Vortex Sparc AR vs Sparc 2 – Which One Should You Get?

vortex sparc ar vs sparc ii

If you’ve been looking at optics for your rifle, you know that there are a plethora of options available today. You’ve narrowed down your search to Vortex because you love their value and reliability. Now, which optic is right for you?

The brand offers a wide variety of non-magnified red dot optics, all with slightly different features. This comparison will help you decide which is right for you and your gun; the AR or the II.

Design & Features

Sparc AR

It is a 2 MOA non-magnified red dot optic specifically designed to be mounted on the top rail of an AR-15. It has all of the features you would expect in a quality red dot, like adjustable brightness controls, parallax-free accuracy, and unlimited eye relief.

It features rear-facing push button controls, so you can quickly adjust the brightness while remaining on target. It comes with two mounting options, lower 1/3rd co-witnessed, and absolute co-witnessed. Absolute co-witness means that when properly zeroed, your red dot will line up exactly with your back up iron units.

The housing features o-ring seals and is nitrogen purged for fogproofing and waterproofing. It comes with attached lens caps and takes one AAA battery. One battery will last up to 5000 hours on the lowest brightness setting and features 12-hour auto shut off.

Sparc II

It is a traditional tube design red dot. It is non-magnified and features a 2 MOA adjustable brightness red dot. It is equally at home on an AR-15 or other carbines such as AK-47, SKS, or Mini-14. It is also an excellent red dot optic for shotguns.

It features single piece construction, fully multicoated to reduce glare, and nitrogen gas purged to make it fog proof; O-ring sealed to make it waterproof. This product, like the AR, comes with two mounting options. Lower 1/3rd co-witnessed, or absolute co-witnessed for use with back up iron units.

It is parallax free and features unlimited eye relief for quick target acquisition. Included in the purchase are detachable lens caps, a T-10 Torx wrench for mounting, and CR2032 battery. The battery has a life of up to 5000 hours on the lowest brightness setting, and also features a 12-hour auto shut off.

If you’re looking for a colored dot 1X unit that offers battery-free operation and a low profile, then this is a solid buy. It’s got what you need, works out of the box, and is a no-fuss install that will have you shooting better groups quickly, whether you mount it on your everyday carry, hunting rifle, or home defense weapon.

Head to Head Comparison

The Sparc AR and II are virtually identical in terms of performance and features.

They both have 2 MOA red dots, rear facing push-button brightness adjustments, and equal battery life.

Both will provide you with reliable shot groups up to about 300 yards.

The unlimited eye relief means that you can quickly acquire targets, and two-eye-open shooting keeps you aware of your surroundings.

On Vortex’s website, it describes the AR as night vision compatible using the lowest two brightness settings, while there is no such mention for the model II. The only other discernable difference between the two is the battery types. The AR unit uses the more common AAA battery, while the model II uses a CR2032 watch battery.

Battery access to the two sights are both convenient, and the battery life for each are identical.

Pros & Cons

Sparc AR

  • 10 brightness settings including two night vison compatible
  • Rear facing brightness controls
  • Two mounting options including absolute co-witness
  • Auto shut off feature
  • Affordable cost, under $300
  • No magnification options available
  • Short battery life compared to other red dots
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Sparc 2

  • 10 brightness settings
  • Rear facing brightness controls
  • Two mounting options including absolute co-witness
  • Auto shut off feature
  • Affordable cost, under $300
  • No magnification options available
  • Short battery life compared to other red dots

Cost and Value Comparison

The two models are both sold in retail for under $300, which is a reasonable price for a red dot.

They both offer features similar to more expensive optics, but at a much more affordable cost than the big name optics manufacturers.

As with all Vortex products, both come with an unconditional lifetime warranty, which is transferable should you choose to resell your unit.

There’s no warranty card to fill out or purchase code to validate; the brand stands behind every product that they make.


Practical Application

AR Unit Primary Use

It is designed to be a close combat optic for the AR platform.

It can be placed on a duty weapon for law enforcement or military applications and will deliver the performance and reliability that those organizations demand.

Its affordable price makes it the perfect choice for a beginner looking for a red dot for his AR-15.

Whether you’re a recreational shooter or compete in Three Gun Tournaments, it will suit your needs.

Model II Primary Use

It is a quality non-magnified red dot unit for beginners and veterans alike.

The quality and reliability are precisely what a serious shooter is looking for, while the affordable price makes it an attractive option for a novice.

It can be placed on any long gun and make that instantly gun more efficient. It will compliment your rifle, carbine, or even shotgun.

The red dot is accurate to distances of up to around 300 yards, but any further than that and you will need a magnified optic.

Our Opinion

Both the Sparc AR and Sparc II are excellent options as an affordable, quality red dot sight.

They both provide 2 MOA accuracy and fast target acquisition. The mounting options for both sights offer the versatility that shooters are looking for.

The battery life could be longer, but it is certainly reasonable at up to 5000 hours before needing a battery change.

The biggest deciding factor when choosing between these sights is aesthetic.

Which design do you prefer? The Trijicon MRO-styled appearance of the Sparc AR, or the tubular, Aimpoint looking style of the Sparc II?

Other Options Worth Looking At

You can find more expensive red dots, and you can find cheaper ones, but you won’t find any optics of this quality at the same price or lower.

Vortex has made a name for itself in the optics industry as providing high quality at lower prices than their competitors.

But if you’re looking to spend a little more money, you should look at the Trijicon MRO or the Aimpoint Comp M3. Both of those are high quality red dot sights, but will both cost you $500-$600. When you throw in the Vortex unconditional lifetime warranty, there’s really no reason to buy from anyone else.