How to Choose a Reticle

Feb 24, 2023 | 12:44 pm 33 0
How to Choose a Reticle

In order to choose the most suitable and convenient optical scope, you should pay attention to the details. So, for example, modern manufacturers offer scopes with different reticle.  This is, first of all, your convenience and the ability to use the scope for its intended purpose. Because each reticle is responsible for its operation of the sight. You don't go hunting on the boar with reticle, designed for airsoft, right?

How are they different and why are they, in fact, various? That's what we will talk about in this article.

Different Types of Reticles

The reticle is a separate topic in scope selection. Each manufacturer develops its own variants. They are divided into simplified variations for hunting and tactical (police, army, sport), with more marks. There are many opinions, but in general, the essence is simple - some reticles are made based on the needs of modern hunters, others on the needs of the army and sport shooting. Of course, there are no rigid distinctions and differences, both reticles are suitable for the original purposes, and if you become proficient, you can use them equally effective in one area or another. In construction, a reticle can be either a metal stencil or a pattern applied to glass. There are even scopes in the sales lineup with different reticles that you can change depending on your needs. This is, for example, the AGM Secutor TS25-384, it has 5 reticle options at once and even color changing. But if we talk about simpler models of scopes, you have to understand the difference in those reticles.


Here are the most common of the reticle types:

  • Dot - is simple and convenient. It consists of a closed circle and a dot located in the center of the grid. This reticle is convenient for shooting in low light or at moving targets, such as driven hunts.
  • Mil-Dot - similar to the Dot, but different in that there are divisions on the thin part of the sighting threads. Although this is the ideal reticle for snipers and extreme distance shooters, hunters note that it helps to make shots at the beast at very long distances.
  • German # - the grid with an illuminated center dot is perfect for both quick overturning at the minimum multiplicity and for accurate shooting over long distances from a stable position - at maximum.
  • Duplex - is the most common type of reticle you will find among hunting rifle scopes. It is simple, concise, and considered versatile. The thick crosshair strands are deliberately made thin in the middle to draw the eye to the center. It's a versatile, ideal reticle for hunting in a dense grove or hunting big game where you need accuracy to get into the target area, so it's no surprise that the duplex is considered the best hunting scope.
  • BDC - is a ballistic reticle sight. It is intended primarily for shooting from long distances.

The appearance of the reticle

The reticle in hunting sights differs from tactical sights in appearance. Tactical sights always have a ballistic division (BDC). Hunting sights are simpler; a simple reticle (Duplex, Dot, German# and their derivatives) is enough to shoot at a target up to 300 yards.

  • Hunting reticle has the appearance of simple or incomplete crosshairs, (two horizontal lines and one vertical line, intuitively converging to the center of the sighting window). They are simple and versatile for shooting at short distances of 100 to 300 yards. Aiming is easy - which usually involves simply pointing the center of the crosshairs at the target, and firing.
  • Tactical reticles are visually graded vertically and horizontally as dots, dashes, dashes or cutoffs. The unit of measurement in them varies in principle, e.g. 1 MOA.

Standard reticles have horizontal and vertical guides by which the shooter assesses the gun's collapse. For hunting, fast shooting, especially when the game is moving, is fundamental, so the reticle of hunting riflescopes presents a simplified appearance. There are reticles with different thicknesses of lines or the presence of a red dot in the center in the form of a dot or cross, which are convenient to use when shooting at a moving target. When hunting at long distances reticle with corrections for bullet drop and crosswind are used, such as Mil-Dot, "Cross", Duplex, BDC.

The tactical reticle is for accurate shooting at stationary targets. They are used to calculate the ballistic trajectory of the bullet, measure distances, and usually have a large number of correction marks.

Reticle with backlighting

The presence of illumination in the reticle is important, especially for driven hunting, because it reduces the time of aiming if the hunt takes place in the woods and the threads, when pointing, merge with the branches and bushes. But, sights with illumination have more weight and are much more expensive. Therefore, when choosing, you need to understand its necessity.

Backlighting is used to increase the visibility of lines or central marks on a contrasting background or at dusk. Depending on the manufacturer, the backlight may be different colors, but the most common is red.

What is a focal plane for a reticle

For variable magnification sights, there is the concept of a reticle location in the first or second focal plane of the objective. The moving mechanism of the rotating lens system is responsible for changing the magnification in the reticle. If the reticle is located in the focal plane of the lens, it means in the first focal plane, the image of the reticle is enlarged. It turns out that distance calculation is available at any magnification because the reticle changes proportionally. When positioned in the focus of the eyepiece, which means in the second focal plane, the dimensions of the reticle do not change.

The first option is suitable for ballistic reticles and is used in expensive scopes. Sights with the reticle positioned in the second focal plane are cheaper to manufacture and convenient for hunting tasks.

As you see, there is a lot to choose. But, the most important criterion of the choice of reticle type is, of course, considerations of personal convenience. Well, when you decide what you want, there are still many things to do - because it is important to choose the correct magnification, aperture ratio, and other parameters of the reticle.

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