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Vortex Sparc AR Red Dot Sight review

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Not sure whether the Vortex Optics Sparc red dot sight is the right sight for hunting or not? Well, you are in the right place. 

But wait, why should you trust me?

I got my Vortex Sparc about a year back and take it for my hunting trips at least 1-2 times a month. After trying and testing it for about 12 months now in pretty much every weather condition, here’s my take on this red dot sight.

I’ll review it based on factors that matter such as durability, recoil-resistance, accuracy, turret quality, and so on.

Let’s dig right into it.

Vortex Sparc AR Reviewed in Detail

Vortex Optics SPARC Red Dot Sight Gen II - 2 MOA Dot , BLACKCheck Latest Price on Amazon

Reticle 

One of the most important parts of any scope is the reticle as it can make or break your hunt so let’s begin with that itself and a bit about magnification.

The Sparc AR being a red dot sight does not provide any magnification but locking onto your targets is way quicker with red dot sight, and that’s why so many hunters tend to choose it over traditional scopes.

The best thing about its red dot is that it remains crystal clear whether it is sunny, cloudy, or you plan to hunt at dusk or dawn. You won’t lose it with changing backgrounds either. This is mainly because you have the power of adjusting the brightness of the red dot whenever needed. 

Yes, there are an amazing 10 brightness levels to choose from and at the first 2 settings, you can even use a night vision which further adds to the functionality and gives you the freedom to hunt any time of the day or night.

This is especially helpful in states where hunting rules are more relaxed at night.

And toggling between the 10 brightness levels is as easy as 1,2,3 thanks to buttons in the front. Also, once set, the scope’s memory function ensures the brightness level remains the same even if the scope runs out of battery or is turned on/off regularly (set it, forget it, just the way I like it).

Talking about the reticle, there are no hash marks for holdovers that you get with traditional scopes. Now, this does hamper accuracy (to some extent) for beginners, but if you are a pro and prefer something clutter-free and clear that helps you acquire targets in a jiffy, this is the red dot sight for you.

Battery Life

Where there is an illuminated reticle, there’s also a battery that needs to be charged or replaced. And to skip the hassle of having to constantly do it, you need something that will last long, right? Well, the Sparc does not disappoint.

Lighting up the reticle are AAA batteries (also included in the package) that can give you anywhere between 350 hours to 5000 hours depending on the brightness levels you use. That means you can go about 150-200 days without having to recharge/replace batteries.

And even if you do need to need to change batteries, it takes less than a minute as the battery compartment is easily accessible (No, you’d never be left changing batteries in crunch times). And since it uses AAA batteries, you should have no trouble finding them either. Not to forget, they are pretty cheap as well.

Plus, you can put those extra batteries into the inbuilt compartment, so you never lose them and have them on-hand for a quick change when needed.

Also, if you are as forgetful as me, you’d love the fact that the red dot sight has an auto-off feature. I would have preferred lesser time than 12 hours, but if you use your scope once a month or every week, this feature’s a blessing as it also increases the durability of the scope.

Windage and Holdover Dials

Since there is no magnification you won’t find any dial to adjust parallax but yes, there are dials to adjust windage and elevation, but I wasn’t too impressed with it.

On the top is a dial for elevation while the dial for windage is located on the left-hand side. My biggest issue with the dials was that these have been designed for finger-tap adjustments, and that can be easy to get wrong, especially if you are a beginner. 

Plus, they aren’t numbered and neither have white markings around.

They are quite smooth though, and do not require a lot of force to turn so once you get the hang of that, it should take you seconds to make adjustments (yup, gotta spend some time at the range with this baby first).

Apart from finger-tap adjustments, you will also find slots on the dials/turrets for coin adjustment. Pocket screwdrivers work just as well. 

Not something you could do while you are hunting but definitely a handy method for other times though I suggest you continue to practice the finger-tap adjustment and get better at it.

Mounting

As far as mounting the sight is concerned, you can choose between either a 1/3 co-witness or an absolute co-witness. 

Need the easy way out? Go with the ⅓ co-witness mount that requires no adjustments as the scope can be mounted as it is. 

If you’d prefer the absolute co-witness height, all you have to do is get rid of the base shim, which is about 3mm. 

The major difference between both heights is that with the ⅓ co-witness, the optic center is around 40mm over the base surface whereas, with the absolute co-witness, it is about 37mm. 

In case you want to further adjust the height, simply remove the screws, base clamp, and shim. In the package, you will find 4 smaller screws. Just assemble the base clamp with these screws, and the height would be lowered.

You can mount the red dot sight with both Picatinny and Weaver rails thus allowing you to use it with a wide range of rifles and pistols. And any tool needed to mount the scope like the T-10 Torx Wrench is included in the package.

Durability and weatherproofing

Whether you pay $200 or $1000, you want the scope to last long, right? Well, that comes down to its build, and the Vortex Sparc is everything you could have asked for at this price range.

Not only does it have an aircraft-grade aluminum build to withstand slight bumps and hits that come with hunting in the wild. It also handles recoil well and you can also comfortably use this red dot in rain or fog. 

This is because the sealed o-rings keep the water from seeping inside. They also do a great job of keeping out dust, dirt, and oil further adding to the durability of the scope. That means mild duststorms should not play spoilsport with your hunting trip.

Even fog can’t. Yes, thanks to the nitrogen purge the lens remains fog-free at all times further adding to the versatility of the scope (whatever the weather, your new scope can brave it all).

Even with a metallic build, Vortex Optics manages to keep the scope in the ultralight category as it weighs a mere 7.5 oz, so carrying it around either in the bag or mounted on your rifle should be easy peasy as it barely adds to the overall weight.

And yes, it fits into almost any backpack with ease as it is just 2.9-inches long and 1.9-inches tall. This also makes storage easy as you can easily put it away into a cupboard, shelve, or drawer when the red dot isn’t in use.

Adding to the durability provided by the metallic build is the special hard-coat anodization. This not only protects the red dot from scratching easily but at the same time prevents corrosion (this one’s going to last you for years).

But that’s not all it does. It adds to your safety as well. 

The problem with metal in bright sunlight is the glare. A slight glare and suddenly the hunter becomes the hunted. Thankfully, this anodization reduces glare to a minimum by giving it a matte finish, in turn, ensuring your camouflage is fool-proof.

Optics quality

Like any good red dot sight or scope, the Sparc also has a multi-coated lens. This means there are multiple layers of anti-reflective material ensuring good light transmission, which means you get good images even in low light. The coating also keeps it protected from dust, dirt, moisture, and oil.

Furthermore, keeping the lens protected are the flip up covers that are easier to use and store then traditional covers that come off when the scope is in use.

While the lens quality isn’t at par with the more premium scopes, it sure stands out in this price range.

Apart from that, it also features unlimited eye relief, which further adds to the ease of using the scope and allows you to latch onto targets (whether moving or still) in a jiffy. Oh, did I tell you that you can even shoot with the same accuracy with both eyes open, which is perfect for close range shots.

How far can I shoot with the Sparc?

Vortex Sparc AR Red Dot Sight

No magnification means your range is limited but compared to other red dots in the price range, it surely punches above its weight. That is because it is ideal for up to 100 yards thanks to the lens quality and the 10 brightness levels along with the windage and elevation adjustments.

And as I already mentioned, it works just as well at night as well with night vision and the first two brightness settings.

Specifications:

  • Mount: Picatinny or Weaver
  • Brightness: 10 brightness levels, 2 compatible with night-vision
  • Reticle Type: 2 MOA red dot sight
  • Reticle on/off: Automatic reticle shut-off
  • Weight: 7.5 oz.
  • Warranty: Lifetime Warranty

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Pros

  • Costs around $200, ideal for budget buyers
  • Lightweight and compact (just 7.5 oz)
  • Backed by a lifetime warranty
  • 10 reticle brightness levels to choose from
  • First 2 brightness levels are compatible with night vision
  • Choose between 2 height adjustments for comfortable usage
  • Good battery life
  • Very durable thanks to its aluminum build
  • Nitrogen purge ensures the lens remains fog-free

Cons

  • No holdover estimations provided by the reticle
  • Turrets/dials could have been better

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Conclusion

That’s all from me about the Vortex Optics Sparc AR red dot sight. I think it is a great pick for anyone that doesn’t want to spend big on a red dot sight just yet. 

Yes, it doesn’t have the beastly build of an expensive red dot sight, and dials or turrets could have been slightly better, but for $200, it is still a bargain.

It is weatherproof, so can be used in rain and snow, mounting the scope is easy, and it gives you great control over that. Furthermore, it red dot is illuminated, and the battery life is one of the best in the price range.

In case you think I have missed out on some details about this red dot drop it in the comments section below. You can also get in touch with me via email. Also, feel free to send in your queries about this or other red dot sights you intend on buying. I’ll get back to you within 24-hours. 

About Author

James Towndrow, a NRA-certified Firearms Instructor. During a career of 18 years had won several shooting competition including major leagues. Taking all those experience down the road, is now a successful Shooting Instructor in Texas, US.


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