Vortex Crossfire Red Dot Review: Sleek Aesthetics, Solid Performance

vortex crossfire red dot review


I have been a fan of Vortex Red Dot sights for many years and now Vortex has introduced the Vortex Crossfire Red Dot. Should I be excited with the introduction of another budget red dot sight? I guess that’s a question that will unravel itself in this Vortex Crossfire Red Dot Review.

The new Vortex Crossfire Red Dot appears to be old school and has a retro look with its twist and turn controls. Some people love this type of look while others prefer the sleek design of push-button controls when purchasing a red dot sight. Let’s find out how the Crossfire performs.

Know Your Requirements Before Buying 

Many gun sights are sold on aesthetics over performance. I am not saying that the way your sight looks and feels is not important but it should not be the overriding factor when deciding what red dot sight to purchase.

Taking an objective look at your requirements will allow you to make the best choice for your budget. For instance, the Vortex Crossfire Red Dot has a durable anodized finish that will give the unit long-lasting protection from the environment. The Crossfire has zero parallax from its lens design.

The red dot on the Vortex Crossfire has a very tactile feel and a robust ratchet for selecting the brightness levels. The Vortex Crossfire Red Dot sight feels as good as it’s a more expensive Scandinavian competitor and some may say even outperforms the competitors.

Evaluating the Vortex Crossfire Red Dot

The Vortex Crossfire Red Dot is manufactured from high-grade aluminum and has a hard anodized coating to protect the unit from the rigors of some shooting scenarios. If you are like me, you will consider your red dot sight as a tool and not a precious commodity.

The red dot sight should withstand being knocked and thrown around even on rough terrain. The anodized coating should be able to stand these situations and keep the housing protected and looking good for many years of use.

Clear optics is of paramount importance for all users. The Vortex Crossfire has a super tough lens configuration and the lens chamber is flushed with nitrogen to prevent fogging.

The model has 11 positive click adjustments through 360 degrees of rotation with the highest setting being the brightest all. The lowest setting almost fades the red dot away and is used for night vision scenarios. If night vision is your thing, then maybe the Vortex Crossfire is not the sight for you.

The Vortex Crossfire Red Dot is waterproof and dustproof. All potential ingress points are sealed with O rings for maximum protection in harsh conditions.

Check Price on Amazon


Our Vortex Crossfire Red Dot Review: How it Fares Against Competition

The Vortex Crossfire Red Dot has some stiff competition in the market, like the Trijicon MRO for one. So, let’s look at what we can expect from nuts to the soup.

When I received my Vortex Crossfire I was pleased with the way the product was presented in a neat box with the tools needed to mount the Crossfire Red Dot to my AR. The Vortex Crossfire also came with a protective cover for when the gun is in storage, which I thought was a good idea and thoughtful addition that is not presented by Sig Saur or other higher end models.

The unit came with Torx tools. A lens cleaning cloth and an iron front sight for co-witnessing, a CR 2032 battery was included plus the bikini protective cover.

Battery Replacement

Replacing the battery on the Vortex Crossfire is an easy process. You just unscrew the knurled housing and replace the battery; it’s as simple as that. Be careful to make sure the rubber O ring is located in the location groove for waterproof sealing. You will also find that the battery type is marked on the Vortex casing to avoid using the wrong type of battery.

Zeroing the Vortex Crossfire Red Dot

If you know anyone who uses a Vortex Red Dot product you will appreciate the company puts a lot of thought into their products making the unit user-friendly. The Crossfire is no different and zeroing your red dot is a simple task.

You will find an elevation adjustment on top of the Crossfire body and a Windage adjustment on the side of the body housing. All pretty standard stuff – remove the caps and adjust with a screwdriver or a suitably sized coin.

I found once I had set the zero remained in place regardless of knocks and bangs that my gun experienced through transport or being carried on a strap while I hail other equipment with me.

Lifetime Optics Guarantee

If Vortex has one overriding strong point, it is the no quibble guarantee. This guarantee has become the cornerstone of their business and I understand that if you exercise your rights under the guarantee, Vortex will honor their word and send a new replacement product without quibble.

Compared to more expensive competitors I would say this is very impressive.

Like all good optics, the Vortex Crossfire optics is flushed with nitrogen to prevent condensation and fogging in all environmental conditions such as heavy rain.

The Vortex Crossfire Red Dot is as close to parallax free as possible giving the sight excellent performance and providing the user ocular comfort.

The red dot is not considered concentric by some users. But from my experience, the red dot performs well even in cold temperatures. Plus, I am not sure if concentricity is an issue as some sights use triangles! So I can’t see what the problem is.

The Vortex Crossfire Red Dot has served me well when it comes to targeting acquisition and in my opinion performs as good as the best.

The Pros and Cons of the Vortex Crossfire Red Dot

Vortex Optics Crossfire Red Dot Sight Gen I - 2 MOA Dot (CF-RD1)


  • Lightweight aluminum construction
  • Hard wearing anodized finish
  • Presented as standard with Torx, bikini optics cover. Iron sights for co-witnessing
  • Waterproof and dustproof
  • Robust optics
  • 11-point positive click tactile dial for adjusting the red dot brightness
  • Easy to adjust elevation and Windage controls mounted on the top and side of the unit
  • Clear optics offering industry-leading zero parallax
  • Clear and precise dot
  • High illumination of the red dot preventing wash out in bright sunlight conditions
  • Easy to replace battery found in the illumination adjustment dial
  • Battery requirements identified on the main body of the Crossfire
  • Matches on target performance when compared with competitor alternate products
  • Competitively priced with matching performance of more expensive units
  • Comes with the unequivocal Vortex no quibble guarantee


  • Some complaints about the red dot not being concentric
  • Some complaints about the angle of the lens being perpendicular to the red dot light sender that can be distracting the user
  • The Vortex Crossfire is not recommended for use with magnifiers due to the short optic dimensions
  • The Vortex Crossfire is not suitable for night vision scopes due to its optical configuration.

As you can see the Vortex Crossfire Red Dot sight has many more pros when compared to the cons of the same unit. In my opinion, issues with the sight are subjective and if you find this a game changer then don’t buy this unit. However, considering the price point of the Vortex Crossfire… I agree the angle of the lens is a little off-putting. But, I soon got used to the weird angle and now it is just natural for me to use the red dot unit without noticing the lens angle.

Check Price on Amazon

Overall Experience

It’s fair to say that the Vortex Crossfire Red Dot unit is a fantastic little unit that delivers and meets the specifications of the manufacturer. The Crossfire looks great on my AR and for the minimal cost of this unit. This unit is really the benchmark for this type of red dot sight. 

Looking for even more affordable red dot sights? Check out this Bushnell model.

What’s the General Consensus?

Four of my shooting friends are pretty much satisfied with the Vortex Crossfire Red Dot. We bought the units because of their recommendation. And to be honest with you, the four of us have not looked back since we fitted the vortex Crossfire to our respective guns.

The performance is exemplary, the look and feel of the unit match more expensive units. So, what’s not to like about the Crossfire.

Most users love the skeletonized frame that offers lower weight and provides a perfect solution for mounting to AR-15. For some folks, weight matters and the frame on this unit is comparable in weight to the best of the red dots on the market.

Overall, the main reasons you should look at buying this unit is price, functionality, performance and durability of the unit. I have found these are the main points why the Vortex Crossfire is so popular with AR platforms.

Last but not the least, users of the Vortex Crossfire love the no quibble warranty offered by Vortex. The company has become synonymous within the industry for setting the warranty benchmark. That’s why other models such as the Vortex Viper are so popular.

Vortex Crossfire Frequently Asked Questions

I have read the weird angle on the optics lens is difficult to overcome is this true?

Yes, it can be off-putting but within a few hours of usage you will not notice the lens angle. It’s worth noting that most brands have anomalies that you will need adapting to.

I have heard that the battery life is very short!

I have not experienced a short battery life when using my own unit. However, the batteries are cheap, like 1 dollar each so if you need to change every quarter it’s no big drama. Plus the battery is very easy to change.

Closing Thoughts

I am sure you can tell by now that I am a real fan of the Vortex Crossfire Red Dot sight. The unit has delivered everything I expected from this unit and in many ways surpassed my expectations.

There are not many negative issues regarding the Crossfire and with the price point of the unit being so low any small issues can be forgiven. There are very few models I can say this about, one of them being this Sig Sauer sight.

I would recommend this unit to anyone who is on a budget and wants a reliable good all-around red dot sight for their AR. In my opinion, spending more on the supposed benchmark market leaders is a waste of hard earned cash.

Check Price on Amazon

Leave a Reply