Review Guide – Vortex 1X Spitfire AR Prism Sight

In this review guide, let's check out the Vortex Spitfire AR 1X prism sight. Prism sights provide capability may not be so obvious when compared to an 1X red dot sight.

We are going to unbox, show you the specs and capabilities of this optic you might not have considered.

Let's check it out.


Vortex Spitfire AR Specs

  • Mount Type: Multi-Height
  • Magnification: 1x
  • Eye Relief: 3.7 inches
  • Field of View: 75 feet/100 yards
  • Adjustment Graduation: 1 MOA
  • Max Elevation Adjustment: 120 MOA
  • Max Windage Adjustment: 120 MOA
  • Parallax Setting: Parallax Free
  • Length: 4.3 inches
  • Weight: 11.2 oz
  • Lens Diameter: 25mm
  • Battery Life: 250 hrs on max brightness

Unboxing

Vortex spitfire ar 1x prism unboxing

The package comes with:

  • Vortex Spitfire AR with built in fixed mount
  • Manual
  • Cleaning cloth
  • 1 AAA Battery 
  • Allen wrench
  • Lens Caps
  • Extra BDC dial turret

How Is It Different Than A Red Dot Sight?

Kriss vector with vortex spitfire ar scope

A 1X prism sight's reticle is etched on the glass and the image is super crisp reticle for shooters with astigmatism and poor eye sight without any starburst or distortion typically associated with a reflex red dot.

Main Benefits You May Not Have Even Noticed Before

The biggest benefits for using a prism sight over a red dot are:

  • Reticle stays even when the battery dies
  • Looking through the glass is like having corrected 20/20 vision
  • Crisp reticle and image for shooters with astigmatism or slightly poor eye sights
  • Naturally trains the shooter to have the perfect eyebox position for long distance shots to reduce parallax 

Let's discuss more below:


Core Features

Reticle

Vortex DRT reticle

The Vortex DRT reticle is etched on the glass, and it's super crisp for aiming at targets even up to 500 - 700 yards with a precision 3 MOA dot in the center.

The large 140 MOA ring is even bigger than EOTech's 68 MOA ring reticle for faster sight acquisition. All you got to do is place a close up human size target within the ring and expect the center dot to get effective accurate shots.

vortex prism sight pov

The inner 44 MOA ring provides the shooter another eye drawing reference point for fast aiming, and it can also be used as a circle to represent a rough shotgun pellet pattern (Depends on the shell & choke tube)

For the most part, the center ring and the dot is enough for close to mid range applications.

However...

The lack of vertical reference points and minimal rangefinding capability makes it suboptimal. 

The reticle is also available in Green. You can get it here.

Glass Quality

Vortex prism sight pov drt reticle
vortex spitfire prism sight reticle indoor

The fully multi coated glass quality is just superb without any glare. My initial impression of the glass is that it feels like looking through a corrected lens because I have bad eye sights.

Something that usually looks fuzzy through a red dot without wearing my contacts or glasses would look very sharp through this 1X prism sight. 

So if you have astigmatism or poor eye sight (~80/20) you can see the reticle and the image much better than with a reflex red dot sight.

Weight

Kriss vector with vortex spitfire ar scope

The weight (11 oz) of the sight is definitely heavier than a red dot sight for sure because it's basically a scope (hybrid between a LPVO and a red dot optic). 

For lightweight pistol caliber carbines and competition rifles that weigh about 7 - 8 lbs, it's not too bad when considering the pros of having crisp class clarity and precision for 3 gun competition outweighs the cons of just having couple oz on the rifle.

Mount

The Vortex Spitfire AR comes with a built in fixed mounting system. The height is as tall as a 1/3 co-witness mount, which works for most shooters' cheek weld position. 

If the shooter is cross eye dominant, the optic height is tall enough for the shooter to use either eye simply by tilting the rifle. However, we recommend the shooter to aim and shoot with his/her dominant side.

Battery

battery life vortex spitfire ar prism sight

The sight only requires 1 AAA battery to power the illuminated reticle. It goes inside the built in mount and there is a battery orientation label on the outside of the optic to help you install the battery correctly.

When installing the battery, the user will have to hold the battery door cap while tightening it carefully without stripping the threads.

The sight lasts about 250 hrs on max setting. When the battery dies, the reticle still remains.

Click Adjustment

  • Adjustment Graduation: 1 MOA
  • Max Elevation Adjustment: 120 MOA
  • Max Windage Adjustment: 120 MOA

The elevation and windage adjustment turrets are capped to prevent accidental adjustments.

windage adjustment vortex spitfire ar 1x prism sight

The only complain I have about the adjustment is that it's not 0.5 MOA / click because that reduces the fine zeroing capability for long range.

However,

Vortex included a very useful laser engraved BDC turret cap for fast elevation zero dial based on good distance judgement instead of thinking in MOA.

vortex spitfire ar bdc turret

To put it on, just replace the cap! and index the cap to the correct zero.

Eyebox & Eye Relief

Eye relief vortex spitfire ar prism sight

The Vortex Spitfire AR prism sight does have an eye box constraint and limited eye relief distance, but it can still be used for close range engagement.

vortex spitfire ar 1x eye box from the right
VORTEX spitfire ar scope shadow from right
leupold LCO unlimited eye relief and eye box

Leupold LCO Red Dot , unlimited eye relief, parallax free and super flexible eye box

vortex spitfire ar indoor eyebox range

Vortex Spitfire AR. It's not like a red dot, but it's doable for CQB

When comparing this with a red dot sight, the biggest difference besides reticle clarity is the head movement flexibility, and in some cases the Prism sight is a better choice than a red dot for long distance shooting on 1X with the naked eye.

Here are the pros you may not have considered:

  • Limited eye box forces the shooter's eye to center behind the optic for precision long distance shot without introducing even the slightest parallax shift
  • Eye box constraint is much more forgiving than what most people think, and shooters can use this just like a red dot in certain improvised shooting positions
  • So much image and reticle clarity! we can't stress this enough. If you have bad eye sight this will fix the blurriness!

Common FAQ

Does the Vortex Spitfire AR 1X Prism Scope Work With A Maginifer?

A 1X prism scope can work with a magnifier, but it requires the user to independently adjust the eye piece on both optics to have a perfect image clarity.

We do not recommend using a magnifier. If you want a fixed magnification prism sight, please check out this best prism scopes guide on our site.

Can The Shooter Aim With Both Eyes Open Using The Vortex Spitfire 1X?

Even with a perfect eye sight, the shooter will not be to aim with two eye open comfortably looking through the Vortex Spitfire AR because the optic glass is slightly magnified even at 1X, while your non aiming eye sees an unmagnified image. This will create an overall blur image.

When you add dynamic movement, it becomes difficult to focus.

Please check out our bindon aiming concept guide, where we break down how your eyes react when scanning the environment with two eyes open, and what happens when it's time to focus on aiming.


Final Verdict

Kriss vector with vortex spitfire ar prism sight

The Vortex 1X Spitfire AR is one of the best 1X prism optic in its category. 

If there is only one thing that make this sight stands out from a red dot sight is its image & reticle clarity without wearing glasses. Go to a local store and pick one up and see for yourself!

If you need a truck gun or for 1X competition shooting, this prism sight is the way to go. 

Pros

  • Super clear glass like looking through correct lens on 1X even with astigmatism or without glasses
  • Reticle stays regardless the battery status
  • Double ring reticle really draws the eye to the center
  • Great for distance shooting with precision at 1X power


Cons

  • A bit heavy and bulky for lightweight fighting rifle setup
  • People tend to mount the sight backward due to its initial looks

Ying Xu

US Air Force veteran nuclear weapon officer. Aerospace engineering bachelor's degree from the University of Kansas. Experienced as a certified NRA range safety officer. Working as a search engine expert for BadAssOptic.com