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FOG HORN 17, March 2010

Should I use a First Focal Plane Scope?


3. Finally you really gain nothing.
This is an excellent question for a number Ranging at distances of 200 meters
of reasons that I’ll touch on in the response. or less is a question of 1-2 MOA
First focal plane scopes became the talk of error. Most of the variable power
the town about 2-3 years ago. Virtually tactical scopes that I am familiar
everyone had to run out and buy one. Most with fall in the range of 2.5 – 10X or
of that was an impulse buy that lacked a 3.5 -10X to a maximum of 15X.
clear understanding of the FFP. Lower magnification really comes
First Focal Plane (FFP) reticles are used in into play at ranges under 100
variable power scopes. We know that using meters. Quite candidly, if you can’t
a variable power scope allows the operator estimate range to a target closer
to reduce magnification levels for a greater than 100 meters you shouldn’t be
field of view, or increase magnification to doing this professionally.
get a better sight picture. Prior to FFP
scopes, in order for the operator to Now, I am not trashing FFP scopes;
accurately range the target, using the however, what I will say is that tactical
reticle, he or she had to set the scope to its employment of an FFP scope in conjunction
highest magnification. This is true for just with a 5.56x45 or 7.62x51 platform is
about 98% of the scopes fielded. The FFP neither critical nor desirable.
design eliminates that requirement so that FFP scopes are excellent when your optic is
ranging, with an FFP scope, can be achieved a 6.5-25X, for example. At the lowest
at any magnification. However, it is a magnification of 6.5, the reticle is thick
mistake to look at an FFP scope as manna enough and dark enough to give you a good
from heaven. sight picture. Scopes in these magnification
Here are some of the objections that I have levels are very useful on the .300 WinMag,
with the FFP designs. 338 Lapua Magnum and .50BM; because of
the extended range that these platforms
1. As you reduce your magnification provide the optic and FFP reticle can be
levels, you also reduce the size of fully utilized.
the reticle. The reticle becomes
thinner and lighter which makes -SP
accurate ranging harder to achieve.
2. With a lighter and thinner reticle it
is also easier, under varying light
conditions, to lose the reticle.
Meaning that you can’t place the
crosshair on your target accurately.

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