I’m largely an advocate of iron sites on AR-15’s. That is to say, there is a lot of value in using iron sites on a SHTF gun. However, you can vastly improve a budget AR-15 by adding on a solid optic. My Vortex Strikefire 2 review will be the perfect fit for anyone who owns what I consider to be, the best budget AR-15 rifle around. Typically found at a price point under $200 and backed by a lifetime warranty, the Vortex Strikefire 2 is a value-friendly, shooter friendly, red and green dot optic. Many other Vortex Strikefire 2 reviews have often touted it as comparable to Aimpoints, but for half the cost. The Vortex Strikefire 2 is a premium scope experience at a budget price, which is why I place it on my Best AR-15 budget optics list.
Vortex Strikefire 2 review
First and foremost, I want to show you my Strikefire 2 mounted on my Smith and Wesson M&P Sport 2. Fits like a glove, the weight is perfect and adds to my AR-15’s already nice balance. Overall, from a vanity standpoint, it vastly improves the look of my Sport 2.
This is my main optic. I believe in the company, Vortex, because simply put, they back their optics up. You get a lifetime warranty with any Vortex optic you purchase. They firmly believe that their products will last you a lifetime. And you hardly ever hear of any Vortex Strikefire 2 buyers returning them to the manufacturer. Vortex would stand to lose a lot of revenue if their scopes cracked under pressure.
As you would expect from any product you buy from Vortex, the box and packaging are tight and sharp. I know that many companies can make a nice package, but I do believe that great companies pay attention to all details. Plus, opening it was darn exciting!
My Vortex Strikefire 2 is attached to my Smith and Wesson M&P Sport 2 AR-15. It never loses zero, it handles the light-recoil like a champ, and it is clear as day to look through, even during lower light scenarios.
The Vortex Strikefire 2 is a 30mm lens. It offers a 6-hour auto-shutdown mechanism so that in the event you forget to turn off your optics, it won’t sit in your case and burn out the battery. When you buy the Strikefire 2, it comes with the needed CR2, so you aren’t left feeling slighted of your initial excitement.
This scope offers unlimited eye relief. This makes target acquisition an absolute breeze. If you lay your rifle down and quickly pick it up, your eyes will easily pick out the target. You leave both eyes open with these style of tactical scope and you have no issue with target acquisition and surrounding awareness. This is a Parallax free design, which means you SHOULD have both eyes wide open as an advantage. You will be able ot use the sights, red or green depending on your preference, to cleanly pick up on multiple targets or moving targets. The red or green dot option helps you work in different settings.
The Strikefire 2 is nitrogen purged and O-ring sealed, this means your lens will not fog up in overly humid weather and it is waterproof. I’m not sure I’d sink it to the bottom of a lake, but most certainly you can be worry-free if you are in heavy rains or it falls into a creek.
You can cowitness your iron sights with the Strikefire 2, and yes, this is a big deal. If you don’t understand cowitnessing iron sites, seriously give a read to my rifle scopes article on all things scopes, including an explanation of what is cowitness in tactical optics. It explains it well. To summarize, if the battery of your Strikefire 2 goes out, or, the optics malfunction, or, an EMP attack kills off the lens functions (yes, this is a real risk), you can revert to your iron sights. If you are a prepper and your AR-15 is for SHTF, this is a big deal to you. It comes with a cantilever mount allows for a 1/3 co-witness, to be exact. And it’s super easy to mount pending you do have Picatinny rails. If you don’t, you need to get them.
The construction of the Strikefire 2 is solid as a rock. Again, the recoil from a .223 or even a .308 should not harm anything, it’s made well. You can adjust the brightness as you see fit, depending on the situation, but clearly, increased brightness typically results in more intense battery usage.
The controls are perfectly located facing you from a shooter’s perspective, making shutting it on and off, as well as brightness intensity and red or green dot selection, a breeze.
Here’s a good look at my Vortex Strikefire green dot in action.
Here is the Vortex Strikefire 2 red dot in action.
You won’t have much trouble sighting it in. If your iron sights are already on zero, you can honestly just line up your dots and you should be pretty good before you even hit the range. This thing holds zero as good as any tactical optic that costs hundreds more.
If you are concerned you can’t use it for long range without buying the additional magnifier, you should know that the red dot covers only 4 inches of space at 100 yards. You’d be on point at that distance with about any target. This isn’t a sniper’s scope, but it does a damn good job.
Vortex Strikefire 2 review | Hunting
This is a tactical scope, to be clear, this isn’t necessarily a premier hunting lense. However, AR-15’s are just extremely accurate. I’m sure you’d have no real issue using it for hunting, thought the AR-15 platform isn’t the best for big game. You can mount the Strikefire 2 on an AR-15, though, and it will work great. It should be noted, you aren’t limited to the 30mm, you can add on a magnifier made by Vortex. It would cost you roughly the same as the Strikefire 2, which you need to consider. Personally, I did not buy the Strikefire 2 with a need for magnification.
Vortex Strikefire 2 review | Conclusion
This is, simply put, a reliable purchase that will likely serve as a lifetime tactical scope. You get almost every optic’s benefit that you’d get with a $600 scope. This is the single best budget tactical optic there is. Now, there are even more budget experiences on my Best AR-15 budget optics list, but I think this is the best one. If you are really strapped for cash, however, pop over to the list. There are really good options for even less.