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3 MOA Vs 6 MOA {Which One to Pick and Why?}

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For weapons to achieve accuracy, they need a scope attached, but accuracy is not everything a scope brings to shooting; other things like ease can be achieved when a scope is used. The terms MOA and Mil are often thrown around when it comes to shooting. Shooters, especially newbies, find these technical words exhausting and confusing. A lot of them struggle when it comes to choosing the best calibration for their needs. In this article, we will be discussing two popular MOA ratings; 3 MOA and 6 MOA.

As a shooter in need of scope to help your shooting improve, how do you know which MOAs are best for your needs? There are so many MOAs available for you to choose from that it even becomes confusing. Instead of picking random and hoping you made the right decision which is quite slim considering the number of MOA ratings available for scopes, you should understand the whole MOA concept and differentiate between MOAs.

As mentioned earlier, we’ll see 3 MOA Vs 6 MOA, their peculiarities, and their best use cases. So you can finally eliminate guesswork and select the scope rating that will bring the best result.

What is MOA?

Knowing what is MOA and how it affects your shooting is the first step to understanding the difference between 3 MOA and 6 MOA. MOA is short for a minute of angle and is an angular measurement. This measurement is 1/60 of a degree. A single MOA per 100 yards is 1.047″ and approximates 1″ for ease of calculation.

This means that if you’re using a 3 MOA rifle, you’ll be able to shoot 3″ at 100 yards. Remember that 1 MOA moves 1″ at 100 yards. This way, you can get any value you want by moving the distance per yard. Say you have a 2 MOA rifle at 500 yards, and you’re looking for the distance it can move, remembering that 1 MOA moves 1″ at 100 yards and 2 MOA moves ½” at the same 100 yards. Then 2 MOA will move 2.5″ at 500 yards. You can use the same concept to figure out any distance.

The MOA that we’ll be discussing here is MOAs for pistols, shotguns, and other short-distance weapons. This is because they can only adjust large distances. Pistols range is usually around 25 yards or even shorter in some instances, so these MOAs are perfect for changing these distances since you do not want MOAs to adjust minute distances.

To avoid doubt, the distance we’re talking about here means the distance your round will land around the point of your target if your aim is perfect. So, the smaller the spaces your rounds are to each other, the better your aim.



A 3 MOA rifle will adjust more considerable distances than lower MOAs and is perfect for pistols and short-range weapons since, at these distances, you do not have to adjust minute distances. 3 MOA covers 3″ at 100 yards, 1.5″ at 50 yards, 0.75″ at 25 yards, and so forth. These are typically the distances you’ll be shooting using 3 MOA rifles since they are for short distances. You still remember 1 MOA moves 1″ at 100 yards, right? Okay.

At 25 yards, your round will be close at 0.75″ from the center. The dot will appear 3″ in diameter at 100 yards which makes it easy to aim but not the most accurate among the MOAs; nevertheless, it is ideal for short distances. This is the limit to your scope’s precision, even though there might be slight discrepancies when shooting in real-life situations.


  • A perfect blend of precision and speed: 3 MOA scopes provide the ideal mix between aiming speed and accuracy. Where it does not meet up with speed, it makes up for better precision. However, its speed is excellent and precision even better for short-ranges.
  • Short-range scope: if you’re shooting ranges of around 25 yards, this would be an excellent MOA rating you can use.
  • Ideal for small targets: if you’re aiming at a tiny mark, the 3 MOA will hit your target perfectly.
  • Great for PCC: 3 MOA is good for pistol caliber carbine as they are short-range weapons too.
  • Can be used at longer distances: 3 MOA reticles can be used on rifles for longer distances since they have better accuracy.


  • It takes more time to aim: aiming typically takes more time as it requires more adjustments to hit the target.
  • Dots are harder to see: since the dots are small, they are harder to see. This requires you to be more focused to get your target and increases the aiming time. Typically, you’ll struggle to see the dots clearer with high lighting.
  • Not the best at any distance: being versatile can turn out to be a drawback as it is not the best at both short and long-distance shooting.



Similar to 3 MOA scopes, rounds from 6 MOA scopes cover 6″ at 100 yards. The round covers considerably more area than a 3 MOA scope which makes aiming easier and faster. Great for short distances, especially when the target is significant since the dot is wide.

6 MOA scopes are by far the most popular for pistols and handguns and are widely used among both leisure shooters and law enforcement. Its ease of use is a great pull, especially for beginners to grasp how MOAs work and how they affect your shooting.

It is easy to acquire the dot and take your shot once you long through the sight. If speed is of great importance to you, this would be an ideal option to use for your short-range weapon.


  • Speed: the dots are more prominent here, and you can quickly acquire the target. Speed is a vital part of shooting, especially when aiming at moving targets, and the 6 MOA scope brings that to the fore.
  • Larger dots: since the dots are more prominent, it is easier to spot and harder for emitter refraction to distort its position.
  • Steady aim: the less hand motion needed to aim and fire using a 6 MOA scope, which helps steady your aim and improve accuracy.
  • Visible in bright light: the dot is still visible when the weather is warm, and there is excess light.


  • Not ideal for long-range shooting: you’ll struggle to achieve a decent level of accuracy at longer ranges with this MOA.
  • Dot covers more of the target: the dot is large and will typically cover a large part of the target, which may prevent you from seeing your bull’s eye.
  • Precision is not the best: the accuracy of this MOA is not the best as its large dots only gives approximated hits.

3 MOA Vs 6 MOA – The Difference

Difference Between 3 MOA and 6 MOA

What is the difference between these two popular MOAs? Knowing this will help you choose the one best suited to your needs.


3 MOA scopes are more accurate than 6 MOA scopes. Their smaller dots provide a better view of the target and ultimately better precision.


3 MOA scopes can be used to shoot long-range targets as well as shot-range aiming. 6 MOA scopes, on the other hand, are only ideal for short distances.


6 MOA scopes allow you to aim faster. Because of the large dot area, you can acquire your aim more quickly. 3 MOA scopes are slower to acquire your target.

Ease of Use

6 MOA scopes are easier to use. Effective for newbies to use to learn how to use MOAs to improve their shots.

Summary: 3 MOA Vs 6 MOA, Which to Use?

Now that you understand everything about the two MOAs, you can decide which scope will be the best for you.

If you shoot long and short distances, 3 MOA scopes are versatile enough to cover your different uses. If speed is of more importance to you, 6 MOA scopes will be ideal. If precision is more critical, you should focus on the 3 MOA scope.

If you’re a newbie and looking for something easy to use, 6 MOA scopes are the best.

3 MOA and 6 MOA scopes are two of the most popular MOAs for pistols and short-range weapons. Many shooters do not know which is the best for them; this guide has finally put this confusion to bed.

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About Author

James Towndrow, a NRA-certified Firearms Instructor. During a career of 18 years had won several shooting competition including major leagues. Taking all those experience down the road, is now a successful Shooting Instructor in Texas, US.