What Is MIL Dot in Rifle Scope and How To Use It

This site contains affiliate links to products. We may receive a commission for purchases made through these links.

Do you steer clear of MIL dot reticles just because you have no idea how to use them?

Does the question, “What is MIL dot in rifle scope?” linger in your thoughts?

A MIL dot is one of the various reticles available for both short and long-range scopes.

It can calculate things like the target’s ballistic impact and estimated range.

It does the same for the striking point, target size, and more.

Its reticle has the best combination of quick aiming and calculated distance.

Today you will learn more about it and how to use it to step up your game.

What Is MIL Dot in Rifle Scope?

The MIL dot was invented by the artillery several years ago.

It has been helping shooters adjust their shots at the same rate snipers have been utilizing milliradians for range estimation.

The Milliradian

This is a unit of angular measurement that is equal to one-thousandth of a radian.

To put it simply, this indicates that a mil is equivalent to 0.001 radians.

The Radian

A radian is a unit of measure of the portion of the distance traveled around a circle.

It’s the arc formed when two radius lines begin at the center of a circle and conclude at its circumference.

Therefore, if you are going to measure this arc for shooting, you would do so in radians, not degrees.

The MIL Dot Scopes

MIL dot scopes are optics that allow you to determine distances to a target quickly.

They remove the need for specialized equipment or software, making your life easier and operations smooth.

They designed this initially for submarine periscopes.

However, they have been scaled down and re-implemented for use by military and recreational rifle shooters.

They help measure distances between targets or to compensate for bullet drops.

Understanding the concept of a MIL dot is made more accessible to beginners and enthusiasts.

Once you learn the ropes, you can move on to effortlessly calculating distances with MIL dots.

The Basics of a Rifle Scope

We can best understand the concept of MIL dots with the basic knowledge of a rifle scope.

To get you started, read on the fundamentals of a rifle scope and its parts.

The Objective Lens

Let’s start with the objective lens, which is responsible for three critical functions.

First, it permits light to pass through the scope into the eyepiece.

Second, it creates and enlarges a picture, and lastly, it takes care of the scope’s resolution.

Remember the rule that the higher the magnification of the objective lens, the greater the resolution is.

The Erector System

You can find a tiny metal or plastic tube containing three or four lenses in it. That is called the erector system.

Whether the optical system has fixed or variable magnification, it can perform three purposes: the objective’s magnification, the reticle’s alignment to the image’s optical axis, and image flipping.

Since the erector tube is fixed at one end and free at the other, the elevation screws and windage support this end.

It does this while providing movement or correction to the reticle, adjusting the aiming point to the impact point for each bullet.

The Reticle and Ocular Lens

Meanwhile, the reticle is used in place of the traditional iron sight system in rifles.

As for the ocular lens, it is responsible for the secondary and ultimate magnification of the picture.

It also has a significant impact in determining the length of the eye relief.

The Parallax

The parallax expresses itself as an apparent movement of the reticle relative to the target area.

A scope’s parallax-free performance is dependent on the target’s location at the same distance for which the scope is focused.

It implies that you must the target image and reticle on the same focal plane.

A rifle sight with variable parallax adjustment allows you to focus on various items at different distances.

The Different Types of MIL Dots

For beginners, knowing the different kinds of MIL dots and how they differ can help establish a base for a better understanding of the concept.

Below are the two types of MIL dots that the USMC and the US Army use.

MIL Dot for the United States Marine Corps

The Army’s effort to field their new sniper rifle, M24, in the mid-1980s led to the creation of this MIL dot.

As part of their specifications, the US Army wanted a MIL dot sight.

They ended up with MIL dots different from those used by the US Marine Corps 3/4th Reticle.

The 0.75 MOA MIL dots are smaller than the 0.22 MOA USMC dots.

The dots used by the Army are 0.2 MIL long.

Utilizing them for measuring purposes is very sensible.

If you break down the measuring into 0.1 intervals, the process becomes effortless.

It’s almost impossible to get any more exact than 0.1, so you should just leave it as is.

The total distance from the center of each dot to the center of the next is still one milliradian.

Every person has its strengths and weaknesses in calculations.

As such, it is up to the user to distinguish which is the best among these.

United States Army MIL Dot

There are several MIL dot reticles in the market, and this is among them.

While this may be true, in actuality, nearly every MIL dot sight maker uses a slightly different reticle.

Getting comfortable with your milliradian reticule is essential, so you need to learn it intimately.

That entails the finer details on the reticule to be able to measure targets with greater precision.

It is worth noting that the illuminated MIL dot reticules’ settings can throw off the milliradian measurements.

Therefore, it is recommended only to illuminate the MIL dot reticule when it is needed.

This is to avoid over-illumination that may cause temporary eye strain.

How To Accurately Measure Distance To Your Target

You must grasp the reticle’s pattern. When you see an image that has many dots, make sure to remember this. 

The distance between them is one MIL when measured from half of one dot to half of another.

Measuring it from one end to another will give you incorrect results.

When viewed from 100 yards, a MIL dot is equal to 3.6″ or 10 centimeters.

For this reason, you must adjust the scope to one MIL in either direction.

This is to determine the horizontal direction at a known difference.

Below are a couple of tips to help you understand how you can use them.

what is mil dot in rifle scope facts

Know the Basics

Binoculars and a periscope are two types of optical instruments that detect the same type of angular distance.

However, their MIL dots are different from that of a rifle.

Instead of measuring one MIL, they measure ten MILS, making them more suitable for use by sharpshooters.

A MIL is a fraction of a circle equal to 1-6,175 of a circle. 

To make computations easier, the United States Military calculates them as 1-6283 of a circle. 

Meanwhile, Russian-based scopes are calibrated to a circle size of 1-6,000. 

That means distance computations can have an inaccuracy of up to three percent.

When looking at MIL dots via a scope, one MIL is the distance between the middle of one dot, all the way to the middle of the next dot on the other side.

For the round army type of the MIL dot reticle, the size of each dot is 0.2 MIL, and the distance between the dots is 0.8 MIL.

Invariably, you can obtain the most accurate variable-power scope’s rear-plane crosshairs’ MIL distances at maximum power.

Learn How To Calculate

Decide on how far you want to go by multiplying your target’s height.

You then multiply it by 1000 and divide the result by the number of MILS of the object.

If you need to, you can use a calculator because some equations can get very tricky.

Nevertheless, always remember that precision is essential.

That is why others factor in the speed when shooting.

Remember always to calculate as accurately as possible; any error indicates an inaccuracy in the distance.

Depending on the result, it will be up to you to gauge if it is acceptable in some situations.

To the greatest extent feasible, separate the MIL dots into smaller groups.

Estimate the object’s size with as much precision as you possibly can.

Calculate the sizes of items down to the tenth of a yard.

This will put you in the appropriate frame and position.

Calculate the span in MILS as well as to the tenth of a MIL.

The practice required for each will be considerable because flawless estimations are the only way to achieve faultless range calculation.

To make it easier, you can use a MIL dot sliding ruler.

It is an analog calculator that completes the calculation in less time than you usually can.

You can rely on it to enter the results into the scale for you.

It goes without saying that it saves you the time and effort of having to do it yourself.

You can calculate a target’s distance if you can determine its size.

You do this by counting the number of mils it takes up in the reticle. 

Alternatively, it also helps to know your bullet drop.

This information can provide a MIL correction.

In terms of convenience, the MIL dot does not require batteries. 

And the best part of it is it eliminates the necessity for mathematical calculations.

Factors To Consider When Buying a MIL Dot Scope

Since no two MIL dot scopes are made alike, some are better than others in their respective categories. 

Fortunately, knowing what to look for can assist you in narrowing down your options.

You can refer to the following factors to consider when choosing a mil-dot scope.

Build Quality 

The first factor to examine is the build quality.

Your MIL dot scope should be capable of withstanding a wide range of adverse situations at all times. 

Go for one that is long-lasting, weather-resistant, and capable of delivering high-quality performance.

This applies even if you simply intend to use your scope for target shooting on the range.

You may not use it for hunting or tactical purposes now, but you may need it for this in the future.

Therefore, quality and longevity are characteristics you do not want to forego in your purchase.


This factor should be a no-brainer for most people, especially for enthusiasts. 

After all, what’s the purpose of possessing a scope if you can’t adjust it for your short-range or long-range shooting?

Not only does your scope need to be adjustable, but it also needs to be simple to use while making adjustments. 

User-friendliness is unquestionably a characteristic that you need in any situation.

Extra Features

There are several additional features available on scopes these days.

Every shooter has their preferred features, so it is best to check each model and determine what you need.

If you have no idea about what you can get from a scope, here are some things to consider getting.

Some scopes have quick focus abilities, Zero lockings, high magnifications, multi-coated lenses, and excellent light transmissions.

Read on each one and determine whether you need it or not.


Your budget plays a huge role in helping you decide on which model to get. 

Consider each model’s features and advantages to check its value for money.

There’s no need to worry if you’re on a tight budget.

We all know that some MIL dot scopes can cost several thousand dollars, but you can find one for your budget. 

You can purchase some good, high-quality MIL dot scopes at a reasonable rate.

To increase your chances of buying the perfect MIL dot scope for you, carefully review and evaluate all your options.


If you are a beginner or a potential hunting enthusiast, understanding what MIL dot is in rifle scopes is vital. 

Also, learning how to measure and use it in your own game will definitely improve your shooting outcomes.

The learning process can be daunting because of several concepts and tips available for shooters and hunters. 

Nevertheless, we hope that reading through the information we shared about the MIL dot can give you a better understanding of your game.

hold right edge

Leave a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Like What You Just Read?

Want to get new articles in your inbox?

Sign up to our mailing list and we will email you as soon as new content is posted.

Like What You Just Read?

Want to get new articles in your inbox? Sign up to our mailing list and we will email you as soon as new content is posted.

Don’t worry we won’t share your email address with anyone…