Low-end red dots are hit or miss. Vortex is always trying to prove that you don’t have to spend a lot in order to get a great red dot shooting experience. Here, we’re going to be comparing two sights from their two most popular budget red dot lines: the SPARC (Speed Point Aiming for Rapid Combat) II and the Strikefire II.
The SPARC II is intended to be smaller amongst the best reflex sights, where the StrikeFIre II is meant to be a larger mid-range offering. They’re both excellent red dot optics at an affordable price.
|Size (LxWxH in mm)||63.5×78.7×63.5||190.5×158.8×88.9|
|Waterproof Depth||N/A||Don’t submerge, water-resistant but not waterproof|
|Battery Life||Up to 6,000 hours||Up to 7,000 hours|
|Lens Cover Type||Flip-up, attached||Flip-up, attached|
|Cost||Check here||Check here|
Like I said at the start of this review, the SPARC II and the StrikeFire II are meant for different purposes. There are a lot of similarities, but there are some key differences that makes the general shooter probably more into the StrikeFire than the SPARC.
Vortex glass is always good, and both optics have glass of really comparable quality. I’m going to go out onto a limb here and say that the SPARC has slightly better glass than the StrikeFire II. Both of them offer little to no aberration or tearing at the edges. Both offer a wide field of view and give you a clear shot on any target. Acquisition on either is easy, but the SPARC has super fast acquisition thanks to the fact that it’s intended to be a reflex sight.
The dots on either are great. With the SPARC II you get a 2 MOA red dot that’s small enough to stay out of your way but large enough to not get lost. It’s highly visible, but the adjustment range between brightnesses is a little small, making both low-light and ultra-bright situations a little difficult to work with. The StrikeFire II on the other hand offers both a red and green dot. The green dot works great for indoor environments or low light, and the red is super bright in the daylight. Either sight works great with a magnifier, which is easy to install thanks to their small size.
The battery life on both is nice, with the StrikeFire II slightly edging out the SPARC II by around 1000 hours. Both have fairly inconvenient battery types, but the battery lasts long enough that you can pick up spares and just carry them with you for the rare occasion that you need them. The controls on both are easy to use. The SPARC II is a breeze to use even with gloves on, and the tethered adjustment caps are a nice touch. The markings on the StrikeFire II could be more legible, and the adjustment clicks are mushy.
In terms of design and build quality, both are great. The SPARC is significantly more understated than the StrikeFire, probably owing to the fact that the StrikeFire is supposed to be mid-sized while the SPARC is meant to be very small and tactical. Both come with flip-up caps. The super sturdy build quality is backed up by Vortex’s fantastic VIP Warranty that is fully transferable and covers any and all damage and defects that may happen to the scope throughout its entire life. Vortex promises a complete repair or replacement at no cost to you, and is renowned for following up on that thanks to their superb customer service.
Vortex SPARC vs Strikefire
|Size (LxWxH in mm)||149.9×116.8×76.2||160x157x80|
|Waterproof Depth||Submersible, but don’t try your luck||Water-resistant but not waterproof|
|Battery Life||Around 300 hours||Up to 2100 hours|
|Lens Cover Type||Flip-up, attached||Flip-up|
|Approximate Cost||$200 or less, normally around $160||Varies, normally less than $200|
This one is a lot less of a competition. The early SPARC honestly wasn’t that great. The StrikeFire is lighter, has a much longer battery life, and has both a better quality reticle and better quality glass. The StrikeFire wins this one.
Vortex SPARC II vs SPARC AR
|Size (LxWxH in mm)||63.5×78.7×63.5||149x117x76.2|
|Battery Life||Up to 6,000 hours||Up to 5,000 hours|
|Lens Cover Type||Flip-up, attached||Bikini-style lens covers|
|Approximate Cost||Less than $200||Less than $200|
The SPARC II and StrikeFire II are both suited to short- to mid-range shooting, with longer ranges possible if you use a magnifier. The StrikeFire is more acclimated to a variety of lighting conditions, where the SPARC II has a smaller set of use cases. Either is great for plinking, target shooting, some closer-range hunting and varmint shooting, or tactical situations.
A more in-depth exposition on the SPARC II vs SPARC AR has already been done. The SPARC AR is intended to be for ARs and tactical rifles, and packs in a stronger light and more durability in return for a shorter battery life and fewer conveniences, like Bikini-style lens covers. The SPARC II will have you covered for the most part, but the SPARC AR is a great choice for tactical shooting
Both are around the same price, so there aren’t a lot of differences to speak of in terms of price. The price on either is a great deal, but with the StrikeFire, you really get an incredible experience for the amount that you’re paying, worth at least three times what you shell out.