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Armasight Thermal Optics: Best Of The Best?



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The ability to see heat, or the lack thereof, has many valuable applications. It’s an incredibly powerful tool, whether it’s being used to track a criminal from a police helicopter, locate a missing hiker in the wilderness, find a lost pet, or stalk nocturnal game.

But thermal optics aren’t only capable of identifying body heat — they can also be used to determine if a vehicle was driven recently based on the heat of the engine block, or to detect water leaks inside the walls of a home. Armasight offers both thermal scopes and handheld thermal monoculars for a variety of applications.

RIFLE SCOPES

Armasight’s Contractor thermal riflescopes line offers a variety of options and price points, all built around their proprietary ArmaCORE 12-micron processor.

The Contractor series also offers an intuitive turret system that enables users to navigate features, such as digital zoom, color pallet and reticles quickly and intuitively to adapt to changing conditions and environments. There are eight reticle options, all featuring ½ MOA adjustments through tactile knobs. There are also five color palate options: white hot, black hot, target, rainbow, and sepia.

Contractor thermal riflescopes all include a digital compass and inclinometer that help calculate distance, direction and angles. Other technological advancements include Bluetooth capability, recording and storage, and GPS. All units are IP67 rated for water and dust resistance. The 1024×768 AMOLED display is colorful and bright, with a responsive 60Hz refresh rate. It's

powered by two CR123 batteries, with an approximate run time of 4 hours at 68 degrees F. Thermals eat batteries quickly, and this is actually a respectable run time when compared to some of its competitors. 

The Contractor 320 3-12x25mm thermal riflescope makes a great entry level option for weapon-mounted thermal optics, built around a 320×240 resolution sensor and a versatile 3-12x magnification range with a highly-accessible price point of $3,299 If you need to reach out a little further, the Contractor 320 6-24×50 thermal riflescope is also available for $4,399. If you’re looking for higher resolution and better detail at higher magnification, the Contractor 640 series, utilizing the same ArmaCORE 12-micron sensor, but with 640×480 sensor resolution.

All of the aforementioned housing and digital capabilities of the 320 series remain standard on the 640, with double the resolution, and a quick-detach Sidelock mount from Kinetic Development Group, as opposed to the standard thumbscrew picatinny mount found on 320 models.

The Contractor 640 3-12x50mm is priced at $5,799. Additionally, the 640 line also has a 4.8-19.2x75mm version for longer-range shooting, priced at $6,999 as well as a unique 2.3-9.2x35mm option for $5,499.

THERMAL MONOCULARS

In the same way that not every problem is a shooting problem, not every application for thermal optics requires the use of a rifle. Take our earlier examples of searching for lost hikers or checking for water leaks.

While you can certainly dismount your thermal riflescope from your gun and use it as a standalone unit, Armasight has a better tool for this job in their Sidekick 640 Mini Thermal Monocular. The Sidekick sports all of the same tech specs as the Contractor riflescopes, including onboard video recording and a built-in compass, but in a convenient standalone monocular that weighs less than nine ounces for $3,299.

Sidekick 320 Thermal Monocular

Those looking for a lower-cost option can also find the Sidekick 320 for $2,299 

For casual or intermittent use, looping the Sidekick around your neck with a lanyard and holding it your eye will work just fine. But for dedicated hands-free use, there is the Armasight by Rayvin Group Modular Bridge Mount.

This unique bridge mount interfaces with helmets via the standard Wilcox-style dovetail. Its unique pod-on-rail design allows you to place a night vision monocular and thermal monocular, or two of either, on the bridge simultaneously and operate them independently while still having both available with the flick of your wrist. 

There’s a reason the otherworldly hunter in the classic movie Predator was shown using advanced thermal vision to find his prey — nothing makes it easier to stealthily track a warm-blooded target. Every animal and human hunter understands the importance of visual camouflage, and it’s a skill that’s been honed through thousands of years of natural selection.

However, very few species are capable of concealing their heat signature. Even if you stand perfectly still in total darkness, you’ll light up like a Christmas tree through a thermal optic, and you won’t know you’re being watched until it’s already too late.

Armasight’s Contractor series offers impressive capabilities and a wide range of features that’ll make you feel like a supernatural hunter, spotting every living thing that crosses your path from 1,000 yards or more.

Whether you choose a 320 or 640 sensor with high or low base magnification, thermal optics give you the ability to see what would otherwise be invisible — that’s about as close to a superpower as you can get for a few thousand dollars.

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