Vortex Spitfire 3x Review : Should you buy this 3x Prism Scope from Vortex?

Gungoal's Rating

 

Prism scope is a relatively new technology and can be thought of as a hybrid between traditional scope and red dot sight. Rather than employing series of lens as was done with traditional scopes, it instead utilises a glass prism to focus an image. Prism scopes generally have low fixed magnification power between 1x-5x. Reticle is glass etched rather than an LED and has illumination feature.

Vortex Spitfire 3x is an entry-mid 3x prism scope under $350. Even though not as SHTF grade as the TA33 ACOG where you can depend your family and your life on, the Spitfire 3x could serve you well on many range and hunting applications where stakes aren’t as high and budget is more of a focus.

But is the Spitfire 3x the best deal in its class or is there a better alternate optics within its price range? Worry not, I’ll tell you all there is to know about this optics so you can make informed decision whether Vortex Spitfire 3x is the right optic for you.

Quick summary

Vortex Spitfire 3x is a good budget prism scope. Compared to Primary Arms 3x Gen II Prism Scope, the Spitfire 3x has similar glass and lens coating. Reticle brightness is also similar. The main differences are reticle patterns and Primary Arms cheaper price. PA Prism scope is compatible with ACOG mount while the Spitfire does not.

If you’re not strict on 3x, you may want to take a look at PA 2x Prism Scope for much cheaper price.

Another alternate option is the Strike Eagle 1-6×24. Strike Eagle’s advantage is its variable power which can be used at both close and long range. But being a variable, it’s glass is dimmer than Spitfire’s. Plus, its FOV is more limited The Strike Eagle is cheaper than Spitfire 3x at the time of this writing.

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 Spitfire 3x

Pros

  • Good clarity and light transmission glass
  • Crisp and clear red/green reticle
  • Good for CQB
  • People with astigmatism can see its reticle with no issues
  • Reticle can be seen without battery
  • Price competitive
  • Vortex VIP warranty

Cons

  • Fixed magnification, not versatile
  • Small eye relief and eyebox
  • A bit heavy
  • Can’t use ACOG style mount
  • Not military grade

Spitfire 3x is a Solution to Astigmatism

If you, similar to me, have astigmatism and less than perfect eyesight, you’ll have seen a starburst or a blob with your RDS. There were times when I researched red dot sight products such as Aimpoint T-1 or Primary Arms MD-ADS and seen great comments about how round and crisp the dots were. When I purchased and get a look through it, I’m sorely disappointed due to a starburst, star splits, a smear or a big blob.

Then I tried contacting the manufacturer and vendor, only to find out that it is my eyesight at fault.

This is no longer an issue with prism scopes. You can get a crisp illuminated reticle with no suspense whether the dot will be round or not.

Best for : Shooters who want fast target acquisition and a bit of extended range. Also good for people with Astigmatism.

Glass and Lens coatings 4.5/5
Reticle 4.7/5
Ease of Use 4.2/5
Weight and Size 4/5
Durability 4.7/5
Value 4/5

 

The Whole Story of Vortex Spitfire 3x

Since no optics nor products exists in isolation. And words such as “crisp” and “great” glass don’t really mean much when you have no benchmarks. I’ll be comparing Vortex Spitfire 3x with other rifle scopes in similar price range, so you know what’s the best option for your money.

Read on to find out why Vortex Spitfire 3x, even though impressive, isn’t a perfect prism scope.

Meet the Benchmarks

Vortex Spitfire 3x costs about $350 at the time of this writing. And I’ll be comparing it with :

Primary Arms 3x Gen II Prism Scope Vortex Strike Eagle 1-6×24

These are 2 popular options in the market with similar price point and should give you a realistic feel of how good Vortex Spitfire 3x really is.

Spitifre 3x glass : On par with Primary Arms 3x, better than Strike Eagle

To determine Vortex Spitfire 3x’s performance, I lined it up alongside Primary Arms 3x Gen II Prism Scope and Vortex Strike Eagle 1-6×24.

Primary Arms 3x Gen II : Comparing head to head, both Vortex and PA have very similar quality in terms of glass clarity and brightness. Things to complain on both optics is their limited eye relief and eyebox. Eye relief for Vortex is 2.8” while PA is 2.72” – 2.92”. Pretty tight and not very suitable for high recoil, light gun combination.

Strike Eagle 1-6×24 : Strike Eagle’s glass clarity is not as good as the Spitfire. And this is more pronounced in low light situation as the Strike Eagle is markedly dimmer. Furthermore, FOV for Strike Eagle is less than the Spitfire 3x. Strike Eagle’s advantage is its variable power which help you acquire target faster (1x) and reach out farther (6x). Plus it is slightly cheaper than the Spitfire 3x.

Capped turrets, not finger adjustable

All 3 optics’ turrets are easy to zero. These optics are meant for set-and-forget turrets, thus I didn’t perform any box test to judge their trackability.

  • Vortex Spitfire 3x – Turrets capped, not finger adjustable
  • Primary Arms 3x Gen II – Turrets capped, not finger adjustable
  • Strike Eagle 1-6×24 – Turrets capped, finger adjustable, Zero reset feature

Reticle can be seen when out of battery

All 3 optics reticle illumination use CR2032 batteries and are daylight bright.

  • Vortex Spitfire 3x : You can switch between red/green colors by using its rotary dial on top of the optics. It has 5 brightness settings for each color. A research from PLSlaser suggests that human eyes can spot green faster than red
  • Primary Arms 3x Gen II : Only red color, side knob is used to adjust its 11 brightness settings.
  • Vortex Strike Eagle : Only red color, side knob is used to adjust its 11 brightness settings.

PA and Strike Eagle has more minute brightness adjustment which allows you to fine-tune to your environment.

Reticle Pattern

This is mostly a subjective choice. Vortex has more clutter-free reticle while the PA reticle has more ranging capabilities

Model Reticle
EBR-556B (MOA) – Vortex Spitfire 3x
ACSS CQB-M2 – Primary Arms 3x Gen II
AR-BDC (MOA) – Vortex Strike Eagle 1-6×24 Strike-Eagle 1-6x24 AR-BDC

Fixed 100 yards parallax

One disadvantage of Prism scopes is the lacking of parallax-free feature of red dot sights. It has parallax errors similar to traditional scopes.

All 3 optics has fixed parallax settings at 100 yards.

Size and weight comparable to peers

Vortex Spitfire 3x Primary Arms 3x Gen II Vortex Strike Eagle 1-6×24
Length (inches) 5.5 5.6 10.5
Weight (oz) 15.4 16.8 17.6
Objective lens 32mm 32mm 24mm

Both the Spitfire and PA are quite heavy and bulky considering their fixed 3x magnification.

Multi-height moutn and flip lens caps included

Multi-height mount, which can adjust between 30-40mm, and flip lens caps are included with the purchase of Vortex Spitfire 3x. Note that the Spitfire 3x’s scope base and Multi-height mount design are proprietary and not compatible with other mainstream options such as the ACOG mounts.

On the other hand Primary Arms 3x Prism also offers flip-up lens covers and mount which is ACOG pattern base and is compatible to mainstream aftermarket options.

Moderate durabiltiy, Superb warranty

Vortex Spitfire 3x is durable enough for non home-defense or occupational applications. However, if you’re into serious use, consider getting a higher end prism scope such as the TA33 ACOG.

Personally I have a great run with all 3 optics and have no durability issues with the scopes. There’s also a number of torture tests on the internet which help suggesting that these optics are durable.

Furthermore, Vortex VIP warranty and customer service are the best in the industry. So you can have a peace of mind, knowing that you’ll have someone to take care of your scope if any issue arises.

Primary Arms also offer Lifetime Warranty on this optics and their warranty and customer service reputation are almost as good as Vortex’s.
 

Hear What Others have to say about Vortex Spitfire 3x


 

My Verdict of Vortex Spitfire 3x review

Gungoal's Rating

Vortex Spitfire 3x is a good budget prism scope. Compared to Primary Arms 3x Gen II Prism Scope, the Spitfire 3x has similar glass and lens coating. Reticle brightness is also similar. The main differences are reticle patterns and Primary Arms cheaper price. PA Prism scope is compatible with ACOG mount while the Spitfire does not.

If you’re not strict on 3x, you may want to take a look at PA 2x Prism Scope for much cheaper price.

Another alternate option is the Strike Eagle 1-6×24. Strike Eagle’s advantage is its variable power which can be used at both close and long range. But being a variable, it’s glass is dimmer than Spitfire’s. Plus, its FOV is more limited The Strike Eagle is cheaper than Spitfire 3x at the time of this writing.

Pros Cons
✓ Good clarity and light transmission glass ✗ Fixed magnification, not versatile
✓ Crisp and clear red/green reticle ✗ Small eye relief and eyebox
✓ Good for CQB ✗ A bit heavy
✓ People with astigmatism can see its reticle with no issues ✗ Can’t use ACOG style mount
✓ Reticle can be seen without battery ✗ Not military grade
✓ Price competitive
✓ Vortex VIP warranty

 

Alternative options

1. Primary Arms 3x Gen II Prism Scope

  • Similar quality glass
  • Different reticle pattern
  • Red only illuminated reticle
  • Cheaper

 

2. Primary Arms 2.5x Gen II Prism Scope

  • Similar quality glass
  • Different reticle pattern
  • Red only illuminated reticle
  • Much cheaper
  • Can use ACOG style mount

 

Vortex Strike Eagle 1-6×24

  • More Flexible
  • Dimmer glass
  • Less FOV
  • Cheaper
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