Mil Scope Adjustments, The Basics

By Jacob Carroll

There seems to be more and more folks making the move to a mil/mil optic for their precision rifle. Whether or not you decide to make the move on your own rifle, it is not a bad idea to learn the basics of mil adjustments. Odds are one day you will have a partner that speaks this language or you, for whatever reason, may be placed behind a rifle with a mil/mil scope so if you can learn the basics you may not be as confused as you’d expect. There are a lot of great write ups available on the differences between the two, some of which get very technical for you engineering types, but I am going to try to keep it simple.

Most folks, like myself, started out learning MOA (minute of angle) adjustments. It was a pretty easy formula to figure out. Knowing that 1 MOA is 1.047 inches at 100 yards we were able to round off a MOA to 1” at 100 yards. Since most precision optics have 1⁄4 MOA adjustments we are able to easily associate 1⁄4 MOA with 1⁄4” at 100 yards. As we go out in distance we easily multiply our formula. For example, 1000 yards is 10 times as far as 100 yards so 1 MOA at 1000 yards is rounded to 10” (10.47” to be exact).

Now, jump in to the world of MIL adjustments. At the very basic level of understanding, a MIL is just a coarser adjustment with a not quite as easy to figure on the fly formula. 1 MIL equals 3.6” at 100 yards. Now, that may seem like a lot but most MIL optics have 1/10 MIL adjustments so each click equals 1/10 of a MIL, or .36” at 100 yards.

See the difference? It is just a coarser adjustment. On a MOA optic one click is 1⁄4 MOA, or .25” at 100 yards. On a MIL optic one click is 1/10 MIL, or .36” at 100 yards.

MOA OPTIC: 1 CLICK = 1⁄4 MOA = .25” @ 100 YARDS

MIL OPTIC: 1 CLICK = 1/10 MIL = .36” @ 100 YARDS

Right now you’re probably wondering why one would choose the coarser MIL adjustments instead of the finer, and more standard MOA adjustments, beings that we are talking about precision shooting. Well, before I attempt to enter that debate let me point this out. While shooting small groups at 100 yards may interest some folks, it is not what we are teaching. We are more concerned with targets at a more realistic distance. For example, let’s assume we are engaging a target at 800 yards and we need 6” of adjustment, a fairly fine adjustment for such a distance. On an MOA optic we would enter 3 clicks, or 3⁄4 MOA, to achieve that 6” of adjustment. On a MIL optic we would simply adjust only 2 clicks, or 2/10 MIL, to achieve 5.76” of adjustment. See the difference, only .24” difference between the two at 800 yards. If we had only needed 5” of adjustment the MIL optic would have technically had the advantage.

So, which one is better? That is up to you. While I personally use MIL optics on my rifle the majority of OTS uses MOA optics with great success. The decision is ultimately yours. All of us at OTS are happy to help show you the advantages, disadvantages, and provide as many answers to your questions as we can so you can make the best choice for you.