Reviews

Vortex Optics EBR-9 (MRAD) Reticle

A deeper look at the Vortex Optics EMR-9 (MRAD) reticle found on their Razor HD Gen III LPVOs. Short version: it's my new favorite LPVO reticle.

Time for another reticle review! This time I’m looking at the Vortex Optics EBR-9 (MRAD) reticle currently available in the Razor HD Gen III 1-10×24 riflescope.

I’m just going to come right out of the gate and say this reticle is awesome. Admittedly, my bias for technical reticles is showing. However, I didn’t think this reticle was awesome initially. Let me explain.

The reticle is a first focal plane reticle which means the reticle “shrinks and grows” in proportion to the magnification setting of the scope. This means the hash marks and dots (and the ranging feature) can be used at any magnification because the reticle remains proportional to the objective. Sounds great, right? It should and it is. Can you hear the “but” approaching? Well, here it is. Since the riflescope is a low powered variable optic (LPVO), the reticle is small at the maximum magnification and essentially disappears at the minimum magnification setting. This makes reading the hash marks and dots a bit of challenge especially for folks with aging eyes. I admit I was a bit disappointed by this at first, but that disappointment didn’t last long and I’ll explain why shortly.

My next initial disappointment was with the illumination, or rather lack thereof, in the same vein with my initial disappointment with the illumination on the AR-BDC3 reticle. The only part of the reticle that is illuminated is the center dot and the surrounding arcs. This partial illumination is a double edged sword. On one hand, the lack of illumination on the tree makes reading the hash marks and dots in low light conditions even more challenging. That’s where my disappointment came from. On the other hand, the bright center dot naturally draws one’s eye to it making it very easy and quick to acquire and place on a target. My disappointment with the partial illumination dissipated almost immediately after realizing that at the lowest magnification setting the illuminated center gives the reticle a red dot like effect and I suspect the rest of the tree would have been a distraction had it been fully illuminated.

After having spent a bit of time behind the scope all my initial disappointments vanished when I considered the role of this reticle within the context of the LPVO it is housed in. Context matters. When I generally think about technical reticles, I assume they will be housed in a scope with a high magnification to engage in precision work at medium to long distances. In contrast, an LPVO is better suited for engaging targets at close to medium distances with the lowest magnification power providing a wide field of view (FOV) optimal for quick transitions between targets and additionally giving the shooter the option to increase the magnification when more precision is needed for targets at longer distances. Once that context was clear in my mind, my opinion became extremely positive.

See at the lowest magnification setting, the tree disappears and leaves one with essentially a fine traditional crosshair like reticle with crisp center. Turn the magnification on and it’s virtually like looking through a red dot sight. Again, this is ideal for quickly engaging and transitioning between targets. As the magnification is increased, the tree and the ranging feature become visible allowing the shooter to range targets and get precision shots in.

The only thing I’m not a fan of is the font used for the numbers. It’s a little thing really, but I find them a little hard to read. I’m not sure another font would help me here as it may just be my aging eyesight that I’m struggling with.

Given the reticle is currently only available on a LPVO with capped turrets, I wanted to give readers an idea of the distance this reticle can cover (depending on crosswind speed) using cartridges commonly chambered in AR pattern rifles using a typical 100 yard zero. The following table provides a summary:

Crosswind.223 Remington .308 Winchester
15 MPH900 yards (10 elevation, 5 wind)1000 yards (11 elevation, 4.5 wind)
20 MPH600 yards (4.4 elevation, 3.9 wind)800 yards (7 elevation, 4.5 wind)
25 MPH400 yards (1.8 elevation, 2.9 wind)600 yards (4 elevation, 3.8 wind)

Overall, I think the reticle is well designed and executed. It works extremely well within the context of the LPVO it is housed in. I find it works exceptionally well for close range scenarios and very well for precision work on targets at longer distances that require elevation and wind holdovers.

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