May 15, 2021

Spotter Up

In Depth Tactical Solutions

The Vortex Crossfire does a really great job at what it does: a functional yet thrifty compact red-dot optic.

A few years ago I got a great deal on an Aimpoint Micro that until recently resided on one of my “range toy” rifles that almost never gets fired.  This isn’t a defensive gun,  it’s not for “social work,”  it isn’t “Operator,” it’s just a lightweight range gun that shoots decent and is easy to handle for folks who are new to AR-style rifles.

Last week I decided to re-appropriate the optic from this rifle to one that is configured a little more seriously, which left an optics vacancy that needed to be filled with a small, lightweight, red dot.

The Vortex Crossfire certainly fit the bill in the size and price category, but when I read the various reviews online, I got conflicting opinions on brightness.    Here in the Mountains and Deserts of Northern New Mexico it gets very bright.  The sky is clear and blue with full sun for about 170 days a year on average, with another 100 partially sunny days.  I was concerned that this thrifty optic just may not have the potency to overcome the local lumens with a clearly visible dot.

I put in a call to the guys at CS Tactical, who have always been straight up with me in the past, and not only were the Crossfire’s on sale, they guaranteed I would be happy with it, so I put in my order.

The Crossfire,  for an optic often available under $150, doesn’t disappoint.   It comes with its own lightweight, lower 1/3 co-witness mount and a set of rubber, bikini-type lens covers.

Size-wise, the Vortex Crossfire is comparable to the Aimpoint Micros.

Now, this review isn’t attempting to pit the Vortex against the Aimpoints,  that isn’t a fair comparison considering the price difference.   I do think it’s fair, however, to use the Aimpoint as a known standard or reference when judging certain aspects of the Crossfire.   The Micro T1 has 12 brightness settings, whereas the Crossfire goes to 11.  The brightness adjustment knob on the Crossfire is also a little stiffer and less smooth than the Aimpoint, but still easily manipulated.  The Aimpoint glass is less shaded than the Crossfire, which gives a slight bluish tint to the image.

As for dot brightness…well… see for yourself:

The Crossfire 2MOA dot at 11 (max setting) is a little brighter than the Aimpoint T1 at 11, but not as bright as the Aimpoint at 12 (max setting.) It is still very usable, even on bright New Mexico days.

Do I think the Vortex will put Aimpoint out of business,  not even remotely.  When it comes to durability, reliability, and battery life, Aimpoint is the gold standard and tough to beat (their micro red dots are also a little pricey when you are paying for your own gear).   The Crossfire is a very functional optic for folks on a budget, or for firearms like rimfires and range toys.  It comes with its own mount and the world-famous Vortex  VIP lifetime, unlimited, unconditional warranty and customer service.

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Price 5/5

Performance 5/5

User-Friendliness 4.5/5 The brightness adjustment isn’t terrible, but it’s a little stiff.  The dot brighness is good to go.  Also the rubber bikini-style scope cover is… “meh…”  The supplied mount is quite adequate and the elevation and windage clicks are actually pretty nice.

Durability 4/5 I have no doubt this optic will hold up to normal use without any problems,  and probably even hard use.  I have seen a brightness knob shear off of one of these on a demo rifle that was dropped, it did land on an unusual surface though.  The redeeming value is Vortex’s VIP warranty.

SCORE: 18.5/20


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Material Disclosure

I purchased this product myself so I could test it and give honest feedback. I am not bound by any written, verbal, or implied contract to give this product a good review. All opinions are my own and are based off my personal experience with the product.

*The views and opinions expressed on this website are solely those of the original authors and contributors. These views and opinions do not necessarily represent those of Spotter Up Magazine, the administrative staff, and/or any/all contributors to this site.

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