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Vortex Spitfire AR Prismatic: Between a Scope and a Red Dot Sight

By Oleg Volk

Vortex Spitfire AR prismatic scope bridges the gap between red dot sights and scopes. An unmagnified sight with an integral AR-height riser, it uses an etched reticle of two concentric circles around a 3MOA center dot. The centerline of Spitfire AR is 1.575 inches above the Picatinny rail surface. Windage and elevation turrets graduated in 0.5MOA clicks are capped, but a spare turret graduated with 5.56x45mm BDC out to 700 yards is included for uncapped use.

While the optic has a wide 23-degree angle of view, it’s generally used with both eyes open, making that feature less critical. Spitfire eye relief is 3.7 inches, with a generous eyebox, but not infinite as with red dots. What does it gain over the red dots that makes up for the loss of unlimited eye relief?

First and foremost, the black etched reticle makes it useful without batteries. The sight may be deployed without being turned on and can function in the coldest weather. With the etched reticle as the projection backing, Spitfire has 6-step daylight bright illumination in red or green. The color and the brightness are controlled with two buttons on the back of the integral riser mount. A quick press on both switches color, a long press shuts the illumination off. As a backup for the absent-minded, a 14-hour timer also turns off illumination on an inactive scope. Single AAA battery life is decent but not spectacular at about 250 hours (full power) or 3,000 on the dimmest setting. For long-term storage, lithium AAA batteries are recommended. At the brightest setting, Spitfire is useful for shooting aerial targets like clays. The concentric circles also work very well for leading aerial clays with straight stock shotguns like MKA1919 or Origin 12.

The view through this scope is brighter than on a typical red dot sights, as the front lens doesn’t have to be tinted. Also unlike red dot sights, the prismatic scope causes fewer problems with undercorrected astigmatism in the shooter’s eyes. I am not sure why that’s the case, but...

This article first appeared in Small Arms Review V21N8 (October 2017)
and was posted online on August 18, 2017

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