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Thermal Clip On Scope 101

From varmint calling to big game hunting, an innovative weapon is used by man. The weapon of choice for most sport hunters is some sort of high powered rifle, and with the advancement in technology these days, it just doesn’t seem right to own a rifle without the accessorizing it with a great scope.

Nearly every hunter has their favorite gun, it is the gun they feel the most comfortable with and their “go to” gun. On their gun is as high end of a scope that they could afford.  When they go out deer hunting or coyote calling, they will quickly grab Old Betsy, with the knowledge that she is just as dialed in as ever. 

In some states they have made hunting certain animals legal in the night, the most common being coyotes and feral pigs.  With this change in the law, technology has followed and they have developed a line of night time optics, one of which being Thermal Imaging. This is where your optic is able to detect heat and make it in a sense, glow. 

While hunting at night, sounds like a blast, not many hunters want to turn their one and only, Old Betsy into a night hunting only gun. Nor would they want to use a lesser gun with a high end thermal scope. If you are going to hunt, hunt with the best gear/weapons you own.  Luckily technology once again is a step ahead and has created a thermal imaging clip on scope available to the public.  This is an amazing product is exactly what it sounds like. It looks like a thermal monocular, except it is built to attach to your current fixed scope with ease.

Flir, a night vision and thermal imaging company has developed a flagship line of thermal optics called Armasight.  By purchasing and attaching the Armasight clip on thermal scope you are saving yourself time and possibly money. The best part is, once it is attached, you will not need to re-zero in your scope as it uses the reticles of your current fixed scope, and it allows you to reach out as far as you have your rifle sighted in to.  As you look through your scope, the thermal imaging will quickly pick out the body heat of animals, camouflage can’t even hide them from your view, giving you a huge advantage in the dark.

Just like any other product on the market, there are numerous styles and manufactures. However, the line of Armasight products are hard to beat especially with the clip on night vision scopes. These light weight clip on scopes have been designed to be very easy to mount, by slipping them onto the end of your current scope and temporarily attaching them to your gun.  The digital buttons make it extremely straight forward and in no time you will find a new style of excitement by hunting at night. Also, keeping hunters in mind and how much they love to share their hunting stories with others, Flir has also provided the option to record your hunt or shots using the SD card slot.

One of Flir’s products is the Armasight CO-MR GEN 2+ SD MG Day/Night Vision Clip-On System and it can mount in front of any daytime scope by the use of a Picatinny or Weaver rail, including a quick release. It comes with a wireless remote control and is powered by only one CR123 or AA battery. It is also filled with dry nitrogen to help avoid fogging inside of the scope, especially on those cold nights.

https://nightvisionscope.com/products/armasight-co-mr-gen-2-sd-mg-day-night-vision-clip-on-system?variant=21557081409

Another scope by Flir is the Armasight Apollo 324 (30Hz) 42mm Thermal Imaging Clip-On System which seems to have endless abilities and options. With this model you are actually able to adjust the display brightness. It also shows how much life of the two required CR123 batteries have left. The optional digital video recorder makes re-watching your evening shots a blast.

Armasight Apollo 324 (30Hz) 42mm

With products such as these Armasight scopes,  it is hard to see why anyone who hunts at night wouldn’t have a thermal clip on sight in their safe. They not only allow a hunter to hunt at night, but they can use the exact same gun as soon as the sun starts peaking up by taking a few moments to remove the thermal scope leaving their fixed scope ready to rock and roll.

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Thermal Monocular Reviews

Thermal imaging optics are designed to see the infrared energy that heat emits. The vast majority of animals emit heat, which makes them shine brightly under thermal imaging. Thermal optics work in complete and total darkness, regardless of the weather. Thermal optics can see through fog, dust, smoke, and other obscuring effects. This makes thermal optics one of the best options for observation, viewing, and searching.

Thermal Monoculars are not thermal scopes. A scope is specifically designed to be mounted to a firearm and used to help the shooter hit a target. Thermal monoculars are single piece optics that are for observation. A monocular can be handheld or even mounted onto a helmet or HALO system for users to wear while keeping their hands free. Thermal monoculars are often small with zero to moderate magnification.

Reviews

Two of the biggest series in thermal monoculars is the Armasight Prometheus and the Pulsar Quantum. By series, I mean there are several different optics with different magnifications, sizes, and definition limits. They use the same technology overall but are different in terms of overall specifications. My thermal monocular reviews will be centered on the entire series.

Armasight Prometheus Thermal Monoculars

The Armasight Prometheus thermal monoculars are variable power with an option for 60hz or 30hz. The variable magnification ranges from 2 to 8 power and the Hz ranges from standard definition to high definition. The 60Hz is the higher definition model and allows users to see small features at extended distances. At close range, both optics will allow the user to make out important features, but the 60Hz will allow you to see fine facial differences at extended ranges.

The Armasight Prometheus provides a crystal clear picture for the user, during both day and night situations. The picture provided is absolutely brilliant and incredibly clear. This is due to the second generation digital detail enhancement which corrects and improves the picture’s definition. You also get a wide variety of color modes. You can use the newer white/black hot as well as the classic rainbow vision as well as 8 other settings. The differences are largely up to the user, and their search parameters. I find the white or black hot modes the most comfortable for extending viewing.  

One of the most valuable features is the smart scene optimization. Some thermal monoculars have the difficulty seeing targets that have thermal signatures similar to their surroundings. The Prometheus series makes it much easier to spot targets with similar thermal signatures to their backgrounds. The Prometheus series is perfect for longer range observation and surveillance.

Pulsar Quantum Series Thermal Monoculars

The Pulsar Quantum series of Thermal Monoculars is a massive series. They range from very simple 1 to 2 power monoculars with 16mm objective lenses, all the way to 2.8 to 11.2 power optics with a massive 42mm objective lenses. The hertz frame rates range from low definition 9Hz to high definition 50Hz. The lower 9Hz can see thermal signatures and make determinations between species and relative sizes. With a mere 9Hz, you are capable of seeing a human sized target at over 500 yards away. The 50Hz refresh rate allows you to see the fine facial features of people, and extreme details of animals. The more powerful Pulsar Quantum monoculars can see human sized targets at 1,300 yards.

The smaller monoculars with the 1 to 2 power settings are perfect for wearing on a HALO or helmet mount. You can walk and move confidently and easily due to the 1x power being the normal viewing range of humans. The more powerful models are excellent for long range observation. They provide a very clear picture of what’s hot and what’s not. People and animal spotting is very simple.

The Pulsar series features both automatic and manual calibration allowing users to fully customize their viewing scape. The Pulsar series uses either black hot or white hot viewing modes. These colors are often more comfortable for extended viewing. The systems run on both internal batteries but can also use an external power source for longer viewing needs. The Pulsar series is also capable of video output for recording, or more convenient viewing from a stationary location. The Pulsar series is quite varied, so more than likely they have an option that can fit your needs, and I assure they will do it well.

Thermals

Thermal imaging is incredibly interesting, and possibly one of the most efficient forms of viewing technology. The systems work day and night and are not easily obstructed. A set of thermal monoculars will change the way you view the world.

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Tips for Hunting at Night

Wanting to hunt at night? Not sure where to start? It might sound intimidating or difficult to master, but as long as you follow a few guidelines we are confident that you will be a pro in no time. Follow these 11 starter tips to help you have a highly rewarding pursuit.

Know the law. Understand night hunting and night vision laws and regulations within the state you plan on hunting in. Do you know whether or not it is legal in your state? There are states that prohibit the use of night vision and some states will not allow you to hunt at night.

Choose your weapon. Choose your weapon based on the type of terrain you plan on hunting and the distances you will be shooting. Also take into consideration the type of animal you will be hunting. A feral hog will take a different weapon than a raccoon.

Choose your scope. Depending on where and what you are hunting, you might find that you prefer to use a thermal scope over a night vision scope. Do your research to find the best rifle scope for your prey and environment.

Wear camo. It is extremely important to blend in with your hunting environment. Fox, coyote, and hogs are smart and have keen senses. Pay attention to detail, cover your face and hands, especially if you plan o n moving often while hunting.

Know the direction the wind is blowing. Nocturnal animals have a very acute sense of smell because their eyes cannot be their primary sense at night. If you keep the wind in your face, your scent will be blown away from the prey your are hunting instead of towards your pray. It is also very important to pay close attention to your stand when you are approaching it, so that you don’t pollute your target area with the smell of your scent.

Minimize noise. Make sure to move as silently as you can. Similar to scent, noise is something that nocturnal animals rely on. Their keen hearing and their sharp sense of smell are the primary senses that they will be using. Moving slow and purposefully, make take some time, but it will be worth it in the end because you won’t scare off your prey.

Identify your ranges. Planning is key. If you have planned your hunt and already know your distances between specific landmarks you will be in good shape. Try using a range card or drawing up a small map with landmarks and their measurements. This will help you be confident in your shooting position and distances. Don’t forget to know your rifle’s ranges as well as the drop at various ranges.

Plan to hunt under the light of the moon. If you are able to plan the date of your hunt based on the availability of the moon, your hunt will be easier. Hunting with the light of the moon will be so much easier than planning on a completely overcast night.

Select and secure your calls. There are a wide variety of calls available based on prey you are hunting. If you are hunting in cold climates, make sure to choose mouth calls that won’t freeze in sub temperatures. Reed calls are notorious for freezing up. Make sure you secure your call to a lanyard so that it is easy to find and won’t get lost.

Know when and where to call. Depending on the predator, you might find yourself calling and at different times and places. Make sure you know your prey in order to find the times that will offer the best action.

Be ready to move. Especially when hunting prey like hogs, you need to be prepared to move after you have fired. They are smart animals and will not return to the same location.

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Night Vision vs Thermal Imaging: What You Need to Know

Night vision and thermal imaging are very different technologies. Let’s explore both:

Night Vision
Night Vision devices take in small amounts of visible light, amplify it greatly, and project that on a display to provide the user with a clearer picture in low light situations. Night vision devices need some type of light in order to work. This light can be as subtle as moonlight or as expansive as an infrared lamp. If there is absolutely no light, your night vision device will be useless.

Night vision devices often offer greater image clarity than thermal devices. However they still have the same challenges that the human eye faces. For example, if objects are camouflaged, they will not be any easier to see with night vision. This is a situation where thermal imaging would be a good device to use. The thermal devices will be able to detect camouflaged objects just fine. Another challenge is that night vision will not work in daylight or in lighted rooms. Night vision devices are also not able to see through obscurants in the air such as fog, dust or sand.

Thermal Imaging
Thermal technology operates differently than night vision. It does not aggregate light. Instead thermal imaging operates off of heat and captures the “heat” that is emitted by all objects, including people and animals. Everything gives off thermal energy/heat, even ice. The hotter an object is, the more thermal energy is emitted. The emitted thermal energy from an object is called a “heat signature”. The thermal imaging devices detect the temperature differences of objects and translate them into image detail.

Everything we encounter in our day-to-day lives gives off thermal energy, even ice. The hotter something is the more thermal energy it emits. This emitted thermal energy is called a “heat signature.” When two objects next to one another have even subtly different heat signatures, they show up quite clearly to a FLIR regardless of lighting conditions.

Unlike night vision, thermal imaging works in both day and night, in light or in complete darkness. It also allows you to see through obscurants such as fog, dust, smoke or sand.

Thermal imaging devices also have the ability to track residual heat (warm spot left behind). For example, the device will be able to see handprints or footprints that are left behind from a person or animal.

In conclusion, thermal imaging detects the thermal or infrared energy emitted by various objects and turns that into an image. Night vision operates very similar to the human eye, and requires much less light to function.