Why the Vortex Crossfire Red Dot is a Must-Have Upgrade for Your AR-15

Vortex Crossfire

Based on James’ latest video review, we’re convinced installing a red dot sight like the Vortex Crossfire on your AR-15 is one of the first upgrades you might consider for your new rifle. With much of the current conversation focusing on Low Power Variable Optics (LPVOs), it can sometimes seem like 1x red dot optics are falling out of favor. However, red dot sights still offer significant benefits, especially for specific use cases.

In James’s latest video review on Dirty Bird TV, he explores the Vortex Crossfire Red Dot, putting it through its paces and sharing his findings. This article will introduce James’s video and expand into the basics of why you might choose a red dot optic, highlighting James’s insights and experiences with the Vortex Crossfire. TL:DR? For the price, it does everything you need a red dot to do…hold zero, stand up to abuse, and be a reliable, trusted performer.

Why Choose a Red Dot Optic?

First off, we’re way past the point where an optic on an AR is optional for most shooters, especially when something as affordable and reliable as the Vortex Crossfire (or the many Holosun options) are out there on the market. The benefits versus cost is just too great to ignore. A red dot sight is an excellent choice for many AR-15 owners, particularly those who have specific defense-of-life requirements, such as law enforcement officers. Here are some key reasons to consider a red dot optic on your AR:

Quick Target Acquisition: Whether mounted on pistol or a rifle, red dot sights enable fast target acquisition in all lighting conditions. You can focus on the threat, superimposing the dot on whatever the target may be, without worrying about sight alignment. This allows for rapid and accurate shots.

Versatility: Red dots are effective from close quarters out to medium distances. While designed with ranges of 200 to 300 yards in mind, experienced shooters have successfully hit targets at 800 yards by knowing their holdovers. The practical range for most users will likely be within 50 to 100 yards, which is where most defensive encounters occur.

Ease of Use: Red dot sights simplify aiming by eliminating the need to align front and rear sights. Instead, you can concentrate on the sight picture and trigger control, making them accessible and user-friendly for beginners and experienced shooters alike. There’s not much easier than being able to put the dot on the target, and have the bullet hit where it was pointed.

Vortex Crossfire

James’s Review of the Vortex Crossfire Red Dot

James decided to test the Vortex Crossfire Red Dot using the Dirty Bird Enhanced Reece rifle chambered in 5.56 NATO, paired with Winchester Target 223 55gr Full Metal Jacket Ammo. This setup is known for its consistent sub-MOA groups, making it ideal for testing optics.

Vortex Crossfire Mounting and Zeroing

James mounted the Vortex Crossfire Red Dot using a Vortex Torque wrench to ensure proper tightening without damaging the optic. He opted for the included low mount due to his preference for low-mounted optics and a low cheek weld stock.

To set his zero, James used a 25-foot sight-in procedure. This method involves placing two marks on a paper target, aiming at the top dot, and adjusting so the shots hit directly below. Once zeroed, he tested the optic at 100 yards, hitting 10-inch and 8-inch plates. At 200 yards, he successfully hit a large silhouette and a 20-inch plate…

Vortex Crossfire Performance and Features

Throughout his testing, James found the Vortex Crossfire Red Dot to be durable and reliable, holding zero consistently even after extended use. This is an important feature for a red dot and one that the Crossfire passes with flying colors. No matter if you’re spending close to 1,000 for a fancy Aimpoint, to closer to 200 for a Crossfire, robustness and reliability are a must. The bottom line, is that the optic does everything it claims to, while coming in at an incredible price point. Here are some key features and specifications of the Vortex Crossfire Red Dot:

  • Size and Weight: The optic is compact, measuring 2.5 inches in length and weighing 5.2 ounces.
  • Lens Diameter: 1.1 inches, providing a clear field of view.
  • Eye Relief: Unlimited, allowing for flexible mounting positions.
  • Illumination Settings: 11 settings, including 2 night vision compatible settings.
  • Battery Life: Up to 50,000 hours on setting 6 using a CR2032 battery.
  • Durability: Nitrogen purged and O-ring sealed, making it waterproof, fog proof, and shockproof.
  • Lens Coating: Fully multi-coated lenses for enhanced clarity.
  • Parallax Free: Ensures accuracy without parallax error.
  • Mounts Included: Both low mount and lower 1/3 co-witness options are provided.
  • James appreciated the optic’s brightness settings, which were effective in various lighting conditions. He also liked the low nighttime settings, as a bright dot at night can be distracting. The standard CR2032 battery is easy to find, and its long battery life offers peace of mind.
Vortex Crossfire

Vortex VIP Warranty

One of the standout features of the Vortex Crossfire Red Dot, like all Vortex products, is the Vortex VIP warranty. The Vortex VIP warranty is an unlimited, unconditional lifetime warranty that covers the product regardless of how it was damaged or who owns it. This warranty reflects Vortex’s commitment to customer satisfaction and product reliability. Here are some key points about the Vortex VIP warranty:

  • Unlimited: There is no limit to the number of times you can make a warranty claim.
  • Unconditional: The warranty covers any type of damage, whether it’s due to user error, accidents, or wear and tear.
  • Lifetime: The warranty lasts for the lifetime of the product, ensuring long-term peace of mind.
  • No Hassle: Vortex promises a hassle-free experience when making a warranty claim, treating customers like family and taking care of them efficiently.

This exceptional warranty makes the Vortex Crossfire Red Dot an even more attractive option, as it assures you that your investment is protected no matter what happens.


James’s review highlights the Vortex Crossfire Red Dot as a highly capable and reliable optic for everyday rifles or self defense scenarios. Its true 1x magnification allows for shooting with both eyes open, enhancing situational awareness. Unlimited eye relief means you can mount it anywhere on your rifle without losing sight picture.

One of the standout features of the Vortex Crossfire Red Dot, like all Vortex products, is the Vortex VIP warranty. This unlimited, unconditional lifetime warranty ensures that Vortex will repair or replace the optic if anything happens to it, providing excellent customer support and peace of mind.

Diverse Lineup

While we’re focusing on the red dot, keep in mind that the Crossfire moniker encompasses more than one item. The Vortex Crossfire lineup is not limited to red dots. It includes various scopes, such as the Vortex Crossfire 2-7×32, Vortex Crossfire 3-9×40, and Vortex Crossfire 6-24×50. Additionally, the lineup features binoculars like the Vortex Crossfire HD 10×42 and range finders such as the Vortex Crossfire HD 1400. This diversity ensures that there is a Vortex Crossfire product to meet a wide range of shooting needs at a very affordable price point.

Vortex Crossfire Red Dot Conclusion

In summary, there’s not many ways to rationalize not having a red dot on an AR in 2024 and beyond. As such, the Vortex Crossfire Red Dot is an excellent choice for AR-15 owners looking for a durable, reliable, and user-friendly optic. James’s positive experience with the Vortex Crossfire Red Dot on Dirty Bird TV underscores its value and performance. Whether you’re a beginner or an experienced shooter, the Vortex Crossfire Red Dot is worth considering for your next upgrade, especially with Vortex’s track record for being a reputable company that stands behind it’s products.