Oh, optics, how many can one person need? Well, all of them. All the optics. That’s clearly the answer. I recently put hands on one of the latest optics from Holosun: the HS512C. Oddly enough, I had no idea this optic even existed. Seriously, where did this thing come from? Holosun makes a wide variety of red dots in all sizes, and this specific model is a big ole full-sized red dot. Most of Holosun’s goodies are of the tube style design or a pistol-sized square dot. Outside of those, we have the 510C, which the HS512C is clearly a descendant of.
Well, descendant might be dramatic. Maybe calling it a variation of the HS510C works better? If this is to be considered a variation of the HS510C, then I think we can consider it the pro series. The HS510C works perfectly for hunting, competitive use, and even home defense. The HS512C goes a little further.
BLUF: you can get a get a Holosun HS512C over on Megiddo.
Into the HS512C
The HS512C seems aimed more at the duty market. The HS510C certainly sees lots of use, including with pro shooters like Max Leogradis in the PCC championships. However, an open emitter does reduce potential reliability in austere conditions. The HS512C overcomes that by accommodating a full-length hood that encloses the optic entirely.
The enclosed emitter ensures nothing gets between the glass and the emitter
A red dot works by having an emitter shoot a beam of light at your lenses. A coating on the lens lets most light through, except the color of the light being cast from the emitter. The coating and lens reflect your reticle and make it easy to see. An open emitter optic like the HS510C has nothing between the emitter and lens. If something gets between the emitter and the lens, it can interrupt your reticle making it to the lens.
Two big buttons make controlling the optic rather easy.
Dust, dirt, snow, and even water can get on the emitter and disrupt your sight picture. This is quite rare but very possible. That’s why the HS510C works fine for hunting, plinking, competitive use, and home defense but wouldn’t be trusted for duty use or austere environments. The completely covered emitter of the HS512C makes it more suited to take on the rigors and stresses of a living and unpredictable world.
Enclosing Your Emitter
Besides featuring an enclosed emitter, the Holosun HS512C is a big square optic that features a big square window. A big square window certainly makes it easy to retain your peripheral vision with a two-eyed open shooting style. That big window also accommodates the bigger reticles of the HS512C.
Like lots of Holosun optics, the HS512C sports the multi reticle system that grants you a 2 MOA dot, a 65 MOA circle, and a combination of the 65 MOA circle and 2 MOA dot. Personally, the best reticle is the 65 MAO circle with 2 MOA dot. I’ve always liked the Eotech style reticles and found them super intuitive. The 2 MOA dot allows for a battery saver mode which is nice to extend your battery’s life.
This massive reticle is perfect for long and close range engagements
The HS512C’s Battery Life
On top of the multi reticle system, you also get a pair of solar panels on top of the optic. These provide you a backup source of power should your batteries die. The HS512C comes with ten daylight illumination settings and two-night vision settings. Two big buttons on the side allow you to control the brightness levels and are super easy to use.
The side-mounted battery compartment makes it easy to hot-swap batteries.
The 50K battery life is backed by an auto shut-off feature as well. That old shake awake technology is at full force here. It’s handy for me cause I suck at remembering to shut optics off. The optic shuts off automatically when it remains stationary for a long period of time. As soon as it senses movements, it pops back on.
These twin solar panels provide a backup source of energy if the battery dies.
Holosun equipped the optic with an absolute co-witness height mount for AR height sights. The mount isn’t a QD and requires an Allen wrench to attach. All in all, the HS512C seems like a rock-solid optic. Let’s find out how rock solid it actually is.
Zeroing the HS512C
First things first, let’s go zero it! I’m testing the Magpul Scorpion drum, so it made sense to save ammo and toss the HS512C on the Scorpion. A little tool is included to both zero the optic and attaches it to the optic’s rail, so it’s handy for this task.
While zeroing, I noticed an odd little tick with the adjustment turrets. The elevation turret is super stiff, and the adjustment ‘clicks’ are very faint and almost undetectable. It’s a hassle, and I overshot my adjustment because it’s tough to count clicks. I figured this was just a case of bad turret syndrome.
Banging and clanging with the HS512C provides a responsive option for close to moderate range shooting.
I moved the windage turret, and to my surprise, it was crisp, and each adjustment was tactile and audible. It was the complete opposite of the elevation adjustments. It’s weird, but I did get the optic adjusted with minimal fuss.
Near and Far At the Range
Why do I love this 65 MOA and 2 MOA dot combination? That’s easy! It’s super versatile. At a multitude of ranges, this reticle simply dominates. Let’s start at long range. The reticle can be used to compensate for longer-range shots with a AR 15 style rifle. A 50/200 yard zero can be coordinated to the main 2 MOA dot.
At 7 yards, the bottom of the big ring is perfect for height over bore compensation and for precise close-range shots. I did just that with Scorpion. Inside of ten yards, I precisely hit headshots and small gongs without much effort. Another benefit is that at close range, when speed matters, all you need to do is put that massive circle on the target and let the lead fly.
At close range, the HS512C is extremely usable. The reticle makes mechanical offset a nonissue.
With the HS512C, I backed off to 100 yards and used the reticle to give me a decent point of aim to estimate for 9mm drop. My bullet drop was roughly 10 inches at this range. My target was a full-sized IPSC target. I knew that at this range, my round would hit the IPSC between the dot and bottom of the reticle.
At 100 yards, speed might be slightly secondary to precision, but it’s still important. With a 5.56 rifle, this shot is nothing. A PCC is a bit different. However, I know that as long as the target was between the 2 MOA dot and bottom of the circle, I could drop rounds into that poor steel fella. Because it was that simple, I could do it quickly and efficiently.
The enclosed emitter ensures nothing gets between the glass and the emitter
Through the Looking Glass
The view through the lens is surprisingly clear. I cannot see any perceptible tint, so color me impressed. The reticle is extremely crisp and clear, impressively so. It’s easy to see, and with a target focus, you’ll easily see that big honking reticle. The HS512C does a fantastic job of providing a very clear lens and crisp reticle. It’s tough not to like the optic.
The Bullpup was the perfect companion for the HS512C
In general, it seems extremely well made. A few drops, kicks, and sprays with water did nothing. It’s a big optic, and the extra hood makes it a little heavier. However, heavy is good, heavy is reliable, and the HS512C is certainly both. I dare say it’s the best Holosun optic currently on the market.
You can find the Holosun HS512C at MTG Tactical or through the other links in this article.
About the Author
Travis Pike is a former Marine Machine Gunner, a lifelong firearms enthusiast, and now a regular guy who likes to shoot, write, and find ways to combine the two. He holds an NRA certification as a Basic Pistol Instructor and is the world’s Okayest firearm instructor, and is a simplicisist when it comes to talking about himself in the 3rd person. Hit him up on Instagram, @Travis.l.pike, with story ideas.