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the shooter prefers the ‘holdover’ or turret adjustment method of correction from shot to shot. Grid reticles are generally more expensive, but can be very much worth their cost after a shooter is familiarized with the system.

Objective Lens An objective lens of 40mm to 50mm is generally considered the standard. Most folks do just fine with 40mm, but 50mm lenses allow for better light transmis- sion. Better light transmission means the shooter can make out more detail and see better in low light. Unfortunately, as the lens size increases, so does the parallax effect. On the topic of light transmission

and low-light capability, go for the 30mm scope main tube rather than the 1-inch tubes. The 1-inch tube was the standard for years and is still good for most situations. However, for high magnification ratios, the larger 30mm tube is better. A larger tube will also give a brighter and crisper image. The larger diameter tube also makes for a stronger, more robust scope.

Focal Plane Another confusing scope term is focal plane. Do you want front (or first) focal plane or secondary focal plane? Front focal plane scopes are often pre- ferred for tactical rifles. The reason is with a first focal plane optic, the ret- icle appears the same size in relation to the target regardless of magni- fication. That allows the optic to be used for distance ranging at any zoom setting.

Color Rendition versus Resolution/Contrast Color rendition is simply the scope’s ability to transmit color to the human eye. Hunters seek out optics with great color rendition because it helps them to identify game. Resolution or contrast is the scope’s ability to pick out fine de- tails like what a subject is holding in his/her hand. Unfortunately, these two qualities are somewhat mutually exclusive. In order to

48 LAW and ORDER I April 2016

Powerful scopes like this 8x-32x might not be necessary for law enforcement work. Photos courtesy of Nightforce.

get great resolution, one must give up some color rendition and vice versa. Obviously, resolution is more impor- tant to law enforcement snipers.

Extras Bullet drop compensators can be use- ful in low/no magnification optics when using the specific load for which they are designed. They become less useful to the well-trained sniper who is proficient in the use of the mil-dot or grid systems. A bubble level is also a

The Horus grid reticle is becoming extremely popular among long- range rifle shooters.

great extra feature. If a rifle is canted, a DOPE chart is pretty much useless. A charged scope is filled with nitro- gen. The purpose is to minimize the condensation inside the optic. I would call this an extra, but depending on the environment, it might be a necessity. The same can be said of illuminated reticles. They can be invaluable during low/no-light scenarios.

Buy Once, Cry Once There is a general rule that a rifle scope intended for serious business will cost as much as the rifle itself. That is not always the case. Often, it will cost much more. That is as it should be. The rifleman is just as important as the rifle and the glass is just as impor- tant as the gun. Quality equipment is costly. Understanding exactly what is needed and what isn’t can minimize that expense, but impor- tant features should not be over- looked to shave a few dollars off the bottom line.

Warren Wilson is a Lieutenant with the Enid Police Department in Oklahoma. He is a former SWAT team member/leader and has been in law enforcement for 20 years.

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