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Vortex Sparc AR Review: Is This Red Dot Sight Worth It?

Vortex Sparc AR Review

Vortex Optics is a well-established and highly respected brand in the world of firearm optics.

They are so good that the US military even contracted them to manufacture optics for the army, military, and special operations!

And, if the US military trusts Vortex sights, why shouldn’t you?

If you’re looking for one of the top red dot sights for your AR, I present to you this Vortex Sparc AR review.

Overview of the Vortex Optics Sparc AR Red Dot Sight

Vortex Optics Sparc AR Red Dot Sight

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The Vortex Sparc AR is an affordable and versatile red dot optic made specifically for the AR 15 platform.

However, I’ve also used it with any gun for CLOSE-QUARTER scenarios, such as the Tavor SAR or SCAR 17.

This sight can be used with BOTH eyes open, allowing me to maintain my peripheral vision.

As such, it’s great for both beginner and advanced shooters. I’d even recommend it as a beginner’s first AR 15 scope!


  • Length: 2.9 in
  • Weight: 7.5 oz
  • Magnification: 1x
  • Reticle: 2 MOA red dot
  • Battery: Single AAA battery
  • Night Vision: Yes
  • Brightness Settings: 10
  • Eye relief: Unlimited Eye Relief
  • Objective Lens Diameter:22mm
  • Adjustment Graduation: 1 MOA
  • Maximum Elevation Adjustment: 90 MOA
  • Maximum Windage Adjustment: 90 MOA
  • Parallax-free
  • Waterproof and fogproof
  • Fast target acquisition
  • Night vision compatible
  • Phenomenal battery life
  • Lifetime warranty & solid construction
  • Unchangeable red dot
  • Red dot may be too big for some people

Vortex Sparc AR Full Review

The Vortex Sparc AR is a true 1x red dot sight with an ideal range of up to 100 yards.

While it doesn’t have any magnification power due to its reticle and lens design, I still find it great for urban combat encounters.

Its unlimited eye relief is a huge bonus as well, as I can combine it with high-recoil weaponry AND still have my eye protected.

Overall Rating: 4.8 out of 5 Stars

4.8 out of 5 stars banner

Weight – 4/5

Weight icon

One thing that surprised me about the Vortex Optic Sparc AR Red Dot sight was its weight. It’s quite heavy despite its small size.

At only 2.9 inches long and 1.09 inches tall, it weighs 7.5 oz or 0.5 lbs. This weight may not seem like a lot, but it took me some getting used to.

On the upside, the weight of this sight makes it feel expensive despite its relatively affordable price.

Durability – 5/5

Durability icon

The Vortex Sparc AR red dot is made from a single lightweight piece of aircraft-grade aluminum with rubber armor and a hard anodized coating.

This matte finish coating helps to protect the optic from corrosive damage while also reducing surface glare.

Additionally, it is waterproof, fog-proof, and shockproof!

You need not worry about any outside elements affecting performance, as O-ring seals prevent debris or moisture from entering the scope.

Whether I’m out in the hot sun, heavy rain, thick snow, or crossing rivers, the tiny little red dot can take all of it on like a champ!

Optics – 4/5

Optics icon

Vortex is known for its high-quality glass, and I can report that the Sparc AR is no exception.

Being fully multi-coated for increased light transmission, my images have been crystal clear every time!

Not to mention the wide field of view that lets me see everything!

However, one issue I had with this scope is that the adhesive leaked into the sight. 

While the lenses may be clear and bright, they can be rendered practically useless if affected by the adhesive from the casing.

If this happens to you, you can always bring it to Vortex for a quick fix under the VIP warranty.

Reticle Type – 5/5

Reticle icon

The Vortex Sparc AR contains a 2 MOA dot reticle. 

This reticle offers the standard accuracy for red dots; in my case, I was able to shoot a 2-inch group shot at 100 yards.

It is clear and uncomplicated, without distracting hash marks or holdover points.

It is just a simple red dot. Whether this is a boon or bane is entirely up to the user.

However, if you prefer the assistance of holdover points or hash marks, this may not be a good thing.

However, if you’re like me and want a simple, uncluttered sight picture with just a single dot to put on a target, you’ll like this.

Brightness – 5/5

Brightness icon

The Sparc AR comes with TEN brightness settings, two of which are compatible with night vision equipment.

Any brightness adjustment can be done through simple rear-facing digital controls.

This wide range of illumination settings means that you can find a setting to suit any lighting condition you may find yourself in.

You’ll find that you’ll be able to hit targets easily, regardless of whether you’re shooting in bright sunlight or low light.

One feature I like is the smart memory feature that remembers your last illumination setting before powering down.

I know it can be quite a hassle to look for your optimal setting every time, so this feature makes it more convenient!

Battery Life – 5/5

Battery life icon

This sight uses a single AAA battery, one of the most common batteries on the market. 

This battery can be inserted into the optic through the battery compartment located under the front glass on the muzzle side. 

When used on the highest brightness setting, you get a battery life of 300 hours. 

On the lowest brightness setting, it gives you a phenomenal battery life of 5,000 hours.

Another great thing I like about it is its auto-off function that’ll automatically shut down the red dot after 12 hours of idle time. 

This not only saves your battery life but also saves the inner circuitry from being damaged!

Adjustments – 5/5

Adjustments icon

Adjusting this scope is very easy, even for beginners!

Windage and elevation adjustments can easily be done with the turrets located on the side and top of the optic.

Through my testing, I found that both of these values have a maximum range of 90 MOA.

What makes this unique from the elevation dials of other sights is the slightly raised bars on the dials that make it easy to adjust even with your fingers. 

Parallax – 5/5

Parallax icon

This sight does not have any parallax adjustment dial. However, I don’t think this takes away from the sight.

As a true 1x sight without magnification, it does not need parallax adjustment.

Despite this, it is completely parallax-free!

Mounting Options – 5/5

Mounting options icon

The Sparc AR contains a mounting base as part of its construction.  There are two mounting options for this optic: 1/3 and absolute co-witness.

It even comes with a removable shim to facilitate switching between these two mounting heights.

This means that you’ll be able to co-witness with this optic for most systems and AR platforms.

In case of battery failure, the Vortex Sparc AR can work even with MBUS backup sights or iron sights.

Depending on what your rifle already has, you can use either Weaver or Picatinny mounts.

You’ll need a hex wrench to assist you with mounting, which is included with the sight.

Value for Money – 5/5

Value for money icon

This is an incredibly AFFORDABLE red dot, especially when compared to some of the other red dot optics I’ve seen on the market.

Despite its low price, it delivers high quality, boasting the same features of other red dot optics at a higher price point. 

Warranty – 5/5

Warranty icon

Like other Vortex red dot sights(e.g., the Vortex Strikefire II), this comes with the unconditional lifetime warranty that Vortex is known for.

With an assurance of unlimited service no matter what, I could almost say this warranty is second to none. 

If you sell your scope or pass it on to someone else (regardless of whether or not you have used your lifetime), the warranty still holds!

Included Accessories

When you buy your Sparc AR, you get the following in the box along with your red dot sight:

  • Flip-up lens covers
  • Mount
  • T-10 Torx wrench
  • Removable shim
  • Lens cloths

The included lens covers are extremely convenient as they can snap together when not used.

The mount included with the optic is extremely easy to use and compatible with the sight, eliminating any guessing games.

Frequently Asked Questions

Frequently Asked Questions

Where Is Vortex Sparc AR Made?

The Vortex Sparc AR is made in China.

Don’t let this discourage you, though! All Vortex products have gone through rigorous testing and high standards before landing on store shelves.

Rest assured this product, and all of Vortex’s red dot sights and scopes, are made with top-tier quality and performance in mind.

Does the Vortex Sparc AR Have Shake Awake?

NO, it, unfortunately, does not.

Instead, the Vortex Sparc AR has an auto shutoff feature that shuts down after 12 hours of idle use.

Is the Vortex Sparc AR Waterproof?


The Vortex Sparc AR is completely fog proof and waterproof.

I’ve never had to worry about rain when using this scope during a hunt or match — it made no difference to the sight’s performance.

That being said, I strongly recommend AGAINST dunking this in water for extended periods.

This optic isn’t meant for tactical water insertion.

Is the Vortex Sparc AR Good for Home Defense?

While the Vortex Sparc AR is a great red dot for hunting and shooting, it is NOT recommended for home defense.

This is due to its lack of a “shake awake” feature.

A home intruder isn’t likely to turn on the lights or wait for you as you fumble around looking for the button.

This could put you at a severe disadvantage when you cannot use it in an emergency.

What Is An Alternative to the Vortex Sparc AR?

If you’re looking to expand your options for red dot sights, I recommend the Bushnell TRS-25.

It’s an affordable option that has a 3 MOA reticle, which is slightly larger than the Vortex Sparc AR.

You also get 11 brightness settings versus the 10 on the Sparc AR, and target acquisition is just as quick!

I don’t think you can go wrong with this sight, especially if you are hunting deer.

Final Verdict: Is the Vortex Sparc AR Red Dot Optic Worth It?

To conclude this review of the Vortex Sparc AR, I’d say that this is a GREAT red dot sight that is very much worth it.

The Vortex Sparc AR from Vortex Optics is a high-quality red dot that doesn’t break the bank.

It has much better quality and features than other sights in the same price range.

I’d go so far as to say that this delivers the same features and quality of premium optics without the premium price!

While this is an optic made specifically for the AR platform, its 2 MOA dot is perfect for other platforms.

Its durable construction, accurate precision, night vision compatibility, and versatile mount make it a great sight for hunting, plinking, and target shooting.

FINAL TIP: If you’re looking for alternative options, you can check out our guide on the top red dots for AR-15.

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