Types of Reticle: Complete Guide about Reticles 2023

A reticle, or reticule (from Latin reticulum, meaning ‘net’), also known as a graticule (from Latin craticula, meaning ‘gridiron’), is a pattern of fine lines or markings built into the eyepiece of a sighting device, such as a telescopic sight in a telescope, a microscope, or the screen of an oscilloscope, to provide references during visual examination.

Today, engraved lines or embedded fibers may be replaced by a computer-generated image superimposed on a screen or eyepiece. Both terms may be used to describe any set of lines used for optical measurement.

But in modern use, reticles are most commonly used for gunsights and such, while graticule is more widely used for the oscilloscope display, microscope slides, and similar roles. There are many types of reticle; this article concerns itself mainly with a simple reticle: crosshairs.

Crosshairs are most commonly represented as intersecting lines in the shape of a cross, “+”, though many variations exist, including dots, posts, circles, scales, chevrons, or a combination of these.

Most commonly associated with telescopic sights for aiming firearms, crosshairs are also common in optical instruments used for astronomy and surveying and are also popular in graphical user interfaces as a precision pointer.

The reticle is said to have been invented by Robert Hooke and dates to the 17th century. Another candidate as an inventor is the amateur astronomer William Gascoigne, who predated Hooke.   (Wikipedia)

Basic Types of Reticle

We are sure you’re wondering which types of reticle would be best, in which shooting situation. There are so many types of reticle style and each one has its own characteristics and is best for a particular shooting situation.

Getting the right reticle not only increase your accuracy but also provides a wide field of view.

To the beginner, different terminologies used by Riflescope manufacturers for different types of reticle can be overwhelming.

Each riflescope manufacturer uses its own name for the same style reticle such as  Leupold’s Duplex, Nikon’s Nikoplex, and Simmons’ Truplex for standard style Duplex reticle.

In this article, we are going to give you complete information about some of the most popular and basic reticles. It is almost impossible to review all of the available reticles because there are so many types of reticle styles available on the market by different optic manufacturers.

Only Burris Optics has 27 reticle style, while Leupold has more than 70 reticles styles.

  • Original Reticle
  • Dot Reticle
  • BDC Reticle
  • Duplex Reticle
  • Mildot Reticle
  • Illuminated Reticle
  • Non-Illuminated Reticle

Original Reticle

The original reticle was the first reticle and has been very popular for many years. The original reticle features one horizontal line and one vertical line cross each other in the center of the reticle by creating the Aimpoint.

Dot Reticle

One of the simplest reticles available on the market is Dot Reticle. This reticle style is based on conventional shooter’s dot. It features an enclosed circle and one dot in the center of the circle as the aiming point.

This reticle style is Ideal for precision shooting applications. As name shows, red dot sights use this reticle.

BDC Reticle

The BDC stands for Bullet Drop Compensation. It is a modified crosshair or duplex style reticle. Different manufacturers are including this BDC reticle in their scopes, especially ar scopes, 308 scopes, and .233 caliber scopes.

This reticle has some type of markings below the center of the crosshairs on the 6 o’clock position.

These marks can be lines, circles, or even chevrons. These marks help you to anticipate the Bullet Drop after a predetermined distance.

The more complex BDC reticles have distanced markings along the 3 and 6 o’clock crosshairs position. These BDC reticles are best for long range and quick shooting.

Duplex Reticle

One of the extremely common reticles that you’ll find in hunting rifle scopes. This most popular reticle in the world was Invented in 1962 by Leupold.

The all four thicker crosshairs will thin out to the center of the reticle. The thicker lines of this reticle give you quick target acquisition.

Every optic manufacturer has own name for this reticle, such as Nikon’s Nikoplex or Simmons’s Truplex.

Mil-dot Reticle

The Mildot reticle is a modified form of duplex style reticle. It uses tiny milradian dots on both axes of the crosshairs as a measurement.

Each dot on the reticle is 1 Mrad which is equal to 3.6 inches at 100 yards distance or 36 inches at 1000 yards distance.

The Mil-dot reticle is ideal for snipers and extreme long distance target shooters because it allows you to find the accurate distance of your target.

Illuminated Reticle

A reticle that has some light which allows you to see better even in the darkness is referred to an Illuminated reticle.

It can be either a battery operated scope or a fiber optic scope. All type of reticles can be illuminated reticles like BDC, Duplex, and dot reticle.

Some of the best rifle scopes by top brands have illuminated reticles, such as Leupold 115370 scope and EOTech 512-A65 sight.

Non-Illuminated Reticle

The simple, black in color with no light reticle is a non-illuminated reticle. Non-illuminated reticle scopes are cheaper than illuminated models. This is only for daytime use.

The Difference between FFP and SFP

FFP stands for first or front focal plane and its reticle scales with the target at any magnification while SFP stands for the Second focal plane and its reticle stays at the same scale at any magnification.

The Second Focal Plane reticle is the most common and most used reticle so that when you see through the lens, you’ll see the same size reticle.

Second Focal Plane Reticle does not scale with the target. You can see that the target seen through the lens is small at 5x Magnification and the target is large at 20x magnification but the reticle stays at the same scale regardless of the magnification of the scope.

The SFP reticles are Ideal for long range hunting and shooting because it Improves accuracy and preciseness.

The subtension of SFP reticle remains thin and minimal even at high magnifications. It provides a better idea of bullet strike even on very small targets.

The FFP reticle is on the same plane as the target and is located in front of the scope erector assembly. The reticle increases and decreases in size relative to the target, when magnification is increased or decreased.

Front focal plane reticle scopes are more expensive types of reticle scope than SFP reticle scopes. It is an easily visible reticle. You can use it as ballistic reticle at any magnification. The subtension of this reticle remains the same.  

How to Choose Your Reticle?

There are some things to consider while choosing your reticle.

  • For which firearm, you are picking the scope because Rifle Scopes can be versatile or for specific types of firearms.
  • Think about the purpose, why you need a scope and firearm. Whether you need it for hunting or shooting.
  • Do you need a cheap scope or an expensive one with premium features?
  • Narrow down your options and match it with the right reticle according to your need.   

Non-Illuminated Reticles are best for daytime shooting and hunting. BDC Reticles are suitable for long-range hunting and shooting.

Illuminated Reticles are best for night-time use and dark conditions. Mil-Dot reticles are suitable for tactical and military use.

Ready to shop a Scope

After getting all the necessary information about a reticle, now you are able to pick the right scope having the appropriate reticle according to your needs.

We have a list of top rated and best-selling scopes by well-known brands.

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