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Sightron introduced the S-TAC series of rifle scopes in 2016, and they are designed as a low to mid-powered scope series that could be used for nearly any shooting application: hunting, tactical or long range shooting, or general shooting.
The S-TAC series was also introduced as an eventual replacement for the popular SII Big Sky series of scopes that Sightron discontinued in 2017. While the glass on the S-TAC series isn’t quite as good (at least IMHO) as the glass on the SII Big Sky models, the larger 30mm tube on the S-TAC’s is an added bonus.
The S-TAC models were/are offered in the following configurations:
Second Focal Plane
1-6x24 IR AR1
Second Focal Plane
IR AR1 (Illuminated)
Second Focal Plane
First Focal Plane
Second Focal Plane
First Focal Plane
MOA-3 IR BDC (Illuminated)
Mil-Hash 4 IR (Illuminated)
In addition to the current S-TAC models listed above, Sightron also offered the S-TAC in a few other variations that have since been discontinued. Those phased-out models include the following:
- 1-7X24 (now discontinued)
- 2-10X32 (now discontinued)
- 2.5-15X56 (now discontinued)
From a reticle standpoint, most of the S-TAC models were available in a duplex reticle, an MOA-3 reticle, or an MOA-2 reticle. One of the 2-10X32 models (which is now discontinued) was available in Sightron’s patented Hunter Holdover-2 reticle (more commonly called an HHR-2 reticle).
In 2019, Sightron introduced a new model to the S-TAC series, a 4-20X50 model in the First Focal Plane (FFP) with an illuminated Mil-Hash-4 reticle. I just purchased one, so I’ll be trying to get the review up as soon as I can.
Just to clarify, all the current STAC scope models are SFP (Second Focal Plane) models, with the exception of the two FFP models in 3-26×42 and 4-20×50.
The 2.5-15X56 was an interesting option that was originally offered in the S-TAC series but was discontinued in 2018. This model featured glass that was a little bit better (supposedly from Japan versus the Philippines), along with an illuminated MOA-2 reticle or illuminated 4A reticle.
Apparently, this series had an issue with the illumination that led Sightron to discontinue this model altogether. This was a shame as the 2.5-17X56 models had good glass and good performance. A buddy of mine has one mounted on a 223 bolt rifle, and it’s a great coyote hunting scope. The 2.5X17 models were most much more expensive than the other S-TAC models (and I’m talking 2 to 3 times more), which also probably played a role in their demise.
Based on conversations with several Sightron reps, the 4-20X50 seems to the be top seller from this series, and the MOA-2 reticle (which is a proprietary Sightron design), seems to be an excellent seller as well.
As mentioned before, the S-TAC series scopes are all built on a 30mm tube and feature covered turrets (except for the new FFP models, which have exposed turrets). All models feature side focus, and most will focus all the way down to 10 yards, which is a plus in my book.
The S-TAC models are manufactured in a Sightron-owned facility in the Philippines, which might make some people think twice about the quality. I own 3 of the STAC models, and the truth is, they are very well made. The power adjustments are a little tight at first but will loosen up with time.
The power ring and side focus adjustments have an aggressive styling, so you can use them with gloves or in inclement weather. The power ring also features a pop-up zoom ring lever to make the power adjustments even easier.
All the S-TAC scope models also feature a fast focus eye bell, and use Sightron’s ExacTrack windage and elevation adjustment system. I haven’t encountered any issues with any of the three models I own holding zero or tracking back to zero.
If I had one complaint about the S-TAC models, it’s the fact that Sightron doesn’t mark the side focus knob with any distance marks or labels. They use a kind of vertical hash system with the hashes either increasing or decreasing to show the focus being moved up or down. Personally, I’d much rather have the actual yardage marked on either the knob or along the area when the knob meets the scope body.
Shopping for an S-TAC Scope?
If you’re shopping for a new STAC scope, here are a few deals that I came across from different sources:
Sightron S-TAC 1-4.5×24 with the SR1 Reticle
Introduced in early 2023, this S-TAC optic is a second focal plane LPVO (Low Power Variable Optic) specifically designed for use in various CMP rifle competitions. This model is built on a 30mm tube with a 24mm objective lens.
It’s a specialty scope for very specific uses.
Sightron S-TAC 1-6×24 with the IR AR1 Reticle
Introduced in early 2023, the ATAC 1-6×24 is Sightron’s first LVPO offering in the STAC family built for use on modern sporting rifles (AR-15 platform). While Sightron offers several LVPO optics within other scope families, this model is designed as a mid-priced option.
This model is equipped with Sightron’s proprietary IR AR1 reticle which features 11 illumination settings and BDC marking for shots out to 600 yards.
The early reviews on this model have been very promising.
Sightron S-TAC 3-16X42 SFP
If you’re shopping for a versatile second focal plane scope that can pretty much be used for almost anything, then this Sightron STAC 3-16×42 may be worth consideration.
The 3-16 power range is more than ideal for most types of hunting and shooting needs. This S-TAC model is available in two different reticle options:
If you’re a hunter, then the duplex option is likely your best bet. If you’re punching paper, then I’d look at the MOA-3 reticle, as it’s a better option for that type of shooting, especially at longer distances.
The 30mm tube and 42mm objective let in plenty of light, and the side focus is extremely handy.
Sightron S-TAC 3-16×42 FFP
This is the first focal plane version of the 3-16×42 STAC scope. This model varies from the SFP version as it also includes a zero-stop feature and is available in the following reticle options:
- Mil Hash-5
This optic is best suited to medium to longer distance shooting as the reticle options, and FFP configuration perform well in those scenarios. Note that there’s a noticeable price jump between the SFP and FFP scope models.
Sightron S-TAC 4-20X50 SFP
Another very versatile Sightron scope that can be used for almost any type of shooting or hunting.
The 4-20 power range offers a bit more magnification over the 3-16 series, and the 50mm objective is handy in low light situations.
I would have to say the Sightron STAC 4-20×50 is my current favorite model in the STAC series.
Sightron S-TAC 4-20×50 FFP
This STAC model is a newer first focal plane version of the popular 4-20×50 scope. In addition to being in an FFP configuration (versus SFP on the original 4-20×50 model), this optic is also equipped with a zero-stop feature and is only available in the following FFP-based reticle options:
- Mil Hash-4 IR (Illuminated)
- MOA-3 IR (Illuminated)
This optic is designed for long range shooting or, potentially, some longer range hunting use.
Here are some of the common questions that I’ve seen regarding the Sightron S-TAC series of rifle scopes:
Where are the Sightron S-TAC scopes manufactured?
As mentioned above, all the S-TAC models are manufactured at a Sightron-owned facility in the Philippines.
Will the Sightron S-TAC 3-16 or 4-20 model work on an AR-15 or AR-10 type rifle?
Absolutely. The S-Tac models are ultra versatile, so they can be used for almost anything.
Will one of these S-TAC scopes work for deer hunting?
The short answer is yes. Most of the S-TAC models with either a duplex reticle or the HH-2 reticle work fine for deer or most any other game as well. I would suggest staying away from the MOA-2 reticle for hunting as it nearly disappears in low light. One of my local customers has the S-TAC 3-16 with a duplex reticle on his .270 and absolutely loves it.
Can you tell me more about the Sightron MOA-2 reticle?
The MOA-2 reticle is a proprietary reticle design that Sightron came up with. It features traditional horizontal and vertical crosshairs that are marked in mil-hashes, with a small center non-illuminated dot reticle.
Personally, I really like this reticle for precision shooting, punching paper, long range shooting, etc. Where it’s not a good choice, IMHO opinion, is in the woods for hunting as the reticle is too faint for low light shooting. Now, I will say that I know hunters who run the MOA-2 reticle for long-distance Prairie Dog hunting, and it works fine in that context, as most of the shooting is done during full daylight.
Will these S-TAC models hold up on a rifle with a heavy recoil? Or are they built to withstand heavy recoil?
I’ve seen shooters (and know a few personally) who run a Sightron STAC scope on a 338 Lapua long distance rifle, and it’s held up just fine. And those 338’s are not soft shooters.
I’ve got a few of these mounted on rifles, and they are a good value for the money, IMHO.
I’ve been working in the firearms and sporting optics industry for over 20 years, with a personal and professional interest in all things related to rifle scopes, Through a combination of work experience, formal training, and personal experiences, I have extensive experience mounting, testing, and evaluating different rifle scope models across most major optical brands.