How to Sight in a Rifle Scope: The Ultimate Guide

If you are aspiring to be an avid rifle hunter or owner, you cannot avoid learning how to sight in a rifle scope. While some people find it easy to grasp the basic knowledge about sighting in a rifle, others find it challenging. Consistency can help you master everything related to the intricate process of sighting in a rifle.

Rifles are used in many areas with hunting as the primary use. Failing to sight your rifle scope increases your chances of missing a target. Once you have mastered how to sight in a rifle scope, everything else becomes easy. Whether you have a handgun, rifle, or shotgun, this simple guide on how to sight in a rifle scope will come in handy.

Steps to Take before Shooting

Every successful sharpshooter attained such a title by learning the basics and having the right shooting tools and equipment. If you are hoping to be accurate when shooting with a long range, you must have a rifle scope. Second, learn how to sight in a rifle scope as this influences the accuracy of your shots significantly. Even though it requires a lot of technical knowledge, there are necessary steps that anybody can follow to learn how to use a rifle scope appropriately and successfully.

CVLIFE 3-9x40 / 3-9x40 AO Optics R4 Reticle Crosshair Scope with 20mm Free Mounts
  • Specification: 3-9x40
  • Magnification: 3-9x
  • Objective Diameter: 1.57" (40mm)
  • Exit pupil: 0.2"-0.67"
  • Length: 12.20"
Simmons Truplex Riflescope (3-9X32, Matte)
  • Truezero fingertip windage and elevation adjustment system
  • Qta (quick target acquisition) eyepiece for fast, easy target acquisition
  • Fully coated, high-quality optics for bright, high-contrast target image
  • 8-Point

Install Your Scope Properly

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Checking whether the scope is appropriately installed should be your first step before shooting. A majority of the rifles come with a mounting system. Not all scope bases can fit in any scope ring. Check whether the scope rings and mount are a perfect fit for your rifle.

Adjust the Eye Distance

Your success at shooting starts with sighting a clear image of your target. Situating your eyepiece well allows you a sharp and clear image. The distance left between your eye and the scope plays a significant role when sighting a rifle scope. You will need to tune the scope carefully to create the ideal amount of relief to your eye.

The ideal eye distance should be far enough to avoid any injuries on the eyes because of the recoil effect.

Level Up

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A sturdy shooting position is necessary when sighting in a rifle scope. You should use a bipod or a shooting bench that has a mount to achieve the right shooting level. While any of these methods can work well, the use of a rifle mount is much preferred since it lowers the recoil significantly. It holds the rifle securely on the target.

Different rifle mounts are available in the market. Choosing a mount that is not compatible with your rifle scope can be disastrous. Thus, you need to be careful to select a mount that works for your rifle scope.

Align the Reticle

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Aligning the reticle is a critical aspect necessary when sighting in a rifle scope. However, not many shooters put this into consideration. Having a canted reticle (a case of imperfect alignment of the scope's crosshairs and the elevation direction or the windage adjustment) is costly for any shooter. It results in missed shots, especially if you are firing 250 yards away from the target.

There are different ways you can align your reticle. The simplest method is to keep the scope pointed at a solid background and try to focus on an object at a distance using your eyes before you can refocus with the scope. This practice should help you determine whether the reticle is blurry or in focus. If blurry, use the diopter to adjust the scope until you achieve a focused and clear reticle.

Bore Sight Your Rifle Scope

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It is advisable to bore sight a new scope after you have mounted it on a rifle before making any shots. Ensure that your gun is not loaded and that nothing obstructs the barrel. Unbolt and fit the rifle securely at a downrange pointing direction. While looking through the bore, move the rifle carefully such that the target is centered.

You can opt for a laser boresight, which is fitted on the rifle's chamber and achieves the same results–to center the reticle in the rifle's direction.

Set Your Minute of Angle (MOA)

The Minute of Angle is an important aspect to master when learning how to sight in a rifle scope. Every shooter should consider the MOA before firing a rifle. The number of clicks you turn the windage knob or the elevation determines the impact move on the bullet. For example, four clicks on the knob result in a one-inch bullet impact move.

Make three-shot groups; these help in determining whether your rifle scope is aligned correctly and whether the shots are on target. The level at which you sight in a rifle scope depends on the application. It is advisable to consider sighting at above 100 yards. It all depends on your preferences. Despite this, you should master your MOA because it helps you make the required adjustments depending on the distance and the target.

How to Sight in a Rifle Scope - Fine Tune It

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It can be challenging to achieve the right focus at once. You should keep tweaking; vary the distances and refocus up to when you achieve consistent hits near the bullseye. Once you master how to focus and make on-target shots, do not relax; practice with far-away targets. However, it is necessary to remember that other factors can affect your shots. For example, the target's distance, rifle scope, and environmental factors, like the direction of the wind, determine your shot's accuracy.

Things To Do When Shooting

Pulling the trigger of any rifle discharges a firearm. While it sounds simple, it is problematic for most shooters, including experienced ones. It is important to be careful when shooting. Here are a few things to do when shooting to make sure you make safe and successful shots.

  1. Position your arm well: It is advisable to extend your arms fully when shooting. However, this does not mean that you lock them. Relax your shoulders.
  2. Align your foot and legs: there are several approaches to position your foot and leg when shooting. You can choose the side-to-side or front-to-back positions. In case you consider the front-to-back option, ensure that you rearward the strong-hand side leg in a range of about 12–18 inches. The exact distance depends on one's strength weight and balance.
  3. If you opt for the side-to-side position, you maintain stability and a high comfort level by leaving a hip-width distance between one foot and the other. You can lock your knees or bend them a little for maximum stability.
  4. Body positioning: Ensure that your torso leans forward slightly. It is not advisable to bend backward, especially at the shoulder, hip, or waist area. Keep the shoulders at a forward position relative with the hips.
  5. Maintain a firm grip: The security of your body is paramount when shooting, and this starts with how you hold the gun. Hold your gun firmly with a proper grip.

Key Tips and Information to Remember

Every rifle hunter or owner must understand how to sight in a rifle scope. Here are a few things to remember which will be useful when sighting in a rifle scope.

  1. Often check the scope mounts for tightness. You should keep them not too tight, as this might break or even strip the screws.
  2. Always ensure that the scope is leveled. A poor or unleveled scope shoots off the paper.
  3. Do not disregard the paper. Shooting off the target is frustrating.
  4. Sight with the same ammunition. Usually, ammunitions differ in terms of their batches. For accuracy of shots, it is advisable to sight in with the same ammo as anything different can lead to inaccurate shots.
  5. A shooter accomplishes several things for a gun to fire. Your role is to pull the trigger. If you do it correctly, you will not experience any movement, and you can be assured of accurate shots. Jerking or flinching when shooting causes an off-target shot.
  6. Always ensure that you hold the gun firmly.

Conclusion

XOPin Rifle Scope Hunting Combo C4-16x50EG Dual Illuminated with Green Laser Sight 4 Holographic Reticle Red/Green Dot for Weaver/Rail Mount (Updated 4-16x50EG Green Laser)
  • New Updated: 5 mode LED Flashlight (H/ M/ L/ Strobes/ SOS) make your hunting much more easier in dark.Batter quality makes it Much More Stable on your rifle hunting Gun.Update Lens Cover gets hard to be broken.
  • New Updated:Add Front Focus Adjustment.Make it more eaiser to operate.The scope is Red and green Multi-X reticles with 5 levels;Exit Pupil:3.3mm-10mm;Field of View:10' ~ 27' @ 100yards;Eye Relief:3" ~ 3.4";Windage & Elevation Click Value:1/4' @ 100 yards;With 50mm Beautiful Flower Object Lens makes your scope become unique in Amazon.High grade fully coated optical lens, High quality matte black finish,Dry nitrogen filled with makes 100% waterproof,shock proof,fog proof.
  • Fast Focus Eyepiece with 1/4" Fingertip Resettable Windage & Elevation Adjustments.Green laser Reaching Distance about 200m-500m,Detachable Green laser sight with independent switch,Best Choice for Shooting-With Long Eye Relief:66.8-99.06mm,Field of View:13.41-40.38 @100yards,Exit Pupil:3.3mm-10mm.Wide Magnification 4X-16X provide you a big view at 200-1000YARDS.5 Levels Red and Green Illuminated adjustment brings a better view in dark environment.
  • Rifle scope advantage:High grade fully coated optical lens, Dry nitrogen filled with waterproof,shock proof,fog proof. Magnification:4x-16x suit for any W/ 22mm Rail Mount ,Made of Aluminium with High grade fully coated optical lens,1200G shockproof and 100% waterproof & fogproof test would keeps the scope more solid makes you can shoot more,1/4" Fingertip Resettable Windage & Elevation adjustments provide a wide range adjustment.
  • This Scope cannot be an assault weapon part or accessory.Integrated rails offers ample space for accessories,12 months guarantee will be provided to all our scopes.Best Customer Service for Everyone

Every sharpshooter should learn the basics of installing and how to sight in a rifle scope. Make sure you practice regularly to gain the confidence needed in developing the right target shooting skills. Every successful shooter started by learning how to sight in a rifle scope. It takes a lot of confidence and practice to make successful long shots, as this ensures that you know what goes into aligning a rifle scope and what to do before and when shooting. It is important you master the tips highlighted above.

How successful you are at making shots depends on your accuracy in sighting in the rifle focus. Therefore, learn what mounts align with your rifle scope and establish and stick to the same batches you used when sighting. In addition, make sure you sample different rifle scopes to buy the one that matches your rifle and shooting needs.

Scope Review: C-more Red Dot

If you’re a target shooter, competitive hunter, or simply a rifle enthusiast that likes to make every shot count, a C-More Red Dot might be the optic for you. From the moment we first laid hands on this thing, we knew it was the real deal. But, after catching wind of all the hype we were skeptical at first. In this review, we hope to dispel with some of that skepticism in our readers.

If you have tested multiple red dot sights, you probably understand all too well that most of them are practically the same. Although cosmetic tweaks abound in the optics market, the functionality of the various devices rarely ever changes. However, the C-More Red Dot makes an honest attempt at breaking away from that trend.

Want to find out more about the C-More Red Dot lineup of optics? If so, you have come to the right place. In this article, our veteran shooters got their hands on a pair of C-More Red Dot scopes to throw on their rifles for a week. After extensive use, they put together this review to help you make an informed decision about potentially purchasing this optic for your rifle.

Comparison Table - C-More Red Scope

What Is a C-More Red Do and How Does it Work?

Owned and operated by Vertu Corporation, C-More Systems is a United States-based firearms manufacturer and distributor of firearms and firearm accessories. Founded in Virginia in the early 1990s, C-More Systems has quickly become one of the premier firearm manufacturers in the world, largely due to the success of its various sights and red dot sights.

The C-More Red Dot sight lineup is now one of the most successful in the world. Known for their high-quality materials and excellent build quality, their firearm optics are meant to improve accuracy and shorten preparation time for everyone from novice shooters to veteran hunters.

The term “C-More Red Dot” refers to the red dot sights that C-More Systems manufacturers in the United States. Although no specific model is referenced when someone mentions “C-More Red Dot” optics, the most popular model on the market is the C-More Systems Railway.

Red Dot Sight

When we get asked about C-More Systems Red Dot sights, we often are also asked about the physics of red dot sight systems. Among the gun enthusiast community, as well as the public at large, there is considerable misunderstanding about how red dot optics work.

However, the answer is simpler than you may think. Red dot sights, including the C-More Red Dot sight, use a light-emitting diode (LED) to produce a red Aimpoint through the eyepiece. The Aimpoint appears in the form of a red dot that stays aligned with the center of the sight, no matter where the viewer’s eye is located.

Most red dot configurations involve a tilted spherical mirror within the device. This mirror reflects a red LED onto the sightline from the reflection point below. The light is coated with a dichroic filter so that only the red color spectrum is visible to the viewer. The LED device is usually exceptionally bright at a 650-700 nanometer wavelength.

The LED light that is produced by C-More Red Dot products is powered by a small lithium-ion battery. Since LED lights consume very little battery power, it is highly unlikely that an owner of a red dot sight system will ever have to replace the battery. Lastly, an aperture hole controls the size of the red dot that appears through the sightline.

What Makes C-More Red Dot Unique?

red dot on a handgun

via Giphy

One of the unique aspects of C-More Red Dot sights is the fact that they are universally applicable to any firearm. Virtually all C-More sights come with a variety of mounts for easy attachment to your firearm. Plus, many C-More sights are compatible with aftermarket mounting attachments, so you are guaranteed a proper fit no matter what gun you own.

Readers should note that, although they are universal sight attachments, C-More Red Dot sights are specifically marketed toward the following three firearms:

Additionally, C-More Railway Series sights are unique for their excellent performance metrics. For example, the Railway mount has a battery life of up to 1,500 hours of continuous use and is more compact than most other holographic sights (i.e., 4.8 inches long, compared to EOTech’s 5.6 inches).

We loved how the reticle on the C-More Red Dot sights can be manually adjusted. With the easy-to-use “Click Switch” setting, shooters can switch between the various dot sizes and intensity levels. This is a great perk to buying a C-More because veteran shooters and novices are unlikely to use the same intensity level.

Lastly, the objective lens inside C-More sights are a bit smaller than most rival brands. For example, EOTech typically relies on 30 x 23 mm lenses. By comparison, C-More uses a 29mm object lens which, in our opinion, provides a crisper and brighter image through the eyepiece.

Pricing

There are several C-More Red Dot products, and each of them is priced differently. Below, we will list the various C-More Red Dot products currently listed on the company’s official website and will include the price of each.

RTS2 Series

C-MORE Systems RTS2 3 MOA Red Dot Sight with Rail Mount, Black
  • Heads Up Display for Fastest Target Acquisition
  • Super Bright 3 MOA Red Dot with 10 Manual Brightness Settings
  • 1 MOA Click Adjustments for Windage and Elevation Featuring a Positive Locking Screw
  • Removable Battery Tray Eliminates Re-Zeroing When Changing Batteries
  • Removable Weaver/Picatinny Mount Included

The RTS2 is one of C-More’s flagship red dot sights. This device uses a CR2032 battery to power the LED sight and a 10-position push button for manual operation of the intensity settings. Plus, its yellow eyepiece makes for an attractive addition to any rifle or pistol. We also found that this device is significantly easier to mount than most other red dot sights.

The starting price for an RTS2 Series red dot sight with a rail mount is $$. This price includes the mount and the red dot sight, and additional mounting kits for Glocks and other firearms start at $ each.

Railway Series

C-MORE Systems Tactical Railway Red Dot Sight with Click Switch
  • Heads Up Display for Fastest Target Acquisition
  • Super Bright Red Dot with Adjustable Intensity and Interchangeable Dot Module
  • Infinite Adjustment for Windage and Elevation Featuring Positive Locking Screws
  • Aluminum Body, Click Intensity Switch (12 Positions = Off, 2 NV, 1 Low Light and 8 Day light)
  • Attaches to AR15 Style Flattop Rail, Iron Sight Co-Witness Capable

The Railway Series is the standard budget-minded red dot sight from C-More. This sight has a rail built into the device for easy installation to any rail mount or receiver. If your gun has a rail mount, this sight is guaranteed to snap on without any hassles (including rifles, handguns, revolvers, paintball guns, and even crossbows).

The standard polymer body Railway Series sight is priced a $$. If you feel like shelling out for an upgrade, you can purchase the aluminum body model for $. Tactical spacer kits of the Railway model cost $ apiece and the most expensive variant of the Railway series, the Tactical Railway Red Dot Sight (Aluminum) costs $$.

STS2 Series

C-MORE Systems STS2 Super Bright 6 MOA Red Dot Sight, Black
  • Heads Up Display for Fastest Target Acquisition
  • Super Bright 6 MOA Red Dot with 10 Manual Brightness Settings
  • 1 MOA Click Adjustments for Windage and Elevation Featuring a Positive Locking Screw
  • Removable Battery Tray Eliminates Re-Zeroing When Changing Batteries
  • Requires a C-MORE Mounting Kit (Sold Separately)

The latest addition to the C-More line up is the STS2 Series of red dot sights. Significantly smaller than the other C-More models, the STS2 is a compact solution for a lightweight, easy-to-use aiming experience. This is a fantastic all-purpose sight that is available in two different dot size modes.

The standard STS2 mini sight costs $$, with most additional mounting kits costing between $ and $ each. Although this option is not the best for budget-minded shoppers, it may prove to be frugal in the long run as the extended warranty on the STS2 Series is superior to many other C-More products.

Slide Ride Series

C-MORE Systems SlideRide Red Dot Sight with Click Switch
  • Heads Up Display for Fastest Target Acquisition
  • Super Bright Red Dot with Adjustable Intensity and Interchangeable Dot Module
  • Infinite Adjustment for Windage and Elevation Featuring Positive Locking Screws
  • Aluminum Body, Click Intensity Switch (12 Positions = Off, 2 NV, 1 Low Light and 8 Day light)
  • Direct Mounting for Custom/After Market Mounts and Glocks (requires C-MORE GAP Mounting Kit for Glocks)

The Slide Ride is one of C-MORE’s original sight products. The fact that it has lasted the test of time should say enough about this excellent sight. It has no mounting base attached to it, which allows for custom mounting configurations with aftermarket mounts. This feature makes the Slide Ride Series arguably the most customizable C-More red dot product.

The SlideRide Red Dot Sight with Polymer Body starts at $, making it one of the best budget-friendly options in the C-More line up. However, the aluminum body variant is priced a bit higher at $. For an additional $, you can receive the “Click Switch” edition for manual operation of intensity.

What Others Think

After scouring the web for hours gathering all the opinions we could find about C-More red dot sights, we concluded that this is a highly respected line of products. Every review we found had generally positive things to say about their products, with only a few questions raised about the durability of their polymer body sights.

Amazon Feedback

If you judge public perception of the C-More Red Dot by its Amazon reviews, you would be convinced that it is the perfect scope. This is because it has a 98% positive review rating on Amazon, with an average rating of 4.6 out of 5 stars, which is an incredible feat for firearm peripherals. Typically, the best-selling firearm scopes average less than four stars.

Customer Testimonials

On numerous message boards and web forums dedicated to firearms we noticed overwhelmingly positive reviews. Multiple customers raved about how they “highly recommend” the C-MORE Red Dot sights, while others called them “brilliant” and “fantastic pieces of equipment.”

Overall, the impression that we received after reading customer testimonials and countless anecdotes was that the C-MORE Red Dot line of scopes and sights were reliable, easy to use, and well-priced. However, there is a healthy mix of fair criticisms as well. For example, some customers lodged complaints about the plastic editions and their lack of durability.

Although the durability issue was a common thread we noticed across several reviews, there were no scathing reviews anywhere we looked online. Even the harshest critics made sure they mentioned the various positive attributes of the product, such as the value received for the cost, and the pinpoint accuracy of the sightline.

How It Compares

Compared to rival scopes like Aimpoint and EOTech, C-More is regarded as a premium-quality manufacturer. Amazon reviews and other reviews we read online indicated that the C-More Railway and STS2 models are vastly superior to similarly-priced sights such as the EOTech XPS2-0 and EOTech 512 A65 holographic sights.

While EOTech sights are an excellent choice for ranges of 100 yards or less, our personal preference is that higher ranges in the 100-200-yard distances and above are better suited for C-More sights. Simply, C-More is the gold standard for precision at a distance and is more compact, lighter, and built with better materials than any similarly-priced product.

What We Think

Overall, our impression of all the C-More red dot products was positive from the moment we first took them out of their box. If you decide to splurge on the aluminum body models, you will notice right away that these products have been handcrafted with fine craftsmanship and delicate care.

These products won’t break on you after a few seasons of use and have a fantastic warranty and return policy for additional peace of mind. In our view, this makes the C-More line up unique, as most other brands offer less-than-stellar customer service which can be a real pain if you buy polymer-bodied products.

Ultimately, we highly recommend C-More Red Dot products. Not only are they excellent for short and medium distance shooting, but they are often multiple perks that you won’t find anywhere else at the same price point. To be able to manually adjust the MOA size of the red dots with a simple click of the finger is one of the reasons why we love C-More as much as we do.

If you love to shoot with pinpoint accuracy, and don’t like emptying your wallet in the process, we think you will love going with a Railway, Slide Ride, STS2, or RTS2 red dot sight from C-More. We expect to see many more great products created by C-More in the years ahead as they continue to leave their mark on the tactical industry.

Coupons and Deals

At present, there are no coupons or deals available online for C-More Red Dot sight products. However, we will update this page as necessary whenever we come across a sale or coupon code to help you save a few bucks off the checkout price.

Best 4x Scope: List Of Top 10 Picks And Buying Guide

Every long gun enthusiast needs a reliable 4x scope if they want to land the perfect shot. When it comes to shooting, there is nothing more important than accuracy. That is why our rifle experts put together this definitive list of the best 4x scope products on the market today.

Want to discover the best 4x scope for your rifle? In this article, our firearm professionals review the top optical sighting devices for rifles to get the best shot every time. Read on to discover which scopes are a bust, and which will ensure your aiming true when you pull the trigger.

Comparison Table - 4x Scopes

What is a 4x Scope?

Before listing our favorite 4x scope products on the market, it is important first to flesh out exactly what these products are. The 4x scope is a kind of telescopic lens, or scope, that magnifies objects in your gun’s crosshairs by four times. Having increased magnification makes targeting easier for the shooter, which results in greater accuracy.

Scopes are classified according to their optical magnification (i.e., 4x) and their objective lens diameter (i.e., 30 mm, 50 mm, etc.). The latter refers to the diameter of the lens within the scope; broadly, larger objective lenses result in more light entering the scope and thus a brighter image in the eyepiece. Shooters should select their lens diameter according to their individual purposes.

Although scopes once had an objective lens of 20 mm or smaller, it is now common to find much larger lenses on store shelves. Technological upgrades in lens technology have improved the state of scope magnification over the years, which is one of the reasons why target shooting is far more competitive than it once was in the early days of the sport.

How We Choose Our Ratings

armed man holding a rifle

Image Source: Unsplash

At RifleScopeCenter, we understand that your trust is earned and not given. We do not take your trust for granted. Rather, with every product we review we pledge to always provide the most accurate and bias-free feedback possible. We believe that this is integral for earning your trust and winning your loyalty as a reader.

How do we plan on earning your loyalty? By providing the best scope and firearm reviews on the web. To do this, we promise never to accept financial compensation from product manufacturers or affiliate groups. We believe that doing otherwise would compromise our independence and our objectivity. We also believe that this is simply the right thing to do.

To produce the most accurate reviews, we always scrutinize our products from a multitude of angles. For example, we consider a wide variety of factors such as cost, shipping and handling, durability, build quality, materials used, warranty, return policy, and aesthetics. By doing this, we believe we arrive at the most holistic and bias-free content for our readers.

List of Best 4x Scopes

Without further ado, let’s get into the main purpose of today’s article. Below, we have ranked and reviewed our favorite 4x scopes. Each of the scopes enumerated below has been hand-tested by our experts and are among a list of several dozen products that we tested out over the past few weeks.

CVLIFE 4x32 Rifle Scope

CVLIFE 4x32 Compact Rifle Scope Crosshair Optics Hunting Gun Scope with 20mm Free Mounts
  • Magnification:4x;Objective Diameter: 1.26" (32mm); Eye Relief: 3.3" (83.82mm) Length: 7.48"(190mm);
  • With the fully coated optical glass, the rifle scope would give you a bright and high-contrast image.
  • Made of high-strength aluminum alloy and with its one-piece tube construction, the scope is definitely for greater strength and durability.
  • Inert gas purged, fog,shock, water proof, this scope can be used under any weather condition.
  • The length of the whole scope is 7.48" (190mm), which makes this compact scope suitable for quick moving and aiming.

The CVLIFE 4x32 Rifle Scope is among the best in the business on several counts. First, this scope is made of fine optical glass that you can tell is highly durable from the moment you peer through the eyepiece. The field of view is wide and crystal clear for a dead-on shot every time. Ultimately, our first impression of this scope was extremely positive.

Further, we love that this scope is made of aluminum alloy in one-piece tube construction. Too often we find that scopes are made from multiple connected pieces, which tend to come undone when you need them the most. However, this scope comes up big in the right moments thanks to its highly durable build, excellent material quality, and, of course, its unbeatable price.

TASCO Pronghorn 4x32 Reticle Scope

Tasco Pronghorn 3-9x 40mm 30/30 Reticle Riflescope
  • Quality optics with stunning HD clarity
  • 100% quality materials used and tested extensively
  • Beautiful design and durability built to last
  • 30/30 reticle
  • Magenta multi-layered fully coated optics increases light transmission for bright, clear images

The TASCO Pronghorn 4x32 Reticle Scope is one of our favorite budget-friendly rifle scopes. One thing that stood out immediately after taking this product out of the box was its magnificent aesthetics and build design. Compared to most other aluminum scopes, the TASCO Pronghorn is a marvel. However, looks unfortunately do not mean much in the world of shooting.

With a matte finish and a great one-year warranty with no questions asked, the TASCO Pronghorn makes for an excellent scope no matter what kind of shooting experience you have under your belt. However, we feel like the price point is a bit too high for what is an entry-level device and the eyepiece clarity could do with some improvements.

Ade Advanced Optics 4x32 Fixed Scope

Ade Advanced Optics 4x32 Fixed Power Green/blue/red Illuminated Reticle Compact Rifle Scope with Fiber Optic Tactical Sight and Weaver Slots
  • Magnification 4X Fixed , Objective Diameter - 32mm
  • Illuminated Red-Green-Blue Rapid Range Glass Etched Reticle
  • 100% Shock and Recoil Resistant, Nitrogen Filled, Shockproof, Fogproof, and Water Resistant
  • 6061 T6 Aircraft Grade Body
  • Six-inch total length, 30-millimeter tube diameter, 32-millimeter objective lens, and 3.5-inch eye relief

The Ade Advanced Optics 4x32 Fixed Scope is a beautiful tactical sight scope with an assortment of weaver slots for your convenience. This scope features a 3.5-inch relief for your eye and measures six inches in length, making it extremely compact and lightweight. Plus, this thing is built to last as it is made of 6061 T6 aircraft-grade metals.

Unlike most of its competitors, the Ade Advanced Optics scope has a brightly illuminated red-green-blue rapid range glass reticle for easy aiming and a great sightline. Additionally, this scope is 100% shockproof and resistant to water which makes it a fantastic choice for backcountry missions and tactical operations.

CVLIFE 4x32 Tactical Optic Scope

CVLIFE 4x32 Tactical Rifle Scope Red & Green &Blue Illuminated Reticle Scope with Fiber Optic Sight
  • Magnification power: 4x ,Objective lens: 32mm, Field of view(feet/100 yards): 36.6, Length(inches): 5.5
  • High performance optical scope with fiber optic sight for quick and accurate acquisition
  • Crisp image for accurate shooting. With the green multi-layer coated lenses, the tactical compact scope can shoot target fast and precisely with high light transmission and resolution
  • Glass etched reticle with tri-illuminations (green/red/ blue), 3 levels of brightness setting for each color allow shooters to find the perfect brightness needed for lighting and weather different conditions
  • Shock proof, recoil, fog resistance (nitrogen filled); high quality aluminum alloy in durable black matte finish

The CVLIFE 4x32 Tactical Optic Scope is set apart from its non-tactical counterpart for several key reasons. For one, this scope has a far lighter fiber optic build, which makes it fantastic for long hunting trips and backcountry excursions. Its lightweight build also happens to look a lot better and appear more compact than its non-tactical variant.

Ultimately, we were thrilled when we upgraded to the CVLIFE 4x32 tactical edition. This product is suitable for all-weather conditions and is resistant to water and fog which makes it a great choice if your vision might be impaired by natural elements. Once you hold this scope in your hands, you will realize why it is considered one of the best in its class.

Simmons 22 TruPlexReticle 4x32 Scope

Simmons .22 Mag TruPlexReticle Riflescope with Rings (Black Matte, 4x32-mm)
  • Waterproof, fog proof, shockproof and recoil proof
  • One-piece tube construction for lighter handling, greater strength and durability
  • Fully-coated, high-quality optical glass, for bright, sharp images and high contrast
  • Quick target acquisition eyepiece with plenty of eye relief to make acquiring targets a snap
  • Rimfire mounting rings included

Ranking among the finest fixed scopes on the market today, the Simmons 22 Mag TruPlexReticle Scope is a sleek and sharp-looking black matte optical scope appropriate for everyone from novice to veteran hunters. Made with the highest-quality glass, this scope features vivid contrast down the sightline for easy aiming and pinpoint accuracy.

In our experience, we were delighted by the Simmons 22 TruPlexReticle. This is because the scope is super lightweight, made of best-in-class materials, and has convenient rimfire rings that mount directly on top of the scope. For greater strength and a better shot every time, we recommend trusting the experts at Simmons with their latest TruPlexReticle series scope.

Bushnell Optics Drop Zone 223 Reticle Scope

Bushnell AR Optics, Drop Zone Reticle Riflescope with Target Turrets, Matte Black, 1-4x/24mm
  • 30 millimeter tube dia
  • Drop zone reticle. Field of View (feet at 100 yard) 90feet at 1X to 23ft at 4X
  • Fully multicoated optics
  • Fast focus Eyepiece
  • Outstanding close quarters accuracy, with a Drop Zone 223 BDC reticle for mid range precision

The Bushnell Optics Drop Zone 223 Reticle Scope is a fantastic all-purpose scope with some of the best technical specifications to back it. Featuring Bushnell’s signature Drop Zone-223 ballistic reticle, this scope is calibrated for 55-62 grain and aiming points up to 500 yards away. Plus, the target turrets are adjusted for pinpoint precision up to half a mile in distance.

At 30mm tube diameter, the Bushnell Optics Drop Zone 223 is one of the best in its class. With a fast-focus eyepiece, we found that we were able to quickly lock onto our targets within one or two seconds and fire with perfect accuracy. With little rattle or recoil, this scope aims true with every shot and removes the need for shock absorbers or any added peripherals.

Nikon Buckmasters II 4-12x40 BDC Reticle

Nikon has proven that it is not only a camera lens company with the Buckmasters II 4-12x40 BDC Reticle Scope. This scope is made with the quality you would expect from a brand name like Nikon, featuring some of the best glass you will find in a rifle scope. The reticle in this product is extremely bright and allows for a perfect high-res image even when hunting at night.

Built with Nikon’s patented BDC reticle technology, the Nikon Buckmasters II is one of the best products on the market for advanced hunters and those looking to gain an edge in competition. Whether you are hunting at dusk or dawn, the Buckmasters II is a fine choice of scope at 4x magnification. To boot, it has all the same anti-shock and waterproof features as its rival scopes.

UTG 4-16x44 Scope

UTG 4-16X44 30mm Scope, AO, 36-color Mil-dot, w/ Rings
  • 30mm Tube with Best in Class Emerald Lens Coatings to Achieve Maximum Light Transmission for Best Clarity, Built on True Strength Platform, Completely Sealed and Nitrogen Filled, Shockproof, Fogproof and Rainproof
  • 4X to 16X Power with Quick Power Selector Ring Perfect for Target Acquisition and Zooming In, 1-Click Technology for Quick Access to Your Favorite Color and Brightness in Reticle
  • Field of View @ 100 yards: 24.4 feet - 6.8 feet. Innovative EZ-TAP Illumination Enhancing (IE) System with Red/Green in Dual-Color Mode and 36 Colors in Multi-Color Mode to Accommodate All Weather/Light Conditions
  • Premium Zero Lockable and Zero Resettable Target Turrets with Most Consistent and Precise 1/4 MOA per Click Adjustment, Side Wheel Adjustable Turret (SWAT) for Parallax Adjustment - From 10 Yards to Infinity
  • Mil-dot Range Estimating Reticle with Built-in Integral Sunshade for Most Optimal Aiming and Shooting Performance, Complete with UTG Max Strength Twist Lock Picatinny/Weaver Rings and High Quality Flip-open Lens Caps

The UTG 4-16x44 Scope is easily one of the better 30mm reticle scopes on the market for entry-level and novice shooters. This scope features a magnificent emerald lens and allows for maximum light transmission for a clear, dead-on shot every time you pull the trigger. Plus, the scope is rainproof and shock-proof for a reliable shot regardless of the weather at hand.

Overall, we were happy with our purchase of the UTG 4-16x44 Scope. As one of the best non-fixed optical lenses for rifles, it is a great product for learning how to aim with pinpoint accuracy at varying target distances. Plus, patented 1-Click technology and quick selector rings make readying the gun a breeze compared to similarly priced products on the market.

UUQ Prism 4x32 Reticle Scope

UUQ Prism 4x32 Red/Green/Blue Triple Illuminated Rapid Range Reticle Rifle Scope W/ Top Fiber Optic Sight and Weaver Slots (12 Month Warranty)
  • High performance optical scope with fiber optic sight, Manufactured Multi-coated optics, Illuminated Red-Green-Blue Rapid Range Glass Etched Reticle.
  • Magnification 4X Fixed , Objective Diameter - 32mm, Crystal Clear Fully Coated Prism Lens for Excellent Light Transmission and the Best Clarity.
  • Combat Ready Rapid Target Acquisition Glass Reticle with Range Finding & Ballistic, Precise 1/4 MOA Click Value for Windage and Elevation Adjustment.
  • Fit all 20 mm weaver and 3/8 inch dovetail rails , Durable all Metal Housing, with Dual - Layer Coated Lens.
  • Built on Proven Robust Platform. Completely Sealed and Nitrogen Filled, Shockproof, Fogproof and Rainproof.

The UUQ Prism 4x32 Reticle Scope is a formidable scope with one of the best warranties in the industry. Backed by a 100% Satisfaction Guarantee Warranty over 12 months, the UUQ Prism is a great option for those who want a risk-free investment in a quality scope. Made of premium carbon fiber, this scope is also lightweight and easy to adjust and install.

Despite its great value, we were a little disappointed in the bulkiness of this scope. After installing on our gun, we found that it made our gun look wider and bit more unwieldy. In other words, we found that this scope is a bit ugly compared to similarly priced scopes on the market. Nonetheless, the UUQ Prism is a great option for budget-minded shooters.

UUQ 2.5-10x40 Rifle Scope

UUQ 2.5-10x40 Tactical Rifle Scope Dual Illuminated Mil-dot W/ Red Laser, Rail Mount and 4 Reticle Red/Green Dot Open Reflex Sight (12 Month Warranty)
  • UUQ 2.5-10 Magnification Rifle Scope with Red/Green illuminated Mil-dot Reticle and 40mm object lens.
  • Tubeless design with 33mm reflex lens aperture provides a wide field of view, suitable for normal and rapid-firing shooting of moving targets.
  • Tactical 4 Reticle Red/Green Dot Open Reflex Sight with Weaver-Picatinny Rail Mount for 20 mm Rails.
  • Integrated red laser sight, fully adjustable and independently controlled.
  • Multi-protection: Shockproof, Waterproof and Fogproof.

The UUQ 2.5-10x40 Rifle Scope is a reticle scope for intermediate to advanced shooters and hunters. This product features red and green illuminated mil-dot reticle crosshairs and a whopping 40mm objective lens for great accuracy for every shot. Plus, 20mm rail mounts back it easy to attach to any firearm you might own.

Our overall impression of this scope was overwhelmingly positive from the moment we first held it in our hands. This is a high-quality, durable, lightweight rifle scope that is meant for serious hunters and shooters. A tubeless design, this product will not attach even after years of wear and tends to outlast most other products in its price range.

Buyer's Guide

black and white photo of a man preparing to use a rifle with 4x scope during a target practice shooting

Image Source: Unsplash

A lot goes into buying the perfect 4x scope. There is a wealth of information that goes into sourcing the right brand and model and, honestly, it can become a little overwhelming—even for veteran shooters. To help you make an informed purchase without overloading you with information, we put together this quick point-form list of the top takeaways from today’s article.

1

Point 1 

Look for the brand names you can trust, like Nikon, Vortex, Simmons, and CVLIFE

2

Point 2 

Rainproof and fog-proof models are a must for backcountry shooters

3

Point 3

Fiber optic scopes are superior to aluminum builds on almost all counts

4

Point 4

Most rifle scopes have an objective lens diameter between 30 and 42mm

5

Point 5

Seek out models with a 12-month warranty if possible

Brand Review: Vector Optics

For over a decade, Vector Optics built an optics business aimed at producing low cost but high-quality optics. Our first thought about cheap but good is skepticism. It's a natural reaction but misplaced in this instance. The manufacturer makes their products with aluminum alloy. They use a good quality glass as well. The mechanics, where applicable, are stable and don't loosen or lose it's zero through regular use.

We’ve looked at scopes and other optics in the past that cost more but performed poorly. The most common problem is low-quality glass. The scope gathers light poorly, and everything viewed through the scope is foggy.

The mechanics in cheaper scopes rarely stay tight or secure very long, even riding a few miles in the truck can jar them loose. Cheap scopes come with other issues, but lousy glass and loose mechanics are the most common.

Comparison Table

Product

Preview

Price

Omega Tactical 8 Reticle Red/Green Dot Sight with QD Mount EO Tech

TAC Vector Optics Omega 1x Tactical Reflex 8 Reticle Red Dot Sight Scope US Design in High End Quality fit for AR15 AK74 Color Black

SCOM-09 Grizzly 3-12x56 E Shooting Rifle Scope

TAC Vector Optics Grizzly 3-12x56 E Shooting Riflescope with Mount & Illuminated Mildot Reticle Color Black

SCRD-24RL Tomcat 1x22x33 Multi Reticles Red & Green Dot Sight with w/ Red Laser

TAC Vector Optics Tomcat 1x22x33 Red/Green Multi-Reticle Reflex Sight

SCRD-27GL Rayman 1x30 Red Dot Sight with Green Laser

product photo of Rayman 1x30 Red Dot Sight with Green Laser

RDSL01 VictOptics 1x18 Red Dot Reflex Sight

VictOptics 1x18 Red Dot Reflex Sight Hunting Scope

What Makes Vector Optics
Standout?

The first thing that jumps out when you look over their website is the warranty. Affordable scope varieties tend to come with very limited warranties. The Vector Optics warranty supports their products for five years. If it fails due to a defect, you get a new one. The warranty is excellent, but the 30-day money back guarantee adds another layer of confidence.

Most of you probably own or owned an economy scope at some point in time. The glass is crystal clear the first month you own it, but they get foggy or milky over time. They rarely hold zero very well, or they fit loosely on the rail.

Vector Optics come with good, clear glass, and they keep their zero well. Those two things are expected from expensive scopes, but we usually accept that an economy scope won't perform as well. That's just not true with Vector Optics; they are made well and made from quality materials.

It’s not exactly a quality that we consider a stand-out feature, but their selection of optics is vast. They have nearly every type of scope and magnification combo. While we mostly focused on scopes or similar optics in this review, there are several products beyond optics available from them, including:

  • Laser Sights
  • Pistol Sights
  • Scope Accessories
  • AR and AK Accessories
  • Grips and Bi-pods
  • Slings
  • Cleaning Accessories


Our Favorite Vector Optics
Products

Like we mentioned above, with so many optics to choose from, picking favorites proved difficult. We looked for optics that are popular but useful. Red and green dot sights plus reflex sights are among our favorite scopes overall.

They have a wide range of uses from home defense to competition shooting. In the end, we chose optics that are popular and got good reviews from customers. We didn't list these scopes in order.

Red and green dot sights improve target acquisition and help with overall grouping. This one built well with good glass and sharp reticles. It comes with eight options for reticles. That is about six more options than most of the red or green dot sights on the market. If you use a dot scope with any reticle other than a classic dot, they are fun, and some improve accuracy.

It uses a CR2032 battery or the rechargeable version of that battery. USB charging is available, but that doesn't seem like an option many of us care about in the end. You either remove the optic from your gun and charge it, or leave the weapon lying around while it recharges. Both methods of USB charging have drawbacks. Keeping extra CR2032 batteries on hand is the best option in this case.

This optic easily made our favorites list based on the information above and the price. Vector Optics offers it on their website or eBay for less than $. That's far less than any similar scope on the market, and you get eight reticles to boot. If you shoot in competitions that allow them, this sight will improve your accuracy and times.

This scope’s name is cool, but that’s the least of the reasons we added it to our favorites list. It sports eleven levels of illumination, and the coated glass is bright. The light transfer with this scope is on the level of scopes that costs four times as much. The glass and light transfer are the main reasons this scope made our favorites list.

It offers more than good glass and illumination. The 4-inch eye relief makes shooting at longer ranges a little more forgiving. The scope is perfect for close and long-range shots. It will perform great at 30 yards or 400 yards making it an excellent scope for hunting. So, at less than $ on their website, it’s a lot of scope for the money.

TAC Vector Optics Tomcat 1x22x33 Red/Green Multi-Reticle Reflex Sight
  • Reflex Sight
  • Mounts on any 20 mm Rail
  • Easy Installation
  • Rifle

This sight is a steal at $ on the Vector Optics website. Its lightweight frame won’t add weight to your gun, and it’s surprisingly durable for a sight that weighs almost nothing. It also comes with four different reticles and a red laser mounted on one side. This sight is a great accessory for a home defense gun or recreational shooting.

TAC Vector Optics Tomcat 1x22x33 Red/Green Multi-Reticle Reflex Sight
  • Reflex Sight
  • Mounts on any 20 mm Rail
  • Easy Installation
  • Rifle

This scope is an excellent scope for the price as well. It's less than $ on the website and comes with a green laser. Other than the price, we like this scope for its clarity and lightweight. Another big plus for us is the built-in lens covers open down instead of up. That's not a trivial feature to anyone that's broken a lens cover off on a tree or accidentally snagged it when moving the weapon.

VictOptics 1x18 Red Dot Reflex Sight Hunting Scope
  • 3MOA Dot Size Red Dot Sight
  • Mini Sight, w/ Weaver Mount, On/Off Switch
  • Design for Real Fire Caliber
  • Super-light & Compact, 6 Dot Intensity Levels, Cover

This great optic is a 3 MOA red dot sight. This sight is lightweight. You can barely feel it in your hand. It has the same good glass as the other scopes along with sturdy mechanical parts. It has the option for a mini sight and multiple illumination settings when needed.

The main reason we included this sight in our favorites list is the price. This sight is a high-quality product you can get for less than $. It's a great example of the affordability of these scopes.

Are They Expensive?

The sights we highlighted in this article are affordable by any definition. Even the more expensive sights are money savers compared to similar sights currently on the market. You get an optic made of aluminum with very few plastic parts or bushings.

The screws are well formed and won't strip if you're using the right tools. The glass is excellent with an excellent light transfer, and the reticles are bright enough for any light conditions you encounter.

Compared to scopes with the same features across the market, very few are as good as these scopes. Almost none of the scopes we found that matched the quality and features of these scopes were affordable. In most cases, scopes with the options we listed here are three to five times the cost of a scope from Vector Optics.

Hunting and recreational shooting sports are expensive for professionals and hobbyists. Optics, in some cases, cost more than the guns you're using. Vector Optic's scopes offer excellent quality and features at economy prices. That saves money you can turn around and spend on other accessories or more scopes at economy prices. It's a win either way in our book.

What do Customers Say

Customer comments about these scopes and other optics are favorable for the most part. Customers are happy with the quality of the materials used to make the scopes. They claim the glass is good the scopes they own hold their zero during regular use. Many customer comments we found praised Vector Optics for producing quality scopes and optics at low prices.

We found a few negative comments in our search, but nothing that screamed don't buy these scopes. We saw two comments complaining about some of the larger, long-range scopes that claimed the scopes weighed more than expected. Long range scopes are almost always a little heavier. They have more material in them and heavier glass.

We found a comment claiming the SCRD-05 Stinger 1x28 Red & Green Dot Scope did not hold its zero during regular use. Most of the remarks on this scope were positive, and the turrets didn't seem to be a widespread issue. It is likely the problem is owner related, or they just got a defective scope.

Defects are not uncommon among all optics manufacturers, but the five-year warranty on Vector Optics is ample warranty time to find any flaws.

hunting riffle scope

Image Source: Unsplash

The only other negative comments we found that seemed legitimate was about the lens covers on the SCRD-08 Chimaera 1x30 Green & Red Dot Sight. Two owners of that scope claimed the lens covers broke off a few weeks after they bought the scope.

This scope's lens covers come built-in to the body. Looking at an image of the scope, it seems like breaking them off would take a bit more force than regular use. That said, the scopes in question are probably defective, and the owners should look into the warranty.

Overall the company and its products get good reviews and comments from customers. That goes a long way toward helping you decide to purchase their products. If you look at the negative reviews plus the positive reviews and consider the negative reviews are likely user errors, these products are well made and work as expected.


Are They Better than their Competition?

This question is a hard question to answer. Each optics maker is better or worse on a few things when compared to their competitors. Vector Optics puts a lot of effort into quality while keeping their prices low. At their worst, they are about even with their competition. The glass and mechanical parts of any scope are the essential features.

Most optics makers try to use good glass, and they do a fair job of using mechanical parts that work well. Vector Optics is a little above their competition where glass is concerned and about even on mechanical parts. Vector Optics beats the competition on variety and selection. Their scopes also offer more reticle options than most other scopes and hold their zero better.

Our Opinion

man using a rifle

Image Source: Unsplash

We think you should give Vector Optics a try and see what you think. They offer a few reflex sights at prices below $, and a few lower than $. At those prices, you can buy three or four sights and test them yourself. You can take advantage of their 30-day money back guarantee to return any sights you don't want, or just keep them all. You can't have too many gun accessories.

In short, our opinion is favorable, and we think you should try out one the scopes we mentioned above or visit the Vector Optics website and find the scope that fits your needs and circumstances. You will be surprised by the vast selection and the low prices. Take a trip to your local gun shop or sporting goods store and ask them about Vector Optics.  

Conclusion

We spend a lot of money on gun accessories. If you can get a proper, reliable scope for a low price, then that means more money for ammo. That alone is reason enough to shop economy scopes. They make their scopes to last and perform reliably. We can't stress enough how important good glass is to optics along with light transfer, and they use good glass.

If you’re like more hunters or recreational shooters, a large part of your budget goes toward renting land, paying dues, travel, and several other expensive side effects of your lifestyle. Using economy scopes help take some of the weight off your budget. Compared to some Nikon scopes that cost over $$$, buying an economy scope saves enough money to fund a nice hunting trip.

Zooming In On Weapon Scopes And Sights To Help You Achieve A Clear Shot

 a view from a scope

View through the scope of an M-91: Image by Heather S. Gordon

Few things are more powerful than a warrior who knows his equipment inside and out. Knowing your weapon, though, is more than just practicing how to use the gun itself. weapon scopes and sights are essential to getting the perfect shot.

These days, weapon scopes and sights are so ubiquitous that even a halfway decent video game attempts to give players an accurate representation of these essential weapon parts. Yet painfully few weapons enthusiasts actually know in detail how they work.

soldier using scopes and sights

Your weapon itself, and all your training and practice with it, can only get you so far. The human eye limits the range of your weapon more than the weapon itself ever could, and the right weapon scopes and sights are essential to getting the shot you need.

That tiny speck that you can barely make out with your eyes pulls up close to you in perfect clarity through the power of your scope. That guesstimate your eyes make of what your weapon is trained on becomes a certainty in the crosshairs of your sight.

target on sight using scope crosshairs

A target seen through a scout sniper observation telescope as Marines with 1st Platoon, Bravo Company, Battalion Landing Team 1st Battalion, 2nd Marine Regiment, 24th Marine Expeditionary Unit in Djibouti; Image by Cpl. Michael Petersheim via Flickr

Having the right weapon scopes and sights, the perfect accessories for them, and knowing how to use them, adjust them, and maintain them are essential skills for every warrior, hunter, or weapons enthusiast.

Scopes

bushnell tactical rimfire scope

Bushnell Tactical Rimfire Scope on Ruger 10/22; Image from Attribution 2.0 Generic (CC BY 2.0) by Hunting Mark via Flickr

Scopes are mounted to the barrel of a weapon at approximately the midway point. They provide magnification so you can bring a far away target into close focus. They let you see both your gun’s sight and your target in a way that ensures you are lined up for the shot.

Types Of Scopes

There are many types of scopes available, and the right choice will depend on your weapon and your shooting conditions:

  • Variable or adjustable scope: you can change the magnification settings with this type
  • Fixed scope: you cannot change settings with this type of scope
  • Night vision scope: provides infrared illumination for dark conditions

How Do They Work?

parts of a scope

Parts of a scope; Original image adapted from Creative Commons Attribution 2.0 Generic by Steyr Mannlicher via Wikimedia Commons

All weapons scopes use a series of lenses much like those you would find in a telescope or pair of binoculars. In fact, in the field, they make a passable substitute for binoculars when binoculars aren’t available.

These lenses magnify when you see through the scope. Your scope will also provide you some kind of reticle that shows where your shot is likely to go. We say “likely” because long-distance shots are affected by many things other than just your aim.

The reticle may look like crosshairs, various types of dots, a star, or a bullseye. The scope will also have a way for you to adjust the elevation, a mounting rail for putting it on your weapon, and often a cap to protect the adjustment and the end.

reticles vector of scopes

Types of reticles; Image by Jellocube27 via English Wikipedia

The user peers through one end of the scope, resting the reticle on the target. By adjusting the knobs, the user can center their scope on the target and adjust for various factors like wind, distance, and the way the bullet will drop in response to gravity.

A Short History

Scopes for magnifying a shooter’s target came into existence not long after the telescope was invented by Hans Lippershey in 1608.

Prior to this invention, all shooters used iron sights only, and these were so reliable that even a hundred years after the first scopes came out, the famous sniper Simo “White Death” Hayha thought they were inferior to sights.

simo hayha

Simo Hayha; Image from Finland Military Archives via Wikimedia Commons

The first scope, called a “telescopic rifle sight” was made in 1776. Unfortunately, it was an unmitigated failure. The recoil of the rifle shoved the scope back into the user’s eye, and the idea was abandoned for a while. Finally, in the 1830s, Morgan James made the first successful scope.

The First Snipers

Scopes produced a new kind of warrior: the sniper. The first snipers appeared during the Civil War, and their existence was almost based more upon the potential of the scope than actual performance. Everyone could see that the “telescopic sight” could do great things, but it would take a while before the potential became reality.

sharps rifle

United States Sharps rifle Model 1859, .52 caliber; Image by Division of the History of Technology, Armed Forces History, National Museum of American History, Smithsonian Institution via Wikimedia Commons

Snipers in the North mostly used Sharps rifle, which gave birth to the term “Sharpshooter.” Southern snipers used the British Whitworth rifle, which, when combined with a scope, was the most accurate rifle in existence and the true first modern sniper rifle.

World Wars

The sniper’s place in modern warfare and the value of the scope were well established by World War I. In that conflict, Germany dominated the sniper war with the finest rifles and scopes.

german sniper

German sniper laying on ground near barbed wire defenses; Image from Library of Congress via Picryl

By World War II, rifle scopes were highly developed and available to regular infantrymen, not just snipers. The two greatest scope improvements came from the United States and Germany. In the US, the Unertl Optical Company provided a scope that every soldier to put on an M40 rifle. It proved excellent 10x magnification.

The Germans, meanwhile, actually invited the world’s first night vision scope: the Zielgerät “Vampir” 1229. They put it on their Sturmgewehr 44 assault rifle, but it made no ultimate difference to their fate in the war.

soldier using vampir night scope

Vampir night scope tested by British soldier; Image from British Army via Wikimedia Commons

Today, modern infantries issue weapon scopes and sights to all their personnel, and many scopes have been upgraded to allow for easy target acquisition, standard night vision options, auto-aiming functions, and laser range-finders. Many of these are available for the weapon enthusiast, as well.

Sights

A weapon’s sights typically sit at the end of the barrel. They are designed to help the user visually align their weapon to the target. Some people consider a scope a type of sight: a telescopic sight. This is a legitimate way of thinking, but modern weapons tend to have both scopes and sights, making it essential to differentiate.

Types Of Sights

There are several types of sights available for weapons, even without considering scopes to be a subset of sights. Here are the most common:

  • Iron sights: can be single or located at both ends of the barrel
  • Peep sights: like iron sights, but the front sight stays fuzzy until perfectly aligned on target
  • Dot sights: project a dot or holograph onto the target
  • Laser sights: project a laser beam onto the target

How Do They Work?

Since there are different types of gun sights, each works slightly differently. To use simple iron sights come from the factory on nearly every weapon made. The simplest kinds feature nothing more than a simple bump or notch at the end, but most have “open sights.”

types of sights

A selection of open sights, and one aperture sight suitable for use with long eye relief, all using a 6'oclock hold: A) U-notch and post, B) Patridge, C) V-notch and post, D) express, E) U-notch and bead, F) V-notch and bead, G) trapezoid, H) en:ghost ring. The gray dot represents the target; Image from Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike 3.0 Unported by Fluzwup via Wikimedia Commons

Open sights offer an aperture at the back end of the barrel and a notch or bump at the front. The user lines these up to make sure the weapon is aimed correctly. Peep sights work similarly, but they help the shooter get alignment more quickly by keeping things fuzzy until they are.

Dot sights are the most common these days, and they make shooting a breeze. The dot, crosshair, or other aiming point displays across the shooter’s view. There is no need to align the sights, and the image always stays on target.

soldier looking  on scope for pop up target

Staff Sergeant Sally McCabe sights on pop-up targets; Image from U.S. Air Force by Tech. Sgt. Justin D. Pyle

A Short History

The first guns were ridiculously inaccurate. These 14th-century nightmares didn’t need sights because there was no reason for them: aiming the gun made hardly any difference. All you could do was point it in the general direction of your enemy and hope for the best.

Bead Sights

By the mid-15th century, firearm accuracy was finally good enough that the first bead sights were added to the muzzles. By the 16th century, people had realized that adding a rear sight made the whole thing more accurate. They had also learned to bring the front sight in just a bit, as leaving it at the extreme edge of the barrel made it vulnerable to being knocked and jolted.

Innovations

The next step was making these sights adjustable and providing markings on rifle barrels so shooters could adjust them quickly. It was the Turks who invented the peep sight, and they had a fascinating innovation. They drilled several holes on top of one another, each one designed to be used at a different distance.

Their system was so good that it remained in use until the 1800s. In that century, fully adjustable sights were invented, allowing a user to have just one peephole and move notches around to adjust for distance.

Modern Sights

heckler and koch mp5 pdw galaxy with eotech 551

Heckler & Koch MP5 PDW Galaxy w/ Eotech 551; Image from Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike 4.0 International, 3.0 Unported, 2.5 Generic, 2.0 Generic, and 1.0 Generic by Neevsky via Wikimedia Commons

These came into use during the early 20th century and were used extensively in World War II. These sights use a small reflecting glass to project the aiming point for the shooter. In the late 1990s, holographic sights used the reflective idea and improved upon it by using photography rather than reflection: which did away with any distortion.

Laser sights are highly accurate but are the least-used of all the weapon scopes and sights available. That is because they are really more show than substance. They tend to fool the unwary shooter into assuming aim is true because they can see a dot. Unfortunately, the laser cannot factor in distance, wind changes, or movement by the target.

Terms You Need To Know

An article like this cannot cover every single term related to weapon scopes and sights; however, there are some that every weapons enthusiast should be aware of.

Adjustable Objective

On a scope, this is the dial at the end or knob on the left side. Use it adjust the scope’s parallax to the approximate distance of your target.

Bullet Drop Compensation

Gravity is a thing, and bullet drop compensation is the act of accounting for it. The instant your bullet leaves the barrel, it will begin its inevitable descent towards the ground. The farther away the target is, the more the bullet will drop as it travels. This means an accurate shooter needs to raise their weapon a certain amount to compensate for varying distances. Good weapon scopes and sights help you compensate.

Click

One click refers to one notch of adjustment in a scope’s elevation. Typically, once click will change the scope’s impact point by 100 yards.

Eye Relief

This is the distance your eye needs to be from the end of a scope in order to still see it completely.

Magnification (or Power)

target on sight through the scope

Image by U.S. Marine Corps via Wikimedia Commons

This tells you how powerful your scope is. Magnification is expressed with a number and the letter “x.” A 10x scope shows you things ten times closer than looking with your naked eye.

Parallax

This term refers to the apparent position of your scope’s reticle on the target. Most scopes allow you to adjust this by 100 or 150 yards at a time. If the target and your reticle are not on the same focal plane, the reticle will not fix on the target.

Parallax Compensation

Not necessary for shooting at ranges under about 250 yards, parallax compensation becomes increasingly important the longer distance you shoot. Use the adjustable objective to move the reticle around until the target becomes clear. You’ve adjusted correctly when you can move your eye around, and the reticle does not move off the target.

Twilight Factor

Refers to how accurate a rifle scope is when there is little light. The higher the twilight factor, the more light the scope allows in and the more accurate it will be in low light conditions.

Weapon Scopes And Sights Accessories

There’s almost nothing you can’t get online these days, and that includes an array of accessories to improve your experience with weapon scopes and sights. We’ve rounded up a list of some of the most useful for the average shooter.

Scope Cover

A scope cover is the perfect way to protect your scope from moisture, dirt, or knicks and knocks. The ideal cover goes on and off easily and is made of a stretchy material.

Scope Mounting Kit

If you use more than one scope on your weapon, you will want your own mounting kit to make it easy to take off one scope and put on another. Look for a kit that comes with a leveling tool, a lapping bar handle, a thread lock, gunsmithing screwdriver bits, and a torque screwdriver.

Sight Magnifier

sight scope magnifier

If you have a dot sight, you may want a bit of magnification without the bulk and inconvenience of fitting a whole scope. A sight magnifier gives you around 3x magnification in a small attachment that locks into place quickly and easily.

Lens Pen

This is a handy little tool that allows you to wipe off debris or fingerprints from your scope or lenses without having to fiddle with cleaning compound or worry about scratches. It carries a cleaning compound within it and is shaped like a pen.

Lens Cap

Most scopes will come with a cap on the end to protect it, but if yours doesn’t, or if you’ve lost or damaged the one you have, get another. A lens cap is essential to keep your scope in good working order.

Wind Meter

There are several types of wind meters, and they all do basically the same job. They give you an accurate estimate of the strength of any crosswind so you can shoot more accurately over long distances.

Clip-On Night Vision Adaptor

night vision scope

Night vision; Image from CC BY 3.0 by David Kitson via Wikipedia

If you don’t want to buy a separate night vision scope, you can use a night vision adaptor. These will go on your weapon’s rail and transform your existing scope into one that can see in the dark.

How To Mount Your Scope

Your rifle scope is one of the most expensive items you’ll buy for your weapon. No matter how much money you spend on your scope, it will be useless if it hasn’t been properly mounted. You can get a gunsmith to do this for you, but there’s no reason you can’t learn to do it yourself.

Tools

  • Gunsmithing screwdriver
  • Gunsmithing screw bits
  • Gun cradle
  • Rosin
  • Electrical tape
  • Scope level
  • Gun-safe cleaner
  • Dowel rods

Important Prep

Fortunately, the vast majority of modern rifles are already drilled and tapped to hold scopes, or they come with mountain attachments. This means it’s increasingly possible for the average gun owners to install weapon scopes and sights on their own. It also means it’s crucial to make sure your mounting system fits your rifle.

The next preparatory step is to clean everything carefully. Wipe it all down and make sure it’s dry. Apply a little oil or a rust preventative to the mounting rail.

Where to Mount

Most professionals recommend that you put the scope as low as possible without touching the barrel. Make sure there’s enough clearance at the eyepiece for the bolt to move freely.

The scope bases and rings usually attach with socket heads. Secure just the lower half of the rings for now. As you secure them, make sure your fit is even and stable by tightening the screws alternately.

If the socket system rotates, don’t use the scope to pivot the ring around. Use the dowel rods to do the pivoting. If you want to make sure things never move, you can even add a drop or two of Loctite.

Align Your Reticle

The bottom half of the scope mounting rings should be secured at this point. Put in your scope and then put on the top half of the rings and tighten just enough that you can rotate the scope and move it around.

With your gun cradle holding the scope perfectly level, move the scope around until the reticle is perfectly aligned both horizontally and vertically. Make sure that the scope is far enough forward that your eye is safe, but that you still have good eye relief.

Tighten It Down

marine holding a gun with a scope

Once you’re sure everything is level (use the scope level to double check), tighten down the screws on the top half of the rings. As before, alternate tightening the screws, so everything sits evenly.

Now you’re ready to do some test fires at the range to site-in your rifle.

How To Replace Your Rifle Sights

Replacing iron rifle sights is a bit trickier than mounting a scope. There’s no shame in getting a gunsmith to do this for you if you want to put on different sights. If you’re determined to do it yourself, check out this helpful video to get tips for doing it right.

If you want to add a red dot or reflective sight to your rifle, you’re in luck: these are relatively easy to install. Once again, seeing how to do it is the best way to do it right when it comes to sights.

What To Consider When Buying Scopes

Buying a rifle scope can be a difficult and complicated proposition. There are literally hundreds of choices for nearly any modern rifle, and plenty even for older models. Knowing the terminology and what to look for will help you choose the right scope for your needs.

Scope Number Reading

scope number reading

Scopes come labeled with numbers separated by an “x.” The first number tells you the magnification factor of the scope. If you see two numbers to the left of the “x” separated by a dash, this means you can adjust the magnification.

The number to the right of the “x” tells you the diameter of the scope lens that is farther forward. The measurement is in millimeters.

Choosing Magnification

The magnification of your scope matters. Let’s say you use your rifle for deer hunting in the forest. If you have a scope that gives you 32x magnification, you’re going to find it impossible to see through all the undergrowth and brush to make out anything.

But, let’s say your favorite activity with your rifle is long-distance target shooting. If you’ve only got a 3x rifle, you’re never going to do very well. Scope magnification has to match your intended activity.

looking through the scope with soldier target on sight

Camp Hansen, Okinawa, Japan (May 21, 2004) - A Special Reaction Team (SRT) member looks through the scope of a sniper rifle to help enlarge targets; Image by Cpl. Ryan Walker via Wikimedia Commons

Basically, scope magnifications between 3x and 9x will make it easy for you to track a moving target and shoot quickly and intuitively. Anything over 16x is going to be large, heavy, and perfect for target shooting. If you want to have options, you can get a variable power scope.

The only problem with variable scopes is that they are significantly more expensive than scopes without this feature. They also tend to be a bit more susceptible to breakage due to the delicate moving parts that allow them to change magnification.

Choosing Scope Diameter

The important thing about the diameter of the scope’s lens boils down to light. The larger the lens, the more light the lens allows in. The scope needs ambient light to transmit the image to your eye, but the scope’s reflective lenses lose some of the light as the image makes the journey.

This means that the image you see through the scope will always be dimmer than it really is. In bright, blazing sunlight this doesn’t matter in the slightest; in fact, in really bright conditions it can be helpful. But at twilight, in the rain, or in other low light conditions, this can seriously compromise your view.

man holding a rifle hunting at sunset

The larger the lens diameter, the brighter and clearer the image will be. In most cases, the more magnification a scope has, the larger the lens diameter will be.

So, do you want to just get the biggest possible lens? Not necessarily. The larger the lens, the heavier it is. The larger the lens diameter, the higher above the barrel it has to be mounted. If the scope is mounted too high, it may make it difficult for you to put your cheek in the right place, compromising your shots.

You can always buy a cheek-riser to compensate, but in many cases, your best bet may be to get a slightly smaller one scope and either add a night vision attachment or switch over to a night vision scope when you know you’ll be shooting in low light.

Choosing a Reticle Pattern

There are a lot of possible reticle patterns to choose from. In most situations, the final choice is just up to your personal preference. However, there are two things worth knowing.

First, mildot reticles have small dots in the center of the crosshairs, and you can use these to tell how far away a target is, so long as you know the target’s size. The dots also make it easier to adjust for wind changes or elevation rises or drops. This is the standard for more snipers.

Second, a BDC reticle is very useful if you need to shoot at targets over a variety of ranges quickly. The “BDC” stands for “bullet drop compensator.” These work well, but once you start shooting over 500 yards, they become less accurate.

Parallax Adjustment

Cheaper scopes usually can’t adjust to compensate for parallax. They are typically designed to offer no parallax at 100 yards. Anything significantly more or less than this and the scope won’t perform very well.

If the scope magnifies at 12x or beyond, you’ll want to make sure it comes with parallax correction.

Focal Plane Positions

Scopes come in either First Focal Plane (FFP) or Second Focal Plane (SFP) designs. Most modern scopes use the SFP reticle arrangement. Basically, this means the reticle you see through the scope will stay the same size no matter how you change the magnification. This is really useful if you will be changing magnification a lot and need the same consistent view no matter what power you’re using.

FFP designs make the reticle scale up and down as you adjust the magnification. The upside of this is that you can be sure your markings are accurate at varying distances. The downside is that the reticle can get a bit hard to see at lower magnifications. FFP designs are best when you know you’ll always be using high magnification.

Scope Prices

Scopes can be very pricey. Budget scopes will cost $200 or less, while the most expensive models can easily run over $3,000. The more money you pay, the more range you get, the more choices you’ll have in terms of reticles, and the better parallax adjustment will be.

price versus value

If you have the chance to test out some scopes on some buddies’ rifles or at your favorite range, go for it. In most cases, and as with most things, you do get what you pay for. However, it’s definitely not necessary to drop thousands of dollars just to get a serviceable, durable, useful scope.

What To Consider When Buying Sights

Iron Sights

rear iron sight

Rear iron sight; Image from Kinkify via Wikimedia Commons

The most common type of sight, iron sights, are the typical factory default for guns. This isn’t a very precise type of sight, especially if you only have one sight at the end of the barrel; but in some cases, they work really well. Shotguns are a great example of a weapon that really doesn’t need a lot of fancy sites.

hand holding a pistol

Pistols also work well with double iron sights, one in the front and one in the rear, though in most cases their effective range is only about 50m. Simple iron and peep sights will also be problematic for you if you have poor eyesight or don’t have time to put in a lot of practice.

Laser Sights

Laser Sights are cool, and they can be very useful for a new gun owner. They can help you get a sense of what you’re doing; however laser sights can actually be bad for experienced users. As mentioned above, it is tempting to rely so much on the laser that you neglect important steps in your development a weapons expert.

It’s also worth bearing in mind that laser sights give away your position when you’re in the dark. This is something to consider if you have a gun for home defense or for hunting.

Reflector Sights

soldier looking through the sights on his m16a4

Lance Corporal Jeromy S. Pilon looks through the sights on his M16A4 in Fallujah, Iraq; Image by Lance Corporal Miguel A. Carrasco Jr. via Wikimedia Commons

Reflector sights are most often used by the military and law enforcement in weapons designed for short range fights. They allow the user to shoot quickly and accurately and can be adjusted for daytime and nighttime use.

You can put reflector sights on a hunting weapon, but in most cases, it won’t be your best tool. Additionally, you need to be aware that moving the sight lever—either on purpose or by accident—means you have to re-sight the weapon.

Maintenance

Weapon scopes and sights require basic cleaning to keep them in good shape. For iron sights, cleaning is a snap. Simply wipe them down with a gun-safe cleaner on occasion.

For scopes, the situation is a bit more complex. Fortunately, modern scopes usually come with coatings that protect the lenses from scratches, but eventually, even the fanciest and most expensively coated lens will need to be cleaned.

What Not to Do

Whatever you do, please don’t use the tail of your shirt, some scratchy old napkin you found in your truck glove compartment, or any kind of ordinary spray cleaner on your scope. Even shirts and cloth that feel very soft to you are going to scratch the coating of your lenses.

As for those spray cleaners, unless they’re purpose-made for the job, they are liable to actually degrade the coating. Never ever use Windex, we’re begging you!

Preventing Problems

The best way to keep your lenses clean is to use lens caps and covers. Whether your gun is being stored or you have it with you but aren’t actively using it, keep the scope protected.

gun cleaners

When you clean the rest of the rifle, keep the cap and cover on your scope: the powerful cleaners that are suitable for the rest of the weapon will destroy your scope lenses over time.

How to Clean Effectively

Here are the steps to properly cleaning your scope:

  1. Get a special lens brush designed for the job
  2. Make sure that lens brush is totally clean
  3. Get a polishing tool: either a lens brush with polish or a polishing microfiber cloth
  4. Get a special liquid scope lens cleaner
  5. With the lens to be cleaned facing down, blow on it to get rid of most of the dust
  6. Lightly brush the lens with the lens brush
  7. For stubborn spots, slightly retract the brush bristles to make them tighter
  8. Polish the lens using a circular motion
  9. Apply lens cleaner if necessary to get rid of stubborn stains

Tips And Tricks

rifle in the field

You want to get the most out of your weapon scopes and sights, so here are some tips to help you make the right choice for your needs.

Match Your Scope to Your Rifle

If you’ve paid a lot of money for your rifle, don’t compromise your ability to use it by saving money on the scope. An amazing rifle demands an amazing and precise aiming device to allow you to get the most out of it.

Use the Right Reticle

A fancy reticle that lest you adjust for elevation and wind could be awesome: but if you don’t really need it you’re just paying money for nothing. If you just want to aim at shorter distances, don’t splash out for a tactical reticle you’ll never get around to using.

Don’t Skimp on the Mount

If you’ve paid a lot of money for a quality scope, the last thing you want to do is mount it to your rifle with a cheap bit of plastic. A strong mount doesn’t have to cost a lot: it just needs to be made of quality material.

fn fal rifle stanag scope mount

FN FAL rifle STANAG scope mount; Image from Creative Commons Attribution 3.0 Unported by WoozleSPB (Sedov K.B.) via Wikimedia Commons

Always Be Level

It is impossible to overstate how important it is that your scope be perfectly level. Even if your reticle is a bit off, that won’t matter terribly if the scope is level. All you have to do is slightly adjust. It’s worth investing in a level device if you do a lot of shooting.

Troubleshooting

When you feel like you should be making your shots but the bullets never hit the target, it’s really frustrating. Here are some troubleshooting tips to consider:

scopes and sights troubleshooting

Bottom Line

In many ways, your rifle is only as good as the sights you use; especially if you’re shooting over distance. A great scope, meanwhile, can improve the accuracy of even an average rifle. Choosing the right weapon scopes and sights means knowing yourself, knowing your weapon, and knowing what your typical shooting conditions will be.

rifles with scopes attached lined up on the ground

Tactical Operations Command, Federal Police Department; Image from Attribution 2.0 Generic (CC BY 2.0) by André Gustavo Stumpf via Flickr

If you’re a beginner, however, remember that practice is the most important thing. Even the most expensive scope on the market can’t make up for a lack of skill; and in the end, having a weapon is no good if you don’t know how to use it effectively.

keep calm and carry on post it

First Focal Plane vs Second Focal Plane: The Ultimate Buying Guide

There are few decisions more important for a hunter than choosing the correct focal plane scope. In fact, one of the questions we are most often asked by our readers is whether they should buy a first focal plane scope or one in the second position. Ultimately, the answer to this question depends on the purposes you intend to use your rifle for.

Do you want to find out which scope focal position you should buy? In this guide, our expert shooters go in-depth to spell out the differences between the two scope varieties and which is best for your individual needs.

Be warned, however, that the answer is not a simple one. Overall, the answer to the great debate between first focal plane vs second focal plane will depend on an honest self-assessment of your needs and personal preferences.

Comparison Table - FFP And SFP Reticles Scopes

How They Work

Quite frankly, it is impossible to understand how scope focal planes work without first understanding how modern telescopic sights work.

Telescopic Sight

Telescopic sights, otherwise known as scopes, work by zooming in a target through an eyepiece via a built-in refracting telescope. Through the eyepiece, the shooter will notice a reticle that determines where the shot will be placed. The use of optical lenses and scopes make long distance shooting easier by increasing accuracy and minimizing the effects of recoil.

Scopes magnify far-away objects via the focal length of the eyepiece that is inside the device. The focal length of the lens acts as a telescope would, thus the targeted objects in the scope sightline will appear to be larger than it is to the naked eye.

Similarly, the objective lens diameter determines the amount of light that is gathered to create the image in the eyepiece. The longer the lens is in diameter, the brighter the image will appear. Likewise, the field of view (FOV) of a scope is a linear value that ascribes the precise number of degrees that the image will be viewed in (i.e., 180 degrees).

Focal Plane

Scopes that feature refracting telescope technology to present an image to the viewer have two primary planes of focus which the shooter’s crosshairs can aim with. These two planes are the first focal plane (FFP) and the second focal plane (SFP).

Some firearms, specifically those with fixed power scope sights, have no noticeable difference between these two focal planes. However, variable scope sights with the FFP expand and contract with the image as the magnification is adjusted. By contrast, SFP scopes on a variable system will feature a reticle that remains the same size regardless of magnification.

By default, most modern variable-power scopes are SFP unless stated otherwise. For many shooters, SFP reticles provide a more comfortable and natural shot than alternative systems.

Advantages and Disadvantages

To fully understand the difference between SFP and FFP, readers need to be aware of their respective advantages. In the first focal plane vs second focal plane discussion, it must be emphasized that there is no clear-cut superior system. Rather, both scope systems have their distinct advantages. Here is a quick breakdown of the most obvious benefits of FFP and SFP.

First Focal Plane

Although it is difficult to communicate without a visual representation, it helps to understand the difference between FFP and SFP if the reader imagines an object in their sightline. When peering through a scope toward, say, a deer, the crosshair (or reticle) will be placed over top of the object and appear very small.  

When you increase the magnification of your scope, the reticle will become larger and take up more of the sightline in the eyepiece. In other words, the crosshair will appear larger, although it will remain consistent with the size of the deer since the deer will also increase in size when zoomed in further.

For those with poor eyesight, FFP may be a safer option. This is because the shooter will be able to notice the reticle with greater ease than the SFP, which remains small relative to the target no matter the level of magnification.

Further, FFP scopes are generally considered superior for holdovers and hold-unders when targeting multiple objects. When using an FFP reticle, wind correction is also easier and faster according to many experienced long-distance shooters.

Second Focal Plane

The second focal plane (SFP) is an entirely different animal compared to the FFP. The main and obvious advantage of the SFP position is that the reticle will appear at a constant size to the shooter regardless of the level of magnification. This makes aiming a reliable and consistent experience that won’t “throw off” novice or beginner shooters.

When learning how to shoot, many prefer to use an SFP reticle. This is because it is easier to learn with than an FFP because there are no surprises during the aiming experience. Rather, the aiming process becomes predictable and consistent from start to finish. For those who shoot long range, this reticle position is usually not an ideal choice.

The benefit of an SFP over an FFP reticle is that the crosshair of an FFP will tend to remain small and thin then at low levels of magnification before suddenly becoming long and thick when at higher zoom settings. For many, this sudden change can be jarring and unsettling. Far too often we find that this change can ruin a novice’s shot before they even squeeze the trigger.

scope for hunting

via Giphy

Hunting


For hunting, SFP is generally considered to be inferior to FFP. However, this should not discourage hunters from investing in an SFP reticle if they feel they might prefer this style. Again, it largely comes down to a matter of personal preference when deciding on a first focal plane vs second focal plane.

The rationale behind why hunters prefer FFP is that it can be complicated and time-consuming to mentally calculate the size of one’s reticle relative to the target change during magnification adjustments. However, hunters who only shoot at long range with the same level of magnification will not have to worry about these issues.

Best SFP Reticles Scopes

To help you find the best SFP reticle scopes, our experts put together this list of the best on the market today.

Primary Arms 1-6x24mm SFP Scope

Primary Arms Silver Series 1-6x24 SFP Rifle Scope (Gen III) with Illuminated ACSS 300BO \ 7.62x39 Reticle
  • 1-6x24 scope has a chevron center aiming point ACSS 300AAC blackout / 7.62x39 reticle designed for CQB and medium range aiming
  • Second focal plane design keeps the reticle the same size through all 1-6x levels of magnification
  • Reticle is partially illuminated in red and powered by the included CR2032 battery with 12 brightness settings
  • 6063-aluminum scope body has multi-coated lenses and is nitrogen purged, fog resistant and waterproof
  • Covered by a lifetime manufacturer warranty for defects due to materials, workmanship or normal wear and tear

The Primary Arms 1-6x24mm SFP Scope is the all-around best option for novice shooters who want to learn how to transition to long or medium-range shooting. We recommend this device for its durable build, fantastic focal range, and patented CR2032 illumination.

Vortex Optics Viper HS-T 6-24x50 SFP Scope

Vortex Optics Viper HS-T 6-24x50 SFP Riflescope VMR-1 MOA
  • The Viper HS-T 6-24x50 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 . Featured length of the barrel is approximately around 15.5 inches
  • 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 coating protects the lenses.
  • 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 corrections.
  • A 4x zoom provides magnification versatility while the side focus parallax adjustment provides optimal image focus and parallax removal. The fast focus eyepiece allows the shooter to properly adjust the reticle to your eye.
  • The one-piece tube is o-ring sealed and argon purged to ensure waterproof and fogproof performance. The Viper HS-T is a versatile yet simple riflescope that is at home in a hunting, target shooting, or tactical application.

The Vortex Optics Viper HS-T 6-24x50 SFP Scope is a great scope for those who want a higher-end model than the Primary Arms 1-6x24mm. This scope provides excellent value for novice and veteran shooters alike who want to benefit from Vortex’s premium VMR-1 reticle and ultra-durable multi-coated lenses.

With the option of 24x magnification, this scope is the perfect choice for long distance shooters who want to stick with an SFP reticle option. Overall, our experience with this scope has been extremely positive and we would recommend it for any shooter who wants to master SFP-equipped shooting.


Best FFP Reticles Scopes

Finding a quality FFP reticle scope can be a real challenge these days. That is why our expert team hand-tested the finest on the market to put together this quick list of the best FFP reticle scopes in the industry.

Primary Arms Platinum Series 1-8x24 FFP

Athlon Optics , Argos BTR, Riflescope, 6-24 x 50 First Focal Plane (FFP) 30 mm Tube, Illuminated APMR MIL Reticle,
  • First focal plane reticle stays valid at all power settings allowing you to fully utilize the specially designed reticle that shrinks or grows along with your target as you zoom in or out.
  • Advanced Fully Multi-Coated lenses gives you better light transmission to bring optimum brightness and true color across the entire light spectrum.
  • Reticle etched on the glass that provides excellent backing support for complex reticle design and offers great durability and much higher shock resistance to recoil
  • The 6061T6 aircraft grade aluminum tube that has exceptional strength and superior mechanical integrity will protect these world class optics no matter what punishment you throw at it
  • Argon purging gives you better waterproofing and thermal stability

For a budget-friendly FFP solution, we recommend checking out the Primary Arms Platinum Series 1-8x24 FFP reticle scope. Not only does this scope offer lots of versatility with a 1-8x magnification, but it is also among the most rugged and durable on the market. Made of premium aluminum alloy, this scope can take a serious beating before it starts to give way.

Nikon PROSTAFF 5 BDC 2.5-10x50 Scope

Nikon PROSTAFF 5 BDC Riflescope, Black, 2.5-10x50
  • Features Nikon's patented BDC reticle with see-through ballistic circles for superior long-range shooting
  • Adjustments are made easy with Spring-Loaded Instant Zero-Reset Turrets
  • Made with Nikon's fully multicoated optics for maximum brightness and light transmission
  • A quick focus eyepiece allows the shooter to instantly bring the reticle into focus
  • Optimized for use with Nikon's Spot On Ballistic Match Technology

The Nikon PROSTAFF 5 BDC 2.5-10x50 Scope is arguably the best FFP scope in its price range. This scope packs all the premium high-quality materials you would expect from a Nikon product, with an excellent warranty and return policy to back it. Overall, there is hardly any risk in trying out the Nikon PROSTAFF 5 if you want an industry-leading FFP reticle scope.

Monstrum Tactical 1-6x24 FFP Scope

Monstrum Tactical 1-6x24 First Focal Plane (FFP) Rifle Scope with Illuminated BDC Reticle (Black)
  • High precision tactical rifle scope with 1-6x magnification, a 24mm objective lens, and an eye relief of 4-4.5 inches
  • Functionally designed first focal plane rangefinder reticle, with easy-to-read ranging information that remains constant regardless of magnification, for faster range estimation and holdover correction
  • Dial controlled reticle illumination in both red and green with multiple brightness intensities, for better reticle visibility at night or in low light in environments
  • Aircraft grade aluminum construction with a 30mm sealed, nitrogen charged tube for resistance to water and fog
  • Package also includes set of medium profile picatinny scope rings, a detachable honeycomb filter sunshade, a set of bikini-style see-through lens covers, a felt drawstring carrying bag, a lint free cleaning cloth, and one CR2032 3V battery

With a 1-6x magnification, the Monstrum Tactical 1-6x24 FFP Scope does not provide the greatest range. However, it features an excellent eye relief barrel and an easy-to-read reticle that is great for entry-level shooters. Plus, its aircraft-grade construction makes it a long-lasting device that will serve you well for many seasons.

Conclusions

In conclusion, it must be reiterated that the first focal plane vs second focal plane discussion is one that hinges on the shooter’s individual needs. For novice hunters and those unfamiliar with the intricate techniques inherent to long-distance shooting, SFP reticles are generally undesirable. However, FFP can offer faster readying and greater accuracy for veteran shooters.

Best 1-4x Scope: Top 10 Picks Reviewed & Compared

You will need a high-quality 1-4x scope to make the most of hunting season. A true 1x piece will assist you with reflex shooting. The scope lets you shoot with both eyes open as the rifle snaps into place. You use the setting at 1x to optimize the sight for faster shots. These scopes have the same benefits as red dot optics.

Many shooters think they don’t need a scope for hunting squirrels or other small game, but 1-4x scopes may change their minds.

Use this type of scope for target shooting, hunting, defense or tactical reasons.  We’ve looked at all the available 1-4x scopes sold online and in retail stores, and chosen the top models that experts and novices will appreciate.     

Comparison Table - Best 1-4x Scopes

How We Chose Our Ratings

We looked at the features users want in a scope. A top 1-4x scope normally features coated lenses, excellent light transmission and durable, lightweight material, and a wide field of view. Consider these attributes when shopping for a scope.  

Light transmission capability depends on the surface around the lenses. Most lenses contain coatings that improve light transmission. The size of the objective lenses also helps. If you have a larger lens, you'll get quality light transmission.

A scope with coated lenses also offers better light transmission and image resolution.  A lens may have just one coat, or be multi-coated, with a layer of coating for every lens surface. Coatings are also excellent for reducing glare.

It's best to get a lightweight scope so you won't be saddled with more heavy gear on a hunting trip. Aluminum 1-4x scopes are durable and can be easier to use since they are lighter.  

When you zoom in on an object, the scope’s field of view becomes narrower. Find the scope with the largest field of view you can afford.

We also looked at all the usual factors that make a superior product, including:

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Cost

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Ease of Use

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Availability

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Customer Service

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Return Policy

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Online Reviews

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Expert Articles about the Product