New for 2016: Vortex AR Series Red Dot and Prism Optics

Quietly launched on the Vortex Optics site last week were their new sights and scopes for 2016, which we expect to spend some time with at Shot Show next week.

They’ve expanded their Sparc Red dot and Spitfire Prismatic lines with an “AR” variant of each. Notably, both systems are running off a single AAA battery.


First, the Spitfire AR: MSRP is set at $349

This is a 1x prismatic scope, which is an etched glass reticle rather than a true red dot. The idea is that even without a battery, there’s a flat black crosshair visible through the optic. Also, they’re often noticably cleaner for shooters with astigmatisms that get blurry or smudged images from red dots.

Like Vortex’s other prismatic scopes, the reticle on the Spitfire AR can be illuminated with either red or green at varying powers. It looks like Vortex is continuing to use the dual ring DRT reticle from the existing 1x Spitfire. But now the illumination controls are on the back of the optic, facing the shooter.

ps_spitfire_ar_bl-t ps_spitfire_ar_fr-t

Then the Sparc AR: MSRP is set at $259

Again, the illumination controls have been re-positioned to the back of the optic, facing the shooter. And a new rubber armor is coming built in with this optic. The front and rear lens covers that snap together definitely draws inspiration from the excellent Tango Down aimpoint covers.

Battery life is ballparked at 300 hours at max brightness and 5000 hours minimum brightness. The Sparc AR also features an auto-shut-off that kicks in after 12 hours.

rd_sparc-ar_fl-t rd_sparc-ar_closed_fr-t rd_sparc-ar_bl-t rd_sparc-ar_fr-t

Edward O

Edward is a Canadian gun owner and target shooter with a Bachelor’s Degree in Journalism. Crawling over mountains with tactical gear is his idea of fun. He blogs at TV-Presspass and tweets @TV_PressPass.


  • J

    It appears as though Vortex quietly canceled their Viper red dot program.

    • Griz

      I would prefer a company let a project die a quite death than push it through. *cough*R51*cough*

  • Varix

    I can’t wait to see if the Sparc AR is as durable the Sparc II.

  • Yimmy

    Spitfire is interesting, the sparc otoh is a rehash of multiple compact red dots. The difference is the sparc costs much more than comparable bushnell or primary arms types.

    • FightFireJay

      But with forever warranty that includes accidental damage.

    • Sianmink

      And I kind of expect 5-digit hour battery life at medium from a red dot in 2015.

  • Tim U

    Spitfire interests me. We’ll see about them.

  • Green Hell

    I love Vortex, despite being cheaper Chinese optics they built such a good reputation for themselves, that they seem to shamelessly appear on many firearms advertisements, including some 2000+ guns like SCAR’s. Give those guys some military contracts and it will force Aimpoint to cut their prices by half. BTW Spark AR looks just awesome, looks like the best T1 style optic out there.

    • Kyle

      I doubt competition from Vortex is going to depress Aimpoint’s prices very much. AImpoint competes with Trijicon, Leupold and the other premium optics makers. Their prices across the board for the red dots and reflex sights are pretty close to one another.

      • The Spaniard

        Agree. Just like Colt BCM Noveske are not comparable to DPMS bushmaster psa etc..

  • JumpIf NotZero

    Sweet knockoff Tango Down bikini system.

    And that’s nice it has an auto-shutoff feature… But unless the fixed the battery entirely drains by itself after a couple months issue… Never interested.

    This is the optic you buy before you end up buying an aimpoint or trijicon.

    • Green Hell

      There’s not too many things in life priced more unreasonably than Aimpoint optics, especially with all the age and competition around.

      • Weaponized_Hotdog

        You should see Porsches pricing structure…..

  • 360_AD

    I’d love to see the Sparc with a circle dot reticle. Good for both AR and shotgun.

  • C. Her

    I’m a big fan of Vortex ever since my Strikefire II was damaged from a fall. I got a replacement Strikefire within 5 business days. I’m really excited to see these new products. I only wish the auto shutoff was 3 hours and also had an auto on feature for home defense use. Yes they’re not an Aimpoint but for civilian use and Vortex VIP’s warranty I am proud to be a Vortex customer.