Second Focal Plane Riflescopes are among the most popular forms of scopes right now for hunters.
However, they’ve been recently challenged by the more dynamic first focal plane scopes.
The hunting community has debated long and hard which of the two is actually the best.
That’s where we come in. We plan on examining the two types of scopes thoroughly to end the FFP vs SFP riflescope debate once and for all.
Each type will be analyzed, and we’ll check out and recommend some of their exemplary models to better understand what they can do.
Finally, we’ll compare the two directly and figure out which one you should take to your next hunting trip. Now, let’s head straight into the reviews!
FFP vs SFP Riflescopes
First focal plane scopes, or FFPs, are riflescopes with retinas that change and adjust based on how much you zoom in.
Meaning, the retina will look different while you are zoomed out and when you’re zoomed in.
Points along the retina are numbered so that you can figure out how zoomed in you are.Reticle size also changes based on the zoomed length.
This is handy for people who usually hunt long distance as the reticle allows you to easily adjust your aim to boost accuracy.
However, it ends up hampering your aim in shorter distances.That’s because ifyou’re zoomed out, the reticle appears zoomed out as well. Meaning, youwon’t be able to aim as well.
Nevertheless,it’s very handy when you want to try out multiple zoom-in settings.
When you do, you can better adjust the reticle as it gives you points of reference on how much to move.
Related Guide: Angled vs Straight Spotting Scope
Recommended FFP Riflescope to Buy
Now we know what an FFP scope can do. But what models are good? Here are two of our favorite models that you should consider.
Any scope from Athlon Optics is a marksmen’s favorite. Their history of making great riflescopes are beyond most brands out there.
However, this particular FFP model sets a whole new standard for the quality of first focal plane scopes everywhere.
It’s not just the lens; the scope is brilliantly built with smart design decisions that elevate it to whole new levels. Let’s go over them, shall we?
The main component of any riflescope is its lens. Everything about the lens is fine-tuned to deliver the ultimate aiming experience. How so? Well, let’s start off with the incredible multicoated optics feature.
While hunting, we have to make sure we can see our prey clearly and precisely. If you can’t, then you won’t be able to zoom in enough to take aim.
That’s why Athlon lenses boost light transmissions to let you see much clearer. On the other hand, light reflections are mitigated, giving you clear sight at all times.
We all have our preferred position settings. However, turning to them at all times isn’t just annoying but also impractical.
What if it’s night and you can’t quite see the dials? So, Athlon allows you to adjust the zero point.
When you are adjusting positions, it’ll automatically stop at the zero point to get your ideal position instantly.
Of course, there are the first focal plane scopes that allow you to keep track of your prey while fluidly zooming in and out. This is the little cherry on top that makes the Argos BTR GEN 2 so good.
It synergizes all of its other features to grant you deadly precision and speed while aiming. All your targets zoom with the reticle so you can aim better and faster.
Whenever we take a look at this beastly riflescope from Monstrum, we’re always left awestruck. The G2 is the very definition of a badass tactical rifle.
Everything about its design is made to be the ultimate aiming machine to take down prey at almost all distances. Like the previous model, it also is an exemplary FFP scope.
The most important part of an FFP rifle is the readability of the reticle. This is where this tactical rifle excels.
Every measurement is clearly conveyed, so you know exactly where to shoot, no matter how far the distance.
Simply check the measurements, and you’ll hit your mark with utmost precision.
Again, there’s the unique build. Monstrum uses aircraft-grade aluminum to make the tubes.
This makes it a highly durable scope you’ll never find anywhere else. It can handle water and fog like it’s not even there. You can expect this guy to last a really long time.
Then there’s the illumination. Everything is just so clear when you see through this fantastic scope.
You can see long and far with unparalleled clarity due to the superb reticle illumination.
Simply use a dial to control the brightness and color to see the FFP reticle information even at night.
As you can already see, the G2 takes full advantage of everything that makes an FFP rifle good.
It also enhances your experience through 4-4.5 eye relief and easy holdover correction.
You even get scope rings to set it up. Monstrum has definitely made one of the most reliable and accurate first focal point riflescopes you’ll find in the market.
A second focal plane, or an SFP, has a crosshair that stays the same no matter what magnification settings you use.
Essentially, it looks the same when zoomed out or when zoomed in. This might seem like a major drawback from the more dynamic FFP scopes, but it has its own share of advantages.
For example, when adjusting magnification, you won’t be jarred by the crosshair changing sizes.
As such, you’ll feel more comfortable while changing settings. Also, the interface of an FFP model might obscure your target when zoomed all the way in. SFP units don’t have this issue as the reticles stay the same.
It also means that the reticle is easy to see at the lowest level of magnification.
As such, these crosshairs are more viable for short-range shooting than its counterpart.
Because the holdover spacing is only correct for the maximum magnification level, it might be difficult to use the right holdover at lower settings. These models are also more affordable.
Recommended SFP Riflescope to Buy
We took the hassle so you don’t have to spend hours finding the best ones out there.
Down below is a list of all the SFP scopes that you should definitely know about.
Our first scope is the perfect example of what an SFP riflescope can do at such an affordable price. It has a plethora of outstanding features that make hunting a true joy.
The high adjustability, eye relief, and design are just some of the specifications that make this out of this world. Though there’s a lot more than just that. Let’s discuss the details.
First off, the scope uses multiple dials to give you the full adjustability of your rifle.
Everything from side focus to height and variable resistance comes with tunable dials that give your full control over the rifle’s positioning. As a result, you instantly become a better marksman.
One of the biggest weaknesses of an SFP scope is that the crosshairs don’t convey the right information to account for holdover.
The Sparwood scope’s retinas mitigate this issue by providing all the details you need to better assess your aim before you shoot.
Do you have a preferred position for your scope? Then you’re in luck. It comes equipped with a rotary lock that can help you lock onto your preferred settings so that they stay that way whenever you need them.
The values are also easier to see in the dark if you want to make adjustments while shooting at night.
Sparwood incorporates a ton of intelligent design choices to elevate the overall experience. The massive eye relief allows you to see through the scope much easier.
You get flip-up covers to protect the lenses from damage, and free mounts let you set this guy up right out of the box. The SFP scope tops it all off to become a great scope.
This isn’t just the last SFP model we’re looking at, but the last recommendation we’re giving out in general.
And trust us when we say we’re going out with a bang. While this Vector optics model doesn’t break technical barriers, its classic design epitomizes what to expect from a second focal plane scope.
The moment you hold it, you’ll realize that its durability is unmatched. Looking for something waterproof, fog proof, and shockproof? Well, here’s the model for you.
This gun has a plethora of settings that help you fine-tune your positioning and windage.
Use its ¼ MOA windage elevation settings to extract the most accurate shots you can make. Your rifle becomes a part of you to deliver precision shots.
It has about 4 inches of eye relief. That’s pretty generous for the low price point. The lens itself is extremely clear to offer the perfect clarity to shoot perfectly.
Even the reticle itself is simple and clean to enhance the clarity and make sure your vision stays unhindered.
Lastly, we’ll discuss its zero adjustments feature. It’ll allow you to fix up a zero point to lock onto while making changes to the dial.
Overall, it’s a fantastic tool that can help enhance your hunting prowess at a very affordable price.
FFP vs SFP Riflescope Comparison
We are now familiar with the two types of scopes. So, we’ll compare them both directly. Once that’s done, you’ll be able to pick out your preferred type.
The biggest and most obvious difference between SFPs and FFPs is how the crosshairs change with magnification.
As the crosshairs are located at the first focal plane in FFP models, zooming in on your scope will zoom the retina in as well. However, SFPs stay static. It will look the same in all levels of magnification.
Essentially, FFPs are useful when you constantly change and adjust magnifications, while SFPs are great if you stick to a static level for most of your hunts.
In terms of accuracy, FFPs offer many advantages. Because of how it adapts to magnifications, you can better account for holdovers to make better shots at varying distances.
It’s more difficult to account for holdovers through a second focal plane as the retina remains static. So, zooming at varying levels can throw off your accuracy.
However, manufacturers understand this and try to incorporate indicators that help you identify the right holdover. Nevertheless, it’s not as simple and easy as FFPs.
The two, while showing many similarities, have one key difference. The crosshairs for a first focal plane shows a lot of information.
They take up a lot of space with text. So, when zoomed in, it might cover your target and make it harder to see.
The more simple design of SFP crosshairs makes them easier to see with. As it does not change with magnification, you’ll get to see just as clearly at all levels.
You’ll find that SFP models are generally cheaper than FFP models. This is because first focal planes require more labor to build and execute properly.
So, if you’re budget-focused, you might want to consider SFP models more.
Each of the two scopes has its own unique features, pros, and cons. With the whole FFP vs SFP riflescope comparison completed, you can now assess and choose between the scopes. The hunt awaits!