- 1.1 Best Thermal Imaging and Night Vision Scopes Comparison Table
- 1.2 Pulsar Apex XD38A Thermal Riflescope
- 1.3 Pulsar Apex XD50A Thermal Riflescope
- 1.4 FLIR Systems RS64 1.1-9x Thermal Night Vision Riflescope
- 1.5 IR Defense REAP-IR 35mm Mini Thermal Weapon Sight
- 1.6 IR Defense Hunter Mark II Thermal Riflescope
- 1.7 Armasight Zeus Thermal Imaging Weapon Sight
- 1.8 Sightmark Photon XT Night Vision Scope
- 1.9 Armasight ORION 5X Gen 1+ Night Vision Rifle Scope
- 1.10 Firefield FF16001 Gen 1 Night Vision Riflescope
- 1.11 Armasight Nemesis 6x-SD Gen 2+ Night Vision Riflescope
- 1.12 Pulsar Digisight 850 LRF Digital NV Riflescope
- 1.13 Inteliscope Thermal Scope Bundle for IPhone and Android
- 1.14 ATN X-Sight II Smart Night Vision Riflescope
- 1.15 ATN ThOR HD 384 Smart Thermal Riflescope w/1080p Video, WiFi, GPS, Image Stabilization, Range Finder, Shooting Solution and IOS and Android Apps
- 2 Things to Consider Before Buying a Rifle Scope
- 2.1 Lens
- 2.2 Lens Coating
- 2.3 Lens Quality
- 2.4 Objective Lens Size
- 2.5 Refresh/Frame Rate
- 2.6 Field of View (FOV)
- 2.7 Display Resolution
- 2.8 Zoom
- 2.9 Digital Zoom
- 2.10 Optical Zoom
- 2.11 Cost of the Scope
- 2.12 Durability of the Scope
- 2.13 Life of Battery
- 2.14 Reticle
- 2.15 Brand
- 2.16 Usability
- 2.17 Scope’s Eye Relief
- 2.18 Variable Power Scope vs Fixed Power Scope
- 2.19 Warranty
- 2.20 Secondary Features of a Scope Worth Considering
- 2.21 Conclusion
- 3 The Benefits of Using Thermal Riflescopes
- 4 The Benefits of Using Night Vision Rifles Scopes
- 5 How to Use a Thermal Imaging/Night Vision Riflescope
- 6 Thermal Imaging
- 7 Types of Thermal Imaging – Thermal Vision Systems
- 8 Night Vision
- 9 Differences between Thermal and Night Vision Systems (Thermal Vision vs Night Vision)
- 10 Difference Between Gen1, Gen 2 and Gen 3 Night Vision, and How Have These Evolved Since the First Generation Night Vision Products
- 11 How To Maintain Thermal Imaging Scopes and Night Vision Scopes
Best Thermal Imaging and Night Vision Scopes Comparison Table
If you are into any form of shooting activity that requires high-end viewing equipment, you should consider the Pulsar Apex XD38A Thermal Riflescope. This scope has a 384×288 resolution and LCD display that provides a quality view of your target. The scope’s 50Hz refresh rate allows you to view your target in real time, even when it’s moving with speed. With the scope’s 950m detection range and 4x digital zoom, you view any dangerous target at a safe distance of 1000 yards and more, with extreme detail. The one thing that sets the Pulsar Apex XD38A scope apart from traditional scopes is its one-shot zeroing with freeze feature. With this feature, you only need to take a shot of your target, which will be saved in memory, and adjust the scope’s reticles to a point where it intersects with your bullet’s parabolic trajectory at zero distance; and just like that, you’ve zeroed your rifle.
Included in the scope’s package are a carrying bag for safe transportation, a wireless control for remote operation, a cleaning cloth, user manual, and extra batteries. Also in the package is an external adaptor for charging the batteries. The scope has an internal dampening system that holds the scope in place for up to 1000G s of recoil. Irrespective of the weather condition, this scope is effective because it operates on thermal imaging, which uses heat from your target to provide a viewing image. The scope is housed in a glass-nylon composite body, which is rust-resistant as well as impact resistant. Measured in inches, the scope measures 13.2×3.1×3. Without its batteries and mount, the scope weighs 21.2 ounces. The scope has an eye relief of 67mm, which protects the eyes from the impact of rifle recoils. And a battery life of 5 hours means an extended period of non-stop action in the field before you have to recharge or replace the scope’s batteries.
Features at a Glance
- 384×288 resolution.
- 50hz refresh rate.
- High resolution LCD display.
- Wireless remote control.
- Carrying case and cleaning cloth.
- One-shot zeroing and freeze functions.
- 950mm detection range.
- Internal dampening system.
- Multiple mounting holes.
- 4x digital zoom.
Whether you are into law enforcement, security, surveillance, hunting or any shooting sport, the Pulsar Apex XD50A scope is a state-of-the-art vision device that you can benefit from. The scope’s 1400 yards detection range and 384×288 high resolution LCD display allow you to perceive your target at a much longer distance than its predecessor Pulsar Apex XD38A and other scopes on the market. With a 1.9x magnification and 4x digital zoom, you can now fill yourself in on the minute details of your target. You can also choose from three operation modes: Rocks, Forests and Identification. These modes improve contrasts considerably, providing vivid imagery. The scope’s automatic calibration mode allows you to adjust the lens with a great deal of ease.
In the scope’s package, you will find a user manual, cleaning cloth, an adapter cable for external charging and external display of images, a wireless remote control, and a mount with screws. The scope can memorize up to three zeroing parameters, making it all the more easy to align the scope’s reticles to your target at zero distance. The scope’s body is made of glass-nylon composite which is water-resistant, rust resistant, and impact resistant. The scope measures 13.5×3.1×3 inches, and weighs 24.7 ounces, without its mount and batteries. An ample eye relief of 67mm prevents unpleasant black eye from rifle recoil, and a 50Hz refresh rate means that you can now view your target even when it’s moving very fast. Now you can perform under a variety of weather conditions, with little fear, because the scope’s thermal imaging technology is able to pick up heat from your target and use it to display a viewing image for you. Lastly, the scope comes with up to 10 pre-installed reticles, and you can select any of them based on your environment and the kind of aiming experience you want.
Features at a Glance
- 50hz refresh rate.
- 1.9x magnification./li>
- Thermal imaging technology.
- 10 pre-installed reticles.
- High resolution LCD display.
- Wireless remote control.
- 4x digital zoom.
- 1400mm detection range.
- Optional adapter cable.
- Portable carrying case.
- Multiple operation modes.
- One-shot zeroing and freeze feature.
- Multiple calibration mode (manual, automatic or semi-automatic modes).
While hunting is usually done in the day, you can now indulge in the act at night, thanks to FLIR System’s state-of-the art invention – the RS64 Scope. Depending on the level of visibility in your location, you can now select from the scope’s different reticle formats, duplex, fine duplex, and German, to help you aim well at your target. Also, the reticles’ colors of red, white, black and green cause them to stand out in low visibility settings. With a 3-inch eye relief, you can view freely without fear of catching a black eye from recoils. A lens with 35mm fixed focal length allows you to view at wider angles. A simple 4-botton interface makes it easier to explore the scope’s functions. A Picatinny rail mount base allows you to mount the scope on almost every rifle. Compatibility with an external battery pack means that you can operate the scope on an external battery when the internal one runs down, and enjoy longer hours in the field.
The scope comes with prepackaged with an external wall charger, and a standard USB interface for connecting onto other devices. It measures 8×3.3×2.9 inches, and weighs less than 1.8lbs, making it portable and light. A standard 2-year warranty means that you can save on costs from defects that are covered under the warranty. In fact, scope’s warranty is extendable to 3 years, if you take the time to register it with FLIR systems. With a 4-hour battery run-time, you can do much in the field before you are out of power. Compared to certain high-end scopes, the RS64 has a lower refresh rate (30Hz as compared to 50Hz); but it can provide a descent view of a moving target.
Features at a Glance
- Multiple reticle formats.
- 35mm fixed focal lens.
- 3-inch eye relief.
- 4 button interface.
- External wall charger.
- USB interface.
- 4-hour battery run time.
- Compatibility with Picatinny rail weapon interface.
- Active matrix LCD screen.
The IR Defense REAP-IR 35mm Mini Thermal Weapon Sight is yet another very sophisticated thermal weapon sight from one of the giants in the thermal weapon sight industry IR Defense Corporation. With a stadiametric range finder, the IR Defense saves you from wasting your time and racking your brain to find the actual distance of your target. This feature not only permits swift and accurate ranging of your target but it also displays the information on your screen. The scope also comes with an enhanced target recognition that produces high quality images of your target by picking the target area and adjusting for both brightness and contrast. Furthermore, the IR Defense comes with multiple reticle save locations which allow you to zero it on as many as 4 different weapons. As if all this isn’t enough, the scope is engineered with an unparalleled refresh rate of 60Hz, which makes it possible to view extremely fast-moving targets. Also, you have the option to reduce the refresh rate to 30Hz, if you are running low on battery. With a combination of simple and complex reticles, you can aim with extreme precision using the IR Defense, even when you have settings that make it difficult for you to focus on your target. Operating on a thermal imaging technology, the scope can produce a viewing image of your target, using heat emitted from your target, even under very poor lighting and weather conditions.
IR Defense Corporation has also included the following things in the scope’s package: an eye guard to prevent a spillover of light from the scope and to protect your eyes from recoil shocks, a portable carrying case, a lens cap to protect the lens from scratches, and a Wilcox dovetail adapter for applications of helmet mounts. Weighing less than 1lb and measuring 6.5×2.95×3.0 inches, the IR Defense scope is indeed it a very portable device. It is lighter to carry around than many other scopes in its league. The scope has a battery runtime of 5 hours, which is more than enough for you to indulge in continuous action in the field. The scope also comes with additional batteries for your use. To support its claim of being a producer of high-quality scopes, IR Defense Corporation has backed the REAP scope with a 3-year warranty.
Features at a Glance
- Edge detect mode.
- Enhanced target recognition.
- Stadiametric range finder.
- Multiple reticle save locations.
- 60 Hz frame rate.
- Varied operating temperature.
- Multiple reticle patterns.
- Eye guard.
- Thermal imaging technology.
- 3-year warranty.
If you are looking for a viewing device that combines the performance of a military thermal sight and the accuracy of a riflescope, you should consider the IR Defense Hunter Mark II Thermal Scope. The scope’s high frame rate of 60Hz is among the best in the industry, and allows you to not only see your targets very clearly but also allows you to easily aim at very fast-moving targets. You can use this scope by itself, as a normal viewing equipment, or with a rifle, in which case you don’t need any accessory to clip it onto the scope; this enhances your flexibility. You can choose from the scope’s three thermal reticles, thermal combat reticle, thermal dot reticle, and thermal subtension reticle, all of which scale as you zoom into your target. The scope’s MILSPEC OLED Micro Display is also another feature of it worth talking about since it has the ability to produce very quality images at a brilliant resolution of 640×480. The IR Hunter comes with an output port, which makes it possible to view images on an external screen.
The Hunter Mark II is housed in a 6061 T6-Aluminum Body, which is both impact- and water-resistant. With a coated-antireflection lens, the scope absorbs transmitted infrared light more efficiently than many other scopes out there. This feature allows the scope to produce an extremely clear viewing image. The Hunter Mark II has a LT 681 Picatinny Mount with a quick release lever that makes for a quick detachment of the scope from your rifle. The Hunter Mark II weighs 2.18lbs and measures 7.4×3.1×2.9 inches. If you are into scopes that take little time to start up, then the Hunter Mark II is worth considering since it has a start-up time of about 4 seconds. The scope also comes with a battery runtime of 5 hours, which is not only considered adequate for your hunting trips but also far longer than what a number of scopes offer. Lastly, IR Defense Corporation has put its money where its mouth is, and has backed up the scope with a 3-year warranty. In addition to all these goodies that this scope comes with, in its package you will find an excellent storage case, 2 Lithium CR-123 batteries, and a shuttered eye guard that prevents an overspill of light.
Features at a Glance
- 640×840 resolution.
- Refresh rate of 60Hz.
- MILSPEC OLED micro display.
- LT 681 Picatinny Mount with quick release lever.
- Micro IR uncooled vanadium oxide micro bolometer detector lens.
- Corrosion-resistant 6061-T6 aluminum housing makes scope both waterproof and shock-resistant.
- Coated anti-reflection lens.
- Shuttered eye guard.
- Ergonomic design.
- 3-year warranty.
- Battery runtime of 5 hours.
- Quick start up time.
- Detection range of over 1000 yards.
The Armasight Zeus Sight is efficiency, accuracy, flexibility and durability all bundled up in one device. The sight comes with a shuttered eye guard that prevents already-existing/environmental light (ambient light) from interfering with light from the scope and impairing your view. By preventing excess light from the scope from spilling over, the eye guard keeps your location a secret, unknown to others who have similar viewing devices. The scope’s thermal imaging technology and multicolor modes of white hot, black hot, rainbow and others uses heat from your target to display a colorful viewing image. A multi-pin connector means that you can connect to an external source of power, should your battery run low. Furthermore, the multi-pin connector also allows you to view images from the scope on an external display screen. Multiple reticle patterns, including, Dot 4 MOA, Line DOT, Cross Center DOT, Cross and Crosshair, make spotting extremely easy. The colors of the sight’s reticle patterns are red, cyan, black and white, which work to improve your viewing and spotting of the target.
In the package of the Zeus Thermal sight, you will find a wireless remote control, an external power supply as well as a video recorder. The sight’s body is composed of CNC Machined Aircraft Aluminum Alloy, which is durable, water resistant as well as rust-resistant. The sight measures 7.6×2.7×3.1 inches and weighs 1.5lbs. A very little start-up time and battery runtime of up to 4 hours means that you can hit the ground running once you enter the field, and it will be a while before you will need a battery change. Armasight International Company, the American producer and distributor of thermal systems and viewing devices, has backed the sight up with a 3-year warranty, indicating to you that it’s a durable device. Furthermore, the sight comes with a FLIR Detector which is also backed by a 10-year warranty.
Features at a Glance
- Shuttered eye guard.
- Thermal imaging technology improves vision.
- Multi-pin connector.
- Anti-corrosive housing made of aircraft aluminum.
- Multiple color modes.
- Wireless remote control.
- FLIR detector.
- Six reticle patterns that promote accurate targeting.
- Compatible with Picatinny Rails.
- Varied operating temperatures.
Originally fashioned as a weapon scope, the Photon XT can be equally used as a magnified spotting scope or a handheld thermal imager. This scope boasts an impressive 60mm eye relief, which prevents excess light from the scope from spilling over. It also makes it impossible for enemies to detect your location, using devices that pick up on excess light. The scope comes with multiple digital reticles, including crossbow, German style, duplex and mil dot, from which you can choose for a better aiming experience. Furthermore, the reticles come in the different colors of red, green and white in order to make aiming easier in obscured environments. A high resolution of 640×480 means that you can view your targets with exceptional clarity. With a digital windage and elevation system, you can adjust your scope/rifle to any direction you like, with more precision and little guess work, to suit your current position.
In addition to the Sightmark Photon XT Night Vision Scope, the package contains a cleaning cloth, video-out cable for external display of targets, and a portable carrying case. Compared to other scopes, the Photon XT has a rather limited range of 120m. The scope measures 17.5x4x3.5 inches and weighs 23.6 oz. Housed in nylon-glass composite, the Photon XT is water-, impact- and rust-resistant. Sightmark, the US-based manufacturer of optics and accessories has backed the scope up with a limited 3-year warranty. You can now stay longer in the field, thanks to the long runtime of 5 hours of the batteries of the Photon XT. A very quick start-up time means that you don’t waste any more time than is needed to set up your weapon and bounce into action.
Features at a Glance
- 640×480 resolution permits crisp detailing.
- Long eye relief of 60mm.
- Multiple reticles that enhance your shooting experience.
- Inbuilt 810nm LED illuminator.
- Video output function.
- Digital windage and elevation system.
- Weatherproof and shockproof construction.
- 5-hour battery life.
- Quick start-up time.
- Detection range of 120m.
- Corrosion-resistant body.
- 3-year warranty.
If you are looking for a dependable, high performing, mid-range viewing device in the Generation 1 category, you should consider the Armasight Orion Night Vision Scope. Equipped with a 5x magnification, the Armasight ORION will allow you to easily fill yourself in on the details of your target. The scope comes with a detachable infrared illuminator, which allows you to see your targets very clearly in total darkness. This feature permits visibility in the dark by emitting infrared rays on your targets, thereby making them bright enough to be seen even in pitch darkness. The Armasight Orion is housed in an aluminum body, which is corrosion-resistant. In addition to being corrosion-resistant, the aluminum body is able to withstand pressure from accidental falls and impact that shooters often encounter in the field. A contoured rubber covering seals all parts of the scope and prevents water from entering the scope and destroying it. The scope is compatible with standard Picatinny/Weaver rails whichmeans that you can use the scope with a variety of weapons.
The Armasight Orion comes with a tethered lens cap, which saves the scope’s lens from scratches and other viewing impediments. The scope’s shock-protected optics, which can withstand, plays an important role in enhancing the scope’s durability. The scope’s illuminated reticles take away the challenges associated with aiming at your target under sub-optimal (low light) conditions. With a weight of 60oz and a measurement of 12.7×4.6×4.1 inches, the Armasight ORION is a pretty portable device. The manufacturers of this scope, Armasight International Incorporated back it up with a limited 2-year warranty. The Armasight ORION has an extraordinary battery life of 40 hours which means that you can stay longer in the field during your hunting trips and wouldn’t have to worry about carrying any additional batteries. In addition to this, it also has a low battery indicator that lets you know when your battery is running out so that you can replace it in time. User-friendly controls also make it very easy for you to adjust scope settings to suit your needs. Just like the other scopes in the Orion series, this scope comes equipped with a precision top wheel focus, which significantly helps in enhancing the accuracy of your shots. Last but certainly not least, the Armasight Orion Night Vision Scope has a rubber eyecup that prevents excess light from the scope from over spilling.
Features at a Glance
- Detachable infrared illuminator.
- Illuminated red crosshair reticle.
- Water resistant design.
- Shock protected optics.
- Rubberized body/armoring.
- Powerful magnification of 5x.
- Rubber eyecup.
- Simple user interface.
- Low battery indicator.
- Diopter adjustment.
- precision top wheel focus
- Storage temperature of -50 to +60 °C.
- Operating temperature which ranges between -40 to +50 °C.
- 2-year warranty.
Even in the still of the night, when nature is at its darkest, the Firefield Gen 1 Night Vision Scope provides clear vision that’s the envy of many of similar night vision scopes on the market. The scope has a 3x magnification, which allows you to see details of your target over a medium to long range. A robust design makes the scope extremely durable; the scope is housed in a titanium body that has a rugged design. As if this isn’t enough, the titanium body is also rust-resistant – something that further enhances the scope’s ruggedness and durability. The Firefield is engineered with an in-built IR Illuminator that works like a flashlight for the scope, thereby making it possible for you to see your targets clearly regardless of how dark the night is. Another outstanding feature of the Firefield is its rubber, winged eyecup that prevents excess light from the scope from spilling over. In addition to this, the feature also assures your safety by making it impossible for others to pick up the source of the excess light. The scope also comes with a flip-up protective lens cover that guards against scratches and other damages to the lens during storage. The illuminated red duplex reticles which the scope comes with enhance your precision when you are spotting your target. Furthermore, you can also adjust the level of brightness of the reticles to suit your needs.
The scope also comes with a pretty quick start-up time means that you can hit the ground running once you enter the field. Lastly, the scope is water-resistant, meaning that it can be used under wet conditions, such as rain. It even has the ability to survive if it is accidentally submerged into water for a short period of time.
When you open the box containing the Firefield night vision scope, you will find the following: a portable carrying case for transporting the scope, a cleaning cloth, a quick-detach weaver mount, and 2 AA batteries. The scope measures 9.3x2x3.4 inches and weighs 1.18lbs, making it less of a hustle to carry it around in the field. The manufacturers of the scope have backed it up with a limited 3-year warranty that is extendable to 5 years, with registration.
Features at a Glance
- 3x magnification.
- Robust design.
- In-built IR illuminator.
- Lightweight body.
- Rubber-winged eye cup.
- Multi-coated optics.
- Quick detach weaver mount.
- Flip-up lens cover.
- Ergonomic design.
- User-friendly controls.
- Portable carrying case.
- Quick start-up time.
- 3-year warranty.
In the Generation 2 category of vision devices, the Armasight Nemesis Scope is a powerful device for the modern hunter, law enforcement officer and sports shooter. The scope’s shock protected optics is able to withstand all sorts of impact and pressure associated with work in the field. A 6x magnification allows you to view minute details of your target from very long distances, with ease. An internal windage and elevation system makes it easy to adjust the scope to suit your positional needs. The scope has a uniquely thin cross-hair reticle that can be quite rare to find in other scopes on the market. This thin cross-hair reticle makes it possible to view very small targets by improving contrast. The scope can be illuminated to red in order to allow you to view targets under low light settings or during the night. A long range IR illuminator makes it possible to see your target under low light settings, and over long distances, by making visible, the invisible light that is given off by your target.
The Nemesis is compatible with all weapons that have Picatinny/Weaver rails. The scope is housed in a body that is made of aircraft aluminum, which is both impact- and corrosion-resistant. A very long battery life of 60 hours means that you can endure in the field for very long before you will need a new battery. The scope weighs 4.2lbs and measures 15.3x4x2.8 inches. The Nemesis is also waterproof – meaning that it can be used under rainy conditions and can withstand the effects if it is briefly submerged into water. An eye relief of 46mm provides enough room to escape impact from rifle recoils that lead to a black eye. Lastly, the manufactures of the Armasight Nemesis Night Vision scope have backed it up with a 2-year warranty.
Features at a Glance
- 6x magnification.
- Generation 2+ night vision technology.
- Internal windage and elevation adjustments.
- Illuminated reticles.
- Long range detachable IR illuminator.
- Picatinny/Weaver mount.
- User-friendly controls.
- 60-hour battery life.
- 2-year warranty.
- Ability to be controlled remotely.
- Shock protected optics.
- Eye relief of 46mm.
If you are a hunter looking for a high-end vision device that will fetch you a bumper harvest in the field with much ease, you should consider the Pulsar Digisight 850 LRF Digital NV Riflescope from one of the household names in the night vision industry Pulsar. The scope has a 4.5x-9x magnification that makes it possible to view minute details about your target. A 600m detection range, while not extremely high, is enough for you to shoot your target from quite a distance. An integrated laser range finderhelps you to determine the distance between you and your target rather easily. With a one-shot zeroing with freeze function, you can easily zero your rifle, by saving your previous settings in the scope’s memory and adjusting the reticles to meet the bullet’s trajectory at zero distance. A battery runtime of up to 4 hours means that you can stay longer in the field. The scope comes pre-loaded with 13 reticle options, from which you can choose to make aiming at your target easier. A video in/video out portallows you to display images externally.
The scope’s impressive eye relief of 67mm saves your eye from the painful impact of rifle recoils. The scope itself has been fashioned to withstand impact from rifle recoils. A nylon-glass composite body is durable and corrosion-resistant. Unfortunately, the scope can withstand the impact when it’s inadvertently submerged into water. The scope weighs 38.8oz and measures 340x112x94mm, making it a lighter and portable device to carry around. The scope is also compatible with all weapons that have a weaver rail mount. A wireless remote control also allows you to operate some of the scope’s features from a distant location. Lastly, the scope’s automatic shut-off function saves you a lot of battery life, especially when you are not in action but still wandering in the field.
Features at a Glance
- 640×480 OLED display.
- 4.5x magnification.
- 2x digital zoom.
- Integrated laser rangefinder.
- 13 selectable electronic reticles.
- Weapon tilt and elevation function.
- Inbuilt laser IR illuminator with 3-step power adjustment.
- Multiple kinds of zeroing parameters memorization.
- Sun Light signal processing program.
- Analogue video output.
- Wireless remote control.
- 3-year warranty.
If you are a shooter who has fantasized for long about turning your smart phone into a high-end viewing device, you are in luck. The Inteliscope Bundle for iPhone and Android is your dream come true! The bundle comes with the Inteliscope PRO+, a mount for installing your iPhone/Android onto your rifle securely, even if it’s in a protective case. The PRO+ weighs 1.25lbs, and is made of aluminum, which is very durable and anti-corrosive. The bundle’s Inteliscope APP, which comes in iPhone and Android versions, is installed onto your phone to make it a riflescope, basically. Having installed this app, you can save and share videos of shots taken from your rifle’s point of view. You also benefit from a 5x digital zoom, which allows you to view minute details of your target. The package also comes with a compass that you can useto determine your location, a reticle library, flashlight, ammo library, and GPS positioning system. A SEEK CompactXR Thermal Camera attaches to your phone to provide an impressive 1800 ft. detection range as well as a wide-angled view. With a SEEK Mount Kit with Cables, you can easily connect the Seek CompactXR Thermal Camera to the PRO+ for a high-quality viewing experience. There are different cables for use, depending on whether you use an iPhone or an Android. If you are worried that your phone may get damaged from the high impact from rifle recoils, have no fears. Over the many years that Inteliscope has been selling mounts to customers, few, if any, have reported damages from rifle recoils. In addition to that, the Inteliscope Thermal Scope bundle assures your safety because the design allows you to shoot at your targets with minimal exposure of yourself. The bundle comes with a user-friendly interface, and can be used during the day as well as in the night. By following instructions from the product’s manual, you may not have to re-zero your rifle anytime you detach your phone. Inteliscope LLC, the US-based producer of the bundle, has backed it up with a one-year warranty against production defects.
Features at a Glance
- Inteliscope PRO+.
- Inteliscope App.
- 5x digital zoom.
- Reticle library.
- GPS positioning.
- SEEK CompactXR Thermal camera.
- SEEK Mount kit with cables.
- User-friendly features.
- Ability to easily toggle between day and night vision.
- One-year warranty.
In the world of riflescopes, the ATN X-Sight II Smart Night Vision Scope is a very famous name. This riflescope, which is produced by the US-based producer of vision device ATN, is a high-end scope that’s not only easy on the pocket but also comes packed with numerous remarkable features. The scope measures 10x6x6 inches and weighs 2lbs. Regarding features, the X-Sight II comes with a 5-20x magnification, which allows you to view details of your target with exceptional clarity. A smartphone control system, allows you to operate some of the scope’s features from a distance using your smartphone. All you have to do to enjoy this awesome feature is install an app on your smartphone. With Wi-Fi streaming, you can share images with friends and loved ones over available Internet. A smart range finder is able to detect the distance between you and your target in a matter of seconds, with much accuracy. The scope has a pre-installed electronic compass that helps you to determine your location in the field, with minimal difficulty. With the recoil-activated video function, the scope automatically saves a video of your shot before and after you shoot. Bluetooth functionality means that you can share images and videos of your target with other devices that have Bluetooth. An impressive eye relief of 65mm prevents a black eye by giving you enough room to avoid the impact from rifle recoils.
A user-friendly interface makes it more fun to operate the scope’s features. With several input and output ports, including HDMI, USB, and MicroSD, you can save images and videos as well as export them. Compatibility with weaver rails means that you can use the scope with a wide variety of weapons. The scope’s one-shot zeroing function makes zeroing less time-consuming by allowing you to save different zero profiles and use them on different weapons. Lastly, GPS Positioning Functionality is helpful for aligning you with your target. In addition to all the above-mentioned goodies that the X-Sight II comes with, the device is also backed by a two-year warranty for manufacturing defects.
Features at a Glance
- 5-20x magnification.
- Wi-Fi and Bluetooth functionality.
- User-friendly interface.
- Recoil activated video.
- Smooth zoom.
- Night vision mode.
- Smart range finder.
- Electronic compass.
- Multiple reticle options.
- Multiple input and output ports, including USB.
- Compatible with Weaver rails.
- 2-year warranty.
ATN ThOR HD 384 Smart Thermal Riflescope w/1080p Video, WiFi, GPS, Image Stabilization, Range Finder, Shooting Solution and IOS and Android Apps
A viewing device that has more power, more features, a smaller packaging and low cost is really a treasure. Indeed, the ATN Thor Smart Riflescope is an epitome of such device, and it definitely sets the bar higher. This famed riflescope comes in four different versions, namely ThOR HD 384 1.25-5X, ThOR HD 384 2-8X, ThOR HD 384 4.5-18X and ThOR HD 384 9-36X. And all these versions come equipped with the attributes mentioned below. The ATN ThOR-HD features a patented Recoil Activated Video (RAV) that takes a video of your shots before and after you take them. An automatic Range Finder determines the distance between you and your target almost instantaneously. With a built-in Wi-Fi, the ATN ThOR-HD gives you the ability to easily share pictures and videos of your adventure in the field with your friends over available Internet. You can also take advantage of a Built-in Bluetooth to share video and photo files. With a 3D Gyroscope, you can now determine the position and orientation of your target in less time. With an IPhone or Android APP, you smartphone can be used as a wireless remote control to operate some of the scope’s features. An impressive runtime of 6 hours on battery and 16 hours on a battery back means that you can stay active in the field for a longer period of time; very few scopes can match up to this. The scope has an excellent video record resolution of 1280×960 @ 30fps, which makes it possible to record high quality videos in real time. Also, you will have a quality image-viewing experience with the scopes high resolution of 384×288. The scope boasts a magnification of 1.25-5x, which gives you more room to view minute details of your target. Perhaps, the most outstanding feature of the Thor scope is that it operates on Obsidian Core, a technology that uses a high-powered processor and a suite of sensors to produce high-quality videos and images. Also, the scope’s in-built GPS system makes it possible to tag your videos and images with the names of the locations at which you took them. Lastly, the scope’s electronic compass helps you find your location in the bush.
In addition to coming with all the features mentioned above, all four versions of the ATN ThOR-HD come with other functions that separate them for one another.
- The ThOR HD 384 1.25-5X comes with a 19mm Objective Lens, a magnification of 1.25-5x and an Angle of View of 16×125.
- The ThOR HD 384 2-8x comes with a 25mm Objective Lens Focal Length, a Magnification of 2-8x and an Angle of View of 12×9.5.
- The ThOR HD 384 4.5-18X comes with a 50mm Objective Lens Focal Length, a Magnification of 4.5x18x and an Angle of View of 6×4.7.
- The ThOR HD 384 9-36X has a 100mm Objective Lens Focal Length, a Magnification of 9-36x and an Angle of View of 3×2.4.
Features at a Glance
- Obsidian Core technology.
- Smart shooting solution.
- Excellent night vision mode.
- Recoil activated video (RAV).
- Smooth zoom.
- Free firmware updates.
- Multiple reticle options.
- Electronic compass.
- Ergonomic design.
- In-built GPS.
- 3-year warranty.
Things to Consider Before Buying a Rifle Scope
If you are planning on purchasing a riflescope, there are a number of important things that you should take into consideration before making that final decision to part with your money and go home with that scope. Below are some of the most important things you should consider whenever you find yourself in the market looking for a rifle scope to enhance your hunting adventures.
A rifle scope’s lens is widely regarded as its most relevant part, and this is the reason why it is highly imperative that you take into account the optical quality of the lens before purchasing that rifle scope. But what makes the lens of a scope so important? It is simply because it is what makes you see distant objects clearly through the scope. Things such as the lens coating, the quality of the lens and objective lens size play a very significant role in making a scope provide you with excellent clarity.
Today, the majority of rifle scopes on the market come with coated lenses. But why is the coating of the lens important? It is important because it allows you to see better by mitigating glare and light loss from reflection. More often than not, the more coating your lens comes with, the more light it transmits and the brighter and clearer the images it produces are. This is the reason why scopes with multicoated lenses tend to greatly outperform scopes with single coated lenses.
The quality of the lens is obviously another very important aspect of the lens that you would want to take into consideration. It goes without saying that the higher the optical quality of the lens is the better images it produces. A poor quality lens would often result in poor images and distortions. One of the best lens materials in the industry is germanium. So if you have a rifle scope that has germanium as its lens material, then you have an awesome thing. However, you should know that rifle scopes that have their lenses made of germanium cost significantly more than scopes with lenses made of standard glass.
Objective Lens Size
The larger a scope’s objective lens is, the more it allows you to see. So for example, a scope with a 20 mm objective lens wouldn’t allow you to see as much as one with an objective lens of say 40 mm.
One of the most essential elements of a scope is its refresh rate or frame rate, which makes it possible for the scope to provide images of moving objects. Refresh rates are measured in Hertz. If the refresh rate of a scope is low, then it will not produce smooth and consistent images of objects in motion. This is why it is advisable to always go in for a scope that is equipped with a high refresh rate that is at least 30 hertz or over. Most good rifle scopes on the market come with refresh rates that range between 30 and 60 hertz. Simply put, the more the scope’s refresh rate, the better.
Field of View (FOV)
If you have a choice of choosing between a scope that offers a narrow field of view verses one that offers a wide range of view, it is advisable to go in for the latter. But what is Field of View (FOV)? We hear you ask. It is simply the amount of view you can have through your scope from your right to your left at a distance of 100 yards. The more you increase the magnification, the more FOV goes down, and vice versa. This is the reason why having a scope with a wide Field of View (FOV) is always better.
The display resolution of a scope can simply be said to be the image quality or the sharpness and clarity of the image displayed by the scope. It is always a good idea purchasing a thermal imaging scope that comes with a high resolution simply because the higher the resolution of a thermal scope, the crisper and clearer the images it produces will be. And it goes without saying that the sharper and clearer the images you see through your scope are, the more precise and accurate your shots are likely going to be.
Another thing you must definitely take a look at when you are looking for a scope to buy is the kind of zoom that the scope comes with. Zoom normally comes in two types, namely the digital and optical zoom. A scope can come equipped with either types of zoom or both. What is the difference between a digital and an optical zoom?
A digital zoom works by using digital manipulation through software to magnify the image captured by the scope. While this kind of zoom helps you get up close with your targets by enlarging them, it can lead to a loss in resolution (loss of image quality) at very large zooms.
Optical zoom, on the other hand, uses the scope’s optical glass (lens) to enlarge the image you see through the scope without resulting in a significantly lower resolution.
Getting a thermal scope that comes equipped with both a digital and an optical zoom is a great idea since it gives you the best of both worlds!
Cost of the Scope
The price the rifle scope comes at is one of the most important things you should consider when making your purchase. It is common knowledge that riflescopes tend to be very costly. Scopes can cost anywhere from a few hundred dollars to several thousands of dollars. Generally, the more expensive a scope is, the more advanced features it comes with. You therefore do not expect a thermal imaging scope that costs somewhere around $700 to have the same advanced functionality like one that costs several thousands of dollars. While it is very important to keep your financial strength in mind when deciding which scope that you purchase, it is also equally important to know that expensive scopes tend to offer more functionality and greater magnification than their cheaper counterparts. Regardless of whether you go in for a budget scope or an expensive one, you should make sure that at the end of the day you get value for money.
Durability of the Scope
Another very important thing you want to look out for before buying that scope is the device’s durability. The scope should be durable enough to take a real beating. Scopes tend to be very expensive devices. You therefore want to buy one that can last you for a very long time. And if the one that you end up purchasing isn’t made of durable materials, then you can be sure that it would not survive the intense abuse that scopes are normally subjected to in the field. These days, some of the best riflescopes on the market are not only built with durable materials but also come with shockproof and weather resistant (waterproof/fogproof) constructions that further enhance their ruggedness and durability. Scopes that come with fogproof and waterproof constructions allow you to use them in most weather conditions as they are protected from things such as moisture, temperature changes, etc. Simply put, a scope that is weather resistant is more capable of surviving the harsh environments of the outdoor than one that isn’t weather resistant.
Life of Battery
Since thermal imaging rifle scopes run on batteries, the battery life of the scope is also a very important thing that should be kept at the back of your mind whenever you are in the market shopping for a new thermal riflescope. You want a riflescope that offers a reasonably long battery life. And why is this important? This is obviously important because a scope with a poor battery life will keep interrupting you in the field. And the last thing you want is your riflescope to keep dying on you in the field as a result of low batteries. The average scope on the market should give you roughly at least a minimum of 4 to 5 hours of battery life with continuous use. Having said that, it is worth noting that some of the high quality thermal scopes on the market have battery lives that can last up to at least 7 to 8 hours, and getting such scopes isn’t a bad idea at all!
Some highly advanced scopes even take things a step further with external battery/power supplies that dramatically increase the operating time of the units.
The reticle, which can also be called reticule, is also another important feature of the thermal rifle scope worth considering before making a purchase. Why is a scope’s reticle or crosshair important? The reticle is important in the sense that it is one of the features of the scope that aid you in getting more accurate aims. Without the reticle it will be very difficult for you to achieve precise target sighting using the thermal scope. Today, there are numerous types of reticle patterns that thermal scopes come with. One of the most common types of reticle patterns is the Duplex Reticle, which has a crosshair that is thin at the center of the scope and thicker at the scope’s outer area. The nature of this reticle’s design makes it perfect for hunters. Away from the Duplex Reticle, other common reticles that hunters find useful in making long distance hunting shots include the BDC (Bullet Drop Compensation) Reticle and the Mildot Reticle.
These days, a number of advanced rifle scope manufacturers take things a step further by incorporating colored and illuminated reticles into their scopes. If you find a scope that comes with colored or illuminated reticles, then you have found something really good. Why is an illuminated reticle a good thing? An illuminated reticle is very useful because it gives you the added advantage of allowing you aim at your target with great ease and precision during low light conditions or in total darkness.
Regardless of the pattern or type of reticle the scope comes with, one thing is crystal clear – all reticle patterns aid you to precisely view and aim at your target. As a result of the important role reticles play in a thermal scope, it goes without saying that it is not really a good idea purchasing a thermal scope that does not come equipped with a reticle. If you get a scope that has a variety of reticle patterns and color options to choose from, then you’ve got a really good thing since that is even more effective than one with a single reticle.
The brand or manufacturer also matters when shopping for a scope. Today, there are numerous brands of scope out there that you can choose from. But it is always better buying your scope from a renowned manufacturer that has been in the business for a number of years. There are a lot of reasons why it is more advantageous buying from a leading brand than from an unknown brand. For example, reputable brands tend to be more trustworthy and reliable than unknown brands. This therefore means that when you purchase your scope from a well-known brand, you reduce your likelihood of being disappointed. Some of the leading brands in the rifle scope industry include Armasight, ATN and FLIR Systems.
The usability or user friendliness of the scope should also be taken into consideration before you make that final decision to purchase it. Many people tend to not take this into consideration but it is really an important thing that shouldn’t be taken for granted. The more user friendly your scope is, the more your hunting experience is enhanced. A scope that is not user friendly will no doubt cause you great inconvenience in the field. And as a hunter, the last thing you want to be experiencing in the field is inconvenience. So before buying that scope ask yourself the question: is this scope easy to use? If the answer to the question is no, then it is really not a good idea going in for it. During hunting trips, you often find yourself having to deal with numerous challenges, including hiding yourself and your scent from game so as not to scare them away. The last thing you want in that situation is the headache of dealing with a highly complex and user unfriendly scope.
Scope’s Eye Relief
Eye relief is simply the distance your eye can be from the eyepiece lens of your scope in order to get a clear view from the scope. Scopes with short eye reliefs are not the best in the sense that they do not allow you to see clearly enough for a quick acquisition of your target. It is advisable to buy a scope that comes with an eye relief of at least 3 – 4 inches. Scopes with such generous eye reliefs are also perfect for people who use eyeglasses since it allows them to conveniently use the scopes without removing their eyeglasses.
Variable Power Scope vs Fixed Power Scope
You should also check whether the scope you are buying is fixed or variable. There used to be a time when fixed power scopes were the only option a shooter had, but today, advancement in technology has led to the birth of the variable power scope. At this point, let us quickly take a look at the difference between these two types of scopes. A fixed power scope, as the name implies, is one that doesn’t give you the ability to adjust its focus because it has a single magnification level. This means you cannot adjust it to zoom in or out. A variable power scope, on the other hand, gives you the opportunity to adjust the focus because it comes with multiple magnification levels. Variable scopes are the more expensive of the two because they are more versatile and have more functionality.
As you already know, scopes are pretty expensive devices, and you would be taking a huge risk purchasing one that doesn’t come with a warranty. A rifle scope, just like any other electronic device, can come with manufacturing defects which can remain hidden until you start using it. In such a situation, if the scope came backed with a warranty, you can easily return it for the defect to be fixed or for the whole unit to be replaced. But in the absence of a warranty, there is nothing you can do in such a situation. A scope that comes with a reasonable warranty is a clear indication that the manufacturers have strong confidence in the device. Today, most scope manufacturers offer warranties that range from limited to full. Some scopes (especially some of the extremely expensive ones) even come with lifetime warranties. It is always advisable that you take a moment to check if the scope you are about buying comes with a warranty or not. Regardless of how powerful and effective the scope is, if it doesn’t come backed by any form of warranty, then you would be taking a huge risk going in for it.
Secondary Features of a Scope Worth Considering
There are other extra features, which if your scope comes with, will make it more versatile and perform even better. Some of these extra features include the following:
- Video recording ability: Today, some of the best rifle scopes on the market come with the ability to record videos and take photos of everything the scopes see. Other models also come with analog video output that allows the user to connect an external recording device or to connect the scope to a monitor.
- Picatinny/Weaver Mount: Scope mounts and accurate shooting move hand in hand. If the scope moves in the mount, it can easily affect the accuracy of your shots in a negative way. A scope that comes with a Picatinny/Weaver mount is a good thing since it would be able to effortlessly and securely mount to the vast majority of weapons that come with Picatinny/Weaver Rail mounts.
- Parallax Compensation System: Certain scopes feature a parallax compensation system whose main job is to take care of parallax error. What is parallax error? We hear you ask. A parallax error is said to have happened when a change in the position of your eye leads to a change in your scope’s point of aim, thereby preventing you from staying on target. This error often happens in scopes that have higher magnifications, which is why such scopes require a parallax compensation system. If you would be making long-range shots using a higher magnification scope, then this feature can be very helpful in ensuring that your shots are accurate.
- Varied Operating Temperature: Getting a thermal imaging scope that has a wide range of operating temperature is also very advantageous since it will allow you to safely use the scope in both extremely cold and hot temperatures.
- Scope’s Eye Guard: A number of scopes these days come with eye guards or eye recoil pads that are often made of cushion like material. The typical recoil pad/eye guard will stretch over the eyepiece of the scope in order to protect the shooter from eye and facial injuries caused by recoil. In addition to the protection, the eye guard offers, it also enhances the comfort of the eye.
The information above contains some of the most important things to look out for when searching for a new thermal imaging rifle scope or a night vision rifle scope. The market is currently flooded with different types and brands of rifle scopes, which makes it quite challenging choosing the right scope. But we hope that the information provided above will be able to guide you and help you surmount the challenge of deciding which out of the plethora of rifle scopes on the market to choose. Remember that at the end of the day, regardless of which scope you decide to go in for, the most important thing is that you get your money’s worth.
The Benefits of Using Thermal Riflescopes
“There are riflescopes and there are riflescopes; not all riflescopes are created equal” In all fairness, this saying captures the very progress that mankind has made, when it comes to the use of scopes in hunting, sports, security and law enforcement. Indeed, while night vision scopes provide a better night viewing experience, which ordinary scopes cannot match, thermal scopes provide an extraordinary viewing experience in complete darkness, which night vision scopes cannot match up to. Here, our main aim is to examine the benefits of using thermal riflescopes. But before we do so, it’s important that we explain what thermal imaging is and how it works.
Thermal riflescopes are able to provide images using a method called thermal imaging. Every object or living organism either gives off some heat or reflects it from another source. The heat that is given off of the object or organism moves in rays/light, which the human eye cannot see. Scientists generally refer to light that the human eye cannot see as infrared light because such light is out of the range of visible light; thus, the word infrared= Infra+Red, where infra means below, and red is the color that has the least energy so that it is difficult to see it at certain distances/depths. We can also split infrared light (invisible light) into three types: Near-infrared light, which is the closest to visible light; Mid-infrared light, which has relatively lower energy; and Thermal-infrared light, which has the lowest energy and cannot be seen at all. Lastly, it’s important to mention that of the three types of invisible light, thermal infrared light is the only type that is emitted (not reflected) by an object or a living thing. Therefore, thermal imaging involves the use of sensors to detect emitted heat from a source, and the use of the detected heat to draw an image of the source. Having described what thermal imaging is, it’s easy to see that thermal riflescopes contain sensors and chips that capture and use emitted heat to create a viewing image of a target. Now let’s discuss the advantages of thermal riflescopes.
- First of all, thermal riflescopes allow the shooter to see clearly in unfavorable weather conditions. When using normal riflescopes, it’s sometimes difficult to see your target when there’s dust, fog, hailstones, and other climatic impediments. Even in the nighttime, night vision scopes may not be able to solve these problems that the weather might pose. Thermal riflescopes, on the other hand, operate on a thermal imaging process, which senses and captures thermal-infrared light from your target; and uses the captured light to produce a viewing image for you. Furthermore, it is of little consequence that your target is hiding behind an opaque object or in a close enclave; thermal riflescopes can penetrate such barriers and provide a vivid viewing image. This is a feat that is difficult to achieve with a normal riflescope or a night vision riflescope. Therefore, thermal riflescopes are the go-to vision equipment for you if you find yourself in a terrain that’s fraught with unfavorable weather conditions.
- Second, thermal riflescopes ensure your safety by allowing you to shoot at longer distances. It’s always a dangerous activity to hunt wild animals in their natural habitats. The animal’s defense mechanism may cause it to attack you if you are at a close distance. Thankfully, certain thermal riflescopes make it possible for you to shoot at 200 yards, 300 yards, and beyond. And in the law enforcement industry, there can be times when you need to know that there’s a target or two behind a vehicle, barrier or blockade. Thermal riflescopes provide you with a unique set of eyes that very few can have. Indeed, the long-range shooting feature of some thermal riflescopes assures your safety, giving you the peace-of-mind to do your work.
- Third, thermal riflescopes provide enough room for flexibility because they can be used at anytime of the day, as well as with other riflescopes and rifles. Considering that thermal riflescopes operate with thermal imaging, it doesn’t matter whether you are working during the day or at nighttime; all you need is for your target to give off enough heat. Also, thermal riflescopes come in two main types: stand-alone thermal riflescopes and clip-on thermal riflescopes. Stand-alone thermal scopes are just like normal scopes in the sense that they come with a rail system for mounting on rifles. They can also be adjusted, just like normal scopes, using the windage and elevation knobs. Clip-on thermal riflescopes, on the other hand, are not mounted using the rail system but are clipped onto a rifle. They are placed in front of ordinary scopes to make them thermal. Last but not least, there’s another area where thermal riflescopes provide flexibility, which is in the spotting of swift moving targets. Certain thermal riflescopes, especially the high-end ones, have high resolution and refresh rates, which provide you with clear viewing images of your target, even when they are moving very swiftly.
- Fourth, thermal riflescopes can save you additional operation costs because they do not require external illuminators. The major element that thermal riflescopes use to produce viewing images of targets is heat that emanates from the target. This means that illuminators are completely out of the question. Now you don’t have to spend extra bucks on an illuminator, which you will not need anyways.
Finally, while we have discussed the advantages of using thermal riflescopes, we think it will be unfair to not mention some of the main disadvantage of using such scopes. One of the biggest drawbacks of thermal devices is the fact that their very operation on thermal imaging makes them unsuitable for viewing cool objects or cold-blooded animals such as snakes. Cold-blooded animals usually adjust to the temperature of their surroundings, which means that at any point in time, they are not warmer than their surroundings.
The Benefits of Using Night Vision Rifles Scopes
Perhaps you may have heard of the saying “Hunter by day, teacher by night.” Whoever coined this phrase probably did so in an era when hunting at night wasn’t a possibility. Indeed, in the nighttime, the human sight is naturally reduced, and game finds reliable hideouts in parts of the forest where the moonlight cannot penetrate. Thanks to modern technology, we now have night vision scopes that make hunting at night a lot easier and, actually, a possibility. In this post, we will discuss the various benefits of using night riflescopes.
- First, and most obvious, night riflescopes enhance the vision of the shooter. As we have already mentioned, the human eye is naturally limited in its capacity at night. This means that without adequate light, it would be extremely difficult, if not impossible, to hunt at night. Thankfully, most night vision riflescopes come with an image intensifier tube that intensifies already-available low light in order to make it more visible. In case you are wondering, an example of an already-available low light is the light from the moon or from the stars. Indeed, the immediate effect of low light becoming visible is that the scope uses it to provide an image of your target for you. Other night riflescopes come with in-built/external illuminators, which emit infrared light, which is a kind of light that is invisible to the human eye but very visible to the scope’s lens. The scope uses this invisible light to produce an image of your target for you. Lastly, the night scope also prevents you from straining your eye in order to view your target. So now you see that the invention of the scope has given us tremendous viewing quality!
- Second, night riflescopes ensure our safety as shooters in two ways: first, by allowing us to shoot at long distances and, second, by not emitting too much light that might give away our location to the enemy. Humans have a natural protection mechanism that causes them to take flight in the face of danger. Imagine what will be your reaction when in the middle of shooting, you see that your target, a wild angry beast, is fast approaching you. Chances are that you will leave your rifle on the bush floor and ran away for your dear life, losing out on a bounty catch in the end. This scenario can be avoided with riflescopes that permit you to see at long distances/ranges. With such scopes, you can take comfort in the knowledge that the distance between you and your wild target is enough to assure your escape.
- Certain scopes, especially those that have non-coated lenses, tend to reflect light from different locations, producing a sort of shine that can give away your location to your enemy. Using night scopes with coated lens prevents this situation, thereby keeping your location hidden. Any riflescope works by allowing light through its lens, allowing you to view at the end of the lens. Sometimes, there’s a spillage of the light that’s in the scope. Such spillage can give away your location to your target or an enemy. Night scopes that come with eyecups prevent this problem and keep you safe.
- Third, night riflescopes help us to use our bullets efficiently by providing a clear image of the target, and by reducing the number of zero shots. Indeed, it’s easy to understand how poor visibility at night might make you take multiple shots in order to hit your target. Most of your shots will be based on guesswork more than anything else. Zeroing your rifle means aligning the rifle so that the shots hit your target at the exact places you want. Since you cannot tilt your rifle to achieve this effect, you have to align the riflescope instead. Most night riflescopes come with windage and elevation settings, as well as illuminated reticles, just for this purpose. The windage knobs shift the reticles to the left or right while the elevation knobs shift the reticles up or down. Illuminated reticles, unlike normal reticles, light up in the dark so that your eyes can readily see them. You may also know that when a bullet leaves a rifle, after a shot is fired, it doesn’t travel a straight path; its path is almost parabolic. Zeroing begins with setting the reticle and taking a shot at a range of, say, 35 yards. You will repeat this process, reducing the range with every shot, until the reticle intersects with the bullet’s parabolic path at a range/distance of 0. Fortunately, some riflescopes come with a one-shot zeroing system, where after taking the first zero shot, a frame of the target is saved in the scope’s memory. This way, you can adjust the reticle to the frame, preventing unnecessary guess/waste shots when it’s time for real action.
- Fourth, night riflescopes prevent discomfort to the back, shoulders and neck. It’s not only the position of the target, but also the position of the shooter, that can raise problems with aiming and shooting. You may be located high up a mountain, looking to shoot a target in the lower grounds; or, you may be situated in a lower plain, looking to shoot at a target that’s higher up. Trying to adjust the rifle to suit your needs will disappoint you, as will trying to kneel, bend, lie flat on the ground, or assume other creative positions. You might even develop back, shoulder and neck pains from assuming such positions. But, using a night riflescope that’s easily adjustable will prevent such problems.
Now that we’ve discussed the various benefits that come with using night riflescopes, we trust that you will consider using night riflescopes more often, if you aren’t already in the habit of doing so.
How to Use a Thermal Imaging/Night Vision Riflescope
Okay, you just bought for yourself a new riflescope. You heard all your hunter friends talk about the numerous advantages of using a scope, including, improved vision, unparalleled accuracy, versatility, and improved efficiency. While all of these benefits are true, you may not be able to realize them until you actually use your new riflescope in the field. In this post, our goal is to teach you exactly how to do that. Specifically, we will discuss: components of your scope, setting up your scope, sighting your target, zeroing in, and other specialized settings.
Let’s begin by looking, briefly, at some of the components of your new riflescope. Your scope comes with the following components:
- A body, which is often referred to as a tube.
- Adjustment knobs that come in a variety of forms, including flat tip screws, turrets, and finger pressure knobs.
- Magnification power, which is the number of times that your view through the scope has been augmented
- Optical coatings, which is the treatment that has been given to the scope’s lens so that it can gather light, provide improved contrast as well as a high quality viewing image.
Your scope may also have thermal imaging technology, in which case you can use it in almost any weather condition because it uses heat from your target to draw a clear viewing image for you to see. Also, your scope may be a night vision scope, in which case its image intensifier tube makes it possible to clearly see targets under low light conditions or in total darkness.
Install Your Scope Properly
In using your rifle scope, the first thing to do is obviously to mount it onto your rifle. Some rifles on the market come with holes that are tapped and pre-drilled for mounting scopes whereas others come with grooved rail systems whose primary role is for mounting attachments. A typical example of a grooved rail system is the Weaver/Picatinny rail system. Regardless of what type of rifle you use, it is imperative that you mount your scope properly to the rifle. If your scope requires mounting accessories such as mounting rings, make sure that you get rings of the right size/diameter to fit them securely onto your rifle or weapon of choice. If along the line, you are experiencing difficulties mounting your scope to your weapon of choice, then you can either speak to the retailer whom you purchased the scope from for guidance on how to go about properly installing your scope on your weapon. You can also hire the services of a gunsmith to help you with the installation process.
Set Your Scope’s Reticle
Next, you are going to set or align the scope’s reticles. Reticles are the two perpendicular lines in your scope that make it possible to aim at your target so that the bullet hits it exactly where you want it to. To set or align your scope’s reticle, let lose the scope’s mounting rings, look into the scope as if to view a target, and keep turning the front end of the scope until you see a crisp display of the reticle. When you are done, tighten the scope’s mounting rings. This step is to keep the reticle in position.
Set Your Scope’s Eye Relief
Having aligned or set your scope’s reticle, it is now time to turn your focus on the scope’s eye relief. The eye relief of your scope can be defined as the distance from your scope’s eyepiece lens to its exit pupil at which your eye can experience a very crisp view. Adjusting your scope’s eye relief is a very important step which you should never take for granted in the sense that when the eye relief is well adjusted, it will not only make you to comfortably see clearly but it will also save your eye from the painful impact from rifle recoils. If the distance between your eye and the back lens of your scope isn’t adjusted properly you can easily hurt your eye brow whenever your rifle or weapon of choice recoils after being fired. Some scopes come with a button for increasing/decreasing this space, which makes it very easy to adjust the distance between the scope and your eye.
Sight Your Target
After you have set the reticle and eye relief of your scope, you need to sight your target. Look at any target through the scope to determine if you see clearly, and if the reticle is at the center. This is done using the windage, elevation and parallax knobs on the side of the scope. The windage knob moves the scope’s reticles sideways to account for any impact of the wind on the shots that you fire. The elevation knob moves the scope’s reticles up or down so that you can properly aim at your target. Lastly, the parallax knob helps you to still see clearly through the scope, after you’ve increased the scope’s magnification to view minute details of your target. Next, you actually have to make sure that what you see is what will happen when you fire the bullets. You can do this by firing a couple of shots to see where the bullets land on your target, and use the elevation and windage knobs to adjust the reticles after each shot.
Position the Rifle
Now we wish we could tell you that you are ready to shoot but there’s one more thing you need to do – the positioning of the scope and rifle onto a rifle stand. You need to set the scope in a static position on the rifle stand so that every shot that you take, viewing through the scope, will hit the target exactly where you have set it. This is called zeroing-in. To zero in, mount your rifle (with the scope already mounted onto it) onto a rifle stand. Focus on a target through the scope and take a number of shots, while using the windage and elevation knobs to adjust the reticles after each shot, just like you did when sighting the scope. In fact, it’s like sighting the target again, this time, on a rifle stand. If your bullets can hit your target at the center, then you have successfully zeroed your rifle and scope.
After all is said and done, you are now ready to take this much-awaited shot. We would like to suggest that if you already know what the distance between you and the target will be, say, 400 yards, you can use the windage and elevation knobs to adjust the reticles to account for the bullet’s trajectory. You will notice how accurate, persistent and efficient your shots will be. By this time, you will also appreciate that the effort you put into setting up the scope certainly pays off when it comes to shooting. Good luck with your new scope and happy hunting!
Thermal imaging, which is also known as infrared, gives you the unique opportunity of being able to see things in low-light situations or in total darkness that would have otherwise been difficult or impossible to see with the naked eyes.
How Thermal Imaging Works
Everything on this planet – whether living or non living – emits thermal or infrared energy (heat), and the animals that we hunt are no exception. Believe it or not, even things such as vegetation and ice give off certain degrees of thermal energy (heat). The more heat that an object has, the more thermal energy it is going to give off. A thermal imaging scope, just like any other device equipped with thermal imaging technology, works by converting the heat emitted by objects – living or nonliving – into images. But exactly how does this work? The series of steps below is how the thermal imaging technology works in converting heat into images that can be seen and easily understood by the human eyes:
- A thermal imager comes with a lens whose primary job is to focus waves from the infrared light that comes as a result of objects in the scope’s field of view giving off thermal energy (heat).
- After being focused, the infrared light is scanned by special infrared-detector elements to create a temperature pattern of the objects in what is known as a thermogram. The process is so fast it takes a fraction of a second to complete, thereby appearing to be occurring in real-time.
- The thermogram is then converted into electric impulses or signals and transferred to a signal-processing unit where it is further converted into data.
- The data is finally transferred from the signal-processing unit to the display. Here, the data appears in different colors and eventually as images. Objects with cooler temperatures tend to be represented in tints or shades of blue, violet, or black. Objects, on the other hand, with warmer or higher temperatures appear in shades of yellow and red. As temperatures rise very high, colors change to intense red.
- Because thermal imagers detect radiation from objects, they do not require any light in order for them to produce images. So for example, if you are using a thermal imaging scope to hunt in complete darkness, the scope will detect the heat as it radiates off of the animal and convert the heat into image so you can see the animal and aim at it.
- In addition to being able to clearly see objects in complete darkness, devices such as cameras and rifle scopes that come equipped with thermal imaging technology can see through all manners of atmospheric obscurants such as through fog, haze, smoke, dust, etc.
It is worth noting that today, most rifle scopes use the renowned Forward looking infrared (FLIR) system, which just like any other thermal imaging device, is so advanced that it can detect extremely tiny differences in heat among various objects in a given environment and display them as images in multiple colors. However, unlike other thermographic or thermal imaging devices that use a variety of bright colors, the FLIR systems uses only hues of grey to represent thermal images. The lighter the hue or shade of gray, the higher the temperature of the object. So for example, on a cold day, a warm-blooded animal like a boar will appear on FLIR system with a lighter grayish color than its environment.
Types of Thermal Imaging – Thermal Vision Systems
In the thermal imaging world, there are roughly two types of thermal imaging devices that can be found on the market, namely the cryogenically cooled imaging system and the un-cooled thermal imaging system.
Cryogenically Cooled Imaging System
A modern cryogenically cooled thermal imaging scope comes with internals or element s that are contained in a case that is vacuum-sealed or a Dewar Flask and cooled cryogenically to temperatures as low as zero degrees Celsius and below. The extreme reduction of the temperature of the sealed internals brings the system so many advantages, including incredible sensitivity and a very high resolution. Very good cryogenically-cooled thermal scopes are so sensitive that they have the ability to notice the slightest difference or change in temperature even as little as 0.1 degrees Celsius of a target at a distance of over a thousand feet away. So for example, you can use such a system to detect if someone is in possession of a gun at over 1,000 ft away from you. Away from the advantages, cryogenically-cooled scopes come with a number of disadvantages, including having a higher tendency of getting damaged. Furthermore, this cooled imaging system is not only more expensive than its un-cooled counterpart but it is also pretty bulkier.
Un-cooled Thermal Imaging
The un-cooled thermal imaging system, on the other hand, has infrared detector elements that operate at room or standard temperature. This type of system, which is more commonly used in thermal imaging devices than its counterpart is very quiet since it doesn’t need extra devices like cryogenic coolers to enable it operate below room temperature unlike the cooled thermal imaging system. The extreme quiet nature of the system makes it very useful for hunters since it helps in keeping their presence hidden from the animals that they hunt. Just like the cooled thermal imaging system, this system also comes with a number of drawbacks, most notably having the tendency of producing lower resolution and image quality.
What is night vision? Night vision can be simply defined as the ability to see things in dim light or in total darkness. Night vision can also be used to refer to any piece of equipment or device that gives you the ability to see in darkness. Because of their incredible ability to give vision in low light environments and in total darkness, these devices are often used by the military, law enforcement, pilots, hunters, security personnel, etc.
How Night Vision Works
Simply out, night vision devices work by amplifying very low amounts of visible light in near darkness or by detecting infrared wavelengths to create visible images.
Types of Night Vision Systems
Night Vision systems (technologies) can be roughly divided into three, namely Image Intensification Technology, Near-infrared Illumination Technology and Thermal Imaging Technology. These technologies differ from one another in a number of ways.
Image Intensification Technology
Night vision devices that use image intensification technology are sometimes referred to as image intensifiers. This technology works by using an image intensifier to amplify any available light, including from natural sources such as the stars and infrared light that isn’t visible to a human’s naked eyes to enable you see better under dimly lit conditions or in the darkness of the night where you would have otherwise not been able to see using your naked eyes.
The steps below will show you exactly how this technology makes this happen:
- An objective lens will focus any available light in the night onto the image intensifier’s photocathode, which is light-sensitive plate. The light that is focused on the photocathode of the image intensifier is referred to as photons (the fundamental particles of light).
- As soon as the photons strike the photocathode, the photocathode quickly transforms them into electrons.
- The electrons then pass through a type of photoelectric cell called a photomultiplier.
- As the name implies, the photomultiplier multiplies the number of electrons that pass through it leading to a significant increase in the amount of electrons that initially entered into it.
- Every one or two electrons that make their way into the photomultiplier leads to the release of thousands more. And as these multitudes of electrons make their way out of the photomultiplier, they hit a phosphor screen. For every electron that hits the phosphor screen, a photon is released, thereby making the phosphor to glow creating an intensified and brighter version of the original image that you can see clearly through the eyepiece.
- The phosphor is normally always the color green because the eyes of humans are naturally more sensitive to hues of green light than other colors of light. Another reason why the screens of night vision devices are made to show only green images is simply because the human eyes are more comfortable looking at green images for longer periods of time than images of any other colors.
So basically the steps above are how the image intensification technology gathers tiny bits of available light and “amplifies” it to allow you see things in the darkness of the night.
What if there is no source of light in the dark?
Since this type of night vision device (image intensifier) needs light to work, if there is no light it will unfortunately not work. This is the most prominent drawback with a night vision device that uses only the image intensifier technology. So for example, if you find yourself in a cave without any light coming in, the night vision goggles or scope using only the image intensification technology will be just as useless as your naked eyes since it will not work. The only way the night vision device can work is if it comes equipped with an IR illuminator. The IR illuminator works like a flashlight by producing a beam of infrared light which enables the image intensifier see in dark conditions where there is essentially no ambient light available or the light is too dim to be useful. It is worth noting that while the image intensifier sees the infrared light the IR illuminator produces, the naked eyes of a human cannot see this light. Despite being extremely useful, the IR illuminator it can easily give your location away to anyone who is also using a night vision device. For hunters, this isn’t a problem. However, if you are using an IR illuminator during a tactical operation, this could be extremely dangerous.
Near-infrared Illumination Technology
With the near-infrared illumination technology or system, an infrared illuminator and a device which is sensitive to near infrared radiation join forces together to enable you see clearly in total darkness regardless of whether there is light or not.
Today, there are a number of near infrared illumination devices available for purchase on the market, but the most common of them include the following: Filtered incandescent lamps, LED illuminators and Laser illuminators. Most near infrared illuminators emit infrared radiation in a wide range of wavelengths, normally in the region of between 700 nm and 1,000 nm.
Filtered Incandescent Lamps
These are very powerful lamps that come enveloped in infrared filters that help in transferring the near infrared radiation of the lamps while at the same time blocking the visible light that the lamps produce. These lamps come with very powerful heat transfer abilities, which is a very important feature because the high visible light they produce must not only be absorbed internally but also released as heat in order to provide illumination.
LED illuminators come with a number of illumination styles such as ring lights, backlights and spot lights among others to provide illumination for optical or imaging applications. One reason why many illumination applications prefer using LED illuminators is because they have pretty long life spans.
Laser illuminators are currently considered the most efficient of all types of infrared illuminators since they allow for imaging at long ranges as well as through environmental obscurants such as fog, mist, haze, smoke, etc. These illuminators emit excellent near infrared energy that illuminates the scene in such a manner that vivid long-range target identification is made possible.
Thermal Imaging Technology
The thermal imaging night vision technology does not require any form of light or illumination to produce images in the darkness of the night. If that is the case, then how do cameras and scopes using thermal imaging produce images in the dark if they don’ make use of illumination? These devices do this by simply capturing thermal radiation (infrared radiation) produced by objects in the surrounding and using this radiation to form electronic images visible to the human eyes. In addition to being able to produce images in the blackest of nights, these devices also have the ability to a certain degree to penetrate and see through atmospheric obscurants such as fog, smoke, dust, haze, etc to create images. This means if your target(s) is hidden in an obscurant like fog, these devices have the ability to see through the fog and capture your target(s) and create an image of your target(s) for you to see. The images thermal imaging devices produce are often in hues of black and white. However, there are other thermal imaging devices that display images in other colors such as blue, purple, red, etc.
Thermal imaging detectors come in two main types, namely cooled and un-cooled detectors.
Differences between Thermal and Night Vision Systems (Thermal Vision vs Night Vision)
Below are some of the most common differences between thermal vision and night vision technologies.
- Thermal imaging devices do not need visible light to produce images. This makes them extremely useful in areas or environments where there is little or no light. However, night vision devices need a light source before they can produce an image.
- The images that night vision devices produce tend to be more identifiable and natural than those produced by thermal imaging devices. The reason why thermal imaging produces images that tend to be difficult to identify is simply because the image they produce of a target is just the IR radiation being emitted by the target. Night vision devices, on the other hand, come with the ability to produce more realistic and detailed images than thermal imaging devices.
- Thermal imaging devices give you the opportunity to see through atmospheric obscurants such as smoke, fog, etc, whereas night vision scopes find it difficult penetrating through these obscurants to produce images.
- You can use thermal imaging devices any time of the day and in any light condition. However, night vision devices cannot be used during the day or in lighted areas. They can only be used in darkness.
- Thermal imaging devices tend to be more expensive than night vision devices.
- Night vision devices have existed far longer than thermal imaging devices.
- In addition to often being more rugged and durable than thermal imaging devices, night vision devices also tend to have wider Fields of View (FOV) than thermal imaging devices.
Difference Between Gen1, Gen 2 and Gen 3 Night Vision, and How Have These Evolved Since the First Generation Night Vision Products
Imagine this scenario: you are an avid hunter who usually hunts boars in the day. All of a sudden, you develop a keen interest for feral pigs, which are known to come out of hiding in the nighttime. What tools might you need to be successful? Of course, in addition to an extremely effective rifle, you will need other important gear, most notably a night vision device to streamline your shots and make them count; be it a scope, binocular, monocular, or a pair of goggles. In this post, we will discuss the various classes of night vision devices (Generation 1, 2, and 3), the differences between each of them, and how these classes have evolved over time.
But before we begin, let’s take a quick look at what goes into the making of night vision device, and how it works, as this will facilitate your understanding of the various classes of night vision gadgets. A night vision device is any viewing equipment that contains an image intensifier tube and/or a telescopic lens, which work to produce a viewing image in low light or complete darkness. The device achieves this remarkable feat in two ways: first, in the case of low light, the device’s image intensifier tube captures visible light and makes it more intense. Second, in the case of complete darkness, the device captures the body heat of the target and uses it to draw an outline of the target; this is known as Thermal Imaging or Infrared Thermography. Now that we’ve explained the components of a night vision device and how they work, let’s discuss the various classes of night vision devices.
Generation 1 (Gen 1)
Generation 1 night vision devices, also known as Gen 1, are devices that depend on natural light in order to produce a viewing image of a target. Natural light may come from sources such as the sun and, in the case of night vision, the moon. They came into being in the 1950s, and were first used in the Vietnam War in 1955. Gen 1 night vision devices have the following characteristics:
- They are cheap.
- They have a maximum shooting range of about 75 yards.
- They produce pretty low resolution images.
- They depend on an illuminator to function.
- They have a low battery life.
- They have an intensifier tube amplification of 1,000x.
- They usually have a shorter life expectancy (1500 hours) as compared to the Generation 1 and Generation 2 devices.
Evidently, Gen 1 night vision devices pose severe restrictions, when it comes to viewing in very dark settings. Can you imagine the unfortunate scenario where the feral pig that you are passionately hunting hides at a location where the moonlight cannot penetrate? Your Gen 1 viewing device will be of minimal use for sure. Many will opine that if your pockets are deep and you are hungry for quality, you should consider Generation 2 night viewing devices.
Generation 2 (Gen 2)
Generation 2 night vision devices are definitely an improvement on Gen 1 devices, as far as their image intensifier tube is concerned. They became widely known in the 1970s, during the Gulf Wars. Thanks to their tube’s micro-channel plate and S-25 photocathode, Gen 2 devices intensify available light in low light settings much better than Gen 1 devices. Here are some of the most notable characteristics of a typical Gen 2 device:
- It has an intensifier-tube amplification of 20,000x, compared to Gen 1’s 1,000x.
- It is less inclined to produce distorted images.
- It has a longer battery life, compared to Gen 1 devices.
- It can operate without an illuminator.
- It has about 3 times the life expectancy of Gen 1 devices.
- It has a maximum shooting range of about 200 yards.
- It produces higher resolution images than a Gen 1 device.
Over time, manufactures have come up with Gen 2+ devices, which are still Gen 2 devices but with enhanced intensifier tube amplification, and image resolution. Just one more thing before we move on, in terms of quality, Gen 2 night vision devices are closer to Gen 3 night vision devices than they are to Gen 1 night vision devices. Again, we would like to remark that should you have more money, and be aggressive with quality, you might find value for money in Generation 3 night vision devices.
Generation 3 (Gen 3)
Generation 3 night vision devices are, again, an improvement on Gen 2 devices in the sense that while their intensifier tubes maintain the micro-channel plate, their S-25 photocathode is replaced with one that is made of gallium arsenide, a resolution-enhancing semi conductor. Furthermore, the intensifier tubes are coated with an ion barrier in order to enhance their shelf life. Gen 3 night vision devices featured prominently in the Iraq War in the 2000s. These devices have the following characteristics:
- They come with a shooting range of over 300 yards.
- They have an impressive life expectancy of 10,000 hours.
- They provide extremely high-resolution images, and can be used without an illuminator.
Like Gen 2 devices, Gen 3 night vision devices have also grown into sub-types, including the Gen 3 Autogated (Gen 3 AG), whose autogated tube provides advanced viewing under artificial lights such as flashlights, vehicle lights, and houselights. Indeed, if there’s any proof that this class of devices is high-end, it is that the special forces of the US Army, which is arguably the greatest army on earth, uses it.
And now, considering that we have discussed the defining features of the three classes of night vision devices, we think that it’s only fair for us to put the several features/advantages into context for you. First, regarding dependence on an illuminator, a night vision device that doesn’t depend on an illuminator (internal or external) is much safer compared to one that requires one. Why is this so? The usage of an illuminator means that another person using a night vision device can spot you easily. Now you can imagine what will happen if this person is an enemy in battle. Second, concerning life expectancy, a night vision device that lasts 10,000 hours obviously saves you massive replacement/repairs costs, compared to those that last 4500 hours or 1500 hours. Third, with regards to intensifier tube amplification, night vision devices that have an amplification of over 20,000x provide high-resolution and bloom-free images than those with an amplification of 1,000x. And, last but not least, having a night vision device with a shooting range of over 300 yards, compared to one with a shooting range of 95 yards, puts the odds in your favor, as far as hitting a long distance target is concerned.
How To Maintain Thermal Imaging Scopes and Night Vision Scopes
These days, sports shooters, hunters, surveillance experts, and law enforcement professionals are much efficient and effective at their jobs, thanks to the advanced technology that is used in the making of thermal and night vision scopes. Like many other inventions of the 20th century and beyond, thermal imaging and night vision scopes need periodic maintenance in order to sustain the superior viewing experience that they provide. Therefore, in this post, our goal is to share with you some tidbits and best practices for caring for your scope, so that it will last long. Scopes are very expensive devices and therefore should be taken care of and properly maintained all the time if you want them to function efficiently and last longer. The following are some of the most important things that you can do to maintain your scope:
- Always handle your scope with care and never drop it. Even if your scope comes with a sturdy housing, you should know that scopes house very delicate components that can be very susceptible to impact damage.
- When you are not using the rifle scope, always endeavor to place it in a padded case. Doing this will protect it from all manner of damages.
- Keep watch over the sturdiness of your scope’s mount and rings in order to protect the tube and other inner elements of the scope. Whenever you shoot an animal or a target in the field, your rifle assumes a backward movement that is often indicated by the shaking of your hands or body. This backward movement is referred to as recoil. When your scope isn’t properly mounted or clipped onto your rifle, it will experience a consequent vibration from your rifle’s recoil. When persistent, such vibrations can destroy the tube and other inner elements of your scope. The vibrations could also loosen the windage and elevation knobs as well as the scope’s grip on the rifle, creating inaccuracy in your alignment. Now consider another scenario where you accidentally hit your rifle against a tree in the forest or, your rifle falls from your hands. If your scope isn’t properly secured onto your rifle, it may just fall off, causing a crack in the lens or a complete wreckage of the scope. Now you can understand why keeping your scope rings and mount always tightened is an important maintenance activity.
- When transporting your scope, it is always advisable that you place it in the carrying case that it came with. If your scope didn’t come with a carrying case or bag, then you can protect it by carrying it in a padded case or bag. In addition to this, it is also not advisable to stack other equipment on top of your scope since that can easily cause damage to it.
- Whenever your scope is mounted over a rifle, handle that rifle very carefully so that the scope isn’t destroyed. You have to make sure that your rifle, when briefly not in use, is never made to rest vertically against a door or any object. The rifle could fall off from the door, leading to a lens breakage or a complete damage of your scope. Always place the scope-mounted rifle on a flat surface or on the floor to prevent it from falling further and causing any wreckage.
- Try to make sure that you leave the lens covers on all the time until when you are ready to use the scope.
- If you are using a night vision scope, try not to expose it to any form of bright light such as sunlight. The reason why it is a very bad idea exposing your night vision device to bright light is simply because it can damage the scope’s very sensitive image intensification tubes.
- Scopes gather dust and dirt and should therefore be routinely cleaned.
- Electronic devices tend not to be compatible with fog or humidity, and thermal imaging scopes and night vision scopes are no exception. Some of the very high quality scopes might encounter no problems being briefly exposed to humidity and moisture. However, prolonged exposure can be bad news for your scope regardless of how high quality and durable it is.
- We may not need to use our thermal and night vision scopes all-year-round. Activities like hunting, while they may take place all-year-round, usually take place at certain seasons in the year. During off-peak seasons or when you do not intend using your thermal or night vision scope for a long period of time, it is imperative that you do not leave the scope’s batteries in it when storing it for that long. The reason why it is very wrong to leave batteries in your thermal imaging or night vision device is simply because of the fact that the battery can easily leak and damage your scope’s internal mechanisms.
- After you have taken the batteries out of your scope, store the scope in a cool, dry place. The reason why it is important to always store your scope in a place that is cool and dry at the same time is because high humidity and temperatures can cause significant damage to your scope. Some experts also recommend storing the scope in a sealable plastic bag since doing this will prevent air from entering and forming molds over the lens and rusts on the body over time.
How to clean your Rifle Scope
It’s very easy for sand particles, rain, vapor, smoke, fluids and other unfavorable elements to settle on the surface of the lens of your scope. Consequently, it becomes very difficult to see with the scope, especially if it’s a night vision scope. Therefore we advise that, instead of waiting to the point where your vision is impaired by these elements, you develop the habit of regularly cleaning the lens of your night vision scope. This can be done before or after every major activity with your scope. Periodically cleaning your scope is one of the most important care practices that you can do for your scope since it not only helps the scope to maintain a superior viewing ability but also helps it last longer. But unfortunately not everyone knows how to go about properly cleaning their scope. You may clean your scope’s lens with a clean cloth, special tissue or brush that wouldn’t leave scratch marks on the lens. Most scopes also come with their own cleaning cloth, liquid formula, and brush for this purpose. The steps below will show you how to go about properly cleaning your rifle scope:
- First of all, you should never use any abrasives in cleaning your scope.
- Before using any lens cleaning tissue or cloth to clean the lens of your scope, you should first of all blow off any dirt or dust that has gathered on the surface of the lens. Alternatively, you can go in for a soft camel-hair brush and gently brush off particles of dirt, dust, sand and grit from the lens before cleaning it with the lens cleaning tissue. It is imperative that the brush you use to do this is one that comes with a soft bristle. Using a hard bristled brush to clean the lens of your scope can easily cause scratches on the surface of the lens.
- After you have finished brushing all particles of dirt and dust from the scope, the next step is to use a soft, clean cotton microfiber cloth to clean the lens so you can remove fingerprints and smudges from it. It is advisable that you do the cleaning gently and in a circular motion.
Other Important Points To Note
- The maintenance of optics of thermal scopes, in particular, is very involving because, unlike normal night vision scopes, thermal scopes rely on thermal imaging to produce viewing images. The process involves the use of sensors and special lens to capture heat from a target and to map out the target. Therefore, in cleaning the lens of thermal scopes, you need to be very careful about the kind of formula you use. Some use distilled white vinegar (5%), Isopropanol (95%), Etyl Alcohol, and specialized Acetone for Ultraviolet Ranges to remove fingerprints, saliva, and oils from the surface of the scope’s lens. Find out from your scope dealer, which is best for your scope.
- Second, although many high-end thermal and night vision scopes are housed in corrosion-resistant bodies, it doesn’t hurt to clean your scope’s body with a damp cloth to get rid of dust. You may also use a brush to get rid of dust and dirt that are often trapped by the windage and elevation knobs, spaces between the knobs and tube, and the corners of the scope’s eyepiece. But if you own an old night vision scope that is housed in a corrosive body, or has a steel-tube, you want to place a cleaning rag into a little bit of oil and clean your scope’s body with it.
- Another method of maintaining your scope’s body, especially during transportation, is to put the scope into a padded bag. A padded bag will shield the scope from unnecessary high impact as well as scratches that can reduce the aesthetic appeal of the scope. Cleaning your scope’s body regularly, and properly storing it for transportation, will go a long way to maintain its aesthetic appeal.
- The scope’s objective lens should never be touched; it should only be touched with a non-abrasive cloth that is soft.
- A night vision device should never be put on in day light. Neither should it be aimed at any light – especially bright light even in a dark atmosphere.