Variable at Last

Super Sniper (SWFA SS) Tackles the Front Focal Plane Scope Industry

by Mike Miller

                                          Sniper with AJ Brown Built Remington 7.62 Sniper Rifle

Having reviewed many scopes over the years the author has learned a few things.  It used to be you got what you paid for but these days some expensive scopes break as often or more often as some of the less expensive scopes.  Having been burned by writing an article and then have the scope fail a few weeks later I have started testing anything really new, a year before putting down written words as to how it works.  I know that wonít win any pluses with the scope industry but I hope the scope buyers like it. With that said I was sent a 3-9 Front Focal Plane SS a year ago to test and evaluate.  When I agreed to do this article I expected a scope of good value but not top of the industry quality.  The Fixed Power Super Snipers have been good scopes for the money but not the same quality as scopes costing four plus times more.  My first impression of the 3-9 SS was the glass was way too good for a scope costing $599.00 at full retail.  It is as clear as most scopes costing $1,200.00 dollars.  The glass is that good.  Not as good as several $3,000.00 scopes but it would be hard to tell them from similar scopes costing $1,200.00. The clicks where not mushy like some of the prior Fixed Power Super Snipers tend to be.


                      The MCREES Precision Folding Stock, provided a great platform for the 3-9 SS

The Turrets are set at .10 Mil per click and 5 mils per turn.  This is fairly good but honestly I wish they had gone with a knob that would get to 1000 yards from 100 yard zero in no more than one turn. That requires just over ten mils in a turn.  The clicks are accurate and repeatable.  Using the standard box test the scope performed flawlessly.  Ten mils up, is ten mils up.  Ten Mils right or left is ten mils.  Ten mils down, is ten mils down.  This is something many scope manufactures fail in and every shooter should test their scope to see how it does.  Test it now and every year or so. The variable feature is new for SWFAís SS line so I really put this scope through hell to make sure it did not screw up.  It was shot on everything from a MK12 SPR to light folding stock .308 to .338 Lapua Desert Tactical Arms.  The scope worked perfectly on all the rifles and seems ideal for a light short .308 or 5.56 SPR. I did not stop with my testing I had several students, use the scope during classes and it is currently with a member of the US Army, who has spent more time in the war zones than home since the nuts attacked us in 2001.  Assigned to various Task Forces which will remain unnamed, he has had it for several months.  His comments, cleaned up for the public are basically ďOut Fng Standing ScopeĒ I doubt I will get it back from him.  Letís just say the scope has seen some real world use.  The scope still functions perfectly and glass quality has not degraded.  It is ideal for Urban use in either Law Enforcement, Military or as become popular ďThe Zombie ThreatĒ LOL.



Talking in depth of features:

 The scope is front focal plane which means the subtentions between dots on scope are always the same no matter the power.  This is a plus on movers and field use where you dial down for increased field of view.  It has become the ďSniper StandardĒ type of reticle system. The scope has a standard Mil Dot Reticle.  While ten years ago this would be the norm, it is old technology in that most reticles have lines or dots which allow finer subtentions, than one mil does.  I have spoken with SWFA and they have plans for future scopes to have finer milling reticles.  It is certainly not a deal breaker as standard mil reticles are working all over the world.  Its just half mil markings have become the norm on future US Military Sniper Systems.SWFA tells me that this scope was designed under direction from the Army to be used as a Designated Marksman Scope.  They wanted a first focal plane variable scope under 10x so it could be used with PVS22 type forward mounted night vision (8-9x is the highest magnification you can use with these systems).  It has no parallax or illumination by design to keep the scope as simple as possible, to keep cost down and to make it more durable.  They also required that it have a locking ocular focus due to the fact that so many soldiers would attempt to use the fast focus ocular as an image focus on the fixed power Super Snipers.  The ocular focusís sole job is to focus the reticle and it is a onetime deal.  If you use the ocular focus to focus your image your focus will be off at other yardages and you are tempted to use the parallax adjustment to correct it.  The 3-9 has a lock ring that you back off, focus the reticle by aiming the scope at the sky and then tighten the lock ring back.  Once this is done you should never need to use the ocular focus again. A 2.5-10x42 version is coming that will have an illuminated reticle and parallax adjustment. 

Opinions based on use: 

Cutting to the quick letís put out what the plus and minus are: 


a)      Cost to equal this scopeís quality and features would be double. The scope is a great value

b)      Glass is as good as needed for any need this scope would see

c)      Durability is excellent.

d)      This scope is equally at home on a 5.56 SPR and a 7.62 Sniper System, for 25-600 yard use.

e)      Completely made in Japan. While thirty years ago that would be a negative, its not now.  Some of the best rifle scopes and optics come from Japan.  This scope is top notch quality. 


a)      The scope lacks parallax adjustment which becomes a slight issue after 600 yards.  Donít panic, as a well trained shooter will have the same cheek weld every time and limits, the bad effects of lacking parallax adjustment.  These problems are slight under 600 yards so donít fret.  Many snipers including me, managed to make hits at a 1000 yards without adjustable parallax so itís really not that big of thing.  Just keep your head/eye relationship directly centered in reticle and the problem goes away.

b)   No lit reticle feature. This also is not a deal breaker as this scope is intended for Urban Ops where a lit reticle is seldom needed, because enough ambient light usually exists to see your reticle.  Rule is generally this, if enough light is available to see target you most likely have enough light to see the reticle.  I would still prefer to have the lit reticle feature and futures SS Scopes will see this feature added.


       Exit puple (mm)



       FOV (Degree)



       FOV (feet at 100 YD)



       FOV (M at 100M)



       Diopter adjustment range

               +/- 1.5 D


       Eye relief (mm)



       1 click value

          0.1 mi l= 0.343 MOA    


       1 revolution

               50 Clicks


       Travel range UP/DOWN (MIL)         



       Travel range R / L (MIL)



       Shook proof (G)

           800 G


       Operating temperature range

           71 C to -20 C


       Fog proof

         3m water depth (equiv)


1 MIL = 3.438 MOA

1 MOA = .291 MIL

1 MIL = 3.6 Inches

1 MOA = 1.047 Inches


Overall Lengh, in 13.1

Weight 20 oz.

Mounting Length, in 5.9

Eyepiece to turret, in  2.5

Turret to objective bell, in  2.25

Eyepiece length, in 3.7

Eyepiece Diameter, in 1.64

Objective Bell Diameter, in 1.95


                      The end of the SS I hope I never get to see.


Final Thoughts

While this is not the best scope out there it is the best scope under $1,000.00 I have used. It is a step up from the earlier fixed power Super Snipers and should not be looked at as just a Variable Power Version.  It is a far better scope than that, in fact the new 3-9 shares no common components with the original line up and is not even produced in the same factory.  These scopes are so different that SWFA does not even refer to them as Super Snipers.  The new 3-9x42 and 10xHD are simply called SS. It provides either a new shooter or professional with a scope that will work all day everyday for a price we can afford.   In addition to the new 2.5-10x42 SWFA is also coming out with a 1-4x24 FFP Illuminated version and a 5-20x50 FFP Illuminated, Side Parallax version. I would not hesitate to take this scope to war.