Vortex Razor Red Dot Offers Lightweight Durability
ABOVE: The Razor adds little weight or bulk to the Aklys Defense ZK22 bullpup conversion of 10-22 action.
Designed in 2012, the Vortex Razor Micro Red Dot has been much emulated but remains a uniquely capable design. Unlike the visually similar knock-offs, it is both light enough and sufficiently robust to hold up to the recoil impact of pistol slide mounts. On the surface, it’s a conventional open-emitted Red Dot, albeit smaller than most. On the inside, it has unique features that make it tougher than the competition.
The sight is very small and light—1.4 ounces without the mount. A mount for a Glock slide, the same part as for the C-More STS, would add next to nothing. EGW makes a mount to replace the SIG P220 or M1911 rear sight with the Razor. Springer Precision makes the same for the Springfield XD and XDM series. A mostly similar Vortex Venom Red Dot may be used for pistols like the Smith & Wesson M&P. A low Picatinny mount—a very superior design in itself—adds 1.1 ounces to the package. A tall Picatinny mount for co-witnessing on the AR15 and other straight stock rifles adds just a little more. 45-degree and horizontally offset mounts are also available for backup use around magnified optics. The diminutive size and light weight make the Razor Micro Red Dot suitable for a variety of firearms with little effect on the balance or handling. The availability of low mounts makes this sight especially suitable for drop stock designs like the Ruger 10-22. Not surprisingly, it is very popular with rimfire challenge shooters. The low Picatinny mount is unusually robust, using a solid rectangular cross member instead of requiring the adjustment screw to do double duty as often happens on cheap knock-offs. Combined with the extreme recoil resistance of the optic, that makes it suitable even for slug shotguns and heavy caliber rifles. A low Weaver mount for various hunting rifles is also available.
Two reticles are available, 3MOA mainly meant for rifles and 6MOA for pistols and shotguns. 6MOA roughly corresponds to the width of a human head at 100 yards, so it can be used for finding range: for example, a Red Dot covering side to middle of face would mean the distance of 50 yards. The 3MOA reticle in the several samples I’ve used was crisp and evenly round. Brightness adjustment is manual using UP/DOWN membrane buttons on top of the optic, with nine distinct brightness levels. This adjustment method represents the sole down side to the small form factor: it is difficult to accomplish with large fingers and almost impossible with gloves on. I resorted to using an FMJ 9mm cartridge as a stylus for pressing the buttons. A total of 284MOA of vertical adjustment is built into the sight, permitting a wide range of zeroing. One-MOA adjustment increments are reasonable for the reticle resolution. The sight has a reticle adjustment lock on the back; backing off the set screw allows easy elevation and windage changes with no risk of accidental adjustment later.
The Razor features a flared protective hood that allows a relatively wide view for the size of the optic body. While tinted, the glass is clear enough to allow co-witnessing of iron sights. The open laser emitter is, in theory, susceptible to distortion or blocking of the beam by water droplets or dust, but this hasn’t happened during my entire five-year experience with Razor Red Dots. For protection from the elements, a plastic cap enclosing the entire unit is available. It may be tethered to the sight for retention, so a shooter would just swipe the cover off and not worry about it getting lost.
A single CR2032 battery fits into a slide-out tray on the right of the optic. Its power is sufficient for the maximum of 150 hours at full brightness and much longer at the lower settings. Battery swapping can be done without dismounting the sight. Just in case, the sight shuts off after six hours of inactivity, preserving battery power. In sum, Vortex Razor Red Dot has become very popular for good reasons. It’s a tough, durable and handy optic.
The short sight radius of an AK pistol or SBR is no longer a problem with the Razor Red Dot in place. The Century M92 is equipped with Texas Weapon Systems dust cover with Picatinny rail.