7 Best First Focal Plane Scopes For Precision Shooting

Best Overall

Vortex Optics Viper PST Gen II Second Focal Plane Riflescope

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  • Value: 8.5/10
  • Performance: 9/10
  • Cost: 8.5/10
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Best on a Budget

Leupold Mark 5HD 3.6-18x44mm M5C3 FFP Riflescope

Leupold Mark 5HD 3.6-18x44mm M5C3 FFP Riflescope

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  • Value: 8/10
  • Performance: 9/10
  • Cost: 7/10
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Best Performance

Maven RS.1-2.5 - 15X44 mm FFP Hunting Rifle Scope (Black, MOA-2 (MOA)

Maven RS.1 – 2.5 – 15X44 mm FFP Hunting Rifle Scope

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  • Value: 9/10
  • Performance: 9/10
  • Cost: 7/10
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First Focal Plane scopes are the bee’s knees when it comes to optics. They’re making a big splash in the variable scope industry and are now widely available at every price point. So, if you’re looking to up your shooting game and hit targets beyond the norm, you absolutely need an FFP scope. These babies allow you to accurately adjust for bullet drop and windage with the proper reticle.

Now, let’s talk about the differences between scopes. Rifle scopes are awesome, but they’re not all created equal. And, when it comes to SFP vs. FFP, the latter is the latest and greatest in tactical and precision shooting. The magic of FFP scopes is that they keep your reticle accurate no matter the magnification level. It grows and shrinks as you change the magnification, ensuring that your holdover is reliable every time.

But, are FFP scopes really the best for your needs? Don’t worry, we’ve got you covered. We’ll answer all your reticle questions and help you find the perfect scope for your rig.

Comparison Table

Best For
FFP Scope Overall
Long-Range Shooting
Hunting
Accuracy
Lightweight FFP Scope
Budget-Friendly FFP Scope
Brand
Vortex Optics Viper PST
Leupold Mark 5HD 5-25X56
Maven RS.1 2.5-15X44
NightForce ATACR 5-25X56 F1
Nikon ProStaff 5
Athlon Optics Argos
Vortex Optics Viper PST Gen II 1-6x24 SFP Riflescope VMR-2 MOA
Leupold Mark 5HD 3.6-18x44mm Riflescope
Maven RS.1-2.5 - 15X44 mm FFP Hunting Rifle Scope (Black, MOA-2 (MOA))
NIGHTFORCE ATACR 5-25x56mm First Focal Plane (F1/FFP) 34mm Tube...
PROSTAFF P5
Athlon Optics Argos BTR GEN2 10-24x56 Riflescope - BLR SFP IR MOA,...
Magnification Range
6-24
5-25
2.5-15
5-25
3.5-14
4-14
Rating
4.7/5
4.2/5
5/5
4.9/5
4.7/5
4.6/5
Best For
FFP Scope Overall
Brand
Vortex Optics Viper PST
Vortex Optics Viper PST Gen II 1-6x24 SFP Riflescope VMR-2 MOA
Magnification Range
6-24
Rating
4.7/5
Best For
Long-Range Shooting
Brand
Leupold Mark 5HD 5-25X56
Leupold Mark 5HD 3.6-18x44mm Riflescope
Magnification Range
5-25
Rating
4.2/5
Best For
Hunting
Brand
Maven RS.1 2.5-15X44
Maven RS.1-2.5 - 15X44 mm FFP Hunting Rifle Scope (Black, MOA-2 (MOA))
Magnification Range
2.5-15
Rating
5/5
Best For
Accuracy
Brand
NightForce ATACR 5-25X56 F1
NIGHTFORCE ATACR 5-25x56mm First Focal Plane (F1/FFP) 34mm Tube...
Magnification Range
5-25
Rating
4.9/5
Best For
Lightweight FFP Scope
Brand
Nikon ProStaff 5
PROSTAFF P5
Magnification Range
3.5-14
Rating
4.7/5
Best For
Budget-Friendly FFP Scope
Brand
Athlon Optics Argos
Athlon Optics Argos BTR GEN2 10-24x56 Riflescope - BLR SFP IR MOA,...
Magnification Range
4-14
Rating
4.6/5

Is a first focal plane scope better?

So, you’re planning on doing some serious shooting and need a scope that can keep up with your skills? Wondering whether the first focal plane would make a better choice?

Well, it actually all depends on your shooting needs and preferences. If you’re a beginner, the SFP reticle may be easier to use for shorter-range shooting. But if you’re a pro looking for precision and accuracy at any range, the FFP scope is the way to go.

One of the best features of FFP is that it can adjust for holdovers and ranging with ease, making it perfect for long-range shooting and hunting. Plus, the reticle stays proportional to the target at any magnification level, allowing for more precise aim and accuracy. 

For example, if your target is about 100 to 1000 yards away, you can still shoot with excellent accuracy since the FFP scope maintains the same viewpoint relative to the target. You can easily take advantage of elevation holdover points and air resistance to ensure that your shots land on your target, no matter what the distance is.

Now, I know what you’re thinking, “But what about the SFP reticle?” Sure, it’s great for hunters who like a stable reticle and don’t switch between magnification settings frequently. But let’s be real, if you’re a pro shooter, you need a scope that can handle all the challenging elements and variables that come with the sport. The FFP scope is where it’s at. 

First Focal Plane Scopes – Must-Have Features to Consider

When it comes to picking out a top-notch FFP scope, the options are endless! Seriously, there are so many scopes out there that it can make your head spin. But fear not, we’ll narrow down the choices with some important things to keep in mind. Let’s get serious for a moment and consider these crucial aspects!

Durability

FFP scopes need to be tougher than Chuck Norris in order to survive the harsh conditions of a hunting trip. Trust me, you don’t want a scope that will fail when you’re in the middle of the action. So, make sure to choose a scope made of high-quality aluminum with a single-piece tube that’s fog proof and, most importantly, waterproof. And if you’re packing some serious heat, don’t forget the shockproof ability because you don’t want your scope to fail with each shot.

Eye Relief

Having enough eye relief is key to not ending up with a bruised and battered face after shooting. This is determined by the distance between your eye and the ocular lens, and the greater your firearm’s recoil, the more eye relief you’ll require. But beware, higher magnification means less eye relief. As the pros say, aim for at least 3 to 3.5 inches, but if you’re feeling fancy, some versions like the G2 offer up to 4.5 inches of eye relief. Safety first, folks!

Turrets and Adjustments

As a sharpshooter, you know the importance of precision and accuracy in every shot. That’s where turrets come in handy! With their nifty rotatable knob, you can easily and quickly adjust your aim to hit your target with pinpoint accuracy. And if you’re looking for even faster turret dialing, consider getting exposed turrets for easy windage and elevation adjustment. 

Weight of the Scope

If you’re a bench rest shooter, then you’ve got it easy when it comes to mounting an FFP scope on your rifle. But for those hunters and adventurers always on the move, take note: the weight of your scope matters! Every extra ounce can weigh you down and tire out those muscles. 

And here’s a fun fact: the bigger the objective lens of your scope, the heavier it’ll be overall. So, choose wisely and lighten your load!

Scope Magnification

For those just dipping their toes into the fascinating world of scopes, there’s a tendency to gravitate towards the fanciest, high-powered variable magnification scope that may not suit their shooting needs. If you’re aiming to become a long-distance shooting connoisseur, by all means, go big with magnification. Otherwise, it’s time for some soul-searching – ponder questions like: What’s my usual shooting range, and how far do I hope to reach?

Wise newbies, who’ve done their homework, often begin with a modest short to mid-range magnification, making the rational choice of 3-9x variable scopes. But hey, if you’re a seasoned sharpshooter, feel free to stretch those limits even further. 

Coating of the Lens

So, we all know that having an amazing lens in your FFP scope is crucial for a clear view. But, let’s not forget the importance of a solid lens coating! This little gem has a big impact on how much light gets through and the sharpness of the picture. And, if you’re anything like me, you want a picture-perfect image. 

So, make sure to check out the lens coating of any scope you’re interested in. Some FFP scopes even have special coatings that protect against dirt, dust, and scratches. Because, let’s face it, nobody likes a dirty lens!

Reticle Illuminated

For those who prefer an FFP scope with illumination, it is important to note that a low-powered FFP reticle may appear thinner, causing issues when aiming for a darkened target. Illumination might help provide contrast and make it easier to identify your target with accuracy, for example, when you’re aiming for a dark-colored animal standing in the field.

However, an FFP scope with reticle illumination may not necessarily be the best choice for everyone. You must consider other requirements and shooting conditions before making a decision. Some versions of the scope may include single, double, or triple color illumination systems, with some offering up to 11 brightness levels. Make sure to carefully consider the right brightness intensity that suits your needs.

Cost

Not everyone has deep pockets and that’s okay! I wholeheartedly support you in your quest to find a stellar FFP scope without breaking the bank. 

Here’s a pro tip: set a reasonable budget before you start browsing. Not only will this help you stay on track financially, but it will also save you from the temptation of pricier options. Trust me, the cost of FFP scopes can vary a lot! You can find models for under $300, while top-of-the-line options can really put a dent in your wallet. 

But don’t fret! With such a wide range of prices, there’s bound to be an FFP scope that fits your budget and needs like a glove. So happy hunting!

Best FFP Scopes – Our Top Picks

Curious which FFP scopes are worth your money? Alright, folks, let’s dive headfirst into the best first focal plane scopes that made it to our top favorites!

Best FFP Scope Overall: Vortex Optics Viper PST

When it comes to Vortex optics, forget boring numbers and bring on the venomous snakes! Yes, that’s right, this brand is known for naming their lines after deadly serpents. But don’t let the playful naming fool you, their Viper line of scopes is serious business.

Speaking of serious business, let’s talk about the Vortex Viper PST series. This scope means business with its reticle etched at the first focal plane position, making it perfect for tactical and competitive shooting. And with a minimum magnification of 6x and a maximum of 24x, this scope has got you covered for mid to long-range shooting.

But what really makes this scope stand out is its incredible optical clarity. The combination of high magnification and a large objective lens diameter of 50mm produces a vivid, crystal-clear image, no matter the weather conditions. And let’s not forget about the multicoated lenses that boost light transmission.

Now, when it comes to reticle configurations, the FFP design is a must-have for tactical shooting. And if you’re looking for a reticle that can handle the toughest long-range situations, the EBR-2C (Enhanced Battle Reticle) is the way to go. This bad boy has multiple holdovers for wind and drop subtensions, making them a great option for tactical long-range shooting!

Pros

  • High-quality and very reliable 
  • Enables clear view for shooting
  • Best for precision shooting
  • Great reticles
  • Ideal for tactical long-range shooting

Cons

  • Heavy
  • Too expensive

Score: 4.7/5

Quote from Reviews:

I previously purchased this scope like a month ago and the seller kept updating the shipping time and pushing it back so I almost didn’t get this scope but the new seller had it here in 2 days like it said it would and this scope is very nice. Good glass and it’s a perfect price for any shooter to get entry into the lpvo game. It isn’t quite DAYLIGHT red dot bright but it is still good for 600.

– Gbkooper

Best for Long-Range Shooting: Leupold Mark 5HD 5-25X56

Leupold’s Mark 5HD is a true beast in the world of FFP scopes. This heavy-duty machine is not for the faint of heart, but for shooters who dare to dream big. With an impressive 35 MILs of long-range elevation travel and a whopping 35mm main tube, hitting steel at previously unattainable ranges is now a reality.

But don’t be fooled by its impressive specs – this scope is designed for extreme long-range targets at 1000 yards or more. And with the FFP reticle in position, you can expect precision and accuracy like no other.

Sure, the price tag may be high, but the features speak for themselves. Leupold has put this scope through the ringer with their Punisher machine, proving it can withstand 5,000 rounds of recoil – three times that of 308 rounds. And with its fog-proof and waterproof capabilities, this scope is truly a force to be reckoned with.

The spacious erector tube allows for up to 34.9 MILs of elevation, while the Throw lever, Zero Lock dial, and 0.1 mil click value add to its high performance. So if you’re ready to take your shooting game to the next level, the Leupold Mark 5HD might just be the right one for you.

Pros

  • Build for precision and quality
  • Comes with selectable scope features
  • Audible and tactile 0.1 MIL clicks
  • Lockable turrets
  • Comes with motion sensor for illumination control
  • Manufacturer offers 10-year warranty

Cons

  • Click marker line not close enough to the windage turret
  • Unorthodox 35mm tube diameter
  • Requires ten seconds to re-activate its illumination
  • Expensive price

Scores: 4.2/5

Quote from Reviews

I love the CCH reticle. I had no experience with it prior to purchasing this one. But, for hunting applications it is great! The holds are excellent for moving targets. It is a super tough scope that is crazy light in weight. Glass is clear, bright and I love it. Mounting it on a 6.5 Creedmoor from 2A Armament for my go to Elk gun for this upcoming hunting season.

– Kyle Sweet

Best for Hunting: Maven RS.1 2.5-15X44

When it comes to scope hunting, the Maven RS.1 is a real game-changer. This bad boy combines the best features of a premium rifle scope and a tactical rig, making it the perfect choice for hunters and long-range shooters alike. As hunters up their game and adopt the techniques of the pros, Maven is keeping up by incorporating first focal plane reticles in their hunting rigs for the best of both worlds.

Of course, the heart of any good scope is the glass, and the RS.1 2.5-15X44mm doesn’t disappoint. Made with Japanese-manufactured glass, this scope delivers crystal-clear images that will make any hunter’s heart skip a beat.

When it comes to hunting, light is everything. That’s why the RS.1’s 44mm objective and 43.6mm eyepiece are designed to make images pop even in low-light conditions. And with fully coated extra-low dispersion (ED) glass, you’ll get a top-quality image every time.

Pros

  • The quality and features are worth for its price
  • Lightweight
  • Great for long-range shooting
  • Comes with a 30mm tube, allowing more light to reach the scope and get brighter image

Cons

  • Does not come with illumination options

Scores: 5/5

Quote from Reviews

My 3rd Maven product, all great. This scope is first focal plane so very easy to use the reticle hashes and extremely clear and crisp. It is a little heavy but a great value. Highly recommended.

– Steve Coad

Best for Accuracy: NightForce ATACR 5-25X56 F1

Nightforce Optics has cemented its position as a top-tier manufacturer of military-grade tactical scopes, thanks to its exceptional durability and high-quality build. Their scopes are even trusted by Special Operations groups! In 2013, Nightforce upped their game with two new scope lines: the Advanced Tactical Riflescope (ATACR) and the Best Example of Advanced Scope Technology (BEAST). Sure, the names are a tad goofy, but these scopes come packed with new technology that complements their existing models. 

The ATACR scope is a beauty to behold, coming with all the standard accoutrements like an instruction manual, warranty information, lens covers, and even a snazzy Nightforce bumper sticker. One notable feature of the ATACR is its 34mm main tube, which is larger than the 30mm tube on the NXS. This means that the 56mm objective lens doesn’t appear as big as it would on a 30mm tube scope, thanks to the pleasing proportions of the larger tube. It’s only when you compare the ATACR to another scope that you realize just how big it really is.

The ATACR scope also looks sharp with its sleek design and pleasing contours. Overall, it’s a pretty good-looking piece of equipment.

Pros

  • Great FFP and MOAR recticle
  • Comes with digillum illumination and ZeroStop
  • Offers wide MOA adjustments

Cons

  • Heavy
  • Expensive price

Scores: 4.9/5

Quote from reviews

At 1,200 yards, I can see the splatter of the bullet impact on the steel target on a clear day. I also like the illuminated reticle for low light. Scope is very sturdy. I have three of them. The only thing I have found better than the NXS is the Nightforce ATACR which has a 34mm tube and comes in F1 versions. The NXS I mounted on my long range rifles. The ATACR 5-25×56 F1 I mounted on a P6.5 AR style 6.5 creedmoor rifle for for medium to long range and rapid target aquisition. Both NXS and ATACR are amazing scopes but the ATACR is best for rapid target aquisition, but costs another $850 roughly.

– Darrell

Best Lightweight FFP Scope: Nikon ProStaff 5

If you’re in the market for a top-notch optic, let me tell you about one of our all-time favorites: the Nikon ProStaff 5. This baby comes in various configurations and, trust me, it’s one of the most affordable FFP scopes out there!

The ProStaff 5’s 3.5-14x setup is light and easy to handle, but it’s not exactly pint-sized. However, if you opt for the FFP configuration, you’ll get to enjoy Nikon’s amazing BDC reticle system. This reticle is a godsend for those long-range shots, with its see-through ballistic circles that make bullet drop adjustments a breeze.

And get this: the FFP design ensures those BDC points are always on-point. But that’s not all. Nikon’s BDC design works in tandem with their Spot On Ballistic Match technology, allowing you to get perfect aiming points by inputting your ammo specs online. It’s like magic.

The ProStaff 5 is a clear-as-day optic that’s tailor-made for hunters. It’s optimized for low light conditions, which is perfect for when critters are most active. And let’s not forget the price – this optic is a real deal without draining the wallet!

Pros

  • Lightweight
  • Offers bright and sharp images in all fields of view
  • Offers 1/8 MOA adjustments
  • Ideal for bench rest shooting

Cons

  • Recticle is not made with etched glass
  • Recticle does not have illumination

Scores: 4.7/5

Quote from reviews

Set it up on my Ruger mini 14 and zeroed the scope today and this outfit is a tack driver at 100 yards. This is my 4th Nikon scope so I’m a firm believer in them. Can’t beat the price also.”

– W. Taylor

Best Scope for PRS Shooting: Athlon Optics Argos

PRS competitions are all the rage these days, and for good reason! They require rifle enthusiasts to be versatile and strategic, making it a true test of skill. And let’s face it, you need the right equipment, including a top-notch optic. Look no further than the Athlon Optics Argos scope – it’s versatile, well-built, and won’t break the bank. 

Serious about PRS? Then you know that a first focal plane (FFP) optic is a must-have. Argos offers fully multi-coated lenses that provide excellent light transmission and vibrant colors. Plus, it’s made from 6061T6 aluminum, ensuring it can handle all the recoil and force you can throw its way. 

But that’s not all – the Argos is waterproof and fog proof, making it the perfect match for the run-and-gun nature of PRS matches. And let’s not forget about the highly efficient reticle, which allows for quick adjustments and compensation for bullet drop and windage. 

With an etched glass reticle, the Argos provides a sharper and more durable picture, so you can focus on your game. It’s a crisp, clear optic that offers both power and precision. Don’t settle for anything less!

Pros 

  • Comes with high-end features at a lower price
  • Ideal for mid to long-range shooting
  • Reticle is illuminated, comes with 11 brightness settings
  • Reticle is etched on the glass
  • Lifetime warranty

Cons

  • Clarity is compromised at higher magnifications
  • Some users complain of its eyepiece being too large

Scores: 3.7/5

Quote from reviews

Using this on a 308 Armalite, it’s not as nice as my Leupold but it’s pretty darn close. Tracks well and the magnification makes 12-1600 yard shots a little easier with these old eyes. I’m very happy with it and would recommend this one.

– David

Most Budget-Friendly FFP Scope: Primary Arms 4-14X44

If you’re looking for an FFP scope that won’t break the bank, then the Primary Arms might be your ideal rifle scope! This model boasts top-notch glass and build quality – not to mention Primary Arms’ excellent reputation for customer support. And for under $300, the FFP functionality and reticle are hard to beat.

Now, it’s important to note that Primary Arms caters more towards the AR side of shooting, so their ballistic calculators are geared towards common calibers like .223/5.56, .308, and .300 Blackout. If you’re using a different caliber, you’ll need to create your own calculator – but don’t worry, this scope is versatile enough to be used on any rifle.

So, if you’re looking to dip your toes into the FFP scope world without breaking the bank, the Primary Arms option is definitely worth considering.

Pros

  • Most affordable FFP scope under $300
  • Comes with 30mm tube for brighter image
  • Exposed turret and mil-dot reticle
  • Allows side focus

Cons

  • Limited ballistic calculator
  • Need to remove the turret for zero stop adjustment
  • No sunshade

Scores: 4.6/5

Quote from reviews

It was a little heavier than I expected but ot had alot of really good features that I haven’t seen on most other scopes.

– Stacy Mathis

Our Key Takeaways

When it comes to choosing the best first focal plane scope, there’s no need to pull your hair out. It all boils down to your personal preference and intended use. 

If you’re on a budget or just starting out shooting as a new hobby, then cheaper first focal plane scopes like the Primary Arms might be the best scope for you. 

But if you’re a precision shooter who’s into matches and doesn’t mind splurging a bit, then a high-end first focal plane rifle scope is definitely worth the investment. For those who want higher magnification ranges, FFP scopes like the Vortex Viper PST series are the way to go. 

Of course, before making any optic purchase, there are other factors to consider like choosing the best quick detach scope mounts. But at least when it comes to FFP scopes, you can rest assured that the truth is simple – it’s all a matter of personal preference and intended use.

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Last update on 2024-02-06 / Images from Amazon Product API