Today's review covers the Sightron S-Tac 1-7x magnification scope's features and performance. Sightron is esteemed in the precision benchrest and hunting community for their premium performance long-range optics, but aren’t as well known for their products designed for tactical shooting applications. I have been shooting with the scope in an American Defense Mount on my IWI Tavor for several thousand rounds from zero to 500 yards, and I am pleased to say that the Sightron S-Tac delivers top-tier performance while remaining an outstanding value for its price point.
The scope comes with lens cap covers, a scope cover, manuals, and a lens cloth.
The scope has a front objective of 24mm, 30mm diameter tube, and is 12.5 inches long. It weighs in at 20.1 ounces without a mount.
One of the most distinct features is the variable magnification range of 1-7x, which is an uncommon magnification range. Most frequently seen are 1-4x magnification scopes, with a diverse price range of optics available at 1-5 and 1-6. Just a few years ago, 1-8x magnification scopes were only available at multi-thousand dollar price range, but they are increasingly common as well, with Primary Arms having an affordable offering.
The field of view is excellent, measuring 91.5 feet at 100 yards and 1 times magnification and 13 feet at 7x magnification.
The reticle is the Mil-Hash reticle, using milliradian subtensions to range targets and determine hold overs. The center dot measure .5 mils at 100 yards, which covers a circle with a diameter of about 1.7 inches. This dot size is a reasonable balance between speed and precision. Details about the reticle are available on the product webpage, and the scope has an option for an MOA reticle if you prefer subtensions and adjustments in MOA over milliradians. The reticle is second focal plane, which means that the reticle is a fixed size relative to zoom. If you zeroed your rifle at 7 times magnification, this means that without doing quick math in ratios with 7, the reticle subtensions are only valid at 7 magnification. In contrast, a front-focal plane reticle would adjust in size relative to your zoom level, and the subtensions are valid at any magnification level. These optics are more complex internally, so they are often heavier and are priced according. Sightron doesn’t have a low-power variable magnification optic with a FFP reticle, but there are other companies that do.
The turrets are uncapped, so you can quickly dial for different ranges and wind conditions, and they adjust in .1 miliradians per click, with 29.1 total Mils of adjustment for windage and elevation. The MOA reticle scope would have turrets that adjust in MOA. With just an Allen key, you can loosen and reset the caps to zero the scope. The adjustment clicks have a crisp tactile click, and are resistant to adjusting through accidental bumps. Adjustments are repeatable with extreme precision, a feature from which Sightron is proud to have built a reputation in the long range benchrest community.
The eye relief, which is how far your eye can be to resolve the correct sight picture, ranges from an impressive 4.8 inches at 1x and 3.9 inches at maximum zoom.
The scope has fixed parallax at 100 yards. At longer ranges, this isn’t a problem, as you’ll need consistent eye placement to resolve the reticle, with such a small exit pupil and eyebox at 7 times magnification.
There is a wide range of diopter adjustment to account for different visual acuity in natural eyesight.
The most impressive feature of this scope is the quality of its glass. The lenses are have a full multi-coat layer with Sightron’s Zact-7 Revcoat. The coating maintains the clarity of the precision ground class, minimizes glare, enhances contrast, and optimizes light transmission. Another reviewer, through independent testing using a collimator, found Sightron glass to have clarity on par with a Swarovski Z6i, a scope easily twice as expensive. The collimator helps quantify relevant glass characteristics, so you have peace that the Sightron S-Tac has premium glass.
The 1x magnification is the closest to a true 1x magnification as I’ve ever used. Many manufacturers advertise their scopes as 1x magnification at the lowest power, but can produce a minimum of 1.1 or 1.2, like on this Hi-Lux CMR4 1-4. When you can only go as low as 1.1 or 1.2, it is noticeable and can be disorienting to aim quickly with both eyes open shooting at less than 25 yards. Using the Sightron S-Tac 1-7, you can read the label of the protein powder tub from 1 foot away. You’ll never actually need to do this, but it’s a benchmark of the optic’s glass fidelity. You can’t do this with a budget Vortex or Primary Arms scope. You can see some refraction, but that is because of the extreme close range. At greater than 10 feet, the view through the optic seamlessly blends with the backdrop for true 1x magnification.
Best Uses for the Scope
The optic is best used on a semi-automatic precision rifle that serves in the designated marksman role. The 1-7x magnification range gives you fast target acquisition shooting at 1 times magnification and long range precision at 7x magnification. The long eye relief, true 1x magnification, and generous eyebox allow for target acquisition almost as quickly as if you were using a red dot, and the 7x magnification allows you to get shots on target at 800 yards, if your rifle is accurate enough to hit at that range. For law enforcement or military applications, this flexibility allows you a patrol weapon that can go from room clearing to counter-sniping with just a turn of a dial. For the rest of us, the scope is useful for 3 gun competition shooting, as many courses have targets from zero to 500 yards. Whether you need all the power of 7 times magnification is only a decision you can make. The type of target you are shooting at and your biological eyesight acuity are factors that weigh into your decision.
Why would you want a 1-7x scope over a 1-4x, 1-6x, or 1-8x? For the targets that I shoot at with my rifles, there isn’t much practical difference between 1-6, 1-7, and 1-8x times magnification. I do appreciate the extra magnification over the limits of a 1-4 when shooting at small popper targets at longer ranges. If you shoot primarily at silhouette or torso targets, a 1-4x optic is fine out to 500 yards. If you have a rifle with more reach, like an 18 inch barrel 5.56 SPR or a 7.62 Nato rifle, then the extra magnification can help with hits out to the longer effective ranges.
Magnification range shouldn’t be the only factor in your scope choice. All the additional features mentioned above should weigh into your decision.
Features Needing Improvement
In addition to any I have mentioned above, there are only a handful criticisms I have about the scope’s features and quality.
In artificial lighting, the glass has a very light red tint, even with the illumination turned off. I imagine this as a side-effect of the illuminator.
The front objective is deeply recessed relative to the front of the tube. I imagine this serves the role of having an integrated sunshade. The scope could be shorter by ¾ of inch.
I wish that Sightron had included higher-quality lens cap covers with the scope.
Finally, the sight picture loses some of its brightness in low-light shooting conditions. The drop-off in brightness in not nearly as severe as in the Primary Arms 1-6x optic I’ve used previously, but it is there. Fortunately, the illumination is visible in these conditions. This is one of the drawbacks of having a small front objective and a high zoom.
Value for the Price
Is purchasing the Sightron going to be worth the extra money over a Vortex or Primary Arms budget 1-6x magnification optic? You have to assess your goals as a shooter and whether you care about the additional features.The glass quality on most budget optics is often compromised to offset the complexity in manufacturing a 1-6x optic and still present an affordable price for consumers. The durability, features, and glass clarity on budget optics is enough for the needs of most shooters. You can’t go wrong with purchasing a Primary Arms 1-6xor Vortex Strike Eagle. I wouldn’t say that those optics are duty ready, like for a law enforcement patrol rifle, but they will serve you well within the accuracy and range limitations of your semi-automatic precision rifle. Still, much like the resolution difference between Blu-Ray and DVD, the clearer glass of the Sightron Scopes over budget optics allows for a better shooting experience. I can’t tell you whether you will care about glass quality or not, but the difference in clarity between a budget optic and a premier-grade optic is immediately noticeable. There are diminishing returns as optics get pricier. A $300 scope and a $1000 dollar scope will have a large performance margin, but $1000 and $2000 glass will have subtle differences. Will having clearer glass make you a more accurate shooter? Not as much as additional time on the range will improve your shot groupings. But when you have shot enough to grow out of the performance limitations of budget optics, then having premier optics can elevate you to the next performance tier.
Don’t be discouraged because the Sightron brand isn’t ubiquitous by any means in the United States. Their optics are popular among European competitors, being part of countless trophy-winning rifle platforms.
The optic is made in the Philippines, but is produced using high manufacturing standards and quality control. Sightron offers a lifetime warranty on their scopes.
The scope has an MSRP over $1000 dollars, but can be found on Amazon for much less. The value is amazing, as you are getting comparable performance to much pricier scopes.
In summary, the best features of the Sightron S-Tac are its glass clarity, the 1-7x magnification, true 1x magnification view, construction quality, and value for its price. The features on my priority list for improvement are having a shorter front tube, a brighter image in low sunlight settings, and brighter illumination or illumination that extends to the entire reticle.
I recommend this optic to shooting enthusiasts looking for an optic that’s practical for both close and long ranges, need more magnification than the more common 1-4 power optics, and want a better shooting experience than the budget tier low-power variable zoom scopes.