One of the hottest sights to emerge over the past 30 years has been the red dot or reflex type sight. Externally they may resemble a short scope tube, but internally the reticle is not etched in the glass of the lens, but rather projected as a visual “dot” into the shooter’s line of sight. Most often this is achieved via a parabolic reflector mounted near the objective end of the scope’s body. Most red dot sights use an LED (light-emitting diode) to generate this dot because LED’s consume little current than a laser as used on a holographic sight. A by-product of the LED consuming less battery power means that the battery life is measured in years instead of hours. The latest incarnation of a red dot is made by Vortex and is called the StrikeFire.
At first glance the StrikeFire is very similar to Aimpoint’s line of red dot sights, but available at 1/3 the price. The primary reason is that Aimpoint’s are manufactured in Sweden, whereas the Vortex StrikeFire is made in China.
Like any quality optic, the tube of the Vortex StrikeFire is filled with Nitrogen to keep it fog proof. The build quality appears to be first rate while being light in weight. The on/off button is easily accessible, but this can be a liability as the sight is likely to go on when leaned against another firearm in the safe.
Unlike most red dot sights on the market, the Vortex StrikeFire has an option for a green reticle in addition to the red. The green color can be more easily seen in the daytime as the human eye picks it up quicker than the default red.
Another added bonus is an included 2X magnifier that allows the shooter to take a more precise shot at a slightly greater range. Unfortunately it does not easily move out of the way, so the shooter must decide whether or not they want to use it at all times or just occasionally.
The magnifier is not the only “extra” as the Vortex StrikeFire ships with a mount that allows the shooter to not only quickly mount the StrikeFire on a Picatinny rail, but to co-witness with existing iron sights. Additionally, a set of flip up lens covers are included.
I tried mounting the Vortex StrikeFire on a number of carbines including 2 AR-15s and an MP-5 clone and performance was great on each one. I think it performed best on the MP5 clone as I tend to have my eye drawn quicker to the irons on an AR-15 than the H&K di-opter type sights.
Price – The affordability of this scope is its greatest selling point. Vortex manufactures this sight in China in an effort to keep costs down and the included mount, lens covers and magnifier all seem to be of equal quality to the sight.
Speed – The main advantage of any red dot or holographic sight is to get the shooter on target as fast as humanly possible.
Magnifier – The included 2X magnifier is a nice option and works extremely well considering the price of the entire unit.
Power Button – The on/off switch can be activated easily and unintentionally.
Lens covers – The lens covers have problems staying closed and closing them.