Gear Roundup: Thermal and IR Hunting Optics

Those who prefer working the graveyard shift can take back the night with top-shelf night-vision optics designed with hardcore predator hunters in mind.

Gear Roundup: Thermal and IR Hunting Optics

ATN Thor LT 320.

Some timid predators become emboldened at night, gaining confidence under a cloak of darkness. Those that are reluctant to come to the call during the day exhibit the brave side of their nature during the night, often running up with unadulterated courage to investigate the source of the tantalizing screams that might mean a late supper — their large nocturnal eyes able to gather enough available light to navigate in the dark. Thanks to technology originating for military use, predator hunters can meet these cagey critters on an even playing field with the latest in thermal and IR optics. Here are some great options for turning night to day.


ATN Thor LT 320 5-10X Thermal Scope

The Thor LT 320 5-10X from American Technologies Network is a great choice for hunters who want the advantage of a thermal scope at an affordable price. Designed for close- to medium-range target acquisition, the Thor LT 320 is made from hardened aluminum alloy, built to withstand the pressures of high-caliber rifles — excellent for hunting wild hogs and predators at night. Its streamlined design looks more like a traditional glass optic with standard 30mm rings, providing the ultimate freedom in flexibility with ring height and brand selection. Its internal battery provides 10-plus hours of power to stretch every single minute out of a hunt and sighting-in has never been easier with One Shot Zero. 

MSRP: $2,499


Bushnell Equinox 6x50mm Z2 Monocular

The Bushnell Equinox 6x50mm Z2 night vision monocular with a built-in IR illuminator enables hunters to acquire targets at 1,000 feet and beyond day or night. It utilizes an infrared-sensitive sensor and micro LCD screen instead of a conventional intensifier tube for its night vision capabilities and displays color images during the day and black and white images when the night vision is on for great clarity and contrast. The Equinox records HD video at 1080p and users can upload images and videos to a mobile device or computer using Wi-Fi and a free app. It features 6X magnification and a large 50mm objective lens. 

MSRP: $359.99


Firefield Tracker 3x42 Night Vision Binocular

The Firefield Tracker 3x42mm night vision binocular allows for detailed observation in nighttime hunting conditions by utilizing a built-in IR infrared illuminator. It is completely self-contained and gets up to 10 hours of operation on one 3V battery. Its ergonomically designed rubberized body is lightweight and features a non-slip coating. The Tracker utilizes the company’s Eclipse lens cover system, which uses flip-up covers that can be easily clipped back against the body of the binocular and rotated out of the user’s viewing area, eliminating lens cap hassles. Pin holes in the lens caps allow the Tracker to be used during the day when the caps are closed. 

MSRP: $399


Konus NV 3-8x50mm Digital Riflescope

The Konus 3-8x50mm digital riflescope with its 30/30 digital reticle is a highly professional unit with a zoom power range that is suitable for both daytime and nighttime hunting. It has a sturdy metal body that will withstand abuse while in the field and comes with an infrared illuminator for hunting in total darkness. It is powered by a rechargeable battery and has a built-in photo/video recording function. It comes with AV and USB cables, two rechargeable batteries, 8GB SD card for image storage and a protective case. 

MSRP: $1,219.99


Night Owl Optics Night Shot Scope 

Hunters who want a value-priced, lightweight, polymer construction, easy-to-operate night vision riflescope, should consider the 3X Night Owl Optics NightShot — designed for use with non-magnum rifles .30-caliber and lower. This scope is optimized for guns with an approximate 2- to 2.5-inch distance from the center-line of scope to the center-line of barrel and there is a flat spot on one of the cross-bolts that can be reversed to work with different mounts where spacing between the slots varies. The weatherproof NightShot features a built-in infrared illuminator, high resolution 640x480 display, Weaver and Picatinny rail systems, 2.7 inches of eye relief and a field of view of 5.6 degrees. 

MSRP: $449


NiteSite Viper Night Vision System

Designed to be the most affordable, high quality night vision system on the market for short-range distances, NiteSite’s Viper is a great night vision unit for the up-close and personal hunter, delivering high-quality, clear night vision through any day-vision riflescope. It uses 850nm infrared illumination (invisible to people and animals) to illuminate the target area immediately in front of where the riflescope is aiming, allowing clear target identification up to 110 yards. The infrared image is then captured through the riflescope by a camera attached to the scope’s eyepiece and then viewed via the units integral 3.5 inch LCD screen. 

Retail: $299 

Pulsar Thermion XG50 3-24x42mm Thermal Riflescope

Pulsar’s Thermion XG50 3-24x42mm thermal riflescope surpasses every demand of the modern shooter, combining 640x480 microbolometer strength with 12-micron pixel detail to deliver a 2,400-yard thermal detection range in stunning clarity on its 1024x768 Amoled display. The XG50 features 8X digital zoom and Picture-in-Picture mode to accommodate varmint, wild hog or big-game hunters in virtually any environment. Featuring a BAE sensor with color palettes and built-in recording with audio, users are assured the details of the hunt are captured and preserved. Wi-Fi connectivity and compatibility with the Stream Vision app, recoil activation, five rifle profiles, 13 variable electronic reticles and one-shot zeroing freeze function, the XG50 is a night hunter’s dream come true.

MSRP: $7,199.96


Sector Optics T3 Thermal Imager

Sector Optics has expanded its line of thermal imagers with the new T3, an ultra-compact unit with high-quality features commonly found in more expensive thermal imagers, including image processing enhancement modes and photo recording. With 2-4X optical zoom, the T3 gives users a wide-angle view of their surroundings, making it a great option for hunters. Display modes include white hot, black hot, NV green and color. And the T3 is extremely versatile. Not only can it be used as a compact handheld thermal imager, it can also be mounted directly to a firearm. Additionally, the T3 can be integrated with the Sector Optics G1 ID 1-8x24mm riflescope and its built-in internal display. 

MSRP: $1,779.99


Sightmark Wraith HD 4-32x50mm Digital Riflescope

Take back the night in high definition with the Sightmark Wraith 4-32x50mm digital riflescope. Hunt with an advanced 1920x1080 HD sensor that provides full-color clarity in daytime or simply hit the left arrow to switch to night mode — with classic emerald or black and white viewing options. The Wraith comes with a removable 850nm IR illuminator to provide an enhanced nighttime image and accurate target acquisition up to 200 yards. It features a built-in camera that allows users to record and share videos, 4.5 hours of battery life with four common AA batteries and an external MicroUSB port for expanding power options. Customize the Wraith with 10 reticle options and nine color choices. 

MSRP: $599.99


Steiner CQT Thermal Optic Sight

The Close Quarters thermal optic (CQT) from Steiner is a see-through sight with Clear Thermal technology that overlays onto a direct view of the real world. Designed for soldiers in close-quarters combat, the CQT with CVT (Clear View Thermal technology) is also the next gen sight for predator hunters, allowing them to see wild hogs and coyotes in full dark conditions — thermal imaging to identify, red dot to target. And its rugged anodized housing can withstand any kind of hunt in all weather conditions. Compatible with flip-up magnifiers, the CQT combines a red-dot sight for day and thermal imaging for nighttime hunting. It features a 2.5 MOA red-dot reticle, three thermal modes and comes factory focused effective from 5 meters to infinity. 

MSRP: $10,499


Trijicon Reap-IR 35mm Thermal Riflescope

Trijicon’s Reap-IR 35mm Mini is a small, light, powerful thermal riflescope, trusted by the most demanding shooters and hunters who require speed and accuracy for night‑time use. It optimizes the S.W.A.P. mindset (size, weight and power) with its small packaging combined with lightweight, rugged features. And the Reap-IR’s simplified Easy Zero Method makes sighting-in the optic easy and intuitive. Getting rounds on target is only a matter of aligning an on-screen digital icon with bullet impacts using provided MOA readouts. All Trijicon REAP-IR optics feature 640x480 resolution, 12 micron thermal sensors and 60 Hz frame rates. The Reap-IR family comes standard with five included reticle options and six advanced polarity settings for exceptional visibility in any environment. 

Retail: $7,999


Zeiss DTI 3/35 Thermal Imaging Camera

The Zeiss DTI 3/35 thermal imaging camera combines a high-resolution display that delivers detailed images with a well-balanced, ergonomic design. Its combination of high-contrast images with intuitive and ergonomic operation makes it an excellent choice for predator and feral hog hunting. Thanks to the arrangement of the control buttons, optimized as part of the ErgoControl concept, the DTI 3/35 is extremely easy to use. Its digital 1-4X zoom offers a combination and balance of magnification and detail recognition. Whether it is for game observation and detection or accurate identification, selecting the necessary zoom level is easy and reliable. Using the Zeiss Hunting app, hunters can transfer and share data, photos and videos from the thermal imaging camera to a smartphone.  

MSRP: $2,999.99


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