Vortex SPARC AR Review

In a Nutshell

Vortex’s high-quality offerings continue to stun, this time in the arena of red dot sight optics. Regardless of what you’re looking for in a red dot optic, Vortex makes sure that your needs are met with an accommodating and expertly crafted sight.

Note: Not sure how red dots work? Check out our guide on how to use a red dot sight.

Our Rating: 8.4 / 10

  • Accuracy: 9
  • Features: 8
  • Optics: 9
  • Construction Quality: 9
  • Value: 10

What’s the Scope?

The SPARC AR is a red dot sight intended for use with ARs. Made of aicraft-grade aluminum and built to impress, it’ll last you a long, long time.

Quick Specs

Weight7.5 oz
Size (LxWxH in mm)149x117x76.2
Waterproof Depth20m
Night VisionYes
Battery LifeUp to 5,000 hours
Lens Cover TypeBikini-style lens covers

Our Review

Despite their relatively young age compared to some other veterans in the optics game, Vortex never disappoints and has gained themselves a great reputation for this very reason. This extends to the SPARC AR. A beautifully built red dot sight intended for ARs, the SPARC AR is an excellent example of optical craftsmanship.

The lenses feature the high quality glass that one comes to expect from Vortex, well-seated and intricately crafted to ensure that you get a great field of view and altogether have nice, unencumbered vision. This is where one of the few faults with the sight crop up, highly uncharacteristic for Vortex but apparent nonetheless: some people have run into issues with the adhesive from the casing leaking into the sight, rendering it pretty much useless. The extensive Vortex warranty, which we’ll cover in a second, protects this and ensures a free replacement if this happens, but you may wish to avoid this altogether.

The red dot on this sight is super accurate. At 2 MOA, it gives you just the right size to precisely and reliably hit your targets. It also allows you to acquire them fairly quickly – about as quick as you’d expect with a 2 MOA red dot, anyway. It offers several different brightness settings, 8 for daytime use and 2 for night vision use. The light emitter for the red dot is more visible than it is for other optics, which you might not like, but it shouldn’t obstruct your field of view. What may obstruct your view, though, is the rubber casing. While right-handed shooters won’t have much of a problem, left-handed shooters might find that the sight’s rubber casing can block some of their crucial field of view.

This sight is dead-on at lengths up to 150 or 200 yards. If you’re wanting to go even further than that, Vortex makes it easy to extend the sight with a magnifier so that you can zoom in whenever you need it. Basically, the SPARC AR is made to be versatile, regardless of what your particular needs are.

The battery can last as long as 5,000 hours at the minimum brightness level and up to 300 at the maximum brightness level. However, the great thing about this sight – or one of the great things, that is – is the fact that it uses a single AAA battery. Since these batteries are super common, it’s painless to change out the battery when the situation calls for it, a fact which is bolstered by the battery bay being easily accessible.

Let’s say, though, you’re out shooting and your battery dies on you. What do you do? What’s your option? Fortunately, the SPARC AR works together easily with MBUS backup sights so that you’re never at a loss in a tense situation. Additionally, an auto-off function ensures that if you ever forget to turn the sight off, it’ll turn off on its own, sparing your battery life and making sure that a scenario like the above doesn’t happen.

In terms of build quality, the SPARC AR is stupid sturdy. Waterproof, fogproof, and shockproof, it’ll stand up to much of anything. On the other hand, it’s a little heavy, definitely heavier than you would expect given its relatively small size. It’s not going to significantly weigh you down, but the slight weight difference may take some getting used to. At any rate, though, the thing I love about the SPARC AR (and the SPARC and SPARC II) is that despite the fact that they’re relatively cheap, they feel expensive. I can feel the quality and care that Vortex puts into making these.

The sight is also well provided for: the sight comes with pretty much everything you need right out of the box, including lens covers, a mount, and even a lens cleaning cloth to ensure that your optic stays bright and that taking care of it is as easy as possible. The lens covers snap together when not in use, making them easy to keep up with. Mounting with the included sight is a walk in the park.

Detaching the sight can be a pain, though, thanks to the fact that it uses special torx screws and you have to use a torx screwdriver to tighten and loosen them. Once it’s mounted, though, sighting it in is a no-brainer thanks to painstaking design and precise, positive elevation and windage adjustments. Once sighted, it’ll hold onto its zero forever.

Speaking of elevation and windage, it’s worth noting that the adjustment caps don’t include tethers, which some potential buyers may not be a fan of. This is especially worth noting since other Vortex sights around the same price do include tethered adjustment caps, so it’s a little confusing why they weren’t included on the SPARC AR.

I spoke earlier about the Vortex warranty and said I’d explain it, and it’s definitely worth bringing up anyway. Vortex is a consumer-centric company and wants to make sure that the people using its products are happy. As a result, customer service is fantastic, and Vortex provides a no-questions-asked repair-or-replace warranty. It’s fully transferable and helps you be sure that your investment in Vortex optics is a sound one.

Should You Buy It?

All around, I think that this is an impossibly good optic for the price range. If you want a red dot optic for your AR at an affordable price, you really can’t go wrong with picking this one up. In almost every case, Yes, you should buy this scope.

Closing Comments

Vortex consistently impresses with ultra-high-quality scopes at prices that undercut their competitors and offering quality that outshines optics at even twice as much. The SPARC AR is no exception: an exceptional optic that will make pretty much every user happy and that will make your buddies spending twice as much on other optics a little jealous.

Don’t forget to check out the Vortex SPARC II or see how it compares to the Sparc AR.