Why Is The First Focal Plane Scope More Expensive?

If you’ve been hunting for quite a while, you probably have started to become a gun enthusiast. Perhaps, you’ve understood the basics and have known the advantages of using accessories like belts or scopes. But when it comes to rifles and snipers, some hunters would prefer having one for their weapons.

You can browse through many websites that provide information on various scopes, gears, and alike to help you choose which is best for you to use. You can refer to Lunde Studio to know more, or you can try to discover them yourself. But no matter how important scopes are, there are still many hunters, especially rifle shooters, who don’t know the difference between the first and the second focal planes of a scope.

What are the Focal Planes?

A focal plane is an essential aspect of any scope, and if you lack knowledge about that, there is a possibility that you will mess up your scopes and get confused between the two. Focal planes are the reticles that you will see through your scope, and they are considered physical objects, which means that you will have to put them somewhere in the tube of your scope. Like in the past, reticles were made out of hairs from a Wooly Mammoth. The hair strands are then glued into the scope’s lenses, which serves as the guide for rifle hunters back in the day.

Now that we have advanced technology, innovators created something that would allow reticles to adjust when you magnify your scope gradually. The reticles will not remain stagnant and will change when you magnify the scope if placed on the first focal plane. The first focal plane is positioned towards the front of the optic. This means that it is the first thing that you will see once you put your eye on the scope. 

The reticles placed on the first focal plane have more features than the second focal plane because it has some internal mechanical changes, which is why the size of the reticles will also change when you magnify the scope. Try to imagine the old method of applying reticles. When you glue the hairs of a Wooly Mammoth on the first focal plane, you will not see the reticles because it is placed before the scope’s glass lens. So the hair will cover your eyes once you look through the scope.

On the other hand, the second focal plane is placed at the end of the scope, which means that the reticles will be stagnant. When you magnify the scope, the reticles at the end of the glass lens will not move. In other words, the second focal plane scope is like the glued hair from the mammoth that doesn’t change when you magnify the scope. It does not change because the hair is glued at the end of the scope’s glass lens. Now, why are the first focal plane scopes more expensive than the second focal plane scopes?

Why are the first focal plane scopes more expensive?

Special Features

First focal plane scopes are more expensive than secondary focal plane scopes because of the features that benefit many shooters. One of its special features is that the first focal plane scopes allow the stadia to remain perfectly still on the target even if you adjust the magnification of your scope. Other shooters prefer to have their reticule sited right in the mid-section of the scope tube below the elevation turrets. This will allow the reticule to increase in size when the magnification changes, which is also one of the first focal plane scope’s unique features.


First, focal plane scopes have more versatility than that of the second focal plane scopes. They are versatile enough to determine the difference it makes when you either go for short or long-range shooting. In longer range shooting, first focal plane scopes can give you an advantage by keeping the connection between the reticule’s position and the target’s position even if you zoom in between magnifications.

In other words, each line in the reticule with stadia lines will remain still on the target, making easier adjustments for trajectory. It also allows hunters to make accurate adjustments because of the MIL/MOA values, so whenever the target is moving, no matter how fast or how slow it moves, you can still hit it because of the MIL/MOA values that it provides.

Advanced technology

The first focal plane scopes come with new tooling, highly technical reticle designs, new cams, computer numerical control programs, and tech drawings. They are expensive because of these highly advanced developments and high-tech enhancements, especially the internals. The internals of a first focal plane scope are more complex, requiring further research, development, and the time to manufacture it.

First, focal plane scopes also show the shooter’s constant MIL/MOA values, which provide tactical and long-range shooters accuracy. This also allows you to have an accurate follow-up shot whenever you miss your first bullet.

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