Vortex Optics Spitfire 1x Prism Scope – DRT Reticle (MOA)

About this item

  • The Spitfire Prism Scope has been built from the ground up to maximize the fast-handling performance in close to medium range shooting applications. This prism scope is backed with all the features you need in an optic.
  • The generous sight picture and forgiving eye box get you on target effortlessly in any scenario. Fully multi-coated lenses offer true to life clarity and brightness.
  • The DRT reticle is etched on the prism providing you with a visible point of aim whether powered up or not. Ten intensity levels perfectly match ambient light conditions while you also have an option between red or green illumination.
  • With shockproof construction, the Spitfire withstands recoil and impact while nitrogen purging and O-ring seals ensure fog-proof and waterproof performance.
  • A common AAA battery powers the illuminated reticle.

Initially, this sight was purchased for my Beretta CX4 Storm 9mm carbine. I needed to replace the optic that was mounted, but did want the bulkiness of a scope nor the simplicity of a “dot” since I do have an astigmatism issue (dots are not dots).

A look of a lot of different sight options busied me to the point that I will never regain that time. I did, however, narrow the search to several different types of sights with the Vortex Optics Spitfire 1x Prism Scope – DRT Reticle (MOA) being the top choice. I was not happy with the cost, but I have paid more for less in the past and why should this be any different.

Etched Reticle

The Vortex Optics Spitfire 1x Prism Scope – DRT Reticle (MOA) comes with an etched reticle, a circle-dot arrangement, that can be illuminated (green or red) or not. I have not had a problem with my astigmatism when using this type of alignment system. I have been able to use circle-dots, T-dots, and others without issue. The beauty of this arrangement is that fact, as I mentioned, that I don’t need to illuminate the pattern as with many other sights.

The etched pattern is black in its natural state, and if I do need to illuminate it, I have a choice between red and green, with green being my preference. With that said, I have had occasions where the target I was shooting at was a green or red-colored silhouette target. Options for switching to a contrasting color, or black, are nice.

UTG 4X32 1″ AO, 36-color Mil-dot Scope

To put things into perspective, I have one optic that I like on the Beretta CX4 Storm carbine and that one is the UTG 4X32 1″ AO, 36-color Mil-dot (similar to the one shown above) that is no longer available in a fixed-magnification configuration. Mounted on medium rings, the scope is low so that the ears of the rear sight on the CX4 Storm acts as a valley. The fixed 4-power features get the view out beyond the front sight, the front Adjustable Objective (AO) feature goes from 3-yards to infinity, and an adjustable ocular lens ensure reticle clarity. Overall, it is an excellent sight for medium to distant use within the capabilities of the 9mm cartridge. I, however, needed an optic option for more intimate distances, but yet capable of stretching things out a bit without magnification.

Although, while the Vortex Optics Spitfire 1x Prism Scope – DRT Reticle (MOA) is intended for MSR use, and while the Vortex Optics Spitfire 1x Prism Scope – DRT Reticle (MOA) may not be the optimum optic for the CX4 Storm, it does fill the role for which it is intended – plus some.

The Vortex Optics Spitfire 1x Prism Scope – DRT Reticle (MOA) is a fix-mounted unit that is compatible with the MIL-STD-1913 rail (or equivalent)

  • Product Dimensions: ‎ 6.75 x 2.5 x 4 inches
  • Material:  Aluminum
  • Magnification Maximum:  1 x
  • Objective Lens Diameter:  20 Millimeters
  • Magnification Minimum:  1 x
  • Compatible Devices:  Rifle
  • Product Weight: 11.2 Ounces
  • Item model number: ‎ SPR-200
  • Batteries: ‎ 1 Lithium Metal AAA batteries required. (included)
  • Manufacturer: ‎ Vortex
  • Eye Relief:  3.8-inches
  • Field of View:  79’ at 100-yards
  • ASIN: ‎ B01AWB2UHW
  • Country of Origin: ‎ China

It is sad, but not surprising, that the country of origin is China, but what is not anymore?

One thing that you may notice is that the sight has an eye relief of 3.8-inches. The eye relief is primarily because of the etched glass. This means that you have to look into the sight as you would a scope to reduce parallax, as compared to “Dot” sights that allow unlimited eye relief. The eye relief simply means that you must mount the sight close rather than far. The DRT (Dual Ring Tactical) reticle is designed for rapid shooting at close distances. The dual ring design pulls the eye into instant alignment with the reticle center and target. Etched directly on the prism to assure consistent point-of-aim at all times with red or green illumination of five intensity levels.

Etched Reticle w/Red Illumination

The dual-ring helps to focus the eye on the dot; it tunnels your vision, if you will.

The very center dot is 1 MOA. Shown below is an example of the sight picture.

Sight Picture Example

Illumination is available in both red and green colors. To change between colors, momentarily press and release both Up and Down buttons at the same time. Illumination intensity can be adjusted by either tapping Up or Down buttons, or holding button down to automatically cycle through adjustment range. The Spitfire has twelve levels of brightness, with the last two being ultra-low to allow use with NV equipment.

Installing the battery can be somewhat of a challenge. The AAA battery is installed in the battery compartment at the front of the sight. Removing the battery cover is not an issue, however, installing the battery cover with an installed battery is. There is constant spring pressure against the battery compartment cap and this makes installing the cap a bit challenging. I found that while using a dime made things easier to counteract the spring pressure, it could be very easy to get the cap cross-threaded. Care must be taken to prevent cross-threading. While the battery can be removed/installed when the sight is on the firearm, it much easier to install when the sight is off the firearm due to lack of working space.

Of the two colors, I prefer the green. 

Can reticle “flare” be an issue? Why, yes it can. Luckily there are a number of illumination level settings to choose from to tailor the illumination level to the environment and to your preference.

Mounting

Simply orient the Spitfire so the adjustment buttons face the shooter (Duh!).

  1. Loosen the base crossbolts and attach the Spitfire to the rail/base, making sure that recoil lugs are solidly seated in the base groove.
  2. Check that the mount fully engages the base, press the Spitfire down and forward, then tighten the base crossbolts.

Depending on the height when mounted on the rail, a QD riser may be in the cards to get the optic to your desired eye level. You may note that the mount of the optic is fixed with no means of quickly exchanging sights, if desired. This optic, for the money, could have been more useful with a QD mount, in my opinion. A higher-mounted optic may hinder the user when used at near distances. For that reason, I prefer keeping an optic as low as possible.

With the Vortex Optics Spitfire 1x Prism Scope – DRT Reticle (MOA) mounted on the Beretta CX4 Storm carbine, the center of the optic is very close to 2.75-inches above the bore-line of the barrel. However, with the stock designed the way it is on the CX4 Storm, I still get a good cheek-weld when peering through the glass.

Co-Witness

You can’t co-witness with a prismatic sight. Also, since the Vortex Optics Spitfire 1x Prism Scope – DRT Reticle (MOA) is a 1X sight, you may find your firearm’s front sight protruding into the sight window. The Beretta CX4 Storm has a fold-down front sight; Folding the front sight down removes it from the sight picture. However, the “wings” that protect the front sight protrude slightly into the sight picture. At first, this protrusion was very detectable. However, after using the sight for a bit I did not notice the protrusion as much since the focus is now on the reticle. On a MSR with a folding front sight, this protruding of the front sight may not be an issue. It would not be an issue if I mounted this optic on my Hi-Point carbines as the front sights have been removed.

Power

One of the plus-side features of the sight, in my opinion, is that it uses one-AAA battery for power. Battery Life: Up to 250 hours on highest setting. Up to 3,000 hours on lowest setting.

Battery Installation

Guess Where the Battery is Installed

Remove the battery compartment cover using a coin or screwdriver. Install and orient the AAA battery so the positive (+) side faces inward, then replace the cover. When replacing the cover, be sure it is fully screwed down with the O-ring seal in place.

Illumination

To activate illumination, press either Up or Down button. To turn illumination off, press both Up and Down buttons and hold for 3 seconds.

Illumination is available in both red and green colors. To change between colors, momentarily press and release both Up and Down buttons at the same time. Illumination intensity can be adjusted by either tapping Up or Down buttons, or holding button down to automatically cycle through adjustment range. The Spitfire has twelve levels of brightness, with the last two being ultra-low to allow use with NV equipment.

Auto Dim/Auto power off – If brightness is at level 8 or higher and there is no button push for 2 hours, Spitfire will dim to level 6 automatically. If no activity occurs after an additional 12 hours, unit will shut down. Pushing either button will return unit to previous brightness and color setting.

Windage and Elevation Adjustments

The Spitfire features adjustments and a reticle scaled in MOA’s—minutes of angle. MOA unit arc scales are used when ranging or adjusting for bullet trajectory.

Each small click will move the point of impact ½ Minute of Angle (MOA). ½ MOA will closely correspond to 1/8 inch at 25 yards, ¼ inch at 50 yards and ½ inch at 100 yards.

To adjust the settings

  1. Remove the dial covers.
  2. Turn the adjustment dial in the appropriate direction as indicated by the arrows. Move the dials in the direction you wish the bullet’s point-of-impact to go.
  3. After sighting in, re-align the zero numbers on the turret dials.

After completing the final sight in:

  1. While holding the elevation turret cap firmly between thumb and forefinger to prevent rotation, use the hex wrench to loosen and remove the central screw on the top of the cap. Be careful to not misplace the O-ring.
  2. Carefully lift the turret cap straight up and off of the turret body.
  3. Re-install the cap, turning so the “0” mark aligns with the reference dot on the scope body.
  4. Reinstall the central screw while holding the turret cap firmly between thumb and forefinger to prevent rotation. Be sure the O-ring is in place.
  5. Repeat the same procedure on the windage turret if desired.

The Vortex Optics Spitfire 1x Prism Scope – DRT Reticle (MOA) comes with a standard turret cap installed. This, however, can be swapped with the included MSR 556 BDC turret cap if the unit is to be mounted on an .556 caliber MSR.

My intention is to set zero at 25-yards with 124-grain cartridges. With the 16.6-barrel length of the Beretta CX4 Storm carbine, I could suspect projectile velocity to be in the vicinity of 1050 – 1400 fps. depending on the selected ammunition. I am hoping that my favorite defensive 9mm ammunition, 147GR, Elite V-Crown, JHP (Muzzle Velocity: 985 fps.) will have an increase in velocity through the 16.6-inch barrel, accuracy is still my major goal for any ammunition. Experimentation with ammunition in the CX4 Storm is an ongoing venture, as with other firearms.  With ammunition availability being what it is, I’ll take what I can get until better times (hopefully there will be better times).

Through the Looking Glass

Sight Picture Example w/Red Illumination

The circle-dot reticule takes a bit getting used to. The 1 MOA center dot is very small and I found myself using the second (thicker) ring to center on my desired POI. The sight, after all, is not intended to be used for precision shooting; it is simply a fast target acquisition sight. At distance, and using a tad bit of color, made the center dot “pop” a bit and easier to focus on.

When first looking through the sight, everything was double-lines. I thought, “Well, I’ll be double-dipped!” However, some serious turning of the reticle focus ring in the + direction took care of things and all circles came together. For my eyesight, corrective lenses are a must.

Blending in

The Total Package
Another View

As my usual once I mount an optic on a firearm, it was time to sit back and evaluate the total package.  Like a fine wine, I give mounting an optic a little air to let the essence of the final product breathe. In short, the personalities of these two inanimate objects must be compatible with each other. The styling of the Beretta CX4 Storm is in a class of its own. I also must drink in the compatibility of the package for my intended use.

First of all, the Vortex Optics Spitfire 1x Prism Scope – DRT Reticle (MOA) is a compact unit and so is the Beretta CX4 Storm carbine; in that sense they pair well together. The 20mm lens, although not as large as many 30mm red-dot lensed units, means that there is less to look through. A pro of the 30mm dot sight is that it is more forgiving of head alignment. Pros of the 20mm are that they are significantly smaller, so it doesn’t obstruct your vision as much when shooting with both eyes open, and they are significantly lighter. It took my brain to adjust to looking through the sight while keeping both eyes open.

The styling of the Vortex Optics Spitfire 1x Prism Scope – DRT Reticle (MOA) is such that it blends well with the styling of the Beretta CX4 Storm carbine making it appear as one fully-integrated unit rather than a hodgepodge of parts. The color match between the sight and the CX4 Storm is close.

The provided dust covers are usable, but fragile and may be replaced later with a scope shield.

Duty Use

The Beretta CX4 Storm carbine will not see any “duty” use (at least none that I can conceive of at this time). Nonetheless, it is fun to shoot. The Vortex Optics Spitfire 1x Prism Scope – DRT Reticle (MOA) is simply a second upgrade to the CX4 Storm as part of two upgrades; The first upgrade was adding a barrel shroud that has nothing to do with improving performance but does improve the looks (IMHO).

Using the Vortex Optics Spitfire 1x Prism Scope – DRT Reticle (MOA) is slightly slower than with a conventional dot sight, but not by much. Once the CX4 Storm is tucked into the shoulder (or pecs), the eye locks onto the reticle, and shooting with both eyes open is not compromised.

The etched glass is more to my liking, as I am a cross-hair type of guy even though this unit has a circle-dot arrangement. I do like not relying on things electronic, but it is nice to know that I can partake in the electronics age if need be.

Can the sight be used for more than just CQB? Of course, it can.  Although dot sights are more associated with CQB, they have been used for longer distances. Factors that affect the shooting range of a Dot Sight are shown below:

  • The type of dot sight;
  • the size of the dot;
  • the shooter himself;
  • the environment;
  • the daylight availability;
  • the size of the target;
  • the surroundings of the target;
  • and the use of Magnification.

Using dot sights for long range is a topic for a different discussion and is well beyond the scope of this article.

Summary

The Vortex Optics Spitfire 1x Prism Scope – DRT Reticle (MOA) is a quality product, but may not be suitable for your intentions. One of the reasons I provide these reviews is so that you can be an educated consumer and decide for yourself the worth of the product…at my expense.

The product is backed by the VIP warranty. VIP stands for a Very Important Promise. Vortex will repair or replace your Vortex® product in the event it becomes damaged or defective—at no charge to you. If Vortex cannot repair your product, Vortex will replace it with a product in perfect working order of equal or better physical condition. UNLIMITED LIFETIME WARRANTY, FULLY TRANSFERABLE, NO RECEIPT NEEDED.

I would like to see the unit with a “quick-disconnect” mount. If I had to switch to open sights with the Beretta CX4 Storm, it is not as simple as popping a couple of clamps to release the optic.

Included in the box:

  • Vortex Optics Spitfire 1x Prism Scope – DRT Reticle (MOA)
  • T-10 Torx wrench
  • 556 BDC turret cap
  • AAA battery (Energizer Ultimate Lithium)
  • Flip caps
  • User Manual

Resources

MSRP is $349.99 through Vortex. However, you can find the unit at Amazon at a much cheaper price (at the time of this writing). They were out of stock at several websites and OpticsPlanet.com claims that they are discontinued by the manufacturer, although they are still on the Vortex website.

About Taurian

Taurian is an Oath Keeper, veteran, former LEO and Defensive Tactics Instructor. Until retirement, Taurian had over forty-seven years of experience as a Technical Writer and Training Program Developer. After leaving home at the age of ten without any shoes, Taurian continues on with many years devoted to the keeping and bearing of arms.

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