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First Focal Plane vs. Second Focal Plane Scopes Explained: Which is Best?

Which is best, a first or second focal plane scope? The best choice depends on several factors, including your application and budget.

First Focal Plane vs. Second Focal Plane Scopes Explained: Which is Best?

Whether a first or second focal plane scope is best depends on your intended purposes. 

Tactical and competitive shooting sports are crossing over into the hunting world more than ever, sparking frequent debates about whether first or second focal plane scopes—or more accurately, the reticles inside the scopes—are better.

Also known as front and rear focal plane, this refers to the position of the lens etched with the reticle, in relation to the zoom mechanism.

If the reticle-etched lens is in front of the zoom mechanism, it’s called a first, or front, focal plane scope. The reticle is superimposed over the image in the scope on the same plane, so as you zoom in or out, the reticle larger or smaller, maintaining the same size in relation to...

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