Vortex came out with a new LPVO with a BDC reticle in the FFP (First Focal Plane), the Strike Eagle 1-8x24 FFP. A few aspects about the LPVO (Low Power Variable Optic) caught our interest, so we purchased it and put it through the ringer.
The Vortex Strike Eagle (SE) LPVO has 1-8x magnification, a drop reticle in the FFP, and a mid-range price point. It offers close-range performance for close-quarter engagements and mid-range performance for observation and longer shooting reach.
Features of interest include its 1x performance, BDC reticle, and glass/build quality. There were things it did great and other things that could be better, and I discuss it here.
What We Like: LPVO
What We Don’t Like: Flip-up caps
Best Uses: Big Game Hunting, Predator Hunting, Recreational Use, Short to Mid-Range, Light to Heavy Caliber Rifles, Rimfire, AR15/AR10, Lowlight (Illumination), FFP Reticle
- Magnification: 1-8x
- Objective Diameter: 24mm
- Coatings: FMC
- FOV: 113.6-14.1 ft/100 yds
- Eye Relief: 3.9”
- Adjustments: 0.25 MOA
- Dimensions: 10.4” L/23.9 oz
Our Verdict: The Vortex Strike Eagle 1-8x24 FFP riflescope (SE-1801) is a mid-range LPVO with solid performance quality and glass that gets the job done. It excels in close quarters for rapid target acquisition and extends the range when needed. Because it does what it’s supposed to do, it’s money well spent as an upgrade to entry-level alternatives.
Who is the Vortex Strike Eagle 1-8x24 FFP Best Suited to?
In general, the Vortex Strike Eagle 1-8x24 riflescope is best suited to recreational use and some competition. It offers what every LPVO offers – versatility. It has nine illumination settings, is night vision compatible, and the reticle will not fail you as it is glass etched.
The reticle being in the FFP may appeal to many competition shooters. Even though it gets very small at 1x magnification, the red dot-like performance shouldn’t be overlooked. I reckon it will do well for big game or predator hunting and prefer the lower powers that an LPVO can provide.
It comes with a lot of accessories, of note, the sunshade, throw lever, and flip-up caps. For value, the accessories are a decent match for the overall quality of the scope. If you’re a beginner looking for an upgrade with these applications in mind, it’s a shoe-in. As a mid-range, multi-purpose scope, the Strike Eagle measures up.
How Does the Vortex Strike Eagle 1-8x24 FFP Perform?
Overall, the Vortex Strike Eagle 1-8x performs very well as an LPVO. It’s a mid-range scope with sound build and turret quality. Mounting it was uneventful as it has a true 30mm tube size. Tested with both a cantilever mount and rings, it performed excellently on both an AR-15 and hunting rifle.
The first thing I wanted to field test on the Strike Eagle 1-8x FFP was if you could use the 1x with both eyes open. This has everything to do with the fast focus eyepiece that you first use to sharpen the reticle at max magnification. Once that is done, I focused on a close-range target at 1x and then manipulated the focus until I had a flat, seemingly natural FOV.
When I was in 1x, it felt natural to want to keep both eyes open. When done properly, there is no fish-eye lens effect. At magnification 1x and 2x, the reticle is small. When illuminated, the 0.75 MOA floating dot and 12 MOA ring (with 2 MOA thick segments) behaves like a red dot sight. It’s fast to use inside 100 yards on a semi-auto this way.
The next thing I wanted to hands-on test on the Vortex LPVO was the BDC reticle. Vortex claims it’s best suited to .223/5.56mm and .308/7.62mm loads, but it’s not calibrated for either one. Confirming what your drop is with the stadia marks are a must at the range.
I did this with the Strelok Pro app that has the EBR-8 MOA reticle in its database. My range only allows up to 200-yard shots, and I had the best results with my hunting S&W .270 iBolt rifle getting in the black while holding over for elevation and wind with the reticle. Long story short, the BDC reticle will work for those who want the versatility of taking longer shots, if necessary, out to about 500-600 yards. It could be more depending on your load!
At the end of all my range sessions and field time out with the Strike Eagle, I deem it Target Tamers approved. Because the reticle is in the FFP with the 1-8x configuration, and the BDC reticle is in MOA only, the target demographic is somewhat limited. For those who want these specs, the Strike Eagle is deserving of making the shortlist.
Features & Benefits
The Strike Eagle fits the description of an LPVO with its 1-8x magnification, illuminated reticle, and versatile use for close quarters to mid-range distances.
At 1x power, you can acquire a flat FOV for true 1x benefits. The reticle being the FFP becomes small and the illuminated red dot and segmented ring act more like a red dot for fast engagement at close-range. Though red dot sights are still the kings of 1x magnification, the SE does a great job at 1x performance for an LPVO.
But another benefit is that it’s a versatile scope with magnification for more reach when needed. Even if you’re not shooting out to 500, 600 yards, having magnification still allows you to observe and determine threats at a distance.
Overall, the Strike Eagle is as Vortex tough as it can be. It has a single-piece, aircraft-grade aluminum 30mm tube, low-glare matte black anodized finish, and is completely watertight (O-ring sealed) and fogproof (nitrogen-purged).
It has a very solid build with a matching heft of 24 oz. The finish has held up well to being used with various types of mounts and unintentional (but it still happened) abuse (drops, scratches, and that sort of thing).
I took the flip-up caps and turret caps off, turned on the illumination, and submerged the Strike Eagle into a 48-qt cooler filled with water for 30 minutes.
It dried very quickly in the sun leaving behind no water marks. No beading was left behind as the lenses shed water excellently. I left the illumination on for several hours after. There are no leaks, internal fogging, and no damaging consequences thus far.
The mechanics and turret tracking of the Vortex SE 1-8x riflescope can be described as high-quality. Real metal components can be seen under the turret caps and there is 25 MOA per revolution. While the adjustments aren’t super loud, they are precise and crisp.
Turrets are low profile and capped. This is well suited to those who don’t dial and prefer to hold over. It’s also for those who demand absolute certainty that no unintentional adjustments are made when hunting or in circumstances and positions where the turrets can be compromised.
The true tracking of the ¼ MOA turrets made sighting in an extremely easy process. I didn’t boresight with the AR-15 but was on white with the first shot. I did a manual boresight with the .270 rifle by peering through the chamber, got on white, and the rest felt like child’s play.
In total, 30mm mounting options are needed as the Vortex Strike Eagle has a 30mm tube. It is a beefy scope, and quality mounting rings are recommended. Following manufacturer torque specs for the base screws is best, but the ring screws should not be torqued to more than 15-18 inch-lbs.
With the right size rings, the Strike Eagle mounts without issue. It has 3.9” of eye relief. It’s easy enough to align and mount to clear charging handles and the action while also making sure you’re within the center of the eyebox and can eliminate the risk of scope bite.
Target Tamers bought the Vortex Sport 30mm Cantilever mount with a 3” offset for field testing the Strike Eagle 1-8x on an AR-15. It was a perfect pairing for my needs though it did feel like it was mounted a little high.
Rings were my only option on the .270 with the one-piece Pic rail with a cutaway. While the SE is an excellent pairing with an MSR/AR-style rifle, I absolutely enjoyed the field-testing part of shooting with it off a bolt action rifle.
Interestingly, the 30mm bubble level rings I had did not fit the scope!
Vortex gave the Strike Eagle the best of entry-level glass complete with FMC (Fully Multi-coated) coatings. The extra cost in the optics comes from the reticle being the FFP and having been glass-etched and wedged between two lenses.
Though it’s obvious that it doesn’t sport ED (Extra-low Dispersion) glass, the CA (Chromatic Aberration) wasn’t terrible. Most of the time, what CA was picked up by me was for intentional notetaking as part of the review.
At max power, there is noticeable loss in color fidelity with a heavy lean on the warm tones. When you have the focus eyepiece set for a flat FOV at 1x for true 1x benefits and then you crank up to max 8x power, there is a slight loss of focus on the sight picture as well as the reticle.
Overall, the optics are more than acceptable for hunting and recreational use, and I recommend it as a mid-range upgrade. For competition and tactical (duty use/defensive purposes) needs, it’s really only entry-level glass.
Vortex rubber flip-up caps are included in the box attached to the scope. The fact that they are included is a nice addition to the expected accessories. If there is a weak point in the accessories, it’s with the caps.
They tend to completely pull off the bells of the scope when I flip up them up. It doesn’t happen every time, and I push the caps back to make sure they hold on snug, but it does happen. They are very nice to keep the lenses protected when transporting and storing away.
The Vortex Strike Eagle 1-8x24 FFP riflescope has the EBR-8 MOA reticle in the first focal plane. The reticle is small at 1-2x magnification offering red dot-like performance but is large and highly visible in the higher powers.
Reticle visibility is best after 3x magnification for utilizing the BDC portion. Subtension remains the same, so holdovers can be used across the power range.
Vortex includes a plethora of accessories in the Strike Eagle 1-8x FFP LPVO box. Flip-up caps are attached to both ends of the scope. Documentation (Product Manual, Reticle Manual, Inspection Card), thread-in sunshade, and band throw lever; multi-tool, CR2032 battery, and lens cloth are included.
LPVO scopes are typically heavier than conventional optics. The Vortex Strike Eagle 1-8x24 30mm FFP weighs 23.9 oz. Lightweight LPVOs in the 1-4x and 1-6x configurations can weigh in between 16-20 oz (approx.). Higher-powered alternatives will weigh between 18-26 oz (approx.).
The Vortex Strike Eagle 1-8x has 9 illumination settings with 2 night vision compatible settings and a 0 setting for “off.” It does not feature fixed intermittent “off” settings on the turret, though the illumination does deactivate between one setting to the next (in between clicks).
The Strike Eagle 1-8x LPVO is night vision compatible with the two NV brightness settings on the illumination turret. They are not discernable to the naked eye and are safe to use with NV optics.
The Strike Eagle is a high-performing scope that does a good job at all-round use. While the glass quality could be better, the reticle is highly visible with or without illumination and it tracks true.
It’s really quite harsh criticism because what CA is seen is not distracting and the minor focusing issues were at max 8x power. To be fair, many scopes have some degree of fault at max power.
What Vortex nailed is the build and turret quality. Upgraded features such as the BDC reticle in the FFP, glass-etched reticle, and NV compatible illumination settings just add to its overall all-round performance.
If you’re looking for an upgrade, I put the SE in the mid-range market. It’s a lot of fun to mount to an AR or your hunting rifle – I did both! Where is yours going?