Featured [SHOT 2017] New FLIR Thermals: More Features, More Affordable Kel Whelan January 23, 2017 Join the Conversation FLIR, A long-established manufacturer and provider of military and industrial night vision equipment, will be releasing an entirely new line of outdoor and tactical thermal imagers in the U.S. in the first half of 2017. You're going to be happy to hear what they're doing with it. SHOT Show 2017: New FLIR Thermals: More Features, More Affordable FLIR Compact Q14 Probably the most inquired-about item in their SHOT Show booth was the Q14, a mini-sized, multi-role thermal optic. (http://www.flir.com/ots/q14/) It is a ruggedized, ergonomic handheld imager that may be mounted on helmets, weapons, or used as a handheld monocular. For a fully-featured optic, it is the lightest and most compact available from FLIR, with a thermal resolution of 640×480 and a fixed 19mm lens (lower quality scopes have a lower resolution, making for a pixilated, cruder image). Like the workhorse PVS-14 is to “i2” traditional green night vision, the Q14 is an incredibly versatile and small optic that can be used in many roles. The one really cool and standout feature of FLIR’s new lineup is that they now feature Bluetooth-out: thanks to the free FLIR app for your smartphone, vivid, high-resolution 1080p color YouTube hog hunting videos and posting photos of hot farts to Instagram are now just moments away. Onboard recording of video and JPEG images can also be pulled out via USB-C computer connectivity. Thermal optics from some low-line manufacturers can have questionable specs and quality: but as far as what’s under the hood at FLIR, the new items all utilize the FLIR Boson Camera Core, which is FLIR’s latest compact, uncooled thermal engine. It allows users to detect heat and see in complete darkness, and when combined with precision optics, deliver unmatched imaging and functionality for the tactical and outdoor enthusiast markets. The Q14, along with all the other FLIR scopes, offers multiple thermal resolution options, and optional multiple extra lens options. Additional common features for all models include user controlled imaging palettes and image enhancement filters, a digital compass, digital inclinometer and some patent-pending, high-visibility iconology and graphic overlays. Much of the new product coming out this year at SHOT Show is the fruition of last year’s acquisition of Armasight. While FLIR has always been known for the highest quality, military-grade gear, Armasight brought such commercial bells-and-whistles such as easy video/photo output to smartphones and a more affordable pricepoint with it. Consumers are going to come out ahead on the marriage of FLIR’s pro-grade Boson cores and manufacturing quality control to Armasight’s great commercial features. Says FLIR President and CEO Andy Teich, “This new collection of thermal weapon sights and handheld imagers provide users with market-leading image acuity, size, weight, battery stamina and features. With a nearly 50-year heritage of bringing combat-proven thermal solutions to the front lines, this new wave of products resulting from our acquisition of Armasight last year, solidifies FLIR’s position as the leader in thermal optics for the tactical and outdoor markets.” ThermoSight R All-In-One Thermal Riflescopes In addition to the Q14, notable additions to the lineup are expansions to the field-proven, rifle-mounted ThermoSight R-Series line. These are all-in-one thermal scopes that clip directly to a rifle’s Picatinny rail and have magnification and aiming reticle options onboard. There are three new models in that form-factor. FLIR ThermoSight RM offers a thermal resolution of 320×240 with a 19mm lens and 640×480 with a 25mm lens. FLIR ThermoSight RL features thermal resolutions of 320×240 and 640×480 with a choice of a 50mm or 100mm lens. FLIR ThermoSight RX has a thermal resolution of 640×480 and a choice of a 50mm or 100mm lens. Thermosight C Clip-On Thermal Rifle Optics If you already have an appropriate day optic you prefer to shoot with and keep mounted to your rifle, a clip-on unit allows you to retain the functionality and sight picture of your existing daytime scope. The thermal unit drops in front of the normal day scope, adding FLIR thermal-imaging capability to your existing setup that you view through your existing scope. There’s three new Thermosight C-Series Clip-Ons this year: Available in two resolutions and three lens sizes, these imagers mount in front of standard daylight optics for a rapid transition to thermal viewing in lowlight conditions with no change in cheek weld or trigger reach. They also allow continued use of existing ballistic reticules in the primary optic. Upping the fun factor for hunters (or the asymmetrical advantage for you tactical professionals), the 25-mm Thermosight C clip-on model also includes onboard video and still image recording so you can record, review, and share your footage post-hunt. The long-range CM/CL unit in particular looks like something that’s going to be guiding Barnes TSX projectiles into a pulled-pork sandwich-to-be in this author’s future. FLIR ThermoSight C compact clip-on thermal rifle sight is available with thermal resolutions of 320×240 and 640×480 and a 25mm lens. FLIR ThermoSight CM/CL long-range, clip-on thermal rifle sights with a choice of a 50mm lens and a resolution of 320×240 or 640×480, or a 75mm lens with a resolution of 640×480. All new outdoor and tactical FLIR thermal imagers will be available in the U.S. in the first half of 2017 through established FLIR OTS dealers. For more information on the suite of new products, please visit www.flir.com/ots. This has been a special SHOT Show installment of Industry News. It is not a review nor an endorsement. What is the NSSF SHOT Show? The NSSF SHOT Show (Shooting, Hunting, and Outdoor Trade Show) and Conference is an annual event held by the National Shooting Sports Foundation. Typically attended by thousands of people from all 50 states and over a hundred countries, it is (quite rightfully) described as the “…world's premier exposition of combined firearms, ammunition, law enforcement, cutlery, outdoor apparel, optics, and related products and services. Imagine the Worlds' Fair, but packed with everything from mini-guns and every breed of body armor, bows and boots; from eye pro and ear pro to optics and ordnance, socks to swords…you get the idea. If you'd like to see a sampling of the companies who will be showing at this year's SHOT, there's a live map right here, though it doesn't reflect the organizations set up elsewhere, in hotel suites, etc View imagery from our coverage of last year's SHOT Show here; 2015's is right here. 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