How to Choose The Best Thermal Scope A Quick Guide

How to Choose The Best Thermal Scope: A Quick Guide

You might be the best, most experienced shooter, but when it comes to shooting in the dark, or under low visibility conditions, you will have difficulties aiming and hitting the target.

Keep reading as we go through all the essentials of what a thermal scope can do, how to choose the best one for your needs, and more.

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What Is a Thermal Scope?

A thermal scope, which is also referred to as a thermal imaging scope, is a firearm accessory that detects any heat radiation coming from living creatures and visualizes it.

This greatly increases the ability of shooters to recognize objects in the dark and avoid accidents.

What Is a Thermal Scope

Keep in mind, though, that thermal vision and night vision are not the same thing.

thermal vision and night vision

Thermal scopes use infrared radiation, converting the data into images, also known as thermograms. Living objects (people, animals, moving vehicles, etc.) generate more heat than static objects (buildings, plants, etc.), therefore thermal images are much brighter.

Meanwhile, night vision scopes simply take any existing light (starlight, moonlight, etc.) and amplify it, allowing you to see better.

Night vision scopes are also not effective in absolute darkness conditions, and can even be affected by too much light, while thermal scopes are completely unaffected by lighting conditions.

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How to Choose the Best Thermal Scope

  1. ATN Thor-Lt 3-6x Thermal Scope
  2. AGM Rattler TS19-256
  3. AGM Varmint LRF TS35-384
  4. Thermion 2 LRF XL50
  5. Sightmark Wraith 4k Mini

1. ATN Thor-Lt 3-6x Thermal Scope

Embarking on our hunt to find the best thermal rifle scope, we’ll start with the ATN Thor-Lt Thermal Scope. It is very light, and straightforward to use, without too many advanced features. However, this makes it a great choice for those looking for a thermal scope on a budget.

ATN Thor-Lt 3-6x Thermal Scope

ATN Thor LT Thermal Rifle Scope Specs:

  • Weight: 1.4 lb
  • Color: 160 3-6x
  • Price: ~$899
  • Detection range: 475m/yd
  • Night vision: Yes

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2. AGM Rattler TS19-256

If you are looking for the best thermal scope for hunting, then our next pick is for you. We have the AGM Rattler TS19-256, which is very well-suited for hunting and is a good choice for people using thermal scopes for the first time.

AGM Rattler-TS19-256

AGM Rattler TS19-256 Specs:

  • Weight: 1.15 lb
  • Color: Black
  • Price: ~$995
  • Detection range: 950m/yd
  • Night vision: No

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3. AGM Varmint LRF TS35-384

Next up, we have the AGM Varmint LRF TS35-384, which is on the upper end of the scale in terms of both quality and price. Having many advanced features, like LRF (Location Retrieval Function), a high-quality 1024×768 OLED display, and fast 50Hz imaging, the Varmint is an ideal choice for both medium and long-range shooting.

AGM Varmint LRF TS35-384

AGM Varmint LRF TS35-384 Specs:

  • Weight: 1.44 lb
  • Color: Black
  • Price: ~$2,745
  • Detection range: 1,750m/yd
  • Night vision: No

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4. Thermion 2 LRF XL50

The Thermion 2 LRF XL50 offers the highest level of thermal imaging, and a x8 digital zoom, that keeps the image clear even when you zoom in.

While it is definitely not on the cheap side, this model is very well adapted for airsoft, very easy to use, and comes with a scan code that downloads information like ballistic calculations straight to your phone.

Thermion 2 LRF XL50

Thermion 2 LRF XL50 Specs:

  • Weight: 2.27 lb
  • Color: XG50
  • Price: ~$6,000
  • Detection range: 2,300m/yd
  • Night vision: No

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5. Sightmark Wraith 4k Mini

Last but not least, on our list of the best thermal rifle scopes is the Sightmark Wraith 4k Mini. It is among the best budget options for purchasing a thermal scope. The Wraith Mini is extremely lightweight, has a removable IR flashlight, and is ideal for both hunting and airsoft.

Sightmark Wraith 4k Mini

Sightmark Wraith 4k Mini Specs:

  • Weight: 21.6 oz
  • Color: 2-16×32
  • Price: ~$699
  • Detection range: 1,350m/yd
  • Night vision: Yes

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A lot of you might be wondering just how legal it is to own thermal scopes. Fortunately, owning a thermal and/or night vision scope is completely legal in the United States, as long as you are a Citizen or Permanent U.S. Resident.

However, keep in mind that both devices fall under the International Traffic in Arms Regulations (ITAR), so it is forbidden to take them out of the country unless you have proper licensing, specifically approved by the U.S. State Department.

Another important factor to be aware of is that the legality of thermal and night vision scopes can be subject to change, depending on how you use these devices, especially when it comes to hunting and attachment to firearms. Always make sure to check local, state and federal law to make sure you’re up to date.

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Hopefully, you now know more about thermal scopes, what they do, and how to use them properly.

Did you manage to find the best thermal scope for your needs? Let us know if we missed your favorite by leaving a comment below.

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