When they first came on the scene in the mid-1990s holographic weapon sights were primarily targeted at the hunting and sporting fields. However, it would not take long for firearms instructors to see their benefits when it came to close quarter combat, the early models such as the Bushnell Holosight were not regarded as very durable for use in an extreme environment.
Benefits of a Holographic Sight
The primary advantages of the holographic weapon sight over tube based red dot sights were that they allowed the shooter to acquire a target quickly while keeping both eyes open. Holographic sights are also parallax free at 100 yards.
Keeping both eyes open while shooting is a benefit to hunters and sportsmen because it allows them to see multiple targets in succession. It is also for this reason that these sights were deemed vital for use on a rifle intended for law enforcement or military use.
This style of shooting (also known as the Bindon Aiming Concept) allows the soldier or police officer to see the entire scenario in his field of view. This enables the shooter to stay aware of his primary targets while scanning for innocent bystanders and additional threats. Aiming with both eyes open also prevents the shooter from developing tunnel vision.
For more detailed information on how holographic sights work, read our introduction page.
Eventually a company by the name of EOTech bought the rights to the Bushnell Holosight to make a more robust holographic weapon sight for the battlefield. The first major change was using all metal components on the sight’s body and then adding a protective housing unofficially called a “roll bar” to protect the prism and glass of the sight in case the unit was dropped or struck.
EOTech would go on to refine the components of their holographic weapon sights by making them fully compatible with thermal imaging and night vision devices as well as a longer spectrum of varying degrees of brightness based on the shooter’s needs.
In 2008, another sight and scope manufacturer named Trijicon found another role for the holographic weapon sight for the police and military and began offering their much smaller sight as a bolt on accessory for the rear of their famous ACOG tritium based scope.
Shooters reported that the ACOG did not work well at extremely close distances and the molded in front and rear sight on the scope’s body were less than adequate. The most common methods for mounting the ACOG on a flat top rifle made the rifle’s iron sights mostly unusable, too.
Trijicon remedied this by making it possible for the company’s much smaller holographic weapon sight, called the RMR (Ruggedized Miniature Reflex) to be mounted on the rear of the ACOG. When a shooter needed to respond to a threat closer than the magnified range would allow, he simply used the RMR as a backup sight.
In a different vein, EOTech began offering a 4X magnifier to use in conjunction with its holographic weapon sights. The magnifier rides in a “flip to the side” mount so that the shooter can take advantage of it when longer aimed shots are needed.