• Sightmark Citadel 3-18x50 LR2

Sightmark Citadel 3-18x50 LR2

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Sightmark Citadel 3-18x50 LR2

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The Sightmark Citadel 3-18x50 riflescope with LR2 reticle disproves the saying that a good riflescope should cost at least as much as the gun it is mounted on. Times change, quality and prices too

With the Sightmark Citadel 3-18x50 LR2 rifle scope, in this case equipped with the LR2 “chirstmas tree” MIL reticle, american rifle scope manufacturer Sightmark proves that rifle scopes are no longer limited to the choice between extra-expensive military models and cheap chinese stuff so dubiously made that they didn’t even make the effort of a brand on it.


Designed in the USA and built in the Philippines (one of the major optics manufacturing countries in the world), these are scopes that do not just offer excellent value for the money, but are very well made, solid shooting impements with quality glass and reliable, consistent mechanics.

The Glass

Sightmark Citadel 3-18x50 LR2

When dealing with something you’ll have to intently look through for a lot of time, like a rifle scope, optical quality is paramount.


I will not delve into all the minutiae of optical aberrations and defects in a rifle scope that can give the shooter a headache, simply because there is no need to do it: they aren’t here, not in a discernible amount anyway.


Not only the Citadel 3-18x50 presents a very high quality, crystal clear image, devoid of perceptible defects, but it’s also very crisp. Even in heavy mirage, which causes proportionally more problems in optics with low definition, the image remains sharp enough to easily spot holes in the target at 100 meters.


With its 50mm objective lens the Citadel 3-18x50 has excellent light gathering capabilities, helped by high quality surface coatings, more than adequate to provide a good exit pupil within most of the 3-18 magnification range. 


Exit pupil at maximum magnification is 2,7 mm, which is still more than a human pupil in bright light and, while on the one hand in dimmer conditions the image is not as bright as at lower magnifications, on the other the small sized exit pupil helps the shooter to maintain a consistent head position, minimizing parallax errors even in case of incorrect parallax compensation (there are manufacturers who have been explicitly asked to keep a tight exit pupil by governmental clients specifically for this purpose).

Sightmark Citadel 3-18x50 LR2
Sightmark Citadel 3-18x50 LR2

The Reticle

Sightmark Citadel 3-18x50 LR2

The Sightmark LR2 is a MIL “christmas tree” reticle, very finely etched, which gives clear references without excessive cluttering of the sight picture (although no christmas tree reticle will ever be as simple and clean as a target fine crosshair).


Situated on the FFP, the reticle allows easy correction and good range metering thanks to the crosshair’s extremities, which have 1/10 MIL marks.


While not providing clever wind shortcuts like some other reticles of this kind (Horus comes to mind) it’s also cleaner and royalties-free, which helps keep the price of the scope affordable.

Sightmark Citadel 3-18x50 LR2
Sightmark Citadel 3-18x50 LR2

The Mechanics

Sightmark Citadel 3-18x50 LR2

I’ve tested the Citadel 3-18x50 both with the classic “square test” and by fixing it to a scope evaluation base and dialling the full spectrum of correction, and tracking was flawless, without wobbling with elevation correction, and going back to zero after completing the square.


The cliks are fluid but easily perceived, both aptically and acoustically, and the turrets can be locked against accidental movements.


Turrets zeroing is easy and requires just a coin or a cartridge’s rim. The only issue is that the turret pin ribs unfortunately are every 3 clicks of rotation so that, unless one gets lucky and zero is exactly on one of the ribs, you’ll have to position the turret within a +/- 1 click error on one side.


It can be annoying for some (it is for me, at least) but it is a little issue that doesn’t detract from the whole quality of the scope, particularly considering price.


What is very interesting is the sheer amount of correction available: 17 MILs in elevation, plus another 10 MILs in the reticle, which make it possible to shoot up to 1000 meters with cartridges like the .308 Winchester and various 6.5 without the need of sloping rails.

What we like

The scope is sturdy, has very good glass and very good mechanical quality. The turrets are easy to set to zero without fear of accidentally moving them. The MIL reticle allows for very fast shot correction and is very useful both as wind and ballistic compensator and as a stadia, to calculate distance from known size objects. The sheer amount of elevation correction makes this scope very useful in long range shooting.

Sightmark Citadel 3-18x50 LR2

What we’d like to see

Sightmark Citadel 3-18x50 LR2

A zero stop would be useful, for easy reset to zero of any dialled correction. Also, a revolution indicator which tells the shooter if he’s in the first or second complete turn of the turret would be very useful.


Sure, you can bring the turret to one end of the elevation range and come back to zero counting how many turns you dial, but just knowing you are in the first or second turn would be easier. Granted, both these features are further complications in the turret mechanics, that would necessarily cause a price rise, so I can see why the manufacturer decided against them.


If you are looking into a high money value, very good quality scope for PRS or hunting which punches well above its weight, the Sightmark Citadel 3-18x50 with LR2 reticle is an ideal candidate. If you prefer MOAs to MILs, the same scope is available with turrets in MOAs and the LR1 reticle, in MOAs.

Sightmark Citadel 3-18x50 LR2