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SPARC Red Dot by Vortex Optics

August 11, 2013
Ohio Valley Outdoors

With an upcoming review of Windham Weaponry's CDI modern sporting rifle, choosing a suitable red dot optic became a learning experience. Price points ranged from under $100 to over $1000, warranties are from 1 year to lifetime, and the physical differences create a vast selection from which to choose. The obvious differences were physical size, weight, size of dot, adjustability, physical construction and versatility.

The final selection was the SPARC (Speed Point Aiming for Rapid Combat) Red Dot from Vortex Optics. From the price perspective, the MSRP of $289 seems high when compared to less expensive models that are commonly found, but is actually on the low side for high quality red dot optics.

The Vortex SPARC is small. It only measures 3.1" long, 2.3" wide and 1.6" tall. The weight, not including the base, is just 4.6 ounces with battery installed. The objective and ocular lenses have a diameter of 22 mm (slightly under 1"). This small size makes the SPARC very suitable for use on handguns. The body is a one-piece aircraft grade 6061-T6 aluminum tube with hard anodized matte black finish.

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The SPARC comes with the following: (2) CR 2354 batteries, one for installation and one for back-up; 2x magnifier with focus dial that threads on to the eyepiece end of the tube; (1) short riser, (1) tall riser and (1) riser shim allowing for a variety of height positions; mounting screws and allen wrench; rubberized lens covers; a lens cleaning cloth.

The four control buttons on the left side of the SPARC are protected with a rubberized cover. Press and release the power button to turn it on; press and hold the power button to turn it off. There are three buttons that face rearward. One turns the night vision function off/on and the other two control the 10 brightness levels. I preferred the dot at the lower intensities; the highest settings seemed too bright to me. In night vision mode, the brightness buttons toggle between two intensities.

The windage and elevation covers are knurled making them easy to screw off and on. The battery cover is slotted so it can be tightened down for good battery contact. All three covers are connected to the body of the SPARC with a rubber-coated wire, a nice feature to keep them from getting lost.

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SPARC Red Dot Optic

The specifications of the SPARC Red Dot are a laundry list of features that most shooters consider when purchasing a quality red dot optic.

* small dot size 2 moa (at 25 yards, the dot only covers 1/2", 1" at 50 yards and 2" at 100 yards)

* graduation click 1 moa per click, 45 clicks per rotation

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"...the warranty is incredible"

* maximum adjustment 90 moa for both windage and elevation

* nitrogen gas purged internally fog proof

* fully multi-coated lenses with anti-reflective characteristics improves light transmission

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* unlimited eye relief suitable for rifles, shotguns and handguns

* shockproof construction can be used with high-recoil firearms (tested with 1000 rounds .375 H&H)

* illumination adjustment 10 levels of brightness plus a night vision compatible mode

* magnification 1x (2x with included magnifier)

* o-ring seals prevent moisture, dust and debris from getting inside (waterproof)

* operating temperature - from -40F to +140F

* battery life 120 hrs (max brightness), 3400 hrs (min brightness), 4200-4600 hrs (night vision mode)

* auto shutdown 6 hours

The SPARC red dot optic is covered by the Vortex VIP warranty "...We will repair or replace your Vortex product in the event it becomes damaged or defective at no charge to you. It doesn't matter how it happened, whose fault it was, or where you purchased it." This is an unlimited lifetime warranty, is fully transferable and has no warranty card to fill out or receipt required. Obviously, the VIP warranty does not cover loss, theft or deliberate damage.

When I first started looking for a red dot optic, I was hesitant about the Vortex SPARC strictly because of the price point. A less expensive one would definitely be easier on the wallet, but would a cheaper one be suitable for a quality modern sporting rifle like the Windham Weaponry CDI? In hindsight, the decision was a good one for three reasons. The warranty is incredible; the features are extensive; the small size gives it added versatility for use with other firearms.

The complete line of Vortex tactical and hunting optics can be seen at:



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