What is a Reticle on a Scope? – In-Depth Guide, Tips, FAQs & More

This is one of the most asked questions.

Well, if you are also wondering what is a reticle on a scope, you are at the right place.

Let’s get started!

What is a Reticle?

A reticle or crosshairs are tiny marks (or dots) that are used to aim your rifle/shotgun at a target. The reticles can be either fixed or adjustable depending upon the type of firearm. Fixed reticles are usually marked with numbers and letters. Adjustable reticles are marked with circles and lines.

How Does It Work?

The reticle is mounted onto the front sight post of your gun. When you look through the optical system of your gun, the reticle appears in front of your eye. You then align the dot(s) of the reticle with the aiming point of your gun. Once you have aligned the dot(s), you squeeze the trigger. Your bullet will hit where the dot was aimed.

Note: If you want to know a complete guide about scopes click HERE.

What is a Reticle on a Scope?

Why Do We Need Them?

The main reason for using a reticle is to help you aim accurately. A well-aimed shot is much more accurate than an unaimed shot. If you don’t use a reticle, you might not even know how close you were to hitting the target.

Features and Benefits of a Reticle

The Reticle is a compact, lightweight, easy-to-use, affordable GPS unit designed specifically for hunters. It works well in conjunction with your smartphone or tablet, providing accurate location information and detailed hunting maps.

Its intuitive interface allows you to quickly navigate through maps and find your way to your next target. With its wide range of features, including a compass, GSM functionality, and integrated Bluetooth technology, the Reticle is a must-have for anyone looking to get out into the field.


• Compact, lightweight design

• Easy to use interface

• Wide range of features

• Includes a waterproof case

Where can you get a reticle?

Reticle Supplier

The first place to start looking for reticles is from the manufacturer themselves. If you have purchased a reticle before, then they should be able to direct you to where you can purchase them again.

Online Retailers

If you don’t know who makes the reticles you want, then you may want to check out some online retailers. Many companies sell their products through these websites.

Trade Shows

Trade shows are great ways to find out what’s going on in the industry. They usually have booths set up with different manufacturers and suppliers. These are always good places to find out what’s available.

Types of Reticles

Fixed reticles – These are the ones that are permanently attached to the barrel. They come in various shapes and sizes.

Adjustable Reticles

This type of reticle allows you to adjust its size by turning knobs. It has two types:

1. One knob adjusts the horizontal distance between the center line and the outer circle.

2. Another knob adjusts the vertical distance between the centerline of the inner circle and the outer circle.

Reticles on Scopes

There are many different types of reticles available in today’s market. Some of these include:

1. Circle reticles

2. Square reticles

3. Triangular reticles

4. Diamond reticles

5. Crosshair reticles

6. Parallax reticles

7. Pinpoint reticles

8. Dot reticles

9. Laser reticles

10. Milling reticles

11. Ballistic reticles

12. Red dot reticles 

Duplex Reticle

Duplex reticles are used in riflescopes for shooting at long distances. The reticle has two lines that are used to measure distance. One line represents the target and the other line shows the shooter. This allows the shooter to adjust his/her aim based on the distance between the target and the shooter.

Non-Illuminated Reticle

The non-illuminated reticle is a feature found in some riflescopes that allow the shooter to use the scope for long-range shooting at night or in low light conditions. This feature uses a laser beam to illuminate the target.

Illuminated Reticle

The illuminated reticle is a feature found in some scopes that allows the shooter to use the scope for both daytime and nighttime shooting. This feature uses light-emitting diodes (LEDs) to illuminate the target.

Focal Plane

The focal Plane refers to how much light the lens gathers. The larger the focal plane, the better the image quality. A typical rifle scope has a focal plane of about 6mm. This means that the field of view is only 6mm wide. If you want to increase the magnification, you need to move closer to the target.

Basic Reticle

A basic reticle is a crosshair pattern that is used for aiming at targets. The basic reticles include the mil-dot, the post, and the rangefinder reticle.

Mil-Dot Reticles

The mil-dot reticle is used for long-range shooting. It allows the shooter to accurately calculate the distance between two objects. A mil-dots reticle consists of dots that are evenly spaced apart. This helps the shooter to measure distances from one object to another.

A mildot reticle is also pretty busy looking, and if you hold over, much of your target may be covered by dots.

Stadia Lines

Stadia Lines are a feature found in some riflescopes that allow you to focus on a specific distance when shooting at targets. This allows you to zero in on a particular target, such as a deer, while still having the ability to shoot other objects at different distances.

Bullet Drop Compensation

Bullet drop compensation is the distance between the center of the objective lens and the point at which the bullet actually hits the target. This distance varies depending on the rifle scope, the ammunition used, and the elevation of the barrel. The higher the elevation of the barrel, the greater the bullet drop.

Ballistic Reticle

A Ballistic Reticle is a type of reticle used in scoped weapons such as rifles, shotguns, and handguns. The Ballistic Reticle was invented by John Moses Browning.

Focal Plane Reticles

A focal plane reticle is a type of reticle used for long-range shooting. The reticle is placed at the focus point of the lens, which allows the shooter to accurately measure distances. This type of reticle is also known as a “focal plane” reticle.

Glass-etched Reticles

Glass-etched reticles are used for precision shooting. They allow you to accurately measure distances at long ranges. The etching process creates tiny dots on the glass lens which allows you to focus on specific points. This is useful when hunting games such as deer, elk, and bear.

Original Reticle

Original reticles are used for hunting and shooting. They allow you to measure distance accurately at any point along the line of sight. This allows you to hit targets at longer distances.

Reticle Illumination

Reticle illumination is a feature that allows you to see the crosshairs of your scope at night. This is useful for hunting purposes when using scopes mounted on long guns such as shotguns, rifles, and carbines. The reticles are typically illuminated with red light. Any type of reticle can be made to be illuminated.

Reticles ZEISS works constantly on the development of reticles, consistently sets new standards, and impresses with incomparably high levels of precision.

Tree Reticles

Tree reticles are used for shooting at targets that are located far away from the shooter. They help shooters to aim accurately when they are shooting at long distances. The reticle has a shape similar to that of a tree trunk, which makes it easy for the shooter to find his target.

Magnification Levels 

Magnification Level refers to the power of the objective lens. The higher the number, the greater the magnification. A common example is 10x, which means the image appears ten times larger than normal.

Target Acquisition

Target Acquisition is the process of aiming at a specific point on a target. This is done using the reticle of the scope. The reticle is the crosshairs that appear when looking through the scope. The center dot is used for zeroing the rifle, while the outer dots are used to aim at the target.

Once you’ve acquired your target, you’ll need to adjust the elevation of the barrel to compensate for windage. Windage is the distance between where the bullet lands and the point of impact.


Vertical Crosshair

Vertical crosshairs are used for adjusting elevation when using a riflescope. They are located at the top of the scope and allow you to adjust the elevation of the rifle. The crosshair is usually red or green depending on whether the scope is set up for shooting targets or hunting.

Horizontal Crosshairs

Horizontal crosshairs are used for aiming at targets that are parallel to the line of sight. They are usually located at the top of the scope.


What is an AR reticle?

An AR reticle is a type of reticle which is designed specifically for rifles like AR15/M16/HK416 etc. It consists of a set of markings that help you aim the weapon precisely. In other words, it helps you to shoot exactly where you want to shoot.

Where can I get one?

You can buy an AR reticle from any of the following websites:

1. www.arreticles.com

2. www.arscope.com

3. www.ar-optics.net

4. www.riflery.com

5. www.realscopes.com

6. www.usarmory.com

What is a red dot sight?

Red dot sights are very popular among hunters due to their high visibility, ease of use, and long battery life. They consist of a small LED light source that illuminates a small area in front of the shooter’s eyes. This makes it easy for the user to see clearly while shooting. The dot is projected as a bright spot that is visible to the shooter.


Reticles are great for shooting long-range targets such as deer, coyotes, and even bears. When buying a riflescope you have to decide what magnification range is right for you. In some cases, reticle size stays the same as the magnification increases, and the subvention decreases.

Hash marks are present for elevation holdover and compensation in a crosswind.

We believe every rifleman should try to be proficient in both reticle languages. Those are MOA and MIL respectively. 

Different companies have different reticle options. Burris has 27 reticle options. Thicker reticle shows up better in low light or against busy backgrounds like foliage and helps draw your eye towards the center of your field of view.

We hope that now you know about the reticles. If you have any queries feel free to reach out in the comments section below.

If you want to know more information about scopes click HERE.


  • John Moses

    John is the Editor in Chief here at The Outdoor Stores. His area of expertise ensures that there is no one better to suggest which rifles are most suitable for your hunting experience. He is also available for you to contact him personally to discuss the types of animals you want to hunt and the terrain you will be hunting on. Feel free to read his posts for expert opinion on Rifles, Scopes, Rangefinders, Bonoculars and Monoculars.

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