The Vortex StrikeFire 2 is an affordable red dot sight under $200 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 StrikeFire 2 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 StrikeFire 2 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 StrikeFire 2?
- Can choose between red/green dot
- Auto turn-off after 12 hours
- Superb lifetime warranty from Vortex
- No auto-on feature
- Green dot can be washed out for very bright environment.
- Limited battery life
- Rather heavy and bulky
- Not super durable
- Mount included not high quality
The StrikeFire 2 gives you the much needed upgraded from the StrikeFire 1
The Vortex StrikeFire 2 addresses the most annoying issue of the StrikeFire 1, it’s poor control placements. With the older model, it’s just too easy to accidentally turn on the red dot and waste batteries. Putting the red dot down on the wrong side in a moving car, or sliding the optic in/out of your gun case can result in unintentional powering on of the StrikeFire 1. This issue is no longer present with the StrikeFire 2 as the controls are moved from the left hand side to the rear.
Furthermore, the StrikeFire 1 also has dimmer green dot which could easily washed out during bright days. The Vortex team also solved this problem with the StrikeFire 2.
With those issues solved, the StrikeFire 2 has proceeded on to become one of the bestseller Vortex red dot with overwhelming positive reviews.
My recommendation? Get this Vortex StrikeFire 2 if you don’t intend to depend your life on it and want affordable, bigger dot (4 MOA) with unparalleled Vortex lifetime Warranty.
A quick summary of this article : Compared to the Sig Sauer Romeo 5 and the Vortex Sparc AR (similarly priced optics), the Vortex StrikeFire 2’s glass and dots crispness are slightly worse than the Vortex Sparc AR. Another main differences are dot size/color and overall weight, 4 MOA red/green for StrikeFire 2 and 2 MOA red dot for the Sparc AR. The Vortex Sparc AR weighs less and is less bulky. Note that the Vortex Sparc AR is designed for AR platform height and could be too high for many rifles that you want to use low height. And the Sparc AR is slightly more expensive than the StrikeFire 2 at the time of this writing. The Sig Romeo 5, on the other hand, offers slightly worse glass coating but has better battery life and durability at a cheaper price. That said, the Sig Romeo 5 is a 2 MOA red dot. To sum up, if you want the 4 MOA dot, go with the StrikeFire II. If you’re ok with 2 MOA dot, you can save money by getting the Sig Romeo 5 or spend $10-$20 more for the Vortex Sparc AR.
Best for : Shooters who value affordability and relatively bigger dot (4 MOA)
|Dot & Glass||4/5|
|Ease of Use||4/5|
|Size and Weight||4/5|
The Whole Story of the Vortex StrikeFire 2
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 StrikeFire 2 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 Vortex StrikeFire 2, even though impressive, isn’t a perfect red dot sight.
Meet the Benchmarks
The Vortex StrikeFire 2 costs about $180 (at the time of this writing). And I’ll be comparing it with :
- Sig Sauer Romeo 5 – 2 MOA, $130 (at the time of this writing)
- Vortex Sparc AR – 2 MOA, $200 (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 StrikeFire 2 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 StrikeFire 2 first. The Vortex StrikeFire 2 has 30mm objective lens. The 4 MOA dot has 10 brightness settings, 2 of which are night vision compatible.
The bigger MOA is better for faster target acquisition at short range, the point and shoot style, while the smaller dot is better for longer range shots.
With the StrikeFire II, you have 2 options between :
- Bright Red dot : Only red color, but the dot will not washout even on very bright sunny days and environment.
- Red/Green dot : You can switch between red and green, but the dot won’t be as bright as the “Bright Red dot” option. Note that washout is minimal and won’t be an issue in most circumstances.
Some of you might have heard that the StrikeFire 1 has issue with too dim green dot in bright environment. This is mostly fixed with the StrikeFire 2 and you can clearly see the green dot in most outdoor environment. That said, it’d be wise to get the “Bright Red dot” option if you’re worried or intend to use the StrikeFire 2 mostly in bright outdoor environment
Next, to determine the Vortex StrikeFire 2’s performance, I lined it up alongside the Sig Romeo 5 and the Vortex Sparc AR.
Comparing head to head, I found that the Vortex Sparc AR has slightly clearer glass with less tint and crisper dot for my eyes. Other key differences are dot size (4 MOA vs 2 MOA) and color (red/green vs red only).
On the other hand, the Sig Romeo 5 performs slightly worse as its glass has darker blue tint which tends to darken your view while the StrikeFire 2 offers a clearer glass. When looking in the direction of the sun, I also saw slightly less glare with the StrikeFire 2. Note that the Vortex StrikeFire 2 has a bigger dot of 4 MOA and bigger objective lens of 30mm.
All 3 red dot sights here have 10 brightness settings with 2 night vision compatible brightness settings.
The StrikeFire 2’s 4 MOA dot is obviously good for fast target acquisition but is less ideal for longer range shots. And personally I don’t mind the red/green dot, but some people claim that green helps them acquire target faster in certain environments (such as foliage or dark background). And according to PLS Laser, “a green laser will appear four times as bright as a red laser at the same power output based on the human eyes’ light sensitivity.”
Battery and ON/OFF operations are critical for red dot sights especially for Home Defense
First of all, I need to say that the StrikeFire 2 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 StrikeFire 2||Sig Romeo 5||Vortex Sparc AR|
|Battery Life||6,000 hours (red/green)
7,000 hours (bright red dot)
|50,000 hours||5,000 hours|
|Auto-On Feature||–||Motion Activated||–|
|Auto-Off Feature||Automatic shut off after 12 hours||Automatic shut off in 2 minutes when idle||Automatic shut off after 12 hours|
The AAA battery is the easiest to find and is one of the biggest selling point of the Vortex Sparc AR.
Sig Romeo 5’s battery life number by manufacturer probably overblown. 20,000 hours is a a more likely number, but it still lasts longer than the StrikeFire 2 and the FastFire 3.
Auto-On and Off feature are nice to have, but not critical for non home-defense guns.
Also note that the accidental powering on issue of the StrikeFire 1 is fixed as the buttons are moved to the rear instead with the StrikeFire 2 design.
Cantilever Mount Included with the StrikeFire 2
The Vortex StrikeFire 2 currently comes with cantilever ring mount, which allows more space on your rail for more gears, such as a magnifier.
Unfortunately it’s not that durable. If you are going to use this optics on high-recoil rifle, get higher quality mount and don’t forget to add that into your estimated cost before buying.
Note that this is not meant to bash Vortex, vendors or anyone because you normally don’t expect super high quality mounts when purchasing budget optics.
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 StrikeFire 2’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 fire relatively accurate without a perfect cheek weld.
But if you’re serious about parallax error, a holographic sight will do you good as it uses different underlying technology than reflex sights and give less parallax error.
Size and Weight
Some people find the Vortex StrikeFire 2 as a little bit too heavy and bulky. If you’re concerned about weight, you may have to consider other options.
|Vortex StrikeFire 2||Sig Romeo 5||Vortex Sparc AR|
|Objective lens (mm)||30||25||22|
Important note : The Vortex Sparc AR is designed specifically for AR platform. Due to this fact, the Sparc AR height could prevent you to mount it very low on some rifles such as the CZ Scorpion EVO.
Durability and Warranty
The Vortex StrikeFire 2 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 StrikeFire 2 and have no durability issues with the red dot. That said, I’ve heard quite a number of scenarios where the StrikeFire 2 failed, maybe partly because a lot of people own the Vortex StrikeFire 2.
And due to the Shotgun torture test done on the Sig Romeo 5 by Alabama Arsenal led me to believe that the Sig Romeo 5 is more durable than the StrikeFire 2.
But the Vortex Lifetime warranty helps mitigate this issue, as most competitors offer much less warranty especially on the “electronics”. Let’s make a comparison of warranties between each mentioned brands.
- Vortex StrikeFire 2 : Lifetime warranty including the electronics
- Aimpoint PRO : 2 years for professional or competition use and 10 years for personal use from the date of purchase.
- Sig Romeo 5 : 5-year warranty on electronics and a lifetime warranty on the rest of the sight.
- Vortex Sparc AR : Lifetime warranty including the electronics
Apart from the StrikeFire 2, only the Vortex Sparc AR has unlimited Lifetime warranty among our mentioned optics list.
Admittedly, the best warranties are the ones that you *don’t* ever have to use them. But at least you get a peace of mind that your optics will be taken care of for years to come.
Hear What Others have to Say about Vortex StrikeFire 2
My Verdict of the Vortex StrikeFire 2
The Vortex StrikeFire 2 is a budget red dot with acceptable quality. This StrikeFire 2 is much better compared to its older version, the StrikeFire 1. If you want the 4 MOA dot, go with the StrikeFire II. If you’re ok with 2 MOA dot, you can save money by getting the better battery efficiency Sig Romeo 5 or spend $10-$20 more for AAA battery, and better glass of the Vortex Sparc AR.
|✓ Affordable||✗ No auto-on feature|
|✓ Can choose between red/green dot||✗ Green dot can be washed out for very bright environment.|
|✓ Auto turn-off after 12 hours||✗ Limited battery life|
|✓ Superb lifetime warranty from Vortex||✗ Rather heavy and bulky|
|✗ Not super durable|
|✗ Mount included not high quality|
1. Sig Sauer Romeo 5
- Darker glass
- Smaller dot
- Lighter and more compact
- Longer battery life
- 5 Years warranty on electronics
2. Vortex Sparc AR
- AAA battery
- Slightly more expensive
- Better glass and lens coating
- Height meant for AR platform and could not be mounted very low
- Vortex Lifetime Warranty