The 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.
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.
What are the PROS and CONS of the Vortex Crossfire Red Dot?
- Bright dot
- Light and compact
- Rotary dial brightness control design
- Superb lifetime warranty from Vortex
- 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.
The 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.
A quick summary of this article : Comparing the Crossfire to the Primary Arms MD-ADS and the 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. The Sig Romeo 5 offers only 5 years warranty but is the cheapest of the three.
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|
The Whole Story of the 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 the 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
The Vortex Crossfire red dot costs about $149 (at the time of this writing). And I’ll be comparing it with :
- Primary Arms Advanced Micro Red Dot Sight (MD-ADS)text link – 2 MOA, $170 (at the time of this writing)
- Sig Sauer Romeo 5text link – 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 the Vortex Crossfire red dot really is.
Comparison of Dot and Glass for these 3 budget optics
Before getting to the comparison part, let’s familiarize ourselves with the 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 the Vortex Crossfire red dot’s performance, I lined it up alongside the Primary Arms MD-ADS and the 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.
Battery and ON/OFF operations are critical for red dot sights especially for Home Defense
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 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 the 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.
Brightness Adjustments and Battery compartments
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.
The Primary Arms MD-ADS and the 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-ADStext link with rotary dial version.
All 3 optics battery compartment is located on the right hand side of the optics.
Mount Included with the Crossfire
With the Crossfire you have a low mount and a 1/3 co-witness mount included with your purchase.
The 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
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.
Size and Weight
Primary Arms MD-ADS is the lightest and most compact of the three.
|Crossfire||Primary Arms MD-ADS||Sig Romeo 5|
|Objective lens (mm)||21||20||25|
Durability and Warranty
The 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 the Vortex Crossfire red dot and have no durability issues with the red dot. That said, I’ve heard a number of defects with the 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 the Vortex Crossfire Red dot
Comparing the Crossfire to the Primary Arms MD-ADS and the 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. The Sig Romeo 5 offers only 5 years warranty but is the cheapest of the three.
|✓ 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|
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