Rifle Optics 101: What are my Options?

If you’ve steadied your hand on iron sights and want to change things up, you’re probably thinking of what kind of rifle optics you can go for. Historically, rifle optics have helped markspersons greatly improve accuracy long range and even while on the move.

If you’re looking for rifle optics for yourself today, it helps to understand the basic options available to you and what each brings to the table. When we say basic options, what we mean is red dot optics and magnification scopes.

Magnification Scopes

Magnification scopes have been around for much longer than red dot optics but don’t get us wrong – the scopes you get today are far from primitive. Magnification scopes are available in a variety of strengths. These include low, middle and high magnification types.

The magnification on these scopes can be adjusted and they offer shooters a range of magnification distances to work with.

Another design trait of magnification scopes you should be aware of is FFP and SFP lenses. FFP stands for first-focal-plane. SFP stands for second-focal-plane. Without getting into design specifics, what we will tell you is the affect this has on what you see when you aim.

If you’re using an FFP lens, your crosshair or reticle will also be magnified along with your target. With SFP magnification lenses, though your target is magnified, your reticle remains the same.

One thing about larger magnification scopes is that they tend to add a little weight to your rifle. You can however address this problem with support by using a bipod if you’re shooting from a stationary vantage point.

Red Dot Optics


Though red dot optics options were introduced long after the first magnification scopes, they have become increasingly popular over the years. Red dot sights come with a pointer on which you can train your crosshairs for aim. Further, like with magnification scopes, red dots are also available in different designs and style types.

These include prism, reflex and holographic red dot sights. Prism style red dot sights are shaped like short-length tubes. One of the perks of prism sights is that they offer a little magnification along with red dot accuracy.

Reflex sights are open style for the most part. Reflex sites are versatile by way of mounting (you can attach them to most weapons). They are also better for tactical shooting, tracking and shooting on the move as the need for eye relief is removed.

Holographic sights are a patented red dot optic option that are currently not that easy to come by.

What Optics Should I Go For?

When deciding what rifle optics to go for, you should take into account the kind of usage you’re looking at. If you’re looking for optics for hunting, tracking and professional or home defense purposes, red dot reflex sights are ideal.

If you’re a seasoned marksperson or someone into competitive shooting or long range hunting, you might do better with a high or middle magnification optic. It is important that you’re clear on how you want to use your rifle before choosing a sight.

Winding Down

If you have read the information provided on available optics types, this should help you make a better decision on which optics to go for. You can pick up your optics from a registered arms dealer or even from a licensed online arms and accessories store.

Just remember, if your weapon is an extension of you, so are your optics!

Gold Mountain Arms is a veteran owned firearms and accessories store based in Washington focused on an improved customer experience offering optics and firearms for sale online to customers across the US.

0 replies

Leave a Reply

Want to join the discussion?
Feel free to contribute!

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *