Thermal Optics - Why You Need One

I hope this blog post finds you well. I’ve been thinking about thermals quite a bit recently since we’ve begun to stock Steiner’s Nighthunter S35 thermal optic, and I wanted to go over a few things in regards to the technology and its uses for airgunning and hunting.

What is a thermal optic, and what makes it special?
In essence, a thermal optic is a camera that detects differences in heat signature and translates that difference into visible light for the user to see. Depending on the quality of the product, the optic will have sharper image quality and a greater gradient difference between a hot body and a cold body. Across the board, however, thermals greatly increase a hunter’s ability to accurately detect and acquire targets.

Unlike infrared, thermal optics can be effectively used in both day and night. In addition, if a hunter’s prey is cold-blooded, such as an iguana or a snake, there is a very good chance that the creature can see infrared. Therefore, if one is using an IR flashlight coupled with night vision, the target will be able to see the infrared light; this is not the case with a thermal. Because a thermal simply reads heat differences between objects and requires no direct light source, a thermal optic can be used effectively against a creature that can see outside a human’s visible light spectrum.

What makes a good thermal optic?
The quality of a thermal optic is largely determined by two things. Firstly is the resolution of the thermal optic core. The better the resolution, the better a thermal optic will perform. The best thermal resolution available at the moment is 640x480, while less expensive thermals may have a 320x240 resolution. The second key factor is the pixel pitch, which is a measurement of the distance between the pixels of the image in the thermal sensor. This is measured in micrometers, commonly called microns or millionths of a meter. The smaller this number, the better the quality image the user will get. Other smaller factors can make a difference, as well. A higher refresh rate will allow you to react quickly to an animal moving, and a higher quality display screen will improve image clarity. All of these factors come together for a truly incredible and game-changing hunting experience, and if you have the opportunity to use a thermal optic on a hunt, I cannot recommend it enough.

Why did we choose Steiner?
At EDgun West, we carry items that we would want as airgun and hunting enthusiasts. Over the past several years, we’ve chosen the best optic manufacturers in the world to partner with, from March to Delta. Our partnership with Steiner is the next step in our journey of finding the highest quality products for our customers. The Steiner Nighthunter S35 that we carry is, quite simply, the best thermal optic a civilian can buy. A 640x480 thermal core and a 12-micron pixel pitch is coupled with a 50hz OLED display, resulting in unparalleled image quality. Detection of a human-sized object is possible out to 1800m, whereas a vehicle can be detected at a whopping 4400m — that’s nearly 3 miles in Freedom Units. Recognition is possible at 450m and 1100m for human and vehicle-sized objects, respectively. In addition, there are six different color palettes, allowing for easy detection of any size target anywhere, from a squirrel hiding in the branches of a tree to a coyote in the night. 16GB of internal storage and the onboard ability to record video is great for hunting footage and recording your shots with ease. 

What truly makes the Nighthunter S35 the ultimate thermal optic, however, is its versatility. In addition to a one-shot zero, the Steiner Nighthunter S35 has nine different reticles of every kind imaginable and five different rifle profiles that can be saved internally for later use. What this allows for is its use on any kind of rifle, from an AR-15 to a high caliber hunting rifle to your Leshiy 2. As we say in the office, a good optic is like a good horse saddle: it can be used on any horse and will last for ages.

The Steiner Nighthunter S35 is available at our digital storefront now. Don’t be left in the dark — get yours today and take your hunting to the next level.

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