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Scope Lenses - Fully Coated, Multi Coated, What Does It All Mean?

February 14, 2012 | Comments: 0 | Views: 163

When light hits a glass surface not all of it passes through to the other side, some of it is reflected back off the lens surface and because of this, some of the light that would have traveled to the viewer's eye is lost. This light loss occurs anywhere there is lens to air contact. An uncoated lens can lose around four percent of the light it comes in contact with. The more lenses in a scope, the more light is lost. In order to lessen this light loss, manufacturers apply anti-reflective coatings to lenses. If you look at a scope with coated lenses you will notice that the ocular (front) lens seems to have a slight color to it. It may appear blue, red, green, gold, etc. What you are seeing is the coating applied to the lens. When you read that an optic has coated lenses, it means that one or both sides of some (not necessarily all) of the lenses are coated with an anti-reflective coating.

The next step up is the scope with fully coated lenses. This means that all air to lens surfaces of the scope are coated. In theory, the scope with fully coated lenses should be the brighter of the two. Then we come to the scope with multi-coated lenses. This means that at least one air to glass surface of one the scopes lenses has been coated with two or more layers of anti-reflective coating.

As we continue up the list of scope quality we come to the top of the line, the scope with fully multi-coated lenses, which simply means that all air to glass surfaces of each lens of the scope is coated with multiple layers of coating. This scope should be the brightest, all else being equal.

There are many types of lens coatings and some are better than others. Some lens coatings can be very expensive and are a large part of price you pay for more costly scopes. Is it worth the extra money? That is a very subjective question and can only be answered by the individual. Get a room full of hunters and you will never get them all to agree on an answer. The bottom line is for some, the greater expense is worth it, for others it is not. It is all about perceived value, what you can afford, and are willing to pay for.

Ted Snow

For more shooting tips please visit my blog at For a complete line of Gun Accessories and Shooting Supplies, please visit There, you can register to receive e-mail notifications of sales (some of which will be only for those who have registered), short informative articles on shooting and equipment and receive a FREE pair of 8x21 compact binoculars with any purchase of $70 or more while supplies last! Ted Snow is the owner of, an online store featuring gun accessories and shooting supplies of every kind. He is also an avid hunter and shooter, being proficient with rifle, pistol, and shotgun.

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