Thermal scope is definitely one of the greatest and optical devices you can think of installing on your gun. It does not really matter
the weather it is fog or dust, day or night; thermal rifle scopes provide flexibility in all seasons and any type of weather condition.
Selecting a thermal scope can prove to be one of the most complicated tasks, for both military operations and hunting.
But despite all that, you will need careful consideration before selecting. There are a number of “affordable” commercial scopes
have serious issues to do with the long-term values. Comparing to the military grade thermal scopes, the latter is designing for
rough combat conditions.Before you get down to selecting the best thermal scopes that you want to use, these are some of the
factors that you should put into consideration.
Check On the Resolution and the Refresh Rate
There are various resolutions that work for each type of thermal rifle scope. A thermal rifle scope, for instance would work best
with a 640×480 resolution. You will always get a better imagery with higher resolution. But be careful, when we say detector
resolution, it means to the ‘thermal detector’, not the display resolution. As the former is always the key to decides imagery
quality. Some providers mess up customers with this two features.
A number of scope specifications will usually show a refresh rate vary from 9 to 50 Hz. A higher frame rate will always get you a
smoother and clearer images than those with lower figures.
The NETD (sensitivity)
NETD indicates the ability of the thermal detector to recognize the very smallest temperature difference of your target.
The smaller the NETD is, the more sensitivity you will get. It is a key factor to consider the quality of thermal detector as many
have the same resolution but different in NETD.
Below is a comparison between the imagery captured from 60mk and 80mk device. A difference of 20mk shows significantly
quality gap as you could see. The NETD factor becomes more important when it comes to military operations and industrial
measurement, such applications will normally require the NETD to be around 40mk or less for a uncool thermal imager.
The Reticle Option
The other name for a reticle is reticule or crosshair and in a thermal scope it is known to offer a clear target sighting. When
comparing various types of military thermal scopes, it is advisable to look out carefully as some manufacturers do not offer a
reticle in the array of thermal scopes that they make.
An internal reticle is important when you could select the right one for your own rifle. Some commercial thermal scopes have ‘so
called’ reticles but only a crosshair without the ability to adjust the windage and elevation for a better zero-in experience.
It is very rare to see some military grade thermal scope that have reticles with ballistic data. For example, the lastest Flir L3 LWTS
thermal scope and Senopex’s SS75 Sniper thermal scope. The reticles that designed from real bullets shooting will help snipers
getting <1 MOA accuracy easily.
Ruggedized or Not?
If you are going to spend thousands of dollars on a thermal scope, you are always looking at the long term value. ‘Commercial’
models with lower price normally not able to work in the long run. While military grade thermal scopes are always rugged to be
able to work for now and long time in the future.
Many hunters or snipers have been complaining the shock or impact resistant ability for the commercial thermal scopes. They
usually having difficulties in zeroing the scope after several continuous shooting. A military scope will always have a serious
shock resistant ability to work under extreme conditions like high frequency vibrations, explosive environments as well as bad
weathers. Military thermal scopes will have to conduct rigorous tests for consistency. For example, enduring an external
pressurization test of 40 psi “gauge pressure,” simulating a depth of 100 feet,to confirm that they exceed current U.S. military specification
requirements by up to 25%. Military thermal scopes will also conduct twice the amount of impact testing of a commercial scope
to ensure they can easily withstand abuse from the battlefield.
What to Know First: Various Types of Thermal Weapon Sight & Thermal Rifle Scope
Despite the fact that there are so many thermal scopes found in the market today, all of them just fall in two main categories.
These two divisions are the clip-on thermal scope and the stand-alone thermal rifle scope.
The Stand-Alone Thermal Scopes
Beginning with the stand-alone thermal rifle scope, the TWS or the FLIR mounted thermal weapon sight is one of the common
examples. They can be compared to just the ordinary optical rifle scope. The stand-alone would be able to mount to the rail and
also comes with an internal reticle.
This reticle inside is to adjust elevation and windage to help in zeroing in the rifle.
The Clip-On Thermal Scopes
The United States Army Thermal Weapon Sight program is one of the common types of this thermal weapon sight. It however,
comes with one main drawback. Once it has been able to zero in, it becomes fully dedicated to the weapon it’s used on.
If you are into taking off the thermal and replacing it with an optical scope that you can use for your daytime shooting escapades.
For instance, then you will have no choice but to sight in both your nighttime weapon and the daytime weapon.
Although for civilian purposes, this might not be an issue to worry about. But when it comes to military applications, it can cause a bit of problems. As indicated, the clip-on thermal scopes that serving the military forces of the US. They were mainly introduced as a single weapon that could be used at all time; day or night without having to re-zero in.
It gives you an opportunity to clip on a thermal scope right in front of your daytime optic. This will then change your ordinary
optical scope into a great thermal scope. Once you have finished thermal shooting, it would then be right to take off the clip
available on scope before you resume your normal daytime optic.
The amazing part is that you will not have to re-zero your weapon at any given time. As your ordinary daytime scope begins off on
target, the clip on will always be on the target. It is one of the latest technologies in this amazing war asset. You will only require
one weapon and you will be able to utilize the shooting system that you are used to, although here, it will come with thermal
The Price of You Thermal Rifle Scope
Price is very important, almost in all areas. Before you compare the thermal scope’s features and decide to purchase, it would be
very important to check the costs. The lower priced brands can be cheap as $1000. While an expensive scope such as the Flir
Thermo Sight T60 would cost a price around $20,000.
So with $1000 as your lowest price and $20,000 as your highest possible price, you pay for your plan and what you really need.
Just as it is the case in other products, each of the thermal weapon sights has their drawbacks and advantages.
What’s more important is that you should pick a thermal rifle scope that would work best with your preference, applications and