Vortex VMX-3T 3x Magnifier – Review

Vortex VMX-3T 3x Magnifier

When you are considering upgrades for your weapons, I cannot emphasize enough the importance of good optics. The Vortex VMX-3T Magnifier might be the quality piece of optics you need.
I can paint a picture of that importance with a story of two very different deer seasons.
Since I was a teenager I had hunted open sights on a 30-30 rifle. It was a point of pride for me. All of my family and friends were using scopes, but I was taking deer every year the old fashioned way.
A few years back I went through a deer season during which I never fired a shot. I am a believer that I should never take a shot unless I know it will be a humane kill. There were plenty of deer I could have targeted, but either the light was too low or I felt they were too far away. I spent the better part of a week freezing my rear end off, and had nothing to show for it. More importantly, our freezer would be empty until the following year.
As soon as I reentered civilization I started searching for a scope. I swore that I would never finish another deer season empty handed. After plenty of research, I settled on a quality piece of equipment to help me get the job done. I am only getting older, and my eyesight gets worse every year. The next season I bagged three deer, a personal best, and had to buy another freezer to house all the meat.

I have often stated that the best advice I ever received on optics is to go as high quality as you can afford. The line of Vortex optics does a good job of finding a balance between reasonable prices and top quality gear. Whether you are shopping for binoculars, a spotting scope, a rifle scope, or optics for a defense weapon, Vortex has you covered. The Vortex VMX-3T Magnifier is an excellent example of the quality they offer. In this article I will cover the pros and cons of this magnifier to help you make a better decision on your purchase.

What is the Vortex VMX-3T Magnifier?

The most common use of the VMX-3T is for tactical rifles. Most people that own assault rifles are familiar with the benefits of a red dot sight system. When facing moving targets at a close range, a red dot sight is much more effective than iron sights or a full scope. It allows for easy target acquisition with both eyes open, which is the best way to fire at close range. So what happens if you then have to take a shot at a target that is much further away?
This is where the Vortex VMX-3T Magnifier comes in handy. It is a 3X magnifier that flips to the side when you do not need it. This piece of gear simply magnifies the red dot sight so you can hit targets that are much further away. Then with the press of a button you can move it out of your sight path and resume clearing close quarters targets. It gives you the best of both short distance and long distance worlds.
The Vortex is also great for hunting in thick cover. You can use the magnifier to locate your target as it first comes into range. As it gets closer, you may want to switch to zero magnification, especially if you are going to take a shot on a moving target. Then the magnifier becomes useful again as you track your prey after a shot has been taken. As most hunters know, close range shots with a conventional scope can be very difficult.

Previous Model

The VMX-3T is not the first attempt Vortex made for this type of product. The VMX3 was the first Vortex 3X magnifier and was a good quality optic, but is no longer available for purchase. This model had a rubber sleeve designed to cover and protect about half of the body. This sleeve made the use of a folding rear backup sight very difficult. The new Vortex VMX-3T magnifier has eliminated the rubber sleeve giving you plenty of room for the backup sight to sit on the folder site below.

Design and Features

Vortex 3x magnifier VMX-3T front
When you pull the Vortex from the box, you can tell it is a quality construction. The thick, aluminum tube is 30mm and only weighs 11.9 ounces. Once mounted, it provides an eye relief of 3.25” which is ideal for the recoil you may see with medium to high caliber rifles. After securing the magnifier on the rifle, there is a focus ring to give you the clearest image possible. You will also want to center the red dot in the middle of your viewing window. The Vortex has vertical and horizontal adjustment knobs to give you a perfect center. They look similar to the windage and elevation knobs on a conventional scope.
The tube is made of hard-coated-anodized aluminum and is filled with nitrogen making it fogproof and waterproof. The lenses are multicoated to improve light transmission for a bright image. It has a large button that releases the tube to be moved to the side. This gives you a clear sight picture of the red dot with zero magnification. The warranty on this model is rock solid, and Vortex typically replaces parts or units with no questions asked.

Pros and Cons

This is a bit of a one sided topic as the benefits of the Vortex VMX-3T magnifier greatly outweigh the drawbacks. I can start with the cons and say that it would be nice if lens covers were included with the purchase. I prefer mounting brackets with twist screws versus those that require a screwdriver. This is a minor concern as the mounting bracket is rock solid. Some owners have complained that the eye relief is not as great as they would like. For my uses the eye relief was fine, but I suppose a high caliber rifle could require a bit more distance.
As for the advantages, the list is long. The thick coated aluminum is ideal for a solid, durable construction. The fogrpoofing and waterproofing is ideal for hunting or defense in any weather conditions. I demand that my firearms be reliable rain or shine, therefore my optics should be as well. The mounting bracket provides a solid base to ensure that the magnifier lines up perfectly every time. In addition, the focus and centering adjustments make it easy to ensure that the magnifier is accurate and the picture is clear.
The coating on the lenses gives you a bright, sharp picture no matter how poor your lighting might be. The magnification of this optic allows for an easy shot at 100 yards, or it can be flipped to the side for shots only a few feet away. When flipped over for close range shots, the Vortex stays locked tightly in place. This optic allows you to clear a building in an urban setting or take down a whitetail across a field. It truly transforms your firearm into a do-everything weapon.

In Conclusion

As you start adding accessories to your rifle, it can easily double or triple the overall cost of the setup. However, you can be sure that your purchase is worth the money on the Vortex VMX-3T magnifier. It has the quality of products that are listed at three times the cost of this particular optic. Remember that it does not matter how many rounds you fire at the range. If your optics are not accurate, your shot will be off. This optic is an easy way to ensure that your shots are on target even at long distances.
Vortex VMX-3T opticsHowever, the real key is the versatility of this product. In most scenarios you have to choose between long range scopes and short range iron or red dot sights. Not with the Vortex. It allows you to switch from short range to long range with the press of a button. It literally gives you the functionality of two separate rifles in one. I have actually hunted with both a short range and long range rifle, and it is not fun. Having this versatility is a true game changer.
In the end, my verdict on the Vortex VMX-3T magnifier is that it is a huge advantage for any rifle. I feel that it is a quality product and that it is priced well below what could actually be charged for this optic. My experience has been that this optic would improve virtually any firearm with a red dot sight system. I hope that this review has been helpful in your choice of optics.

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