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Nothing beats thermal and digital infrared day/night vision optics when it comes to giving hunters a clear view of their quarry by day and by night. Modern thermal gear provides an unmissable view of your target species’ heat signature, even when it’s partially obscured by cover, while full-colour day and infrared night vision offers clear and reliable images even in the hardest conditions, and with remarkable detail. Both options enable hunters to see in the dark with absolute stealth as they don’t use conventional light which can compromise concealment. This sector is rapidly evolving. Read on for profiles of the best HIKMICRO hunting gear to meet your needs.
IMAGE QUALITY: A sharp image is essential for confident quarry identification and accurate shot placement. Quality sensors and high resolution can provide the most vivid and layered images, allowing you to get a good view of the target, as well as the surrounding landscape - also the landscape around it – a vital consideration for safe shooting.
BATTERY LIFE: Nobody wants the hassle of being let down by a flat battery while hunting at night. Devices with a long runtime will ensure that you are up and running and ready for action even on long outings.
FIELD OF VIEW: A wide field of view is a real asset when spotting quarry. Optics that enable you to wind down the magnification provide the option of widening the view to even more of what’s around you.
DETECTION RANGE: The longer the detection range, the further you can see – and that’s a great help when spotting over extensive ground. Optics with longer detection range also produce a better image over shorter distances.
DURABILITY AND RELIABILITY: Hunting optics need to be tough, especially if you are using them in demanding night-time conditions. Rugged build quality and water resistance will ensure that your device stands up to unsympathetic use.
EASE OF USE: Over-complicated night vision and thermal optics can spoil a hunting trip. The best devices are designed to deliver simple, intuitive operation.
PRICE: Excellent day and night optics don’t have to be prohibitively expensive. Modern production and manufacturing techniques mean there are dependable options to suit all budgets.
HIKMICRO has all options covered to meet every hunter’s needs with sharp viewing, wide field of view, long detection range, excellent battery runtime, easy operation and numerous market-leading features. HIKMICRO devices boast robust build quality to stand up to the rigours of serious field use and are very competitively priced. This innovative range of optics includes dedicated riflescopes, clip-ons, monoculars and binoculars for round-the-clock viewing.
The LYNX Pro Series is an entry-level thermal monocular that’s small enough to fit in a jacket pocket. It is perfect for spotting by day and night and is well-suited to pest control applications including fox, rabbit and grey squirrel shooting on open ground especially in woodland. It is very simple to use and boasts a runtime of up to 10 hours. The high-sensitivity built-in thermal detector provides you with clear view even in total darkness. As one of HIKMICRO’s biggest-selling products, the new LH25 Pro model introduces a few subtle improvements, the LYNX Pro weighs just 310g so is no burden to carry. There is a lot of technology packed into its small frame, and that includes NETD<35mK sensors, 12 μm imaging sensor, and large aperture lens. The LYNX LH25 model combines a 384px sensor with a 25mm lens, which results in sharp viewing with detection range to spot a 1.7m target out to 1200m. The wide field of view makes it excellent for scanning wide expanses and for close-up viewing, which can help you ensure quick target detection. Advantages include perfect overview at short distances, precise observation, and dependable identification, making this a great choice for hunting in woodland and other cover.
The FALCON series is a great choice for serious hunters who demand a high-end thermal monocular delivering awesome performance. Its dependable, high-quality viewing has also made it a winning choice for search and rescue and outdoor recreation. This monocular’s design has been enhanced for ultimate ease of use with extremely high thermal sensitivity. The thermal core has a sensitivity of sub-20mK NETD, which provides a more detailed image than previous thermal models. This thermal imager is capable of detecting and displaying tiny details such as animal fur, branches and leaves, and still creates a reliable image under poor visibility conditions. The flagship FQ50 model, with its 20mK NETD high-definition sensor, a 640×512 @12μm detector and super-large f0.9 aperture, ensures clear thermal imaging out to 2600m with high-contrast viewing in all weather conditions, while 2.6x magnification with up to 8x digital zoom provides detailed observation. A field of view of up to 15.3m at 100m means nothing goes unseen when scanning for target species, and it’s all relayed via a full-colour 1024 HD OLED display. Whether targeting deer, fox or wild boar, in field or woodland and by day or night, it makes easy work of virtually any situation, and its pin-sharp viewing and exceptionally long detection range make it an unrivalled option for hunters targeting wary quarry over extreme distances and right around the clock.
HIKMICRO STELLAR series is proportioned much the same as a traditional riflescope. This feature means it mounts via standard 30mm mount rings and provides familiar handling and balance with your rifle. This easy-to-operate thermal scope gives detailed viewing, and is renowned for its high-quality thermal image quality, which maintains clear vision even in woodland and other cover, making it a top choice for deer, fox and wild boar shooting, STELLAR SQ50, the viewing experience is enhanced by 640x512 @12um detector, wide field of view (15.4mx12.3m at 100m) and a detection range of up to 2600m. Ultra-low power consumption gives a runtime of up to 13 hours, while a recoil-activated function can capture video with audio. A super-sensitive sensor and high-quality lens ensure that this scope will keep you bang on target, while an increased field of view assists with tasks like spotting wild boar in the woodland. Despite its high specification, the STELLAR SQ50 retails for under £3,000, making it an exceptionally well-priced high-performance thermal optic.
The new Thunder is a very compact thermal scope delivering excellent thermal sensitivity, NETD<20mK and high-resolution viewing at an extremely competitive price. Significant enhancements have been made since the 1.0 series. The new design of the controls, with the focus knob next to other top-mounted controls, resulting in intuitive operation of zoom adjustment, photo and video triggering (with audio), colour modes, etc., for fuss free use when hunting. The new upgrade also includes a custom battery that extends the operation time up to 10 hours, and still delivers excellent performance in cold conditions. The Quick menu also enables users to quickly locate the frequently used functions. The TQ50 2.0’s compact frame contains state of the art thermal imaging technology, including 640 detector, 12 μm pixel pitch, 50mm objective lens, thermal sensitivity of <20 mK and 1024x768 OLED display. The 2.6x optical zoom is boosted by 8x digital zoom for detailed viewing with a mighty 2600m detection range with a generous field of view. It’s a versatile optic, popular with commercial fox shooters in the UK and equally at home shooting rabbits, rats or wild boar. The ultimate partner for field hunting, especially in amongst cover, its high resolution viewing will help you swiftly locate your prey.
This innovative clip-on unit attaches to your day scope to convert it to thermal. Equipped with all the features built into the THUNDER 2.0 scope model, the clip-on versions incorporates a M52*0.75 thread for attachment via a quick-release collar which fastens securely to the front of the optic. The result is a fast and simple thermal hunting solution with your usual setup and all your familiar aimpoints. The THUNDER TH35PC 2.0 unit has a 35mm lens, <20mK thermal sensitivity and 1800m detection range, making it a great choice for a wide range of applications from wild boar shooting in cover to rat shooting in farm buildings.
The Raptor binoculars combine full-colour HD daytime viewing with thermal, infrared night vision and a rangefinder to deliver the ultimate insight by day and night. Image Fusion mode enables hybrid thermal/optical viewing with a very clear view of surroundings as well as quarry. The long list of smart features includes a battery-saving sensor which switches the Raptors into standby mode when you take them away from your eye. Their high level of performance and optical versatility has made these binoculars a top choice for serious hunters and rescue services. As for optical specifications, the 50mm RQ50L boasts detection range up to 2600m and a high-spec 640x512 sensor ensures very sharp viewing with a choice of four thermal colour palettes. The rangefinder is accurate to +/- 1m out to 1000m, helping the hunter to achieve precise shot placement. This is an invaluable tool for professional fox shooting, deer management and wild boar shooting. The waterproof RQ50L has 3.4x optical magnification and 1-16x digital magnification, with a very wide field of view on lower zoom settings. It is supplied with two sets of rechargeable batteries, both of which can deliver a runtime of up to eight hours.
The super-popular Alpex A50T won its class in the 2023 Great British Shooting Awards, impressing judges with its versatile day and night performance, easy operation and very competitive price point. Those qualities have also made it a winning choice for pest control, from fox and rabbit shooting over open ground to rat shooting around farm buildings. This reliable and easy to operate scope has similar proportions to a normal telescopic sight, and mounts via standard 30mm rings. Its intuitive controls also make it very simple to operate and zero with a choice of reticle profiles, patterns and colours as well as picture in picture mode. The Alpex produces a very clear full-colour daylight image, which remains exceptionally bright in very poor light conditions at dawn and dusk, thanks to a unique 1/1.8in sensor and 3D DNR image algorithm. Its infrared mode enables ultra-sharp viewing in complete darkness with a detection range out to 600m, while 1920x1080 sensor resolution, 50hz frame rate and 1024x768 HD OLED display deliver a pin-sharp image. Equipped with a 50mm F1.2 lens, and sustaining high image quality after digital zoom is used to further boost magnification, the ALPEX series perfect for open field and woodland hunting.
The lightweight Cheetah weighs just 477g and quickly clips to your daytime scope to convert it to night vision for colour daytime recording. The multifunctional device can also be used as a monocular and, with the addition of a mount, can be used as a riflescope in its own right. A laser range-finding feature is also available. The Cheetah’ s three-in-on versatility, easy controls, exceptional performance with 2560x1440 UHD resolution, and competitive price have made it a popular choice with pest shooters targeting foxes and rabbits. Airgun shooters also regard it as a great device for after-dark rat shooting. The Cheetah C32F-RL boasts amazing full colour viewing by day and in twilight, and clear infrared night-time viewing with a built-in adjustable IR illuminator and 1920*1080 0.49" large OLED. Detection range is 400m and you can expect around 5.5 hours continuous runtime, which can be extended by using the power-saving standby mode.
The LYNX thermal monocular provides affordable and effective spotting which combines perfectly with the CHEETAH’s sharp full-colour and infrared night vision viewing and laser range-finding potential to create a great setup for safe and effective pest control.
The FALCON’s market-leading thermal performance is the perfect tool for spotting and observation. Pairing it with the ALPEX riflescope’s sharp digital day and night viewing and traditional tube design will create an excellent combo for the serious hunter looking to cover a wide range of scenarios in the field or woodland.
The FALCON’s 2600m detection range with <20mK ultra-high thermal sensitivity, intuitive operation and long runtime mean nothing goes unseen. Use it alongside the THUNDER 2.0, which incorporates similar thermal technology in a high-quality sighting system, and you have an unbeatable setup delivering an immersive hunting experience for deer stalking, wild boar hunting and professional fox shooting in the most challenging conditions.
Every shooter’s final choice of thermal and digital day & night optic will be based on several factors, the most important ones being price and the type of shooting scenario the gear is going to be used in. The HIKMICRO range includes products to cover all applications and budgets with no compromise on performance.
Pete Evans conducts a time and motion study, with the help of an LMBR chronograph
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