It’s Time to Try a Thermal Riflescope

Thermal scopes like those from ATN have changed the game in hunting, letting you see what you’ve never been able to see before.

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It’s Time to Try a Thermal Riflescope

Good riflescopes are truly a model of modern engineering. Thanks to advancements in lenses, coatings, optical clarity and construction, hunters can now see what was once unthinkably far away. But even the best traditional riflescopes have one fatal flaw: They can only see what they can see. If you don’t have a clear line of sight to whatever you’re looking for, you flat-out won’t be able to see it through your scope. Is the landscape obscured by fog? Is an animal hiding in brush? Is it just too dark outside? Too bad — your scope is powerless to show you what’s not in plain sight.

Fortunately, hunters today have access to technology that can give us a look at what’s previously been hidden from us: thermal imaging. A thermal scope like those offered by ATN gives you an advantage hunters before us couldn’t have even imagined: The ability to see animals through fog, brush, darkness and more. After-dark hunting has proven to be one of the more popular and effective ways to manage wild hogs and coyotes, and thermal is a tremendous advantage for a hunter who is pursuing these animals at night.

Because thermal “sees heat,” it works as well during the day as it does at night, and it can reveal game animals you might never have seen with traditional optics. This makes thermal especially handy for scouting and glassing, and it’s handy for recovering downed game as well.

If you’re thinking this sounds like high-tech, high-dollar stuff that’s out of the everyman’s reach, you’re only half right: Thermal is high-tech, for sure, but prices have come down to affordable levels in recent years. ATN’s ThOR LT 160 3-6X, for example, retails for just $899. As an entry-level thermal riflescope, it has a detection range of 475 yards, an HD display, ultra-low power consumption, and ATN’s Obsidian Core LT. It’s an excellent way to dip your toes into the thermal market and figure out what features are most important to you without making a huge financial investment.


The detection range, sensor quality, field of view and magnification range all improve as you move into more advanced units, like the ThOR 4 line, which starts at an MSRP of $1,799. Imagine how much better your nighttime hog hunting would be if you could clearly see your targets in the dark, hundreds of yards away, and use the on-board ballistic calculator, rangefinder and mil-dot reticle to make a good shot — recording and streaming the whole thing in high-def? And on top of that, you can even (safely) follow the animal through the scope to make tracking in the dark a simple task. None of that is possible with a traditional scope — but for ATN’s ThOR 4, it’s just another night in the woods.

It's not all bells and whistles, though. Traditional scope users will find the transition to an ATN thermal scope seamless, as the ThOR LT and ThOR 4 lines are designed to fit and feel like traditional scopes. They’re easy to mount on standard 30mm rings, and a simple, intuitive design makes them easy to operate with minimal buttons and controls to worry about. You can even get most models in a variety of Mossy Oak camouflage patterns. ATN’s One-Shot Zero also makes these scopes easy to sight in — just take a shot at the target, adjust your reticle, and you’re good to go. With a battery life pushing 18 hours depending on the model, you can literally hunt all day and well into the night without worrying about a recharge.

ATN also offers thermal monoculars and binoculars that serve as excellent complements to a good thermal scope or stand alone as simple-to-use, high-tech scouting devices.

If you haven’t given thermal scopes a shot yet, you might not realize just how much of a game-changer they can be — day or night. Unlike traditional riflescopes, thermal lets you see what’s hidden from your line of sight, offering you opportunities you’ve never had before.


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