Second Focal Plane (SFP) vs First Focal Plane (FFP) – What’s the difference?

By Johnny Mack

If you are new to hunting or shooting and you are in the market for a rifle scope, the amount of options available can be overwhelming at times. Do you go with locking/target turrets, adjustable parallax, what magnification, second focal plane or first etc.? Understanding the differences between second focal plane (sfp) and first focal plane (ffp) rifle scopes is very important.

The main difference between the two is that on a FFP (first focal plane) scope, the scale of the reticle remains in proportion to the zoomed image. Meaning, as you increase the magnification of the scope, the object and your reticle will both enlarge (See pics below).  On second focal plane scopes, only the object you are looking at will enlarge as you increase the magnification while the reticle remains unchanged. This plays a big role on what type of hunting and shooting you want to use your scope for.

A big variable to consider when purchasing a scope will be your budget and the quality of glass you are looking for within your price range. First focal plane scopes are more expensive.  If you compare a second focal plane scope to a first focal plane scope, the glass quality and clarity will typically be better for the same price point on second focal plane scopes.  It is a standard feature across all optics companies and why you do not typically find lower end scopes that are FFP.

Second Focal Plane – SFP


  • The reticle is easy to see on low magnification for close range target acquisition.
  • Higher quality glass for a similar price range compared to FFP scopes.
  • Options for extra fine reticles are available.


  • Precise elevation and windage requires scope to be on maximum magnification. So if you are dialing for long distance shots, the accuracy of your drop chart will change based off of your magnification.
  • Limited reticle options
On a SFP scope the size of the reticle stays the same no matter what magnification.

First Focal Plane – FFP


  • The drop chart for bullet trajectory stays the same no matter what magnification your scope is set at.
  • Typically illuminated options.
  • Precision across all magnifications.


  • The reticle is hard to see on low magnification. Creating difficulty in close range hunting or shooting applications.
  • The reticle on high magnification can be thick causing your reticle to cover your target at long distances. (This is where choosing your reticle wisely plays a role.)

If you have any questions or want to discuss options, feel free to reach out by clicking HERE. Knowledge is power and Mentorship is Conservation!

Leave a Reply