MRAD vs MOA Reticle (Different Rifle Scopes)

MRAD and MOA reticles serve as two distinct measurement systems in rifle scopes. MRAD, standing for Milliradian, measures angles as one-thousandth of a radian. At a distance of 100 meters, 1 MRAD translates to approximately 10 centimeters.

MOA, or Minute of Angle, represents another angle measurement system, with one MOA equating to 1/60th of a degree. In the United States, shooters commonly choose MOA reticles as it is more compatible with imperial measurements. The selection between MRAD and MOA reticles typically depends on the shooter’s comfort with either metric or imperial systems.

Do you know the difference between an MRAD and MOA rifle scopes? If not, don’t worry – you’re not alone. In this post, we’ll explain the differences between a MRAD vs MOA reticle to help you choose which one is right for you.

MOA vs MRAD: What’s The Difference?

Picture comparing the difference between MOA vs MRAD rifle scopes

It’s hard to choose between MOA and MRAD rifle scopes. They’re both very popular, and they both have their pros and cons. Here is the main difference rifle scope types.

  • MOA Scope: MOA on a scope is a unit of angular measurement that uses inches/yards. Best for people most familiar with the empirical system.
  • MRAD Scope: Best for people who are most familiar with the metric system (cm/m). Also called MIL dot reticle. It is great for competition shooting & that’s why I consider it to be the best scopes for CMP competitions.

MOA scopes are typically more affordable tactical rifle scopes, and they’re easier to adjust for windage and elevation. However, MRAD scopes are more precise, and they’re easier to read in low light conditions.

Aspect MRAD (Milliradian) MOA (Minute of Angle)
Unit of Measure Metric, based on radians (1 MRAD = 1/1000th of a radian) Imperial, based on degrees (1 MOA ≈ 1/60th of a degree)
Subdivisions Usually subdivided into tenths Usually subdivided into quarters or eighths
At 100 Yards 1 MRAD is approximately 3.6 inches 1 MOA is approximately 1.047 inches (often rounded to 1 inch)
Adjustment Adjustments are made in clicks, typically 0.1 MRAD per click Adjustments are made in clicks, typically 1/4 MOA per click
Usage Favored in tactical and long-range shooting, and by military snipers Common in hunting and short to mid-range shooting
Calculation Easier for metric system users, calculations involve simpler math Familiar to those used to the imperial system, but involves more math
Precision Higher precision at longer distances due to smaller increment size Less precise at longer distances, more suitable for shorter ranges

Pros & Cons of MOA

If you’re looking for the best scope for elk hunting, you first need to know the difference between MOA and MRAD scopes. MOA stands for minute of angle. It is an angular measurement that is used for calculating the distances of targets and making adjustments to shoot accurately from a long range. Be sure to read our guide on 4-16×50 scope numbers to make sure you really understand your rifle scope.


I have to admit, I learned how to mount an MOA scope on my AR-15 after removing my front sights. Now I have an accurate scope…that also looks cool.

Here are the benefits of MOA scopes:

  • Uses Imperial System: If you’re used to inches & yards as units of measurement, MOA scopes are for you. It can be very difficult to swap between the Imperial & Metric system measurements. Sticking with the same system is the best option.
  • Easy To Use – For the most part, MOA adjustments are quick and easy. The MOA turrets make it simple to make adjustments on the fly.

Here are the drawbacks of MOA scopes:

  • Making Calculations Isn’t Always Easy: Making a simple 1 MOA adjustment from 100 yards is quick and easy. However, calculating the necessary MOA adjustment from a long distance can be tough & take some time. I recommend using a conversion chart to make things easy.

Pros and Cons of MRAD

picture of MRAD scope

MRAD stands for milliradians. An MRAD rifle scope is a type of scope that uses milliradians to measure the angle between the scope and the target. We have also tested some of the best MIL scopes for 300 Win Mag rifles.

Here are the benefits of a MIL scope:

  • Used by Military & Law Enforcement: Military and police snipers use MIL scopes because they are great long-range scopes.
  • Uses Metric System – Most countries around the world use meters and centimeters in their daily lives. MRAD scopes use the Metric system.

Here are the drawbacks of MIL scopes:

  • Not easy to use for people familiar with imperial measurements.

Which Is Best?

There is no best option between the MOA system and MRAD system. So if you’re looking for the best .22 LR Benchrest scope, just know it really depends on your preferences.

Answer this question: Do you prefer inches or centimeters?

  • If you prefer inches, use an MOA rifle scope.
  • If you prefer centimeters, use a MIL dot reticle rifle scope.

MRAD is becoming more popular because the metric system is a more standardized unit of measure. Ultimately, the choice between MOA vs MRAD comes down to what you’re most comfortable with and what works best for your needs. But you could even swap between MRAD & MOA using the best quick disconnect scope mounts.

Regardless of which scope type you choose, learning how to adjust scope turrets is key to getting your optic dialed in to your preferences!

MOA vs MRAD for Hunting

Again, the choice between MOA vs MRAD scopes comes down to personal preference. I have always used MOA scopes like the Ozark Razorback. But that is probably because I grew up using inches and yards my whole life. If you prefer the metric system, then use the MRAD system of angular measurement.

However, I will say that most snipers prefer MRAD scopes as their preferred unit of angular measurement. But pick what you’re most comfortable with.

MRAD vs MOA Conversion Method

MRAD scopes are adjustable in increments of 1/10th (0.1) mil, which means that at 100 yards, a 0.1 mil click is equal to 0.36 inches. In other words, you’ll be able to make very small adjustments to your shots. Leupold TMR Reticles are amongst my favorite for my scopes!

One MOA equals one inch at 100 yards.

There is a very simple calculation to switch between MRAD to MOA, and visa versa:

  • Convert MIL to MOA: Multiple by 3.438
  • Convert MOA to MIL: Divide by 3.438

MOA also applies to red dot sights. More specifically, it refers to the size of the red dot reticle. The difference between 2 moa vs 6 moa is small but can make a big difference!

Frequently Asked Questions

What's Easier to Use: MOA or MRAD?

There is no major difference between how MOA scopes and MRAD scopes work. Both are equally effective and easy to use. If you are more used to the metric system, then use a MRAD scope. If you are more used to the imperial measurements, then use an MOA scope.

Should I get MRAD or MOA for a scope?

If you're used to the metric system, then you should use MRAD for your scope. MOA is an imperial measurement system that's not as commonly used in other countries around the world. MRAD is the standard unit of measure for scopes because it's metric and more people are familiar with it. Not to say that MOA scopes are bad, it comes down to a matter of personal preference for most shooters.

Does the US military use MRAD or MOA?

The U.S. military primarily uses MRAD (milliradian) scopes, as they are much easier to quickly measure and target enemies with. MOA (minute of angle) is still used as a secondary system, but it can be more difficult to use in certain tactical situations. MRAD rifle scopes make it easy to adjust to long-range targets.

Why do snipers prefer bolt-action?

Snipers prefer bolt-action rifles because the barrel pressure is more consistent. When you pull the trigger on a bolt-action rifle, the entire cartridge stays in the chamber until you release the bolt. This means that there is no chance for the pressure to build up and cause an accidental discharge. This does not mean that all military and police snipers use bolt-action rifles for long-range shooting, but they are the most popular.

The Bottom Line

Both MOA and MRAD have their benefits, but it’s important to choose the best scope for your individual needs. If you need a scope that is accurate at long distances, MRAD may be the better option for you. However, if you are primarily shooting targets at short distances, MOA scopes will likely be more accurate.

Ultimately, it’s up to you to decide which system works better for your specific shooting needs. Both MOA reticles & MIL scopes can be great choices, pick the best tactical rifle scope for your specific needs!

About the author

Patrick Howard

I have been working as a gunsmith for 20 years. Rain, fog, moisture, high temperature, or even snow are all the things a product must withstand in order to be recommended by me.

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