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Founded in 2002, Vortex Optics is a U.S.-based manufacturer of sporting optics that includes rifle scopes, binoculars, rangefinders, spotting scopes, and red dot optics. Since its inception, Vortex has gained more and more popularity in the sporting optics industry and is easily one of the more popular and well-known U.S. rifle scope brands.
As new technology emerged in the sports optics field, Vortex was quick to integrate that new technology into its products. One such technology that was carried over from European scope makers, was the introduction of first focal plane rifle scopes. The first focal plane approach mounts the reticle far forward in the scope, so the reticle size increases as the scope magnification increases.
While this might not sound very useful for many shooters, it can be a very useful set-up for long range shooting or long range hunting as the reticle marks on a first focal plane scope are “true” at any magnification versus a second focal plane scope where the reticle is only “true” at a specific power.
If you’d like to read more about first focal plane scopes, here are a few links to other FFP related content on this site:
As first focal plane scopes (or FFP scopes as they are more commonly called) are becoming more and more popular, one of the questions I am seeing being asked at my day job is: Which Vortex scopes are first focal plane?
To be clear, not every rifle scope offered by Vortex is a first focal plane model, but several are. Here’s a table showing which Vortex scope models are first focal plane, and the scopes are listed in descending order by MSRP starting with the lowest priced models:
Diamondback Tactical 4-16x44 FFP
Diamondback Tactical 6-24x50 FFP
Venom 5-25x56 FFP
Strike Eagle 1-8x24 FFP
Strike Eagle 3-18x44 FFP
Strike Eagle 5-25x56 FFP
Viper PST Gen II 2-10x32 FFP
Viper PST Gen II 3-15x44 FFP
Viper PST Gen II 5-25x50 FFP
Razor HD LHT 4.5-22x50 FFP
Razor HD Gen II 4.5-27x56 FFP
Razor HD Gen III 1-10x24 FFP
Razor HD Gen III 6-36x56 FFP
Here are a few frequently asked questions that I also see online and hear at my day job that are also related to Vortex first focal plane scopes:
How can I tell which Vortex scopes are second focal plane or first focal plane?
There basically 3 ways to determine if a Vortex scope is a first or second focal plane model:
- If you have access to the box that the scope is packaged in, Vortex is very good about clearly marking the box with either an “FFP” or “First Focal Plane” designation.
- If you have access to the scope itself, look through the scope and turn the power magnification up. If the size of the reticle changes, it’s a first focal plane model. If the reticle stays the same size, then it’s a second focal plane model.
- If you are shopping online and are not sure, check out the specifications that are included with the scope as Vortex is also very good about identifying the focal plane position is the scope specifications.
Are all Vortex scopes first focal plane (FFP)?
No, not all Vortex scopes are FFP or first focal plane. Vortex offers a good mix of both first focal plane and second focal plane models. However, with the some of the scope series, all the scopes in that series may be first focal plane only or second focal plane only.
Are the Vortex FFP scopes any good?
Vortex offers a number of first focal plane scope models within their entire line of rifle scopes. Like most successful brands, they offer FFP scopes that cover a wide range of budgets, going all the way from an entry level FFP scope series all the way up to their top of line Razor AMG scope, which is also an FFP model.
To answer the question, yes, the Vortex line of FFP scopes are a good value for the money, and they have an FFP model to meet most any budget.
I’m shopping for a Vortex scope but can’t decide between a Vortex FFP vs SFP scope. Any advice?
In my opinion, the decision comes to three factors:
#1 – What type of shooting are hunting will you be doing? I ask this question as the positive attributes of an FFP scope really lie with long range shooting or long range hunting. If neither of those types of shooting are on your agenda, then a second focal plane may be a better choice.
#2 – Your budget – FFP scopes most always cost more than their SFP counterparts, so if you are on a tight budget, and don’t have a specific need for an FFP scope, then the SFP scopes are usually a less expensive option.
#3 – Your personal preferences – I’m always hesitant to tell or suggest to people how to spend their money as I certainly don’t want anyone telling me how to spend mine. That being said, the decision between an FFP or SFP really lies with you. Neither scope configuration is really a “bad” choice, but both options have areas of strengths and weaknesses.
Can I use a Vortex FFP scope for hunting?
There’s nothing wrong with using a first focal plane scope for hunting, and some hunters actually prefer it. I’ve hunted with an FFP scope and it worked just fine.
You just have to be prepared for the difference in the reticle size at the lower end of the power range. At very power ranges, the reticles can be very small, especially on FFP scopes with a wide magnification range (like 4-20), and that takes some getting use to.
Are all the Vortex FFP scopes equipped with an illuminated reticle?
No not all of them. The FFP models that are equipped with an illuminated reticle are as follows
- Strike Eagle FFP
- Viper PST Gen II FFP
- Razor HD
- Razor HD Gen II
- Razor HD AMG
As I come across more questions related to the Vortex first focal plane (FFP) scopes, I’ll update this write-up.
I’ve been working in the firearms and sporting optics industry for over 20 years, with a personal and professional interest in all things related to rifle scopes, Through a combination of work experience, formal training, and personal experiences, I have extensive experience mounting, testing, and evaluating different rifle scope models across most major optical brands.