Trijicon Tactical Advanced Riflescope (TARS) Review
Left to right: Trijicon TARS, Steiner, Nightforce, Leupold
I contacted Glen Seekins, owner of Seekins Precision, to inquire about receiving some 34mm rings to mount this scope. I've known Glen for several years and he was as generous as always, directing his staff to send me a couple sets of rings for this evaluation. I like to keep my rifle scopes mounted as low as possible and the Seekins rings have always given me the best mounting solution to meet this goal. The rings I received were a set each of low and high 34mm. I started off with trying the low rings but quickly found out that while the low rings provided the lowest possible mounting, I would be unable to keep the Tenebraex lens covers on the scope objective. There was only enough clearance between the scope base on the rifle action and turret housing of the TARS to fit the thickness of about two standard playing cards. Since I really like these lens covers and this isn't my own personal scope, I switched over to the Seekins high 34mm rings. These were a perfect height allowing me to keep the scope very low to the bore and also just enough clearance to fit the lens cover on the objective although with it placed on so it opened to the side. The rifle being used to test this scope has a Krieger MTU contour barrel and has a built in 20 MOA scope base, so a barrel of much smaller diameter might allow the low height rings to be used. I'd still recommend the Seekins high rings if the included lens covers are to be utilized with a barrel diameter larger than a sporter weight.
TARS sitting in low Seekins 34mm rings
TARS sitting in high Seekins 34mm rings with objective lens cover in place
The elevation and windage turrets on the TARS have a locking feature incorporated into the top of the turret itself, which pulls out to unlock and pushes back down to lock the turret. The lock feature can be set no matter what adjustment is dialed onto the elevation or windage turret. Of particular note, the sliding lock feature has a very good seal as air can be heard exiting around the locking collar when it is being pushed back down into the lock position. Etching is exposed as the sliding lock collar is pulled out that states "unlocked" and "up" with a direction arrow. The Elevation knob also has a zero-stop mechanism which the user can set after establishing a zero at any distance. This is an absolute zero stop meaning that once set, the turret can't be dialed below this setting. Both turrets have 30 MOA of adjustment per revolution with turn indicators located below the turret sleeve so that the lines are exposed as more elevation or right windage is added. This is fairly typical arrangement and one that most shooters are familiar and comfortable with. A total of 150 MOA of elevation and 120 MOA of windage are available giving the user plenty of adjustment to establish a zero and ability to shoot at the furthest reaches of their weapon system.
One revolution up from the very bottom of turret travel, locking collar pulled up
Elevation turret centered and locking collar in the "lock" position
Feel of the turret clicks is a fairly important design criteria for a scope meant for heavy, tactical, or even recreational use. Shooters appreciate a positive feel when making adjustments so there isn't any confusion if an adjustment has been made. The turret clicks on the TARS are as such, nice and crisp with a snappy feel. They also provide a nice subtle audible cue that an adjustment has been placed on the scope. The click spacing is pretty close however, but dialing only one click is easily accomplished. The turret lines align perfectly with the index line beneath the turret sleeve as they should.
The windage turret is in the same configuration as the elevation, but numbered differently. There is a total of 30 MOA of adjustment per revolution on the windage turret but the numbers increase in both the right and left direction to a maximum of 15 MOA, after which the numbers would begin decreasing if the turret were to continue to be turned. This lends the possibility of dialing on 16 MOA of right wind adjustment but a simple glance at the turret could be perceived as 14 MOA of left adjustment. If the shooter is well-versed in their equipment, this shouldn't pose a problem as they would know which revolution index line should be visible for their established zero.
The parallax knob on the TARS rotates nearly one full turn from the minimum parallax setting of 40 yards to infinity. The only indications given on the parallax knob are at the 40 yard setting, infinity indication, and multiple hash marks in between. The knob is fairly stiff but smooth in operation.
The lenses are fully multi-coated according to the literature provided with the scope, and are given a water repellant hydrophobic coating to aid in shedding moisture from the lenses in inclement weather. I can attest to the fact that most of the water is shed from the lens surfaces after removing the scope from a bathtub of cold water. The reticle is located in the first focal plane (FFP) which means that the reticle subtensions will remain true at any magnification setting the user may set. I've grown to prefer this type of reticle placement as long as the reticle design is well executed for line thickness. The problem with FFP reticles is that at higher power, the reticle can appear to be very thick and cover too much of the target, which is detrimental to precision. Trijicon however has what I feel is about perfect for line thickness; the reticle can be seen at low magnification yet doesn't seem too thick while at 15X, allowing very precise aiming and shot placement. In reality, the reticle of an FFP scope covers the same amount of the target no matter what magnification setting, it is just more obvious at the higher power.
The MOA reticle with this scope seems to be very well executed for field precision shooting. The center crosshair portion is detached from the outer crosshairs, is the only illuminated portion, and measures 2 MOA providing 1 MOA on each side of center. There is a 1 MOA gap around the center section after which the primary crosshairs continue which have hash marks every 1 MOA, with numbering at the 10, 20, and 30 MOA hashes on the lower vertical portion. The horizontal bars have the 10 MOA hash numbered on each side of center. Trijicon has also placed windage dots extending down and out on each side of center. Utilizing this reticle should be simple enough after an afternoon of familiarization and using it for hold-over and holding for wind conditions.
MOA reticle in the TARS scope