Sporting rifle owners rejoice – yet another well-known company has come out with a great close-to-medium range scope, and this one might just be the best one in the price range. When a scope instantly starts drawing favorable comparisons to some of the most well-known optics in a certain category, it’s probably a good thing, and here, it definitely is.
In the quest to court owners of sporting rifles such as the AR-15 and the SCAR, Vortex has attempted to create something worthy of competing with the ubiquitous ACOG that everybody wants. The market is certainly there, because street ACOGs can cost anywhere from twice to three times as much as the Spitfire 3x. In the process, they created a fantastic fixed-magnification prism scope that offers the reliability of a red dot sight with the adjustment, versatility, and mid-range reliability of a rifle-scope.
Our Rating: 8.7
- Accuracy: 9.5
- Features: 7
- Optics: 9
- Construction Quality: 8
- Value: 10
|Linear FOV (low zoom)||31.5 ft/100 yd|
|Eye Relief (low zoom)||2.8 in|
|Elevation Adjustment (MOA)||120.00|
|Wind Adjustment (MOA)||120.00|
- Incredible value for the price, which means you have more money to spend on stuff like ammunition or weapons training
- Easy and fast target acquisition and transition means gives you painless shooting
- Prism optics are great at what they aim to do, and the Spitfire is an excellent example of this
- Two height options ensure a comfortable shot
- VIP Warranty
- Vortex’s glass and build quality are just fantastic, as always
- Ingenious reticle design makes targeting a breeze, whether using the illuminated reticle or not
- Lack of magnification adjustment limits the range
- Doesn’t have certain ACOG features like dual illumination
- No co-witnessing, but it’s also not really necessary
Everybody who knows anything about firearms knows that ACOGs and sporting rifles go together. The unfortunate part is that ACOGs have to cost so much, and are a little more than a civilian can justify having (or spending). When people talk about a cheaper alternative, eyebrows are raised thanks to the inundation of the market with less-than-worthy cheaply built optics. However, when a reliable company with a good name like, for instance, Primary Arms or Vortex comes out with an optic that may be a meaningful competitor in the market of sporting rifle optics, people pay cautious attention.
Vortex hasn’t been around long, but in that time, they’ve come to make a really credible name for themselves. This is due in part thanks to their excellent warranty, but also due to the fact that their optics are on par with the highest-end competitors in the industry while being offered at a far lower price. In other words, the brand name Vortex conjures up associations like “reliable”, “valuable”, and “well-made”. The Spitfire 3x project is no exception.
As with all of our reviews, we’re going to start off by taking a good look at the lenses. Per usual for Vortex, the lenses are astoundingly clear and measure up against some of the biggest names in the field. It offers a clear and accurate shot all the way up to 500 yards away and a fairly decent field of view, as well as a forgiving-enough eye relief. Coated lenses and well-built internals keep water and fog from blocking your view.
There is a lot to love about this scope, honestly. The concept of the fixed magnification prism scope offers a great solution to a fairly basic quandary: sight or scope? The red dot sight offers simple and fast targeting, while the scope offers the advantage of vision and magnification for solid mid-range shooting. The fixed-mag prism scope walks a careful line between the two, while also being a solution that’s both extremely reliable and super easy to pick up.
This is only bolstered by the scope’s great reticle. It offers an illuminated reticle in two colors, red and green, with five different brightness settings for either color. This makes it easy to use in low-light or even no-light situations, and a tactile dial makes it easy to switch between them. There also is a black reticle etched into the lens so that if your battery happens to die, you can keep shooting without having to rely on something else.
This shouldn’t be an issue, though: firstly, the battery life on the reticle is very long, lasting anywhere from 250 to 3000 hours, and secondly, the top-loading battery is easy to replace whenever you may need. The unique design makes it easy to acquire and transition between targets both in CQB and medium-range situations, and it also makes switching between these two situations incredibly painless, not requiring any sort of magnification adjustment that standard rifle-scopes may.
Some other scopes that depend on illumination allow co-witnessing with other sights, but the reticle and lens on this scope makes it next to impossible; the other sights would just be super blurry. Fortunately, the etched reticle nullifies this concern. If you do feel the need to have an auxiliary sight on hand just in case, there are two rails atop the Spitfire to which you could easily mount a micro red dot optic.So, how about setting the scope up? In a word: easy. The scope can be easily mounted on the top rails of most sporting rifles, using the two included bolts, and it offers two mounting height options for maximum comfort. Afterward, zeroing is a breeze. The coin-slutted turrets can easily be adjusted using the tethered caps that double as adjustment tools, but you can also use screwdrivers or coins if you’d like. Once you’re zeroed, you’re set.Additionally, no article about Vortex optics is complete without mentioning their VIP Warranty. It’s basically a lifetime warranty where Vortex will cover anything that might happen to your scope, no questions asked. It’s fully transferable, which means that your Spitfire will retain a lot of resale value if you ever decide you don’t want it or want to swap out for something else.
Should You Buy it?
The Spitfire 3x is a niche scope for a niche market.But it’s aimed at civilians who own a high-powered rifle, like the AR-15, who wants a great prism optic at a super approachable price, and if you’re in this camp, then Yes, you should definitely buy it.
If you look at the Spitfire 3x with the wrong lens, then you may be upset that military-standard ACOG scopes have more features than the Spitfire 3x. But the military and the civilian body have very different needs, and honestly, comparing the two scopes just because they fill similar purposes for a similar rifle isn’t fair. The Spitfire 3x is an experiment in creating an excellent optic that can work in CQB situations all the way up to something five football fields away from you. It trims the fat of higher-cost options in the same application bracket, while focusing on delivering incredible and crisp options, and thanks to this, it’s a brilliant low-cost prism scope. Nothing more, but also certainly, certainly nothing less.
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