The Mysterious Holosun HE530GC-RD


A little over 3 weeks ago, I ordered a Holosun HS515GM red dot for the Black Adder. Unfortunately, the item never shipped because the vendor listed it as available by mistake. I received a refund but could not find another seller who had one in stock…


On whim, I went to MidwayUSA’s website to see what they might have available, and came across the HE530GC-RD, discounted down from $500 to $375 (25% off) with free shipping!

It was interesting, but I could not find ANY reference to this specific model on Holosun’s website or YouTube! Google searches only pointed back to MidwayUSA’s ad, so the question was, “What even is…?”


Looking at Holosun’s website, there is no listing for this specific model, but there  are listings for a HE530G-RD and HE530C-RD

Both of these are Holosun’s ‘Elite’ models, which offer premium features like a titanium housing, shake awake, amazing battery life, a nice QD mount, kill flash, clear lens covers etc. The only difference between the two is that the HE530C has a solar panel and the HE530G does not.

In the ad for the HE530GC-RD, you can clearly see a solar panel:

Another odd quirk was that the buttons were on the opposite side of where they’d normally appear on the HE530C’s:


The item shipped quickly, and after a couple of days, I had it in-hand and could get a good look at it. There were a few discrepancies…

HE530GC-RD1 Mounted, side view

Note that the instead of battery tray, you have a twist-off battery chamber… The height of the mount was advertised as 1/3 lower co-witness but turned out to be absolute co-witness (i.e. shorter) and does not include any alternate mounts to raise or lower the height.

While the box and case it comes in both have a HE530GC-RD sticker slapped on them, the included manual is for an HE515GTC-RD/GR (the 20mm version)… What gives!!?


After a couple hours of cyber sleuthing, I came across an old blog post (dated April 30, 2017) announcing Holosun’s new Titanium red dot sights. The author refers to these as the HS530G (battery only) and HS530C (battery/solar). Here’s a picture of the “HS530G”with a (you guessed it!) prominent battery chamber:

While the post doesn’t include a picture of the “HS530C”, we can infer that if it did, it would probably feature the same battery chamber, but I wanted to validate that so the search continued…

Using the HS prefix instead, I came across the following German eBay ad featuring none other than the elusive HS530C:


The HE530CG-RD is actually a rebadged HS530C (sometimes referred to as the HS530C Elite) that debuted in Spring of 2017. At some point, the HS530 series red dots were upgraded to include a battery tray and rebranded with the ‘HE’ prefix.

Somewhere along the line, MidwayUSA must have purchased a palette of new old stock HS530C’s that were rebadged as “HE530GC-RD’s”. This would explain the heavily discounted price/limited availability.

As of the writing of this post, MidwayUSA has both the HE530C-RD ($500) and the HE530GC-RD ($375) for sale. As far as I can tell, on paper they are the same optic save for the battery tray (or lack there of).

Regrets, Complaints and Recriminations

Is the battery tray worth $125? Probably not… Tray or no tray, the thing may as well be made of unobtainium because it’s ridiculously stronger than it would ever need to be (especially for any use case I’m likely to explore).

The only legitimate gripe I have is that there was nothing to indicate how this differed from the HE530C or why it costs $125 more…

The Mounting

BEHOLD, a Great Red Dragon!!! Err… I mean Red Dot!

Here’s another shot from the side:

Some other upgrades include a red dot magnifier, weapon light, stubby foregrip, ambidextrous safety and extended charging handle. Someday I’ll fork out $1,500-2,000 for a quality AR, and when I do, I’ll have some nice glass for it. Until then, I’m happy with my purchase, even if it gives me the Coof…

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Joe-Jim is the amalgamation of Joe and Jim, the founders of this site. It's also a shout out to Bob Heinlein's novel, "Orphans in the Sky." The name is a reference to the ambivalent “muty” (being both a two-headed mutant and the descendant of mutineers) who lead the outcasts out of the darkness of religious superstition. Joe-Jim is the editor and co-writer of Pork Circus.

9 thoughts on “The Mysterious Holosun HE530GC-RD”

  1. I’ve been told to not to give out my email address ( to strangers on the interwebs, but I do it anyhow…

  2. (I realize this is almost 2 years ago, but I can’t find another knowledgeable person on this). When the mount is removed, what footprint remains? Also I can’t tell which of the models have higher or lower mounts. What I’m after is the lowest possible optic sitting on a QD mount. Thanks

    1. I wouldn’t call myself “knowledgeable”, but I do have a second-degree yellow belt in Google Fu…

      I know Google Fu

      I’d like to preface this by reminding you that what I bought was a heavily discounted, limited-run optic. You can’t buy this specific model anymore, so unless you can find one second-hand or possibly as new old stock somewhere, you won’t be getting the exact same product…what may be true for the unicorn I have might not be true for the current model equivalent (i.e., the HE530C-RD).

      With disclaimers out of the way, we can tackle your questions…

      Footprint, in the context of optics, refers to the screw hole pattern used to affix the optic to the riser/mount. These tend to follow specific patterns/standards, and the Holosun 530 series uses the Aimpoint Micro Standard (i.e., mounts made for the Aimpoint Micro should be compatible with Holosun 530 series). That said, anytime you’re dealing with third-party manufacturers, there’s always the opportunity for fitment issues, so you’re usually better off running what came with.

      Mine came with an absolute co-witness mount, which is shorter than a 1/3 lower mount.

      If you want a shorter mount height, look for one with an absolute co-witness. Alternately, Aimpoint makes a mount called the, “Aimpoint Micro LRP QD Mount – Base Only, Item #12905.” This is made for the Aimpoint Micro series, but since the Holosun 530’s have the same footprint (allegedly), it might work…This would be about half the height of an absolute co-witness, if getting just a tiny bit shorter is worth $130 to you.

      I hope that was helpful!

  3. I bought this optic from midway as well. I think the mystery has to continue though because looking at that optic in the blog post you linked to. That optic is a little different than ours. The hs530 has this line that sweeps upward near the rear of the optic that ours does not. So I don’t think it’s a rebadged hs530

    1. The TFB article covered the NRA 2017 Annual meeting. The Holosun optics showcased in booth 5328 did have the swept housing, and as early as two months later, you can find examples of the “HS30C” with a battery tray rather than the side compartment we have…

      So when did they update the body style and ditch the compartment for a tray?

      The first examples I’ve found of the newer body style (what would eventually be branded the HE530 series) was late 2018, which uses a tray rather than a compartment.

      What makes this even more interesting is that I managed to find a PDF published by Holosun, uploaded on June 4th, 2021, featuring their ’21 lineup.

      In it, is the elusive HE530GC-RD, right there on page 20:
      The Elusive HE530GC-RD

      This is the only official mention of this model I’ve ever been able to find from Holosun to date, and did not exist at the time this article was written/published (October ’20)…

      It’s possible that between April ’17 and November ’18, there was at one point a side compartment, titanium-bodied, solar fail-safe version of the HS530C with a slightly streamlined housing that would later be rebranded as the HE530GC-RD. Exactly when and how this came to be, the world might never know, but I’ve yet to find a better explanation :).

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