When it comes to choosing the right reticle for your riflescope, the variety of options can drive most newcomers crazy. Because each type of reticle has its own unique pattern and function, the decision can be a difficult one for many first-time shooters.
To help you make an informed decision, we’ve compiled a list of the most important factors to consider when choosing a reticle for your scope.
Shooting Purpose: Hunting or Tactical?
The first thing to consider when choosing a reticle is the type of shooting you’ll be doing. Different types of reticles are better suited for different types of shooting purposes.
For example, in popular games like Call of Duty and Fortnite, players often use reticles such as crosshairs or red dot sights to quickly acquire targets in fast-paced gameplay. In tactical shooting games like Counter-Strike: Global Offensive, players may opt for BDC (Bullet Drop Compensation) reticles that allow them to compensate for bullet drop at different ranges.
For hunting, simple reticles like crosshair reticles, center dot reticles, duplex reticles, and German #4 reticles are popular choices. These are mainly simple crosshair designs, some with thicker lines at the edges, and a central aiming point. The thicker lines at the edges can draw your eyes to the center of your target, especially in low light or busy backgrounds, and help you quickly acquire your target.
While BDC reticles are a popular choice for tactical shooting. They are designed to compensate for bullet drop at different distances. BDC reticles are typically calibrated for a specific caliber and bullet weight, so it’s important to match the reticle to the ammunition you’re using. BDC reticles have marks or dots that correspond to specific distances, allowing shooters to adjust their aim accordingly. These reticles are especially useful when shooting targets at varying distances, making them popular with hunters and long-range shooters.
MIL or MOA?
Another important factor to consider is whether to choose a MIL (MRAD) or MOA reticle. The MIL dot reticle is a common choice for long-range shooting. It features evenly spaced dots along the reticle that can be used to estimate the distance of your target. The dots are spaced one milliradian (or mil) apart, which is 3.6 inches at 100 yards. This makes it easy to calculate holdover and windage adjustments and estimate range. For this reason, the MIL-Dot reticle is widely used by snipers and ultra-long range shooters.
This picture is a real image of VEPG-TMIL etched glass reticle (Vector Optics SCOM-T37), you can see this MIL reticle looks very clear and smart due to the digital lines and dots, a great example of MIL reticle that designed for long range and easy calculation of horizontal and vertical adjustment.
The thicker lines are also helpful for you to focus on the exact target.
The MOA reticle uses Minute of Angle (MOA) measurements, which correspond to 1.047 inches at 100 yards. This reticle is much more welcomed by hunters and precision shooters, as it allows for more precise adjustments and easier target acquisition. MOA reticles are also more intuitive for those who are already familiar with minute of angle measurements.
So here’s the advice from Victoptics:
If you care more about easy range estimation and holdover adjustments, get a scope with a MIL reticle.
If you value accuracy and ease of use, the MOA reticle is your best choice.
As for measuring habits, MIL or MRAD and CM are more suitable for those who use metric units, while MOA is more suitable for those who use imperial units.
First Focal Plane or Second Focal Plane?
Scopes with the FFP reticle are ideal for competitive shooting and hunting, where targets may be encountered at varying distances and where speed and accuracy are important. The FFP reticle is located at the front of the magnification lens, so the same holdover and windage marks appear on the reticle at any magnification level. This makes it easier to estimate range and compensate for bullet drop and wind drift. However, the reticle can become too small or too large at extreme magnifications.
Scopes with the SFP reticle, on the other hand, give you an edge for benchrest shooting or any situation where you will routinely shoot at a fixed distance. The SFP reticle has a fixed size, making it clear and visible at any magnification level, but requires a specific magnification level (usually the highest) for accurate holdover and windage marks.
Illuminated or Non-illuminated?
Illuminated reticles are designed to provide better visibility in low light conditions such as dawn, dusk, or nighttime. They can also be used during the daytime, especially at low magnification settings. This is especially important for hunters or shooters who need to quickly adapt to changing conditions. If the reticle is fiber-illuminated, then it can even be seen in very bright conditions. To some extent, illuminated reticles can be used as a substitute for red dot sights.
Non-illuminated reticles are suitable for regular daytime use. It is better to get a scope with an illuminated reticle if you are not sure whether you will be using it during the day or at night.
Here’s the picture that will help you remember it better.
Choosing the right reticle for your riflescope isn’t as troublesome as you think, follow our tips step by step and you will find there is a reticle out there that is perfect for you.
If you prefer a certain reticle style or design for personality, or you find a particular reticle works better for you than others. Victoptics can help you customize or modify the reticle based on our current reticle types, such as changing their size, color, or shape. For customization details, visit our OEM/ODM page.
If you’re still not sure which reticle to choose, consult us for guidance. Enjoy the game!