Vortex HST vs. PST [2020 Hands-On Review]

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The Vortex HST and PST is only a $100 – $200 difference.

So you might be wondering:

Is the PST worth the extra money?

By the end of this Vortex HST vs. PST review, you’ll know which riflescope is best for you. 

Let’s dive in!

Viper HST 4-16×44 Riflescope 

The HST stands for Hunting Shooting Tactical.

Which means, it’s a versatile scope that works in multiple settings from hunting to long range tactical shooting.

In fact, this model combines the best features from the Viper HS and the PST scopes. But is it better than the PST?

Keep reading to find out…


The Viper HST is durable.

Made from aircraft-grade aluminum, the HST is made for the field, whether that’s hunting big game or tossed into a gear bag on the range.

The anodized matte black tube is argon purged for fog-resistance. 

Viper HST 4-16×44 Riflescope Overview

It maintains clarity with magnification out to 1200 yards.

In fact, the Viper uses an additional XR coating that provides extra protection and enhanced light gathering capabilities. 

Viper HST 4-16×44 Riflescope Lens

The HST also has magnification versatility with its 4x zoom. There’s an easy adjustment focal ring on the eyepiece to set the reticle to your eye.

Viper HST 4-16×44 Riflescope Focal Adjustment

The reticle is hashmarked and located in the second focal plane. It’s uncluttered, easy and precise.

The HST also has a side focus parallax adjustment for easy adjustments in the shooter position.

Viper HST 4-16x44 Riflescope

Using the parallax adjustment, you can enjoy a more forgiving eyebox and varied eye position in the scope.

This, combined with four whopping inches of eye relief, extends the eye box of both the HS and PST scopes. 

The hashmark SFP reticle is easy to use but isn’t illuminated so the scope may not work for all shooters in low-light situations.

Viper HST 4-16×44 Riflescope Reticle

However, if you’re looking for an illuminated reticle, the PST is for you. Also, the Athlon Argos BTR riflescope is a great alternative.

The exposed turrets have reliable tracking, and the clicks are both tactile and audible.

Viper HST 4-16×44 Riflescope Windage and Elevation

The HST comes with either MRAD or MOA adjustments, so you can pick whichever system you prefer.

Viper HST 4-16×44 Riflescope MOA adjustment

One of the key features of this scope is the CRS-Zero Stop, which lets you quickly and accurately return to zero after temporary elevation corrections on the scope.   

Viper HST 4-16×44 Riflescope Zero Stop

Overall, the scope has a simple and effective design that works well in a wide variety of shooting applications.

The turrets feel high quality, are easy to use and read, but are also bulky on the scope, compromising the profile.

Viper HST 4-16×44 Riflescope Turret

In short:

The HST scope is ideal for target shooting and works well for big game hunting and varmint hunting.

Pros:

  • Audible turrets
  • Lifetime warranty
  • Solid construction
  • Side Parallax knob
  • Easy-to-use reticle
  • Reliable turret tracking  

Cons:

  • Large Turrets
  • Reticle isn’t illuminated
  • Slight distortion at highest magnification
Vortex Optics Viper HS-T 4-16X44 VMR-1 MOA
452 Reviews
Vortex Optics Viper HS-T 4-16X44 VMR-1 MOA
  • The Viper HS-T 4-16x44 is one of multiple configurations in the Viper HS-T (Hunting & Shooting Tactical) line. VMR-1 Reticle (MOA) is perfect for accurate holds at extended ranges.
  • Incorporating our premium, fully multi-coated, extra-low dispersion lenses brings excellent resolution and color fidelity. The XR coatings provide enhanced light gathering capability while Armortek...
  • The exposed target-style turrets are constructed for precise and repeatable finger-adjustable clicks. A CRS Zero Stop allows for reliable return to zero capability after dialing temporary elevation...

Viper PST Gen II 3-15×44 Riflescope 

The Gen II is significantly better than the Gen I.

Better glass. Larger eye box (and eye relief). More durable.

But is it better than the HST?

Let’s find out…


The lenses are fully multi-coated with an additional Armortek coating. It’s also coated with extra-low dispersion glass.

Viper PST Gen II 3-15x44 Riflescope Overview

Which means increased resolution, greater color fidelity (even at high magnification), and protection from scratches.

The best part?

If you shoot in sunny conditions, it’s your lucky day because…the scope comes with a sunshade to reduce glare.  

Moving beyond the glass, we’re met with a FFP (or SFP), illuminated reticle.

Viper PST Gen II 3-15×44 Riflescope Reticle

In case you’re wondering which reticle to choose, here’s the general guideline:

If you’re into long-range or competitive shooting, choose a FFP reticle.

Otherwise, stick with a SFP. It’s cheaper, easier and remains easy-to-see at all magnifications.

Viper PST Gen II 3-15x44 Riflescope Reticle 2

Targeting is easy in low-light situations because of the illuminated reticle with 10 power settings.

In between each power setting there’s an off position, so it’s easy to conserve battery power and return to the light setting for fast targeting in the field.

Viper PST Gen II 3-15×44 Riflescope Battery

It’s an ideal scope for low-light, and can outperform some higher-end models in dim light. The Strike Eagle and Primary Arms are great riflescopes as well.   

The textured turrets are easy for finger-turning, and the laser etching makes it easy to visualize adjustments.

Viper PST Gen II 3-15x44 Riflescope Texturized Turret

The scopes comes with either MOA or MRAD clicks. The clicks are both audible and tactile.

Viper PST Gen II 3-15x44 Riflescope Windage and Elevation

Even better is the RZR zero stop. This feature allows you to return to zero quickly and precisely after temporary windage and elevation adjustments.

Viper PST Gen II 3-15×44 Riflescope Zero Stop

In addition, the fiber optic rotation indicator helps you keep track of their turret position with ease.  

Viper PST Gen II 3-15×44 Riflescope Fiber Optic Indicator

The PST comes with a side adjustable parallax for placing the reticle and the target on the same focal plane.

Viper PST Gen II 3-15x44 Riflescope

While it may take additional time to get the parallax reset for different target distances, it forgives cheek wiggle & position movement within the eye box.  

Pros

  • Crisp clarity
  • Textured turrets
  • Illuminated reticle
  • Side parallax knob
  • Lifetime warranty
Vortex Optics Viper PST Gen II 3-15x44 FFP Riflescope EBR-2C MOA
276 Reviews
Vortex Optics Viper PST Gen II 3-15x44 FFP Riflescope EBR-2C MOA
  • The Viper PST Gen II takes incredible performance and rock solid features to new heights. The 3-15x44 first focal plane riflescope is incredibly versatile and ideal for close to long range shooting...
  • Shooters who dial their turrets for bullet drop and wind compensation will appreciate the laser etched turrets, adjustable parallax and the RZR zero stop. A fiber optic rotation indicator ensures you...
  • The reticle offers shooters highly functional, intuitive, and detailed hold points, yet remains uncluttered for optimal viewing and features 10 intensity levels with off positions between each...

Which is Better Viper HST or PST?

With prices within a hundred dollars of each other, cost isn’t a consideration when comparing the HST and PST scopes.

They both have exposed turrets with reliable tracking, and side parallax adjustment. And both have high quality glasses with sharp clarity. 

Vortex HST vs. PST

However, there are two main differences between the scopes:

First is weight. The Viper PST weighs 28.1 oz while the Viper HST weighs only 20.8 oz. 

Second is reticle. The PST comes in either FFP or SFP reticle, while the HST only uses a second focal plane reticle. Since SFP requires math, you may prefer the ease of adjustment from an FFP scope.

Not to mention, the HST doesn’t come with illumination. This could be a bit difficult to get a clear image if you’re shooing in low-light conditions.

In short:

Get the Vortex PST if you intend on shooting in low-light conditions and prefer a first focal plane reticle:

Vortex Optics Viper PST Gen II 3-15x44 FFP Riflescope EBR-2C MOA
276 Reviews
Vortex Optics Viper PST Gen II 3-15x44 FFP Riflescope EBR-2C MOA
  • The Viper PST Gen II takes incredible performance and rock solid features to new heights. The 3-15x44 first focal plane riflescope is incredibly versatile and ideal for close to long range shooting...
  • Shooters who dial their turrets for bullet drop and wind compensation will appreciate the laser etched turrets, adjustable parallax and the RZR zero stop. A fiber optic rotation indicator ensures you...
  • The reticle offers shooters highly functional, intuitive, and detailed hold points, yet remains uncluttered for optimal viewing and features 10 intensity levels with off positions between each...

However, if you don’t need illumination and don’t mind a SFP reticle, save the extra bucks and opt-in for the Vortex HST:

Vortex Optics Viper HS-T 4-16X44 VMR-1 MOA
452 Reviews
Vortex Optics Viper HS-T 4-16X44 VMR-1 MOA
  • The Viper HS-T 4-16x44 is one of multiple configurations in the Viper HS-T (Hunting & Shooting Tactical) line. VMR-1 Reticle (MOA) is perfect for accurate holds at extended ranges.
  • Incorporating our premium, fully multi-coated, extra-low dispersion lenses brings excellent resolution and color fidelity. The XR coatings provide enhanced light gathering capability while Armortek...
  • The exposed target-style turrets are constructed for precise and repeatable finger-adjustable clicks. A CRS Zero Stop allows for reliable return to zero capability after dialing temporary elevation...

At the end of the day:

They’re both solid scopes with solid warranty.

So if anything happens to the scope, you’re fully covered by Vortex’s VIP Lifetime warranty.

If you have any questions or concerns about this Vortex HST vs. PST review, let me know in the comments down below. 

Lastly, if you’re interested in holographic sights, check out this guide comparing The Huey and Eotech 512.

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