Thermals and Scopes
Things to Consider Before Buying a Thermal Rifle Scope
The cost of a rifle mounted thermal scope range from $8,995 like the Trijicon IR Defense HUNTER MKIII to lower-priced models like the $6,495 Trijicon IR Defense PATROL M300W.
The IR Hunter Mk III (60mm) takes all the features and performance of the Mark II and adds a long range 7° field of view lens with a stadiametric range finder. The 4.5x magnification combined with the 640x480 resolution 12μm micron Long Wave Infrared thermal core delivers the perfect combination for a 24/7 weapon sighting platform. One of the benefits of the 12μm micron technology is that it delivers 50% more magnification from the same lens used on a 17m micron thermal core. This means the 60mm thermal lens offers the same magnification and FOV of a 90mm lens. In addition to this incredible power, the Mk III comes standard with a real-time 60Hz fast frame rate. No clipping or video slow-down. 60Hz is incredibly useful for leading fast targets moving lateral to the operator's position. But, the user can switch frame rate to 30Hz to conserve battery life. The IR Hunter Mk III brings the technology used by Special Operations Forces to a civilian-legal weapon sight.
Or you can buy the more affordable Pulsar Apex XQ38 thermal for $2,499.97.
2. Resolution and Refresh rate
A scope with 1024 x 768 resolution is usually the best for rifle mounted thermal rifle scopes while a good system will boast a resolution of 320 x 240. However, resolutions at 206 x 156 will still give you a clear image out to 100 yards. High-end scopes can give you identification out to 250-500 yards. Lower-end models can give you identification out to 100 yards.
When it comes to refresh rate, most models specifications will display this rate in Hz ranging from 9 to 50. Higher frame rate means a smoother image when panning or tracking a moving target. To help get an idea of what to compare this to the standard TV broadcast rate is 25Hz. You may also want to consider the features of the thermal scope such as if it allows for both still and video capture.
3. Battery Life
Lastly, you will want to consider the battery life of the thermal scope that you are purchasing. Most scopes run on four CR123 batteries and can last up to 5 hours with continuous use while the others can run 8 hours - but with 4 AA lithium batteries.