Vortex VMX-3T 3x Magnifier


3x magnifiers for use with red dot sights have been with us for quite a few years now. The concept is that you can use your non-magnified red dot sight for rapid close range engagements, then flip a 3x magnifier in place to quickly engage targets that might be further out or require a more precise shot.
Despite their advantages, there are a couple of downsides to using a 3x magnifier. First is the price. Magnifiers offered by big name companies such as EOTech can set you back $500 or more. Couple that expense with the cost of the red dot sight itself and now you’re touching $1k for a sighting system.
VMX-3T EOTech512                             VIDEO



The VMX-3T sits comfortably behind an EOTech 512 red dot sight.
The second issue I have with 3x magnifiers is that when combined with a red dot sight the entire setup is heavy and long. I’ve found they alter the balance of every rifle I’ve tried them on and not in a positive way. While there’s little you can do about the weight and length of the system, Vortex has been able to effectively address the first issue — price.
I’ve been using a new VMX-3T magnifier from Vortex Optics for a few weeks now, and it’s certainly a high quality piece of equipment. Not only is it well made and offers crystal clear optics, but it’s also available for $229 from our friends at 3 Rivers Precision. This price includes the flip-aside mount which makes the price even more attractive.
The VMX-3T isn’t Vortex’s first entry into magnifier market. The original VMX3 (now discontinued) was a decent quality optic however it featured a large protective rubber sleeve that covered 1/2 of the body and made using a fold-down rear back-up sight nearly impossible. The new VMX-3T does away with this unsightly hunk of rubber and thus gives ample room for a back-up sight to sit comfortably in the folded position below it.
vortex vmx-3t eotech
The large push button release makes swinging the VMX-3T to the side quick and easy.
The VMX-3T is 4.3″ long, has a 30mm tube  and tips the scale at 11.9oz. These specs are very similar to competitive magnifiers such as the EOTech G33. The VMX-3T has an eye relief of 3.25″ which is a full inch longer than the G33. This is a benefit if you plan on using the 3x magnifier on a rifle chambered in a caliber larger than 5.56/.223. Getting your face within 2″ of an optic mounted to a .308 could result in a painful, yet potentially stylish, dotted eye.
The VMX-3T works great with an EOTech sight which features a fine 1MOA center dot. When looking through the magnifier the EOTech’s reticle looks sharp and easily contrasts against most targets. The same is true with a RDS such as the Aimpoint Comp M2 or T1-Micro, however the dots aren’t as fine or sharp as the EOTech’s. Of course the magnifier will also work with Vortex RDS’s like the StrikeFire or SPARC. To assure a clear sight picture, the VMX-3T has a focus ring on the ocular lens for fine adjustment to the users vision. 
When you mount the VMX-3T to your rifle you will need to center your red dot sights’ reticle in the magnifier.  This is easily accomplished by looking through the magnifier while turning the two adjustment screws which resemble elevation and windage adjustment knobs on a conventional scope.
vortex vmx-3t magnifier
With the VMX-3T swung to the side, it obstructs the peripheral vision of a right handed shooter.
The included flip mount allows you to quickly and easily flip the magnifier to the side so you can use the red dot sight without magnification. To accomplish this, all that’s required is to press a large button with your thumb and push it aside. The downside to the mounts design is that it leaves the magnifier sitting off to the side of the rifle in something of a precarious position. If you’re a right handed shooter the location of the flipped-aside magnifier will block your peripheral vision which is what I find most troublesome. You could reverse the mount so that the magnifier flipped to the right, however this would place the release button in front of the sight which isn’t an ideal location for easy use.
While the VMX-3T has a standard 30mm tube, it has an integrated mount that doesn’t use a conventional 30mm ring to attach it the base. This may be a concern for some users who might want to use a 3rd party mount vs. the factory supplied mount.
Overall I’m impressed with the quality and functionality of the magnifier, it’s a very nice unit. The biggest issue I have is with the flip-aside mount that ships with the optic. I would prefer a twist type mount that swings the magnifier around and parks it next to the red dot sight. However, this isn’t a major issue though as I’m not all that fond of the twist mounts either. As a matter of fact, I’ve never used any flip-mount I was all that fond of. It’s one of the general shortcomings of using a 3x magnifier.
The price is what I find really attractive about the VMX-3T. I would have a hard time buying a more expensive unit given the quality and utility of the Vortex magnifier.
The magnifier works very well with the EOTech 512 red dot sight. The reticle is sharp, clear and works well for shots out to 200 yards and past on the appropriate long gun (not the Kriss it's mounted to).
The magnifier works very well with the EOTech 512 red dot sight. The reticle is sharp, clear and works well for shots at extended ranges.

 

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