MilDot / MRAD vs MOA: Which Should You Pick?

Choosing the unit of measure that works best for your shooting style and needs is critical for precise windage and elevation adjustments (especially at long distances). In this article, we’ll discuss the difference between MilDot vs MOA and if one is more accurate than the other. 

Both Mil and MOA are angular measurements from a certain distance. They’re used as references to know your target’s size (distance known) or your distance from the target (target size known).


Mil is an abbreviation for Milliradian, that’s why it’s also called MRAD. It is defined as a thousandth of a radian (1/1000) and is the measurement of an angle within a circle. A click on a mil-based dial is equal to one-tenth of a mil. Most competitive and precision shooters nowadays use the Mil system. So if you’ll be getting into the sport, get a scope with a Mil reticle and adjustment turrets.

Learning how to use a Mil-Dot reticle is quite simple. At 100 yards, the distance between the mil-dots or hash marks is equal to 3.6 inches (or 10 cm). And that increases as distance in yards increases. At 200 yards, the distance hash marks become 7.2 inches.

So if at 100 yards, your shot’s point-of-impact is one dot higher from the bullseye, then you’re 3.6 inches too high. To adjust this, you need to be familiar with your scope’s dials. If your scope adjusts in 0.1 Mil increments, you’d have to do 10 clicks to bring the crosshairs down and match your target’s center.


BDC Reticle

MOA or Minute Of Angle is also an angular measurement. 

At 100 yards, 1 Minute Of Angle corresponds to 1.047 inches (usually rounded down to 1 inch) on your target. Like in Mils, that increases as distance increases. At 200 yards, 1 MOA corresponds to approximately 2 inches.

For instance, if you’re shooting at 300 yards and your bullet impacts are 6 inches down from the bull’s eye, then you need to adjust 2 MOA to hit dead center. Most MOA scope turrets adjust at ¼ MOA increments per click. So for this scenario you’d have to do 8 clicks to center your reticle.

Since making MOA adjustments is a bit more complicated, here are some formulas you can follow for easier computation:

(Distance to target in yards) / (100) = inches per MOA at that distance

(Number of inches of adjustment needed) / (inches per MOA at that distance) = MOA adjustment

(Number of clicks per 1 MOA on scope) x (MOA adjustment) = adjustment in clicks on scope


How many MOA is a MIL dot?

There are 3.4377 MOA per mil. 

Does the military use MIL or MOA?

The military and most law enforcement agencies use Mil-based optics mainly because computing and compensating for changes are easier with Mil-dot scopes.

Which is better, Mil-Dot or MOA?

Neither is better between Mil-Dot and MOA. They both deliver precise measurements.

Is MOA more accurate than mil?

Not one is more accurate than the other. Both units of measurements are equally accurate and reliable.

How much is 1 MRAD at 100 meters?

At 100 meters, 1 MRAD corresponds to 10 cm.


Bottomline is, Mil and MOA are equally accurate and reliable when comparing shot groupings or estimating target range difficulty. What matters is you use the unit you’re more comfortable with. If you’ll be shooting with your friends, you can discuss it with them so you’ll use uniform units of measure to prevent misunderstandings while engaging targets. Finally, always use the same measurement on your dial and your reticle so you won’t have to do conversions in your head.

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