Best thermal scopes reviewed
ATN Thor LT Thermal Rifle Scope
If you are in the market for an entry-level, but capable thermal scope, the ATN ThOR LT is the best thermal scope that you can choose. ATN is a great company with a lot of history in the optics industry. Lately, they started producing thermal scopes as well and their products are tried and tested by thousands of customers.
The ThOR LT has a 1280×720 HD display, which is above the standard 640×480 that you get with most scopes. That will really help with getting a very clear image of what you are aiming at and make it even easier to get the shot. You can select between 2 shooting modes, White Hot and Black Hot. They both work almost the same, the choice here will be based on your individual preference.
Battery life is always a thing to consider when you choose your thermal scope. Fortunately, the ThOR LT has got you covered here, with 10 hours of continuous use. Couple that with weather-resistant IP and recoil resistance that can handle higher caliber and this scope can fit a large variety of weapons. It also has one shot zero capability, so sighting it should be dead easy.
You don’t get things like WiFi/Bluetooth, video streaming, and ballistics calculator, but the ATN ThOR LT is the best thermal scope unit for this price range and you will get good results if you choose to buy this scope.
ATN Thor 4, Thermal Rifle Scope
If you take everything into consideration, the ATN Thor 4 640 4-40x is the best thermal scope that you can buy today. It gets you ATN quality and a lot of extra functions that will make your life a whole lot easier. And it has a lot of satisfied users, the majority of them rating it very good and above.
It features a 1280×720 HD display with a 4th gen 640×480 sensor. That will give you one of the most accurate and crisp images on the market and finding targets will be dead easy. It also has zooming capabilities that go up to 40x, which is a lot. You can choose between black hot, white-hot, and color mode when aiming.
The connectivity and multimedia capabilities of this scope are tremendous. First of all, it’s equipped with WiFi, so you can connect it to any Android/IOS device. It can record 60fps video and store it on an internal micro SD card. It can live stream 720p video and record it at the same time. One of the coolest features is the recoil-activated video (RAV) that compensates for the recoil of the weapon, giving you seamless recordings. You will not miss a moment with all these features present.
But the best thing that this thermal scope has is its ballistic calculator. Basically, it does all the calculations for you, ensuring that you hit the target 100% of the time. No other feature helps you more, other than the thermal vision one. It takes into account, among others, range, wind, multiple-weapon profiles, angle to target, temperature, humidity and makes it all easy for you. As ATN says, just let the scope do the heavy lifting for you and you should trust the best thermal scope on the market to do so.
It also has a 16-hour battery supply for continuous use, beating almost all other thermal scopes in this area. You can use it in any weather as it is IP-rated for any conditions. Taking all into account, this is the best thermal scope that money can buy if you look at it from an all-round point of view.
AGM Python TS75-640 Long Range Thermal Imaging Rifle Scope
If you are in the market for a military-grade thermal scope, the AGM Python TS75-640 is the answer to your search and the best thermal scope in this category. The characteristics of this thermal scope make it one of the best options on the market.
The AGM Python is a long-wave infrared, uncooled, thermal imaging weapon sight designed for 24 hours operation, eliminating the need to dismount the unit from the rifle. It’s constructed from aircraft-grade aluminum, ensuring that it will work both in very tough and rugged environmental and weather conditions. And, also because of its structural strength, it can resist high recoil from large-caliber weaponry. It has an operating temperature from -40°C to +50°C and is fully waterproof. These are the things that take it to a military-grade option in this field and one of the best thermal scopes out there.
It has a lot of connectivity options too. With built-in Wi-Fi, you can connect it to almost any device and use that device as a Wi-Fi remote for the scope. There aren’t a lot of thermal scopes that have this feature on them and it’s one that makes it stand out from the crowd. It also can record HD quality videos, though it needs an external device to do that.
The optical sensor is a little bit better than most of other’s thermal scopes, having a 640×512 resolution. There are multiple color palettes and reticle patterns, adjustable image brightness and contrast, an internal menu, 3x optical zoom and up to 8x digital zoom. So getting your sight shouldn’t be a problem at all.
It has an operating battery life of up to 4hr, but you can hook it up to any commercially available power bank for longer missions. That’s a pretty good, and not so expensive way, to increase its range while in mission. With most thermal scopes, this is not an option, you have to charge the battery separately before you can use the scope.
ATN ThOR-HD 384 Thermal Rifle Scope
For the mid-range part of the market we have the ATN Thor-HD 384. It offers up most of the gear that you will find on most thermal scopes but is more affordable.
With its 384×288 optic sensor, you will be able to get a clear view of your targets, out in the field or in the shooting range. It boasts up to 5x magnification and you can choose between 3 modes: black hot, white-hot, and color mode when aiming. You also have a smooth zoom feature, which lets you magnify towards the target without losing what’s in your FOV, like with step zoom systems. That will help you keep track of your target more easily until you are ready to make the shot.
With the ballistic calculator feature, the system allows you to calculate the trajectory of your bullet, helping you to hit the target. It helps to improve your shot placement by adjusting your point of impact. Couple that with the smart rangefinder feature, which determines the distance from the target in 2 seconds, and you got it easy. That means that all the calculations that you usually have to do yourself are dealt with by the processor itself and all you have to do is aim the gun at the point that is being calculated for you.
You have a lot of connectivity options built in this thermal scope. First of all, it has WiFi and Bluetooth, which allows you to connect it to any compatible device. High-Resolution HD Video Recording & Photos, Recoil Activated Video (RAV), and Wi-Fi Streaming, all allow you to record all of your hunting trips, using your phone/tablet as a viewfinder, with both IOS & Android connection.
It also has a weather-resistant IP rating, which will let you use it even in harsh weather conditions. It has a built-in e-barometer, gyroscope, e-compass, and e-magnetometer. You can use it for up to 8 hours on a battery charge.
ATN Thor 4, Thermal Rifle Scope with Full HD Video
The ATN Thor 4 2-8x, 384×288, thermal scope is an option that you should really take into account if you are looking to spend around the 2500$ range. It gives you almost all the features that you might find on a more high-end variant, but with a great discount on the price.
It has a 4th generation 384×288, 60Hz optical sensor with up to 8x magnification. With a 1280×720 HD display, you will be able to get a great image of what you are targeting. As with most of ATN thermal scope, you can choose between the 3 viewing modes: black hot, white-hot, and color mode, which should give you all the choices that you need. A great selling point for this specific thermal scope is its battery life span: you can get more than 18 hours of battery life on 1 full charge, which will be more than enough for your usual hunting trip.
From a connectivity point of view, this thermal scope has got you covered. It has built-in WiFi and Bluetooth, so connecting it to any IOS/Android device shouldn’t be a problem. You also have the ability to record HD quality videos on your micro SD card. As well as recording, you can simultaneously stream your hunting outings. And, with the recoil-activated video function, the quality of the images that you capture will be very high.
With the ballistic calculator that you have on board, you will find it very easy to hit your target every time you aim at something. It takes into account stuff like wind speed, multiple-weapon profiles, angle to the target, temperature, humidity, and a lot more. Put it next to the range finder option, which determines the range, and you can’t ask for a better combo. It does all the calculations for you in a matter of seconds. Simple and efficient for you.
HOW DOES A THERMAL SCOPE WORK?
Thought to be almost unattainable items a few years ago, due to very high prices, they have recently become more affordable for a larger portion of hunters. They aren’t night vision but something else entirely. And, in a number of ways, they are better than night vision.
Unlike night vision, thermal scopes don’t pick up invisible parts of the light spectrum and produce an image from it by enhancing that light. They pick up radiation, in this case heat, to identify a target. It’s the same as missiles that lock onto a target by identifying the source of heat that comes from them. But with thermal scopes you can actually see the target in real time.
They also have far more larger range than night vision. There are scopes that can identify targets from more than a mile away, which night vision can’t. Usually night vision would need some sort of booster for the sight to be effective in the dark, while thermal scopes can see clearly without one. We’re not saying that night vision is not useful, but it’s designed for different uses.
HOW CAN I USE A THERMAL SCOPE?
One of the big advantages in owning a thermal scope is that you can use it effectively both day and night. Since it relies on heat signatures, it’s unaffected by the presence or absence of light. You can use it either in cold or hot weather. It’s effective even when temperatures are higher than the target you are shooting at, because your goal would be to find differences in heat, not the hottest point in your FOV.
WHAT CAN I HUNT WITH A THERMAL SCOPE?
You can use a thermal scope to hunt pretty much everything. It’s especially effective for smaller game and in bad weather conditions because you can get target lock on much faster. But you can attach a thermal scope to any weapon that has a scope rail.
THERMAL/NIGHT VISION COMPARISON
Being different technologies, there is no clear winner between night vision and thermal scopes. Both are better in some areas. Here are some strongpoints for each of them:
Night Vision Thermal vision
shows terrain better daylight use
is more affordable more range
availability targets better
HOW MUCH IS A THERMAL SCOPE/PRICE RANGES FOR THERMAL SCOPES
The price range for thermal scopes is between 2000-4500$, with some examples going even above that figure. For a good unit, you should not go too much under this range. Even cheap thermal scopes are a big investment and if you are able and willing to make it you should purchase something tried and tested, that will work for you for a long time.