Vortex Viper PST 4-16x50mm FFP Tactical Rifle Scope – Review

Vortex Viper PST Tactical Rifle Scope


The Vortex Viper PST or Precision Shooting Tactical is one of Vortex’s mid range tactical rifle scopes that were built to cater to the needs of shooters looking for certain tactical features within the price range of $1000. Huge target knobs, illuminated FFP reticle, 30mm tube and a zerostop are some of the major characteristics of the scope while the packaging is convenient enough with an instruction manual, sunshade, battery zerostop shims, lens caps and lint less cloth.


  • Build: A major characteristic of the PST is the single piece 30mm tube which is built from a single aircraft grade 6061-T6 aluminum block.  The basic build of the tube which has a hard anodized finish in matte black, and the shaping of the angles are good. The rear section of the scope offers enough space for mounting rings while the area in front of the turrets is decent enough to tackle all kinds of scope mounting situations. Markings are in an easily discernable off white color and the entire scope is a tad less in bulk than the Razor line.
  • Eye Piece: The eye piece can be regulated quickly and easily due to its smooth rotations and the entire adjustment range can be covered in 1.3 rotations. Though there is no locking mechanism and indicator mark to identify the position of the eye piece, flip up scope caps can solve the issue. The deep protective rubber ring ensures that the shooter’s eye is much closer to the scope.
  • Reticle Illumination: The illumination controls for the reticle are set right in front of the eye piece with the knob set at an angle of 45o to ensure that the height adjustment of side focus knobs are not blocked. The controls journey through the 10 positions with an off option between every number. The clicks are unique for every position and along with the tick marks, are enough to indicate the position of the control. Since the internal portion of the reticle is illuminated there is very little chance of too much or leaking light.
  • Magnification: The magnification regulation rings are well notched to provide enhanced grip regardless of the conditions. The elevated tabs with clear magnification labels help the shooter to discern the power setting without raising his / her eye. A bright red fiber optic type indicator serves as an excellent indicator mark for the power ring.  The rotation of the ring is pretty smooth yet offers good amount of resistance. The movement of the power select ring though is shoddy.
  • Elevation and Windage knobs: Both the knobs along with the side focus knob are placed on a smooth and rounded shoulder. The elevation and windage knobs have well marked notches to enhance the grip. The knobs lie inside a turret housing with a vertical slot whose markings indicate the number of rotations along with a set of vertical lines for every click on the knob. The knob also has 3 indicators for “up” direction.  As per the manufacturers, the scope has 21 MIL of vertical adjustment and 5 per single revolution which is a wide enough range. The knobs have 3 groups of screws which can be adjusted perfectly to zero with an Allen wrench that is available with the package and this ensures a great adjustment range. The zerostop shims ensures that the elevation knob does not slip down below zero but it might need a little adjustment from the user for a perfect zero stop.  The windage knob has the same build as the elevation knob with 5 MIL adjustments per single revolution. Since the markings count up in either direction there is an overlap at 2.5 MIL.
  • Side Focus Knob: It is placed on the left side of the scope and has a bigger diameter than the other two knobs without the turret housing.  It is equipped with fine notches to provide improved grip and movement and is marked from 50 to 500 and infinity yards though it does seem to rotate significantly beyond the end points.
  • Reticle: Vortex calls the reticle the EBR-1 MRAD. The reticle has huge hashes at every full MIL and smaller ones at half MILs. With 20 MILs across both directions it is pretty convenient to measure targets. To enhance accuracy in target measurement, the up, left and right stadia have 5 – 8 MILs with small hashes at every .2 MIL. The labeling of every single MIL mark, though done in good sense, does serve as a distraction due to the already crowded markings.
  • FFP: PST is a FFP scope which means that the reticle changes with modifications in magnification. This increases the accuracy at all power settings. The EBR-1 reticle is designed to be decently thick and visible at the maximum magnification and all hash marks are perceivable even under low power to enable good tactical shooting.
  • Optics: With Vortex XR lens coating to enable better light transmission, the optics have a decent quality with pretty good contrast and sharpness levels at low light and challenging weather conditions. The glass is an extra low dispersion one and the eye relief is about 4” and remains steady through the complete zoom range.
  • Specifications: The PST has a magnification of 4-16x and a 50mm objective lens. The tube diameter is 30mm. The overall length is 13.7” and the scope weighs about 22oz. It is equipped with an EBR-1 MRAD reticle and has an eye relief of 4” with an exit pupil of 12.5 – 3.1mm. The click value is 0.1MIL with an adjustment range of 21MIL (72 MOA) and the Field of View @ 100 Yards is 27.4’ – 7.4’.

The PST is a good enough tactical scope under the $1000 range. The market is not without competition as other players like Weaver, Burris XTR, Nikon rifle scopes and the like also offer good quality scopes within the same price range.  What might set Vortex apart from the others is the excellent name the company has for post sale service.


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