There’s a lot of talk these days about open vs closed emitter pistol optics. If you are new to learning about red and green dot pistol optics you are probably wondering what the difference is between Open vs Closed emitters and what are the pros and cons of each? Keep reading and we’ll explain.
Here are all of Holosun's Closed Emitter Pistol Optics and here are all of their Open Emitter Pistol Optics for reference.
Closed aka enclosed emitter pistol optics are the latest evolution of pistol optics. They feature a hood which fully covers and encloses the laser beam. This means nothing can get in the way of the laser and the glass.
What can get in the way of an open emitter optic's laser beam?
Water, dirt, dust, lint, rain, snow, etc. How frequently does this happen and how important is it to have an enclosed emitter optic? Well that depends on your situation.
If you open carry and/or will be out in the rain, mud, snow, etc then having an enclosed emitter might make the most sense to you. This means you can be sure your optic will be 100% reliable no matter what type of precipitation you get on it.
We have also heard of people say lint can get on the glass on the inside, and that cleaning it becomes annoying. An enclosed emitter optic would eliminate this problem because you can just wipe off the rear glass.
Is a closed emitter optic necessary?
Not really. Like anything, an optic is a tool so the best way to decide is to look at how you’ll be using it. Up until this point, most pistol optics have been open emitter optics, and they seem to have served military and LEOs just fine over the years.
Is there extra “peace of mind” with an enclosed emitter - yes for sure, but does that mean open emitter optics are easily prone to failure? In our opinion - no.
Open emitters are still very reliable. They can be used in the rain and in most cases the existing hood does protect the emitter pretty well, but there is that slight chance the stars and planets could align and some dirt particle makes its way in front of the emitter and blocks the beam, therefore not allowing you to see the dot.
Going back to my tool analogy. Let’s use shoes for example. For your normal everyday shoes, do you need them to be waterproof? Probably not. But if you know you will be hiking in the snow or rain, then the answer would be yes.
Choosing an open vs closed emitter optic is the same way. Do you plan on having your optic outside in the elements most of the time where you will be constantly encountering all types of precipitation and weather? If so, then an enclosed emitter makes sense.
Will you be carrying this concealed under a shirt and taking care of it? Do you think you get a lot of dust or lint under your shirt? If you plan on taking care of the gun and don’t feel as though lint will be an issue, then an open emitter is just fine.
Are there any downsides to an enclosed emitter optic?
In our opinion there are only two downsides. One is more weight. You have more material on the hood and an extra piece of glass. Many times this does not add that significant of weight but more than an open emitter.
The second downside is potential fogging issues. We have heard from people that going from extreme cold-soaked conditions, like your closed emitter has been in a cold vehicle overnight, and then going indoors can create more of a fog situation than an open emitter.
What’s our opinion?
Enclosed emitters are more expensive. If you have OCD (like many of us do) and need the ULTIMATE in reliability and peace of mind then an enclosed emitter would help you achieve that. If you will be in scenarios where you are getting dirty, outside, open carrying, then an enclosed emitter also makes sense.
If you take care of your gun/optic, handle it with care, and are concealing it most of the time, taking it from your house, with you in the car, and wherever you go, and keeping it concealed, then the only thing to keep in mind is lint. If you personally don’t think that will be an issue then an open emitter will do just fine.
Remember, open emitters will still work in almost any environment an enclosed emitter will work, it’s just with an enclosed emitter you know 100% that you have a sealed protected unit.
We are happy to recommend and use both. Our recommendation is to think of your situation and choose the best tool for the job.
If you have any questions, reach out to us on chat. If you want to add any comments please leave one below.
Thanks for reading!