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Adjustable vs. Fixed Parallax | 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 fixed and adjustable parallax.

The main difference between the two is that the fixed parallax has the parallax set to a specific distance, while it can be set on different distances with the adjustable parallax. Riflescopes that feature a fixed parallax, which is set on a specific distance, have a parallax error on all other distances.

The user is able to fine tune the parallax setting on riflescopes that have an adjustable parallax, so that it corresponds to the distance of the target and that it eliminates the parallax error.

When shooting on a distance on which the parallax is set, the accuracy is higher.

The parallax is usually set at 100 m on riflescopes that have a fixed parallax. Scopes that have an adjustable parallax usually have a side turret that regulates it. The parallax is set correctly when the image is completely sharp.

Scopes with an adjustable parallax have an adjustment range. The adjustment range defines the distances at which the parallax can be set.

A target that is out of parallax it’s less sharp and if the user moves his eye outside the optimal optical axes of the riflescope, the reticle will move and the accuracy will decrease. This is called the parallax error.

The adjustable parallax enables the user to focus the image at any distance in the adjustment range and enhance accuracy. The parallax needs to be set every time the distance to the target changes.

The parallax error is not important for hunting, because accuracy isn’t that crucial. That’s why  fixed parallax is good enough for hunting. The parallax error is bigger when shooting at really short distances than on distant targets. When shooting at close range, it’s better to have the scope on a lower magnification, so that the parallax error is smaller.

For tactical and target shooting an adjustable parallax is a must have.

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  • If I set my Adjustable scope to 100m? Is it essentially the same as a scope with a fixed parallax at 100m?

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