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The Best First Focal Plane Scope (FFP) for the Money – Review & Guide

best ffp scope for the money

On the hunt for the best FFP scope for the money? We looked at various scopes on the market and reviewed the ones that could provide the greatest bang for the buck. Besides affordability and features, get an insight into the things you should look out for before considering buying one.

OUR #1 RATED

Athlon Optics, Argos BTR, Riflescope

Athlon Optics, Argos BTR, Riflescope

OUR #2 RATED

Monstrum G2 1-4×24 First Focal Plane FFP Rifle Scope with Illuminated BDC Reticle

Monstrum G2 1-4x24 First Focal Plane FFP Rifle Scope with Illuminated BDC Reticle

OUR #3 RATED

PROSTAFF P5

PROSTAFF P5

1. Athlon Optics, Argos BTR, Riflescope

Some rifle owners found Athlon Optics Argos BTR comparable to Vortex Optics Viper PST Gen II and Primary Arms 4 to 14×44 in terms of features. Still, the Athlon Optics Argos scope is priced considerably lower. Argos BTR is also a step-up in terms of glass quality compared to Primary Arms 4 to 14x44mm.

Thus, if you’re looking for a reasonably compact design for a 50mm objective lens, you may want to consider buying this 15.87oz aircraft-grade aluminum rifle scope. The Argos, BTR 6 to 24x magnification, has advanced fully multi-coated lenses that help bring optimum brightness even in extremely low-light settings.

Athlon Optics also ensured that their XPL coating protects your lenses against grease and dirt, thus maintaining excellent performance even with harsh weather conditions. Additionally, compared to most FFP scopes in this list, Argos BTR uses argon purging to give your scopes better thermal stability and waterproofing.

Athlon Optics, Argos BTR, Riflescope

PROS

CONS

2. Monstrum G2 1-4x24 First Focal Plane FFP Rifle Scope with Illuminated BDC Reticle

The Monstrum G2 series of FFP scopes come with an adjustable objective (AO) lens, minimizing parallax errors. AO could also be beneficial if you’re after accuracy.

The dial controlled reticle illumination in red and green also comes with multiple brightness intensities, giving you better visibility in low light environments. For those who prefer taking shots at night, the scope has night vision capabilities as well. Likewise, you can easily acquire reticles despite the lowest setting.

Given the magnification level of Monstrum G2 BDC reticle, it’s best for short to mid-range shooting 300+ yards. This 16oz scope also provides a generous eye relief of 4-4.5 inches. As a bonus, the package includes accessories such as sunshade and flip-up lens covers.

Monstrum G2 1-4x24 First Focal Plane FFP Rifle Scope with Illuminated BDC Reticle

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CONS

3. PROSTAFF P5

Prostaff 5, much like the Nikon Prostaff 3-9×40,  provides various FFP reticle options, including Nikoplex reticle and Bullet Drop Compensator (BDC) reticle. Nikon also doesn’t seem to disappoint in delivering superior optics. Also, at just 15.5oz, Nikon designed Prostaff 5 to be durable yet lightweight, which, when paired with its quick focus eyepiece, allows speedier target acquisition.

Based on our research, many FFP rifle scope owners compare Prostaff 5 first focal plane scope to Vortex Optics Diamondback Tactical EBR 2C MOA and EBR 2C MRAD reticles. However, the Diamondback Tactical lacks eye relief and crispness compared to Nikon. Some, though, choose Nikon Monarch 3 as a step-up. But if you’re still figuring out First Focal Plane (FFP), Prostaff might be the better entry-level scope than the more expensive yet higher glass quality of Nikon Monarch 3.

PROSTAFF P5

PROS

CONS

4. Leupold VX-3i LRP -Riflescope

One of the best features of Leupold is its durability. Leupold tests their scopes in a recoil simulation machine where it needs to survive an impact that’s 3x the recoil of a .308 rifle. A result would be one of the best FFP scopes that’s possibly unrivaled for its durability, given its ultra-lightweight construction.

Equipped with target adjustments, Leupold purposely designed the Leupold VX-3i Long Range Precision (LRP) for repeatability and match-grade accuracy. The Twilight Max Light Management System is this scope’s other unique feature, making it possible to add up to extra 20 minutes of shooting light. It’s perfect for increasing lens and image clarity, especially at dawn or night.

Our research also shows that many compare Vortex Optics Viper PST Gen to this Leupold scope. But some prefer the lighter and better glass of the LRP despite the Vortex Optics Viper PST Gen II having better turret labeling and zero stop than its Gen I predecessor.

Leupold VX-3i LRP -Riflescope

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CONS

5. Monstrum Alpha Series 6-24x50 First Focal Plane FFP Rifle Scope with MOA Reticle

With the 6-24x magnification level, this FFP scope is perfect for your mid to long-distance shooting needs of up to 1500 yards and beyond. Through its adjustable objective lens, you can achieve a sharper target image and better range estimation. You can also attain better light transmission and sharper contrast with its fully multi-coated lens.

Unlike most FFP scopes in this list, the Monstrum Alpha Series has a custom type-H non-illuminated FFP reticle. If you have a more limited budget and won’t need extra illumination when on the range, this scope is an excellent start.

According to Monstrum, they removed all the nonessential features from their previous lines for a more budget-friendly yet quality build scope. The Alpha series Monstrum Tactical is the budget version of the G3 scope line to most scope owners.

Monstrum Alpha Series 6-24x50 First Focal Plane FFP Rifle Scope with MOA Reticle

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CONS

6. WestHunter VT-Z Optics FFP Rifle Scope

Although on the heavier side with its 27.5oz weight, WestHunter VT-Z Optics remains one of the best first focal plane scope, mainly due to its extra-low dispersion glass. With its multicoated high transmission glass, this FFP riflescope can provide you with bright and sharp images.

If you’re after FFP scopes that can perform well at mid to long-range shooting, we recommend this 6-24x50mm FFP riflescope. We found the side-focus parallax adjustment as easy to use, and MOA clicks conveniently resets zero after sighting-in. You can also spare yourself from holdover guesswork, thanks to its customized dot design.

WestHunter VT-Z Optics FFP Rifle Scope

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7. Monstrum G3 6-24x50 First Focal Plane FFP Rifle Scope with Illuminated MOA Reticle and Adjustable Objective

Looking for First Focal Plane scopes (FFP) that you can experiment with but don’t want to break the bank? The Monstrum tactical G3 rifle scope might provide you with precisely what you need. With illuminated custom type-H FFP reticle, there’s no need to worry about reticle visibility despite having no night vision and regardless of the lighting condition. It’s also available in multiple brightness intensities for increased visibility and better sight picture.

The scope has ¼ MOA of windage and elevation adjustments perfectly paired with locking turrets to prevent slippage. Additionally, regarding adjustment assemblies, this features an all-metal, all brass mechanic that Monstrum claims make their scope function smoother.

Monstrum G3 6-24x50 First Focal Plane FFP Rifle Scope with Illuminated MOA Reticle and Adjustable Objective

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8. Vortex Optics Strike Eagle 5-25x56 First Focal Plane Riflescopes

Many hunting and target shooting rifle owners consider Vortex Optics Strike Eagle as another best-priced rifle scope. Based on our research, many praise the exceptional clarity of sight picture and high-grade light transmission of this scope, which Vortex attributes to its anti-reflective coatings and XD optical system. You may also find its resolution and image sharpness as pretty impressive for its price.

The illuminated glass-etched reticle design and the tactical locking turrets mainly display high quality and great value. Moreover, you can install a throw lever on your Vortex Optics focal plane rifle scopes for convenient and quick magnification adjustments.

Vortex Optics Strike Eagle 5-25x56 First Focal Plane Riflescopes

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9. Bushnell Optics, FFP Illuminated BTR-1 BDC Riflescope with Target Turrets and Throw Down PCL

This FFP scope from Bushnell Optics offers an illuminated and ballistically calibrated First Focal Plane reticle. The FFP reticle also comes with 11 different brightness settings. Besides providing outstanding performance in a low lighting environment, this scope is famous for its accuracy. The 1-4x magnification is accurate at close range and gives you the ability to reach even beyond 600 yards.

Bushnell also made sure that its compact construction will give the scope a sleek design. Weighing just 17.3oz, you’re less likely to experience discomfort when you need to stay on the range hunting or shooting for an extended time.

However, the manufacturer noted that medium height rings would be better than using extra-low or low scope rings due to the scope’s erector cap assembly.

Bushnell Optics, FFP Illuminated BTR-1 BDC Riflescope with Target Turrets and Throw Down PCL

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10. Ade Advanced Optics Crusader FFP Illuminated Riflescope with Mildot Reticle

It’s nearly impossible not to include Ade Advanced Optics when talking about the best value for your money in terms of First Focal Plane scopes (FFP). If you want to take advantage of quality optics similar to the more common brands you know, this FFP riflescope provides access to the customers.

For instance, the scope is relatively cheaper than the Primary Arms 4 14x44mm FFP rifle scope, which has similar features according to most first focal plane riflescopes users. It’s also clearer at higher magnification compared to Primary Arms 4.

Besides the price, its fully multicoated HD green lenses provide more than 95% light transmission for a more precise image. It also has a fast-focus eyepiece with an adjustable objective. Click indentations are accurate as well for windage and elevation.

Ade Advanced Optics Crusader FFP Illuminated Riflescope with Mildot Reticle

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What To Look For

what to look for

Affordability

As always, premium-priced first focal plane riflescopes don’t always mean being the best FFP for the money. Sometimes, you may notice differences in glass quality and optical performance. Thus, when looking for First Focal Plane scopes (FFP), you must consider if it has a justifiable price to quality ratio.

Additionally, it would be great to take advantage of affordable yet quality scopes, especially if you’re starting to experiment with FFP. Depending on the brand, many rifle scope owners can testify how durable and clear some cheaper scopes are.

If you’re looking for more cost-effective optics, here’s our CVLife Rifle Scope review

Durability

Most manufacturers use aircraft-grade aluminum to increase the durability of an FFP scope. Various scope models are also utilizing nitrogen gas purging to prevent shock and internal fogging. Yet, some, like the Argos BTR, use argon purging instead, which might be better for waterproofing.

Choose the ones that are entirely shockproof, waterproof and fog proof. Although, in most cases, models undergo tests to check if they can withstand the harshest environment and perform best in whatever condition. For instance, Leupold’s scopes need to survive the impact of thrice a .308 rifle recoil before being released.

Accuracy

Accuracy, oftentimes, is more associated with your skills rather than your weapon or tools used. Yet, you’ll know you pick the right rifle scope if it helps you maximize your rifle’s accuracy. By clarifying and magnifying your target view, you might see yourself improving considerably alongside proper turret and parallax adjustments.

The effect might be negligible at close ranges, but as you increase your scope coverage, you’ll probably see the difference it makes. Still, you know the drill; spend time on the field to practice your precision shots.

Magnification

When you can change your FFP scope’s magnification levels, you can set it up based on the present external conditions like luminosity. If the magnification range is extremely versatile, you might not need to worry about efficiently hitting the targets, whether at a tight or long-distance range.

Take note that lower magnification, such as 3x to 6x, allows you to track targets better and shoot them faster. Higher magnification, like those beyond 16x, may provide you with more excellent resolution, but that means it would be heavier, larger, and more expensive.

Illuminated Reticle

Since a first focal plane reticle can appear thin and small at low power, some prefer having an illumination. With illumination, you can get contrast when locking your target that’s darkened by its shadow or background. Thus, you might find it hard to identify a dark-colored elk standing in a tree’s shadow with a non-illuminated reticle.[1]

But an illumination in the reticle is not always the best FFP scope. It still depends on your needs and under what condition you’re typically shooting. Additionally, some models have single, two-color, or three-color illumination systems. You might want to consider the available brightness intensities since some have six to as many as 11 brightness settings.

Turrets

A turret, which is an external scope accessory, supports you in getting accurate shots. Through its rotatable mounted knob, you can quickly and adequately adjust your target. First focal plane rifle scopes have various types of turrets that you can choose.

However, if you want a faster and more accurate scope with easily read elevation and windage adjustments, consider having exposed turrets. Whereas, for shooters who like dialing turrets for wind compensation and bullet drop, you might appreciate having laser-etched turrets. Some scope models also have turret locks to prevent slippage.

turrets

Ease of Adjustment

The best FFP scope should feature side adjustment turrets and knobs for elevation and windage that are crisp and easy to adjust. With this, regardless of your angle and position, it is possible to get the focus you desire.

Especially if you’re in an open country, consider finding an FFP rifle scope that will give you the ability to make easy and precise adjustments. This includes adjustments for your field of view and parallax for longer shots and better target acquisition.

For optics with good adjustability, check out this Weaver Kaspa scope review

Weight

As you decide on what FFP scope to buy, remember that your desired magnification and the distance you want to cover would significantly affect how your scope weighs. In short, your scope will be on the heavier side if you’re after a higher-powered one. 

For many long-distance marksmen, weight is not much of a concern, so long as it has excellent features made of high-grade materials. But if you’ll be carrying your rifle for an extended time, you might not want to sacrifice comfortability. So, workaround first focal plane rifle scopes while considering your rifle’s weight and the accessories you plan to include. [2]

Ease of Use

The best first focal plane would depend on the specific scope feature you’re considering in terms of ease of use. For example, many users would say that a duplex reticle works excellent for beginners due to ease of use regarding the scope reticle type. However, the downside is that it only has one prominent aiming point.

When choosing your scope, you must be comfortable whenever you’re operating it. As long as your scope doesn’t hinder you from aiming your target well and making your shot land, you’re good to go.

ease of use

Eye Relief

Having proper eye relief, measured as the distance between the ocular lens and your eye, will save you from hitting your face. As a rule of thumb, the higher your weapon’s recoil is, the more eye relief you’ll be needing. Additionally, more magnification means shorter eye relief. Most recommend having at least 3-3.5 inches. However, some models like G2 and Alpha series offer a generous eye relief of until 4.5 inches.

For optics that offer unlimited eye relief, read this Aimpoint vs Vortex article here

Field of View

Field of View (FOV) works similar to eye relief, that as your magnification increases the FOV decreases. For instance, the usual 3x First Focal Plane (FFP) scopes will provide a FOV of about 30ft at 100 yards. Whereas, at 9x magnification, it will decrease to just 14ft.

For reference, it’s possible for you to shoot far at low power but to shoot close at high power might be impossible due to limited FOV and small exit pupil.

What is First Focal Plane?

First Focal Plane scopes (FFP) refer to the positioning of the scope reticle vis-a-vis the magnification lens. When scopes are in FFP, it means that you can locate the reticle in front of the magnification lens or nearer to the objective lens.

In this case, the reticle appears to change as you adjust a scope’s magnification. Thus, as you increase the magnification, the reticle grows bigger as well, and vice versa.

Main Differences Between First Focal Plane & Second Focal Plane

first and second focal plane

The difference between First Focal Plane scopes (FFP) and Second focal plane scopes (SFP) is mainly in their reticle position. SFP, otherwise known as the rear focal plane, is placed behind your magnification lens. As a result, a second focal plane has a fixed reticle size even as you change the magnification level. 

You can also see the reticle easily at all magnifications with an SFP, and it’s cheaper than the other focal plane. But

The difference between First Focal Plane scopes (FFP) and Second focal plane scopes (SFP) is mainly in their reticle position. SFP, otherwise known as the rear focal plane, is placed behind your magnification lens. As a result, a second focal plane has a fixed reticle size even as you change the magnification level. 


You can also see the reticle easily at all magnifications with an SFP, and it’s cheaper than the other focal plane. But unlike FFP, SFP only has one correct spacing for holdover at one magnification, which means calculating the spacing for each power setting would be necessary.[3] unlike FFP, SFP only has one correct spacing for holdover at one magnification, which means calculating the spacing for each power setting would be necessary.
[3]

Why Use This Plane?

You should use a First Focal Plane (FFP) scope to achieve consistent subtension values, allowing you to use your reticle for ranging targets at any magnification. It’s also best if you want to achieve accurate holdovers and easier bullet drop adjustments. The spacing for holdover is correct regardless of the magnification. Typically, hunters and shooters who don’t necessarily have the luxury to dial their turrets due to time considerations find this focal plane scope primarily useful.

What Ranges are They Good for?

First Focal Plane scopes (FFP) are effective at any ranges since the reticle can adapt to a scope’s zoom level. Whether you usually shoot at close ranges at 100 yards up to as long as 1500 yards, the best FFP scopes will assist you with the excellent accuracy you need.

But in most cases, those looking for long-range scope prefer this focal plane because they find it easier when shooting off the reticle. Additionally, having FFP will be beneficial if you frequently find yourself practicing or hunting at varying distances.

And the #1 FFP Scope For The Money is…

The best FFP scope for the money is Athlon Optics Argos BTR. It’s affordable, yet you’ll get superior optical performance from its fully multicoated and protective lens coating, producing clear and quality images. As the best first focal plane scope, Argos BTR can withstand any environment, especially with its argon-purged chamber. It’s illuminated with a glass-etched reticle, as well.

Related Posts:

Athlon Optics, Argos BTR, Riflescope

Our #1 Recommendation

Argos BTR

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