First Focal Plane Vs. Second Focal Plane – What Scope to Choose

Bang-Inc is reader-supported. As an Amazon Associate I earn from qualifying purchases.

First Focal Plane (FFP) and Second Focal Plane (SFP) scopes are two different types of rifle scopes with distinct advantages and disadvantages. FFP scopes allow for a more accurate range since the reticle increases in size as you zoom in. 

In contrast, SFP scopes are more affordable and offer a smaller reticle that remains the same size at any magnification. Both rifle scopes provide a wide variety of features and benefits, so it is important to understand the differences between FFP and SFP scopes to make an informed decision that best suits your needs.

First Focal Plane Vs. Second Focal Plane

If you’re looking for an accurate and versatile scope, our pick goes to the First Focal Plane scope. With this, you can get accuracy at any magnification level as a beginner or an experienced shooter. This makes it an incredibly versatile scope for any situation. 

The rifle scope is known for its clarity and sharpness, even at longer distances. That means you can stay focused and on target no matter your shooting. This is also great for those who might be just starting, as it allows you to hone your skills without worrying about inaccurate shots. So if you’re looking for a scope that can keep up with you, the First Focal Plane scope is the one for you! It works perfectly with top-rated optics for .243 rifles as well as other types.

What is a First Focal Plane Scope?

An FFP is essential for long-distance shooting. It uses a reticle placed in the First Focal Plane, through which light from the viewed object passes and enters the eyepiece. 

This reticle can be illuminated or non-illuminated, allowing the shooter to adjust the point of aim even when the magnification is changed. It also ensures accurate distance measurements and precise adjustments. 

The cost of a First Focal Plane scope is usually higher than that of a second plane scope. However, FFP scopes offer shooters greater flexibility and accuracy when shooting at long ranges. They are perfect for shooters looking to increase their accuracy and precision.

Your reticle’s values will remain the same, no matter the magnification setting. So, you can rely on your pre-set holdovers for accuracy at any magnification level. They feature side parallax adjustment, meaning the reticle remains aligned with the target, even when the parallax effect occurs. This ensures the shooter can easily place their aiming point without adjusting for different magnifications. 

FFP scopes are also perfect for those who need to shoot at different distances and different magnifications. With these scopes, shooters can stay on target and hit their mark. It’s no wonder many long-range shooters prefer them.

One disadvantage of this rifle scope is that the reticles are smaller when viewed at low magnifications. This is often a small issue because you try to make precise shots at low magnifications. 



First Focal Plane scopes are extremely versatile, one of their biggest advantages. Ranging targets at any magnification, using the reticle for corrections, and viewing a large field of view are all easier with this rifle scope. This makes them better for hunting and tactical applications where versatility is important. 

Accuracy at Any Magnification Level

First Focal Plane scopes are extremely accurate at any magnification. No matter the magnification level, an FFP reticle maintains a constant size relative to the target. This means that the distance between holdover points will remain the same, no matter the magnification. For instance, no matter the magnification level, the 6 MOA line will always remain 6 MOA.

Easy Adjustment

One advantage of First Focal Plane scopes is that they are easier to adjust, even when zoomed out. The reticle and target remain in sync, allowing you to make adjustments faster. This is especially helpful for hunters and shooters who need quick, precise adjustments in a short amount of time. You may instantly change the magnification by zooming in and out. 


Whether you’re a long-range shooter or a hunter, you want to ensure you have the best optics available to make your shot as accurate as possible. FFP optics allow you to engage even the closest targets that match directors throw at you. You can easily keep your reticle zoomed in to the same size regardless of the magnification setting. This ensures that your scope’s reticle remains true even when zooming in or out. As a result, you can easily adjust the reticle to match the target at any range. 


  • Extremely versatile
  • Accurate at any magnification level.
  • You can use it for any range
  • Easier to adjust


  • The reticles are smaller when viewed at low magnifications
  • FFPs tend to be heavier than traditional scopes 

What is a Second Focal Plane Scope?

Second Focal Plane scopes are the preferred choice for hunters because of their practicality. The reticle size remains constant at any magnification, eliminating the need for adjustment. This ensures that hunters locate their target in low-light conditions. 

An SFP reticle features holdover spacing that is only accurate at its highest magnification. If the scope is set to a lower power, the reticle size changes, and its spacing is no longer correct. It requires complicated calculations to determine the spacing for each power setting, making it unsuitable for hunting.

The downside is that they have a smaller field of view than First Focal Plane scopes, making them less well-suited for hunting and other applications that require a wide view. This can be a major drawback, as you may need to spot important features in your surroundings. 

Depending on the scope, a Second Focal Plane scope may not be able to range targets at any magnification. This means you must select a magnification to range the target and then use the reticle to adjust the bullet drop. This is less convenient, but it can still be effective. 

One disadvantage of Second Focal Plane scopes is that they lack the magnification advantage of First Focal Plane scopes. You must select a magnification, then use the reticle to adjust for windage, elevation, and parallax. This might take a lot of time and lead to lost hunting opportunities. 


Extremely Precise

One feature of Second Focal Plane scopes is that they are extremely precise at a single magnification. This makes them ideal for long-range shooting and other applications where extreme precision is important. 

Easier to Range Targets

Another feature of these scopes is that they are easier to range targets at any magnification. This makes them better for hunting applications, where you may want to range a target but don’t want to disturb your sight picture by using the reticle. 

Larger Reticles

Another Second Focal Plane rifle scopes are a great tool for improving shooting visibility. They provide a wide field of view, and the reticle stays the same size, even when you zoom in or out. This ensures you focus on your target since the reticle won’t move around when you adjust the magnification. As a bonus, the reticle’s size stays constant, which makes it much easier to determine the size of the target.  A scope with a large reticle would be a good choice as a .300 Win Mag optics.


  • Extremely precise at a single magnification
  • Perfect for long-range shooting
  • Provides a wide field of view
  • The reticle’s size stays constant


  • Complex to use
  • Less versatile than First Focal Plane scopes

Similarities Between FFP and SFP

Adjustable Turrets 

One similarity between First Focal Plane (FFP) and Second Focal Plane (SFP) scopes is that they both feature adjustable turrets allowing you to make precise adjustments to your point of aim. This makes them both highly accurate and great for precision shooting.  

Illuminated Reticles

They also feature reticles that can be illuminated for use in low-light conditions. This can be incredibly useful when hunting, as it helps you accurately aim your rifle even in the dark. 

Provide Magnification

Of course, both types of scopes offer you the benefit of magnification — allowing you to take accurate shots at long distances. 

The Differences Between FFP and SFP

Reticle Position

The positioning of the reticle is the primary distinction between the two (the crosshairs). With an FFP scope, the reticle remains constant in size when the magnification is adjusted, allowing for accurate holdovers and windage correction at any magnification level. On the other hand, with an SFP scope, the reticle size changes when the magnification is adjusted. 


SFP scopes are typically lighter and more affordable than FFP scopes, and they are better for quick target acquisition at lower magnification levels. So depending on what type of shooting you do, you’ll want to choose the right kind of scope for your needs.


It is important to consider all of your options before making a decision on which scope is best for you. When selecting, you should consider the advantages and disadvantages of each type of scope. Ultimately, you want to find a scope best suited to your needs. The best scope for you is the one that provides the best performance for your particular needs.

Leave a Comment