When searching for the perfect rifle scope, the choices can be overwhelming. The best advice I have ever heard on purchasing optics is to go as high quality as your budget allows. Vortex Optics products have always fallen into that category of high quality products that stay just within my budget. However, I never make assumptions about any product. When I decide to buy a scope, I like to consider all of the options. That is why I had to take a closer look at the Vortex Viper PST 1-4×24.
When I have purchased the scopes in the past, I have always broken down the decision into a few categories. I considered the size of the lens along with the magnification available for the scope. I considered the overall quality of the brand. I considered the features of the scope. Once I had analyzed all of these aspects, I generally had a good idea of which scope is the best fit for my needs.
Vortex is an American company but produce these scopes in the Phillipines, which is fairly common in the optics industry. One thing that impressed me about the release of this particular model is that they delayed the release. You might see this as a weakness since the product was not ready for release by the planned upon date. However, Vortex felt that the feel of the turrets when adjusting windage and elevation was not quite right. They decided to hold off on the release so they could get it right. I have a great deal of respect for that kind of business mentality. We should see more companies willing to make these sacrifices to perfect their product.
Right out of the box you can tell that the Vortex Viper PST 1-4×24 is a quality piece of optics. The weight of the single piece high-grade aircraft aluminum in your hand tells you that it is built to last. You will notice right away that every aspect of the scope is there for a good reason. You will feel the anodization coating, which is a flat black for eliminating glare. It also gives the scope a barrier for scratch resistance. The Viper has rubber gasketed assemblies and a shock-proof design to ensure it will last for years and years. The glass on this optic are is as good as you will find without spending thousands of dollars.
Probably the easiest way to judge the quality of this scope is in the use of the Viper. The first opportunity to test this quality is to try out the turret adjustments for windage and elevation. The adjustments feel overwhelmingly solid and smooth, with just enough resistance to ensure they do not move when bumped. You can tell that Vortex took the time to really focus on this aspect of the design.
When firing with the Viper, its ability to hold a true zero is another impressive feature. After over 200 rounds and about a dozen mounts and unmounts, the Viper still holds a true zero. The recoil and the process of removing it for travel did not affect the integrity of the optic whatsoever. I have to say that the overall quality of the Vortex Viper PST 1-4×24 is quite impressive.
Aside from the feel of the turrets, there are several other design features related to the turrets that add to the value of the Viper. The turrets are exposed so that quick adjustments can be made. In addition, the half MOA adjustable turrets allow you to change your zero and count clicks without having to pull your eye from the scope. When I am zoomed in on a target, I prefer to maintain my focus versus having to make adjustments and then reacquire my target.
The elevation turret has a thin red fiber-optic tube that will help you see how it is positioned even in low light scenarios. The magnification ring has the same red fiber-optic tube that shows you what power on which the scope is set. This brings me to our next set of features on the Vortex Viper PST 1-4×24.
Magnification and Crosshairs
The 24mm Viper offers some additional features that are helpful with sight acquisition. The reticle on the scope has a unique close-quarters reticle that features a segmented and illuminated circle around a one minute-of-angle dot. This lets the scope function as a red dot sight when you have it on a 1X setting, or as a compact scope when you have it on a 4X setting.
The mil-spaced crosshairs are illuminated for low light scenarios using a single battery. They have both windage and elevations marks that are clear and easy to read when using the scope on higher magnifications. The reticle is simple to use for both ranging and holdovers, and it is 2nd FP so it stays the same size throughout the entire magnification range. On the other hand, the 1X setting on the magnification ring is completely unmagnified. This makes target acquisition at close range much more effective. It also allows shooters to aim with both eyes open if that is their preference. To add to the reliability of the Viper, it is filled with Argon gas to prevent the lens from fogging up.
There are a few unique innovations on the Viper that add to the ease of use. The scope has a Customizable Rotation Stop (CRS). This lets you to set your elevation zero and quickly return to it after significant elevation changes. After your firearm is zeroed, just remove the elevation turret ring by loosening the three hex head screws and lifting it off. Then put the provided brass shims around the base alternating them at 180 degrees until all the available space is taken up. Reinstall the turret knob aligned with “0” and tighten down the screws. Now after any elevation adjustment, you can rotate the turret counter clockwise to re-zero. The turret will stop about 1/4 turn past zero allowing you to return to your “zero” quickly.
The illumination on the crosshairs has 10 different brightness settings. The first setting is specifically for night vision. It also has an ‘off’ setting in between each brightness setting so you can easily go back to black crosshairs without having to rotate through the whole dial.
The Viper has an ironclad unconditional lifetime warranty that is second to none. I have seen several accounts of customers calling Vortex customer service with minor issues with the scope or accessories. In every case a replacement or replacement parts were instantly sent out for free with no questions asked. Again, I wish every company strived for this kind of excellence in customer service.
Uses for the Scope
Because of the design of the scope, the Vortex Viper PST 1-4×24 is perfect for several uses. Its construction from a single piece of aluminum make it reliable and accurate in almost any scenario. The adjustment down to 1X power turning the optics into a red dot sight along with the zero magnification make it ideal for tactical applications. The traditional use of two eyes for target acquisition works well with this power setting. In addition, the adjustment up to 4X allows even a tactical shooter to reach out to targets up to 200 yards away.
For hunting, this optic is helpful in any terrain. The illuminated crosshairs are nice for darker, brushy terrain and the higher magnification and high-quality turret adjustments are ideal for open field shots. For big game hunters, this scope is perfect on a few levels. The eye relief is right at four inches which gives your eye space for the recoil from powerful rifles. Also, big game hunters know that approaching a wounded animal can be quite dangerous. Having the ability to use the optic at short distances is essential for hunter safety when approaching an animal. The night vision setting is also ideal for night hunting animals like coyotes or wild hogs.
The Vortex Viper PST 1-4×24 can be a great optic for competition shooting as well. Not all competitions will allow a scope of this type, but having the ability to change magnifications instantly could make the scope work for multiple events.
Final Review of the Vortex Viper PST
In the end I have had a hard time finding anything negative to say about the Vortex Viper PST 1-4×24. It is really a stellar piece of optics and is worth much more than its price tag. I am the type of person that often goes for a bargain before going high quality, but the Viper would definitely be an exception. You can tell a huge difference between this scope and lower quality equipment.
Everything from the close quarter features to the turret feel to the night vision make the Viper top shelf. The only criticism I can give for this product is that the lens covers are made of cheap plastic, but even that is a stretch. They are no different than the lens caps you get with any other scope. I would highly recommend the Vortex Viper PST 1-4×24 and would venture to say that you could easily spend twice as much and end up with a lower quality product. I hope this review has helped in your decision to find the right scope for your needs.