by Bryce Towsley -
Monday, July 10, 2017
reticle is placed in either the first focal plane (FFP) or the second
focal plane (SFP). The main difference between them is that an SFP
reticle will appear to be the same size regardless of magnification.
With an FFP reticle, the size of the reticle will appear to change as
the scope’s magnification is changed.
Most American hunters are familiar with SFP, as that style has
been the most common in American hunting scopes for generations. The FFP
reticle has become very popular with long-range shooters, and as we are
adopting their techniques, this reticle is gaining favor with hunters
wishing to shoot at long range.
With an SFP reticle, the spacing for holdover in the reticle is
only correct at one magnification, usually the highest setting. If the
scope’s magnification is set lower, the size of the reticle relative to
the target changes and the increments of the spacing will change. You
can use a mathematical formula to figure out the spacing for each of the
power settings, but it becomes complicated and confusing and is no good
If you do all your long-range shooting only at the highest
magnification, this is not an issue and an SFP scope will work fine. One
advantage is that you have a strong and easy-to-see reticle even at the
An FFP reticle appears to grow larger or smaller as the scope’s
magnification is increased or decreased, respectively. In reality, the
reticle maintains the same perspective with the target size throughout
the magnification range. That means the holdover points remain the same
throughout the range of magnification. For example, the 6 MOA line is at
6 MOA on the lowest setting, the highest setting and everything in
The downside of an FFP reticle is it appears small and thin at
low power and gets thicker at high power, so it can be hard to see at
the low settings and can cover too much target at the highest setting.
For hunters, the low-magnification setting is often just as important as
the high-magnification setting, so make sure you look at the reticle at
all power settings before buying an FFP scope. Some have illuminated
reticles, which help at low power.
If you use the dial-up technique for long-range shooting both
reticles will work just fine as the dial adjustments are not affected by
the type of reticle.