Glass-Etched vs. Wire Reticles

In the battle of glass-etched vs. wire reticles, which is the right choice for you? Read on to learn more about these reticle options to help make your choice.

If you are in the market for a new sight or scope for your firearm, you already know that you have a lot to consider before making your choice. You need to think about things like magnification levels, durability, the mounting system, eye relief, and the type of reticle that you want. You will find that there are some proponents of using wire reticles, while others are adamant that glass-etched reticles are the way to go. Let’s look at glass-etched vs. wire reticles to get a better understanding of what each can offer.

In addition to comparing and contrasting the reticle types, we will also present you with four of the best reticle options on the market today. There will be two glass-etched and two wire-etched reticles. You can look at each of these to see if one might be a good solution for your hunting and shooting needs.

Understanding Wire Reticles

Wire reticles have long been the standard for scopes and sights. Many people are so accustomed to choosing and using wire reticles that they never even consider the glass reticles. They assume that they have been successfully using the wire reticles for so long that they must be the best choice. While they do have some benefits, it’s important to get a better understanding of what they offer, so you can do an actual glass-etched vs. wire reticle comparison.

The Case for Wire Reticles

The wire reticles that people know and love today did not start out using wire. Instead, they would use human hair as the reticles. It was quite strong, and it wouldn’t obstruct the shooter’s view. Eventually, the switch was made to using wire.

Wire was a good choice because of the strength that it offered. Also, it could be made in a range of thicknesses, which made it useful for creating different types of reticle setups. Wire also doesn’t cause any interference with the light that comes into the scope. You can still see the reticle and the target clearly.

Although they can be used to create different reticle setups, as mentioned, they are still limited. They can only be shaped in so many ways, and this means that wire reticles tend not to be as versatile as some might like.

Wire reticles created today are typically made from light but strong metals, such as tungsten or platinum. As durable as the wire crosshairs might seem, it is still possible for them to be damaged. Dropping the scope, the effects of recoil, and even improper mounting can cause issues with the wire reticles.

Issues with the wire reticles do not happen with every hunter and shooter, which is why they are still popular. However, they do happen, and this has caused many to look for what they perceive to be a better solution for their shooting needs. Namely, they are looking at choosing glass-etched reticles in their scopes because of the myriad benefits they offer over the wire reticles.

Understanding Glass-Etched Reticles

In more recent years, many hunters have been switching over to using glass-etched reticles due to the benefits they can offer. Still, the proponents of wire reticles believe that the glass is unreliable or that it will break. However, when you look at the way these reticles are created, you will see that it’s not the case at all. The reticle can only be rendered useless if the glass was destroyed.

To destroy the glass of your scope is not an easy task, which means the glass-etched reticles are durable and long-lasting. Keep in mind that if you were to destroy the glass of a wire reticle, the results would be the same. However, the glass-etched reticles are proving to be more durable since they don’t have to contend with the issues of wire.

Etched reticles are exceptionally durable, they can be made in more styles, and they can be a great solution for many hunters and target shooters. However, they do have one potential drawback, and that’s the price. Typically, the glass-etched reticles will cost more than their wire counterparts. This is due to the process of making the reticles.

Making these glass-etched reticles and ensuring that they are perfect takes longer, so the price is higher. Still, for those who have the means, they have more benefits than what you will typically find with a wire reticle.

Benefits of Glass-etched Reticles

Because they require more engineering, they will often be more precise when shooting than what you will find with some wire reticles. You can have multiple crosshair variations and it makes creating even complex ballistic reticles possible. It’s even possible to create floating components for the reticle.

Additionally, the reticles will often have high-quality glass coatings, which provide added protection. Despite some of the myths surrounding glass-etched reticles, you will find that they are virtually indestructible unless there is an incident that shatters the glass.

Who Wins the Battle?

As with so many things when it comes to gear used for hunting and shooting, there are pros and cons with both of the options. Those who are looking to get a scope that fits with a smaller budget may want to choose wire reticles. Those who want a scope with a reticle that is more durable, with more configurations and better overall quality will want to choose glass-etched reticles.

By all accounts, the glass-etched reticles are a better option, but that doesn’t mean that you are beholden to them. If you prefer wire reticles for whatever reason, they can still be a good fit. However, you do want to make sure that you are choosing the best quality wire reticles you can find.

Glass Reticle Options

First, we will look at two options for glass-etched reticle scopes that are on the market today. These are high-quality scopes that could be a perfect choice for those who are looking for a first scope or those who want an upgrade from their current setup.

Centerpoint Optics 1-4x30 MSR Rifle Scope

Centerpoint Optics 1-4x30 MSR Rifle Scope

With the Centerpoint Optics scope, you will find a high-quality scope that features a 1” diameter tube, which is standard for most rifle scopes today. This scope has a quick-aim 3 MOA center dot, along with a 65 MOA ring, which provides some added versatility.

The scope features long eye relief and durable construction. It’s a good choice to bring with you into the field when you are hunting, even when you are rugged terrain.

The scope also includes Picatinny rail mount rings along with lens covers. These will help to keep your scope safe when you aren’t using it or when you are hauling it around in the woods. Even though the lenses are durable, it’s important to take precautions to help keep them in the best possible condition.

This scope works well on AR rifles out to ranges of about 250 yards. It offers variable magnification from 1x to 4x with a 30mm objective lens. The glass-etched reticles will help to provide you with accurate shots out to that range, as well as for closer targets. It’s easy to use and has a quality turret system that will allow for fast adjustments.

While some might believe that the 30 mm objective lens it on the small side, it can still provide plenty of light for you to get on your targets, especially at the shorter ranges. You should not have any trouble seeing and using the reticle.

Terminus Optics MKC 4.5-18x44 IIR SFP Variable Scope

Terminus Optics MKC 4.5-18x44 IIR SFP Variable Scope

The MKC scope from Terminus Optics is a second focal plane optic and provides a host of features and benefits that could make this an ideal option for many hunters today. The scope has a variable sight from 4.5x to 18x, which can make it easier to take long-range shots. The objective lens diameter is 44 mm, which is large enough to allow plenty of light to ensure a clear sight picture.

The scope’s barrel diameter is 1”, and it features an eye relief of 3” to 3.7”, which should be enough for most users. The scope provides both red and green illumination and a glass-etched reticle that is easy to see no matter the light conditions.

Made from forged aluminum, you will find that the scope is lightweight yet durable, so you can feel confident bringing it with you on your hunting trips no matter where you go. It is also waterproof, fog-proof, and shockproof. The scope provides easy to use turret adjustments for windage and elevation, as well as parallax adjustment.

The scope has an optional sunshade glare protector. It comes with scope rings, a honeycomb kill-flash lens protector, a cleaning cloth, and Allen keys. It requires a CR2032 battery to power the illumination.

Wire Reticle Options

Now, we will look at two wire reticle options that are available. These are affordable scopes that can perform well for hunters who are looking for a good option for their rifles.

BSA Prevo Rifle Scope

BSA Prevo Rifle Scope

The Prevo wire reticle rifle scope from BSA is a hunting scope through and through. It is available in several different options including 3.5-10×50, 4-16×44, and 6-24×44. You can choose the amount of magnification you need and the size of the objective lens and then determine which of their scopes might be right for you.

The scope features a fast focus ring along with fully coated optics. The 30/30 wire reticle is a good hunting reticle that should make it easy for you to get on your target, so you can take your shot. Hunters will also appreciate the durability of the scope. It is waterproof, fog-proof, and shockproof, which means it will be a good addition for your hunting excursions.

The scope promises excellent optical clarity, and it comes with a lifetime warranty, which can provide you with some more peace of mind regarding your purchase.

Ohhunt 6-24x50 AOEG Rangefinder Reticle Hunting Rifle Scope

Ohhunt 6-24x50 AOEG Rangefinder Reticle Hunting Rifle Scope

Another affordable option for those who are looking for a wire reticle scope is the 6-24×50 AO. The scope features variable magnification from 6x to 24x, and it has a 50 mm objective lens, which will allow for excellent light transmission. The eye relief for the scope is 3.15”, which may not be as much as some hunters might want.

The scope has a quality wire reticle, which can be used illuminated or not. When illuminated, you can choose from red and green to help with target acquisition in various settings. The scope has fully multi-coated lenses, which help to reduce glare and provide you with a clear and bright sight picture. Parallax adjustment is available with the scope, as well.

The second focal plane rifle scope has a 1/8 MOA click value, and it is shockproof. As with the other options on the list, this scope will work well for hunters because of the durability it offers.

In addition to the scope, it also comes with a cleaning cloth, cover, scope protector cover, 20 mm Picatinny scope rings, and an instruction manual. The company also makes scopes with other magnification levels for those who may want a scope that will help them at different ranges.

Conclusion: Which Option is Right for You?

Understanding the differences and similarities between the glass-etched reticles and the wire reticles should make it easier for you to find a solution that works well for you. Perhaps you prefer the traditional wire reticles, or maybe you want to take advantage of the benefits that glass-etched reticles can offer. Either can work well and ultimately, it will be a matter of preference.

The scopes that we’ve included above are a great place to start looking for your next piece of gear for your rifle. They have high-quality reticles, along with other features that help to make them great options to consider.

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