By far the most popular optic for the AR platform is the reflex sight. Reflex sights are non-magnifying optics that allows the shooter to acquire a target without precision aiming quickly. The reflex sight is intended to be used with both eyes open. It is different than a traditional ranged scope, in which the dominant eye is used, and the non-dominant eye is shut.
With eyes both open, it allows the user to maintain situational awareness outside of his optic’s field of view with his peripheral vision, essential in a Close Quarters Battle (CQB) situation that military or SWAT team members face, for instance.
Vortex Sparc AR
Is it Worth Your Money?
At less than $200, this product is definitely worth your money. Vortex has established themselves as a low cost, high-value alternative to some of the larger name optics manufacturers such as Trijicon, Leupold, Aimpoint, and EOTech. 2 MOA red dot sights from those manufacturers cost upwards of $500-$600 or more new, with all of the same features that the the product offers. When you include the brand’s unconditional lifetime warranty, the decision is simple.
Scope Review and Breakdown
The red dot optic is a favorite amongst law enforcement and military professionals who need to be on target fast in close quarters but also be able to hit targets at distances of up to 300 yards. The non-magnified reflex optic allows the shooter to keep both eyes open while firing, a must in close quarters scenarios. It features a 2 MOA (minute of angle) red dot reticle, the standard accuracy for red dot sights. With 2 MOA, a proficient shooter is able to shoot a 2-inch group at 100 yards.
The unit delivers the same features as more expensive red dot optics, for considerably less money. Those features include fully multi-coated lenses for increased light transmission, an adjustable red dot reticle with ten illumination settings, and nitrogen purging for fog proof and waterproof performance.
It is also parallax free, which means that your red dot does not need to be in the center of the glass to hit your target. But wait, there’s more. It comes with two mounting options, 1/3rd co-witnessed, and absolute co-witnessed. With complete co-witnessed sights, you can line up your back up iron sights through the optics glass and zero both your iron and red dot sights together. Also included with your purchase are flip-up lens caps to keep it safe when not in use.
Did I mention that this product comes with the company’s unconditional lifetime warranty? No matter what happens, whose fault it is, or how long you’ve owned it, it will fix or replace your optic at no charge. This benefit is fully transferrable as well. You don’t even need to register your product or fill out a warranty card.
NOTE: Per the company website, the warranty does not cover loss, theft, deliberate damage or cosmetic damage that does not affect the function of the optic.
Ease of Use and Reliability
It is easy to use, which makes it great for beginners. There is a turret for windage and elevation adjustments. They are identical to windage and elevation that any scope or optic has. There is also a brightness adjustment from 1-10. Other than that, you have the battery compartment, and that’s it. Very simple to use. It comes with two mounting options, no spacer for a 1/3rd co-witness, or use the included spacer for absolute co-witness.
It allows you to mount your optic and still be able to zero your backup up iron sights through the optics glass.
Reliability is never a question with the brand, as they offer an unconditional lifetime warranty on all of their products. Use this model with the comfort of knowing that it’s covered if anything should happen to it.
This red dot sight takes an AAA battery, which is included in the box. When looking through the scope from behind, the battery compartment is under the front glass, on the muzzle side.
The battery is inserted positive side first. A fresh battery will provide you with 300 hours of illumination on the highest brightness setting, and up to 5,000 hours of lighting on the lowest brightness setting.
As mentioned previously, this model seems like a steal of a deal at less than $200. It has features comparable to any red dot sight you would find selling for $500-$600.
If this model only lasted you a few years, it would still be worth it at that price. But when you throw in the brand’s unconditional lifetime warranty, and you have a product that will last you for a lifetime.
Who is this Scope for?
Type of Shooter
The Sparc AR is a versatile red dot sight, suitable for beginners and professionals alike. With a price tag under $200, this makes an excellent choice for a beginner’s first AR-15. However, the quality and durable construction make this optic well suited for law enforcement and military applications as well.
In short, it is for just about everyone. In fact, the only situation this optic would not be recommended for is long distance shooting. It will hit targets up to 300 yards accurately, but red dot sights are not designed to reach further than that.
Type of Firearm
This model is designed to be mounted on the AR-15 platform. It has a picatinny rail mount and includes a spacer which allows you to co-witness your iron sights. However, it would also work for any close combat gun you chose to mount it on. It would be an excellent choice for a SCAR 17 or Tavor SAR, for example.
In our opinion, the Sparc AR has proven that a quality red dot sight does not have to cost $600.
This red dot sight has all the features that you would want in a quality optic but costs less than half the price of similar sights.
Other Options Worth Looking At
There are many options available when you’re looking for a red dot sight for your AR-15. Most are considerably more expensive than this unit. But if you’re looking for a red dot on a budget, consider the Bushnell Trophy Sight Riflescope, also called TSR-25.
Starting at less than $50, the TRS-25 is a quality starter optic for your AR platform. It’s a 3 MOA dot, so not as accurate as the 2 MOA Sparc AR.
Another affordable option is the Primary Arms Micro Dot, with a price tag of under $90. Primary Arms and Vortex have many similar products, and most are of the same quality, which is always excellent quality.