Which is the Best Thermal Scope for Your Hunt?
Thermal imaging can bridge the gap between uncertainty and the perfect shot. Here is a look at the top 5 best thermal scope options to make your hunt a success.
Vision is critical when you are hunting. External conditions often stand in the way of having a perfect shot. Even when you are completely in-tune with your surroundings, some scenarios will require more than your senses can provide. Dust, smoke, the black envelope of night, and distance can stand between you and the perfect shot. It is critical, in moments like this, that you are prepared with the best equipment for the job. This is where the importance of a thermal scope becomes obvious. Thermal imaging uses radiant heat to produce an image. This means that visual obstructions such as smoke quickly become a non-issue. Thermal imaging is also often used in law enforcement. Thermal imaging can allow an officer or game warden to see a perpetrator or dangerous animal that is attempting to hide or located amongst heavy cover. In this review, we will be taking a look at some of the best thermal scope options on the market and how they can prepare you for poor visibility situations and make the best of your hunt.
ATN X-Sight 4K Pro Day/Night Rifle Scope
The ATN X-Sight 4K Pro Smart Day/Night Rifle Scope makes the list of the top 5 best thermal scopes, foremost, because of the crystal clear 4K Ultra HD Sensor. The extremely high resolution brought by the Obsidian 4 Dual Core Processor will help to make sure that there is no doubt about what you are seeing. The image quality is outstanding through this thermal scope.
The ATN X-Sight 4K Scope also has a built-in Ballistic Calculator. It can calculate range, windage, temperature, and a variety of other variables.
Not only does the ATN X-Sight 4k Scope deliver HD images in real-time, but it can also stream video to your phone or another mobile device. It also can download videos to a built-in SD card.
The weather-resistant X-Sight 4K Pro allows for impeccable vision at night with a high-quality night vision mode. Despite all of the functions of the scope, the batteries can last through 18+ hours of continuous operation, delivering thermal imaging and information from the ballistic calculator for as long as you might need it.
In addition to the standard video recording, the X-Sight 4K Pro has Recoil Activated Video recording (RAV) to make sure that you get documentation of the shot without having to time it out or use multiple devices.
- Ultra HD makes for great thermal imaging and excellent visibility
- Ballistic Calculator allows an accurate and confident shot
- Video can be streamed to a mobile or video device or downloaded
- Recoil Activated Video recording captures the shot
- Excellent night vision mode
- Not as user friendly as some models
- Some report that customer service is difficult to navigate
ATN Thor LT Thermal Rifle Scope
The ATN Thor LT Thermal Rifle Scope is among the list of the top 5 best thermal scopes for quite a few reasons. The first of these being the user-friendliness and ease of mounting of the Thor HD. The scope is easy to detach and reattach to your rifle of choice. This scope is also very lightweight, weighing in at just 1.4lbs.
The integrity of the thermal imaging on this scope maintained in any conditions because it does not require any visible light when producing a crisp, clear image.
The One Shot Zero feature makes sighting quick and easy. To use the One Shot Zero feature, all that you have to do is reposition the zero reticle to the previous or first point of impact. The reticle is easily moved and ensures that the fewest possible number of shots are wasted.
Although some thermal imaging scopes drain batteries quickly, the ATN Thor LT does not. It has a battery life that allows 10+ hours of continuous use.
- Easy to mount and use
- Produces a clear image without visible light
- One-Shot Zero function helps consistent accuracy
- 10+ hours of battery life
- Great price point
- Takes a considerable amount of time to charge
- The screen is known to have problems after consistent use
The OpticGuru Thor LT Thermal Scope
The OpticGuru Thor LT Thermal Scope is very similar to the previous scope, although it does have some key differences. A huge advantage that this thermal scope has (just as the previously listed scope), is the affordability. The price of the OpticGuru Thor LT makes it very accessible.
This thermal imaging scope also can be used in complete darkness thanks to the Advanced Heat Detection Sensors.
The tube of the scope itself is 30mm and made of aluminum alloy. The heavy-duty construction of the scope sets it apart because it is recoil resistant even on high-caliber rifles. The design is traditional, making it even more versatile. If you have a rifle with a traditional scope, the OpticGuru Thor LT Thermal Scope can be easily integrated to replace the old one without affecting the balance or aesthetic value of the rifle. This is also a plus if you are accustomed to traditional scopes. Your form and body posture will not have to be altered as much when switching to the OpticGuru Thor LT.
Just as the ATN Thor LT (listed above), the OpticGuru Thor LT Thermal Scope has a battery that can last through 10+ hours of continuous use, making it a fairly strong battery that will not likely die prematurely while hunting.
The scope is lightweight, making for great balance and dexterity while attached to your rifle.
- Great quality for the price
- Long battery life
- Advanced Heat Detection Sensors
- Durable and resistant to substantial recoil
- No magnification between 4x and 8x
Pulsar Core RXQ30V 1.6-6.4x22 Thermal Riflescope
The Pulsar Core RXQ30V 1.6-6.4×22 Thermal Riflescope is a hefty contender for the best thermal scope because of the integrated Iris technology. The Iris technology used recognizes your Iris, detects its position, and calibrates accordingly. It does this via on-board software.
The resolution of the image is fantastic, with the 384×288 core used in the Pulsar Core.
The Pulsar Core can be run from an external power source (USB or DS), or a battery pack can be utilized. While the battery pack is attached, the Pulsar Core RXQ30V 1.6-6.4×22 Thermal Riflescope is fully waterproof. Having several options when it comes to powering your scope can be a huge advantage. There are so many variables at play while hunting, any chance that a variable can be eliminated or reduced should be taken. In the event of power failure, having a back-up plan can ensure that you have a scope to use when you need it. A thermal scope with a dead battery or a battery malfunction is merely dead weight. Even so, when fully assembled, the Pulsar Core is fairly lightweight.
- Iris technology
- High-resolution thermal imaging
- Has multiple options for power
- Completely waterproof
- Comparatively inexpensive
- Great quality for the price
- Great for use during the day or night
- White-hot and black-hot viewing modes
- Green sapphire display
- Cannot be adjusted for elevation (must hold-over when needed at longer distances)
- Does not record
Pulsar Trail LRF
Though considerably higher in price, the Pulsar Trail LRF is an incredible rifle scope. With a built-in rangefinder and 640×480 resolution, the Pulsar Trail LRF delivers a super clear image and has a detection range of 2,000 yards.
Not only does the Pulsar Trail LRF deliver ‘picture-in-picture’ digital zooming, but it also has an app that allows connection to a smart device, One-Shot zeroing, a freeze function, and Iris technology. The ‘picture-in-picture’ digital zooming allows the user to retain the image at the original or desired magnification while a second and smaller frame shows the image with the zoom applied. This is handy because you can retain important contextual information in the larger view while the zoom can show a more detailed image simultaneously.
The Pulsar Trail LRF is fully waterproof and has built-in video recording with sound. The ability to record sound can reveal the influence of noise on the target. A good example of this would be a small leaf ‘crunch’ or snapping twig might go unnoticed, leaving the shooter confused as to why the target spooked. The ability to record sound, however, would reveal this and lead to a better understanding of the hunt. The high refresh rate of the Pulsar Trail LRF (50Hz) stands out by bringing impeccable video quality.
- Built-in, accurate, rangefinder
- Remarkable resolution (view and video)
- ‘Picture-in-picture’ zooming
- Connects and streams to a smart device
- Iris technology
- High refresh rate
- One-Shot zeroing
- Video and sound recording
- Quite heavy
- Battery size is non-standard
Frequently Asked Questions When Purchasing Thermal Scopes
Q: What is the best thermal scope for hunting?
A: Like anything else, of course, this depends upon your expectations. If you are looking for an inexpensive model that will get the job done without breaking the bank, the OpticGuru Thor LT Thermal Scope will not disappoint. It delivers quality thermal images with an unobstructed view at a reasonable price. If, however, price is not an issue, the Pulsar Trail LRF will do everything that you need a thermal imaging rifle scope to do and more. There are plenty of thermal scopes out there with a wide range of prices. The important thing is that you take into consideration all of the things that you want your scope to accomplish.
Q: What is the best thermal night vision scope?
A: The ATN X-Sight 4K Pro delivers the best night vision with a variety of color modes. With the day and night modes and specific functions of the ATN X-Sight, you will not be disappointed if this scope is your go-to for night vision capabilities.
Q: How long will a thermal scope last?
A: This depends upon the quality of the scope. The battery life of a thermal scope greatly depends upon the size of the field of view and the length of time that the scope is used in the ‘on’ position. The overall life of the scope itself depends upon the materials used and the recoil resistance of the scope. If the scope is not meant to endure high-caliber recoil, the scope will not last as long if attached to a high-caliber rifle.
Q: Are Trijicon thermal scopes worth the money?
A: It is possible to buy a decent scope for less money. The reason that people tend to purchase Trijicon is that they withstand daily use exceptionally well. If you do not plan to use your rifle daily, however, it is not necessary.
Hopefully, this list of the top 5 best thermal scopes has helped you to get an idea about which thermal scope is best for your setup. Whether you are an expert with finely tuned senses or a beginner, there are plenty of variables that are out of the shooter’s control. When out hunting or even for those in law enforcement, it is best to curb as many of those variables as possible. With the ability to ignore impediments like tall grass, smoke, or complete darkness with thermal imaging, the chances of having a visual obstruction come between you and the target and prevent the shot are significantly reduced. Another benefit inherent to thermal imaging scopes is that the contrast of the image is high in contrast compared to other types of images. This means that any movement or slight differentiation is obvious and quite hard to ignore. First thing in the morning or at the end of the day when your eyes are tired, this could mean the difference between a successful shot and a missed opportunity. Whether you are looking for a thermal scope on a budget, or you are looking to go ‘all-in’, there is a scope out there to fit your needs.