To MIL or MOA?... That is the question

MIL and MOA scopes

One of the most common questions we get from new shooters is whether to use the MIL or MOA system in their shooting and optics. And for good reason – A quick survey of your shooting buddies, or a social media post about the topic, will reveal a great rift between the two camps. Each one adamantly defending their chosen unit of measurement. But is it justified? The short answer is no. Listening to the arguments as to why one system is superior reveals a subjectivity common to so many other gun debates. Most shooters greatly exaggerate the differences. The reality is that when you look closely at the two systems, there is no clear and inherent advantage. There are troves of information online that get into the details of each specific trait. But let’s take a look and distill it down to the key differences…


  • Slightly easier to communicate – Larger MIL units are represented by smaller values than MOA. This makes for simpler range cards and data books that are easier to read, and relay to your partner. It’s inherently easier to compute, let’s say, 4.8 MILS than 16.75 MOA.

  • Military Adopted – Not necessarily and advantage per se. But if you or your shooting buds are military. This will be easier to communicate.

  • More Product Offerings – It’s no secret that manufacturers often mimic the military’s direction. In part due to currying favor for military contracts, and also the consumer tendency to emulate all things mil-spec. Whatever the reason, the end result is that there are more product offerings in MIL.


  • MOA is slightly more precise – The typical 1/4 MOA click provides a finer adjustment than its 1/10 MIL counterpart. Bear in mind, however, that this only equates to 0.1” difference in adjustments at 100 yards. Or 1” at 1,000 yards.

  • F-Class Competition friendly – If you plan on participating in F Class competitions, the MOA system can hold some advantages. In addition to the increased precision mentioned previously (which is potentially handy when shooting super precise LR shots), F-Class targets are demarcated in MOA very closely. For example the 600 yard target has a 3" X ring, 6" ten ring, 12" nine ring, 18" eight ring, 24" seven ring, and 36" six ring comprising the black and 30" five ring in the white. So you can adjust and/or hold off conveniently in MOA. There is no target feature in MILS.

The bottom line is that these small differences are just that – Small. And many of the reasons are purely academic. What really matters is how YOU think and what is comfortable to you. When someone asks you how far away something is and you answer in “yards” then MOA will be natural. If you answer in “meters” then MILS will be for you. Pairing up the correct system with how you naturally think, will result in faster calculations, more accurate calls, and fewer missed shots due to user error or slow computation. So there it is. We hope this helps in your choice of MILS or MOA.

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The Trajektory crew

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