The Holosun HS512C – Embrace the Enclosed Emitter

Holosun has been hitting hard with new optics every other month. The new hotness has been the AEMS, and it’s been getting a ton of attention. Sadly, the AEMS has caused a lot of shooters to overlook another similar option from Holosun called the HS512C. The HS512C shares a number of features with the AEMS and provides a cheaper and likely easier-to-find option versus the yet-to-be-released AEMS. I got mine from Gun Mag Warehouse, and they seem to be easy to find nearly everywhere.

The HS512C is basically the HS510C, but they’ve enclosed the emitter. An enclosed emitter offers numerous benefits to the world of red dot optics. Before we dive into the pros and cons of enclosed emitters, let’s talk about HS512C’s specifications.


The Holosun HS512C weighs 8.1 ounces, and that makes it a little heavier than most compact red dots. It’s 3.35 inches long and 1.66 inches wide. The optic comes with an integrated mount that adds a few ounces and places it at AR height that allows for an easy co-witness.

The reticle packs ten daylight brightness settings and two-night vision settings. A single CR2032 battery powers the optic for 50K hours, and it’s backed by a pair of solar panels and a motion activate automatic shut down mode. If the optic is sat down for a bit without any movement, it automatically shuts off. When grabbed, the optic fires on and automatically returns back to the last brightness setting.

The Holosun HS512C - Embrace the Enclosed Emitter
The battery compartment has a locking lever.

The window size is a nice .91 inches by 1.26 inches, and you get relatively little framework blocking out your peripheral vision. That actually makes it a hair bigger than the Eotech series of optics.

We also get three reticles providing the HS512C with a 2 MOA Dot, 65 MOA Circle, and a combination of the 2 MOA circle and 65 MOA dot. I prefer the latter and will explain why a little later. On the durability side, the optic can be submerged up to a meter for 30 minutes and withstand 1000Gs of recoil. That’s a ton of recoil, and you won’t find a shoulder-fired rifle that can generate that level of force.

The Holosun HS512C - Embrace the Enclosed Emitter
The dual solar panels power the optic without a battery.

To Enclose Or To Open?

Why would you choose the enclosed emitter HS512C over the open emitter 510C? Well, first and foremost, an enclosed emitter guarantees reliability. Since the emitter is enclosed, nothing can get between the emitter and the lens. This includes rain, snow, mud, dust, dirt, or whatever else Murphy tosses at you.

The Holosun HS512C - Embrace the Enclosed Emitter
The optics sits perfectly for an absolute cowitness.

The downsides are very few and mostly center around ergonomics. The hood makes the optic heavier than the 510C, nearly double the weight. The hood also adds a little more framing to block your peripheral vision. The HS510C is a light and easy-to-use optic and is well suited for home defense and competitive use.

The Holosun HS512C - Embrace the Enclosed Emitter
The two buttons make adjustments easy, as well as swapping reticles on the fly.

However, the HS512C is much more reliable when things go outside. From a tactical perspective, the increase in reliability makes the HS512C is a much better option for duty use or even hunting in austere environments.

A View To Kill For

Through the lens, you’ll see a blue tint caused by the lens coating. If you want to see that red dot clear and crisp, then you’ll know why that big blue tint is necessary. It allows the red to stand out while allowing other colors to pass right through. Blue tint isn’t terrible but should be noted.

The various reticles are all super crisp and clear. The 2 MOA dot is super easy to see and use, and I prefer the 2 MOA dot combined with the 65 MOA reticle. It’s Eotechish, and I’ve always loved the combination of circle and dot with various optics.

The Holosun HS512C - Embrace the Enclosed Emitter
The view through the HS512C is nice, wide, and unobstructed.

The big ass 65 MOA circle provides shooters a quick to acquire red dot option that grips the eye and forces you to see it. The 2 MOA circle gives you a refined aiming point. I like this reticle for a variety of reasons, and being quick and easy to see is the first reason.

Next, it’s very versatile. With a 50/200 zero, I can use the 2 MOA dot for any basic engagement range and use the 65 MOA circle for a variety of purposes. I can easily use it as a range finder. At 100 yards, a man-sized target will fill the circle. At two hundred yards, a man-sized target will fill the circle from the bottom to the 2 MOA dot. If the man-sized target doesn’t fit between the two, I know it’s closer or further away.

The Holosun HS512C - Embrace the Enclosed Emitter
A little sling tension makes precision shots a hair easier.

A super close range, I can use the bottom of the reticle for precise CQB shots. Mechanical offset is a hassle with a standard red dot that requires a bit of guesswork. With the 65 MOA reticle, I can use the bottom stadia to place a precise shot at close range.

Out to the Range

I tossed the HS512C onto my Colt EPR and hit the ground running. Zeroing didn’t take long, but I will say the turrets kind of suck. Well, the elevation turret sucks. It provides a barely perceptible click for every adjustment. Also, holy crap, is it stiff to make adjustments. The windage turret provides very clean and very clicky adjustments. It seems like a QC failure between the two turrets.

The Holosun HS512C - Embrace the Enclosed Emitter
Cowitnessing is not an issue.

However, the optic was zeroed without much issue, even though the elevation turret kind of sucked. Once I zeroed in, I went to a variety of ranges and lit up a variety of targets. The little 2 MOA dot made it plenty easy to touch small targets. My 4-inch gong got its spin plenty of times as I engaged it at 25 and 50 yards.

Beyond 50 yards, I engaged larger gongs without much issue with the HS512C. A little 2 MOA dot inside a 65 MOA circle provides a clear sight picture for easy engagement of small targets. Even at 100 yards, my eight and 10-inch gongs got dinged and dinged over and over.

The Holosun HS512C - Embrace the Enclosed Emitter
The optic uses an enclosed emitter that ensures total reliability.

I left the battery out and let the solar panels do their job. In the middle of a sunny Florida day, they had zero issues powering the optic. Even when I moved to the shade, the reticles remained bright and clear.

That Big Reticle

That big reticle made target transitions easily. I flew between targets with ease and lit up a variety of targets that were of different sizes. From big man-sized IPSC targets to little gongs and clay pigeons, the HS512C makes them all easy to engage. While an enclosed optic provides more frame to block your view, it’s tough to say it makes a big difference.

I can see targets both big and small with my peripheral vision, and it makes zero difference from my perspective. I can move from big targets to little targets with ease. The big reticle is easy to track and makes reactive targets easy to dump rounds into.

The Holosun HS512C - Embrace the Enclosed Emitter
Engaging at various ranges is quite easy with the big reticle.

Even moving from IPSC targets to clay pigeons, I had zero issues. That crisp, clear, and versatile reticle provides shooters a very easy-to-use option for targets small, large, as well as close and far.

Duty Ready

The HS512C is an outstanding optic for close-quarters shooting. It provides an enclosed optic option for those wanting something but is very effective and affordable. The HS512C is well suited for home defense, and I’d even take it on as a duty optic. The little fella is a fighter and provides an enclosed optic option that might be a little easier to find than the AEMS for the next few months.

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  • JohninMd(HELP!) December 20, 2022, 11:39 am

    Lots of praise, love the features, yada, yada… WHAT’S IT COST?

  • RHT447 November 21, 2022, 7:06 pm

    Bought my 512 in 2018. It is as you describe–clean, crisp reticle that allows precision at distance and the same time very quick in close. I have since changed to an LPVO scope for two reasons 1) magnification 2) an etched reticle that is still there without the battery. Yes, I had BUIS co-witnessed with the 512.

    Another nice feature is that Holosun offers a gold reticle for folks who are color blind.

    • ejharbet November 27, 2022, 7:45 pm

      you answered a question I had about gold reticals. thanks.

      as for me it’s green all the way
      holosun is good stuff for this old guy who started having front sights disappear.

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