The Vortex SPARC has been compared to various high dollar red dots such as the Aimpoint T1, and while I'd like to say that I have been able to do side-by-side comparisons... let's be real. Like most of you I have a budget to stick to, and at just under $200 the SPARC is pretty affordable.
The SPARC has served as my primary optic for a little over a year, and overall I am very happy with it. I set mine up to co-witness with my Magpul MBUS sights using the tallest of the 3 included mounts.
The 1 MOA capped turrets have solid noticeable adjustments making it easy to sight in. Zeroed at 50 yards the SPARC has proven to be very accurate and fast on my rifle. Making quick and accurate 5-75 yard shots are easily done. Anything passed that and I want a bit more magnification. Which brings up the fact that the SPARC does come with a 2x magnifier. Unfortunately, it tends to fisheye at the edges enough that I don't bother to use it. Another drawback to the magnifier in my opinion is that you can't quickly switch between 1x to 2x, because it threads onto the SPARC.
One thing that has impressed me is the fact that I haven't had to re-zero it at all. That is in part due to a very solid design in regards to the optic, but also the mount. I have used many budget friendly optics in the past, and it never fails when I get out of the truck at the end of the dirt road they always had a point of aim shift. The SPARC has retained it's adjustment and functionality even after being slammed down while transitioning between firearms.
The dot on mid-low power is fairly crisp and visible even in the sun. On high power however it tends to bleed going from 2 MOA to about 3-4 MOA. Next to the brightness setting buttons there is also a night vision setting. I don't personally have any use for it, but it's there if you do. Another plus for the SPARC are the lenses, which are very clear. I've used it in temps down to 20 degrees and didn't have any issue with the lenses fogging up.
My only real complaint with the SPARC is that it turns on too easily. This seems to be a common complaint from what I've read. While it is nice to be able to turn it on quickly, I have had it get bumped on in my gun case a few times. Fortunately it doesn't turn off as easily. Turning it off requires you to hold the power button for about 2 seconds. The other minor issue is the lense cover which doesn't fit well.
So is it worth the money? In my opinion yes. It is a durable and accurate optic with a lifetime warranty for under $200. In that price range I would argue that it can't be beat by another similar optic. Is it an Aimpoint T1, probably not, but they use the same mounts.
Do you have any red dots in this price range you like?