Are you struggling to land accurate shots when hunting at night? Try using a thermal scope. Yes, lantern flashlights provide excellent illumination, but thermal scopes take your game to the next level with modern, high-end infrared technology. See the best options on the market this 2021.
8 Best Thermal Scopes in 2021 for Hunting After Sundown
1. N-Vision Optics Halo-LR
Price: From $7,695
The Halo-LR is one of the most newly released thermal optics from N-Vision Optics. It has a far-reaching detection range of 2,020 yards, durable IP67 water resistance, and crystal-clear resolution of 640×480 pixels.
Among the Halo-LR's several impressive features, however, its refresh rate stands out the most. While other thermal rifle optics on the market have a refresh rate of around 30Hz to 50Hz, this piece offers a whopping 60Hz.
More simply put, these optics generate new images 60 times per second. Compare them side by side with any other scope you have, and you will notice the difference in image quality. 60Hz allows you to see every movement that your target makes.
2. Trijicon REAP-IR Series
Price: $7,000 – $9,500
The REAP-IR from Trijicon ranks among the most widely known thermal optics for sale today. It features the Trijicon® Q-LOC™ Technology, a 450-yard detection range, and extremely durable IPX7 water resistance.
These specs are impressive, but the REAP-IR became a cult favorite for its 640×480 12 Micron core resolution. At the time of its release, no other thermal scope could match up to this resolution. It became one of the best industry-leading optics, making competitor scopes look grainy and blurry.
3. ATN ThOR 4 Smart Thermal Rifle Scope
Price: Starts at $3,199
While most of the best thermal scopes rely on resolution or refresh rates to provide clear-cut images, the ThOR 4 does not.
This piece utilizes one of the most advanced infrared technologies available. Its heightened sensitivity to heat paired with its high-quality dual-processor produces clear, razor-sharp images.
Furthermore, these optics have built-in recording features. Document your entire hunting session so that you can review and analyze your performance once you get home. Remember: practice makes perfect.
The Thor 4 also features 1280×960 @ 60 fps of recording, an automatic ballistic calculator for efficient hunting, and is equipped with the ATN radar.
Considering that these optics offer an extensive range of features, you might assume that it costs a fortune. However, it doesn't. On the contrary, the Thor 4 is one of the most affordable thermal vision optics on our list.
4. Pulsar Thermion 2
Advanced, high-end thermal scopes offer extensive features that will make hunting sessions overall more exciting and convenient. However, not everyone can utilize this technology. First-timers might find the sheer number of configurations and specifications confusing.
One of the newest in the market, the Thermion 2 features a sturdy and reliable all-metal housing, IPX7 waterproof technology, and a detection range of 1350 to 1800, depending on the model.
The lowest variant is the XQ38, which features a 2.5 – 10 (x4 zoom); the XQ50 with a 3.5 – 14 (x4 zoom) magnification; and the top of the line XP50, which has a 2 – 16 (x8 zoom) that can help with hog hunting even from a long distance.
Just mount the piece on your rifle, and you're ready to go!
5. Sig Sauer Echo 3
Price: $3,300 – $4,400
The Echo 3 is one of the most reliable thermal scopes designed for predator and hog hunters. It is made by Sig Sauer, assuring the optics' excellent reliability. You can rest assured knowing that these scopes come from a reliable household brand—Sig Sauer.
The Echo 3 features 8 Color Palettes and 6 Brightness Settings to help you see hogs clearer in the dark, IPX4 waterproofing, thermal reflex sights, and MOTAC™ (Motion Activated Display) which powers up the scope when it senses motion.
6. IR Defense IR Hunter Mark II 640
Is your thermal scope having trouble keeping up with small to medium-sized prey that keeps bouncing around? Try the IR Defense IR Hunter Mark II 640.
This piece excels in small-game hunting. It has an excellent 640 x 840 resolution, 60 Hz refresh rate, 12 micron sensitivity for top-notch image quality, and six intelligent receptacle options—all of which allow shooters to track small, fast critters.
You can use these on any target. However, if you want to utilize its unique set of features, go for fast-moving, mid-sized prey like rabbits or hogs.
7. Trijicon Teo Snipe-IR
While thermal scopes make for accurate shots, they make your rifle bulky and heavy. Hunters might have trouble moving around and tracking their targets if these pieces weigh more than a few dozen pounds.
For compact, portable optics, try the Trijicon Teo Snipe-IR. It has a light, easy-to-mount frame that allows hunters to walk around for hours on end without hurting their arms.
Furthermore, these optics have the no-shot zero function and thumbstick control. Combining these two features streamlines the scoping process, thus helping you fire accurate shots quickly and effectively.
8. FLIR Scout TK Pocket-Sized Thermal Monocular
The FLIR Scout TK Pocket-Sized Thermal Monocular is perhaps the most accessible thermal optic on this list. Most stores sell these optics for about $500 to $1,000.
Despite its low price, the Scout TK still offers a reasonable, practical set of features. It has a detection range of 100 yards, a refresh rate of 9Hz, and a resolution of 160×120 pixels.
While most of these thermal scopes cost well over four digits, the quality they offer provides excellent value for every penny you pay. Avoid cheap, low-end options from off-brand manufacturers. Trust us—using low-quality infrared technology to hunt in the dark will only compromise your safety.
For a more fruitful, bounteous hunting session, go in small groups. Nocturnal animals have excellent senses, so they'll definitely spot loud, noisy hunters carrying multiple bright lamps right away. Utilize infrared optics to sneak up on your prey.
Which of these new thermal scopes would you consider adding to your gun arsenal? Share your thoughts with us in the comments section below!
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