Vortex Crossfire Red Dot Review : Should you buy this 2 MOA Budget Red Dot from Vortex?

Crossfire with low mount
Gungoal's Rating

 

Quick summary

Comparing the Crossfire to Primary Arms MD-ADS and Sig Sauer Romeo 5 (similarly priced optics), all 3 have similar dot and glass performance. The Crossfire glass is more tint-free compared to the other two. However, the Crossfire’s battery life is shorter.

Another important mention is that optics in this price range are generally not super durable and you’d probably be better off with Vortex or Primary Arms lifetime warranty. Sig Romeo 5 offers only 5 years warranty but is the cheapest of the three.

Vortex Crossfire Red Dot is an affordable red dot sight under $150 which, even though not a SHTF red dot where you depend your family and your life on, but could serve you well on range guns or hunting guns where stakes aren’t as high and budget is more of a focus.

But is the Crossfire Red Dot the best deal in its class or is there a better red dot? Worry not, I’ll tell you all there is to know about this optics so you can make informed decision whether the Crossfire Red Dot is the right optic for you.

Marines and sailors conduct shooting drills resize
To aim with a red dot sight, focus your eyes on target. Place your dot on target (without shifting your eye focus from target). Pull the trigger.

Due to recent improvements in optics manufacturing technology, firearms optics have become easier and cheaper to produce. Many overseas factories are learning the know-how of making quality optics at reasonable price. It’s very likely that prices for these optics will continue to drop while qualities and capabilities will continue to rise. Such a great time to be gun owners!

Furthermore, optics sold in the US has pretty much the best warranties available. You can see many big brand names offering fully transferable lifetime warranty which even “death won’t do us part”. Very few other industries offer this type of coverage on their products.

PROS and CONS of Vortex Crossfire Red Dot

Pros

  • Affordable
  • Bright dot
  • Light and compact
  • Rotary dial brightness control design
  • Superb lifetime warranty from Vortex

Cons

  • Not night vision compatible
  • Not SHTF durable
  • Less battery life compared to peers

 

Vortex Crossfire Red Dot is a Replacement to Vortex Sparc 2

Vortex has stopped manufacturing the Sparc 2 and replaced it with this Crossfire red dot. Even though some vendor still carry the Sparc 2, you are better off with the Crossfire red dot as it is cheaper and gives similar quality.

Vortex Crossfire Red Dot is relatively new at the moment, but is gaining popularity and has overwhelming positive reviews.

My recommendation? Sparc 2’s replacement, Vortex Crossfire red dot, is a good buy if you want affordable, low mount, 2 MOA red dot with acceptable quality with stellar warranty from Vortex.

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Best for : Shooters who want affordable 2 MOA low mount red dot

Dot & Glass 4/5
Ease of Use 4/5
Size and Weight 4/5
Durability 4.2/5
Value 4.8/5

 

The Whole Story of Vortex Crossfire Red Dot

Since no optics nor products exists in isolation. And words such as “crisp” and “great” dot don’t really mean much when you have no benchmarks. I’ll be comparing Vortex Crossfire Red Dot with other red dot sights in similar price range, so you know what’s the best option for your money.

Read on to find out why the Crossfire red dot, even though impressive, isn’t a perfect red dot sight.

Meet the Benchmarks

Primary Arms Advanced Micro Red Dot Sight (MD-ADS) Sig Sauer Romeo 5
  1. Primary Arms Advanced Micro Red Dot Sight (MD-ADS) – 2 MOA, $170 (at the time of this writing)
  2. Sig Sauer Romeo 5 – 2 MOA, $125 (at the time of this writing)

These are 2 popular options in the market with similar price point and should give you a realistic feel of how good Vortex Crossfire Red Dot really is.

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Vortex Crossfire glass : On par with Primary Arms MD-ADS and Sig Sauer Romeo 5

A stopwatch
For me, shooting with a Red dot sight is faster than with iron sgihts by 10%-35%.

Before getting to the comparison part, let’s familiarize ourselves with Vortex Crossfire Red Dot first. The Crossfire has 21mm objective lens. The 2 MOA dot has 11 brightness settings, not night vision compatible and is powered by CR2032 battery.

Next, to determine Vortex Crossfire Red Dot’s performance, I lined it up alongside Primary Arms MD-ADS and Sig Sauer Romeo 5.

Comparing head to head, I found that there is no perceivable difference between the three in terms of dot clarity and sharpness. All 3 have equally bright 2 MOA dot. No tint is observable on the Crossfire. But Primary Arms and Sig Romeo 5 exhibit slight blue tint on their glass.

All 3 optics have bright dots which can be used outdoors on sunny days.

Vortex Crossfire expected battery life is less than peers

First of all, I need to say that the Crossfire isn’t an ideal red dot for Home Defense situation as it lacks the required reliability and durability. If you have enough money, you should always go for Aimpoint, EOTech or Trijicon brands. The Aimpoint PRO is a “rather affordable” red dot for serious Home Defense optics.

With that out of the way, we can say that super reliable batteries, “always on” function or motion-activated feature aren’t as important for a range gun or a hunting gun.

But we still want low battery consumption, easy to acquire batteries and easy to operate optics right?

Summary of Batteries for each Mentioned Optics

Vortex Crossfire red dot Primary Arms MD-ADS Sig Sauer Romeo 5
Battery type CR2032 CR2032 CR2032
Battery Life 7,000 hours (Medium brightness) 50,000 hours (Medium brightness) 50,000 hours (Brightness not specified)
Auto-Off Feature Automatic shut off in 2 minutes when idle
Auto-On Feature Motion Activate

Vortex Crossfire battery life is significantly less than that of Primary Arms MD-ADS. But 7,000 hours or over 9 months of always on red dot is not too bad.

For Sig Romeo 5, 50,000 hours is probably a number estimated with lower brightness settings and some reliance on its auto on/off for battery savings. I’ve not experience any failure with its Auto on feature yet, but admittedly that’s another point where things could fail over time.

Rotary dial with “off” position in between

Top of red dot
For better precision, you can zero with the top of your red dot instead of the center.

You control Vortex Crossfire’s brightness with its rotary dial on the right hand side of the optics. Some people prefer this citing more durability. This rotary dial design has in-between “off” power by dialing it at 9.5, 8.5, 7.5 and so on.

Primary Arms MD-ADS and Sig Romeo 5 have 12 and 10 brightness settings respectively. Both have their 2 lowest brightness settings as their night vision levels. To control brightness settings, the “Up” and “Down” buttons are located on top of the optics. This design is better for left-handed people as the brightness buttons can be easily operated with either hands.

Primary Arms has a new MD-ADS with rotary dial version.

All 3 optics battery compartment is located on the right hand side of the optics.

Low and 1/3 co-witness mounts included with the Crossfire

With the Crossfire you have a low mount and a 1/3 co-witness mount included with your purchase.

Primary Arms comes with a Picatinny low mount.

Sig Romeo 5 has Picatinny low mount riser and a co-witness 1.41” riser mount.

Parallax error is minimal

red Notice sign
No optic is truly parallax free. Industry standard for “parallax free” is in the 30 yards to infinity range.

Reflex sights are known for their ability to mitigate parallax errors, making it ideal for shots with of angle or very fast draw and target acquisition.

The Crossfire’s parallax error is larger than high quality models such as the Aimpoint Pro. But for the price, it’s a fine optic where you can shoot relatively accurate without a perfect cheek weld.

But if you’re serious about parallax error, holographic sights will do you good as they use different underlying technology than reflex sights and give significantly less parallax error.

Vortex Crossfire is compact and light

With only 5.2 oz in weight, the Crossfire is light and compact, even though not as light as Primary Arms MD-ADS.

Crossfire Primary Arms MD-ADS Sig Romeo 5
Weight (oz) 5.2 4.2 5.1
Length (Inch) 2.5 2.4 2.5
Objective lens (mm) 21 20 25

Moderate durability, Superb warranty

coin pile
Good transferable warranty increases reselling value.

Vortex Crossfire Red Dot is durable enough for non home-defense or occupational applications. Again, if you’re into serious use, consider getting a higher end red dot.

I personally have a great run with Vortex Crossfire Red Dot and have no durability issues with the red dot. That said, I’ve heard a number of defects with Vortex Crossfire Red Dot. But Vortex VIP warranty helps mitigate this issue as you can rely on their unconditional warranty.

Note that for red dots in this price range, it’s generally wise to look for warranties because these red dots will be less durable than high end optics.

Primary Arms also has unconditional and transferable Lifetime warranty and excellent customer service. Sig Sauer only gives 5 years warranty on this Sig Romeo 5.
 

Hear What Others have to Say about Vortex Crossfire Red dot


 

My Verdict of Vortex Crossfire Red Dot

Crossfire with low mount
Gungoal's Rating

Comparing the Crossfire to Primary Arms MD-ADS and Sig Sauer Romeo 5 (similarly priced optics), all 3 have similar dot and glass performance. The Crossfire glass is more tint-free compared to the other two. However, the Crossfire’s battery life is shorter. Another important mention is that optics in this price range are generally not super durable and you’d probably be better off with Vortex or Primary Arms lifetime warranty. Sig Romeo 5 offers only 5 years warranty but is the cheapest of the three.

Pros Cons
✓ Affordable ✗ Not night vision compatible
✓ Bright dot ✗ Not SHTF durable
✓ Light and compact ✗ Less battery life compared to peers
✓ Rotary dial brightness control design
✓ Superb lifetime warranty from Vortex

 

Alternative options

1. Primary Arms Advanced Micro Red Dot Sight (MD-ADS)

  • Better battery life
  • Lighter and more compact
  • More bluish tint
  • Night vision compatible
  • Slightly more expensive
  • Reputable Lifetime Warranty and Customer Service

 

2. Sig Sauer Romeo 5

  • Auto On/Off feature
  • Slightly cheaper
  • More bluish tint
  • 5 Years warranty
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