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Holosun AEMS Review: Excellent Red-Dot Sight for AR Platforms

The fully enclosed Holosun AEMS reflex sight offers versatility and dependability you won't find in any competing optic; here's a full review.

Holosun AEMS Review: Excellent Red-Dot Sight for AR Platforms

Reflex optics have become standard equipment on rifles, shotguns, and even handguns in recent years, and Holosun is one of the leading manufacturers of optics for a wide variety of firearms and shooting applications. The company’s new Advanced Enclosed Micro Sight (A.E.M.S.) is one of the most versatile, rugged, and reliable optics on the market, offering a long list of features that top shooters demand. 

Holosun AEMS Review: Excellent Red-Dot Sight for AR Platforms

For starters, the A.E.M.S. sight is, as the name implies, fully enclosed and the 7075 T6 anodized aluminum body protects the sight’s electronics from dust and debris in the field, and there are front and rear flip-down, see-through dust covers that further protect the Multilayer Reflective Glass lenses. No matter the conditions, the sight is protected from damage. The A.E.M.S. sight is IPX8 rated which means it can survive being submerged over 1 meter for longer than 30 minutes, and it has been vibration tested to 1000Gs. The Holosun’s operating temperature ranges from -22o to 140o Fahrenheit (-30o to 60o Celsius).

There’s no doubt that the A.E.M.S. is one of the most rugged reflex optics in its class, but it’s also easy to operate. The window measures 1.1-inches wide and 0.87-inches tall, and that offers a wide field of view. A.E.M.S. sights are available with either the red or green Multi-Reticle System. Shooters can select a visible 2 MOA dot, a segmented 65 MOA circle, or both, and having the versatility to select the proper reticle for any situation makes the A.E.M.S. a very versatile optic for just about any firearm. There are a total of 12 different brightness setting options (8 daylight, 4 NV) and because the A.E.M.S. comes with Holosun’s Solar Failsafe technology the sight automatically adjusts to ambient light conditions. 

Holosun AEMS Review: Excellent Red-Dot Sight for AR Platforms

Solar Failsafe technology also allows Holosun optics like the A.E.M.S. to operate when the battery is fully depleted. This is extremely important for a battle or self-defense sight since a sudden battery failure could leave the shooter without an accurate sighting system under dangerous circumstances. Losing full battery power is never an issue with the A.E.M.S. sights.

The odds of losing battery power are quite remote with this optic, though. With a single CR2032 battery the A.E.M.S. will run up to 50,000 hours. This extremely long battery life is due in part to the inclusion of Holosun’s Shake Awake technology which allows the sight to enter sleep mode and shut off the LED after a specified length of time (10 minutes, 1 hour, or 12 hours) as programed by the operator. Sleep mode can also be disabled. Once the optic enters sleep mode it remains in that condition until the A.E.M.S. is moved, powering on the optic. Should the battery level drop below 2.2 volts the reticle will flash every two seconds.

Holosun’s A.E.M.S. optic is loaded with technology, but shooters will appreciate how easy this optic is to install and operate. The base fits securely onto a Picatinny rail: using the supplied T10 Torx tool, simply loosen the cross bolt in the base of the optic until it fits in place properly on the rail. Apply forward pressure to the optic and tighten to 20 inch-pounds of pressure. The A.E.M.S.’s solid base takes a substantial bite on the rail, and that ensures that your optic remains zeroed under field conditions. The lower 1/3 of the base is open for co-witnessing sights.

Holosun AEMS Review: Excellent Red-Dot Sight for AR Platforms

The A.E.M.S. ‘s controls are few, and that makes this one of the easiest sights to operate. On the left side of the optic up and down buttons allow the operator to manually adjust brightness settings. The elevation adjustment knob is located on the right side of the optic just behind the battery tray, and the windage adjustment knob is located on the left side of the optic behind the brightness adjustment buttons. Each click of the windage and elevation knobs adjusts point of impact 0.5 MOA with a total of 50 MOA travel. The battery tray on the right side of the optic is held in place by two screws. When the screws are removed the battery tray slides free from the optic so that the A.E.M.S. doesn’t need to be removed to change the battery. A spare tray is included.

Despite its extensive list of features the A.E.M.S. optic is compact and lightweight. The optic measures just 2.2 inches long, 1.54 inches wide and 1.7 inches tall. Weight is a mere 3.9 ounces, which makes this optic suitable for just about any firearm platform. 

Holosun’s red A.E.M.S. optic carries an MSRP of $470.58. The A.E.M.S. with green LED reticle has an MSRP of $505.87.

Holosun AEMS Review: Excellent Red-Dot Sight for AR Platforms

At the Range

I mounted the red Holosun A.E.M.S. on top of Smith & Wesson’s new M&P 15T II AR-15 rifle. The M&P 15T II comes standard with front and rear Magpul MBUS sights, and the window of the Holosun A.E.M.S. is perfectly positioned so that the sights instantly co-witness with the reticle in the optic. The lightweight A.E.M.S. doesn’t add a lot of bulk to the gun and keeps the top rail open to reduce the likelihood of hang-ups. Once the optic was secured initially zero never shifted even after trips in a vehicle, photo sessions, and range and field use. At the end of the test, I checked the Torx screws that hold the A.E.M.S. in place on the rail and they were still tight.

Holosun AEMS Review: Excellent Red-Dot Sight for AR Platforms

Holosun’s Multilayer Reflective Glass lenses provide a clear image in a wide range of light conditions and the Solar Failsafe panels located on the top of the sight do a good job relaying ambient light conditions to the optic for near instantaneous brightness adjustments. I carried the optic from outside (full sun) into my office and then back into my ammunition room, and regardless of the light conditions the optic’s reticle was always balanced. Rarely does the A.E.M.S. flicker between settings: it seems the computer makes the right decision, makes it quickly, and doesn’t waffle between settings, which can be very irritating.

Accuracy was good with the sight, and the 2 MOA center dot was capable of producing one-inch groups at 50 yards using Black Hills 62-grain match ammunition. I like the reticle design which offers a large ring for rapid target acquisition or range estimation and a fine center dot for precision shooting, but if your shooting application requires one or the other you’ve got the ability to quickly adjust the optic as needed.

A versatile optic like Holosun’s A.E.M.S. makes sense on a variety of firearms, and you’d be hard pressed to find an optic that can match this sight’s feature list at the price point. Before you purchase your next reflex sight take the time to check out Holosun’s A.E.M.S., a durable and versatile optic that’s easy to operate.

Holosun AEMS Review: Excellent Red-Dot Sight for AR Platforms

Holosun AEMS Specifications

  • Description: LED Optic
  • Reticle Layout: 2 MOA Center Dot, 65 MOA Segmented Circle (adjustable)
  • Reticle Color: Red or Green
  • Fully Enclosed: Yes
  • Windage Elevation Adjustments (Each): .5 MOA
  • Total Adjustment: 50 MOA
  • Battery: CR2032
  • Battery Life: 50,000 Hours
  • Auto Shutoff: Yes (programmable)
  • Co-Witness: Yes
  • Base: Picatinny Attachment
  • Housing: 7075 T6 Anodized
  • Dimensions: (LxWxH): 2.2 x 1.54 x1.7 in
  • Weight: 3.9 Ounces
  • MSRP: $470.58 (as tested) to $505.87
  • Manufacturer: Holosun
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