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MOA Vs MRAD – Which One is Good and What’s The Difference?

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The difference between two sharpshooters with equal abilities on a long-range shooting mission, with one hitting the target hitting and the other missing, maybe about their scopes or lack of it. Having a scope is one thing, understanding how to use it is another. When it comes to understanding scopes, one of the most prominent questions people have is the difference between MOA and MRAD.

People continue to ponder MOA Vs MRAD and wonder which one of them is better. Sometimes, it comes down to the fact that these users do not understand what these terms mean before even talking about what they do and their differences.

MOA and MRAD are scope terms you cannot run away from if you intend to use scopes while shooting. If you’ve ever wondered what either of these terms means and how it affects the performance of your scope or if you’re struggling to choose between scopes calibrated in MOA or MRAD, this article will be just what you need. The guide will discuss what you need to know about these terms, their conversion, differences between each other, and which one is the best.

What is MOA?

What is MOA?

MOA is an abbreviation for Minutes Of Angle. MOA reticles are more common, especially in the United States. MOA simply means 1/60th of an angle of a minute. Before we move any further, we need to clarify something. Even though we’re conversant with minutes being a unit of measuring time, we need to accommodate the fact that in scopes and shooting in general, minutes are used as a degree of an angle. With this in mind, we can then go further in analyzing what MOA means.

Remember, an angle is 360 degrees, an MOA is 1/60 of that angle, which means it is pretty tiny. The rate at which you can make changes with the dial will determine how small it can get.

1 MOA at 100 yards is 1 inch. To be more precise, 1 MOA is 1.047 inches but can be approximated to 1 inch. So a 3 MOA adjustment to the scope will mean a 3-inch difference in the direction of the bullet. Typically, the adjustment of MOA is calibrated in ½, ¼, or 1/8. With cheap scopes typically carrying ½ adjustments. A scope with ½ adjustment will need only two clicks to make one MOA, while a scope calibrated in ¼ or 1/8 will need 4 and 8 clicks respectively to make an MOA.

When it comes to magnification and MOA, MOA has the highest accuracy at the highest magnification.

For Complete Detail, Check Out Our Article: What is MOA on a Scope? | Fully Explained!

What is MRAD?

What is MRAD

MRAD is short for milliradian. And just like MOA, MRAD is an angular measurement used to measure a unit of an angle. It is 1/1000th of a radian. Since both MRAD and MOA are angular measurements, they only make sense when related to a distance.

Since an angle is 360 degrees, in one angle, there are 6.283 radians, with one radian being 57.3 degrees. With these figures, we have a base for calculating the milliradian of a scope. Remember there is 1000 milliradian in one radian. Judging by all these, one mil at 100 yards is 3.6 inches or 10 cm.

At 100 yards, every mil change is equal to 3.6 inches. Now, depending on the calibrated figure, you can determine the number of clicks that will cause a one mil change in the direction of your short. If your scope is set at ½, this means you’ll need two clicks to move one mil and, in turn, 3.6 inches. Bear in mind that scopes set at ½ are not entirely accurate. Scopes that are set at ¼ and 1/8 are more accurate. A ¼ inch increment scope will require four clicks to make one mil, while a 1/8 increment scope will take eight clicks to make one mil.

At 100 yards, one mil is equal to 3.6 inches, 7.2 inches at 200 yards, 10.8 inches at 300 yards, and so forth. If you’re shooting long distances, you need a scope with smaller increments to get smaller angles which make huge differences at longer distances. Most MRAD scopes are set at 1/10 increments which means each click makes a 0.36 inches change in direction.

Bonus Read: Why is My Rifle Scope Blurry? [Top Reasons & Quick Solutions]

Difference Between MOA and MRAD?

Difference Between MOA and MRAD

We’ve seen what MOA and MRAD mean when standing alone. How about we pitch them against each other and see what they’ve got? The aim is to get a clearer picture and answer the question that has plagued the industry when choosing scopes.

MRAD and MOA are all angular measurements used to calculate and calibrate the scopes’ windage and elevation to get absolute zero. We’ll be seeing the difference between the two based on vital factors that affect the scope and shooters in general.

Actual Value

The value of one MOA at 100 yards is 1.047 inches and approximately 1 inch. On the other hand, the value of one mil at 100 yards is 3.6 inches. What these figures mean is that if you move one MOA and one Mil at 100 yards, you’ll have an effective windage or elevation change of 1 inch and 3.6 inches, respectively. The number of clicks it takes to get this change is dependent on the scope increment.


MOA scopes are more suited to shorter distances of, say, 300 yards or less because it gives you a more refined, more accurate measurement at shorter ranges. MRAD scopes, on the other hand, are better suited to the long-distance shooting of 300 yards and above. At longer distances, you need to make more extensive adjustments quickly, and MRAD scopes enable you to do this easily. This is obvious as a single mil change equates to a 3.6 inches change in direction compared to 1 inch when dealing with MOA scopes.

Also Read: 6 Best Offset Iron Sights – 2021 Update


The most popular type is the MOA scope, especially in the US and parts of Europe because they are suited to shorter ranges; most people may only ever need MOA scopes. Most shooters fall into the short-range category of 50 to 300 yards. These include home defense, hunting, and sports.

MRAD scopes may not be as popular as MOA, but they are not new; they have been in existence for a long, but since they are best suited to long ranges, not many shooters will require their services.

MOA vs MRAD: Which is Better?

After everything, what many people are interested in is the better of the two. Which type of scope should they use for the best effect on their shooting.

Before we go into which of the two between MOA and MRAD, is the best, you should first consider the shooting you engage in and its aim. What do you intend to gain from your shooting? Answering these questions will make the decision of choosing the better scope easier.

As earlier mentioned, MOA scopes are better when used for shorter distances, typically under 300 yards. While MRAD scopes are better when used at longer distances above 300 yards. So it is less about which of them is better across everything and more about which is the best at your preferred distance and needs.


There are many questions about shooting gadgets and their effectiveness, but one that has refused to go away is the debate of MOA Vs MRAD and which is better. We have seen what they mean and how they are the best at different distances solving varying needs.

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.

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