Trijicon Tactical Advanced Riflescope (TARS) Review
By Nicholas Gebhardt
"Impressive" was the first word that went through my mind as I opened a cardboard box that contained the new Trijicon Tactical Advanced Riflescope (TARS) scope. What I saw inside was not expected, a very nice plastic case with the Trijicon name and logo. Every other scope I've ever seen came packaged in a cardboard box with the company logo and various forms of foam padding to cradle the scope. The Trijicon Tactical Advanced Riflescope (TARS)however, had a dedicated hardside case and custom cut foam for the scope, sunshade, and lens pen with the battery and literature tucked neatly inside. Again, impressive, right out of the box! Then the question, would this new Trijicon product continue to impress as I conducted a thorough evaluation and testing?
Case containing the Trijicon TARS
TARS as it comes from the factory
Founded in 1981, Trijicon has earned an enviable reputation for building some of the most robust and reliable combat optics in the world today. Trijicon first had some of their products included in the U.S. Army Advanced Combat Rifle Program in 1987 and their products first saw service in Operation Just Cause in Panama in 1989. Their highly regarded Advanced Combat Optical Gunsight, or ACOG for short, was adopted by the U.S. Special Forces for the M4 carbine in 1995 and officially adopted by the Marine Corp. in 2004 as their Rifle Combat Optic (RCO). The ACOG has been their flagship rifle optic for several years and is the choice optic for military personnel and those marksmen desiring a battle proven sight for their firearms. That optic is typically seen on military style rifles and is generally employed as a close to medium range engagement sight. Trijicon expanded their line of optics in 1998 to include some variable power riflescopes which have been quite successful, called the AccuPoint line. In 2012 Trijicon further expanded their optical lineage to include a riflescope meant for high power cartridges normally seen in precision bolt action rifles, and one that is built to withstand military use and abuse.
The Tactical Advanced Riflescope (TARS) was purposely designed to be the most rugged riflescope in the world but not give up anything optically nor with the adjustment mechanisms. This was a very tall order to fulfill as there are now an abundance of high quality riflescopes that have been filling a military role for several years. Even though this may be the case, Trijicon felt there was room for improvement and they set out to build their version of what a military grade riflescope should be while drawing on the knowledge gained from their extensive experience.
The Trijicon TARS Riflescope is built with a 34mm main tube, has a 50mm objective, and magnification range of 3-15X which provides an exit pupil of 16.6mm (3x) to 3.3mm (15X). The eye relief is stated to be 3.3 inches in the literature and seemed to be exact with my eyes with a full field of view. The specific scope I received for review had ¼ Minute of Angle (MOA) adjustments with an MOA based reticle although an mRAD version with mRAD based reticle is also available. Each TARS scope has a very nice dull matte black anodize that is perfectly suited for a tactical grade optic. The main tube is thicker than what might normally be done in order to enhance the robustness of the scope and prevent any problems from users over tightening the scope rings. This additional thickness is part of the increased weight of the scope. The scope is also proudly marked, "Made in USA."
Trijicon has included some excellent Tenebraex lens covers which I found to be of much higher quality that the Butler Creek variety I have typically employed on my personal optics. The covers seem to be partially composed of rubber and have a very unique feature. While the lens covers are on the scope, they can be rotated to any position the user desires and there are detents built in that keep the cover in the position it is set. I found these covers to be a very nice addition to this optic.
Total package of the scope, three inch sunshade, and lens covers comes in at 50 ounces with a total length of 16.75 inches. This is a very compact and also heavy riflescope and not meant for an extremely light weight rifle although I don't think the scope would care either way. Finally, these scopes are currently selling for around $3,400.00 depending on where a person does their shopping.