FFP vs SFP | Difference Between First Focal Plane vs Second Focal Plane Scopes

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FFP vs SFP rifle scopes is one of the great debates in rifle shooting. Because many people don’t even know that first focal plane vs second focal plane is even a question, they don’t consider it. If you hunt game, first focal plane vs second focal plane for hunting is only part of the question. Consequently, many shooters must choose between SFP vs FFP. Because this is somewhat technical, there are some things you need to understand about FFP vs SFP. Fortunately, this will not be difficult.

First Focal Plane vs Second Focal Plane

Every rifle scope has two focal planes. The one at the front is the first focal plane, or FFP. The one at the rear is the second focal plane, or SFP. Now, there are some things you need to understand about FFP vs SFP, or SFP vs FFP. The reason people debate FFP vs SFP rifle scopes is because first focal plane vs second focal plane, for hunting or for any longer range shooting, makes a difference in how you see your target. This has to do with the placement of the scope’s reticle most of all.

FFP vs SFP

First, understand that every scope has a reticle. These are the “crosshairs” inside the scope that make it useful to you. Second, realize that the reticle will be in the first focal plane or the second focal plane. That’s what we mean by first focal plane vs second focal plane, for hunting or for whatever other application. When your reticle is in the SFP, it will appear the same size no matter the magnification of the scope. When the reticle is in the FFP, it appears smaller at low magnification and larger at high magnification.

FFP vs SFP: Assets and Liabilities

FFP vs SFP rifle scopes do not represent a complicated choice, but it seems to us there are a few things to note. First, with FFP scopes, the reticle changes size relative to the target when the magnification changes. This changes the spacing of the increments on the reticle. This is the biggest liability of SFP vs FFP. First focal plane vs second focal plane for hunting, or for any other long-range shooting, hinges on this. If you want your reticle to look the same at every magnification, you most definitely want an SFP.

Related: Best Rifle Scope

One thing you should probably know about FFP is that holdover spacing is correct at a single magnification. This is usually the longest range setting. It won’t matter, therefore, when deciding between first focal plane vs second focal plane if you only ever use your scope on that one setting. FFP vs SFP is kind of a moot point, it seems, if you never change the magnification. While SFP reticles look the same at every setting, FFP reticles look small at lower magnification. They become heavy and thick at high magnification. In some cases this makes targets harder to hit.

FFP vs SFP: Why Add a Scope to Your Rifle?

When considering FFP vs SFP, (or SFP vs FFP), it’s a good idea to remember one thing. While first focal plane vs second focal plane for hunting, or for any other application, is something you can apply to what you’re shooting, it’s more. Mostly, it’s about the ability to reach out and range, measure, or touch any target from far away. Maybe this doesn’t seem like a big deal to you. Maybe discussing FFP vs SFP rifle scopes is a matter of technical specifications to you. That’s okay, yet there’s so much more to the issue than that.

First of all, where FFP vs SFP (or again, SFP vs FFP) are concerned, there are a few reasons you would add a scope. FFP vs SFP rifle scopes all have one thing in common. Whether you’re choosing between first focal plane vs second focal plane, or simply looking for any long-distance optic, scopes give you reach. The ability to see something far away is not what is most important, however. What is most important is linking your ability to see that object from far away with your ability to hit it.

FFP vs SFP: What Will You Be Doing with Your Rifle?

To make the decision of FFP vs SFP, to really dig deep into SFP vs FFP where it concerns your rifle’s performance, consider a few things. First, before you shop for FFP vs SFP rifle scopes, decide what you’ll be doing. Are you buying a first focal plane vs second focal plane scope for tactical shooting? Perhaps you’re shopping for a first focal plane vs second focal plane for hunting. With FFP vs SFP, there’s an immediate performance difference. More importantly, with SFP vs FFP, there’s an immediate change in look and feel in the field.  Choose FFP vs SFP rifle scopes based on performance, sure. But choose first focal plane vs second focal plane, for hunting, for targets, or for tactical operations based on personal desire.

sfp vs ffp

What do we mean by desire? Well, what are YOUR factors? First, what type of shooting do you most? Second, under what type of conditions does that shooting take place? Maybe you’re out in the field. Perhaps you’re on a nice, tidy shooting range. Possibly you’re relying on your scope to hit a target that might actually represent a threat.

After all, the military and law enforcement make the FFP vs SFP decision all the time. Whether you prefer SFP vs FFP as a tactical shooter, a cop, a member of the military, or a civilian hunter makes a big difference. It profoundly impacts how you perform the task at hand. FFP vs SFP rifle scopes, while only part of your gear decisions, are a big part of it.  First focal plane vs second focal plane directly affects whether you’ll hit your target. It seems like such a simple thing, but it could be a matter of life or death. Couldn’t it?

FFP vs SFP: The Most Important Function of a Scope

Set aside the FFP vs SFP, SFP vs FFP debate for a moment. Don’t worry about FFP vs SFP rifle scopes as such. Don’t truble yourself over what seems like the endless first focal plane vs second focal plane back-and-forth. Instead of pondering the weighty issue of first focal plane vs second focal plane, for hunting, or for tactical or target shooting, ask yourself these things.  While you may not have asked yourself before, do it now. What is the most important function of a scope? First, is it simply being able to hit a target at long range? Second, is it perhaps being able to range that target? Third, is it possibly to measure an object, or a target, or a landmark, using your scope’s capabilities?

Related: Best Scope Under $500

You cannot get too deep into arguing, “FFP vs SFP, SFP vs FFP,” without truly asking what FFP vs SFP rifle scopes accomplish. This goes beyond first focal plane vs second focal plane. It is more about how your gear seems to support your mission. While mission might have a military context for some, it does not have to. First, your mission is whatever your goal happens to be. Second, your gear should support that goal. Third, when your gear is supporting your goal, it should lend itself to fast, efficient, productive results. Finally, if you’re not getting the hits you want at the speed you want, there’s a very good chance you chose a scope that isn’t right for you.

FFP vs SFP: Ranging and Measuring

What would make an FFP vs SFP scope seem right for you? Maybe your choice of SFP vs FFP is a function of average target distance. Perhaps your choice of FFP vs SFP rifle scopes, however, is more about your need to range and measure. First focal plane vs second focal plane is only one of the technical issues in rifle scopes. First focal plane vs second focal plane for hunting, for target shooting, and for tactical operations is nothing compared to reticles. It’s very easy to get lost in what seems like the endless math of converting MRAD to MOA or MOA to MRAD and MIL. By the time you’re done you’ll be muttering, “FFP vs SFP, SFP vs FFP, FFP vs SFP rifle scopes, first focal plane vs second focal plane, first focal plane vs second focal plane” in your sleep.

Another reason to choose a scope, though, is because you don’t see all that well. As a result, you may use your scope as a visual aid for seeing targets that some other shooters might take with iron sights. It seems like that’s as good as reason as any to choose to mount a scope on your rifle. After you’ve chosen the type of reticle and the type of turrets (hopefully matching ones), you still have to choose between FFP vs SFP. We hope the first focal plane vs second focal plane question isn’t too annoying. It’s probably one of those questions that every shooter has to ask himself or herself.

First Focal Plane vs Second Focal Plane For Hunting

American hunters naturally have opinions about FFP vs SFP if they have considered this before. SFP vs FFP often comes down to SFP for the average hunter. That’s because, between FFP vs SFP rifle scopes, many hunters go with first focal plane when considering first focal plane vs second focal plane. Long range shooters use FFP reticles because, in many cases, that’s simply what’s commonly available. If you were hunting, which would you pick? Would FFP vs SFP possibly come down to how you saw your game? Would SFP vs FFP be decided based on whether the enlarged reticle at high magnification blocked your target? First focal plane vs second focal plane for hunting, or first focal plane vs second focal plane for any shooting application, could be preference.

Related: Best Scope Under $300

It seems to us that preference is driven by function though. First of all, no matter how much you prefer a type of reticle, if you can’t hit your game with it, it doesn’t work. Maybe it works for other people, but not for you. Or perhaps that type of scope, that brand of scope, just isn’t a high-quality one. Whatever the reason, you have to choose a scope based on how well it ups your hunting game. FFP vs SFP is all a pointless argument if your scope doesn’t let you reach out and hit what you’re trying to take, each and every time. Don’t get bogged down in the FFP vs SFP, SFP vs FFP details. Instead, choose a scope that helps you do what you’re trying to accomplish.

FFP vs SFP for Tactical Applications

Mostly, we’ve talked about FFP vs SFP for civilians. But SFP vs FFP might be for military or law enforcement. Maybe you’re looking at FFP vs SFP rifles scopes because your life will depend on them. If that’s true, maybe your choice of first focal plane vs second focal plane is not about hunting. Possibly it’s not about target shooting at all. Maybe it all comes down to the fact that your choice of FFP vs SFP determines how you’ll see a man-sized target. Perhaps you are carefully considering the pros and cons of FFP vs SFP, of SFP vs FFP tactical scopes, because your first focal plane vs second focal plane choice is life and death.

ffp vs sfp rifle scopes

This is the most relevant of scope choices because it impacts several areas of the shooting world. First, FFP vs SFP for military means soldiers will be looking through these scopes at snipers and other critical targets on the battlefield. Second, SFP vs FFP means that law enforcement shooters might be protecting innocent people from rooftops. Third, FFP vs SFP rifle scopes can’t just work well enough in military and law enforcement. Most notably, first focal plane vs second focal plane is a life or death decision in tactical applications. We’ve said that so many times you are probably sick of it by now, but it’s true.

Does SFP vs FFP Really Matter? Preference in Shooting Gear

Let’s run down a list of the reasons why you might have preferences for FFP vs SFP. First, you might prefer SFP vs FFP because how your target looks behind the reticle matters to you. Second, you might prefer FFP vs SFP rifle scopes because that’s what you’ve always used and you are reluctant to change. Third, you might choose first focal plane vs second focal plane in a tactical rifle because you want your equipment to match what your teammates are using.

Fourth, you might have a preference for first focal plane vs second focal plane for hunting.  Fifth, your choice of FFP vs SFP might really be because you like the brand of scope, and that’s how the reticle happens to be configured. Sixth, you might choose SFP vs FFP because you were trained a specific way and want to make a change. Seventh, there’s no accounting for peer pressure in the shooting world. Maybe your choice of FFP vs SFP rifle scopes changes based on what the market thinks is most popular. But it seems like first focal plane vs second focal plane might also be a choice between having options and not having them. If one type of scope is much more available when shopping compared to other, the choice is probably obvious.

FFP vs SFP: The Final Analysis

By now you’re probably tired of discussing FFP vs SFP. Maybe you’ve had all of the discussion you can handle on SFP vs FFP, on FFP vs SFP rifle scopes, and on first focal plane vs second focal plane (for hunting or for whatever other purpose). We wouldn’t blame you if that’s the case. We would simply urge you to review the purchasing process when considering what type of scope you want.

First, ask yourself what you will be asking your rifle scope to do. Second, ask yourself if you have any experience with one type or the other, FFP vs SFP. Third, ask yourself if you are biased in one way or another. Fourth, examine that bias and determine if it is for good reason and should therefore drive your purchase. Fifth, look at the market options available, and see if SFP vs FFP, or FFP vs SFP, are more readily available in your area. Sixth, don’t be afraid to look to external factors like the equipment your teammates use. As a result of all this self-reflection, you should be able to make your decision relatively easily.

The same scope can be great for one person and terrible for another. The FFP vs SFP reticle could be the bees knees for one shooter and absolutely annoying for the next. There’s probably no way to know without trying and training with both until you are sure you can choose what’s right for you. Most importantly, make sure your scope choice makes you happy. That’s critical.

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