If I may disagree, quality FFP scopes typically cost more than the same quality SFP scopes (just compare the prices of similar Nightforce scopes; FFP typically cost more).
The value of the FFP scope is that the reticle calibrations remain constant across the power range. For typical hunting conditions (under 300yds), a ranging reticle is not really required. Since your "point blank" zero is generally good enough to kill most large game in the US, the ability to adjust for an inch or two is not really required.
Where FFP scopes come into play (and value) is the long range, multiple target at multiple ranges environment. This is typically the type of shooting used on two legged varmints or steel; hence why these are usually used by military and PRS-type shooters. The ability to have accurate hold over (as well as push for wind) is important when the target has limited exposure or you have a limited amount of time to engage. Also, if time constrained, engaging multiple targets at long range (say at 675, then 540, then at 740yds) is greatly aided by a calibrated reticle, relieving the shooter from having to dial in elevation and wind between each shot.
As to the reticle flaking, that may be an issue specific to USO. Most quality FFP scopes these days have the reticles chemically etched onto the lens so there is no fading, flaking or broken cross hairs. It's also really the only way to have some of the more complex reticles (Horus H59, Mil-R, MOAR etc.).
The Con to FFP scopes is that the reticle can become very small at low magnification, making it hard to make out the intersection of the cross hairs or in some cases, hard to see in low light (hence many have illuminated reticles). As stated earlier, the other Con is they tend to be a bit a pricey, and have a lot more moving parts.
SWFA does make some good glass, both in SFP, FFP and fixed power.
Bushnell and Vortex are really giving NF, USO and S&B a run for their money with the release of VERY competitively priced FFP scopes. Granted, these are still in the $1000-$2500 range (not cheap by any stretch of the imagination), but well below the current $3800 for a NF Beast or Schmidt Bender PMII.
As to which is better? It really has more to do with shooter preference and the type of shooting you're doing; the right tool for the right job so-to-speak. (This same discussion could be had with regards to MOA/Mil versus Mil/Mil scopes.)
Edited by MarinePMI, 07 May 2015 - 04:03 AM.