The 7 Best Thermal Scopes
This wiki has been updated 16 times since it was first published in May of 2019. If you've been relying on night vision goggles when you venture out on nocturnal hunts, you have no idea what you're missing — literally. These thermal scopes will offer you a whole new world of targets, as they pick up on body heat to allow you to see prey you would've previously missed. Many also enable you to take pictures and video, so you can share incredible shots with everyone back home. When users buy our independently chosen editorial picks, we may earn commissions to help fund the Wiki.
March 30, 2021:
Pixel, lens (field of view) and image processing capabilities are all important considerations in a thermal scope, and can determine the range that a particular model is suitable for. Obviously, thermal riflescopes are going to be a bit more expensive than their traditional counterparts that don’t have thermal imaging capabilities. Scopes of merit in the latter category do offer night vision, and can therefore operate in low-light conditions, but not in complete dark like thermal imagers can. Some of these may have smart features like WiFi capability, but these are secondary features that don’t really determine the quality of the scope.
We’ve removed or replaced quite a few models from the previous update, many of which are now out of production. The Pulsar Thermion XP50 is a direct replacement for the Pulsar Trail XP. I’ve also taken out the two FLIR Scout models which are better categorized as thermal monoculars, and not riflescopes. While monoculars can be mounted, and special mounts are sold for models that allows you to do this, many have awkward shapes, but besides this, they aren’t quite designed for rifles, and recoil can be an issue. They also don’t have reticle options.
May 10, 2019:
Hunters will likely want to buy a unit that can be mounted on their rifles, in which case unit weight and ease of installation should factor heavily into the purchasing decision. The Trijicon Teo Reap-IR Mini is a fantastic choice in that case, although you will pay a pretty penny for it.
However, if you're more interested in looking at animals than shooting them (or if you're planning on taking a spotter with you), then a handheld model like the Flir Scout III is a smarter way to go.
Range is another important consideration. Some, like the Pulsar Trail XP, are capable of peering thousands of yards into the distance. That comes in handy if you're trying to push the limits of your .308 — but not so much if you're just attempting to see if those raccoons are getting in the trash at the end of the alley again. In the latter case, the Flir Scout TK is a much better option.
Newcon Optik TVS 13M This model is primarily designed for serious operators: law enforcement, military personnel, and the like. That said, there's no reason why well-heeled hunters can't enjoy it as well, and given that it boasts advanced ballistics software and can function equally as well in full daylight, it's one toy that will be worth every penny. Newcon Optik
Hensoldt 6-24x72 The large lens on this scope will certainly betray your location to any other snipers in the area. We're assuming you're hunting less deadly game, though, and this offers incredible magnification, ensuring you never miss a shot — well, that you never miss the chance to take a shot, anyway. Hensoldt