Pistol Red Dots are Here to Stay
I’ve admittedly been slow to pick up pistol red dots. Adapting the slight change in sight picture, my astigmatism, and the need to modify my pistol slides have been the core reasons I’ve been slow to pick this one up. If I’m being honest though, getting used to acquiring the pistol red dot off the draw is really the only reason I’ve been reluctant to change.
I’ve captured some video of myself shooting with a Trijicon RMR and Holosun 507c X-2 and I am definitely guilty of fishing for the red dot. If the time spent fishing for a pistol red dot translated into actual angling skill….then call me the Old Man and the Sea.
I’m not alone in this. A lot of us like the comfort of iron sights even if pistol red dots are objectively faster. If you’ve tried out any of the many offerings sprouting up and gave up on switching your pistol optics set-up….then the Holosun 507c ACSS Vulcan is for you.
Holosun has done an incredible job in recent years dominating the value-tier red dot market that was once controlled by Vortex. The Holosun 507c ACSS Vulcan has all the usual features you find in all their red dots such as:
- Motion Activated On/Off
- Extended 20,000 Hours of Battery Life (CR1632 Battery)
- Side-mounted Battery Tray
- Solar Failsafe Back-Up
- Chevron ACSS Reticle with Outer Ring (Red/Green Reticle Options)
- AutoBrightness Adjustment and 12 Manual Brightness Settings
- Click Value = 1 MOA
- NV Compatible
- 7075-T6 aluminum construction with an anodized black finish and fully multicoated glass
All of this comes in at just around the $300 price point. Now, these specs are fantastic for a pistol red dot but they’re not too different from their other offerings (507c and 407c).
What makes this so special?
The ACSS Vulcan Reticle System
I think the word “Innovative” is over-used and I’m always reluctant to say it but the ACSS Vulcan reticle truly fits the bill. This reticle system blew me away. There are two reticle options:
- Standalone Chevron
- Chevron with an Outer Ring
It’s the latter reticle option that really stands out. The outer ring surrounding the chevron acts as training wheels that I found incredibly useful in establishing a consistent sight picture when I would draw my pistol. For example, If your sight picture is slightly off and you’re holding the pistol too high, only the lower lip of the outer ring will be visible thru the optic.
This gives you a visual indication that you need to correct your aim downwards. The same is true if you aim too far to the right. The left side of the outer ring will be all that’s visible indicating you need to correct the left to find the chevron.
A useful illustration from Holosun is detailed below:
The reticle itself is clear, even thru my astigmatism, and boasts a BDC baked into the chevron for use with 9MM, 45, .40, and most common rifle cartridges. For 9MM, the apex of the chevron is meant to be zeroed at 25 yards. Just below that, you’ll be on-target at 50 yards and the bottom of the chevron is your hold-over for 100 yards.
Function & Reliability
After spending an hour dryfiring with the ACSS Vulcan, I decided to put it on my Gen 5 Glock 34 MOS. It has an RMR footprint so it should work with any slide milled to accept the Trijicon RMR. I’ve mounted this to a Glock 34, Glock 17 MOS, Glock 40, Brownells Glock 17 and 19 RMR cut slides and can confirm the RMR footprint.
This is the main reason I went with Holosun over Trijicon RMR. The way the Trijicon RMR mounts obstructs the battery compartment requiring you to remove the optic and re-zero to change the battery. I’ve seen multiple RMR’s with stripped screws due to this and it’s a tradeoff I’ll happily make.
The auto-brightness setting leaves much to be desired. I found it too bright indoors and way too dim outdoors in the Texas sun. Easy fix. If you hold the ‘+’ button on the side of the optic, you’ll switch to manual brightness mode.
I’ve got over 1,000 rounds thru the ACSS Vulcan and I’m still zeroed. I even slightly abused the optic by racking the slide using the Holosun housing to grab wood and metal surface.
What Could Be Better
After putting some trigger time behind the ACSS Vulcan there are 2 call-outs I need to make. First, the glass has a greenish-blue tint to it that’s commonly found on most Holosun pistol red dots. This isn’t a big deal to me but I know it’s been a blocker for some folks.
Second, while I love the innovative outer ring that helps correct your sight picture, I know the choice of going with a chevron is going to be contentious. Some people find chevron reticles to be counterintuitive forcing people to first find the chevron and then look for the tip of the chevron. I am in this camp. Even with the BDC capabilities I would have much rather preferred a traditional red dot over the chevron. Oddly I don’t mind a chevron reticle on rifles or PCC’s so I’ll be mounting this onto my CZ Scorpion but I do find them a bit noisy on a pistol red dot.
Now that I’ve gotten more comfortable acquiring the red dot, I’ve actually turned off the outer ring and I’m using the chevron-only reticle. This has translated well into traditional pistol red dots like Holosun’s 407c. I’m now much more consistent thanks to the muscle memory I’ve built with the ACSS Vulcan.
I highly recommend this pistol red dot especially if you’re struggling to get used to them and still want to see what all the hype was about. The ACSS Vulcan was fast, consistent, and made follow-up shots incredibly easy.