meets the road, so to speak. Here are the categories we will be discussing:
- Durability And Toughness
- Lens Clarity And Reticle
- Size Comparison
- Battery Life And Brightness Settings
- Extra Accessories Included With The Optic
- Price Comparison
Durability And Toughness
The 510c is an incredibly well-built red dot sight. The housing is created from high-strength, aircraft-grade aluminum, which is then anodized to protect it from just about anything you can throw at it. The hood over the lens is titanium, which gives it incredible shockproof and resistance to drop damage. This increased durability over the most sensitive piece, the lense, doesn’t come with any compromise to the weight since titanium is incredibly strong and lightweight.
The windage and elevation turrets are actually recessed into the housing so that they’re flush with the surface, making accidental changes nearly impossible. That being said, they can still be easily changed with the flat of a small screwdriver or multi-tool. The entire sight is waterproof for up to a half-hour in one meter of water.
One of the downsides of the 510c is that it is designed with an open emitter. While this isn’t a deal-breaker for most shooters, it does mean that there’s the potential for debris to make its way into the housing. Even though this is theoretically possible, none of our testers have ever experienced it, and they aren’t the type to be gentle during their tests.
The 512c has the same world-class build quality as the 510c, being machined from aircraft-grade aluminum and with a titanium shroud over the lense. It also has a similar anodized finish. Just as with the 510c, the turrets are recessed to avoid bump adjustments but can still be easily changed when needed.
The biggest difference between the 512c and the 510c is that the 512c has an enclosed emitter. This means not only is the sight physically smaller, but it has zero chance for debris or damage to reach the emitter. This comes at a cost to the weight of the sight, though, which we’ll cover in a minute.
Lens Clarity And Reticle
The lens clarity on the 510c is unbelievable. It’s nearly crystal clear, with only the slightest hint of blue tint when sighting through the optic. The larger size allows a larger sight window and a wider field of view than the 512c, and it features the Holosun Multiple Reticle System.
The MRS gives you three options for your reticle; you get a 2 MOA dot with a 65 MOA ring surrounding it (the Holosun Circle Dot Reticle), a 2 MOA dot, and a 65 MOA ring with no dot in the center. The site is available in both red and green models.
The 512c comes with the same beautifully clear Holosun lense, though it does have a slightly smaller window than the 510c due to the reduced size.
You still get the Holosun MRS, which gives you a 65 MOA ring with 2 MOA dot, just a 2 MOA dot, or just a 65 MOA ring. Just like the 510c, the 512c can be found in both a red and green model.
Here are the raw numbers on the 510c:
- Length - 3.30in
- Width - 1.80in
- Height- 2.31in
- Weight- 4.94oz
The housing on the 510c is larger than the 512c by a considerable margin. This may be important for you if real estate on your rails is at a premium. The reason the 510c is larger is due to the open emitter design, but this is also why it’s much lighter than the 512c, which is a big advantage for some shooters.
Now for the numbers on the 512c:
- Height 2.27in
- Length - 3.35in
- Width - 1.66in
- Weight- 8.1oz
As you can see, the 512c is more than an inch lower than the 510c, as well as more than an inch shorter, giving it an abbreviated footprint on your rifle. The closed emitter design comes at a cost to the weight, however, with the 512c being nearly double the weight of the 510c. Even though this is only about 3.1oz overall, that additional weight can alter your handling.
Battery Life And Brightness Settings
The 510c runs on a single CR2032 wafer battery, which is included and can power the sight for a nearly-unbelievable 50,000 hours on its middle brightness setting, #6.
Making the best use of the battery is the Shake Awake feature, which shuts the sight off after a period of inactivity and automatically turns it on when you pick it up. To further stretch the battery life, it has a built-in solar panel, which also functions as a backup in case your battery dies in the field.
There are ten daylight brightness levels to make sure you have the right illumination, no matter the amount of ambient light. There are also two night-vision compatible settings.
The 512c stacks up equally with the 510c on every point here. It uses the same battery, which comes in the box at purchase. On brightness 6, you’ll still get 50,000 hours of continuous operation, which is extended by the Shake Awake feature.
If you forget to charge the battery for a few years, the solar panel has you covered as a backup. There are also ten daylight settings and two more compatible with your night vision rig.
Extra Accessories Included With The Optic
The 510c comes with a battery as well as a microfiber lens cleaning cloth. It also comes with a mount that lets you set up for absolute co-witness with BUIS on any AR platform rifle, as well as any rifle that uses high mounts. One thing the 510c has that the 512c doesn’t, however, is a Quick Detach mounting system.
The 512c also comes with the lens cleaning cloth and a battery to get you up and running immediately. It is also set up to give absolute co-witness with high mount rifles like the AR family. The one downside to the 512c is that it doesn’t come with a QD mount, just a standard mount.
Prices change continually as the market dictates, but no matter where you shop, the 510c should always be about $50-$60 less than the 512c. Times are tough for a lot of folks right now, and if you can’t spare the extra, the 510c is still an outstanding sight that absolutely will not disappoint.
Due to the additional features, the 512 will always be the more expensive of the two. However, if you’re able to afford the additional $50-$60, it’s well worth it.