Focal Planes in Scopes: An Overview
When shopping for a new scope, you may come across the term "focal plane" and wonder what it means. Simply put, the focal plane refers to the plane on which the reticle, or crosshairs, is focused in relation to the objective lens.
(FFP) First Focal Plane
There are two types of focal planes: first and second. A first focal plane (FFP) scope has the reticle located in the front focal plane, which means that the size of the reticle appears to change as you adjust the magnification. This can be useful for making precise shots at long distances, as the subtensions (the measurements used to determine the distance between the crosshairs) remain constant no matter the magnification setting.
(SFP) Second Focal Plane
On the other hand, a second focal plane (SFP) scope has the reticle located in the rear focal plane, which means that the size of the reticle does not change as you adjust the magnification. This can be useful for quick target acquisition at close ranges, as the reticle remains the same size and easy to see.
What Focal Plane Should You Have?
So which type of focal plane is best for you? It really depends on your intended use for the scope. If you plan on shooting at long distances, then a first focal plane scope may be the better choice. However, if you mostly plan on shooting at close ranges, then a second focal plane scope may be more suitable.
There are a few other factors to consider when choosing between first and second focal plane scopes. One is the price. First focal plane scopes tend to be more expensive than second focal plane scopes, as they are generally considered to be of higher quality and offer more precise shooting at long distances.
Another factor to consider is the size of the reticle. Some first focal plane scopes have very thin reticles that can be difficult to see at lower magnifications, while others have thicker reticles that are easier to see but may obstruct your view of the target.
Finally, you should also consider the durability of the scope. First focal plane scopes are generally more durable than second focal plane scopes, as they have more moving parts and are subjected to more wear and tear.
In conclusion, focal planes are an important factor to consider when shopping for a new scope. First focal plane scopes are better for precise shooting at long distances, while second focal plane scopes are better for quick target acquisition at close ranges. Be sure to consider your intended use, budget, reticle size, and durability when choosing between the two.