13 Essential Tips for Tactical Rifle Scopes on OpticsPlanet

I've spent countless hours on the range, perfecting my shooting skills. And let me tell you, having the right tactical rifle scope can make all the difference. That's why I'm excited to share with you these 13 essential tips for choosing the perfect scope on OpticsPlanet. From magnification and reticle type to lens coating and illumination options, I'll guide you through the technical aspects and help you make an informed decision. Get ready to take your shooting game to the next level.

Key Takeaways

  • There are different reticle types, including crosshair, Mil-Dot, and BDC, each offering unique benefits for target acquisition and shooting.
  • The choice of magnification level depends on the intended purpose and shooting environment, with higher magnification providing better target identification but narrower field of view.
  • Lens coating and focal plane options, such as scratch resistance, anti-reflective properties, and first or second focal plane reticles, impact image clarity and accuracy.
  • Achieving optimal eye relief and utilizing parallax adjustment and turret style can enhance shooting experience, minimize recoil-related injuries, and improve shot accuracy.


When selecting a tactical rifle scope, it is important to consider the magnification level, as it determines the level of zoom and clarity for target acquisition. The magnification advantages are crucial in ensuring a successful and accurate shot. Choosing the right magnification for your specific needs is essential to optimize your shooting experience. A higher magnification allows for better target identification and engagement at longer distances. However, it is important to note that a higher magnification may also result in a narrower field of view, making it more challenging to acquire targets quickly. On the other hand, a lower magnification provides a wider field of view, making it easier to track moving targets. Ultimately, the choice of magnification will depend on the intended purpose and shooting environment, so it is important to carefully consider these factors when selecting a tactical rifle scope.

Reticle Type

When it comes to selecting a reticle type for a tactical rifle scope, there are several options to consider. One popular choice is the crosshair reticle, which offers a simple and clean design that allows for quick target acquisition. Another option is the Mil-Dot reticle, which features dots spaced evenly along the crosshairs to aid in range estimation and bullet drop compensation. Lastly, the BDC (Bullet Drop Compensator) reticle offers pre-calculated aiming points for different distances, making it ideal for long-range shooting. Each reticle type has its own unique benefits and understanding the differences can help you choose the best one for your needs.

Crosshair Reticle Benefits

I frequently prefer using a crosshair reticle for its precise aiming capabilities and ease of target acquisition. While there are various alternatives to the crosshair reticle, such as the duplex or Mil-dot reticles, the simplicity and accuracy of the crosshair make it my go-to choice. The thin, intersecting lines of the crosshair provide a clear and unobstructed view of the target, allowing for quick and precise aiming. Additionally, the crosshair reticle can be easily customized, allowing shooters to adjust the thickness and color of the lines to suit their preferences and shooting conditions. This customization feature further enhances the usability and versatility of the crosshair reticle, making it an excellent option for tactical rifle scopes.

Mil-Dot Reticle Explained

To fully understand the Mil-Dot reticle, it is important to grasp its purpose and functionality. The Mil-Dot reticle is a versatile reticle type that has various applications in tactical rifle scopes. Here are three key aspects of the Mil-Dot reticle:

  1. Range estimation: The Mil-Dot reticle allows shooters to estimate the range to a target by using the mil dots as reference points. By measuring the size of the target in mils and applying the appropriate formula, the shooter can determine the distance to the target accurately.
  2. Holdover and windage corrections: The Mil-Dot reticle also enables shooters to make holdover and windage corrections. By using the mil dots as a reference, shooters can compensate for bullet drop and wind drift, ensuring precise and accurate shots.
  3. Mil-Dot reticle variations: There are different variations of the Mil-Dot reticle, such as the Mil-Dot, Modified Mil-Dot, and Mil-Dot Bar. Each variation offers unique features and benefits, catering to specific shooting needs and preferences.

Understanding the applications and variations of the Mil-Dot reticle can enhance your shooting accuracy and precision.

BDC Reticle Advantages

Discussing the advantages of the BDC reticle, I will highlight its versatility and effectiveness in long-range shooting scenarios. The BDC (Bullet Drop Compensator) reticle is specifically designed to assist shooters in compensating for bullet drop at various distances. This reticle type offers a wide range of applications, making it suitable for both hunting and tactical purposes.

One of the key advantages of the BDC reticle is its ability to provide quick and accurate holdover points for shots taken at different ranges. With multiple aiming points or hash marks spaced along the vertical stadia line, the shooter can easily adjust their aim based on the estimated distance to the target. This feature eliminates the need for manual calculations or adjustment knobs, allowing for faster target acquisition and engagement.

Furthermore, the BDC reticle offers excellent accuracy when properly calibrated to a specific load and firearm combination. By using ballistic data and trajectory charts, shooters can determine the correct holdover points for different distances. This ensures precise shot placement, especially in situations where time is of the essence.

Lens Coating

One important factor to consider when selecting a tactical rifle scope is the type of lens coating applied. The lens coating plays a crucial role in enhancing the performance and durability of the scope. Here are three key factors to consider when evaluating lens coatings:

  1. Scratch Resistance: Opt for a lens coating that offers excellent scratch resistance. This feature is essential to protect the lenses from potential damage caused by debris, dust, or accidental contact. A scratch-resistant coating ensures that your scope remains clear and free from any distortions that could affect your accuracy.
  2. Light Transmission: Look for a lens coating that maximizes light transmission. A high-quality coating will minimize light reflection and refraction, allowing more light to pass through the lenses. This results in brighter and clearer images, even in low-light conditions. Improved light transmission is particularly important for tactical shooting, where visibility can be crucial.
  3. Anti-Reflective Properties: Consider a lens coating that incorporates anti-reflective properties. This feature reduces glare and prevents unwanted reflections that could give away your position. By minimizing reflections, you can maintain a stealthy and discreet approach, ensuring optimal performance during tactical operations.

When evaluating tactical rifle scopes, paying attention to the type of lens coating is imperative. By selecting a coating that offers scratch resistance, maximizes light transmission, and incorporates anti-reflective properties, you can enhance your shooting experience and overall performance.

Focal Plane

The focal plane's positioning on a tactical rifle scope plays a key role in enhancing accuracy and target acquisition. The focal plane refers to the plane where the reticle is located within the scope. There are two main types of focal planes: first focal plane (FFP) and second focal plane (SFP). Each type has its advantages and disadvantages.

In the FFP, the reticle size changes in relation to the target as the magnification is adjusted. This allows for accurate holdover and ranging at any magnification level. However, the reticle may appear too small at lower magnifications, making it harder to see.

In the SFP, the reticle size remains constant regardless of the magnification level. This provides a consistent sight picture, but holdover and ranging are only accurate at a specific magnification setting.

Focal Plane Type Advantages Disadvantages
First Focal Plane Accurate holdover and ranging at any magnification Reticle may appear too small at lower magnifications
Second Focal Plane Consistent sight picture Holdover and ranging only accurate at specific magnification

Understanding the advantages and disadvantages of each focal plane type will help you choose the right scope for your needs.

Eye Relief

As a knowledgeable shooter, I understand the importance of optimal eye relief when it comes to tactical rifle scopes. Eye relief refers to the distance between your eye and the scope's ocular lens that allows for a full field of view. It is crucial to adjust the eye relief properly to ensure a comfortable shooting experience and prevent any potential eye injuries.

Optimal Eye Relief

How far should I position my eye from the rifle scope for optimal eye relief? Achieving the optimal eye relief is crucial for ensuring a comfortable and accurate shooting experience. To help you achieve this, here are three key considerations:

  1. Optimal Shooting Position: Positioning your eye at the correct distance from the scope is essential for maintaining a stable shooting position. It allows you to maintain proper alignment with the scope and achieve a clear sight picture.
  2. Proper Alignment: Ensuring that your eye is aligned with the scope's eyepiece is crucial for obtaining optimal eye relief. This alignment not only enhances comfort but also minimizes the risk of injury from recoil.
  3. Comfort and Safety: By maintaining the optimal eye relief, you can avoid potential injuries caused by the scope's recoil. Additionally, it promotes a more comfortable shooting experience, reducing eye strain and fatigue.

Importance of Adjustment

Achieving the optimal eye relief is crucial for a comfortable and accurate shooting experience with a tactical rifle scope. Proper adjustment techniques ensure that the shooter's eye is positioned at the correct distance behind the scope's eyepiece. This not only allows for a clear and focused image but also prevents potential injuries caused by recoil. To adjust the eye relief, simply loosen the locking ring and slide the eyepiece forward or backward until the desired distance is achieved. If you are experiencing any issues with the adjustment, such as difficulty in finding the correct eye relief or the image appearing blurry, troubleshooting techniques can be employed. These may include checking for any obstructions or improperly tightened screws. By mastering the art of eye relief adjustment, you will be well-equipped to proceed to the next crucial step: parallax adjustment.

Parallax Adjustment

I adjust the parallax on my tactical rifle scope to ensure precise and accurate target acquisition. Parallax error occurs when the reticle appears to move against the target when the shooter shifts their eye position behind the scope. To correct this error, I employ various parallax correction techniques. These techniques include:

  1. Adjusting the parallax knob: Most modern tactical rifle scopes come equipped with a parallax adjustment knob. By turning this knob, I can align the reticle with the target, eliminating parallax error.
  2. Using parallax markings: Some scopes have parallax markings on the adjustment knob, providing a reference point for specific distances. By aligning the markings with the estimated target distance, I can quickly correct parallax error.
  3. Employing adjustable objective (AO) or side focus: Scopes featuring an AO or side focus allow for precise parallax adjustment. By manipulating these features, I can eliminate parallax error at various distances.

Turret Style

Typically, I frequently choose a tactical rifle scope with a turret style that allows for quick and precise adjustments. When it comes to turret adjustment, there are a few key factors to consider. First and foremost is turret reliability. A reliable turret ensures consistent and accurate adjustments, allowing me to dial in my shots with confidence. I look for turrets that are well-built, with precise click adjustments and a solid feel. Additionally, a zero-reset feature is a valuable asset, as it allows me to quickly return to my zero settings after making adjustments. Overall, a turret style that offers reliable and precise adjustments is crucial for any tactical shooter, ensuring optimal performance in the field.

Zeroing Process

To start the zeroing process, I ensure that my rifle scope is properly mounted and aligned. Once that is done, I focus on making precise windage and elevation adjustments to achieve accurate shots. Here is my step-by-step process:

  1. Windage Adjustment: I use the windage turret on my scope to make horizontal adjustments. By turning the turret clockwise, I move the point of impact to the right, and counterclockwise for left adjustments. I make small adjustments until my shots are hitting the desired target.
  2. Elevation Adjustment: For vertical adjustments, I use the elevation turret. Clockwise adjustments raise the point of impact, while counterclockwise adjustments lower it. I carefully make incremental adjustments until my shots are on target.
  3. Fine-Tuning: Once I have made the initial windage and elevation adjustments, I take a few shots to assess the accuracy. If necessary, I fine-tune the adjustments to achieve the desired zero.

Durability and Construction

Durability and construction are crucial aspects to consider when choosing a tactical rifle scope. The quality of materials used in its construction can greatly impact its performance and longevity. Additionally, thorough impact resistance testing ensures that the scope can withstand rugged conditions and maintain its accuracy and functionality.

Quality Materials Used

When selecting a tactical rifle scope, it is important to prioritize the use of quality materials that ensure long-lasting durability and sturdy construction. This is crucial for withstanding the harsh conditions often encountered in tactical shooting scenarios. Here are three key factors to consider when evaluating the quality of materials used in a rifle scope:

  1. Durability Testing: Look for scopes that have undergone rigorous testing to ensure they can withstand the most demanding environments. This may include tests for shock resistance, temperature extremes, and water resistance.
  2. Lens Quality: The lenses in a rifle scope are crucial for delivering clear and precise images. Opt for scopes that use high-quality glass with superior coatings to enhance light transmission, reduce glare, and provide excellent color fidelity.
  3. Construction: Pay attention to the overall construction of the scope, including the use of robust materials such as aircraft-grade aluminum or magnesium alloy. Look for scopes that feature a robust tube design, sealed construction, and reliable adjustment mechanisms.

Impact Resistance Testing

During impact resistance testing, I evaluate the durability and construction of tactical rifle scopes. This testing is crucial to ensure that the scopes can withstand the rigors of real-world use. Impact testing involves subjecting the scopes to various forces and impacts to simulate potential accidents or mishandling. It helps determine the strength and toughness of the materials used in the construction of the scopes. The durability testing assesses the scopes' ability to withstand repeated recoil forces and vibrations without compromising their functionality or accuracy. It also evaluates the scopes' resistance to environmental factors such as moisture, temperature changes, and rough handling. By conducting thorough impact resistance testing, we can ensure that the tactical rifle scopes meet the highest standards of durability and construction, providing reliable performance in demanding conditions.

Illumination Options

I typically prefer utilizing illumination options on my tactical rifle scope for enhanced visibility in low-light conditions. When it comes to choosing the right illumination option for my needs, I consider factors such as battery life, brightness levels, and ease of use. Here are three key considerations to keep in mind:

  1. Battery Life: Opt for a scope with a long battery life to ensure that it will last through extended periods of low-light shooting. Look for scopes that offer adjustable brightness settings to optimize battery usage.
  2. Brightness Levels: Choose a scope that offers multiple brightness levels to accommodate different lighting conditions. This allows for precise adjustments based on the ambient light, ensuring optimal visibility without excess glare.
  3. Ease of Use: Look for illumination options that are user-friendly and easily accessible, allowing for quick adjustments in the field. Features like illuminated reticles and intuitive controls make for a seamless shooting experience, especially in low-light situations.

Field of View

To further enhance my shooting experience in low-light conditions, I prioritize considering the field of view when selecting a tactical rifle scope. The field of view refers to the width of the area visible through the scope at a specific distance. A wider field of view allows for better situational awareness and faster target acquisition. When comparing field of view among different scopes, it is important to consider both the magnification level and the objective lens diameter. Higher magnification levels often result in a narrower field of view, while larger objective lenses can provide a wider field of view. Ultimately, finding the right balance between magnification and field of view is crucial for optimizing performance in various shooting scenarios. Now that we have discussed the importance of field of view, let's move on to considering the price range of tactical rifle scopes.

Price Range

When considering tactical rifle scopes, it is important to take into account the price range available. Prices for these scopes can vary greatly depending on the brand, features, and quality. Here are three key points to consider when comparing prices and looking for budget options:

  1. Set a budget: Determine how much you are willing to spend on a tactical rifle scope. This will help narrow down your options and prevent overspending.
  2. Research and compare prices: Take the time to research and compare prices from different retailers and brands. Look for sales, discounts, and promotions to get the best deal possible.
  3. Consider trade-offs: In the world of optics, higher price often means better quality and more advanced features. However, there are budget options available that still offer decent performance. Consider what features are essential for your needs and be willing to compromise on non-essential extras.

Customer Reviews

After researching and comparing prices, I found that customer reviews were crucial in helping me make an informed decision about which tactical rifle scope to purchase. Customer satisfaction and product reliability were the two key factors that I focused on while going through the reviews. Reading about the experiences of other customers who had already purchased and used the scopes gave me valuable insights into the quality and performance of the products. I paid close attention to the overall satisfaction levels expressed by customers and their comments on the reliability of the scopes. This helped me gauge the long-term durability and functionality of the scopes, ensuring that I made a wise investment. Customer reviews not only provided me with valuable information, but also gave me the confidence to choose the right tactical rifle scope for my needs.

Frequently Asked Questions

Are There Any Special Features or Accessories That Can Enhance the Performance of a Tactical Rifle Scope?

Special features and accessories can greatly enhance the performance of a tactical rifle scope. These additions can improve weight distribution, usability, and stability, allowing for more accurate shots. Accessories such as low light condition adaptors and night vision capabilities can also be essential for optimal performance. It's important to maintain and clean your scope regularly to ensure longevity and functionality. Additionally, different firearms may require specific scopes for proper compatibility and performance enhancement.

How Does the Weight of a Tactical Rifle Scope Affect Its Usability and Stability?

The weight of a tactical rifle scope can make or break its usability and stability on the field. When it's too heavy, it can throw off your balance and hinder your maneuverability. On the other hand, a lightweight scope may lack the stability needed for precise aiming. Finding the right weight for your scope is crucial. Consider factors like your shooting style, endurance, and the type of firearm you're using. It's all about finding that perfect balance for optimal performance.

Can a Tactical Rifle Scope Be Used in Low-Light Conditions or at Night?

Using a tactical rifle scope for hunting in low light conditions requires careful consideration. It is important to understand the differences between night vision scopes and standard scopes. While some tactical scopes may have features designed to enhance visibility in low light, they may not be suitable for complete darkness. Night vision scopes, on the other hand, are specifically designed for use in the dark and can provide clear images in such conditions.

Are There Any Specific Recommendations for Maintaining and Cleaning a Tactical Rifle Scope?

Cleaning tips and maintenance recommendations for a tactical rifle scope are essential for ensuring optimal performance. Regularly clean the lenses with a soft, lint-free cloth and a lens cleaner specifically designed for optics. Avoid using harsh chemicals or abrasive materials that can damage the lens coatings. Additionally, check for any loose or damaged components and tighten or replace them as needed. Proper maintenance and cleaning will prolong the lifespan of your tactical rifle scope and maintain its accuracy.

Can a Tactical Rifle Scope Be Used on Different Firearms or Is It Specific to Certain Types of Rifles?

Yes, a tactical rifle scope can be used on different firearms. The compatibility of tactical rifle scopes with various rifles depends on the mounting system and the specifications of the scope. It is important to ensure that the scope is compatible with the specific firearm you intend to use it on. Different rifles may have different mounting systems, so it is crucial to check the compatibility before attaching the scope.


After considering the importance of magnification, reticle type, lens coating, focal plane, eye relief, illumination options, field of view, and price range, it is clear that choosing the right tactical rifle scope is a crucial decision. By carefully examining customer reviews, one can gather valuable insights and make an informed choice. Remember, the right scope can make all the difference in your shooting experience, so take your time and find the perfect fit for your needs. Happy shooting!

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