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It can be used to estimate ranges if you know the height of the target or something near it? Then you can work backward from that based on the number of mil dots (or portion thereof) the known height subtends. It's an estimating system, and not as precise as laser range finders. It's a fun game to make estimates using your sights, then checking them against the laser instrument. It's quicker than than stopping to take a reading with the laser when you become accustomed to it. Note that there are other kinds of reticules for estimating range based on the height of men or deer. The mil dot is probably the best documented one, though.
 
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