Vortex Sparc AR

Vortex Sparc AR











Target Acquisition


Battery Life



  • Small Form Factor
  • Lightweight
  • Easy To Install
  • Easy To Operate
  • Price Point


  • Battery Life
  • Needs Tethers on Caps

Vortex Sparc AR Review & Giveaway!

Vortex Sparc AR by Vortex Optics Review & Giveaway!

The Vortex Sparc AR is a rugged red dot scope. It’s simple to use, minimalist design, holds zero, high quality red dot scope from Vortex Optics.

Although it has a couple of flaws, this red dot optic is definitely worth the already low asking price.

This is a prime example of when the quality far surpasses the cost

Purchase The Vortex Sparc ARBuy Here



Hey there everyone and welcome to the Vortex Sparc AR Review. Back when I built my first AR-15 the part of the rifle that was the most difficult to choose were the red dot optics.

I searched for other people’s opinions in google, social media, and YouTube as to what the best budget red dot sight was, only to feel more confused than I was when I began the search.

I eventually decided on the Vortex Spitfire 1X. (See Vortex Spitfire Review) However, a few months later the Vortex Sparc AR was announced at Shot Show 2016, and I just knew that I had to have it.

So I called Vortex Optics and purchased one 3 months before they launched.


Spoiler Alert! In my humble opinion this is the best bang for your buck for red dot optics. Find out why below.



Before we get into the review I just want to preface this review. There are 3 levels or quality and price when it comes to red dot optics.

  1. $20-$150 range– Typically poor quality, but there are a few exceptions
  2. $160-$300 range– Most optics in this price range are decent quality, but there are a few that are crap and a few that are awesome.
  3. $350-$1400 range– These are your combat worthy red dot optics, although the quality is high, so is the price. This is where you start to get diminishing returns on the money spent.

Now that you understand the 3 different ranges, keep in mind that you can’t compare optics from one price range to an optic in another price range. Its apples and oranges.

The Vortex Sparc AR Falls At The Higher End of The Mid-Range Optics Category.



Now let’s get into the Vortex Sparc AR Review

The Vortex Sparc AR is specifically designed for the AR platform. But what does that even mean?


Credit: SAL_GUNZ

The Anorexic Runway Model

To make the Sparc AR suitable for the AR platform they implemented a slim and snag-free design with easy to use controls that face the shooter.

The Vortex Sparc AR weighs 7.5oz and in measures a mere 2.9” in length, leaving a lot of room for a the Vortex VMX Magnifier.


Credit: YoungBuckDave

The optic must be rugged.

It Can Go Swimming

Vortex Optics told me that the Sparc AR depth rating is at 1 meter for 30 minutes, and passed with flying colors.

It Can Take a Beating

Because the AR platform is typically a workhorse rifle they are constantly banged around and dropped. So Vortex Optics responded appropriately and made the Sparc AR shockproof. It also has a removable rubber jacket to help with the shockproof design and contains the lens caps

It can Operate in a Steam Room

Because most AR-15 operators are in less than ideal situations, such as humidity and extreme temperatures. Vortex Optics made the lenses fog proof.

The Vortex Sparc AR weighs 7.5oz and in measures a mere 2.9” in length, leaving a lot of room for a the Vortex VMX Magnifier.


Credit: Cornbred15

It’s Hot Natured and Wont Overheat

The operating temperature of the Vortex Sparc AR are -4 to 158+ degrees Fahrenheit.

So if you live in an area of extreme cold temperatures that constantly drop below -4 degrees then the Vortex Sparc AR may not be ideal for you.

But on the flip side it’s perfect all other temperatures, especially hot climates.


It’s a Creature of the Night

The Sparc AR has a 2 MOA dot reticle with 10 brightness levels and the lowest two settings are “Night Vision” compatible


Purchase The Vortex Sparc ARBuy Here

What’s With The Battery Life?

The Vortex Sparc AR uses an easy to find AAA battery which Vortex Optics States will last as low as 300 hours on the highest setting up to 5,000 hours on the lowest setting

One of the main questions that I have been receiving about the Vortex Sparc AR is, “Why didn’t they implement the 50,000 hour solar panel like on the Holosun 503C, the Primary Arms Red Dot, or the Aimpoint Micro?

To answer this question I emailed Vortex Optics this same question and this is what they said.


Hey Jonathan,


Good question! There are two reasons why our battery life is listed lower than that of the other brands you listed.


1 – we use a digital switch. While the digital switch is much faster to actuate and bring to your desired intensity than a mechanical dial switch, the dot must constantly monitor the switch, even when it is off, to know if the buttons are pressed. This uses battery life.


2 – We list a realistic battery life figure. I won’t go into the details or bad mouth any of our other friends in the industry at the places that you’ve mentioned, but we really do our best to list a realistic battery life range. 300 hours if kept constantly on the absolute highest power (Which is really too bright for almost any application) is realistic and 30,000 hours on the lowest setting, which everyone else lists their lifetime at is also fairly realistic to consider. There are a whole host of other variables that can go into this like battery type, temperature, subtle differences in the LED used, etc.


Hopefully this explains the difference. Giving our sights the best possible battery life with the resources that are available and at the price points we try to hit is a very high priority for us. It is something that we are also always trying to improve.


What Were They Really Saying?

In a nutshell they said the reason Vortex Optics didn’t implement the solar panels was because there were some compatibility conflictions with the type of switch used, battery type, and led type.

Furthermore they needed to keep the cost of production down.

And they didn’t want to put down any of their competition but they eluded to the fact that the 50,000 hour battery life isn’t a realistic number.


What’s In The Box?

  1. The Sparc AR Red Dot (obviously)
  2. Rubber Protector w/lens caps (pre-installed)
  3. Optic Mount
  4. Riser Mount (for lower 1/3 co-witness)
  5. T-10 Torx Wrench
  6. 7/64” Hex Wrench
  7. Instructions
  8. AAA Energizer Ultimate Lithium Battery


My Hands-On Experience

Simplicity and refinement is the name of the game with the Vortex Sparc AR.

When I received the package, I simply installed the mount, the battery and then installed it on my AR-15.

At the range the Vortex Sparc AR was pretty much already zeroed. It only needed a slight adjustment to the elevation.

The dot is easy and fast to pick-up and target acquisition is a breeze.



Because Vortex Optics offers a no questions asked Lifetime Warranty, I definitely recommend the Vortex Sparc AR over the Holosun 503C (5 year warranty) and the Primary Arms Red Dot (3 year warranty).

Because what good is an optic with a 50,000 hour battery life if it breaks after the warranty expires?


Purchase The Vortex Sparc ARBuy Here












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