Raising the Bar with the Vortex Razor Gen III 1-10x

The Vortex Gen III 1-10x is the perfect scope for your modern sporting rifle.

It wasn’t so many years ago, I wished someone would just make a true 1x to 4 or 5x Low Power Variable (LPV) scope. Now new models are coming out every year, and my credit card can hardly recover before another one is out offering even more. Enter the Vortex Razor Gen III 1-10 power magnification LPV.

The Gen III is everything a shooter can ask for in something smaller than a “long-range”, “sniper” type scope, and at the top of its 10x magnification range, it is certainly capable out to at least 700- 800 yards, depending on target size.

Several years of design and development have led up to the Gen III release. This isn’t just a little bump of an additional 2 power on an existing design. The entire optical and mechanical system has been redesigned to support and maximize the performance of the 10-power magnification without giving up size, clarity, or field of view.

It was only about 30 years ago that a 10-power scope was the industry standard mounted on top of most sniper rifles. In fact, I still have the first 10x mil-dot “precision” scope I owned in my safe, though it’s been retired for some time.

Rock-solid Vortex 0 MOA 34mm scope base is milled and beveled to minimize weight

The first thing an LPV has to be able to deliver is good low power performance. The Gen III offers a very clean, crisp view of the world across the entire magnification range. However, on 1x with both eyes open it was truly like shooting a dot type optic. Crystal clear and a wide full view.

The proprietary illumination system is controlled by the knob on the left side of the scope that must be pulled out away from the scope to allow rotating to one of eleven illumination levels. Pushing the ring back in, locks the illumination in the position desired. Having a locking illumination dial keeps it from inadvertently being turned on when sliding in or out of gun cases or vehicles. There is also an off position between each level for ease of operation. 

The wide-open view couldn’t be better at 1 power.

At position 11 on the illumination dial, it was very easy to pick up the illuminated portion of the reticle in bright sunlight and track it while shooting. Vortex has definitely figured out how to get it bright enough. 

Being a First Focal Plane (FFP) scope, the reticle stays the proper size for the magnification change and allows using the reticles many aiming/reference points accurately at any power.

At lower power, you don’t even see all the detail of the EBR-9 reticle, but you can easily see the illuminated portion or heavier lines to engage close-range targets.

At the upper end of the magnification range, you see the holdover and windage reference points clearly. Looking downrange across several hundred yards and putting the reticle on a variety of different sized targets I was impressed that the sizing of the reticle lines and dots permitted seeing the targets and reticle clearly and didn’t obscure too much of the targets. 

10x view of targets on a far mountain 600 yards away, the reticle is clean and clear.

The extra 2x going from 8x to 10x may not seem like much, but in reality, it’s a 20% to 25% increase, depending on how you look at the numbers, from a 6power scope it is life-changing. So, whether you’re trying to get a good look at the rack on that buck, or ID a target, that additional power matters.

The 10x is only slightly heavier than most 34mm 1-6x or 1-8x, with most of the weight near the rear of the scope which keeps the balance of an AR rearward and easy to control.

The model I had for testing had a Minute of Angle (MOA) based reticle and MOA turret adjustments. I became a Mil Rad guy after my first sniper match, but the Gen III will be offered with either reticle so to each their own. Vortex is obviously trying to make both groups of users happy… thank you.

The 1-10 Razor comes with very low capped turrets, the type that are usually not used for dialing adjustments while firing, though they certainly could be. The low turrets do make it easy to see around the scope when shooting at low power with both eyes open, rather than filling the view as some higher profile models do. The caps and turrets are textured well to provide a positive grip during manipulation. 

Turret design and details were outstanding.

The turrets are also very well labeled to allow precise adjustments and have positive clicks for each graduation, this allows adjustment by sight or feel. MOA models have ¼ MOA adjustments and MIL models are .1 MRAD adjustments. 

The turret knobs are removable to allow resetting them to “zero” once the scope/rifle combination is zeroed in. Unscrewing the center screw and lifting the turret straight up allows removal and then press straight back down with the “0” at the indicator mark and re-insert the screw and tighten.

Running the Gen III through an adjustment drill, the bullet impacts proved that adjustments of the turrets did change the point of impact appropriately, and returned to where it began the drill with a return of the turret.

Specifications

Magnification Range-             1-10x

Length-                                    10.1 inches

Weight-                                   21.5 oz

Diameter-                               34mm

Objective Lens Diameter-       24mm

Field of View @ 1x-                 116 ft @ 100 yds

Field of View @ 10x-               11.7ft @ 100 yds

Max Turret Adj-                      120 MOA

Battery-                                   CR2032

Eye Relief-                              ~3.5 inches

MSRP-                                     $2,899.99

The battery is located in the center of the illumination control knob

At the rear of the ocular lens, the Gen III has a reticle focus ring that enables the user to get the reticle crisp and clear for their own visual acuity. I made a quick adjustment of the ocular focus and the reticle became perfect for my aging eyes. This is the first thing a user should set when mounting a new scope as it will sometimes change the point of impact if done after zeroing a scope/ rifle.

The magnification adjustment ring is just forward of the ocular lens section and is labeled for the changes in power through the 1-10x range. The ring turned smoothly and easily through the range with the factory knob. A Switchview Throw Lever is also included for optional installation. This allows for faster manipulation. Instructions are included in the user manual.

Optimal eye relief was achieved with scope even to the back of the receiver.

The EBR-9 MOA reticle is a combination of an MOA and a Bullet Drop Compensating (BDC) reticle. It is based in MOA, but it has predetermined subtensions (hash marks) for 300, 400, 500 and 600 yards based on standard bullet drop for 5.56mm loads, which are also very close to popular 7.62mm/ 308 Win loads.

The reticle is etched in the glass lens, making it accurate and durable. The windage dots on the reticle are also based on those popular loads and represent 5, 10, 15, and 20 mph wind corrections for the range based on the referenced ammunition.

Verifying your ammunition/ rifle combination to the reticle and knowing exactly what mark/ dot yardages are right for your rifle could make this a very fast reticle for longer range shooting at reasonably sized targets.

10x is plenty of magnification for this 600-yard shot and well beyond

Details of the reticle are contained in the downloadable manual from the Vortex website, and I would recommend getting familiar with it.

The new Razor Gen III 1-10x scope also comes with Vortex’s VIP Warranty, unlimited, unconditional, and lifetime. That’s standing behind your product, though I hope you never need it.

Both the MOA and MRAD versions are available now, but the response has been overwhelming and they are not staying in stock when they hit the shelves, so you may have to check several sources.

Small in size, long on capability.

Final Impressions

The Vortex Gen III 1-10x performed outstandingly during field testing. It gave a clean, clear, crisp image, actually much better than any of the pictures captured. The field of view was great for engaging multiple targets at both ends of the power range. 

The illumination was fantastic and overcame bright sunlight, even on light-colored targets. The turrets adjustments were positive and well labeled. The Gen III was fast and easy to shoot at close distances and provided plenty of magnification out to the 700 yards available. I expect it would perform well on engaging full-sized silhouettes to at least 800 or 900 yards.

So, when the situation calls for shooting the same gun up close or hundreds of yards out, the Vortex Razor Gen III 1-10x has the features to allow top performance at either end of the spectrum. The 10 power gives that little extra to make things possible at greater distances. 

For more information visit Vortex Optics website.

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About the author: Jeff Cramblit is a world-class competitive shooter having won medals at both the 2012 IPSC World Shotgun Championship in Hungary and more recently the 2017 IPSC World Rifle Championship in Russia. He is passionate about shooting sports and the outdoors. He has followed that passion for over 30 years, hunting and competing in practical pistol, 3gun, precision rifle and sporting clays matches. Jeff is intimately familiar with the shooting industry – competitor, instructor, RO, range master, match director. Among his training credits include NRA Instructor, AR-15 armorer, FBI Rifle Instructor, and Officer Low Light Survival Instructor. As a sponsored shooter, Jeff has represented notable industry names such as: Benelli, 5.11 Tactical, Bushnell, Blackhawk, DoubleStar, and Hornady. He has been featured on several of Outdoor Channel’s Shooting Gallery episodes and on a Downrange TV series. Jeff’s current endeavors cover a broad spectrum and he can be found anywhere from local matches helping and encouraging new shooters as they develop their own love of the sport, to the dove field with his friends, a charity sporting clays shoot, backpack hunting public land in Montana, or the winners podium of a major championship.

{ 1 comment… add one }
  • Bob March 30, 2020, 6:37 pm

    To answer your question on why new models every year, it’s all about money, you have it and they want it and you’ll give it to them, if you had your perfect scope you wouldn’t buy anymore, then they would go out of business, innovation and greed is the American way.

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