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Adjustable Objective (AO) vs. Side Focus (SF) Parallax Adjustment | Optics Trade Debates

Welcome to Optics Trade debates. In each episode, we talk about a different topic and try to answer the most common questions we receive about it. Today we are going to talk about different ways of fixing the parallax error.

With riflescopes, there are 2 major ways of fixing the parallax. The first one is with side focus and the second one is with an adjustable objective. There is also a mutant system, mixed from both options, developed by IOR.

Scopes with side focus are heavier. The advantage is that you can always adjust the parallax while you are behind the scope because it’s always within reach.

Riflescopes with an adjustable objective are lighter, smaller, with fewer parts, are easier to manufacture and are usually cheaper. Because of its position on the front of the scope, it’s unreachable while lying. It’s generally meant for shooting at a known distance.

IOR has their own solution, they moved the adjustable objective ring closer to the shooter so that it’s easier to reach it. The system works more or less the same as the adjustable objective. The scope itself is more robust, it can withstand more recoil and when you are lying in a prone position it’s still relatively close to the normal position of side focus. Its a good working solution from IOR.

Kahles also has a different parallax system. They made a ring around the elevation turret and are the second manufacturer who decided to make something completely different. This solution is very good because it’s in the same position as with normal scopes with side focus. It can be used either with left-handed or right-handed users.

We recommend side focus for tactical shooting in tactical competitions or in real tactical situations because the parallax settings are easily changeable from one distance to another.

An adjustable objective is a good choice when you need a light scope with which you will shoot at a known distance. It works best for bench rest shooters; they set the parallax only once and fire a lot of shots on that target. The optics are lighter and more precise. With an adjustable objective, you’re able to adjust the parallax more finely, nicely and more accurately.

The obvious choice for hunting with adjustable parallax are riflescopes with side focus because the exact distance to the targeted game isn’t known.

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Products mentioned:

Riflescopes with parallax adjustment on the objective bell:

Parallax adjustment with a side focus:

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