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TOP 17 Best Thermal Scope Review And Guides 2021

best thermal scopes

If you do not have time for the details, here are our top picks for thermal scopes:

  1. ATN ThOR-HD 640 
  2. Trijicon Electro Optics REAP-IR 
  3. Pulsar Thermion XP50 
  4. ATN ThOR 4 
  5. IR Defense IR Hunter Mark II 
  6. Trijicon Teo Snipe-IR Clip-On Optic 
  7. Armasight Predator 336 
  8. Pulsar Trail 2 LRF XQ50 
  9. ATN ThOR-LT 
  10. Pulsar Core RXQ30V 
  11. Armasight Zeus Pro 
  12. Armasight Apollo-Pro MR Clip-On Sight 
  13. Sig Sauer ECHO3 Thermal Reflex Sight 
  14. Pulsar PL76475 Apex XD75 
  15. AGM Global Vision Python-Micro 
  16. Steiner Close Quarter Red Dot Thermal Sight 
  17. Leica Calonox Sight 

Human eyes aren’t very useful for seeing in the dark, so if you need to shoot after the sun goes down, you’re going to need some help. The best thermal scope will definitely help you line up crosshairs on targets, even in total darkness. If you’re in the market for a solid thermal optic, but aren’t sure where to start, don’t worry. We’ve done the research for you. We’ve even put together this list of the best thermal optics on the market today.  

Comparison Table 

Image Product Features
scmtbl-table__image ATN ThOR-HD 640
  • Magnification: 1-10x
  • Resolution: 640x480
  • Weight: 32 ounces
VIEW ON AMAZON →
scmtbl-table__image Trijicon Electro Optics REAP-IR
  • Magnification: 2.5-20x
  • Resolution: 640x480
  • Weight: 20.81 ounces
VIEW ON OPTICSPLANET →
scmtbl-table__image Pulsar Thermion XP50
  • Magnification: 1.9 -15.2 x
  • Resolution: 340x240
  • Weight: 31.71 ounces
VIEW ON OPTICSPLANET →
scmtbl-table__image ATN ThOR 4
  • Magnification: 4-40x
  • Resolution: 640x480
  • Weight: 37.6 ounces
VIEW ON AMAZON →
scmtbl-table__image IR Defense IR Hunter Mark II
  • Magnification: 2.5x
  • Resolution: 640x480
  • Weight: 29.63 ounces
VIEW ON OPTICSPLANET →
scmtbl-table__image Trijicon Teo Snipe-IR Clip-On Optic
  • Magnification: 1x
  • Resolution: 640x480
  • Weight: 24.6 ounces
VIEW ON AMAZON →
scmtbl-table__image Armasight Predator 336
  • Magnification: 1.6-8x
  • Resolution: 640x480
  • Weight: 22.4 ounces
VIEW ON OPTICSPLANET →
scmtbl-table__image Pulsar Trail 2 LRF XQ50
  • Magnification: 2-16x
  • Resolution: 640x480
  • Weight: 73.6 ounces
VIEW ON OPTICSPLANET →
scmtbl-table__image ATN ThOR-LT
  • Magnification: 4-8x
  • Resolution: 160x120
  • Weight: 22.4 ounces
VIEW ON OPTICSPLANET →
scmtbl-table__image Pulsar Core RXQ30V
  • Magnification: 1.6-6.4x
  • Resolution: 640-480x
  • Weight: 17.6 ounces
VIEW ON OPTICSPLANET →
scmtbl-table__image Armasight Zeus Pro
  • Magnification: 2-16x
  • Resolution: 640x512
  • Weight: 24 ounces
VIEW ON OPTICSPLANET →
scmtbl-table__image Armasight Apollo-Pro MR Clip-On Sight
  • Magnification: 1x
  • Resolution: 640x512
  • Weight: 32 ounces
VIEW ON OPTICSPLANET →
scmtbl-table__image Sig Sauer ECHO3 Thermal Reflex Sight
  • Magnification: 1-6x
  • Resolution: 320x240
  • Weight: 14.3 ounces
VIEW ON OPTICSPLANET →
scmtbl-table__image Pulsar PL76475 Apex XD75
  • Magnification: 3-6x
  • Resolution: 384x288
  • Weight: 28.2 ounces
VIEW ON AMAZON →
scmtbl-table__image AGM Global Vision Python-Micro
  • Magnification: 1.9x
  • Resolution: 384x288
  • Weight: 13.28 ounces
VIEW ON OPTICSPLANET →
scmtbl-table__image Steiner Close Quarter Red Dot Thermal Sight
  • Magnification: 1-4x
  • Resolution: 320x240
  • Weight: 20.8 ounces
VIEW ON OPTICSPLANET →
scmtbl-table__image Leica Calonox Sight
  • Magnification:1x
  • Resolution: 384 - 288
  • Weight: 17.6 ounces
VIEW ON OPTICSPLANET →

Top 17 Best Thermal Scope Reviews 

1. ATN ThOR-HD 640 

ATN is an industry leader in both night vision and thermal technology. The company specifically serves the needs of nighttime hunters, and their ThOR-HD 640 optic is an excellent choice for hog hunting.  

The optic uses a cutting-edge Obsidian T II thermal core processor that detects heat in the environment and then converts it to a digital image for easy viewing. The ThOR-HD 640 also features an onboard ballistic calculator and built-in rangefinder that automatically computes the distance to your target and factors in the bullet trajectory. This allows you to adjust  your point of aim for more accurate nighttime shooting.  

Like many of the thermal optics on our list, the ThOR-HD 640 has high-res video and photo capabilities. It also has recoil-activated recording (RAV), which automatically records your shots. WIth Wi-Fi streaming capabilities, you can use your smartphone or tablet as a viewfinder and share all the heart-pumping action of your hunts with your friends.  

Although the ATN ThOR-HD 640 is an intricate high-tech device, it is also surprisingly durable. It features a shockproof and waterproof construction that makes it tough enough to handle both harsh recoil and harsh weather.  

2. Trijicon Electro Optics REAP-IR 

Perfect for tactical ops, the Trijicon REAP-IR has controls almost identical to the US military’s AN/PAS-13 thermal scope. This makes the REAP-IR an ideal option for former military personnel who will already be familiar with the AN/PAS-13’s settings and controls.  

If you don’t want the expense of several thermal optics for all your weapon platforms, the Trijicon REAP-IR is the answer to your prayers. This device stores multiple reticle positions so you can easily swap the scope between rifles without losing accuracy. 

This high-tech, battle-ready optic has a handy and unique feature called Edge Detect Mode. When used in this mode, hot targets are outlined to reduce brightness and preserve the shooter’s natural ability to see in the dark. This setting is perfect for target rich environments where most thermal scopes would be difficult to use.   

Crafted from quality aircraft grade aluminum, the REAP-IR is nitrogen filled and o-ring sealed for true shockproof performance. It also includes a Picatinny rail mount that makes it easy to add to your AR-15, AR-10, or other modern sporting rifle.  

3. Pulsar Thermion XP50 

The Pulsar Thermion XP50 flaunts an extreme 1,975-yard detection range. The company achieves this impressive feat by using top-notch germanium optics and a high-tech thermal imaging sensor. If you need to drop coyotes from a distance, this is the perfect tool for the job.  

Not only does the Thermion XP50 have an impressive detection range, it also features Pulsar’s patented Image Boost Technology. This allows you to see those distant targets with stunning clarity. The image clarity of this optic is so sharp, you can almost count the fleas on a predator’s back. 

The Thermion XP50 allows you to store up to five rifle profiles and 50 zeroes, so you can use this single optic over several platforms. You can also change loads without needing to recalibrate the scope. Just dial in the saved data, and you’re ready to shoot. 

The Thermion XP50 has several different color palettes to choose from, allowing you to change the color scheme for enhanced viewing in any shooting setting. You can even record hours of video and thousands of still photos right on the device.  

4. ATN ThOR 4 

ATN’s ThOR 4 has all the function and capabilities of a high-tech thermal scope wrapped up in a package that looks just like a traditional riflescope. However, the ThOR 4 is anything but traditional. Packed with the “Next Generation” of thermal sensors, the ThOR 4 is powered by an Obsidian IV dual core processor. Not only does this provide higher thermal sensitivity, it also improves image contrast and resolution. 

The ATN ThOR 4 includes an onboard ballistic calculator that stores multiple weapon profiles. The calculator also factors in temperature, range, angle to target, and atmospheric humidity, so you can achieve the perfect shot no matter the shooting conditions. 

With the ThOR 4, you can stream video to your tablet or smartphone while simultaneously recording footage to an internal SD card.  

Serious hunters will also appreciate the ThOR 4’s ultra low power profile. The battery on this optic offers more than 16 hours of continuous operation, so you never need to worry that your battery will die in the middle of a fast-paced hunt. 

5. IR Defense IR Hunter Mark II 

One of the best rated thermal imaging devices on the market today, the IR Defense IR Hunter Mark II produces sharp, high-contrast images while using less battery power than most other thermal weapon sights.  The device uses a CR123 battery that offers up to 40 percent longer usage in the field. 

The IR Hunter Mark II features a 60hz fast frame rate. This feature, paired with the mil-spec Emagin OLED display, makes it easy to pull a lead on fast-moving coyotes and other predators.   

The controls on the IR Hunter Mark II are very similar to the controls on a traditional riflescope. The zoom and adjustment turrets are located right where you would expect them on a daytime optic, making this thermal highly intuitive and easy to use, even for shooters unfamiliar with thermal technology.  

The IR Hunter Mark offers video output, detailed reticles, and some seriously rugged durability. It is both water and fog resistant, making it suitable for shooting in all weather conditions.  

6. Trijicon Teo Snipe-IR Clip-On Optic 

This lightweight, compact thermal imaging monocular from Trijicon is designed to clip onto your rifle in front of your LPVO. The Snipe-IR is optimized for use with Trijicon’s 4×32 ACOG. When paired with the popular ACOG, it offers easy sight-in integration for the most accurate calibrations. However, the Snipe-IR can also be used with other 2x or 4x day optics.  

Like all Trijicon optics, the Snipe-IR is rugged and ready for battle. Durable enough for the toughest conditions on the planet, the Snipe-IR features an aircraft-grade, 6061 aluminum chassis. The housing is nitrogen filled and o-ring sealed, making it completely fogproof and shockproof. The optic is also waterproof to 1 meter. 

The controls of the Snipe-IR are incredibly intuitive, even for inexperienced users. Our favorite feature is the Digital Focus Control Image Enhancement, which allows you to focus in on your intended target and sharpen the overall picture so you can see even the tiniest details with surprising clarity. 

7. Armasight Predator 336 

The Armasight Predator 336 is one of the most affordable thermal riflescopes on the market today. A great entry-level option for hunters, the Predator 336 features durable construction and reliable performance. 

This is one of the lightest thermal optics on our list, but don’t let its size fool you. This optic is as rugged as they come. Made from aircraft-grade machined aluminum, the Predator 336 is water and fog resistant. It also operates reliably in temperatures ranging from -40 to 122 degrees Fahrenheit, making it suitable for any climate on the planet.  

The Armasight Predator 336 has intuitive, easy-to-use controls for fast shooting in the field. Other great features include, built-in video recording, multiple reticles, and a virtual rainbow of color options.  

8. Pulsar Trail 2 LRF XQ50 

Rugged, reliable, and easy to use, the Pulsar Trail 2 LRF XQ50 is perfect for nocturnal hog hunting. It features an extended heat-detecting range of almost 2000 yards, 15 different reticle styles, and 8 color palettes.  

Hunters will really appreciate the optic’s instant start-up feature. Unlike other thermal models that take a while to power up, the Trail XQ50 starts on a dime. The instant start-up feature ensures your optic is always ready to go when you are. It also helps save battery life, because you can keep it turned off until go time.  

The Trail XQ50 is built for rough use in the field. Made with an all-metal, magnesium alloy housing, the optic is recoil rated for the heaviest hitting cartridges. It is also o-ring sealed and has an IPX7 waterproof rating. This means the optic will run flawlessly, even after being completely submerged in water for up to half an hour.  

Although the Trail XQ50 mounts easily on your rifle using standard 30mm mount rings, it is a pretty hefty beast. Weighing in at a whopping 4.6 pounds, this isn’t a loadout you’ll want to carry while hiking to remote locations.  

9. ATN ThOR-LT 

You can probably tell that we are big fans of ATN’s ThOR lineup. If you’re on a shoestring budget, a quality thermal optic may seem out of reach. However, the ThOR-LT is a great budget option that provides plenty of value and performance for the money. If you’re looking for a reliable, entry-level thermal scope, this is it.  

ATN manages to keep the price tag low on this model by focusing on the basics. While you won’t find any fancy bells and whistles on this model, it does have surprisingly clear resolution, reliable zoom, and a one-shot zero function.  

The ATN ThOR-LT also offers an impressive 10 plus hours of battery life. Weighing less than 1 ½ pounds, this is one of the lightest thermal scopes on the market. Mount this quality optic on a rifle or crossbow and you’re ready for hunting predators in the backcountry. 

10. Pulsar Core RXQ30V 

Here is another great budget thermal. This one is from Pulsar. SImple to use but surprisingly rugged, the Pulsar Core is perfect for shooters new to thermal technology.  

Hunters will love the handy picture in picture (PIP) function. This function allows you to maintain a wide field of view while focusing on a specific target within that field. This is a handy feature for tracking multiple hogs, especially if you’re hunting over a bait station.  

Although the Pulsar Core has a thermal detection range of 985 yards, it offers the best clarity at ranges under 150 yards. It also performs best at the lowest magnification setting. Still, this a solid optic for both hunting and tactical applications. 

11. Armasight Zeus Pro 

The Zeus Pro from industry leader Armasight is a rugged, mil-standard 810 compliant optic. It is built from aircraft grade aluminum and features a textured rubber coating for extra durability. It is completely waterproof, fogproof, and shockproof. The Zeus Pro is also tough enough to handle the harshest recoil (up to .50 BGM) without damaging internal components or losing its zero. 

The Zeus Pro is the smallest and lightest thermal optic in the Armasight line-up. It only weighs 24 ounces without batteries. While the AA batteries will add some extra ounces, the scope is well-balanced and lightweight for easier off-hand shooting. 

This is a highly accurate weapon sight that offers multiple reticle styles and color palettes to prevent eye fatigue. You can also easily zoom through the magnification range without changing the point-of-aim to point-of-impact relative to your reticle.  

12. Armasight Apollo-Pro MR Clip-On Sight 

Don’t be fooled by the Apollo-Pro’s clip-on design. This high-tech optic from Armasight is packed with cutting-edge features.  

Designed to attach in front of your favorite traditional riflescope, the Apollo-Pro allows you to seamlessly transition from daytime to nighttime shooting without missing a beat. Since it mounts directly in front of your riflescope, there’s no need to zero the optic. Instead, it works in tangent with your existing scope, allowing you to detect surrounding heat signatures. 

The Apollo-Pro has terrific image clarity and a focus range of zero to infinity. Shooters can choose from multiple color palettes. The device also allows you to record video using the optic’s video output feature.  

The Apollo-Pro takes four AA or CR123A V batteries and offers enough power for up to seven continuous hours of use in the field.   

13. Sig Sauer ECHO3 Thermal Reflex Sight 

Whether you’re already a fan of SIG Sauer or not, the ECHO3 thermal reflex sight does not disappoint. This optic offers tons of performance wrapped in a tiny package. The ECHO3 measures only 4.3 inches long and sits only 3.3 inches above your weapon. And since it weighs a scant 14.3 ounces, this optic definitely won’t weigh down your AR-15

SIG packs a lot of punch into this teeny thermal optic. One of the major perks is the BDX Enabled Wi-Fi/Bluetooth connection. This feature modifies your reticle to coincide with input from your SIG KILO rangefinder. The reticles are configured using the BDX mobile app that you can download right to your smartphone. 

The ECHO3 delivers some of the best battery life you’ll find in a thermal optic. SIG uses MOTAC (Motion Activated) technology. This feature automatically powers up the optic when it senses motion. During periods of inactivity, MOTAC turns the device off to conserve power. This ensures the thermal is always ready to shoot when you are, and you won’t have to worry about your battery dying during the heat of the hunt.  

14. Pulsar PL76475 Apex XD75 

First released in 2015, Pulsar’s Apex XD75 thermal scope has definitely been around the block a time or two. With a proven track record, you can rest assured that the Apex XD75 offers plenty of performance for both hunting and tactical applications.  

One of the Apex XD75’s best features is the advanced digital zoom with picture-in-picture viewing. The picture-in-picture digital display shows a magnified image of the reticle at the top of the viewing screen. This provides a detailed, precision aiming point while the edges of the screen maintain the lower level of magnification. Preserving the wider field of view, the picture-in-picture function helps you get back on target fast for rapid, accurate follow-up shots. The feature is also handy in the target rich environments often common for hog and coyote hunting.   

The Pulsar Apex XD75 offers three operating modes for easy use in a variety of environments. Shooters can choose the “Rocks” mode in areas where high contrast is necessary. “Forest” mode provides lower contrast and “Identification” mode makes hot objects pop for quick acquisition. 

15. AGM Global Vision Python-Micro 

This compact, lightweight thermal optic from AGM was designed to provide reliable operation in any weather condition. The Python Micro has a tight, waterproof design that withstands rain, sleet, snow, or just about anything else Mother Nature might throw your way. The device also has a reliable operating temperature range of -4 to 122 degrees Fehrenheit.  

The Python Micro’s high-resolution display and intuitive controls make it easy to use, even for shooters new to thermal optics. Jam packed with high-performance features, the Python Micro comes with Wi-Fi data transmission capabilities, electronic accuracy correction, and a limited three-year warranty.  

16. Steiner Close Quarter Red Dot Thermal Sight 

Designed for CQB military use, the Steiner Red Dot Thermal Sight is a see-through optic that provides shooters with both a real-world view and thermal imaging.  

The device features three different thermal modes that can be easily used both day or night. The Full Thermal Mode is ideal for use in bright daylight conditions, while the Outline Mode helps preserve natural night vision in full dark conditions. Shooters can also choose a patrol mode for quick target detection.  

Built to mil-spec standards, the Steiner CQB Red Dot Thermal offers stable operating performance in a wide range of temperatures and weather conditions. Not only is this optic perfect for tactical operations, it also works well for hunters who need to see hogs, coyotes, and other predators in full dark conditions. 

17. Leica Calonox Sight 

Designed to flow with the dynamic challenges of hunting, the Leica Calonox thermal camera works as either a handheld device or a clip-on optic you can attach in front of a traditional riflescope. The controls are highly intuitive and easy to use, even in total darkness.  

The Leica Calonox Sight offers four separate color modes for optimal contrast and highly detailed thermal images. These images are some of the sharpest, most detailed images you’ll ever see through a thermal optic, making it perfect for game identification. 

Final Thoughts 

Thermal optics are high-tech tools that provide tactical leverage on the battlefield and help hunters identify and harvest nocturnal game. They are also great for recreational after-dark shooting. If you need to engage in nighttime shooting, finding the best thermal scope doesn’t need to be difficult. Any of the models on our list should serve you well.  

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