Reticle technology has been a staple in optical designs since the 17th century. Nowadays, whether your goal is to improve microscopic measurements or the accuracy of a weapon scope, reticles play a crucial role in aiding and customizing modern optical sighting instruments. So what is a reticle, and what are the practical applications? 

What Is a Reticle? 

If you’ve ever watched a military action movie and seen the camera shot taken from the perspective of a shooter aiming a weapon, you’ve seen glimpses of a reticle in its most well-known use case: scopes. 

Reticles are designs etched into materials like glass and used in the eyepiece of an optical device. They help with aiming, targeting, or measuring. 

These etchings can be incredibly intricate, like the design used in the Bell and Howell Pocket comparator or as simple as the common crosshairs found in nearly every firearm scope. The etchings help users (either human or machine) measure distance and improve depth perception and aim. 

Reticles have several different applications across various industries, primarily aerospace and metrology. 


Reticle Applications in Aerospace

The aerospace industry is extensive, with reticles used across a wide range of products and technologies. 

A reticle’s primary use is aiming and targeting weapons systems on planes and drones. They are also used to aid in positioning and measurements for optical devices like telescopes and other scopes on planes, satellites, and even rockets. 

Intricate designs using a variety of markings help improve sight and differentiate distances and depths. This also allows for a more accurate aim. In addition, varying color choices and reflective materials help differentiate targets from the surrounding background, to improve accuracy. 


Reticle Applications in Metrology

Metrology is the study of measurement, so reticles play a vital role in the field—particularly when it comes to surveying. 

Surveyors need incredibly precise technology to ensure accurate representation. Reticles are instrumental in properly measuring distances, depths, and heights. Stadia marks, for example, used on common surveying equipment like theodolites, help distinguish and measure differences in horizontal and vertical planes.

Other applications in metrology include reticles used with microscopes to compare and measure specimens in real-time.


Custom Made Reticles from Photo Solutions  

At Photo Solutions, we specialize in custom reticles for any number of applications. From military scopes to custom measurement devices, our team of experts can help you design and build reticles to maximize your aiming, targeting, and measuring technologies.

We’ll work with you from start to finish, building out a CAD model of your design and transferring that design onto mylar, glass, or aluminum substrates. With expertise going back 30 years, there’s no project too big or too small for our team. 

Connect with us to see how a custom reticle can level-up your next design.