Best Pulsar Thermal Scopes

BEST PULSAR THERMAL SCOPES

Do you enjoy shooting and hunting at night? If you are hunting for nocturnal animals 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 Thermion,  Pulsar XP and XQ lines. We hope you will find a thermal scope that meets your specific needs.

Pulsar Thermion Thermal Scopes - New Generation

Thermion XP50

Thermion XP50
Specifications:
  • Thermal resolution: 640 × 480
  • Refresh rate: 50Hz
  • FOV: 12.4°
  • Optical magnification: 2x
  • E-zoom: up to 8x
  • Battery life: 5 hours

Thermal scopes in this range—the Thermion XP50 included—come with a 640 x 460 sensor resolution. This is a good size to view images clearly on the monitor.

With a 50mm lens, you can tell that it’s a powerful lens. As a result, you can expect to pay more for this unit compared to other models. But for the higher price, know that you’re guaranteed a long lasting unit because of its solid construction.

The XP50 is generally heavier than other models in this range and weighs 900g. But you can still carry it around with ease.

You’ll be impressed by the 1800m detection range. This makes it the best thermal scope to pick for long range performance.

Because it has a large 50mm lens, you can expect a smaller field of view. But on the up side you’ll appreciate its IPX7 rating which makes the unit ideal for use in wet conditions.

The device comes with 16GB internal storage to store your images and videos for later viewing.

PROS:
  • Solid construction
  • Long detection range
  • Durable
  • Latest technology
CONS:
  • Expensive
  • Narrow field of view

Thermion XP38

Thermion XP38
Specifications:
  • Thermal resolution: 640 × 480
  • Refresh rate: 50Hz
  • FOV: 16.3°
  • Optical magnification: 1.5x
  • E-zoom: up to 8x
  • Battery life: 5 hours

If you’re working on a budget but still want a high-performance thermal scope, you can consider this XP38 model. The smaller 38mm lens means it’s less powerful than the XP50, but you get to enjoy a larger field of view.

You’ll have to settle for the 1350m detection range although it’s perfect if you specialize in close range viewing. Since the device is cheaper, we can’t guarantee a long operational lifespan. But it features the same 640 x 480 sensor resolution as the XP50, so you’ll enjoy clear images.

Battery life is a little over five hours depending on usage, much like the XP50. And you also get 16GB internal storage.

PROS:
  • Great value
  • Larger field of view
  • Relatively lightweight
  • Latest technology
CONS:
  • Not for long range viewing

Thermion XM50

Thermion XM50
Specifications:
  • Thermal resolution: 320 x 240
  • Refresh rate: 50Hz
  • FOV: 4.4° x 3.3°
  • Optical magnification: 5.5x
  • E-zoom: up to 4x
  • Battery life: 5 hours

This model has a 320x240 thermal resolution much like the XM thermal scopes in the Thermion range. It’s one of the more powerful lenses from the XM range. This is evidenced by the impressive 2300m detection range. It’s the model to pick if you want to view images from a distance. The device allows you to zoom images up to four times where necessary.

The only drawback with powerful lenses is they tend to be more expensive and heavier. The unit weighs 900g making it the heaviest within this range. Also, a larger lens usually features a narrower field of view. Nonetheless, you’ll appreciate how this Thermion XP50 is IPX7-rated for water protection making it ideal to use in wet conditions.

This thermal scope is powered by a Li-ion battery which has a five-hour operating life. You’ll appreciate that the unit comes with 16GB internal storage to store your images and pictures.

PROS:
  • Long battery life
  • Clear picture quality
  • Long detection range
  • Latest technology
CONS:
  • Expensive
  • Narrow field of view

Thermion XM38

Thermion XM50
Specifications:
  • Thermal resolution: 320 x 240
  • Refresh rate: 50Hz
  • FOV: 5.8° x 4.3°
  • Optical magnification: 4x
  • E-zoom: up to 4x
  • Battery life: 5 hours

The Thermion XM38 has a 320 x 240 resolution so you can also expect the same clear image quality as the model reviewed above.

This model however is less powerful than the XM50 and features a 38mm lens. What you’ll appreciate thanks to this smaller lens is a larger field of view.

You can view images and objects from a reasonable distance thanks to the 1700mm detection rage. It features a 50mm eye relief much like the other models within this range so you safely view images from a reasonable distance without any strain.

The Thermion XM38 weighs 0.75kg making it slightly lighter than the XM50 but it’s still compact enough for easy handling.

This unit has an IPX7 rating so brief submersion in water won’t damage the unit. This makes it ideal for use in wet conditions.

PROS:
  • Long detection range
  • Slightly lighter
  • Larger field of view
CONS:
  • Slightly expensive

Thermion XM30

Thermion xm30
Specifications:
  • Thermal resolution: 320 x 240
  • Refresh rate: 50Hz
  • FOV: 7.3° x 5.5°
  • Optical magnification: 3.5x
  • E-zoom: up to 4x
  • Battery life: 5 hours

This is the least powerful lens from the Thermion XM range which features a 30mm lens. As a result, it’s the cheapest model within the series. Another advantage is that since it has a smaller lens, it comes with a larger field of view.

The only major drawback is that it has the smallest detection range of 1350. But this makes it the ideal model to pick if you want to view objects in close range.

Like all models within this range, the unit is powered by a Li-ion battery that will last you at least five hours depending on usage. It weighs 750g like the XM38 making it relatively lightweight too.

This thermal scope comes with 16GB internal storage capacity which is sizeable enough to store many images and videos. You can also connect it to Wi-Fi where necessary to aid image transfer.

PROS:
  • Lightweight
  • Lesser expensive option
  • Larger field of view
CONS:
  • Not for long-range detection

Pulsar Trail Thermal Scopes - Older Generation

Trail XP50

Pulsar Trail XP50 Thermal Riflescope, 1.6
Specifications:
  • Thermal resolution: 640 x 480
  • Refresh rate: 50Hz
  • FOV: 12.4° x 9.3°
  • Optical magnification: 1.6x
  • E-zoom: up to 8x
  • Battery life: 8 hours

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.

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.

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.

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.

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

Trail XP38

Pulsar Trail XP38 Thermal Riflescope, 1.2
Specifications:
  • Thermal resolution: 640 x 480
  • Refresh rate: 50Hz
  • FOV: 16.3° x 12.3°
  • Optical magnification: 1.2x
  • E-zoom: up to 8x
  • Battery life: 8 hours

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

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.

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.

PROS:
  • 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
CONS:
  • It has a limit on some calibers

Trail XQ50

Pulsar Trail XQ50 Thermal Riflescope, 2.7
Specifications:
  • Thermal resolution: 384 x 288
  • Refresh rate: 50Hz
  • FOV: 7.5° x 5.6°
  • Optical magnification: 2.7x
  • E-zoom: up to 4x
  • Battery life: 8 hours

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.

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.

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.

PROS:
  • 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
CONS:
  • It is not as good as the higher resolution XP50 model

Trail XQ38

Pulsar Trail XQ38 Thermal Riflescope, 2.1
Specifications:
  • Thermal resolution: 384 x 288
  • Refresh rate: 50Hz
  • FOV: 9.8° x 7.4°
  • Optical magnification: 2.1x
  • E-zoom: up to 4x
  • Battery life: 8 hours

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.

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.

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.

PROS:
  • Rechargeable 5.2Ah battery
  • Two zeroing methods
  • The battery pack is easy to change
  • ​It has an impressive range of operating temperatures
CONS:
  • Images can blur at over 1000 meters’ range

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 Thermion 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 Thermion XM50 or the Trail XP38. You will find all the other thermal scopes exciting. As long it’s a Pulsar, you have every shot in your favor.

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