How to Tell the Difference Between First and Second Focal Plane Reticles

How to Tell the Difference Between First and Second Focal Plane Reticles

Riflescopes are an essential part of any sharp shooter's gear. When it comes to selecting a riflescope, there's a lot to think about, like magnification and reticle type. First focal plane (FFP) reticles are becoming more popular in serious shooting due to their impressive measurement accuracy that doesn't change with magnification. Unlike second focal plane scopes where only the image magnifies, the reticle size grows alongside the target image with FFP scopes.

Second Focal Plane reticles are the more common type of adjustable magnification scopes. As magnification on an SFP scope is adjusted, only the target image's size changes, while the reticle remains constant. If an SFP scope features subtension lines, they are often accurate only at the optic’s highest magnification setting. SFP scopes are cost-effective to manufacture, making them popular choices for many shooters. However, utilizing reticle subtension lines for precise measurements, especially at lower magnifications, can be challenging, highlighting a limitation of these scopes.

In a First Focal Plane reticle, the reticle size increases with the target image as magnification changes. This design ensures that subtension lines on the reticle maintain their accuracy at all magnification settings, rendering them suitable for range estimation, windage, and elevation adjustments. Unlike SFP scopes, FFP reticles offer true subtension measurements throughout the entire magnification range. Although FFP scopes were historically pricier to manufacture, advancements in technology have made FFP scopes accessible to everyone, making FFP scopes more attractive to the average shooter as well as future precision marksmen.

The demand for FFP scopes has surged within the shooting community as shooters recognize the benefits of true subtension measurements at various magnification levels. A notable example of a first focal plane riflescope is the Sightmark Presidio 3-18x50 MR2. This riflescope offers a versatile magnification range suited for close to mid-range shooting scenarios.

The first focal plane reticle within the Presidio 3-18x50 MR2 ensures consistent subtension measurements that remain accurate across the magnification spectrum. The scope is rugged and durable, crafted to withstand the recoil of a .338 Winchester Magnum, lending itself to a wide array of long-range shooting systems. In low-light shooting conditions, its battery-powered red reticle illumination enhances visibility against targets and makes it easier to see against dark backgrounds. The riflescope boasts fully multi-coated optics, optimizing light transmission, color fidelity, and clarity, contributing to superior image quality.

The capped, low-profile turrets offer clear and audible clicks, coupled with aggressive exterior knurling. These features provide tactile feedback and bolster shooters' confidence during windage and elevation adjustments. Built-in zero stops and a single-piece 30mm tube constructed from aircraft-grade aluminum contribute to accuracy, durability, and ease of use.

Designed for various firearm platforms, including ARs and bolt-action rifles, the riflescope accommodates diverse shooting preferences.

The choice between first and second focal plane reticles presents distinct advantages and considerations. First focal plane reticles offer shooters precise subtension measurements and consistent accuracy across magnification settings. As technology advances, the accessibility and performance of first focal plane scopes continue to elevate the standards of precision shooting, appealing to both novice and seasoned marksmen alike.

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