Roque Concepts Vortex Defender-CCW Red Dot Sight

First Impressions: Vortex Defender-CCW Red Dot Sight

Roque Concepts Vortex Defender-CCW Red Dot Sight

When it comes to concealed carry optics, the consumer market options vary drastically in quality (materials, ruggedness, quality control, etc.) and pricing. In the past, Vortex Optics has offered competitive pricing in comparison to other pistol-mounted market options, however they have struggled to obtain the market share volume of their industry counterparts – until now? Enter the Defender-CCW optics from Vortex Optics. A noticeable upgrade from their previous Viper and Venom lines, the Defender CCW brings new life to concealed carry options at a very competitive price point.

Roque Concepts Vortex Defender-CCW Red Dot Sight

Before we dive into the initial thoughts for the new Vortex Defender-CCW, here is an essential rundown of the specifications for this red dot sight.

  • Magnification: 1x
  • Width: 1.1”
  • Length: 1.59”
  • Weight: 0.95 oz.
  • Illumination Source: Open LED Emitter
  • Reticle Pattern: 3 MOA or 6 MOA Dot Options
  • Reticle Details: 10 Brightness Settings (8 Daylight/2 Night Vision)
  • Max Windage Adjustment: 105 MOA
  • Max Elevation Adjustment: 110 MOA
  • Day/Night Reticle Color: Red
  • Mount Type: Shield RMS/RMSc
  • Eye Relief: Unlimited
  • Adjustment @ 100 Yards (Clicks/Inch): 1 MOA
  • Parallax Setting: Parallax Free
  • Housing Material: 7075 Aluminum w/ Waterproof O-Rings, Low-Glare Matte Black Anodized, Fast-Rack Texuring
  • Glass: Fogproof/Shockproof
  • Batteries: CR1632
  • Battery Use: 9500 hours (14 hour auto-off w/ motion activation)

The Defender-CCW  LED Sight is available in either 3 MOA or 6 MOA dot sizes within the same body housing with no variances in color, packaging, or included accessories/mounting options.


Roque Concepts Vortex Defender-CCW Red Dot Sight

Vortex Defender-CCW Contents

Inside the form-fit cardboard box, the Vortex Defender-CCW comes with a variety of items you will need and might expect.

  • Owner’s Manual
  • 1° Shim Plate
  • Picatinny Rail Mount
  • Rubber Cover
  • Lens Cloth
  • CR1632 Battery
  • Custom Tool
  • 6 Sets of Common Mounting Screws
    • M4 x 0.7 (Glock MOS, Ruger 57, Springfield Hellcat/XDM5.25 OSP)
    • M3 x 0.5 (Sig P365XL)
    • 6-32 (Smith and Wesson 2.0)
    • M4 x 0.7 (Canik TP9SFX/TP9SC, Sig P320 M17/M18/RXP, CZ P10/Series)
    • 6-48 (HK VP9 Tactical OR, Kimber AEGIS/KHX Custom)
    • 6-40 (FN-509)

Most of the included items are things you would expect - the essentials you need with a nice variety of pistol options. The 1° shim plate aligns the red dot, helping overcome any misalignment within the mounting system or pistol. Due to pistol/red dot combinations being a shorter-range system, it takes an extreme amount of travel to overcome any misalignments. Therefore, the 1-degree shim plate may be necessary to get sighted in at your desired distance.


Roque Concepts Vortex Defender-CCW Red Dot Sight

Vortex Defender-CCW Installation

We mounted our 3 MOA Defender-CCW on a Sig Sauer P365XL pistol. Since this pistol comes standard with a removable optic plate, the install was simple and took about 5 minutes. The first step is always to make sure the pistol is unloaded and safe. After that, the slide is separated from the frame, and the barrel and recoil spring are removed in a typical field-stripping manner. The two hex screws on the underside of the slide are removed, which free the optic plate and rear sights from the slide. Then the 1° shim was properly positioned on the slide around the mounting screw slots, and the optic was installed from the top with the correct M3 x 0.5 (P365XL) mounting screws. The included screws have blue Loctite pre-applied, so no additional anti-seize/anti-rotation was necessary.

Even with the removal of the rear sight, the Defender-CCW red dot closely co-witnessed with the front sight, which will no doubt make sighting in the optic much easier. Out of the box, the optic was incredibly bright for indoor use, but the right-side button easily brought the brightness down and eliminated blooming. The Defender-CCW includes a button lockout mode to prevent unintentional setting changes. To turn on the button lockout feature, press and hold the “Up” button for 3 seconds. The dot will blink for .5 seconds and then remain on. To turn off the button lockout feature, press and hold the “Up” button for 3 seconds. The dot will blink off 2x in 1 second to confirm the lockout mode has been disabled and then will remain on. The Defender-CCW red dot sight offers 10 brightness settings: 8 daylight settings, and 2 night vision settings. It is easily adjusted by pressing the appropriate “Up” or “Down” button.

Vortex Defender-CCW Battery Life

The Defender-CCW uses as CR1632 battery. The battery life depends on the brightness intensity of the dot, and at setting 6 the battery life is approximately 9,500 hours.

Vortex Defender-CCW Turret Adjustment

Turrets are used to adjust the bullet’s point of impact (POI) and are marked in Minute of Angle (MOA). There are two turrets on the red dot, the top for Elevation and the side for Windage. These turrets feature audible and tactical clicks, each which move the POI 1 MOA. (1 MOA closely corresponds to .15” at 15 yards, .25” at 25 yards, .5” at 50 yards, 1” at 100 yards, and 2” at 200 yards.)

Roque Concepts Vortex Defender-CCW Red Dot Sight

Vortex Defender-CCW Initial Thoughts

From first impressions, this is a well-designed and very rugged optic. The footprint is only slightly wider than the P365XL slide it is mounted on but does not exceed the width with the manual safety positioning. This allows for proper fitment in our Onyx Series IWB holsters. The included optic cut is more than sufficient for the entire footprint of the optic. The dot is bright, and easy to track through the draw stroke. It is consistently acquired prior to full extension/shot, which is important for optimizing fast shots from concealment. Both the buttons and the windage/elevation turrets provide an audible and felt “click”, which is beneficial for brightness and POI adjustments during the sighting in process. The 7075-aluminum body is sturdy, and the textured face provides a great knurled feel when racking with the palm of your hand. The glass is clean with no colored tint.

Our experience with pistol-mounted sights has mostly been with the Trijicon RMR/RMRcc and Aimpoint Acro-P1/P2. We have noticed some variation with the battery life in our Acro-P1, sometimes only lasting a few months, so battery life is something we’ll be closely tracking since the Defender-CCW employs the same CR1632 battery. We also notice the glass in our RMRs getting scratched and dinged from the impact of ejected casings, and we’re anxious to see if we experience the same (or hopefully) occurrence with the Defender-CCW.

We will provide additional data as we sight it in and shoot it including how well it holds zero, the external durability, performance in adverse conditions (rain, mud, sand, hot/cold temperatures, etc.), and concealed carry usage.

Roque Concepts Vortex Defender-CCW Red Dot Sight

Vortex Defender-CCW Summary

We are excited to try the Defender-CCW red dot in a concealed carry capacity, especially in conjunction with our ONYX IWB holsters. Expect to see this dot rotated through a variety of pistols including the Sig P365XL, Sig P320, Glock 43X MOS, etc. and have plans to use the picatinny mount on .223/5.56 and .300blk AR platforms for maximum durability testing. All in all, with an MSRP of $349.99, this already appears to be a viable and competitive option for CCW pistol use. At a lower price point than the Trijicon RMRcc (MSRP $699.00) and the Aimpoint Acro-P2 (MSRP $599.00), the Vortex Defender-CCW is a fantastic option for those who want a quality optic.


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