By Dan Kidder
For tactical shooters, 3-gun runners and varmint hunters looking to get more range out of their AR platforms, the Vortex Diamondback Tactical riflescope has the features you need, to reach out there and make rapid adjustments on the fly.
Featuring one of the best warranties in the business, Vortex has made a name for itself for excellent products, great customer service and standing behind every optic they make.
The Diamondback Tactical offers exposed turrets for rapid changes to point of aim/point of impact. These turrets in themselves are feature packed. Most noticeable is the red fiber optic embedded in the top of the windage and elevation turrets for easily returning to zero without lifting your head from the stock. This visual indicator offers the shooter the ability to quickly rotate back to their re-zeroed location or make a full revolution, which equates to 12 MOA of adjustment. With 80 MOA of adjustment, it was necessary to include revolution marks under the turret so you can quickly determine how many revolutions you have made. This scope features the ability to make nine full revolutions, even though the marks only go up to six. This factors in revolutions below 0. Lifting up on the cap and rotating lets you reset your zero mark without moving the POA.
On the windage dial, marks are denoted in left and right, for those moments when you get varmint fever and forget which way to turn to adjust left or right. L1, L2, R1, R2, etc. clearly indicate which direction to turn to shift your aim. Each turn produces a satisfactory click and positive engagement, so there is no guess work if you are counting clicks. Quarter MOA marks between the main numbers make it so you never have a question as to where on the dial the shooter has adjusted. Beefy ribs knurled into the dials give you a positive grip, even with gloves.
The VMR-1 reticle is a great asset for this optic, quickly allowing on-the-fly Kentucky windage and elevation. A coating on reticle causes it to appear black on light surfaces and gold on dark surfaces, so it jumps out against various contrasting backgrounds. The reticle is on the second focal plane, so it won’t increase in size as you zoom in on your target.
The Diamondback Tactical is built in a single piece, one-inch aircraft aluminum tube and is completely sealed against water intrusion. It is nitrogen purged to prevent thermal shock and internal fogging.
The XD glass is XR coated to increase light transmission and decrease reflective glare, giving you an excellent sight picture. The 3.8 inches of eye relief make it a perfect fit for most AR stocks so you can place it a bit farther forward on your rail, leaving you room over your charging handle. The field of view is about what you would expect from a 40MM objective lens, 33.7 feet at 3-power to 11.3 feet at 9-power, at 100 yards.
All in all, for under $400, the Diamondback Tactical 3-9X40 will have you shooting like a designated marksman, no matter the use you put it to and is a great value for all that it packs into its 12-and-a-half-inch tube.
My name is Dan Kidder, I am Managing Editor of Sportsman's News Magazine. I am a former Marine who served with the Fleet Anti Terrorism Security Team Company during Operation Desert Storm. Prior to moving to Utah, I served as communications director for Georgia Congressman Mac Collins in his Washington, DC office. I am the President and CEO of On Target Defensive Training, offering firearms and unarmed combat courses to civilians and law enforcement. My students have included federal agents of the FBI, CIA, Secret Service, Border Patrol, ICE, local and state law enforcement, national celebrities, and the general public. My beat at Sportsman's News includes tactical firearms, personal protection, survival, first aid, camping, and hiking.