First focal plane vs second focal plane

What is a focal plane in riflescope?

For you to have a perfect knowledge of shooting and accuracy, you would have to understand what focal plane means and how it works.

{Focal plane according to physics, is the plane perpendicular to the optical axis of the lens, in which images of points in the object field of the lens are focused}

I believe with this definition, it is well cleared or somehow understood that focal plane is what really helps us to be able to capture and see our image/target clearer no matter its distance from the point we see it. In rifle scopes, the same thing is applied. But here, there are two types of focal plane in riflescopes which are: first focal plane and second focal plane. We hope that as you read on, you will be able to understand the differences between them which mainly is the position of the reticle which affects the object you see during magnifications.

front-focal-plane-vs-second-focal-plane-rifle-scope-reticleFirst focal plane in riflescope

First focal plane riflescopes tend to have their reticules positioned at the center of the riflescope tube. This means it is below the elevation turret. And as a result of that, if there is any change in the magnifications, the reticule will respond to the change – which depending on the regulation of the magnifier will lead to increase of decrees in the size of the crosshairs. This might lead to your reticule covering your prey as your magnification increases. It might not have any implications if you constantly shoot at a consistent range. Nonetheless, if you are using extra target points and shoots longer ranges, then having a first focal plane rifle scope can make a real difference. Although, first focal plane riflescopes have their own advantages which of course is that they always keep the same relationship between reticle position and image position disregarding the zooming between the magnifications. Another important thing to know about the first focal plane rifle scope is that if at its maximum magnification, the reticle might be larger and can cover smaller prey such as agouti. Here are some examples of these types of riflescopes:

1. Vortex Viper PST 4-16×50 FFP Rifle scope

Vortex Optics has been known for their excellence in innovation and production of quality optics. The Viper pst4-16×50 first focal plane (FFP) is a great asset and a trusted friend to the shooters that really enjoy riflescopes with the first focal plane. This riflescope boot features that associates with top-tier riflescopes. But still, it is sold at street prize. This riflescope is equipped with:Vortex Viper PST 4-16x50 FFP Rifle scope

  • One piece 30mm tube.
  • Gives great ample elevation and windage adjustments.
  • Designed with passion and its unique for its kind.
  • Shockproof, waterproof, fogproof.
  • Lightweight and durable riflescope.
  • Enhanced battle reticle uses base subs-tension lines for ranging.
  • Made from an aircraft aluminum standard.
  • Accurate fast and dialing shots.

2. Monstrum Tactical 1-6×24 first focal plane (FFP) Riflescope

This rifle scope with first focal plane is known as a precision tactical scope. It has a magnification that ranges from 1-6x and it is suitable for variety of close to middle range shooting applications. However, close quarter tactical conditions to plinking at shooting range to hunting at different level of targets from 400 yards and upwards. This riflescope has the following features:Monstrum Tactical 1-6x24 first focal plane (FFP) Riflescope

  • 24mm objective lens with an eye relief of about 4-4.5 inches.
  • Has an easy to read ranging information that remains constant regardless of magnification.
  • This is a high precision tactical scope with 1-6x magnification.
  • Specially designed FFP rangefinder reticle for faster range estimation and hold over correction.
  • Built with a dial controlled reticle illumination of green and red with multiple brightness intensifier.
  • It has an aircraft grade aluminum construction with 30mm sealed.
  • Constructed with nitrogen charged tube for waterproof and fogproof.
  • Medium picatinny scope rings, set of bikini style see through lens covers detachable honeycomb filter sunshade, lint free cleaning clothes, felt drawstring carrying bag and one CR2032 3V battery is included in the package.

3. Bushnell Elite tactical G2 FFP Reticle ERS Riflescope 6-24x50mm

This well-engineered riflescope by Bushnell promotes optical excellence and maintains strong reliability in the family of tactical riflescopes in our modern world. Bushnell specially designed this riflescope to deliver its greatness in serving the military and law enforcement in the States and worldwide. This is made by an American company that promotes its excellence in the production of optics. Below we list some other features that comes with this great riflescope:Bushnell Elite tactical G2 FFP Reticle ERS Riflescope 6-24x50mm

  • Has a 30mm one piece tube purge construction with argon for a maximized reliability.
  • Side focus parallax adjustment for adjustable long range accuracy.
  • Built with a 3-inch sunshade.
  • Has a limited lifetime warranty.
  • Constructed with an adjustable power tactical target scope with 6-24x magnification.
  • 50mm objective lens offers brightness and an extended range magnification.
  • Fully multi coated optics for light transmission and image clarity.
  • This riflescope has an Ultra-wide band coating.

4. Primary Arms 4-14X Tactical scope with first focal plane (FFP) PA4-14XFFP

This first focal plane riflescope constructed by Primary Arms has a mil-dot reticle that remains at its position through the scope’s entire magnification range. With 4-14x 0.1 mil click adjustments that match the reticle to make viewing in and adjusting for range and easy thing. This riflescope unlike others, comes with an affordable prize. Features:

Primary Arms 4-14X Tactical scope with first focal plane (FFP) PA4-14XFFP

  • Built with first focal plane.
  • Has a mil – dot reticle.
  • Constructed with no illumination.
  • Has 4-14x magnification optics.
  • Comes with 3 years warranty.
  • Weighs about 12.9.
  • It is fully multi-coated.
  • 30mm tube with coating.

5. Vortex Viper PST 2.5 – 10x32mm FFP riflescope MOA

Unlike any other riflescope with first focal plane; vortex viper PST 2.5 – 10x32mm FFP riflescope has a top tier features. This tactical riflescope meets your demands without calamitous effects on your pocket. It is built with edge to edge image sharpness. It maximizes alignment for improved accuracy and its vortex proprietary XR has a fully multi coated lens that it coating increases light transmission for optimal brightness. Below are some great features of this first focal plane riflescope:

Vortex Viper PST 2.5 – 10x32mm FFP riflescope MOA

  • This riflescope is fogproof and waterproof.
  • Has a one piece tube.
  • Constructed with a first focal plane capability.
  • It is engineered with the aircraft grade aluminum.
  • Has a 30mm main tube.

Below are samples of the crosshair of the first focal plane with different magnifications. This will help you to truly understand everything we meant when we say – the enlargement of the cross-hairs.

First focal plane from 100 yards to 1,100 yards: { }

We hope that by now, you should be able to say that you are proud of your knowledge about first focal plane. You can also watch a short video below to help you authenticate your understanding.

Second focal plane in riflescope

Unlike its counterpart, in the second focal plane of a riflescope, its reticule is placed towards the eyepiece of the riflescope which in any way, does not change the image of the crosshair at any magnification. This means that the central crosshairs remain at the same size in relation to the object even as the magnification changes. Here the reticle does not change in size and won’t be able to cover the object of your target. The second focal plane riflescope might be a bit tedious when in use because you will have to have a good memory to memorize the bullet compensation trajectory or you will have to get a paper along to write it down. Unlike the first focal plane riflescope; as long as you know the trajectory of your bullet drop at variable ranges, you will be able to use stadia on your riflescope to compensate.  Here we are going to introduce to you some riflescopes with second focal plane.


6. Vortex Optics Strike Eagle 1-6 x 24 AR – BDC Reticle

Taking into consideration what it might take to purchase this scope and you will discover that you won’t hesitate to go for it. It doesn’t matter whether you are logging some range time or burning through 3 gun stage, this rifle scope is up to the task with its fully multi coated lens that delivers clearer and crispy sight.Vortex Optics Strike Eagle 1-6 x 24 AR – BDC Reticle

  • Comes with a single piece 30mm tube.
  • Engineered with a glass etched reticle that is protected between two layers of glass for maximum durability
  • Its illuminated reticle helps provide a precise aiming under low light conditions.
  • This riflescope is fully multi coated.
  • Manufactured with a second focal plane

7. Vortex Optics crossfire II 2 – 7×32 riflescope

Vortex optics crossfire II 2 – 7×32 second focal plane riflescope comes with some reasonable qualities that makes it unique for it type of scope. Vortex has been known in the optics market due to their durability and affordable prize and wide range of categories to make suitable choice for yourself.Vortex Optics crossfire II 2 – 7x32 riflescope

  • This scope is fully multi coated which helps to increase light transmission.
  • The lens is made with anti-reflective coatings for on air to glass surface.
  • Made with an aircraft aluminum that enhances strength and rigidity.
  • Has a Single tube that maximizes alignment for improved accuracy.
  • Optimal virtual performance and maximum accuracy.
  • This scope is made of a second focal plane that enables the reticle remains at a fixed size during magnification.

8. Primary Arms 1-6X24 SFP hunting riflescope

This second focal plane riflescope has a brightness knob which is located at the left side. This scope is specially designed for medium range shooters. It is a good choice for hunting and it is affordable. Primary Arms also is a good quality and durable producer of optics. Here we are going to list the functions of this riflescope.Primary Arms 1-6X24 SFP hunting riflescope

  • This riflescope comes with a lifetime warranty.
  • It is designed with a second focal plane which gives you a quick target acquisition.
  • Has a great brightness setting up to 12 adjustments.
  • Built for 1-6x magnification.
  • ACSS reticles helps with quick ranging.
  • This scope has a waterproof and fogproof capability.

9. BARSKA 3-9×40 Huntmaster 30/30 riflescope

This hunt master second focal plane with silver color is a great choice for hunters and shooters. It is a great choice for hunters who wish to get a durable and accurate riflescope within their budgets. This scope comes with scope caps and set of 5/8 inches see through rings. Engineered from a high grade aluminum with lightweight. See other features below:BARSKA 3-9x40 Huntmaster 30/30 riflescope

  • Constructed for second focal plane.
  • Has a parallax free at 100 yards.
  • Enhanced firing precision and field dependability.
  • This riflescope has 30/30 reticle.
  • Built with ¼ MOA turret click adjustment.
  • 40mm objective lens.
  • Fogproof, waterproof and shockproof.
  • Attractive silver finish.

10. Crossfire II 4 – 12x50mm AO Riflescope

This vortex viper crossfire II 4-12x50mm second focal plane riflescope you make you feel you shot better whenever it is in use. It is built to exceed that limits of other riflescopes in its class. With its maximized performances and its affordable prizes, you can be sure of the choice you make. It never disappoints and it won’t start now. Other function are listed below:Crossfire II 4 – 12x50mm AO Riflescope

  • Has an extended eye relief of 3.9-4.4
  • Built with a resettable MOA capped turrets.
  • Waterproof, shockproof and fogproof capability.
  • Comes with 1’’ O-ring tube sealed
  • Fully multi-coated lens.
  • Ability to reduce parallax error.
  • Has an adjustable objective.
  • Constructed with second focal plane.

First focal plane vs second focal plane – simple differences

First focal plane riflescope Second focal plane riflescope
Both dial the same way. Both dial the same way.
Placement of the reticle in the scope in relation to the magnifying lenses of the scope. The placement of the reticle is at the back behind the magnifying lens.
Reticle is right under the turret. Reticle close towards the eyes
As you magnify, it changes the magnification of the reticle and the image coming into the objective lens exactly the same way. They stay same size in relation to each other. As you increase the magnification or decrease, you change the target size, but you don’t ever change the reticle size.
Any magnification can be good to go. The only time it’s calibrated to whatever value it’s good for; is during the max-magnification.
On a first focal plane scope, it doesn’t matter. You can be on any power you want, and it will always stay the same calibration. This is important if you want to use the reticle stadia to hold over or hold into wind, or bracket a target to either determine its size, or its distance- on a second plane scope, you need to be on its max magnification

What is bullet drop compensator (BDC)?

What is a sub-tension?

First focal plane vs second focal plane 1,100

First focal 1,100

Second focal 1,100

  • First focal plane – sampling of the goods
  • Second focal plane – sampling of the goods

First focal plane vs second 400 – same

First vs second focal plane 300 – same

First focal plane vs second focal plane for hunting 150 – same

First focal plane vs second focal plane scope 90 – same

Guide on focal planes

  • Things to consider when buying them
  • Differences about their prizes
  • Effects on the target
  • Maintenance
  • How to use

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