Well, I've finally put this optic through its' paces and it's still going strong. Here's what I've found...
I have used Aimpoints, Trijicons, and EOTechs extensively at work and also owned several 'budget friendly' red dots so I have a pretty broad base of red dot optic/holographic optic experience to reference when I was evaluating the Vortex.
Durability: I ran a total of 900 rounds on 4 different trips to the range through my AR using this optic. I shot it in the pouring rain, 0 degree temperatures, and two more shooter friendly occasions (60-80 degrees and sunny). This optic always turned on/off positively, never fogged up, and never lost zero. On that note, I mounted it using the "Extra High Mount" (as they call it) which allows for co-witnessing with most standard sights. I used a very small amount of blue loctite on the screws when mounting and I took the optic off and re-mounted it twice to see if it would maintain zero––-it did. I dropped the rifle on its' side a few times from arms length; still maintained zero. While this isn't exactly military torture testing, it proved durable enough for the type of use the average shooter would put it through.
Red Dot: This has the most 'crisp' dot I've seen on a red-dot under $200. It is an adjustable 4 MOA dot and that seemed to be true in my testing. On the testing rifle (PSA heavy 16'' mid-length with free float rail; this is the most accurate AR I personally own...) I was able to achieve 3'' groups at 100m using this optic and Hornady BTHP 75gr TAP ammo. With Silver Bear 62gr HPs I had several 4'' groups. So, with a 4 MOA dot, that's about as good as it gets. The dot is adjustable with half MOA clicks. The optic comes with a screw in 2x magnifier, but I didn't find that it helped my accuracy at distance. A 4 MOA dot magnified is still 4 MOA after all....
Ergos: Overall I found them to be good. The adjustment buttons are small but that's not necessarily a bad thing as it makes them less likely to be bumped. If I could design an optic, I'd have the power button in a different location though. I'd have it maybe on top or more to the front away from the other controls. Under stress in low light conditions it may be difficult to turn on as it is currently configured....
The #1 thing I would change about this optic is the flip up lens covers. I would make them clear. There's really no reason to have black covers in my opinion. Clear flip lenses allow you to shoot without activating the covers, should you be pressed for time. This is a very real possibility in a home defense type of situation. Obviously, you could change these out and I very likely will do so.
Bottom Line: I would (and have) recommend this optic for someone looking for a quality red dot under $200. I picked this one up for $140 with shipping; at that price it's a great value. The main competitior in this price range would be the Lucid HD7 (http://gunreviewguy.blogspot.com/201...dot-optic.html
) which is another red dot that I've had very good results using. The big advantage the Lucid offers over the Vortex is more reticle options, but the dot on the Vortex is crisper, no doubt about it. The Lucid also seems to have a more robust mount, but I haven't had any issues with the Vortex so that may just be my perception. That said, the Vortex Strikefire is a standard 30mm tube so it has a greater variety of mounting options; it's not just limited to the AR market.
For the full review and more pictures of the Vortex as tested, click here:
Vortex Strikefire Review