Vortex SPARC AR vs Aimpoint ACO Comparison (2024 Review)

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What’s the difference between Vortex SPARC AR and Aimpoint ACO? 

I wanted to find out, so I bought both red dot sights and hand-tested everything:

  • Reticle
  • Durability
  • Battery life
  • Field of view
  • And so much more

By the end of this Vortex SPARC AR vs Aimpoint ACO comparison review, you’ll know which red dot is best for you.

Let’s get started!

Features

Vortex SPARC AR

Aimpoint ACO

MOA

2 with 1 MOA adjustment

2 with .5 MOA adjustment

Magnification

1x

1x

Eye Relief

Unlimited

Unlimited

Battery Life

300 Hours at Max, 5,000 Hours at Low

10,000 Hours of continuous use

Weight

5.9 ounces

6.7 ounces

Price

$200

$400

Vortex SPARC AR vs Aimpoint ACO Review

When it comes to an AR red dot sight, Vortex and Aimpoint are two of my favorite manufacturers on the market.

Both companies are known for their quality and performance. Knowing that the Aimpoint ACO is basically double the price of the Vortex optic, I figured I’d put them to the test.

If you want to know which is better in the battle of Vortex SPARC AR vs Aimpoint ACO, keep reading!

Glass Clarity & Reticle

Both the Vortex optics and the Aimpoint Carbine Optic have a 2 MOA dot reticle that’s highly visible and no parallax.

VORTEX SPARC AR RED DOT

When it comes to zeroing, the SPARC is 1 MOA per click while the Aimpoint ACO is ½ MOA per click.

VORTEX SPARC AR ELEVATION TURRET

They’re a little different in their illumination options, though.

AIMPOINT ACO WINDAGE TURRET (1)

That’s partly because of the 10 brightness settings on the Vortex optics. 8 of them adjust the intensity of the red dot, while the other 2 are for infrared.

VORTEX SPARC AR RED DOT (1)

The lenses are fully multi-coated.

VORTEX SPARC AR OVERVIEW (5)

The ACO, on the other hand, has LED built into the sight.

The lenses are scratch-proof and I’ve never had issues with glare.

AIMPOINT ACO LENS (1)

Aimpoint’s ACO has 9 brightness settings, but it doesn’t have anything for night-vision or infrared. Red dot sights have a reputation for fast target acquisition.

AIMPOINT ACO BATTERY COMPARTMENT (1)

SPARC stands for Speed Point-Aiming for Rapid Combat, so it’s easy to see and pivot between new targets.

VORTEX SPARC AR MOUNTED (2)

The same goes for the ACO, especially since I can lower the intensity of the reticle dot to see my targets better.

AIMPOINT ACO OVERVIEW

Winner: Vortex SPARC AR. An extra brightness setting with infrared capabilities for night-vision gives it an edge.

Battery Life

One of the more common batteries for compact red dot sights is the CR2032.

AIMPOINT ACO BATTERY

Unlike the Vortex Venom, which uses a CR1632, the Vortex optics keep with the CR2032 AAA battery.

VORTEX SPARC AR BATTERY

The SPARC shuts off automatically after 12 hours to conserve power.

VORTEX SPARC AR FINISH

My Vortex red dot scope has 300 hours of AAA battery life at the highest brightness setting, or 5,000 at the low end.

VORTEX SPARC AR TURRETS

This isn’t bad by any means, but it is significantly lower battery life than the ACO. Though it’s uncommon, the Aimpoint ACO has a DL1/3N battery life that lasts for 10,000 continuous hours.

AIMPOINT ACO LENS

Winner: Aimpoint ACO. The battery may be harder to find, but double the hours of battery life is impressive.

Eye Relief & Eye Box

Most red dot sights, like the Trijicon RMR, share a few properties. The Vortex red dot and the Aimpoint Carbine Optic are two more on the list with unlimited eye relief.

AIMPOINT ACO OVERVIEW (2)

I can rest my cheek comfortably on any of my rifles or have my handgun out as far as I want. I have no problem seeing the entire sight picture and feeling comfortable.

VORTEX SPARC AR MOUNTED

Winner: Both. Since both have unlimited eye relief and a decent field of view, neither has an advantage.

Durability & Weight

Vortex sights are some of the finest in quality optics, so I love the SPARC AR as much as I love the Vortex Crossfire.

VORTEX SPARC AR OVERVIEW (3)

My Vortex red dot is solid, made from aircraft-grade aluminum like the ACO.

VORTEX SPARC AR FINISH

They also share o-ring seals that keep moisture out of the housing.

They’re also both fog-proof, waterproof, and scratch-proof, so they can take punishment and keep going.

VORTEX SPARC AR EYE FREEZE TEST

They also have a matte finish to help against reflection.

AIMPOINT ACO TURRET CAPS

Winner: Both. Their durability features are too even to say one holds out better.

Windage, Elevation, & Brightness Knob

The adjustment knobs are on the mounting base or to the left of the objective lens on my Vortex red dot.

VORTEX SPARC AR LENS CAP

They’re easy to change, with 1 MOA per click, and they feel reliable.

VORTEX SPARC AR RED DOT

I love that they’re on the left side, too, because it makes it easier to accommodate ambidextrous shooters. My only criticism is that the turret caps can be a little hard to get off.

VORTEX SPARC AR OVERVIEW (2)

Once I used my Vortex red dot more, though, the turret caps weren’t a problem. As for the Aimpoint Carbine Optic, every part feels serious, especially if you upgrade to the ACO PRO.

AIMPOINT ACO BATTERY COMPARTMENT (1)

I do like that the MOA adjustment with the ACO is ½ MOA per click.

AIMPOINT ACO WINDAGE TURRET

This gives me a little more control over where my rounds go.

Winner: Aimpoint ACO. I like the position and ease of use with the knobs on my Vortex red dot, but the ½ MOA clicks on the ACO helped with precision.

Mounting

The Vortex red dot sight comes ready to mount on Picatinny or Weaver rails.

VORTEX SPARC AR MOUNT

It’s also small enough to absolute co-witness with my other AR optics.

VORTEX SPARC AR MOUNTED (1)

One of my favorite things about the Vortex red dot is the controls.

The base controls aren’t hard to adjust and the brightness settings are to the left of the objective lens for any user.

VORTEX SPARC AR CLARITY (2)

It’s also got multiple mounting heights for more comfortability when shooting. The Aimpoint ACO can also mount on Picatinny rails and I don’t have trouble mounting a long-range scope with it.

VORTEX SPARC AR MOUNTED

Winner: Vortex SPARC AR. Both can be mounted on Picatinny rails, but the adjustable height and ease of use gives the Vortex red dots an advantage for me.

Price

The Vortex SPARC is a top red dot sight for less than $300. I love its performance and how well it stacks up against some of the more expensive alternatives.

Vortex Optics SPARC Red Dot Sight Gen II - 2 MOA Dot , BLACK
  • The updated SPARC features rugged construction that’s still compact, with a lightweight form-factor. The 2 MOA dot is quick to acquire in close ranges, but fine enough for pin-point accuracy at...
  • With up to 700 hours of battery life on the highest setting, 50,000 hour on its lowest, the SPARC red dot will keep working in a variety of conditions.
  • Increased light transmission with multiple anti-reflective coatings on all air-to-glass surfaces. Unlimited eye relief for rapid target transitions. 12 illumination settings to change the dot...

For $200, I was surprised at the quality of my sight.

AIMPOINT ACO MOUNTED (1)

On the other hand, the ACO is definitely made with serious components to be $400.

Aimpoint ACO Red Dot Reflex Sight 2 MOA with Mount - 200174
  • Aimpoint quality and performance at an entry-level price.
  • 2 MOA dot with 9 low light and daylight brightness settings.
  • Includes mount configured for absolute co-witness with standard height sights.

There’s also the warranty to consider. Vortex offers a transferable lifetime warranty that covers repairs or a replacement on damages and defects.

VORTEX SPARC AR OVERVIEW (4)

You also don’t need the receipt as proof of purchase to make a claim.

VORTEX SPARC AR MOUNTED (2)

Just don’t lose it or have it stolen.

Aimpoint specifies their warranty on personal or professional use.

AIMPOINT ACO OVERVIEW (2)

If you use it personally, you’re covered for 10 years.

Professionals, like military and law enforcement, only get 2 years of coverage. Plus, you’ll need your receipt for any claim in that time period.

AIMPOINT ACO GLASS

Winner: Vortex SPARC AR. At roughly half the price of the ACO, it’s hard to ignore the craftsmanship and performance of the SPARC AR.

Vortex SPARC AR vs Aimpoint ACO: Which Red Dot is Better?

If I had to recommend one of these red dots, it would be the Vortex SPARC:

Vortex Optics SPARC Red Dot Sight Gen II - 2 MOA Dot , BLACK
  • The updated SPARC features rugged construction that’s still compact, with a lightweight form-factor. The 2 MOA dot is quick to acquire in close ranges, but fine enough for pin-point accuracy at...
  • With up to 700 hours of battery life on the highest setting, 50,000 hour on its lowest, the SPARC red dot will keep working in a variety of conditions.
  • Increased light transmission with multiple anti-reflective coatings on all air-to-glass surfaces. Unlimited eye relief for rapid target transitions. 12 illumination settings to change the dot...

The differences between it and the Aimpoint ACO don’t seem drastic enough to justify $200 more.

They have similar features, with both having a 2 MOA red dot, comparable durability, and fast aiming. The ACO does have a little more control over adjustments with ½ MOA per click, but if you’re using your red dot sight for close-quarters targets it shouldn’t matter much.

VORTEX SPARC AR CLARITY

Don’t get me wrong, the Aimpoint ACO is a fantastic red dot sight with fantastic battery life. If you’re set on an Aimpoint product, though, you might want the ACO PRO.

Aimpoint ACO Red Dot Reflex Sight 2 MOA with Mount - 200174
  • Aimpoint quality and performance at an entry-level price.
  • 2 MOA dot with 9 low light and daylight brightness settings.
  • Includes mount configured for absolute co-witness with standard height sights.

But if I had to choose, I’d go with the Vortex SPARC. It’s also one of the best Vortex red dot sights.

I had an easier time changing the settings on my SPARC AR, too. Overall, I definitely feel like I get my money’s worth with the Vortex SPARC.

VORTEX SPARC AR OVERVIEW

The various settings and features put it up with the best, at half the cost.

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