For tactical and target shooting needs, the Hardline Pro has scope attributes that are not only wanted but are must-haves.
The Crimson Trace Hardline Pro 4-16x50 has tried and tested optical and mechanical integrity. It features an FFP, illuminated, daylight bright reticle, Zero Stop, and tough aerospace grade 30mm tube.
I tested out the Hardline Pro up, close, and personal and out to 750 yards. Here’s my hands-on take of the CT (Crimson Trace) tactical-style scope with a great reticle, great adjustments, and great light.
What We Like: MR1-MIL reticle
What We Don’t Like: No included throw lever
Best Uses: Mid to Long-Range, AR-15/AR-10, Light to Heavy Caliber Rifles, Competition Shooting, Precision Shooting, Target Shooting, Law Enforcement, FFP Reticle, Illumination
- Magnification: 4-16x
- Objective Diameter: 50mm
- Coatings: FMC
- FOV: 28.5-7.2 ft
- Eye Relief: 3.6-4”
- Adjustments: 0.1 MIL
- Dimensions: 3.7 x 3.1 x 14.8”/25.4 oz
Our Verdict: The tactical Hardline Pro is an underrated scope with 4-16x magnification and big optical and mechanical advantages. If you specifically need this type of magnifying power, it’s the winning scope for a gas gun or bolt gun.
How Does the Crimson Trace Hardline Pro 4-16x50 Perform?
Overall, the Crimson Trace Hardline Pro has high-quality glass that shows edge-to-edge clarity, great color fidelity, and a lot of light transmission. The light transmittance rate is 90%, and with a large objective lens of 50mm, it’s bright and allows for a lot of lowlight capability.
I had it mounted to an M1A and shot out to 750 yards. The gun didn’t do it justice, but you can take it out to 1000 yards.
Packaging is really nice, and if CT wanted to make a good first impression, there you go. It came with the tools needed for adjustment setting, zero stop, a sunshade, and user manual. It’s 14.8” long without the sunshade, but since it came with one, I’m going to put it on there. Besides, it looks better with it on.
It has a decent eye box at 4x magnification, and eye relief is at least the advertised length of 3.6-4”. For the amount of magnification and 30mm tube it offers, it has a decent weight of 25.4 oz, so it’s on the more compact side of things for a scope of its type.
This scope is destined for a permanent spot on a shorter barrel 308 bolt action rifle. It’s a high-quality tactical scope with crisp, tactile adjustments, daylight bright illumination, and MR1 reticle that will do well for many training and shooting needs.
Who is the Crimson Trace Hardline Pro 4-16x50 Best Suited to?
It would be a great scope for a DMR-style rifle for shooting out to around 750 yards. It’s not so great for PRS matches only because it maxes out in magnification at 16x when it’s ideal to sit in magnifications where you’re not optically maxed out. You can get by, but you can also check out the 6-24x model for more power. But the 4-16x would be great option for rimfire PRS matches.
Could it be used for hunting? It could as it’s tough and built to handle the abuse of the brush, but the exposed turrets could be an issue. The CT Brushline 4-16x would be the better option for the hunter.
Features & Benefits
The CT Hardline Pro has the MR1-MIL reticle with 8 mils on each side of the center dot. It’s straightforward, clean, and easy to follow. The reticle is easy to see at low magnification of 4x, and along the windage crosshair, reference markings are in 0.2 mils for accurate holdovers.
Some may not like that it doesn’t have a Christmas Tree style design – to each their own. I dial in everything for elevation and hold for wind, so the unconvoluted design works perfectly for me.
Illuminated FFP Reticle
An FFP reticle is an absolute must-have for sniper shooting, PRS matches, target shooting, really any sort of tactical scope. You really do need an FFP riflescope if you’re planning on using all the magnifications between minimum and max, and this is especially true for when you’re shooting at various targets at different distances quite often.
Even though it can get some range with 4-16x magnification, it can also be used as a close-quarter scope for when you need it. With the illumination up, you can keep both eyes open while the non-dominant eye focuses on the target and the eye looking through the scope superimposes the illuminated reticle onto the target.
You can’t do that with a scope that lacks a daylight bright reticle or reticle that’s simple and easy enough to follow in quick transitions.
I like that Crimson Trace follows the trend of having incremental ‘off’ positions between the 1-10 brightness settings. I’m a big fan of that – just makes things a whole lot easier. Setting 9 is daylight bright in very bright conditions, and I’m impressed with it.
You have 0.1 mil clicks with 10 mils in each revolution and a total of 25 mils of travel. Adjustments are firm and tactile as you would expect them to be. You can hear ‘em and feel ‘em – zero mushiness.
While the turrets are exposed, they’re not oversized. The markings and knobs themselves are easy enough to see and grab, but I could benefit from the turrets being bigger in size. The tube could be larger at 34mm, but it could add to size and weight, so it’s a compromise.
With the zero stop, you can dial in as much as needed and never get lost since you can dial back down and hit your zero. This is a must-have feature with exposed turrets. Instructions to set it up are straightforward and included in the user manual.
I like that the parallax focus starts from 50 yards and has minimal markings before 100 yards, i.e., 50, 60, 75, 100 and then up. It has good resistance with a sweet spot between smooth and hard, so it won’t easily be nudged out of place but isn’t difficult to move either.
The Hardline Pro is constructed out of aluminum and made in the Philippines. The power ring has some nice knurling to it that won’t tear your hands up when you’re using it without gloves – not overly aggressive but effective.
Crimson Trace goes all out to test its build integrity. Their scopes are quality tested according to stress and durability tests outlined by MIL-STD-810G protocols.
It’s completely immersion-proof, meaning that it’s O-ring sealed for protection against water, rain, submersion. It’s fogproof having been nitrogen-purged, and in that sense, it’s also been tested to withstand extreme temperatures and thermal cycling.
It’s protected against shocks, vibrations, transportation bumps and humps, and basically, it’s ready to be used. If something goes wrong, you’re covered by the lifetime warranty.
No Included Throw Lever
The CT Hardline Pro comes with a magnification ring that looks to be machined to take a throw lever, but no throw lever is included with the scope. Unfortunately, it’s unclear as to when Crimson Trace will manufacture throw levers for the new scopes.
It’s really a personal decision on whether or not you want to use a throw lever, so it’s not a direct flaw of the scope. But this is a limitation if you expect to have this convenience out of the box.
The Hardline Pro riflescope is covered under the Crimson Trace Full Lifetime Warranty. No receipt, warranty, or product registration is required. The electronic components in the scope are also covered under the warranty.
The Crimson Trace Hardline Pro 4-16x50 riflescope, including all scopes within the Hardline Pro series, has a 30mm tube. 30mm scope rings will be required to mount the scope and must be purchased separately.
The Hardline series are tactical scopes with exposed turrets, SFP, FFP, MIL, MOA, and illuminated reticle options. The Brushline scope series are geared towards hunters with capped turrets and calibrated reticles. The “Pro” designation indicates the premium series over the non-Pro standard series.
Over the last few years, Crimson Trace has delivered both tactical-style and hunting rifle scopes in various platforms at competitive prices. Following the trend of the best optics manufacturers, CT also offers a Lifetime Warranty to back the quality of their products.
It might not have the 34mm tube, the throw lever, or the fatter turrets that I really like, but the compromises are reasonable for a lightweight, bright, and accurate scope that can be used for professional applications.
The daylight bright reticle – you just don’t see enough of that. The MIL-variant reticle is easy to use and uncluttered. It has a warranty that matches even the best warranties out there.
Throw this on an ESU sniper gun, DMR, or an SPR-style .556 and you are good to go.
Bill lives & breaths guns, optics and all things shooting. Starting out at a young age & then joining the army Bill has gone from shooting guns to building them and making his own ammo. He recently started competing in PRS and is looking to grow as a shooter, handloader, competitor, evaluator and writer. Check out more of Bill’s videos and Images on his Instagram & YouTube.