Athlon vs Vortex Scopes – Which Is Better? (ANSWERED)

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Photo by Susy Morris / CC BY

We’re going to look at both Athlon and Vortex Optics today. We are going to look at three different types of optics each company makes. This includes 1x Prisms, LPVOs (low-power variable optics), and longer range variable optics—essentially, short-, mid-, and long-range optics. Let’s kick this off, then we’ll finally figure out who’ll win in the Battle of Athlon vs Vortex Scopes.

Athlon vs Vortex Scopes: Overview

Vortex Optics is a very big company and is one of the most well-known optics companies on the market. Vortex produces optics for everyone at every price point, for nearly every task. They create everything from red dots to groundbreaking LPVOs and optics worthy of 1-mile shots. They have an amazing warranty, excellent customer service, and they have propelled the optics industry forward.

Athlon Optics is a company that’s growing in the public eye, and they also produce nearly every style of optic you can imagine as well. They also produce optics at every budget. They also innovate and push optics forward with new reticles, lighter weight optics, and excellent prices overall. Athlon makes some good gear, and they are run by good people.

Athlon vs Vortex Scopes Round 1: 1x Prism Optics

Prism optics are some of my favorites, and both Athlon and Vortex make 1x prisms and magnified prisms. 1x prisms are an excellent alternative to red dots for those of us with astigmatism, so let’s look at those optics.

Vortex makes the Spitfire, which is a lightweight, compact prism optic that provides an excellent close quarters option for rifles, and pistol caliber carbines. The Spitfire is the lighter of the two optics and is a bit more compact overall. The Spitfire uses a reticle that is compiled of a circle within a circle, with a dot in the center. The Spitfire has a red reticle that is very eye-catching that is also etched and works when the batteries die.

Speaking of batteries, the Spitfire uses a single AAA battery, and the Spitfire packs 12 brightness levels with two that are NVG compatible. The illumination buttons are placed to the rear and make brightness adjustment very easy. I prefer this over the wheel steel adjustments.

Vortex Spitfire 1x Prismatic Sight Review

The Athlon Midas Prism is a small and compact prism sight, but again it’s not as small as the Spitfire. The Midas prism uses an etched reticle with a circle around a crosshair with a very small dot in the center. It’s effective, and the subtensions of the reticle can be used to compensate for close-range shooting and compensation for height overbore.

The Midas also has target turrets for easy adjustments, and I love that. It makes adjustments very simple and quick. The Midas Prism uses a wheel that adjusts the brightness levels, and as far as I can tell, none of the settings are NVG compatible.

Athlon Optics Midas BTR PR31 Review

Athlon vs Vortex Scopes Round 2: LPVOs

LPVOs or Low Powered Variable Optics is the future for tactical rifles. LPVOs are known for their variable magnification settings. LPVOs start with a 1x setting and can be dialed up to 4, 6, 8, and Vortex now even offers a 10x power option. Athlon and Vortex both offer lots and lots of LPVOs, but I want to focus on their affordable 1-4x options that are suitable for all types of rifles, both big and small.

The Athlon Optics option is the Talos. The Talos is ultra-lightweight and packs one of the best reticles for both close quarters use and longer range fire. The reticle is almost entirely illuminated and is made up of a crosshair with subtensions for both windage and elevation.

At 4x these subtensions allow you to compensate for long shots or on windy days. At 1x, the reticle looks like a big bright crosshair that’s quick and easy on target. The Talos has target turrets for easy adjustments as well as a mini throw lever to rapidly adjust the magnification. One of the big considerations for the Talos is how affordable it is. It’s generally cheaper than the Vortex Optics 1-4x (though price fluctuations do happen).

Athlon Talos 1-4x24 Scope

The Vortex Optics LPVO is the Crossfire 2. The Crossfire 2 has a V Brite reticle, and I can’t say I like it more than the Talos. The V Brite reticle has an illuminated center dot with a crosshair design. The only illumination is the small dot. Those can be a bit more challenging for the eye to find for rapid close-range shooting. The turrets are capped, which is okay, but I prefer open style tactical turrets. The Crossfire 2 does have outstanding glass and comes with a mount, so that does help narrow the value a bit.

Vortex Optics, Crossfire II 1x4x24 Review

Athlon vs Vortex Scopes Round 3: Longer Range Variables

You want to reach out and touch a target? Well, we have a lot of options for both with Athlon and Vortex producing tons at all price ranges. I aimed for mid-power optics because I believe these are the most common. I chose two 6-24x optics from both companies.

With Vortex, we went with another in the Crossfire 2 series. Their series of optics are large and varied. Hwoeevr, this 6-24x model is priced affordably and comes with a lot of features that give you a ton of bang for your buck.

The Dead-Hold BDC offers you a simple, unobtrusive reticle that allows for bullet drop and range compensation. The eye relief is also outstanding, and the Vortex eyebox is also one of my favorites. You can get behind the optic and have the gun on target very quickly. The eyebox is faster on the Vortex than the Athlon. The capped turrets are fingertip adjustable as well.

Vortex Crossfire ii Scope Review

Generally, Athlon makes the more affordable option but only slightly so (which means this is not always true since price fluctuations do happen). The Athlon Argos BTR is an excellent mid to long-range choice. They have a similar long eye relief, but the eyebox isn’t as fast to focus as the Vortex.

The Athlon reticle does offer a more dynamic design with a crosshair that has tons of hash marks for range and windage estimation. The reticle is etched but also illuminated for eye-catching ease. The Athlon Argos BTR also has a large throw lever that allows for smooth adjustments between magnifications. The Argos BTR has adjustable fingertip turrets, but they aren’t capped.

Athlon Argos BTR 6-24X50 Rifle Scope on Ruger Precision Rifle Tracking to 1000 Yards

Athlon vs Vortex Scopes Conclusion: So Who’s Better?

That’s such a hard question to ask. Vortex is bigger, and they do produce slightly more optics than Athlon. However, every year Athlon Optics produces new and innovative optics. They do it slowly, but the optics industry isn’t a sprint but a marathon.

The best thing you can do is weigh your needs, research which company makes the best optic for your needs, and choose that way. Regardless of which way you go, both companies provide excellent products at excellent prices. Good luck!

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