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Posted: 3/16/2010 11:18:41 AM EDT
I first noted the SPARC in my Gamechangers SHOT 2010 thread.  for everything that Vortex claims about this optic it is a make or break item.

The Claims....

Waterproof

Day 1


First thing I did was full up a big tub with 12-18 gallons-enough to get it 13" deep is a tub about 2 feet long...6 hours later it was still kicking



Well, that annoyed me; so I went outside and threw the optic as far up as I could three times; letting it hit the ground each time, then I remembered I needed to check the pitch of my roof, so I threw it up then and let it roll down.  

Still very crisp dot appeared



SPARC liked the snow so much I made it a little 2' snow fort for the night

Day 2

Well I woke up the SPARC


and the little SPARC was still rolling-by the morning, the 6 hour turn off worked, so I turned it on, it fired right up.

I figured it liked the cold so much it could hang with the mixed peas for the morning-that's right I froze it in the deep freeze.





After it stuck to my tongue, I decided we were done with water tests for a while.

Day 3

It's time to shoot the thing, so I mounted up the SPARC on my BCM and headed to Knob Creek.    It took me longer to sight it in than expected.  This was my fault as I wasn't quick to realize that instead of moving the reticle to point of impact, with the SPARC  you move the POI to the dot (If your hitting low, turn "up" instead of "down").  But after it was on. IT WAS ON!!.  I was popping golfballs at 50yrds, and making three leaf clovers at 30yrds.  

At this point my mind was made up.  For the AR15, an optic that is 2 MOA comes with a doubler, three mounts and a lifetime warranty for $200 is pure win for the hobbyist in me.
__________________________________________________________________

But that's not the end of the claims for the SPARC , See, the SPARC is marketed and priced to make a strong entry in the median market.  It's priced to be an option for just about every AR shooter.  This optic is poised to be affordable enough to appeal to new shooters, yet of such quality that one could depend on it in the clutch; from survivalist to LE needs on a personal rifle.  Because of this there were some more tests that needed to be done.

Night Vision

Thanks to a fellow member, I was able to test the NV setting.  The dot was clear and precise.  The pic is not excitingly cool, but it does best represent what the reticle looks like, what this pic does not represent is the full field of view that night vision provides.



Impact

So I banged on it with the rubber mallet-not to kill it, but to throw it off.  I banged on the mount and the optic a bit, and then emptied a mag.  It was still on.


Larue


I also wanted to evaluate the mount options.  The factory mount is GTG for the hobbyist who will leave the optic on one weapon. However, professionals talk QD, and QD means Larue.  So I placed an order for the LT660 tall which ended up being about .6" too tall, not only does it not provide co-witness, I couldn't see the FSP at all. The reason for this is that the illumination element on the SPARC is on the bottom of the interior of the tube-thus it blocks field if view, here are the factory mounts next to the 660 tall, and a pic through the rear sight






After replacing it with the LT660HK, I was much happier,  and had absolute cowitness at the same height as the factory mount––






Mission Adaptable

The SPARC made a visit to the KY Hometown shoot where it rode  several ARs,  AK's (on the gas tube-IT GOT HOT), and a .50 Beowulf.  I also had to rezero on the new mount while at the shoot-which took about a mag This was at 35 yards-the top right is before zero...and I had a pack of 4 that wanted the same hole



After it was zeroed it rode the aforementioned setups.  I did have one AR user note that when fired, the dot dimmed.  After it rode the .50, I ran a mag through it and it went off.  I replaced the battery (The same one  had been in the optic since test day one [well over a month] and freezing the battery plays into battery life strongly.), and never had a hiccup the rest of the day.   I will do some more big bore test on it, ( I thought I could get more in at the shoot-but didn't) and get that to y'all as time allows.  Thanks to Larue Tactical it always returned to zero on my rifle.  

Conclusion

Bottom line is this is a great little optic.  Vortex isn't looking to get a military contract with it, but rather to offer a nice budget setup you can depend on.  They do that.  The optic endured quite a bit, and kept going.  I really like using the double-even with irons.  You can pre order the SPARC from SWFA and Midway.  

I lost the bikini cover that came with the optic pretty quickly fortunately for me Butler Creek #4 OBJ  work great on the SPARC.













Thanks to Vortex Optics for allowing this review.  Larue for a sweet mount, BCM for a great rifle, and Sweepea the dog for being a constant support during the ebb and flows of this review.





Link Posted: 3/16/2010 11:35:18 AM EDT
Good stuff. Love the dog.

How "light impact resistant" is the power switch?
Link Posted: 3/16/2010 11:48:22 AM EDT
Quoted:
Good stuff. Love the dog.

How "light impact resistant" is the power switch?


tap on, 6 second hold-off

so if the impact last for 6 seconds it'll turn off
Link Posted: 3/16/2010 12:05:32 PM EDT
Excellent.
Link Posted: 3/16/2010 12:08:45 PM EDT
Maybe I'm showing my optical ignorance, but do you see as much of a blue tint through the SPARC in person as we see in the pics?

Thanks,
Guff
Link Posted: 3/16/2010 12:49:45 PM EDT
Thanks for the great review. I've been running a StrikeFire for a while and it's been great. I've been considering the SPARC for my next build and this review settled it.
Link Posted: 3/16/2010 1:00:26 PM EDT
In your opinion, is the SPARC small enough to run on an offset mount beside a magnified optic and not be too bulky? Or is it still a job for a j-point/similar?
Link Posted: 3/16/2010 2:29:10 PM EDT
Thanks for the review.

Tell me more about the tinted glass.  Is it annoying when shooting two eyes open?  Like you're seeing two different colors?

My Aimpoint lens are clear, so I'm nervous about using this tinted window
Link Posted: 3/16/2010 2:33:21 PM EDT
Good review... my only wish would be to see it tossed off the roof, say, 100 times in a row (to more accurate emulate recoil) and see how well it still stands up.
Link Posted: 3/16/2010 2:57:36 PM EDT
Poor little SPARC.. Used and abused.. And SweePea..Havin ta be humiliated once again for the sake of advertising..  j/k

..Sounds like ya had a good jam with the littel sight.. Got mine on order already. Seems a good combination of value and function.
The longer road will tell fer sure.. Sure would like some thru-pics with the 2x in place..     d:^)   Schneeks..
Link Posted: 3/16/2010 6:16:52 PM EDT
Quoted:
Maybe I'm showing my optical ignorance, but do you see as much of a blue tint through the SPARC in person as we see in the pics?

Thanks,
Guff


indoors lit- yes blue tint
daylight outside-very hard to see tint
darker indoors or outdoor-hard to see tint
Link Posted: 3/16/2010 6:17:51 PM EDT
Quoted:
In your opinion, is the SPARC small enough to run on an offset mount beside a magnified optic and not be too bulky? Or is it still a job for a j-point/similar?


too big imho
Link Posted: 3/16/2010 6:21:24 PM EDT
Quoted:
Thanks for the review.

Tell me more about the tinted glass.  Is it annoying when shooting two eyes open?  Like you're seeing two different colors?

My Aimpoint lens are clear, so I'm nervous about using this tinted window


honestly, when the other poster asked it, i had to go check the optic to reply.  I never noticed it while shooting, with red dots–– your eye's on the dot, not the glass.  I had no issues shooting both open or one closed.
Link Posted: 3/16/2010 6:26:05 PM EDT
Quoted:
Good review... my only wish would be to see it tossed off the roof, say, 100 times in a row (to more accurate emulate recoil) and see how well it still stands up.


The impact test were more to test impact (throwing/dropping rifles, jumping obstacles/ running drills)-not recoil.  To emulate recoil I used over 700 rnds of 5.56, about 100 rnds of 7.62X39, 7-.50 Beowulf. and about 300 rnds of .22.    

BTW the target in the OP is a 5.56 target, the .22 casing was on the ground, and since it's smaller I used it to gauge size in the pic.
Link Posted: 3/16/2010 6:59:35 PM EDT
LT660....according to the Larue website this mount is for cowitness with regular AR-15 flattops, but you said you needed the HK for cowitness.  Sorry, this may be a newb question, but just didn't wanna get the wrong mount.  Thanks
Link Posted: 3/16/2010 7:25:17 PM EDT
Thanks for the review!

I ordered one from Opticsplanet on Saturday. Supposedly shipped yesterday, and I'm looking forward to finding the package on my front porch even more now that you've taken the time to post a review.
Link Posted: 3/17/2010 1:56:55 AM EDT
Quoted:
LT660....according to the Larue website this mount is for cowitness with regular AR-15 flattops, but you said you needed the HK for cowitness.  Sorry, this may be a newb question, but just didn't wanna get the wrong mount.  Thanks


BC of the position element on the bottom of the tube, the tall is too tall.  Order the 6600HK.
Link Posted: 3/17/2010 2:25:29 AM EDT
Thanks for your great review.  I just placed an order for one tonight.
Link Posted: 3/17/2010 4:38:22 AM EDT
Link Posted: 3/17/2010 5:21:20 AM EDT
I own a Strikefire, and it seems like a solid little optic.  How does this one differ?  It seems smaller, and probably has another upgrade of some sort...
Link Posted: 3/17/2010 5:34:13 AM EDT
Quoted:
I own a Strikefire, and it seems like a solid little optic.  How does this one differ?  It seems smaller, and probably has another upgrade of some sort...


The major difference is the MOA, the Strikefire is 4 MOA the SPARC is 2 MOA That is to say that the

Strikefire covers a  4 inch diameter at 100 yards



SPARC covers a 2 inch diameter at 100 yards


So the Sparc has much tighter groups 'dot' for 'dot'.

Other differences are size, and that the SPARC doesn't have a green dot option.



ETA: The above pics do not accurately compare MOA dot size, look at your Strikefire and compare it to the 'outside snow' or 'in freezer' pic
Link Posted: 3/17/2010 6:55:30 AM EDT
Link Posted: 3/17/2010 8:38:29 AM EDT
PM ...Very Nice Review

and Thanks for It

Definitely getting one for the wife's 10/22 CRR she will love it....and will become
a grackle killing machine...
Link Posted: 3/17/2010 12:09:29 PM EDT
Thanks for the review, I just ordered one from Optics Planet
Link Posted: 3/17/2010 7:27:18 PM EDT
So was it the aftermarket mount or the supplied mount that gave you the sight trouble? I might be retarded but Im confused.
Link Posted: 3/18/2010 2:17:13 AM EDT
Quoted:
So was it the aftermarket mount or the supplied mount that gave you the sight trouble? I might be retarded but Im confused.


aftermarket LT660


LT660HK is GTG
Link Posted: 3/18/2010 3:02:35 AM EDT
wow I gotta say this seems like a nice more affordable optic.  Seems to be well built and has a lot of performance for the price


Depending on when these fellas get up to Canada, I may get one for my tactical 10/22
Link Posted: 3/18/2010 4:47:28 AM EDT
Link Posted: 3/18/2010 5:03:02 AM EDT
Link Posted: 3/18/2010 5:05:05 AM EDT
Quoted:
Quoted:
Big thanks!

With the doubler in back, does the FOV only change modestly like you would expect from a 2x scope ?
I know the APoint with the doubler built into the front gets scrunched down to effective 4x FOV...


It really doesn't change much. The eye pocket gets a little smaller ,but thats it.


Scott



this, sorry to be late that one...
Link Posted: 3/18/2010 5:13:21 AM EDT
i am ready for mine i took the strikefire off the shotgun and put it on the ar the sparc will go on the shotgun when it comes it
Link Posted: 3/18/2010 5:51:25 AM EDT
Mine is being delivered today. Unfortunately, It's going to work, and I am home sick. So it's going to have to wait until tomorrow for me to fondle it.
Link Posted: 3/18/2010 8:49:30 AM EDT
Well I had told a buddy of mine that I was thinking about buying this optic. He proceeded to tell me that I would be the biggest idiot in the world if I didn't buy one. He had said that while at a gun show he played around with one and that just the quality alone is worth the 200 bucks. He then said that its right up there with his Aimpoint in terms of clarity and that if this would have been out a year ago he would of gotten one instead. Moral of the story... I just ordered one. Thanks for the review.
Link Posted: 3/18/2010 8:58:40 AM EDT
Anyone have a picture side by side of the SPARC and Strikefire?

Just trying to get an idea of their relative size to each other.
Link Posted: 3/20/2010 10:12:55 AM EDT
Quoted:
Anyone have a picture side by side of the SPARC and Strikefire?

Just trying to get an idea of their relative size to each other.






eta: sry but these pics don't show relational size at all
Link Posted: 3/20/2010 10:28:46 AM EDT
If you know how big an Aimpoint M series is, this picture might help.



The bikini cover is lined up with the edge of the dollar bill, even if it doesn't look like it.
Link Posted: 3/20/2010 11:27:46 AM EDT
Quoted:
If you know how big an Aimpoint M series is, this picture might help.

http://i297.photobucket.com/albums/mm216/tcs007/VortexSPARC3191013.jpg

The bikini cover is lined up with the edge of the dollar bill, even if it doesn't look like it.


Good way to show a comparison, thanks.
Link Posted: 3/20/2010 1:41:04 PM EDT
Quoted:
Quoted:
If you know how big an Aimpoint M series is, this picture might help.

http://i297.photobucket.com/albums/mm216/tcs007/VortexSPARC3191013.jpg

The bikini cover is lined up with the edge of the dollar bill, even if it doesn't look like it.


Good way to show a comparison, thanks.


Believe it or not I learned that trick in a movie. The star did it and I thought it was a great idea. I've been doing it ever since if anyone asks the size of something because everybody has a dollar bill.
Link Posted: 3/20/2010 6:22:28 PM EDT
Quoted:
Quoted:
Quoted:
If you know how big an Aimpoint M series is, this picture might help.

http://i297.photobucket.com/albums/mm216/tcs007/VortexSPARC3191013.jpg

The bikini cover is lined up with the edge of the dollar bill, even if it doesn't look like it.


Good way to show a comparison, thanks.


Believe it or not I learned that trick in a movie. The star did it and I thought it was a great idea. I've been doing it ever since if anyone asks the size of something because everybody has a dollar bill.


thanks for the picture, dimensionally i knew it should be that small but it's hard to wrap your brain around it sometimes
Link Posted: 3/21/2010 5:33:23 AM EDT
Link Posted: 4/4/2010 9:20:16 PM EDT
btt
Link Posted: 4/5/2010 8:28:21 AM EDT
Where are the Vortex Strikefire and Sparc models manufactured?
Link Posted: 4/11/2010 5:23:35 AM EDT
What about its performance/precision compared to the Aimpoint Micro ? In the specs of the SPARC it is mentioned that it has 1 inch parallax error inside 50 Yards whereas the Aimpoint is parallax free !
I am having a hard time deciding between the SPARC and the Aimpoint. I like the looks and the price of the SPARK but dont want to do the same mistake another time, I already threw $190 when I bought a Chinese EOTECH knockoff a month ago which was advertised as the real one !
I want the SPARC for BULL's eye/precision shooting and plinking mainly and I will be sad if it has a precision problem
Link Posted: 4/11/2010 8:04:50 AM EDT
Im assuming it uses cr2032 based in the cover. Hows the battery life?

Link Posted: 4/11/2010 8:39:36 AM EDT
First blush impressions after taking the SPARC to the range this weekend.

The sight itself appears to be a quality unit with a dot comparable to my Aimpoint Micros. It's a little bigger than a Micro. The tethers for the windage and elevation adjustment caps are appreciated.

Illumination is good and zeroing went quickly.

To a point. Might as well address the downside, and that's the factory mounting options. The high riser came loose on the second 20 round magazine, and the hex head on the tightening screw began to strip out. The Aimpoint Micro's hex head had the same problem and they now use a torx head.

Also the shim supplied to use with the high riser for a lower 1/3 cowitness was machined such that the mounting screw holes would not align sufficiently with the holes on the riser or the sight, rendering it useless.

Not wanting to abandon the effort, I put it on an Aimpoint Micro baseplate on top of a Yankee Hill 3/4" riser and rezeroed. Happy once again.

I like  the sight a lot, but you'll need alternate mounts.
Link Posted: 4/11/2010 10:52:59 AM EDT
Quoted:

Believe it or not I learned that trick in a movie. The star did it and I thought it was a great idea. I've been doing it ever since if anyone asks the size of something because everybody has a dollar bill.


The Bone Collector ;)

Link Posted: 4/12/2010 3:30:09 AM EDT
Link Posted: 4/12/2010 6:45:51 AM EDT





Quoted:



What about its performance/precision compared to the Aimpoint Micro ? In the specs of the SPARC it is mentioned that it has 1 inch parallax error inside 50 Yards whereas the Aimpoint is parallax free !


I am having a hard time deciding between the SPARC and the Aimpoint. I like the looks and the price of the SPARK but dont want to do the same mistake another time, I already threw $190 when I bought a Chinese EOTECH knockoff a month ago which was advertised as the real one !


I want the SPARC for BULL's eye/precision shooting and plinking mainly and I will be sad if it has a precision problem




     


   





at about 35....how close is the bull?





 
Link Posted: 4/12/2010 6:48:41 AM EDT



Quoted:






I like  the sight a lot, but you'll need alternate mounts.


I strongly recommend Larue



 
Link Posted: 4/12/2010 1:58:07 PM EDT
Quoted:
Quoted:

Believe it or not I learned that trick in a movie. The star did it and I thought it was a great idea. I've been doing it ever since if anyone asks the size of something because everybody has a dollar bill.


The Bone Collector ;)



That's it! I couldn't remember the name of it for the life of me.
Link Posted: 4/12/2010 4:21:58 PM EDT
I just received my Vortex SPARC from Scott at Liberty Optics (great service, thanks Scott!!!) I put the high mount on it and put it on my 16" Middy next to my Aimpoint M2 in a LaRue LT-129 Mount. Hopefully this gives people a decent idea how large this optic is, unfortunately I do not have a Aimpoint T-1/H-1 to compare it to either.... Now I just need to wait for my LaRue Tactical LT-660HK mount to come in, then I'll take it out to the range for part 2.

Anyways, here are the pics!





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