For centuries, hunting has been considered a man's business. It was a source of sustenance for the family, and in many cultures, it was a ritual proving a young man's maturity. Now man no longer has such a need. And now, this craft is mostly seen as a hobby. But in any craft, we try to find tools that help us do our work quickly, efficiently, and easily. So after the war period, when night vision devices were invented, they began to smoothly enter our lives and found applications in the hunting field. During the period of progress, many different variants of this device were created. They are categorized by form, function, generation, and principle of operation. Thermal imagers are often confused with night vision devices, but these are completely different things. An NV unit is, in fact, a light amplifier; that is, it will need at least some but present light in the visible part of the spectrum, but bright flashes can "light up" the matrix, blinding the NV unit, as if it were a human eye. Thermal imager, on the contrary, can "see" even in complete darkness: its matrix operates exclusively in the infrared range, and it literally "sees heat," and the bright light is completely indifferent to it.
The advantages of thermal imaging devices, such as sights, monoculars, and binoculars even before advanced digital optics are apparent and undeniable. You can see the animal with a thermal imager from a very far distance in a total absence of illumination. Dense fog or smoke of the territory will not become an obstacle for detection. And its day scope mounting system also impresses with its ease of use, thereby saving both your time and space in your luggage. After all, just by attaching the clip to your rifle scope, you don't have to reinstall your weapon constantly. You will see in complete darkness in a few movements, regardless of bad weather, dust, or thick grass.
Now, let's look at a few monocular options that are trusted in the market for products in this category.
Pulsar Helion 2 XP50 Pro
Thermal imaging monocular from the well-known industry giant Yukon Advanced Optics Worldwide. Models under the Pulsar brand are the manufacturer's premium lineup. This model uses the latest generation of innovative heat-sensitive sensors, powerful germanium optics, and patented signal processing algorithms that have significantly increased image quality to an extremely high level. Users have a 2.5x optical zoom with a digital zoom function up to 20x. The devices can " detect" a rostral heat-contrast figure at a distance of about 1800 meters. This is more than enough for any type of hunting, including mountain hunting for trophy rams. Users have a choice of different operating modes and color display palettes. A wide field of view and high frequency of operation of the thermal imaging unit provides a quality picture when observing a group of fast-moving animals. Particular attention should be paid to protecting the device against any kind of shock. It is IP67 rated for protection against water and dust. The monocular can easily cope with direct immersion in water. It is not afraid of wonders when dropped or handled carelessly.
ATN Mars 4 640 2.5-25x
The sight is implemented in the concept of day optics. That is, it can be installed on a conventional mount. Shooters do not need to get used to the new type of sight and look for complex solutions when adapting it. The night vision capability at 1,950 meters more than covers all night shooting requirements at any range. Image stabilization features will ensure a perfect picture with a bit of gun wobble. A sophisticated power supply system provides up to 8 hours of power during active use. The presence of advanced features significantly increased the chances of a successful shot. The built-in gyroscope and accelerometer will guide the shooter to the exact position of the weapon on three axes. This model also features a ballistic calculator to help you correct the point of impact. The sight has a high degree of protection against moisture and dust, and direct ingress of precipitation is allowed. Shock resistance on a large caliber allows you not to worry about the safety of expensive equipment.
Armasight Apollo-Pro MR 640 50mm
The Apollo-Pro series of thermal imaging cameras is based on the FLIR Tau 2. This model has a 640x512 resolution sensor and a field of view of 12.5° x 10°. The device is capable of 1X-8X digital zoom. All information is displayed on the color AMOLED SVGA 060 display with a resolution of 800×600. You can also output your thermal scenes to a third-party monitor or camcorder using the multi-pin connector. This model is equipped with thermal image enhancement and optimization features, so you can choose from one of the color polarity palettes to get the most information about your subjects of interest. This model is equipped with a 50-millimeter lens, which protects the case made of aircraft aluminum. On top of the device is a control panel of 6 keys. There is a mechanism for attaching to the gun bars on the bottom. There is a bar for attaching additional accessories and a multi-contact connector on one side. On the other side, there is a battery compartment. It works up to 7 hours on four CR123A 3V or AA 1.5V batteries.
AGM Global Vision Anaconda-Micro Compact Thermal Imaging Rifle
AGM Global Vision is a renowned company that exclusively develops thermal imaging and night vision rifle scopes.
This model simply needs to be installed in front of your day rifle scope. It does not require any additional settings. But it should be emphasized that this lens will not provide you with a wide range of other features, such as magnification. By fixing it to your main sight, you only get the ability to see better in the dark. This model functions thanks to its uncooled 384x288 term detector, allowing it to catch the slightest temperature changes in the field. The display of this model is OLED with a resolution of 1024x768 pixels, which will enable you to observe a clear and high-quality picture of the environment. The refresh rate of the thermal sensor is 50 Hz, and you can also control the brightness and contrast of your observed image depending on your surroundings. And with these features, you'll see your target much more transparent and brighter. The Anaconda's undeniable advantages are its shock resistance and water resistance. So it's not afraid to use it in the harshest weather conditions and on large caliber rifles.
The Optic Guru Thor LT
Of all the positions presented, this is the most budget-friendly option because it is not equipped with various gadgets. But that does not mean that it is not equipped with the basic and essential features that scopes of this type should have, making it an excellent find for beginners.
With a 160x120 matrix, this scope is excellent to use at short distances. The refresh rate is 60 Hz, which helps shooters keep track of their target. So when you move the rifle, the observed picture will be almost perfect and not smeared. This feature is essential when hunting pack animals. After all, after the first shot, you won't have to waste precious time waiting to adjust the sharpness of your image, and you will quickly make your second shot.
In addition to these advantages for its price, unlike previous copies, this particular model pleases with its autonomy and works up to 10 hours. Which is enough for a full-fledged hunt.
Bering Optics BEAST-C 336 Thermal Clip-On
The sensor's resolution is 336x256 pixels, and the display's resolution is 800x600. These impressive figures will provide the shooter with a clear and contrasting picture, facilitating observation. So if you are looking for a sight with an excellent and high-quality resolution, you should pay attention to this model.
But its advantages do not end there. This lightweight mounting system will provide you with safe hunting at long distances. So, a distance of 1000 meters won't be an obstacle for the shooter. This site is made of military-grade material, which guarantees the power of this equipment, as well as resistance to various adverse weather conditions. Therefore, rain, fog, smoke, dust, and other natural phenomena will not prevent a successful shot. It is powered by two CR123 batteries so that you will enjoy its stable work for 4 hours. Although compared with the previous model, it may seem a disadvantage. You can just buy spare batteries.
That was the list of favorites for thermal night sights. There is no doubt that this device will provide you with excellent service and will be very useful while hunting in low-light conditions. But we, nevertheless, strongly recommend before purchase to study carefully all priority points formed in your requirements to a device and to consult with experts. After all, despite all its advantages, in all of them you can identify one, for some very significant, disadvantage - it is a high cost of a thermal imager. Therefore, before you spend your finances, make sure that there is no alternative among such devices suitable for the tasks you need.