Best Pulsar Thermal Scopes

Best Pulsar thermal scope

Do you enjoy long-range shooting and hunting? You will need an excellent thermal imaging rifle scope to ensure you hit your targets.

Unlike an ordinary night vision scope, a thermal imaging rifle scope does not depend on ambient light to see the target. Instead, it detects the heat emitted by the object/target and gives you a clear image. It allows you to work in the darkest environments ensuring you will never miss a live target even in complete darkness.

Pulsar, a thermal imaging and night vision company, is a leading brand in hunting and shooting optic devices. Today, we shift our focus to their thermal imaging rifle scopes also known as thermal imaging sights.

We’ll look at the unique difference between the Pulsar XP and XQ lines. We hope you will find a thermal scope that meets your specific needs.

Best Pulsar Thermal Scope: Pulsar Trail XP50 Review

Pulsar Trail XP50 Thermal Riflescope, 1.6

The Pulsar Trail XP50 is a state-of-the-art thermal sight with features purpose built for the professional shooting and recreational hunting world. Its germanium lenses are the top-performing among the best thermal rifle scopes we have seen so far. The XP’s rugged construction and durability ensures that it can be used daily in the harshest environments without malfunctioning.

Imaging and Resolution

This riflescope produces well-detailed images thanks to its high-end uncooled micro-bolometer. It is a thermal sensor that boasts a 640 x 480 pixel resolution. It promises the brightest and clearest images no matter where the hunt takes you. For human size targets, you can expect a detection range of up to 1970 yards. It has variable magnification from 1.6x to 12.8x. This gives you a varied field of view which provides you with the convenience of using it at the power you you need.

Pulsar Trail XP50 Thermal Riflescope, 1.6


When it comes to zeroing, you can save up to three zeroing profiles on this site using its digital domain. You can also save three reticle patterns with up to fifteen distances. Pulsar also gives you zeroing support to ensure you are always on target. By being able to save different profiles, it ensures that you don’t need to keep re-zeroing the scope when you change guns.

Not to mention, it is designed to withstand recoils from high-powered rifles. It guarantees that you don’t keep zeroing in on your sight when taking successive shots.

Video Recording

An impressive feature of this thermal imager is that you can save still images and capture videos on it. It can connect to your laptop or PC via Wi-Fi or using a USB cable. This provides you the opportunity to bring back images to analyze or edit.

Another plus is that it supports the Stream Vision App that allows streaming of real-time images and videos onto iOS and Android phones and tablets.


  • Fluid imaging owing to a 50Hz refresh rate
  • Eight hours of battery life
  • It has a picture-in-picture mode
  • ​Provides 10 electronic reticles
  • Stadiametric rangefinder
  • thumbs-up
    Can withstand submersion for 30 min in 3ft. water


  • It has a steep learning curve. It can be tricky to use for beginners
  • High upfront cost

Pulsar Trail XP38 Thermal Imaging Sight Review

Pulsar Trail XP38 Thermal Riflescope, 1.2

Shooting with the Trail is always an exhilarating experience. If you don’t need high magnification, the Trail XP38 might just be what you are looking for. It is built with hunting in mind and has a detection range of 1475 yards.

Imaging and Resolution

With a 640 x 480 pixel core, this model gives you fine details on the image you capture. It also uses an uncooled microbolometer complemented by a heat sink to ensure it is not affected by the heat generated by the scope itself. This gives you perfect images that are noise-free.

The low power magnification from 1.2x to 1.9x, assures you a wide field of view. It provides you with 8x smooth zoom and digital zoom with picture in picture mode. You can see the zoomed image alongside the image for better visualization.


With all the buttons being ergonomically placed, this sight is quite easy to operate. Zeroing in is simple, and you can save three profiles. It gives you ten electronic reticles whose patterns you can save with up to 15 distances. It is much like the Trail XP50 but designed for shorter distance shooting.

Image and Video Recording

Its internal video recorder can capture and store videos on the 8GB internal memory. You can link it to your computer for a review of the recordings if you are using it for observation purposes. You can also connect it to your Android and iOS phone for live streaming using the StreamVision app.


  • Performs well in extreme temperatures from -13 to 122 degree Fahrenheit
  • Frost-resistant AMOLED display
  • Compatible with Stream Vision App
  • ​Comes with a Weaver/Picatinny rail
  • Continuous and stepped smooth zoom


  • It has a limit on some calibers

Pulsar Trail XQ50 Thermal Imaging Sight Review

Pulsar Trail XQ50 Thermal Riflescope, 2.7

The Pulsar Trail XQ line features thermal scopes with a 384 x 288 pixel core which is a lower resolution than the XP line however they are  cheaper. Let’s look at the XQ50 model. Much the same that the XP50 the XQ model has the highest magnification and longest detection distance. It does not just give you an idea of what you are looking at, but you can recognize your subject before pulling the trigger.

Imaging and Resolution

The thermal core boasts bright images using its uncooled thermal sensor. It offers high variable magnification with a narrower field of view. It is good if you are venturing into grounds you already know about. This way, you won’t be scouring the background when you want to take a clear shot.

The picture in picture mode also comes in handy to allow magnifying of the image within the same image. You also get fluid imaging which is crucial if you are targeting a crowded location. It allows a smooth transition from one image to the next.

Zeroing and Targeting

This scope gives you the capability to save three reticle profiles and up to five distances. It can take the recoil from heavy caliber firearms giving it the advantage of using it on many types of guns. Since re-zeroing the sight can damage the components, this is the only thermal sight you will ever need if you have multiple rifles.


  • Supports video recording and real-time streaming
  • Comes with a B-pack power unit interchangeable with IPS10 battery packs
  • Comes with a stadia-metric rangefinder
  • ​Full waterproof with an IPX7 rating


  • It is not very ideal for long range shooting

Pulsar Trail XQ38 Thermal Imaging Sight Review

Pulsar Trail XQ38 Thermal Riflescope, 2.1

Long distance hunting gets better with a lighter thermal scope. The Pulsar Trail XQ38 comes with a small objective lens which takes away some of the weight of this device. It is a good pick for hunting through long ranges around atmospheric obscurants.

Thermal Imaging and Resolution

The uncooled microbolometer has a 384 x 288 pixel core that displays sparkly clear images on the 60 x 480 AMOLED screen. If you are looking to see the fine details on your target, this site will give you exactly that. You can use with the 8x smooth zoom which gives you a closer look at what is on your screen.

Useful Features

Unlike other thermal imagers that do not have supporting components, you have a scope that utilizes extra support features. It allows storing zeroing profiles of three rifles along with different reticles. The inbuilt stadiametric rangefinder comes in handy to estimate the distance of your targets. It is without a doubt a useful feature.

If you wish to share your expeditions with friends and family, this scope gives you the ability to link up with your PC, phones, and tablets. It is a versatile design since it also incorporates an accelerometer/gyroscope which helps to steady your view and improve the capability of viewing game smoothly. Now your experience will be more fun that you could ever anticipate.


  • Rechargeable 5.2Ah battery
  • Two zeroing methods
  • The battery pack is easy to change
  • ​It has an impressive range of operating temperatures


  • Images can blur at over 1000 meters’ range

Pulsar Apex LRF XQ50 Thermal Riflescope Review

Pulsar Apex XQ50 2.8-11.2x42 Thermal Riflescope

Do you hunt in the dark or in conditions where smoke and rain plague you? Apex LRF XQ50 can detect game out to 1000 yards thanks to the use of increased recognition and detection software (IRIS).

Imaging and Resolution

This scope comes with a 384 x 288 pixel core that can deliver vivid images. We like that it has an AMOLED display that is entirely satisfactory. Since it does not use light, it is not affected by the outdoor brightness which means you can use it day and night.


The ergonomics of this scope is what makes it a top pick. If you are a veteran hunter or a beginner looking for the most straightforward scope to operate, you are looking at this very inexpensive sight. It has the buttons well-arranged for quick access. It also comes with a laser rangefinder that can display the target’s distance up to 1000 meters.

Intuitive Features

You get to save three zeroing profiles apart from the one-shot zeroing. It also provides you with an array of electronic reticles in different shapes to suit different applications. You get the useful picture-in-picture function and 2x digital zoom.

It is a simplistic scope for use day and night in all your hunting adventures.


  • It has zeroing with a Freeze function
  • 67mm eye relief
  • Three simple operating modes
  • ​Intuitive calibration modes
  • Fast response AMOLED display


  • It does not support Wi-Fi connectivity

Pulsar Apex LRF Q38 Thermal Riflescope Review

Pulsar PL76417 Apex XQ38 2.2-8.8x38 Thermal Riflescope

The Pulsar Apex LRF Q38 is one of the simplest thermal scopes you can get your hands on. It is fully waterproof allowing usage in the most adverse environments. Whether you are out on a snowy day or the night is too dark to use with a night vision scope, get this sight and never wait for hours before taking down a target.

Imaging and Resolution

This device is powered by a standard resolution core at 380 x 288 pixels. It is supported by a high-resolution display that is frost and scratch resistant. With a 2.1x base magnification, the field of view is wide giving you an advantage when viewing faraway objects.


This thermal riflescope has incredible performance having three operation modes and 10 reticles.

Useful Features

The integrated laser rangefinder means you don’t need to carry extra equipment to estimate the distance of your targets correctly. It also comes with an eye-safe eye relief at 67mm which gives you an easy time when handling high-recoil rifles. What’s more, you can carry an extra power supply when hunting off-the-grid.


  • Display off mode
  • Comes with a video out jack
  • It can be installed in multiple positions
  • ​Crisp, clear AMOLED display
  • Waterproof to IPX7


  • It can only record video via external video recording equipment

Final Thoughts:

If your outdoor sports revolve around hunting and long-range shooting, you can count on the Pulsar Thermal Imaging Sights. We’ve investigated these models, and we all agree the Trail XP50 is the best in its line. It has the farthest detection range with the highest performance for professional use.

For hunting purposes in a simple-to-operate scope, we suggest picking the Apex LRFXQ50. You will find all the other thermal scopes exciting. As long it’s a Pulsar, you have every shot in your favor.