Hunters and shooters are often found contemplating on which reticle position to use, the FFP or the SFP. Both are imperative and one of the most crucial aspects of scope specifications. But which one is more important and helps steal the show? Let us explain and point out the difference between the two to have a greater understanding and see how their difference turns out to be a leverage for the user.
The main underlying difference
The FFP is the other name for first focal plane and SFP is the abbreviated form of second focal plane. It is where the reticle or the aiming point is located within the erector tube. [Situated within the rifle scope, the erector assembly is an important assembly. It is in charge of expanding and de-magnifying the image.]
Pros of FFP
The First Focal Plane reticles greatly differ from their second focal plane counterpart. They let the reticle scale proportionally to the object as the magnification is increased on the rifle scope. This in other words implies the user gets to adjust the reticle proportions; the thinness or the thickness of the lines will change and get broadened as the user zooms in on the target. It will also get thinner as he zooms out. This is particularly very advantageous for a ballistic/ Mil-Dot reticle as it facilitates calibration at all magnifications. Also ideal for rapid ranging along with holdovers at different distances and magnifications.
Cons of FFP
The First Focal Plane does not prove to be advantageous when teamed with a simple crosshair reticle. Also, it is a tad more expensive.
Pros of SFP
The Second Focal Plane reticles let the reticle stay the same size when the magnification on the sight is increased. This implies the reticle subtensions are fixed at a pre-determined magnification range; the thinness or the thickness of the lines will remain unchanged and not get broadened or negligible across the entire magnification range.
Cons of SFP
That might be a plus point to a certain extent. But reticle placement on the second focal plane also denotes the fact that the ballistic/ Mil-Dot reticle will be calibrated/ standardized accurately at one specific magnification only. This in turn brings down the advantages that come along with a variable magnification scope.
To draw the conclusion, the First Focal Plane reticle placement is ideal for the hunter or shooter who intends to make use of multiple magnifications (e.g. Mil-Dot, MOA or Ballistic reticle) and keep his options open. But if he is gearing up for target shooting with a crosshair reticle or planning to make use of maximum magnification, he should consider the Second Focal Plane reticle placement. The latter is more commonly used for rifle scopes. Now that you are fully aware of the difference between FFP and SFP, which one are you going to go for today?