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How to Use a Mil Dot Scope for Dummies? The Most Basic Guide

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Scopes are enhancers that magnify your view so you can target appropriately while shooting. A scope is essential when shooting longer distances that ordinary eyes cannot decipher clearly. In scope, there are typically two types of measurement for scope turrets; MOA and MIL.

Scopes in MOA are more common as they have been used over the years. However, Mil scopes are gradually becoming a mainstay in the scope industry as more and more optics manufacturers embrace it. This has pushed the need for people to understand how this type of scope works.

One Mil is equal to 1 milliradian and is an angular measurement of the turret adjustment. The advantages of scope are numerous, with precision its most significant pull. However, you cannot achieve precision without proper adjustments of the turrets to match the distance, windage, and every other environmental factor affecting your shooting accuracy.

Your scope turrets can either be calibrated in MOA or Mil. In this guide, we’ll talk about the scopes that use Mil gradients. You’ll see everything you need to know about this type of scope in plain terms. I will simplify the explanation so that even a complete newbie will understand—none of all that complicated words and phrases to look fancy.

Even though this article reads, “how to use a mil-dot scope for dummies”, no one who buys a mil-dot scope or is considering purchasing this type of scope is a dummy. These are intelligent people who know quality and would like to understand how to utilize it better.

With that being said, mil-dot scopes can be confusing if not learned properly. Many people struggle with its use but do you stop using scopes calibrated in mil because it is different? Learning how to use the mil-dot scope will help you harness the full powers of a mil-dot scope. Without further ado, let’s see what mil-dot scope?

What is Mil Dot Scope?

Mil-Dot Scope

As earlier mentioned, mil-dot or Mrad is short for milliradian. 1000 milliradian makes 1 radian. It is as uncomplicated and straightforward as this. At whatever distance, one mil is equal to one mil. Because it is an angular measurement and not linear, you do not have to assign any figure to a certain distance.

In a circle, the acceptable number is 6283.2 and not 6400, as discussed in some quarters, especially by the US military. Mil scopes are calibrated using 6283. Now, remember one milliradian is 1/1000 radian. At every distance, one mil is 1/1000 of that distance, which significantly reduces the distance and improves precision. But mil calibrated scopes do not end there. They go even further in improving accuracy as many of them are set to 0.1 milliradians per click. This means you can get minor adjustments done to improve the accuracy of your shots.

Scope Adjustments

Scope Adjustments

When shooting at any distance, your shot can be off in whatever direction. This is caused by so many factors, including wind and the eyesight not seeing far enough. If you must get your target, you have to eliminate these errors. How do you do this? You can correct whatever error in direction by using the scope turrets. These turrets can be calibrated in either MOA and MIL.

If you take a shot and it hits higher than the intended target, you need to adjust its height down to hit the target. Typically, most explanations focus on using clicks to show the adjustment process since they are easier to grasp across any scope calibration.

The Dot of The Mil

The Dot of the Mil

Now that you’ve seen what the mil stands for, let’s jump into the dot in mil-dot. What does it represent, and how do you make use of it? The dot is related to the mil reticle scope. The dot is a unique arrangement of dots in a particular duplex pattern. In this reticle type, four dots are positioned along an axis, and a mil is a distance between the center of two dots. This distance will help you estimate the range and the size of the object in view at a certain distance.

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From the half of one dot to the half of the next is 1 Mil. The same one mil is 10cm at 100 yards and 3.6″. this figure will help

Mil-dot reticles are not bullet drop reticles even though they can compensate for gravity on the bullet if the distance is known.

Zeroing a Mil Dot Scope

Zeroing a Mil-Dot Scope

How do you zero a mil-dot scope to achieve the maximum accuracy? This is a question on the lips of many mil-dot newbies. It is usual for people who haven’t used a mil-dot scope before to be confused with this.

First, position your gun in a comfortable position with a rest. Make sure to keep the gun steady and shoot three-round groups at your target and measure the difference between the bull’s eye and where the bullets hit.

Unlike the other type of scope, you do not need to calculate the inches off or anything like that. You only need to read the reticle. To read the reticle, check what’s the specific calibrated figure for your mil-dot scope. Typically, it is 0.1 MRad, so for example, if you read the scope and see that the shot is 2.1 Mils to the right and 1.2 Mils high, you can make the necessary adjustments.

The formula for adjustments is: bullet drop as per yard/1 mil size in yards = required adjustments.

Here is a simple table to guide you can use:

Bullet drop

With the above measurements, you can easily calculate and adjust your mil-dot scope.

If you’ve already used an MOA scope to adjust, you can convert the figures to Mils and use them quickly without doing additional measurements. Convert the MOA measurements to Mils, divide the MOA by 3.438.

After making these adjustments, test your rounds again by taking a three-round group at your target and see if you hit the bull’s eye. If you hit the bull’s eye, you’re good to go. If not, you should repeat the adjustments.

Also Read, How To Adjust & Zero Iron Sights‌?

Shooting with a Zeroed Mil Dot Scope

Shooting with a Zeroed Mil-Dot Scope

After zeroing your mil-dot scope, the next thing is using the scope to hit your targets. To do this, you should be able to read the reticle while using whatever windage strategy you deem fit. With Mil-dot scope, you’re able to adjust quickly while still maintaining accuracy.


Mil-dot scopes are the next big thing taking the scope industry by storm because of their peculiarities. You can jump on the trend by learning everything about Mil-dot scope in the easiest way possible, away from all the technical jargon that only brings confusion.

You can also Read our Article: Best Shotgun Scope for 2022 – Our Top 6 Choice

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.