A lot of people tend to think that having a more expensive or a newer optic means better quality. That is why I made this comparison.
It is important to note that all Vortex optics (the ones I know of so far) are covered by the Vortex VIP warranty, which is an unlimited lifetime warranty. It, however, does not cover optics that are stolen, lost, or given deliberate or cosmetic damage to render the optic useless.
The VIP warranty is not the only similar feature to the two optics. The Speed Point Aiming for Rapid Combat, or SPARC for short, has 1x magnification with unlimited eye relief. The reticle is a 2 MOA red dot. Both the SPARC AR and SPARC II have the automatic shut off after 12 hours of non-use. They also have ten levels of brightness with the lowest two compatible with night vision.
It has multi-coated glass for increased light transmission. The sight itself is parallax-free. There is, however, a disclaimer that although it is advertised as parallax free, there will still be a small amount of parallax. In the industry, however, such little parallax is considered as parallax-free.
The elevation turret is located at the top of the sight. The windage turret is on the right side of the eyepiece. The scope is waterproof thanks to the O-rings present in its model. The inside of the scope has been purged with nitrogen, making it fog proof. It is also shockproof due to its rugged construction to withstand impact and recoil. Its anodized finish gives it a matte surface.
The manual available on the website for both optics give a few reminders for purchasers. The scope may be cleaned by a soft clean cloth. If the optic is to be stored for a long time, the battery must be removed. The lens must also be covered. The manual also warns against extreme temperatures. The scope must not be stored in extreme heat and the extreme cold can shorten the battery life.
Vortex Sparc AR
Priced at $274.99, the Vortex Sparc AR is an AAA battery operated with 50,000-hour battery life. The battery compartment is found under the lens.
The brightness level buttons can be found under the eyepiece. The mount is multi-height. Both the windage and elevation adjustment, at their maximum capacity, are at 90 MOA, with adjustment graduation of 1 MOA. Vortex Sparc AR is 2.9 inches long and weighs 7.5 ounces.
Every purchase comes with a rubber cover and flips caps, a T10 Torx wrench, an absolute co-witness mount, and a lower ⅓ co-witness mount.
Ryan Cross reviewed the Sparc AR for Firearms Insider Community and called it “a much-needed evolution of the Sparc II optic, which was a much-needed enhancement of the Gen I Sparc.” The changes include a more ergonomic design, the transition from a CR2032 battery to an AAA, and the better placement of the battery under the lens.
In his glowing review, Cross does have one problem with the flip cap covers. He says that they are hard to snap together, especially in action, and was disappointed in Vortex for the design. However, he does point out that it is much easier to turn the optic off by just pressing the down button. This is a huge advantage according to Cross since with the Sparc II, you’d have to press both buttons to turn it off. I understand how that can be a hassle when you’re out in the field.
Vortex Sparc II
The Vortex Sparc II has a suggested retail price of $259.99. It is operated by a CR 2032, which is loaded onto the side of the optic. The website claims that the Sparc AR 2 can run up to 300 hours at the highest setting, and 6,000 hours at its lowest setting.
The brightness control is found on the right side of the eyepiece. The Sparc AR 2 is also multi-height, but the manual and the website page specified such, namely: 18 mm (.709 inches), 21 mm (.823 inches), 37 mm (1.457 inches), and 40 mm (1.575 inches).
Like the Sparc, both the windage and elevation adjustment, at their maximum capacity, are at 90 MOA, with adjustment graduation of 1 MOA, but the travel for rotation is at 45 MOA. The Vortex Sparc AR is slightly longer than the Sparc II, with a length of 3.1 inches. However, it is lighter with a weight of 5.9 ounces.
Each purchase comes with the four multi-height mount systems I mentioned earlier, a T10 Torx and a 7/64 inch Hex wrenches, a CR 2032 battery, and flip cap optic covers.
According to Gun sight Reviews, Sparc II is considered as one of the toughest red dot sights within its price range. Sparc II owes much to its one-piece military-grade aluminum body, meaning it can withstand impact and recoil. This review also includes specific temperatures that the Sparc II had endured after putting a disclaimer that they were not the ones who tested such. The optic is functional from minus 4 degrees to 158 degrees Fahrenheit or negative 20 to 70 degrees Celsius.
I am choosing Sparc AR for the reason that it is a better investment in the future. Circular batteries are hard to distinguish at times, which gives the optic operating on AAA batteries a huge advantage. Another reason is that since the Sparc AR is a “much-needed improvement” of the Sparc II, it is only logical to choose an improved version, even if it does cost a little more.