Vortex Sparc II Red Dot Optic: Is It Still Being Made?

Vortex is a powerhouse in the optics world. The Vortex Sparc II is not a new optic; it was discontinued in 2018. But it was a popular optic, and Vortex continues to make limited runs with the Sparc II. This means you can still find it for sale on their website, and it occasionally hits the retail shelves. I’ve noticed them popping back up during the holidays at reasonable prices. They can run out at any time because they are sold as “limited run” optics, and there is no guarantee they will continue making them either.

Vortex Sparc II Red Dot.
I like the size of the Sparc II for smaller rifles. [Photo: Jason Mosher]
However, they appear to be easy to find at certain times of the year. The price isn’t bad for a compact-size rifle or shotgun optic. When Vortex discontinued regular manufacturing of the Sparc II, they replaced it with the Sparc AR and Sparc Solar. Both are smaller optics than the Sparc II and while they are decent red dot systems, I prefer the Sparc II. I’m not basing it on quality or performance; I like the square-looking body of the Sparc II more than the rounded look of the AR and Solar.

So, even though the Sparc II has been around for a while and was discontinued, it’s still a popular optic. It’s still being produced (on a limited basis) and worth checking out if you want a quality optic for an AR-15 or shotgun. There is a slight resemblance between the Sparc II and StrikeFire II. This is primarily due to the location of the control buttons, but again, I like that look.

Vortex Sparc II Details

The Sparc II (speed point aiming for rapid combat) is a durable optic perfect for AR-15 platforms. And this isn’t speculation; it’s been around for years and is used by consumers around the globe. There is a reason they keep making limited runs for this model. Built around a 2 MOA reticle, the Sparc II uses a CR 2032 battery and has 10 brightness settings. I will say that I prefer larger batteries in rifle optics, but it’s not a deal breaker. I’ve heard a rumor that the short run time is why they have discontinued the optic.

Vortex Sparc II Red Dot.
Several different mounting options come with the Sparc II red dot. [Photo: Jason Mosher]
The Sparc II has a run time of up to 300 hours on the brightest setting and 6,000 hours on the lowest setting. If you’re shooting during the daylight hours, you will probably want to turn it up to at least 7 or 8. This is plenty of power for extended use, but when compared to some of the new optics, it has a short battery life. But a 300+ hour battery life is manageable when the battery costs about $1.50. Like many red dots, the battery loads from the side with a threaded battery cover.

The Sparc II’s total weight is 5.9 oz, so it’s on the light side, making it perfect for AR pistols. Another feature I like about the Sparc II is the mounting brackets you get in the box. Vortex made a three-piece base that allows you to mount it at absolute or lower 1/3 co-witness. You can choose from four mounting heights with three mounting brackets.

Operating the Vortex Sparc II Red Dot

Like the StrikFire II, the Sparc II has a control box on the left side with two small buttons. One complaint I have always had about the StrikerFire II carries over to the Sparc. That is the stiff, small buttons that control it. If you are wearing gloves, it is hard to push the up and down buttons. To turn the optic on, you can press the up arrow once. If you can push the small button, it’s easy and quick to turn on. Press and hold the up arrow for five seconds to turn it off.

Vortex Sparc II Red Dot.
The up and down arrows on the back of the Sparc II control the brightness settings. [Photo: Jason Mosher]
A shut-off feature will turn the Sparc II off after 12 hours, but it doesn’t have a shake-awake feature. I prefer this feature for self-defense weapons, but not all my weapons are for home defense. Others may not mind hitting the power switch as they pick up their rifle. I just wish it were easier to turn it on and off. Once the optic is on, just push the up or down arrow to cycle through the brightness settings.

Why choose Vortex?

I like guns, optics, lasers, lights, and just about any type of gun-related gear. There are several excellent optics brands, many of which have some benefit over the others. If you want an optic that you can jump out of an airplane with, Aimpoint, EOTech, or Trijicon are great choices. But for those wanting optics without several zeros on the end of the price tag, we still have options. What makes Vortex stand out in that affordable category is its warranty.

Aptly named the VIP Warranty, Vortex is the only company I am aware of that offers an unconditional guarantee. You don’t have to be the original owner, and you don’t have to show proof of purchase. All you need is the Vortex customer service phone number, and they will help you with your issues. Another important fact to point out as well is Vortex’s customer service. I have very little patience with large companies that send you endless transfers. Talking to a person is not an option for many of them.

Vortex Sparc II Red Dot.
The Sparc II fits perfectly on an AR-15 pistol. [Photo: Jason Mosher]
With Vortex, however, you get to speak with a real person, and it doesn’t take long. I have called them many times and never had any trouble. In fact, I called them when writing this article to confirm they were still making the Sparc II even though it was discontinued. I selected two options, waited for about three minutes, and had a friendly customer service rep on the phone. He answered all my questions and had plenty of knowledge about the product. This always impresses me and is one reason I recommend Vortex products.

Hers the bottom line

This may be a discontinued optic, but it doesn’t appear to be going away for the moment. Limited runs are keeping many companies stocked with supplies. I found my Sparc II on a holiday sale for $180, which is a heck of a deal for what you get. I like the shape of the optic; the size and it’s guaranteed with a lifetime warranty. It’s just hard to beat that, no matter what you compare it to. If you are looking for a compact red dot for your AR-15 or shotgun, I’d take a serious look at the Sparc II or one of the newer AR and Solar models.

Sheriff Jason Mosher is a law enforcement generalist instructor as well as a firearms and tactical weapons trainer. Jason graduated from the FBI-LEEDA (Law Enforcement Executive Development Association) and serves as a Sheriff for his day job. When he’s not working, he’s on the range, eating steak, or watching Yellowstone.

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