Last Updated: January 2017
Vortex as a company is one that is somewhat new to the optic market. While it’s common for people to hear names like Eotech, Aimpoint, and Leupold, and know it’s an optic company. Not many though will react immediately when they hear the name Vortex, which is a real shame, to be honest! Vortex Optics make excellent pieces of glass, and they are truly underrated. It does seem that Vortex is taking off, and many a forum are featuring reviews, questions, and almost nothing but positive experiences.
They have an impressive array of rifle scopes, red dots, binoculars, and even rangefinders. Vortex optics has been around since 2002 but have recently garnered attention and praise for their well-priced, well-made rifle combat optics. Vortex optics is a made in America kind of company and is veteran owned. For this review, we are going to look over one of their many optics, the Vortex Spitfire.
The Spitfire comes in two flavors, 1x, and 3x. I have my hands on the 3x variant and have it mounted on an S&W M&P 15. The S&W M&P 15 is a basic AR 15 carbine with a flat top upper designed for optics use. I utilized the AR rifle because the optic designed around the 5.56/.223 cartridge, but it can be used as an alternative cartridge, but the bullet drop compensator/holdover will not be accurate. Specifically, the BDC and holdover are designed for use with 55-grain rounds and a 16-inch barrel.
The Vortex specifications are as follows:
- Weight – The optic is 3x and is 12.2 ounces, so it’s not excessively heavy, but it’s not a feather either.
- Dimensions – The optic is 5.5 inches long, and 1.54 inches high, with a 32mm objective lens
- Battery – 1 CR 2032 battery. This battery is a little uncommon, but most major big box stores carry them, and they run around 2 bucks apiece.
- Battery Life – With five separate settings your battery mileage will depend on how bright the reticle is. Vortex reports 250 hours on the brightest setting and 3,000 hours on the dimmest.
- Reticle Options – A single unique reticle with an option for read and green. Reticle includes range finder/ bullet holdover for up to 500 yards.
- Water Resistance – O-ring seals to prevent light moisture. Navy SEALs need not apply.
The Vortex Spitfire has a nice heft to it, right out of the box the optics looks and feels nice. The Vortex Spitfire is shockproof and built to withstand recoil from heavy cartridges like the 7.62 NATO. The chassis is a single piece design which aids in the optic’s durability.
The finish is nice but is somewhat shiny, I personally prefer a much more matte appearance on optics designed for tactical applications. I prefer the matte option simply to cut down on any chance of sun reflection. One addition I appreciate is the two short sections of rail dedicated to mounting an offset optic. These rails are just long enough to mount a miniature red dot for handshake distances. The rails can be removed if the user chooses to, and this will cut weight.
Looking through the lenses you get a clear picture, and you notice the reticle is etched into the prism. This allows for use in daylight if the batteries die, but is relatively useless in low light situations. The reticle is a little complicated and the user should read the included manual for the proper method to using the reticle. I’ll go into the reticle a little more and give my opinion and analysis. It should be noted that the optic features nitrogen gas purging to prevent any fog from building up internally. The glass is fully multi-coated, which gives the optic two distinct advantages. First off, the lens is anti-reflective to keep the telltale sun glare from coming off the optic, and the internal coating increases light transmission.
The Vortex Spitfire mounts down nice and tight on the rail with the provided factory mount. A little Loctite was used to guarantee the optic would not come loose. I would prefer a quick detach lever option.
Back to the reticle. The reticle is similar to the Trijicon ACOG and does appear somewhat complicated and cluttered. The holdovers are also known as crossbars you see that start large and grow smaller as they descend. You’ll see a total of four of these crossbars. These are designed to be placed across the shoulder of an average sized man or 15 inches. You match a man’s shoulders or another 15-inch object on one of these crossbars and you can roughly estimate the range. They range from 200 yards at the top/longest crossbar to 500 yards at the bottom/smallest crossbar.
This is a simple, and rapid way to estimate range. In my experience, the crossbars were dead on with a silhouette target out to 300 yards. 300 yards was the limits of the range I was shooting on, but I have confidence that the range finder would be accurate to 500 as long as the appropriate ammo and barrel length is used.
Remember that’s a 16-inch barrel, with a 66 grain 5.56 projectile. An example of a 66-grain projectile is the XM193 round, produced commercially brands like Federal under their budget friendly American Eagle brand.
For close range engagements, the portions of the circle could be used much like the circle reticle on an Eotech. You simply fill the circle reticle with the target and pull the trigger. Very simple, which is critical in close range fighting, when things get close seconds are minutes.
- The reticle is nice and bright at any setting, the reticle is also etched into the prism disregarding the use of batteries, simple rangefinder / BDC, and highly efficient.
- Accessory rails for offset optics
- Crystal clear lenses
- Excellent price at under 300 dollars, excellent value for such a high-quality optic.
- Will take up 5.5 inches of rail space
- Water resistant, but not waterproof
- Weight is 12.2 ounces is rather heavy, compared to say a Trijicon ACOG 4×32 that is only 9 ounces
So maybe the Spitfire just isn’t for you, but you are looking for something similar. There are alternative options to the Spitfire of course, and these options all have a thumbs up as far as I’m concerned.
The Trijicon ACOG is a wonderful optic and is tough enough to be literally bulletproof. This is the chosen optic of the Marines and several Army units. The ACOG is available in a variety of configurations, and they are all fixed powers from 1.5 to 6 power. They feature similar reticle to the Spitfire and are some of the highest quality combat optics in existence.
For the AK operator out there looking for something similar to the Spitfire, the POSP is an excellent alternative. A Russian-designed optic the POSP is all metal and ready to fit the standard side scope mounts standard on AKs. The PSOP features a bullet drop compensator for the standard 7.62 x 39 mm round.
The Vortex Spitfire is a great optic with at a great price. The optic is tough enough for serious work, be it competition or police use. The optic is truly dependable enough to be counted on for self-defense and real-life tactical scenarios. For an optic priced under 500 dollars, you really can’t beat the Vortex Spitfire.