First and Second Focal Plane, what does it all mean?

Have you ever wondered what the differences between a First Focal Plane scope and a Second Focal Plane scope are?  We get this question quite often, so we thought we would try and explain 

 

 

image sourced from: The Truth About Guns

The physical differences between the 2 options are in the construction of the scope itself.  In a first focal plane scope the reticle is placed in front of the erector assembly and in a second focal plane scope the reticle is placed after the erector assembly.  However, while the physical differences may not seem to be all that different from one another, the 2 reticles operate in vastly different manners.

So what is the difference between the focal planes?  In a first focal plane scope the reticle is placed in front of the erector assembly causing the reticle to grow or shrink with the magnification adjustment.  This means that all the sub-tensions in the reticle do not change, so all your leads and holds remain the same regardless of the magnification setting. This effect is beneficial to tactical and competition shooters because it allows them to make corrections more quickly and confidently at any magnification.  The biggest downside to the FFP configuration is that in high power optics, at the highest magnification setting, the reticle can become to large and difficult to use and some sub-tends will not be visible in the sight picture. Conversely, at lower magnifications the reticle can become too fine and difficult to see.  

FFP PROS:

  • Reticle sub-tensions are consistent at all ranges of magnification, techniques used for ranging targets and measuring objects work at any magnification range.  

 FFP CONS:

    • Reticle can be small at low magnification and/ or very large at high magnification
    • FFP Scopes can often be more expensive than a comparable SFP scope

Atibal Optics First Focal Plane Reticle

FIRST FOCAL PLANE SCOPE OPTIONS FROM ATIBAL:


Atibal XP6 Mirage 1-6x24 FFP scope

Check out our XP6 Mirage 1-6x24 FFP scope.  This scope is categorized as a Low Power Variable Optic and is ideal for short to intermediate distances.  Many of our Pro Staff 3 Gun shooters prefer this particular optic because of the First Focal Plane reticle, overall weight, and glass clarity.  Click HERE for more information about the XP6.

INTRODUCING THE ATIBAL APEX 4-14x44 FFP SCOPE

The Atibal APEX 4-14x44 FFP scope is a great option for shooters looking for a little more distance from their scope.  The magnification range and APEX reticle are ideal for a First Focal Plane scope, the reticle never gets too small to see nor too large to be utilized effectively. Click HERE for more information about the Atibal APEX.

 

In a second focal plane scope the reticle is placed after the erector assembly causing the reticle to stay the same size throughout the magnification range. This effect causes the reticle sub-tensions to change as the magnification range changes and is only accurate at one magnification setting (typically the highest setting but check with the scope manufacturer to be sure).  Because the reticle sub-tensions change with the magnification range all leads and holds will change as well. This doesn’t mean the scope is less effective, it just means that a little more math may be required when making corrections. SFP reticle scopes are widely used by Known Distance Competition shooters.

SFP PROS:

  • Reticle size is consistent and readable throughout the entire magnification range
  • Generally less expensive than most FFP scopes
  • Greater magnification optics available in SFP

SFP CONS:

  • More calculations needed when making adjustments
  • Reticle spacing is only accurate at one magnification setting

Atibal Optics Second Focal Plane Reticles

SECOND FOCAL PLANE SCOPE OPTIONS FROM ATIBAL:

Atibal XP8 1-8x24 SFP scope

Our XP8 1-8x24 SFP scope is also categorized as a Low Power Variable Optic and is also ideal for short to intermediate distances.  The illuminated Tactical Diamond Reticle are easy to see and make rapid target acquisition a breeze.  Click HERE for more information about the Atibal XP8 1-8x24 SFP.

Hopefully this article was able to shed some light on the differences between First and Second Focal Plane reticles for you.  More information about this topic can be found all over the internet, or contact us directly if you have any questions regarding our optics.