Vortex SPARC 2 Review: Buy a Sight Suitable for Carbines

For an owner of a handgun, a shotgun, an AR15 rifle or any other carbine, you’ll find great delight in a sight with a mounting platform, which goes lower than an absolute co-witness.

Yes, that’s right.

Best of all, it’s difficult to imagine you can get as excellent an optic as multi-coated lenses at a price lower than $200.

With a magnification power of 1x, the field of view is widest, maximizing on the awareness of your surruounding.

Engineered to withstand shocks and impacts, the frame is rugged.

Anodizing contributes to resistance and anti-glare properties.

SPARC II is a proof that sights don’t have to be pricey to be of high quality.

While it may not be the lightest sight on the market, its weight is suitable for long trek hunting, nonetheless. More than that, it’s very compact.

Read our Vortex SPARC 2 review to learn more about this awesome product and how to mount, adjust and zero it.

Vortex Sparc 2 Red Dot Sight - 2 MOA Dot
778 Reviews
Vortex Sparc 2 Red Dot Sight - 2 MOA Dot
  • The highly compact, daylight bright Sparc II is packed with performance features and lends itself to a variety of platforms.
  • A modular three piece base offers four seperate mounting heights for user and weapon specific customization. A high base and shim plate offer absolute and lower 1/3 co-witness mounting heights. A low base provides options for handguns or shotguns.

Weighing 5.9-ounces (167.3g) and measuring 3.1-inches (7.75cm), SPARC II may not be the lightest and most compact red dot sight, but it certainly won’t wear out your muscles and tendons.

Suitable for a hunter on a long trek, the red dot sight won’t slow you down.

What’s outstanding about the sight is that its mounting platform is modular – not a single piece but three pieces.

While that may count against compactness and toughness, you benefit from mounting the sight below the absolute co-witness.

Therefore, other than the 1/3 co-witness (40mm) and absolute co-witness (37mm), you’ve lowest mounting heights possible: 21mm (1.4-inches) and 18mm (0.72-inches).

Rarely can you come across any height below the absolute co-witness. And so, with your handgun, shotgun and even AR15 rifle, you’ve an advantage over competition when using this sight.

However, you firearm’s base must have a picatinny or weaver design for you to mount the sight successfully.

While a 2-MOA reticle size may be small and a bit of a letdown for a close-range gun, such as a shotgun or a handgun, adding a magnifier (magnification power) can set you up for placing more precise shots at medium-range distances.

You can add any Vortex SPARC 2 magnifier other than VMX-3T.

Powering the intensity of brightness of the reticle are two CR2032 batteries. As long as you keep brightness intensity at or below moderate levels, battery life is as generous as 5000 hours.

If you’re used to hunting on a bright sunshine, you may need to increase intensity level, but that can reduce battery life to 300 hours.

And in case you forget to switch off the red dot, after 12 hours, the sight will switch itself off. That’s an awesome feature, which contributes to preserving battery life.

What’s more, you can adjust brightness intensity levels of the red dot in 10 different ways. Not to mention, even when you wear night vision, the sight remains useable at the lowest settings.

Like any other red dot, you can shoot at a greater distance without the effects of parallax becoming more apparent.

In relation to that, you can position your eye any distance away from the ocular lens and still be able to see the red dot. All you need to do is to paint the target and shoot!

Simple and fast.

No matter how bright a day is, the reticle is visible. To avoid recoil injuries, avoid placing your eye too close a distance as within 4-inches from the eyepieces.

With as small a diameter as 22mm, it’s not surprising why the objective lens has a magnification power fixed at 1x.

What does this mean?

You’ve an advantage – a widest possible field of view and an awareness of objects around you at a close-range distance. And so, no need to close one of your eyes when sighting or aiming.

And if multi-coated optics at this price range don’t offer you a sweetest possible deal in the market, you bet on us. It is!

While the mounting platform is modular, the frame isn’t. As a single-piece, compactness is at maximum. Vortex machined the frame from aircraft-grade aluminum, and made its surface uneven to enable grip.

And if you thought a light sight withstands recoil poorly, you are wrong.

The unevenness of the frame contributes to resistance against shocks and impacts as a result of recoil and hitting and dropping, respectively.

O-ring seals around the flip caps and the lenses prevent water from getting inside the single-piece frame. More than that, within the frame is a purging of nitrogen to prevent lenses from fogging up when temperatures vary.

Using the sight, you won’t have to worry about selling your position to the target, as an anodizing finish removes any glare.

On the top and side are elevation and windage adjustment turrets, respectively. Flip caps cover the turrets and the battery cavity, which appears on either side.

Vortex SPARC 2 problems can be seen with turret caps. They aren’t durable – they wear off easily in an inhospitable terrain, exposing the components.

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How to Mount Vortex SPARC 2

For maximum performance, correct mounting is necessary. Hiring an expert gunsmith should be a last resort effort.

What you need

  • Wrench – Either a T-10 Torx or a 7/64” hex
  • One spacer (3mm thick)
  • Mounting platform – two are available:
  • -Co-witness (37mm thick)
    -Lower platform (18mm thick)

Your firearm needs to have a picatinny or weaver style rail to be compatible with the two mounting platforms for co-witness (37mm) and lower heights (18mm), which come with a 3mm thick spacer.

Hence, depending on your gun, you can vary the heights accordingly.

How to Mount Vortex SPARC 2

When you want to replace mounts, you can use either a T-10 Torx wrench or a 7/64-inch hex wrench to fasten or unfasten the four screws holding the mounting platform to the sight.

These wrenches come with the Vortex package.

For a higher mount when using a co-witness or a lower platform, you can place a spacer in between the platform and the frame of the sight.

That is, if you want height to be 21mm, add a 3mm thick spacer between the 18mm thick platform and the frame for a total of 21mm. For a 40mm height, use the 37mm thick platform and add the 3mm thick spacer.

It’s important to note that the lower heights are suitable for handguns and shotguns but unsuitable for an AR15 rifle.

Now that you’re familiar with the nuances of mounting, follow the following steps:

  • As you face the control buttons for adjustment of SPARC II, place the sight on the rail of your firearm.
  • Position it on the rail such that you allow more than 4-inches of the distance between your eye and the ocular lens (to prevent recoil injuries).
  • Ensure the mounting platform is firmly attached to the grooves of the rail.
  • Check whether you’ve attached the clamp of the rail with exterior of the rail.
  • Now, push down the sight on the rail as you slide it forward along the rail toward the muzzle of your firearm.
  • Use the hex wrench to fasten the bolt holding the clamp of the rail for a firm grip.

How to Adjust Vortex SPARC 2

How to Adjust Vortex SPARC 2

When you talk of adjustment, there are four instances:

  • Installing the battery
  • Switching the sight on and off
  • Varying the intensity levels of the brightness of the red dot reticle
  • Making corrections for hold-offs and hold-overs

Let’s have a look at each.

Installing the Battery

  • Covering the battery cavity is a flip cap. Unscrew to remove it.
  • While removing the cap, guard against tension building up in the cap as a result of the metal tether.
  • Place the CR2032 battery in the cavity while the “+” faces outside.
  • Return the flip cap back by screwing it in position.
installing battery Vortex SPARC 2

Switching the Sight on and off

  • Press the UP button once to switch on the SPARC II.
  • Pressing and holding the UP button for a couple of seconds will switch it off. (In case you forget to switch off, the sight will switch itself off after 12 hours).

Switching the Sight on and off

  • Tapping the UP button will increase intensity of brightness of the reticle.
  • Tapping the DOWN will decrease intensity.

Making Corrections for Hold-offs and Hold-overs

There are turrets on the side and top for hold-offs (wind drifts) and holdovers (bullet drop).

The intention is to move the point-of-impact of the bullet toward the bullseye when zeroing or sighting in your red dot sight.

When you rotate the dial of either turret, you’ll hear clicks. You’ll take one click to move the point-of-impact of the bullet by 1-inch at 100-yards.

That corresponds to 1-MOA. Maximum MOA for both bullet drop and wind drifts corrections is 90.

That means you’ll have to 90 clicks to move the point-of-impact by 90-inches at 100-yards.

When you half the distance, inches reduce by half. If you double the distance, inches increase.

Given that it’ll take you 45 clicks (45-MOA) to rotate the dial fully, two complete rotations of the dial locks it at 90-MOA.

Let’s say you zero your sight at 15-yards. Then, you need to move the point-of-impact by 0.15-inches, and that sets you up for tighter groupings.

To move the point of impact by 1-inch, you’ll hear the clicks 7 times.

  • Open the flip caps.
  • Use a screwdriver, a coin or a raised bar on the cap to rotate the dial.
  • Rotate the dial according to the arrows, directing the point-of-impact to where you want your bullet to land next.
  • Rotating the bullet drop dial anticlockwise moves the point-of-impact of the bullet upward. Rotating the dial clockwise does the opposite.
  • Rotating the wind drifts dial anticlockwise moves the point-of-impact right and left in a clockwise direction.

How to Zero Vortex SPARC 2

How to Zero Vortex SPARC 2

Zeroing your sight is important, because you can determine the maximum range and cartridge for your shooting or hunting needs.

And when you know your maximum shooting distance and optimum cartridge, you won’t have waste your money on buying a gun with extra features, which you don’t need.

As a bore sighter, all you need to do is remove the bolt, look through the bore of the barrel of your gun and center the bullseye inside of it.

Take a look.

Looking Through Bore of the Barrel

  • On a rest, place your firearm squarely and extract the bolt.
  • Look through the bore of the barrel and center the bullseye inside of it.
  • Once you center the bullseye, make corrections for bullet drop and wind drifts until the reticle and the bullseye align perfectly.

Zeroing at the Maximum Range

  • Fire once or twice at the chosen range to know where your bullets land at the target. Ensure the red dot reticle aligns with the bullseye.
  • Shoot three times toward the bullseye and examine the groupings at the distance. Take note of how far the center of the groupings is from the bullseye.
  • With reference to the deviation (in inches) of the center of the groupings from the bullseye, make corrections for the bullet drop and wind drifts. In this way, you’re moving the point-of-impact toward the bullseye.
  • Again, fire three shots, and take note of the groupings. Make corrections until you’re satisfied.

Conclusion

For less than $200, it’s difficult to imagine that you can get an ultra-compact sight with multi-coated optics.

While not the lightest red dot sight on the market, what’s most delightful about SPARC II is that the mounting platform is modular.

Coming with two mounts: a co-witness and a lower mount, as an owner of a close-range weapon, such as a shotgun or a handgun, you get a true value for your money.

While the base is modular, the frame isn’t.

And that counts to maximize resistance to shocks and impacts. Like any other red dot sight, SPARC II gives you unlimited eye relief.

And so, when you place your eye any distance from the ocular lens, the reticle remains visible.

Last update on 2019-07-19 at 16:07 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API

Steve Coffman
 

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