Nightforce SHV vs. Vortex PST Comparison (2024 Review)

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What’s the difference between the Nightforce SHV and Vortex PST?

I wanted to find out, so I bought both rifle scopes and hand-tested everything:

  • Reticle
  • Durability
  • Field of view
  • And so much more

By the end of this Nightforce SHV vs Vortex PST comparison review, you’ll know which scope is best for you.

Let’s get started!

Quick Comparison Table

FeaturesNightforce SHVVortex PST
MOA90160
Magnification4-14x1-6x
Eye relief3.1 in3.8 in
Reticle typeMOARVMR-2
Illuminated?yesyes
Weight30.0 oz22.7 oz
Length14.8 in.11 in.

Nightforce SHV vs. Vortex PST Review

I am a big fan of Vortex scopes (I’ve reviewed all of them from the Vortex Diamondback 4-12×40 to the HST and PST) and decided to find out if they can hold up against arguably the best scope on the market, the Nightforce SHV. This article will include my findings from this test, what I think about each scope, and hopefully, help you decide which one might suit you better.

Nightforce scopes are well known for their high-quality build, exceptional coatings, world record accuracy, and recoil-free turrets. They have some of the best glass on the market, but many more impressive scopes are out there. The Nightforce is one of the most sought-after scopes in all types of shooting situations by people with different needs. It excels at long-range shooting and makes an excellent tactical scope due to its low profile and large crosshair.

The Vortex PST (Precision Target Turret) has been made in the USA specifically for Vortex. The PST is a setup that gives you the feel of a good factory scope but at an affordable price tag. The PST is built like a beast and is much more sturdy than other entry-level scopes like the Nikon Prostaff, VX-R, and Bushnell Elite Tactical models.

Interested in other models? Take a look at a couple of my Leupold Scopes reviews and Leupold Rifleman 4-12×40.

Glass Clarity & Reticle

Glass clarity is very subjective regarding rifle scopes, and it boils down to personal preference. However, there were differences between these two scopes that I will point out.

The glass clarity on both scopes seems quite excellent when viewing through them for the first time. They both can quickly bring the object into view with minimal fog, although the Vortex PST’s FOV was more extensive than the Nightforce, which had a narrower FOV due to its higher magnification. That being said, despite being slightly better in terms of FOV, I felt that both scopes performed equally well during field use.

The Vortex PST reticle is much more complex than the Nightforce, with only six brightness settings. This complexity requires more time to set up, but I can get a lot more out of it in the long run. The Vortex PST reticle costs approximately $130 more than the Nightforce, so there’s a price difference.

Eye Relief & Eye Box

Eye relief on these scopes is an essential feature when it comes to accurate shooting. If a scope does not have enough eye relief, you will be at a disadvantage in a competition or a hunting situation.

The eye relief on the Vortex PST was substantially better than that of the Nightforce SHV. I felt that I could get about an extra 1″ of eye relief out of the PST, which is very significant considering most riflescopes only have around 3.5-4″. As mentioned previously, both scopes had adequate eye boxes for shooting with both eyes open, and my smaller sighting plane did not inhibit my ability to make precise shots at any given distance during field use.

Durability & Weight

Durability and weight are two features that you always want to be aware of in scope, especially if you’re going to be shooting in a tactical situation or if you’re going to be shooting long-range with your rifle. Bringing any unnecessary weight with you during a hunt is just as bad as not having the durability to withstand the elements.

The Vortex PST is lighter than the Nightforce. The Nightforce SHV is one tough mofo, though. The mount is made from magnesium alloy material and weighs around 6 pounds with the scope attached. However, both of these scopes were designed for durability and can withstand a lot of abuse. Although I didn’t drop-test them from any significant distance, I was able to handle both scopes without worrying about damaging them from my mishandling.

Windage, Elevation & Brightness Knob

The windage and elevation knob on a rifle scope is crucial to performing well in the field. In most situations, you want to be able to make your adjustments as quickly as possible, without having to worry about whether or not the knob being used has been damaged from dropping it or from being handled by someone with large hands. As a result, both scopes had good windage and elevation knobs that were easy to operate throughout my testing. I made any necessary adjustments on both scopes without any problems after getting used to their positioning.

The brightness knob on this PST (Precision Shooting Tactical) reticle has ten different brightness settings, each 1/2 MOA apart.

Mounting

The Vortex PST is mounted to my riflescope with a AT3 riser…

AT3 Tactical PRO-Mount Red Dot Riser Mount - .83 or 1 Inch Height -...
  • CHOOSE YOUR MOUNT - .83" Riser for Absolute Cowitness, and 1.0" Riser for Lower 1/3 Cowitness
  • CANTILEVER DESIGN - The angled, single-rail mount keeps the red dot forward for fast target acquisition
  • LIGHT WEIGHT - At only 1.1 oz, this is one of the lightest red dot risers out there!

…whereas the Nightforce SHV is mounted to my rifle using a 1.5″ X-Treme Duty Ultralite Unimount, also known as the B&L Utica 6-24×50mm Rifle Scope Turret Mount.

Nightforce X-Treme Duty Ultralite Unimount Lightweight Picatinny Style...
  • X-TREME DUTY ULTRALITE UNIMOUNT - Nightforce Ultralite Unimount scope mount with 34mm rings is a tough, reliable mounting system that doesn't add substantial weight; It is designed to remain attached...
  • UNIQUE DESIGN - This scope mount is a versatile and durable piece that is made using CNC machined 7075-T6 hard anodized aluminum for the body and titanium beta series for crossbolts and jaws; This...
  • RELIABLE SECURE HOLD - This scope mount with 4-crew 34 mm rings to hold your valuable optic strong no matter what situations you are faced with; Precise tolerances ensure that the scope is not...

Despite only having the option for one adapter, I feel that this option was more than adequate for holding the heavy weight of both scopes without any problems. When mounted, each scope’s position also plays a significant role in how well they perform in game-type situations. Still need help? Watch this video:

If you need the sight removed altogether, check out my article on how to remove an AR-15 AR2 front sight.

Price

If you’re looking to save a little bit of money or want a scope that will provide you the same features at the cost of a less expensive option, then definitely look into getting a PST.

The Vortex PST is currently being sold for $927, while the Nightforce SHV is sold for $1,500.

NIGHTFORCE SHV 5-20x56mm Zeroset .250 MOA Scope MOAR/Forceplex Reticle
  • NIGHTFORCE SHV 5-20x56 - The most powerful of our SHV series performs beautifully at both close and extended ranges on varmints, big game, and for making tight groups on paper SPECS - It features a...
  • WHAT'S IN THE BOX - Rubber Lens Covers, Cleaning Fob/ Cleaning Cloth, Owners Manual, Other Tools (Loose Allen Keys, etc)
  • RETICLES - SHV 5-20x56 Scope is available with Forceplex and MOAR - 20 MOA - Center Illumination. This Scope delivers outstanding clarity, crispness and color contrast at every magnification setting

The price difference between these two scopes is substantial and can make all the difference when deciding which rifle scope to purchase.

Nightforce SHV vs. Vortex PST: Which Riflescope is Better?

The Vortex PST is a great scope, and one that I honestly don’t think can be beaten by any other scope at this price point. The Nightforce SHV is a great scope as well, but the price difference is considerable. Both scopes did a phenomenal job at holding up during my field tests and did not fail me in any way throughout the testing process. If you’re a hunter or tactical shooter looking to spend around $1,000 on a riflescope, then you really can’t go wrong with either of these options.

If price isn’t a factor for you and you’re willing to spend more money on quality glass without having to sacrifice anything else, then get the Nightforce SHV.

NIGHTFORCE SHV 5-20x56mm Zeroset .250 MOA Scope MOAR/Forceplex Reticle
  • NIGHTFORCE SHV 5-20x56 - The most powerful of our SHV series performs beautifully at both close and extended ranges on varmints, big game, and for making tight groups on paper SPECS - It features a...
  • WHAT'S IN THE BOX - Rubber Lens Covers, Cleaning Fob/ Cleaning Cloth, Owners Manual, Other Tools (Loose Allen Keys, etc)
  • RETICLES - SHV 5-20x56 Scope is available with Forceplex and MOAR - 20 MOA - Center Illumination. This Scope delivers outstanding clarity, crispness and color contrast at every magnification setting

Now I’d like to hear from you:

Which riflescope do you prefer? The Nightforce SHV or Vortex PST? Let me know in the comments down below. Also, check out some of my other reviews, such as my ATN-X sight review and my Bushnell Banner review.

3 thoughts on “Nightforce SHV vs. Vortex PST Comparison (2024 Review)”

  1. Hi shipping for a quality clear optic scope scope have nerve damage in my eye from welding 35 years ago clarity is really important .I have a Leupold vx3 and a vortex .They are similar but the reticle in the Leupold tmr is to thin for me in the middle of it was thicker and larger it would make a difference .* Have never owned a night force or seen one here were I live .I looked through a Leupold 5 hd much more clearer than the vx3 and the vortex .I am hoping the atacr night force will work for me so I am thinking of getting one to try .I liked your article because dollars do count when it comes to pitting a sizable investment in a scope and I like u do like to save a dollar.I hope the night force works out found a used one at a good price waiting for it to come in .Enjoyed your article thanks

    Reply
  2. Great question Gilbert, unfortunately it’s a catch 22 type question.
    Every shooter along with body build, years of experience and abuse on our bodies up to include the platform you are going to shoot and all those variables to go with is still not going to give you a clear cut answer that you maybe looking for, as stated it’s going to be different for everyone.
    I could give you stats on all calibers and platforms till the cows come home. Though age is a major factor along with what we’ve put ourselves through up to include alcohol (if you may or may not consume)…no disrespect meant in anyway…lastly when you mount the platform…..what looks better through your eyes……
    Honestly…..I think that’s the best answer one could provide for you. Over look all the other factors that will come into play…….which one do you think looks better for you after mounting the platform.
    Best of luck, I hope this helps.
    Remember as I say to all,
    Knowledge is power…please becare, watch your six….always shoot straight.

    Reply

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