10 Best First Focal Plane Scopes

It is perhaps safe to assume that if you are here already, you know about First Focal Plane scopes and you are only here to figure out which is the best to buy. However, it is not always safe to assume; in fact, it is arguably never safe.

Maybe you heard our friend talk about it or a seller pitched you or you have been reading “First Focal Plane” (FFP) scopes are whatever-you-read, but you don’t know what it is; here is a few-words insight.

The reticle of a riflescope is either in the First Focal Plane or second focal plane (SFP). In other words, the reticle is placed in front of or behind the magnification lenses, respectively. The noteworthy difference between these two is the size appearance per magnification scale.

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The SFP reticle will, despite the magnification, remain at the same size, but the FFP reticle appears to change with change in magnification; that is the reticle appears smaller or larger as magnification is decreased or increased respectively. That is the SFP scope suspension is only valid at one magnification level while that of an SFP scope remains the same across the scope’s magnification range.

While you may gain an advantage of hold-off for wind and elevation at that desired power range, seeing that your crosshair marks will play a better role as suspension remains unchanged, the downside here is the thickness of reticle at high or low magnification.

If you were operating at low magnification, for instance, crosshairs would be too thin and can be challenging to see. On the other hand, at high magnification, the reticle can be so thick that it covers too much area of the target.

If you are in a hurry, to save time here are our top three best First Focal Plance Scopes.

Top 3 Best First Focal Plane Scops

Leupold Mark 5HD 5-25x56mm Riflescope (171774)
Leupold Model #171774 – Mark 5HD 5-25x56mm with Front Focal H59 reticle and Matte finish; 100% Waterproof, fogproof, & shockproof
$2,299.99
EOTECH Vudu 1-6x24mm Precision Rifle Scope
First focal plane – Reticle increases in size with magnification; XC High Density Glass – Impressive light transmission and scene clarity
$1,250.00
NightForce SHV 4-14x50mm F1 Riflescope,Black,.250 MOA,Illuminated MOAR Reticle
30mm main tube; First focal plane; Tactical MOA turrets; Waterproof and fogproof; Illuminated reticle
$1,290.00

Even though the SFP has been the most common hunting scope in America for generations, the FFP reticle is gaining more ground with long-range shooters. First Focal Plane scopes are generally more expensive than second focal plane scopes but if shooting is predominantly at long-range distances, buying an FFP scope is worth the investment. Nevertheless, between the two, neither is considered inherently better.

What to Consider in a First Focal Plane Scope?

A good First Focal Plane scope improves your user experience; whether your intended use is for hunting, or target or long-range shooting, it improves your accuracy by making target acquisition easier and faster. But then, the challenge arises when you get to the market to make your choice as there are diverse options to choose from because you have to realize that selecting a scope based on the FFP reticle can never be enough. The next few features I will share can help you discern what scope will offer what you need.

MAGNIFICATION

Maybe seconded to accuracy, magnification is probably the main reason why we choose to make scope purchases. Magnification, generally, refers to the power range of the scope. It basically multiplies the power of an unaided eye. In other words, a scope with 3x magnification will give your eye vision two times its normal capacity.

The first numbers in the scope name represent the magnification of the scope. For instance, a 1-3x32mm means the magnification can deliver between 1 and 3 times of zoom. Hence, 3x is the magnification power of that scope. In most cases, the choice of magnification is preferential, although that depends on the distance of the yard you are working with. For instance, you should look at purchasing anything beyond 3-9x if you’re usually targeting beyond 100 yards.

LENS COATING

In choosing a First Focal Plane scope, ensure to pick one that gives a bright and clear image. Your image will be affected by light; entering the lens and the light transmitted by the lenses.  Hence, the lens coating feature is an essential consideration because it focuses on the light transmission to ensure you can see a clear and bright image despite the change in external light transmission.

TURRETS

Turrets deal with adjusting the impact position of the bullet fired from the rifle; hence the importance of elevation and windage adjustment. The elevation adjustment assists with the ability to move the point of bullet impact up and down.  On the other hand, the windage adjustment helps you with the ability to move bullet impact to the right or left. Note that these adjustments are relative to your reticle. These adjustments are vital for long-range tactical shooters. The readings are graded either in milliradians or minute angle units. 

You must consider this feature when purchasing your FFP scope because, then, you have a better chance of purchasing a scope that meets your needs, either for long-range shooting or hunting.

WEIGHT

Many times, when weight is considered, you’re thinking of the heaviness with carrying the rifle, much more, to carry it over a long distance. But you almost have never considered the role it plays in a shooting.

In purchasing a scope, you must think about your plan and purpose. For instance, if you plan to shoot at long range, steadiness is essential for your rifle and scope lest you are more susceptible to misfire; in this case, the weightier the scope, the better.  A lighter scope is advisable for shooting a short distance range.

OBJECTIVE LENS

Before you purchase your scope, ensure to consider that you have chosen one with the right objective lens. Objective lens refers to the diameter of the lens closest to the rifle’s barrel and farthest from the rifle’s stock. 

The size of the scope’s objective lens affects the amount of light your lens is going to transmit. That means that the larger the lens, the greater the amount of light it will transmit, which consequently means it will produce a brighter image; however, it adds to the weight of the scope, making it heavier than a scope with a smaller objective lens.

ACTIVITY

As earlier opined, neither of the FFP or SFP reticle scope is inherently better than each other. Each reticle has its time and place; it’s not a situation of what sauce for the goose is sauce for the gander. So, your purpose of use, either for tactical shooting or hunting, will play a huge role. 

ILLUMINATION

Although this feature is an optional one on scopes, and it does not affect the overall reticle quality or accuracy or assembly, it depends on the preference of the user. Reticle illumination also implies a more expensive scope.

10 Best First Focal Plane Scopes

1. Leopold Mark 5hd 5-24x56mm

Leupold Mark 5HD 5-25x56mm Riflescope (171774)
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Leupold Mark 5HD 5-25x56mm Riflescope (171774)
  • Leupold Model #171774 – Mark 5HD 5-25x56mm with Front Focal H59 reticle and Matte finish
  • 100% Waterproof, fogproof, & shockproof

SPECIFICATIONS:

  • Dimensions: 17.06 x 3.78 x 4.1 inches
  • Weight: 1.5 pounds

The Leopold Mark 5HD 5-24x56mm is designed for long-range shooting. With this scope, you can hit a target over a thousand-yard easily. The scope possesses High Definition glass making it one of the quality glass on the market. An exciting feature of the Leupold Mark 5HD 5-24x56mm is the Twilight Max HD Light Management System which is peculiar to Leopold Optics. With this scope, you are assured of high visibility in any lighting condition.

The Leopold Mark 5HD 5-24x56mm combines its 56mm objective lens with its high definition glass making it one of the best in the market. It also provides an eye relief of around. The scope uses an illuminated First Focal Plane reticle that allows the reticle to be magnified alongside the image, helping you give a more precise and accurate shot. Its features a capped windage turret and an elevation turret with a zero stop and rotation indicator.

The Leopold Mark 5HD 5-24x56mm is 100% waterproof, fog-proof and shockproof. Hence it is very durable and reliable during extreme environmental and weather conditions. Even with all these features, the scope still maintains a lighter weight compared to other optics of its range.As one of the assuring factors, this scope offers a transferable lifetime repair or replacement warranty.

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2. Eotech Vudu 1-6x24mm

EOTECH Vudu 1-6x24mm Precision Rifle Scope
  • EOTECH Vudu 1-6x24mm Precision Rifle Scope with SR1 First Focal Plain Reticle (Model VDU1-6FFSR1)
  • First focal plane – Reticle increases in size with magnification

SPECIFICATIONS:

  • Dimensions: 14 x 5 x 4 inches
  • Weight: 2 pounds

The EOTech Vudu 1-6x24mm is a durable and precision Riflescope designed to meet the needs of precision shooters. The scope has its reticle in the First Focal Plane. It is built with aircraft-grade aluminium with an anodized finish to withstand rugged and rough use. The scope features a speed ring reticle which helps you engage targets swiftly even at low power with excellent accuracy and precision. This scope is considered versatile by some users because it affords you the luxury of making these accurate short and long-range shots.

The EOTech Vudu makes use of push-button illumination with 10 brightness settings. This scope makes use of a CR2032 battery for illumination; its battery can serve you up to 500 hours at middle brightness setting. It also makes use of an auto power shut off mechanism to save battery if not used for 2 hours. The scope offers an illuminated reticle which helps improve your aiming even under low-light conditions. It also offers an extremely clear XC High-density glass with excellent light transmission and clarity.

The scope offers an eye relief of between 3.2 to 3.9 inches depending on the magnification. The EOTech Vudu offers a Limited warranty which is one thing you would need to consider in getting this scope.

Pros
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3. Nightforce Shv 4-14x50mm

SPECIFICATIONS:

  • Dimensions: 17.52 x 5 x 4.02 inches
  • Weight: 2.84 pounds

The NightForce SHV 4-14X50mm is an ideal pick for hunters and shooters who participate in competition and contests. The NightForce SHV 4-14X50mm features a fully multi coated 50mm objective lens which helps provide its crystal clear images.

This NightForce SHV 4-14X50mm features a First Focal Plane Illuminated MOAR reptile. This reticle helps you have a precise aiming point, especially when you have small targets in long-range shooting. This scope also offers 12 brightness settings for illumination, which ensures you have the perfect view in all lighting conditions. The scope offers suitable elevation adjustment ranges which are capped with its zero set feature which allows you to return to zero from any distance. The scope provides a parallax of 25yards to Infinity.

NightForce SHV scope is completely fog proof, waterproof. I assure you that your scope’s clarity will not be affected by weather conditions as its rigid construction is perfect. The Nightforce SHV is well built and reliable with its aircraft-grade aluminium; you can be assured your scope isn’t one that will fall apart in a few years. Although this scope is considered expensive but looking at its feature and the convenience that comes with it in long-range shooting, I’d say you get value for your money, and the extra cost is worth it.

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4. Burris Optics Veracity Riflescope 5-25x50mm

Burris Optics Veracity Rifle Scope 200650, 200651, 200652 – 5-25x50mm Riflescope – Top-of-the-Line Hunting Scope, Longer Distance Shots
  • ACCURATE RIFLE SCOPE – Push the limits of long-range hunting, and pull double duty in long-range target and precision.
  • TOP-OF-THE-LINE HUNTING SCOPE – Ideal for varmint hunting and other very long range targeting where pinpoint accuracy becomes critical.

SPECIFICATIONS:

  • Dimensions: 20 x 5 x 4 inches
  • Weight: 0.8 pounds

The Burris Veracity Riflescope 5-25x50mm is one of such that you can rely on when accuracy becomes crucial. The scope is always designed to provide you with sweet long-range shooting experience. The scope offers a 50mm objective lens that is multi coated and eliminates light glare assuring you of clarity and brightness in engaging your target.

The Burris Veracity Riflescope 5-25x50mm incorporates a Ballistic Plex E1 First Focal Plane varmint reticle. This reticle helps you to determine your target size and distance. The scope features a multi-turn target knob that offers up to 15 MOA per rotation. An advantage of this multi-turn knob is that it gives you more confidence in picking long-range targets. It also offers Zero stop, which allows a quick, easy return to the original setting without counting clicks.

The scope also offers a Generous field of view which gives you enough knowledge of your target and its environment.The body tubes of the Burris Veracity Riflescope are filled with high-quality dry nitrogen which helps protect the inside. It ensures that moisture isn’t present in the scope. making it waterproof and fog-proof meaning the scope can be used in any weather without worry

The Burris Veracity Riflescope 5-25x50mm uses a double internal spring-tension system to keep balance on zero in case of vibrations and shock; hence your setting/adjustment is maintained. This scope, like all other scopes, also offers a lifetime warranty.

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5. Optics Diamondback 4-16x44mm

Vortex Optics Diamondback Tactical 4-16×44 First Focal Plane Riflescopes – EBR-2C (MOA) Tactical Reticle
  • The Diamondback Tactical First Focal Plane 4-16×44 stands at the intersection of precision and value, delivering an impressive array of features and performance.
  • Extra-low dispersion glass and fully multi-coated lenses transmit a crisp, bright sight picture. The first focal plane, glass-etched reticle keep subtensions accurate throughout the 4x zoom range.

SPECIFICATIONS:

  • Dimensions: 9.1 x 9.1 x 9.1 inches
  • Weight: 1.42 pounds

The Vortex Optics Diamondback 4-16x44mm is one of the cheapest and reliable Riflescopes. This scope is one of the best for both amateur and professional hunters who want medium-range and long-range quality and affordable scopes.

This scope offers a glass etched EBR-2C MOA reticle in the First Focal Plane. It allows you to make accurate range estimation and easily engage moving targets. The Vortex Optics Diamondback scope offers extra-low dispersion glasses and Multicoated lenses which helps in light transmission, clear images and provides detailed colour presentation.

The scope offers eye relief which is short but still provides some convenience in long-range shooting. The scope features a glide erector system in the zoom lens to ensure smooth and easy magnification. It also features exposed Tactical turrets and side parallax knobs which makes it easy for you to adjust for long, precise shots.

It is built for rugged use, this scope is shockproof, and with O-ring seals and purged tubes assures you it can withstand harsh weather conditions. This scope also comes with a removable lens cover and lens cloth to help you protect and take care of the lens, which is sure to last you a long period of years.This scope comes with an unconditional lifetime warranty.

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6. Primary Arms Slx 4-14x44mm Acss-Orion

Primary Arms SLX 4-14x44mm FFP Rifle Scope – ACSS-Orion
  • Variable 4-14x magnification first focal plane scope features the ACSS Orion reticle for .308\.223\30-06
  • ACSS Orion reticle features quick ranging and wind holds for hunting deer and coyote sized targets

SPECIFICATIONS:

  • Dimensions: 16.26 x 3.58 x 3.27 inches
  • Weight: 1.72 pounds

Hunters commonly use the Primary Arms SLX 4-14x44mm ACSS-Orion. The scope offers variable magnification range from 4-14x. Primary arms are arguably one of the respected companies in optics production. This particular model of TBD Primary Arms SLX uses a Patented ACSS Orion reticle, which stays true through the scope’s entire magnification range of 4x to 14x. The scope features BDC and holdover calibrated marks which makes taking accurate shots convenient at long ranges.

The ACSS-Orion is quite easy and interesting to use and you won’t regret a dollar spent on this Riflescope. However, this scope does not make use of an illuminated reticle like most other scopes of its range. The scope features a side-mounted parallax adjustment knob which helps keep the reticle parallax free and allows you to have exact images of your target even from the position that is not too convenient. The elevation and windage turrets have reset to zero.

The scope offers adequate eye relief enough to protect your eyesight, although it could be better for the highest magnification.The scope is well built from aircraft-grade aluminium, and also O-ring sealed and nitrogen purged which makes it a durable scope that is waterproof, fog-proof, and shockproof. This scope offers a 3-year limited warranty for defects due to material and workmanship.

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7. Monstrum Alpha 1-4x24mm

Monstrum Alpha Series 1-4×24 First Focal Plane FFP Rifle Scope with MOA Reticle | Black
  • High performance tactical rifle scope with 1-4x magnification for close to mid distance shooting out to 300+ yards
  • Functionally designed first focal plane MOA reticle, with easy-to-read ranging information that remains constant regardless of magnification, for faster range estimation and holdover correction

SPECIFICATIONS:

  • Dimensions: 11.26 x 3.7 x 3.07 inches
  • Weight: 1.46 pound

The Monstrum Alpha 1-4x24mm offers a Fully multi coated lens to reduce flare and loss of light to reflect. This scope is considered to be the cheapest First Focal Plane which allows. This scope offers you Better transmission and contrast at a meagre amount of money. It comes with a magnification of 1-4x, which makes it more suitable for close to medium range shooting distances.

With the smooth turrets, precision holdover and adjustment is very much easy to use. The reticle is on the First Focal Plane, which helps you with faster range estimation and correction. This scope is quite durable as it features a military standard hard-anodized finish that makes the scope tougher and rugged.

The Monstrum Alpha 1-4x24mm scope is O-ring sealed and nitrogen filled, which gives it the capability to be waterproof and fog-proof. These two qualities are often sought after in getting a scope as you wouldn’t want to retain moisture in your Riflescope. The scope is constructed using aircraft grade aluminium construction which contributes to its sturdy build.

An added component of the Monstrum Alpha 1-4x24mm includes a Spring-loaded flip-up lens cover that helps you to protect your scope lens when you’re not using them. The scope uses a CR2032 battery for illumination.

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SPECIFICATIONS:

  • Dimensions: 10.8 x 2.8 x 2.8 inches
  • Weight: 4 pounds

The Trijicon VCOG 1-8x28mm is a scope designed for a variety of tactical applications. The scope offers a decent magnification of 1-8x, which makes it possible to use for both short and long-range shooting. Trijicon VCOG 1-8x28mm scope features fully multicoated lenses; this enables maximum light transmission. When combined with the glass quality, you’re assured of excellent clarity with good colour fidelity.

The reticle of the scope is located on the First Focal Plane, which will help you swiftly estimate range and also correct hold. It is built from aircraft-grade aluminium which gives its durable and reliable body.The scope uses an illuminated red MOA reticle. This scope is also fog-proof and waterproof even submersible up to 66feet.

The scope uses a single AA lithium battery for its illumination system, providing you with more lasting battery life compared to the commonly used CR2032 battery. It offers exceptional brightness in all lighting conditions with 8 daytime setting, 2-night setting, and 1 for very bright situations. The scope offers a good eye relief of 4 inches which is convenient for most shooters and affords you the ease of viewing and shooting from different angles. It also comes with lens cloth and a set of the lens cap to protect the lens when not in use.

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9. Steiner P4xi 4-16x56mm

Steiner P4Xi 4-16x56mm Riflescope, SCR Reticle – Compact Tactical Rifle Scope, Hunting Optics
  • Compact and Lightweight – With a compact design, 34mm tube and high-grade aluminum stock construction, this scope provides durability and lightweight responsiveness
  • Windage and Elevation – with precise windage and elevation knobs, one click equals 1cm at 100m, so you can count on military precision and accuracy when shooting at distance.

SPECIFICATIONS:

  • Dimensions: 14.6 x 14.6 x 2 inches
  • Weight: 1 pound

The Steiner P4Xi 4-16x56mm Riflescope is a medium-range Rifle Scope designed with accuracy, precision, and durability in mind. One of the scopes best for shooting competitions. The scope features Steiner’s unique competition reticle for precision shooting and an extended illumination area that allows you to pick targets that are far away in low-light conditions. The reticle of this scope functions with 11 brightness settings that will enable 5 daytime, 4 low-light, and 2-night brightness settings.

A CR2032 battery powers the illuminated reticle. The scope features high-quality target turrets and a convenient side knob for easy parallax adjustment. The scope offers a side parallax-focus range of 50 yards to Infinity. The scope is built from aircraft-grade aluminium which makes it quite durable. The scope is O-ring sealed and nitrogen purged which makes it fog-proof and waterproof up to 33feet. So you can rest assured during days of unpredictable weather.

If you were to compare the Steiner P4Xi 4-16x56mm scope specifications with other scopes with the same specifications, the margin is a bit wide. Hence, you are assured of not blowing your hard-earned money on something you could have gotten at a cheaper rate. The scope provides a comforting eye relief of around 3.5 to 4 inches so you wouldn’t have to worry about getting a black eye just yet. Lastly, the Steiner P4Xi 4-16x56mm comes with a lifetime warranty.

Pros
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10. Primary Arms Slx 4-14x44mm Mil-Dot

Primary Arms SLX 4-14x44mm FFP Rifle Scope – MIL-DOT
  • Traditional MIL-DOT reticle can be used to accurately range and holdover
  • First Focal Plane reticle stays true at all magnifications

SPECIFICATIONS:

  • Dimensions: 17 x 3.78 x 4.1 inches
  • Weight: 2.13 pounds

Unlike its ACSS Orion model, the Primary Arms SLX 4-14x44mm MIL-DOT scope uses a traditional MIL-DOT reticle which allows you to range and find holdover accurately. The scope offers a fast-focus that allows you to adjust the reticle properly to your eyes and also monitor the target easily. The glass quality is excellent, and the scope fits your budget for a long-range scope.

The scope is built to be shockproof, waterproof, and fog-proof owing to its strong body build using aircraft-grade aluminium and the tube being o-ring sealed and nitrogen purged. It offers you the luxury of using the scope even in extreme weather and environmental conditions.

The scope features a side adjustable parallax which helps you to increase your accuracy by taking out parallax error. The scope features turrets with zero stop, which prevents the turrets from being disturbed.  Its turrets are exposed, which makes it finger adjustable and hence adjustment comes with ease. It also features non-capped turrets with zero resets. This scope is not night vision compatible and non-illuminated.

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FAQs

If there are any good reasons, the main one is: because with long-range shooting you will be provided with a better view to land shots accurately. Its magnification ranges do not affect the consistency of subtension values.

Since scopes traditionally come with magnification, some tend to alter the value of your MOA with a change in magnification. With a First Focal Plane scope, however, the value of your MOA is not altered regardless of the scope’s magnification.

First Focal Plane scopes are useful at almost all ranges. Since the FFP scope reticle is designed to change as the magnification changes, which often is the case due to distance, you can use it effectively with excellent accuracy for distances ranging from 100 yards to as high as 1000 yards and beyond.

There are three basic ways to determine if a scope is FFP or SFP. First off, some optic manufacturers have the markings clearly indicated on the box that packages the scope. So, if you have access to the box, you can just check if it is designated “FFP” or “First Focal Plane”.

If you have access to the scope itself, turn up the magnification and check if the size of the reticle increases. If it does, it’s an FFP scope. If the size remains the same, it’s an SFP scope. On shopping sites, if you are shopping online, you can check the specifications of the scope brand to verify whether the scope is an FFP or SFP model.

No, not all Vortex scopes are based on the First Focal Plane model. Vortex Optics offers both models: First Focal Plane and second focal plane. In a particular scope series, all the scopes are either First Focal Plane only or SFP only.

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Conclusion

You can rely on the best First Focal Plane scope to improve your shooting experience. Several advantages ranging from aiding your eye in long-range shots to estimating distances or MIL targets using your reticle, the FFP scope helps you with these by making it possible for you to see the dots and marks on the crosshairs.

If you are going to be pulling your rifle trigger over a long distance, you might as well take advantage of a First Focal Plane scope reticle. To help you with making the best pick suited for your needs, we have collated the top choices in the market and reviewed them, and hopefully, we were able to meet your needs.

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