I’ve talked about this topic before, but it doesn’t hurt to reiterate an often asked question so that it is fresh in the minds. Josh and Henry, in this case narrated by Josh, have an excellent and fairly short video about the focal planes of LPVOs
LPVOs are getting better and more affordable. They are coming into their own golden technology era, joining 9mm’s and 5.56 carbines.
Primary Arms has pre-orders open for their NOVA Fiber Wire model and it if to proves to be as durable as their other recent offerings it will set a new benchmark for LPVO accessibility. Competing optics are two to three times the cost, and come with some features for it, but dollars to spend still need to be available to be spent, and $2,000+ is a lot to ask someone getting into the optics for the first time.
But, back to the video.
Josh breaks down, using their excellent footage of several of their optics, the differences and the use cases for FFP and SFP optics. SFP remain simpler, a little clearer, and brighter options while the FFP remain the choice for precision.
That becomes the crux of the argument, as I wrote too. Are you building a semi-precision platform that can flex into a reflexive CQB type or are you using a built for speed fighting/competitive type rifle that lives fairly close in that you want to have the ability to see and reach on the rare occasions it needs to?
Here is a little more to muddy the waters, you probably won’t have a bad optic if you pick “wrong” for the role either. They overlap very nicely.
But here is what I’ll add, and the video does too, with FFP selections reticle is everything. With SFP selections, its illumination. Those are you primary features in each category. Does your front focal plane reticle do what you need it to and give you the information you’re asking? Does it allow you to more effectively make those small target or distant hits by providing you quickly with the offsets and holds? Does your second focal plane optic give you the crisp bright aiming point you are asking it too? Does it give you that reflexive response you need it to and quickly dial to max for the on demand longer shot?
When it doubt, get a SFP. Second focal plane will almost certainly do right by your use case, probably save you a little money, and the number of quality offerings from Steiner, Meopta, Primary Arms, Vortex, and more keep increasing for under $1k buy in, even with a decent mount. Then once your thoroughly addicted to the wonders of variable carbine optics, go nuts and get that top tier.