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…
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…
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…