Know All Things About Rifle Scope Reticle Types

If you want to increase your shooting accuracy, you should buy an optical sight. It can be installed on almost any weapon: firearms, pneumatics, smoothbore, hunting, machine guns, and rifles. Sights come in various styles: unregulated – the simplest, ideal for hunting; pancreatic – with the possibility of adjustment; with an infrared or night vision devices; with a laser sight. If you are choosing an optical sight that would suit you perfectly, first, you need to decide whether it can be installed on your firearm type. An equally important point is the type of reticle.

What Is A Reticle?

Aiming mark, or reticle. The reticle is the markings we see through the eyepiece at the target. This is a helper image in the scope, making it easier to aim, take out, determine the range to the target, and much more. The grid can be engraved on the lens or wire (traditionally, but less reliably). There are many types of the reticle; of course, it is necessary to study this issue in more detail, especially when it comes to night vision devices or night vision sights. The most popular being the Mil-dot. Snipers of military units use this reticle, which allows you to quickly estimate the distance to the goal with known dimensions and promptly make the removal of the aiming point.

Types of Reticles

English names are used to indicate the types of reticle: Duplex – two lines intersecting at right angles, the central part of the lines is thinner to better focus on the target; SRS – reticle, the lines narrow towards the center; Duplex Illuminated – Center dot glows red; SPR – reticle for sighting from a long distance, in the center, there is a red circle for capturing a tiny target; Mil-Dot is a type of reticle explicitly designed for the US Marines, with its help you can not only aim extremely accurately but also determine the distance to objects. It is this grid that is standard for many armies in the world. Other types of reticles are used for actual combat and hunting or paramilitary games, such as Paintball.

How to Choose The Best Reticle?

It is worth saying that the prices for good optics are quite high; this is because it is designed for use in the most difficult conditions: high humidity, heat, snow, and low temperatures. Reliable optics provide the most accurate aiming at the target, and the result of the hunt depends on this. You should pay attention to details to choose the most suitable and comfortable optical sights. Therefore, for example, modern manufacturers offer sights with different sighting reticles. How are they different, and why are they different? Let’s talk about this in more detail. First, you need to decide what you need optical sights for. More precisely, in what conditions are you going to use them? So, for example, for the most accurate shooting at long distances, considering the wind, you will need a ballistic reticle – for example, “Mil-Dot.” Gradations on the cross simplify the task of calculations when aiming. Also, useful features include backlighting – the sighting reticles equipped with it will serve you faithfully when it gets dark. The modern production of optical sights provides for various sighting reticles – as they say, for every taste. For this reason, there are many types, options, and various reticles for scope. But several basic types of reticles are popular in the world. All others, as a rule, are their modifications. Briefly, this list of the main types of reticles might look like Thin crosshairs. One of the oldest and simplest variants of the reticle. Allows you to point the barrel at the target simply. Dot. Often found in driven or collimator scopes. It can be used when shooting long distances is unexpected, but the goal will likely move fast. Its main pluses: the luminous dot almost does not block the field of view and is visible at night or in poor light. German. The lower and lateral arms of the crosshairs (conditional 3, 6, and 9 o’clock) are made thick toward the edges and thin toward the center of the crosshairs. The thick “beams” of the crosshairs allow quick aiming even in a rush and when visibility is bad. The thin central part does not overlap the target and ensures precision. These reticles are often made in a backlit version. Duplex. All crosshair arrows are thick toward the edges and thin in the center. Essentially an upgrade of the German reticle. Ballistic Reticle. It has a different scale on the “six-hour” shoulder. Allows you to adjust the range with the reduction of the bullet. Helpful for shooting at long distances. Horus. Grid with vertical and horizontal shoulder divisions. Allows you to account for distance due to bullet drop and horizontal wind drift.  Mildot. The shoulders of the crosshairs are marked with obvious dots. The marking pitch is one milliradian (mil, mil). But, if you aim through the such scope at a goal a hundred meters away from you, the value of the division will be ten meters. In other words, using fairly simple calculations, this reticle allows you to estimate the distance to the goal and correct fire on the move. It was created for army snipers. How to use the capabilities of sight? As mentioned above, different sights were created for various conditions and provided various capabilities. The scope can be in the first or second focal plane. If the sight changes its dimensions when you change magnification, the scope is in the first focal plane (FFP), and the ballistic corrections for that sight remain the same at any magnification. If the grid does not change dimensions, this is the second focal plane (SFP). Reticle ballistic parameters (SFP) are only stored at a certain power, also called the scope’s true power, forcing the scope owner to recalculate ballistics for other power than true power. There are popular versions that have universal applications; there are specific configurations. Each has its supporters, both among users and manufacturers. In any case, the choice of sight should begin with the brand, model, and main optical characteristics. As a rule, you can choose the appropriate option in any category. It would be best to answer many questions to choose the right optics for your weapon. A shooter asks himself, “Is the reticle in the first or second focal plane?” The answer depends on how you intend to use your weapon. Do not let the virtual snipers fool you – no focal plane is unambiguously better than another. Each is good for certain tasks. You just have to ensure you do not miss out on the choice. Before choosing, it is important to understand what is at stake. So, briefly about focal planes. In any telescopic sight, the reticle can be placed in one of two places: the focal plane. The focal plane, located closer to the lens, is called the first or front. The focal plane closer to the eyepiece is called the second or rear. Inside the wrapping system (the tube inside the body of the scope that determines the magnification of the image) are two lenses called wrapping elements. When you turn the zoom ring, these lenses move back or forth, causing the picture you see in the eyepiece to zoom in or out. Reversing lenses enlarge or reduce the image of everything in front of them. This is the basic principle of how a telescopic sight works. Naturally, the appearance of the reticle in the first focal plane will be different from what the reticle looks like in the second plane. The front focal plane reticle is in front of the enveloping system, increasing or decreasing as the image is enlarged or reduced. If the reticle is in the second (rear) focal plane, it is behind the enveloping system, so its size remains constant. At the same time, the image can become larger or smaller depending on the change in magnification. This is the main difference between the two grid layouts. But what does this mean in practice, and how does it affect shooting? Which focal plane to choose depends entirely on how you plan to use the scope. The reticle in the first focal plane is ideal for pinpoint shooting and is popular with long-range shooters. The principle is simple: you aim above a distant target to compensate for bullet drop at that distance or aim to the left or right to account for the effect of the wind on the bullet. If you increase the zoom magnification to get a better view of the target, the offset is done on the same reticle marks, regardless of the magnification. As you can see, there are plenty to choose from. However, the most important criterion for choosing the type of reticle is the consideration of personal convenience. 


Which reticle to choose? – There is no unequivocal answer to this question, the questions “Which rifle is better?” or “Which cartridge is better to shoot?”. It would be best if you made your own choice. If you hunt in the woods, drive hunting is your main hobby, or you are into practical target shooting at close range, then the always visible reticle in the second focal plane with a wide field of view is the right choice. Take your time, think at what distances and under what conditions you will use your rifled weapon, and you will not go wrong with the option.