What is Eye Relief on a Scope?

Another “shooter-ism” type term to be heard and found often at the range and in shooter circles is that of EYE RELIEF. It sounds like a sort of spa your eyeball goes to so it can get some rest from a hectic day staring at a computer screen. Or maybe it’s something you put over your eye that serves as a sort of filter from the harsh realities of UV lights and dust and other obstructions your eye might encounter while shooter.

Guess what!? The answer to all the above is a simple NOPE. Fortunately for you, the definition of eye relief is a simple one. The truth is that the concept of eye relief has been around with optics even long before guys were putting scopes on rifles to be able to achieve greater accuracy at longer distances. Okay wait, I said simple definition right? What is Eye Relief on a Scope? Here it is:

Eye relief is the distance between your eye and the closest surface of the chosen optic that allows the user to attain a full viewing angle.

This action shot displays the ultra light weight of this setup with the .308 style recoil from the .30 TC round requires a healthy amount of eye relief and respect in order to prevent “scope bite.”

Meaning, if you have a scope with 3.5″ eye relief, it means that there’s a small window around those three and a half inches that allow you to be able to use the view on the scope to its fullest potential. Without achieving proper eye relief, a shooter will struggle with accuracy and consistency, which is why last week we talked about CHEEK WELD. Find your same cheek weld every time in reference to eye relief and your confidence AND accuracy will improve.

Note: The bigger the gun (as in the bigger the round, the bigger the kick, the bigger the recoil), the longer I’d recommend your eye relief to be. There is such a thing as “scope bite.” Which I’m sure we’ll talk about soon, but just know it hurts, and creates a tendency to flinch if you think the scope is going to smack you in the face every time you pull the trigger.

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