If you want to get all the information about different types of scopes then you have landed on the right page. Whether you are a newbie or an expert, this article about types of scopes will give you all the necessary information.
There are several types of scopes for rifles that come in various sizes with so many features. Some of the scopes are specifically made for a purpose whereas others can be used for a wide range of applications. Some of the commonly used scope types are listed below.
Types of scopes [By Magnification]
Power-wise there are two types of scopes. The first scope type is Fixed Power Scopes and the other type is Variable power scopes.
Fixed Power Scopes
Fixed magnification power scopes are basic and the most common types of rifle scopes. These scopes come with a fixed magnification power like 4x,5x,8x, or 10x. You can not change the magnification power like variable power scopes. In simple words, it doesn’t allow you to zoom in or zoom out on a target.
Fixed power scopes are ideal for a beginner because they are basic models, user-friendly, and cheapest. Due to fewer lenses in the mechanism, they are smaller in size and lighter in weight than variable scopes.
Variable Power Scopes
The variable power scopes come with adjustable magnification powers. You can adjust the power to hit the target more efficiently. For example, if a scope has 4-16×32 in name then it means the objective lens is 32mm wide and the power range is from 4x to 16x. It gives you the privilege of choosing from 4x to 16x power range.
Variable scopes are expensive as compared to fixed power scopes. Despite being expensive, People prefer variable scopes over fixed scopes because they take the shooting to another level.
The next thing that comes to mind is “ How does a variable power scope work?” The answer is when you zoom in or zoom out the power, the magnifying lenses slide within the erector tube to provide you with the desired magnification power. If you want to understand “How does a variable power scope work?” comprehensively then watch this video.
Types of Scopes [By Focal Plane]
First of all, you need to understand the focal plane. A plane that is 90 degrees to the axis of the lens and passes through the focus of the scope. There are two types of focal planes. The first one is the Front/First focal plane and the other is the Second/Rear focal plane. Rifle scopes are also classified into these two types; First focal plane scopes and second focal plane scopes.
First Focal Plane Scopes
In the First Focal plane scopes, the reticle of the scope is positioned in front of the magnification lens and erector’s tube assembly. As the reticle is placed in front of the magnification lens, so it grows and shrinks with the magnification changes. So this type of rifle scope is an ideal match for long-range shooting and precision hunting. Most snipers around the globe use Front Focal Plane (FFP) scopes.
Second Focal Plane Scopes
The second focal plane scopes are also called rear focal plane scopes. The reticle is placed behind the magnification lens and closer to your eyes. As reticles are positioned behind the magnification lens so there is no change in the size of the reticle when you changes magnification. It remains the same across all magnification ranges.
Second focal plane scopes are very commonly used scopes because there is a wide variety of second focal plane scopes out there on the market. These types of scopes are affordable, lightweight, and compact as compared to the first focal plane scopes.
Different types of scopes
The first four scope types were fixed power riflescopes, variable power riflescopes, first focal plane riflescopes, and second focal plane riflescopes. We have given a brief intro to these types of scopes for rifles. Apart from these scope types, there are also different types of scopes that are listed below. Have a look at them.
Night Vision Scopes
Night vision scopes allow you to shoot in complete darkness. These types of scopes help to hit the target accurately when there is no light. The built-in infrared illuminator of these Night vision scopes plays an important role to hunt or shoot in darkness.
They are bigger in size, heavier in weight, and more expensive than commonly used riflescopes because they are equipped with more features and innovative technology. Most Night vision scopes can only be used during the night and you can not use them in daylight.
Illuminated Reticle Scopes
Another type of scopes that is worth mentioning is illuminated reticle scopes. These scopes are powered by batteries or solar cells. There are different levels of brightness intensity that can be selected by the user according to the need.
The reticles of these scopes are illuminated allowing you to hit the bull’s eye even in low light conditions. Both the first focal plane and second focal plane scopes can be illuminated reticle scopes. This illuminated reticle feature can also be present in fixed power scopes or variable power scopes.
Non-Illuminated Reticle Scopes
The next candidate on the list of different types of scopes is the non-illuminated reticle scope. As it is evident from the name, the reticle of these types of scopes is non-illuminated. These scopes are ideal for use in daylight. They gather sunlight that passes through the lens to provide a clear image of the target. It becomes hard for the shooter to shoot with these scopes in a low-light environment.
Some scopes are specially designed for use in competition. Usually, Competition scopes have great magnification power, huge objective lens, and large size. These scopes offer long-range precision even on very small targets. Competition scopes are known for powerful performance and outstanding features.
They provide you with minute details of the target even at extended ranges. It is not wise to use these scopes for hunting because they are very fragile and can not withstand harsh field use. They are also very expensive compared to hunting scopes.
The first thing that every hunter wants in the hunting scope is durability. For hunting, the ideal scope must be water resistant because it can be exposed to rainwater in the field. Hunters usually use simple, user-friendly, less expensive, limited featured scopes because these types of scopes have the ability to endure the abuse of the field with ease.
Hunters usually want a medium-range scope because hunting is not done at extended ranges. So magnification power of up to 20x is an ideal magnification range for hunting scopes. Hunters can choose illuminated or non-illuminated scope depending upon their personal requirements.
Long Eye Relief Scopes
Any scope whose eye relief is 6 inches or greater than 6 inches is categorized as long eye relief scope. The long eye relief scopes are ideal for use with heavy recoil rifles. These scopes save the eye of the shooter from being hit by the recoil of the rifle.
You can not increase or decrease the eye relief of the scope because there is no eye relief adjustment on the scope. So if you are looking scope for a high-recoil rifle then always go for scopes with long eye relief. Every scope manufacturer tells you about the eye relief of their scope.
The long-range scope comes with great magnification power coupled with a huge objective lens to offer you powerful performance even at maximum magnification. The great magnification power plays a key role in long-range precision.
Their incredible performance is made possible by their outstanding features like premium optical systems, multi-coatings, a wide range of illumination intensities, and durable construction. As you know that these types of scopes have more features, so they are usually longer and heavier. They are also expensive scopes whether the reticle is placed in the first focal plane or second focal plane.
Medium Range Scopes
If your hunting or shooting application is of medium range then you don’t need to buy a scope with great magnification power and a wide objective lens. You also don’t require a scope with added features. All you need for medium-range application is a scope that is robust, durable, reliable, and has a power of up to 24x.
The magnification power of up to 24x is more than enough for medium-range applications. You can hunt or shoot with these types of scopes accurately. These scopes are less expensive and compact than long-range scopes.
The sniper scopes are one of the most expensive scopes in today’s market. These types of scopes usually come with a mid-range magnification power along with a lot of useful information that the sniper needs to place the bullets on the target.
They provide you with information about windage and elevation, bullet drop compensation, and target distances. The adjustment knobs on these types of scopes are also very delicate to offer you precise adjustments on every turn because accuracy is everything for a snipper.
Snipper scopes are crafted from high-quality material to withstand heavy recoil by snippers. They pass several tests before coming into your hands to ensure reliable performance even in the most demanding conditions.
Scout scopes are equipped with low magnification power and feature a long eye relief. A magnification range from 2x to 8x is ideal for scout scopes. Like heavy recoil rifle scopes, scout scopes also come with extended eye relief because of the heavy recoil generated by the scout guns. They are simple scopes with necessary features.
Red Dot Scopes
For close to medium ranges, red dot scopes are commonly used by trusted shooters and hunters. A non-magnifying, simple optic usually has a red dot reticle called red dot scope. Red dot scope allows you to shoot with both eyes open and does not require you to close one eye to aim.
Some of the red dot scopes are equipped with a multi-level brightness intensity feature that allows hunting from dawn to dusk with ease. Red dot scopes are further classified into different types like holographic red dot sights and reflex red dot sights.
ACOG Types of Scopes
ACOG (Advanced Combat Optical Gunsight) scopes are engineered for medium-range targets. They are combat proven and widely used by the US Marines. ACOG scopes are fixed power and known for their ability to acquire the target quickly and precisely. They feature an illuminated reticle that helps in low-light shooting or hunting.