Trijicon Sporting / Hunting / Law Enforcement Optics

Trijicon SNIPE-IR 35mm Thermal Clip-on
Catalog: IRCO-35
  • Detector Size: 640 x 480 Sensor
  • Image Frequency: 60 Hz
  • Base Magnification: 4x
  • Magnification: 12x
  • Warranty: 3 YEARS
  • Product Weight: 1.5 LBS

List Price: $10,999.00

Your Price: $10,449.05

In Stock:
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Trijicon IR PATROL LE100C 19mm Thermal Monoculars - Detector Size: 640 x 480 Sensor
Catalog: IRMO-100C
  • Detector Size: 640 x 480 Sensor
  • Image Frequency: 30 Hz
  • Lens Size: 19mm f/1.2
  • Base Magnification: 8x
  • Magnification: 1x
  • Unique Features: DCE - Digital Contrast Enhancement Edge Detection Mode

Your Price: $6,179.00

In Stock:

Trijicon Sporting / Hunting / Law Enforcement Optics

Sporting & Hunting Optics Buying Guide

There are four major types of outdoor optics on the market today.

The first are day optics. These are your traditional binoculars, range finders and hunting scopes. They require light in order to see their targets.

The next are the ones we are going to focus on. These include thermal, night vision and digital night vision systems.

There are several factors that go into considering which sport/outdoor optics to select.

  1. Type of system
    • Hand-held/helmet-mounted Monocular
    • Hand-held/helmet-mounted Biocular/binocular
    • Weapon site
    • Clip on weapon site
  2. Distance to typical target/observed subject
  3. When it will be used
    • Time of day
    • Season

Looking at the last factor first, this is where you first determine the type of optics you need, either thermal, night vision or digital night vision.

Thermal Systems

These types of units do not require any light in order to “see” their target. It relies solely on radiated heat. The sensor has thousands of measurement points which creates the shape of a target against its background. Thermal systems can be used day or night. The concern when used during the day, relates to season. If you try using a thermal system at 2pm on a hot summer day, the background temperature and your subject temperature could be very close, making it difficult to separate the two.

When it comes to thermal systems, you will see quite a variety of options. Besides the type of system, there are a few key specifications to be aware of for thermals.

  • Resolution
  • Refresh Rate
  • Pixel Size
  • Lens Size
  • Magnification/Digital Zoom

Thermal Resolution

This has to do with the number of individual points of temperature being measured (also known as Pixels). The more pixels, the more temperature information and the sharper the image of your target. This is usually shown as xxx X yyy (160 x 120, 320 x 240, 640 x 480).

Refresh Rate

The faster the screen can redraw or refresh, the smoother the image will look. Anything over 24hz (or 24 images per second) and the brain is fooled to make it think it’s continuous. Anything less than 24hz and you can see it freezing and refreshing (like a strobe-light effect, if the refresh is low enough). If you are stationary and/or your target isn’t moving quickly, then a 30Hz refresh will be fine. If you are often moving quickly, then you would want a higher refresh rate, just to get the steadiest image possible.

Pixel Size

There are currently two numbers you most likely to see for this specification, 17 or 12. The units are microns (also shown as um or µm). This has to do with the diameter of the pixel. So, the smaller the pixel itself, the tighter they can be packed into the same resolution, and the image will be much sharper.

Lens Size

The lens will determine how far you can magnify what it is you are looking at. A smaller lens will see a wider area than larger lens. A larger lens will see further objects more clearly but will see a much narrower span. The size of the lens is measured in millimeters (mm). The size of the lens determines what is called your Field of View (FOV). It is usually shown measured in degrees (°). The smaller the number of degrees, the narrower your FOV and the further you can see. Picking a lens depends on your typical distance to your target. For instance, if you are normally in the 100 – 250yds range, and you are targeting hogs, deer or other larger objects, then you can go with a smaller lens. Further distances and smaller targets would require larger lenses.

Magnification / Digital Zoom

The size of the lens also determines how much base, or optical, magnification your system will offer. A 1x magnification is the same as normal vision. However far and clear you can see, unaided, is what you would see with a 1x-rated lens. If you get a 1.5x system, then it’s 50% closer and a 2x system will be twice as close. All lenses are a fixed magnification power. Unlike a camera, where there can be a zoom lens that moves in and out, all thermals and night vision systems are a fixed magnification. These systems can offer a digital zoom. This is typically in steps of 1x, 2x, 4x and 8x. These take the information gathered by the lens and makes the pixels bigger in your viewer. The larger your sensor, the more pixels there are to make larger. The more you expand the size of the pixels, the less clear your image becomes. Typically, zooming is done for only detecting possible targets, as you may not be able to clearly identify from a large distance what it is you see.

Night Vision Systems

Unlike thermal systems, night vision systems require some ambient light to work. You don’t want to use these during the day. Night vision devices use light-intensifying tubes to collect the light and produce an image. The amount of light needed depends on quality/type of tube being used. Most night vision systems include or can be enhanced by an IR (Infrared) illuminator. This looks like a flashlight, but it works outside of human vision range to make a dark scene look brighter when viewed through night vision gear. Some animals can see beyond the human range and using these can alert/startle an prospective target.

Image intensifying tubes (IIT) are rated by their Generation (or Gen) and by their resolution (lines per millimeter (lp/mm)).

The standard ratings are:

  1. Gen 1/Gen 1+
  2. CORE
  3. Gen 2
  4. Gen 3
  5. FLAG (Gen 4)

There are versions within most of the ratings to give better quality images. These improve the definition, or resolution (lp/mm), of what you are seeing. The more lines, the clearing the image will look, while intensifying the same amount of light.

Most traditional night vision tubes produce a green image. There are also tubes that produce a white image (sometimes called “white phosphor”, “quick silver” or “ghost”). These white images look a little more like a scene at full moon and may be easier to transition back from when going to regular vision.

The other factors that go into determining which night vision system is right for you are the same for thermal systems. These include base magnification/lens size. There is no zoom function on night vision systems. Whatever base magnification you get from your lens is all you will have.

Digital Night Vision Systems

In general, a digital night vision device consists of an objective lens, a light-sensitive sensor, blocks of electronic image processing and a control, a display and an eye piece.

The power supply of digital night vision devices is provided by replaceable power elements: rechargeable batteries of the same size or integrated rechargeable batteries. Devices can be equipped with a socket for obtaining power from external sources (e.g. car power grid, compact external rechargeable batteries).

For work in low-light conditions, digital night vision devices are often equipped with integrated infrared illuminators based on laser diode or LED. For increased usability digital night vision devices can include a remote-control system with major functions – in this case the user can control the device with the help of remote control (RC).

Digital devices can be equipped with rails for mounting on weapons.

As in any optic observation device, the objective lens is meant for projecting images onto the surface of the sensor, which in turn transforms reflections from the light of the object into an electric signal.

As a light-sensitive element, digital night vision devices utilize CCD or CMOS sensors.

In contrast to night vision devices based on image intensifier tubes (analogue), digital night vision devices allow a larger quantity of user adjustments and functions to be implemented. For example, brightness adjustment, image contrast, image color selection, additional information in the field of view (current time, battery charge indication, icons of activated modes etc.), additional digital zoom, “Picture in Picture” function (shows, in a separate small window, an additional image of the whole object or its separate part including a magnified image) and temporary display deactivation (for energy-saving purposes and for masking an observer at the expense of absence of illumination from the operating display).

For saving images of observed objects, digital night vision devices may incorporate video recorders that allow photos and videos to be made.

In digital devices it is easy to implement such functions as wireless connection (e.g. Wi-Fi) data transmission (photo video) to external receivers, the integration of laser rangefinders (data from the range finder can be introduced into the field of view) and GPS-sensors (the ability to establish the co-ordinates of the observed object).

One advantage of digital night vision devices is the ability to work in daylight conditions without fear of flashes of light or intensive light sources which may damage night vision devices based on the image intensifier tube.

The reticle in digital riflescopes is as a rule is also digital, which means that the image of the reticle during the video signal processing is overlaid on the image on the screen and moved electronically, avoiding the necessity of mechanical parts for making ballistic corrections. These mechanical parts are often used in analogue night vision and daylight riflescopes and demand high precision during the manufacturing and assembling process.

Additionally, it avoids typical optic or night vision riflescope effects such as parallax, due to the fact that the observed image and the image of the reticle are located in the same plane – in the plane of display.

Digital riflescopes can keep a large quantity of reticles of different configurations and colors in its memory, providing the possibility of quick and easy “one shot zeroing” or “freeze zeroing”, the function of automatic ballistic reticle corrections in the course of alternating shooting distance, saving zeroing co-ordinates for several weapons, indicating weapon side incline or elevation angle, etc.

The main parameters of digital night vision devices are:

  • Magnification
  • Resolution
  • Sensitivity
  • Angle of field of view
  • Eye relief
  • Power of the Infrared Illuminator
  • Detection and recognition distance