It’s hard to spend too much money on a quality red-dot sight. There are a lot of top-shelf brands out there, Aimpoint, Trijicon, EOTech, etc., and while they’re all exceedingly nice optics, not everyone wants to or can spend upwards of six bills on a red dot sight. The problem with budget optics is that they’re fragile, inefficient, and lose their zero like they were made to do it. The middle market has a lot of options. If you have $200 and want a red dot, you’re facing an avalanche of choices. Well, here’s a suggestion for you: the Vortex SPARC.
First up, let’s talk about what you get in the box. It’s not just the optic. Vortex bundles each SPARC with an elastic 1-piece lens cover, two batteries, extra screws, and three riser mounts, for flush-mounting, lower-third cowitness, and absolute cowitness. And they come with a doubler, or 2x magnifier. It’s not a great doubler, but it’s handy in a pinch. The bulk of your money’s spent on a quality optic, but many companies don’t even bother to include mounts with their base products.
The SPARC has proven to be a tough little optic that happily endures good-natured rough handling. It’s waterproof, the tube is a single piece and it’s sealed and nitrogen-purged for clarity, and rated up to .375 H&H Magnum. It features a small 2 MOA dot, a 22mm diameter lens, and weighs in at just 5.2 ounces. It’s almost parallax-free, less than one inch inside 50 yards and completely parallax-free beyond 50 yards, and like all good red dots, has unlimited eye relief.
It has good battery life, 120 hours on maximum brightness, 3,400 hours on minimum brightness, and even more in night sight mode. The red dot is easy to see no matter what conditions you’re in. The molded controls are easy to use with gloved fingers, and if you forget to turn it off, it will shut itself off after six hours.
In its short history, people have put them through unbelievable amounts of stress and they’re holding up about as well as optics that cost two and three times as much. Honestly, you can take a mallet to them and they don’t mind. The SPARC was made for both regular people and soldiers and law enforcement officers who have to pay for their own kit. And just for giggles, they’re covered by a extremely broad lifetime warranty.
Vortex follows up with a handful of accessories for the SPARC, like a spare battery holder, a killflash for operators, and if you don’t like the complimentary screw-on doubler, a tripler optic and a flip-out mount. You can pick up the 3x optic and mount for $230. A similar setup by EOTech will set you back close to a grand.
So yeah, you can spend a lot on good optics. But Vortex has proven you don’t have to.