When researching what the best optic is for your AR platform, one name that comes up over and over with professional shooters is Vortex Optics. Not only are Vortex Optics among the most durable and reliable on the market, they also hit the sweet spot in affordability. Not that you’re likely to need it, but the warranty and exceptional customer service that Vortex offers is also among the best in the industry. Any Vortex optic is something you purchase with confidence.
Which Vortex Optic to Choose for your AR?
When it comes to which optic to choose for your AR, the first thing to look at would be selecting a red dot, low powered variable optic (LPVO)… Here, you can find which might be the best for you:
Vortex Red Dots
For a lot of shooters looking for something lightweight, durable, and reliable, they opt to go with a simple red dot on their AR rifle or pistol. If you’re in that situation, then Vortex has several optics that can easily meet your needs. Every red dot in Vortex Optics’s lineup is both affordable and at least reasonably dependable.
Vortex Razor AMG UH-1 Holographic Sight
While not quite a red dot, this is one optic that we’d most certainly research. This Holographic Sight provides an outstanding picture, without any glare. The One-MOA Dot is sure to be crisp, while having a 65 MOA outer circle to help with rapid sighting.
The Vortex Razor AMG UH-1 utilizes their revolutionary fusion hologram and Quantum Well Light Control (FHQ) that provides a highly efficient lighting system. The FHQ eliminates stray light emissions in low light and prevent glare. The fully enclosed lenses are coated with an anti-reflective material that allows for high levels of light transmission for use at all times of the day no matter the lighting condition.
The aluminum body provides a shockproof construction and features Vortex’s ArmorTek coating to protect against scratches, oil, and dirt. The integrated mount system allows you to quickly attach this optic to any weaver or picatinny rail and allows for a lower 1/3 co-witness with standard AR-15 sights. The Vortex Optics Razor AMG Holographic Sight is a great addition to your CQB style AR build.
The Vortex Optics Razor AMG UH-1 Holographic Sight offers an unlimited eye relief with an impressive sight picture, and zero distortion allowing for fast target acquisition in close quarter situations.
The EBR-CQB reticle is designed specifically for these situations and features subtensions measured in MOA for an accurate shot every time. The one MOA center dot is extremely crisp and precise while the 65 MOA outer circle helps get you on target at a moment’s notice. The tip of the bottom triangle is 27.5 MOA from the center dot for those time when you need to make a shot at distance.
Vortex Crossfire Red Dot
The next optic to look at when it comes to a small compact optic for your AR from Vortex Optics is the Vortex Crossfire Red Dot. While it looks a lot like the classic Aimpoint T1/T2, the Crossfire stands on it’s own, and is well worth considering if you want fast target acquisition in a compact package that does not break the bank. It’s an optic that if you don’t abuse it, should treat you very well at the range or on a hunt.
Adaptable for any environment, 11 illumination settings offer adjustments from night-vision compatible to daylight bright. At a medium setting, this red dot will run up to 7000 hours using a single CR2032 battery.
The aluminum alloy chassis provides exceptional resilience against recoil. O-ring sealed and nitrogen purged for waterproof and fogproof reliability. Includes a skeletonized mount for the AR platform and a low mount for shotgun, rimfire, or AK use. The mount can be configured to either be a low co-witness or a lower 1/3 co-witness so that it will fit a variety of sights on AR15’s, shotguns, and pistols.
Vortex Viper & Vortex Venom Red Dot
For an AR pistol build or for a very, small and unobtrusive red dot, the Vortex Viper Red Dot and the Vortex Venom both offer a lot in an amazingly affordable package. Combine the waterproof and shockproof durability of these Vortex Optics with the lifetime warranty, and it’s easy to see why these are two of the most popular red dots in the world today,
The main differences between these two optics are that the Viper is slightly smaller than the Venom, and each accepts a different type of battery. The Viper uses a CR 2032, which is a very common battery…The Venom uses a CR 1632, which is a bit harder to find. To make up for that, the Venom does make it a bit easier to change that battery, as it has top load battery access.
The Vortex Venom also gives you more options as far as dot size. Both 3 and 6 MOA dots are available. For an AR, we’d likely recommend going with the 3-MOA dots, as the 6 is something that you’ll see more often mounted on a handgun.
Bottom line, if you’re reading this page, you’re probably going to put one of these on an AR…If that’s your situation, while the optics are very similar, we’d probably recommend going with the Vortex Venom.
Vortex Spitfire Prism 1X
The Vortex Spitfire AR 1X prism scope delivers incredible optical quality and ultra-fast functionality in a lightweight, streamlined package. With a parallax-free sight picture, the AR 1X gets shooters on target effortlessly.
The Spitfire AR prism scope is designed to be used in close to medium ranges while quickly switching between targets making this a great optic for home defense or competition use. It is also a great sighting system for hunting hogs or other similar animals where fast target acquisition is paramount for taking game humanely.
Powered by a single AAA battery, use the rear facing controls to adjust twelve intensity levels allowing you to perfectly match ambient light conditions. Inside this optic, you’ll find the Dual Ring Tactical reticle.
The DRT reticle is designed for rapid shooting at close distances and the dual ring design pulls the eye into instant alignment with the reticle center and target. The reticle is etched directly on the prism to assure consistent point-of-aim with selectable red/green illumination to match specific conditions and is usable even if your battery dies.
The single-piece aluminum alloy chassis provides exceptional resilience against recoil and is O-ring sealed and nitrogen purged for waterproof and fog-proof reliability. This red dot sight will greatly improve the capabilities of your AR-15 carbine in a multitude of scenarios.
The final red dot in the Vortex Optics line up you should look at if you’re on a budget but don’t want to compromise on quality is the Vortex Sparc.
The Vortex Optics SPARC AR delivers fast target acquisition in a durable, lightweight, and compact package. Digital rear-facing controls for power on/off and easy adjustment of the daylight bright 2 MOA dot. Choose among ten variable illumination settings, the lowest two settings are night-vision compatible.
The optic automatically returns to the last dot intensity used when powered up. The optic runs off a single AAA battery, and its aluminum alloy chassis provides exceptional resilience against recoil. O-ring sealed and nitrogen purged for waterproof and fog-proof reliability.
Low Powered Variable Optics
If you’re looking for a low powered variable optic for your AR, then Vortex most certainly has you covered. There are two scopes worth considering, but one is an absolute classic and comes recommended by many of the world’s best shooters…that optic is the now legendary Vortex Razor HD Gen II-E 1-6×24 riflescope.
Razor HD Gen II-E 1-6×24
The Razor HD Gen II-E 1-6×24 riflescope is a top-tier optical solution for short to medium-range tactical applications, perfect for the AR-15 platform. Optically, it offers the highest level of clarity, resolution, color accuracy, light transmission, and edge-to-edge sharpness. Generous eye relief and a forgiving eyebox provide fast target acquisition and optimal monitoring of the surrounding environment.
This second focal plane scope features an illuminated VMR-2 MRAD reticle. The VMR-2 reticle uses a hashmarked subtension system for ranging, hold overs, and windage adjustments. Uses MRAD based subtension lines for ranging, holdover and windage corrections. For fast hits at closer range, shooters can make use of the illuminated center dot.
Vortex Strike Eagle 1-6X24 AR-BDC
If you’re not quite ready to invest in the top-of-the-line Razor HD II, then the Vortex Strike Eagle might be just what you’re looking for. It’s an ideal entry point into the world of low powered variable optics.
The Vortex Strike Eagle, with a true one-power on the low end of its zoom range provides quick target acquisition in close quarters scenarios. Need to engage targets at distance? Crank it up to 6x and let it rip.
Built from a single piece of aircraft grade aluminum, creating a tough foundation for this optic, it is O-ring sealed and nitrogen gas purged for waterproof, fogproof reliability.
Fully multi-coated lenses deliver a clear, crisp sight picture and optimal low-light performance.
This second focal plane scope features the illuminated, glass-etched AR-BDC reticle which subtends with popular 5.56 NATO cartridges, and its centered halo promotes fast target acquisition.
High Powered Vortex Optics
If red dots and LPVOs from Vortex do not meet your needs, rest assured there are a large variety of magnified optics to choose from, each delivering value and shooting versatility for hunters, as well as tactical enthusiasts.
Vortex Viper PST
Designed primarily for medium/long-range, the line of Vortex Viper optics are known for their high quality glass and durability. If you are serious about hunting, especially at distance, this is probably the Vortex optic you want. This is especially true if you need to spot game and use the optic for scouting. This is also our preferred optic if you are going to be using it in low light conditions. Most shooters we talk to about optics tell us that the Vortex Viper is well worth the extra money in regards to clarity and brightness.
If you want a quality one-piece aluminum optic but price is a concern, the Vortex Diamondback should be on your shortlist. Diamondback riflescopes completely change the rules when it comes to “you get what you pay for.” These optics are designed to be used ideally in short/medium distances.
The Vortex Diamondback is a popular choice for all-around hunting. These Rifle scopes have pop-up dials that provide easy, precise adjustment of elevation and windage, making audible clicks easily and quickly counted. Vortex knows good hunting gets all the better with high quality optics.
Our recommendation would be that if you’re not going to be shooting at long distances and it’s going on a firearm that is not going to see a lot of use, you’d be more than happy with a Vortex Diamondback.
If this is a firearm that you intend to use often, and might need to stretch out to long range, then the Vortex Viper is well worth the extra money.
If you’re looking for a clear, tough and bright optic that functions like the Diamondback and you don’t mind the extra weight, the simple and rugged Vortex Crossfire is well worth a look. This is a wonderful optic for use on the range and for target shooting. For a simple scope, this is exceptionally sharp and clear and has long eye relief and a fast-focus eyepiece.
Built to withstand recoil and impact, this rifle scope is ruggedly constructed from a solid block of aircraft-grade aluminum and anodized with a durable black finish. The scope contains O-ring seals preventing moisture, dust, and debris from penetrating while nitrogen gas purging prevents internal fogging over a wide range of temperatures. This variable magnification optic is a great option for hunting whether you are using a light recoiling AR-15 or heavy hitting bolt action rifle.
Vortex Razor HD 5-20 x50
If price matters less than performance, then look no further than the Vortex Razor HD 5-20 x50. The Vortex Razor HD is a first focal plane riflescope built for long range marksmanship. Crafted from a single piece of aircraft grade aluminum, creating a tough foundation for this optic, it is O-ring sealed and argon gas purged for waterproof, fog-proof reliability.
RZR Zero Stop Tactical Turrets contain fiber optic indicators which provide a highly visible means of tracking adjustments along its 10 MRADs of travel per rotation.
Vortex’s XR fully multi-coated lenses crafted from premium high-density glass ensure maximum light transmission with unparalleled resolution and color fidelity. Incorporated into this optic, the apochromatic objective lens system guarantees correct color across the entire visual spectrum.