FLIR ONE on Guns

flir one

The FLIR ONE is a very nifty new product from FLIR (maker of high-end thermal imaging sensors and scopes). It is a low-cost thermal camera that attaches to an iPhone 5 and iPhone 5S. At a cost of just $350 it is perfect for DIY folks and has many uses around the home (heat leakage and diagnosing car, computers ,electronics and battery problems for example). At that price if I had an iPhone I would buy one. Professional thermal cameras are VERY expensive. Even the Chinese thermal imaging cameras from ebay are very expensive.

Now what is especially interesting, from a gun nut perspective, is that Smart Phone digital scope maker Inteliscope are now a distributor of the FLIR ONE. An iPhone with a FLIR ONE can attach to a rifle with the Inteliscope iPhone mount (it mounts just like any iPhone in a large polymer case).

flir one 2

Inteliscope have not yet integrated the thermal scope with their iPhone app, so you can’t use it like a scope. Until they do, which won’t happen until FLIR releases the FLIR One Software Development Kit that will allow other apps to use the thermal camera. For now it can be mounted on a rifle to find game (or intruders). Thermal cameras work just as well in the day as they do at night. Finding a person or animal lurking in dense bush is one useful application for a thermal scope.



Steve Johnson

Founder and Dictator-In-Chief of TFB. A passionate gun owner, a shooting enthusiast and totally tacti-uncool. Favorite first date location: any gun range. Steve can be contacted here.


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  • B.

    I wonder how long it will take for recoil to reduce the phone and camera unit to electronic junk from busted soldering, popped capacitors and resistors, and broken boards

    • Hi B. We have run tens of thousands of rounds internally and by customers without a single phone damaged by recoil.

      • B.

        What calibers did you use? Was it something small and nice like 5.56, or something with heft like .308s and .30-06s?
        In this case, size and caliber does count. I am all for this if it can handle a good amount of punishment not only from intermediate calibers but also larger game rounds, I just can’t justify the cost to experiment on my own.

        • .308, 12-guage. You can see us on our website using a slidefire to simulate fully auto on an AR-15 as well. Customer are using all kinds of firearms.

          • B.

            Dammit. Just when I think I am done buying new toys…

  • flyingburgers

    The problem with the FLIR ONE is that it’s ultra low res: 80×60 pixels. Normal thermal weapon sights are 320×240. It gets around this by using a visible image and applying an edge detection filter to it. So at night, the “effective” resolution is far worse than the house picture. Or where there’s little effective edge content (see the first picture).

    Another issue is that the FLIR ONE runs at 9 Hz to be export compliant. There’s a reason for that and it’s too slow for video use. Real weapon sights are 30 Hz or better 60 Hz.

  • Houston Moore

    So, when will this be available for the Samsung Galaxy 5s?

    • Zachary marrs

      Or any other non pos phone?

  • stephen

    I got the Inteliscope after it first came out and tried it on a stag arms model 2 5.56 and my M1A1 with EBR stock. So what were the results?

    I would say its good for bb guns, paint ball and nerf guns. Flimsy plastic, didn’t hold well, shift in POI so you had to rezero a few times with the 5.56 and many more with M1A1. I had a feeling in my gut that said ‘cheap… don’t buy it!’ but I didnt listen and bought it anyway. I should have listened.

    As for the FLIR 1, I agree with flyingburgers, don’t waste your money for an expensive toy that under performs – this comes from using high end FLIR systems and nothing compares to them.

    Buyer beware.

    • Hi, Stephen. You got the original Inteliscope and we have since launched the PRO version that moves it into an entire different class. We are working with a number of military and police entities with very good results. If you’d like, we could upgrade you like we’ve done with hundreds of our early adopters like yourself.

  • TangledThorns

    Won’t be long before this is more of an option in cars really. Less folk killing deers with their cars would be nice.

  • Vermithrax

    There was a great review on Arstechnica.com a few days back. This is not a tactical tool. This is a useful instrument for the casual user. At only $350, you will easily pay for it in electric bills by using it to better insulate your home.

    This is definitely NOT something you would use in any sort of firearms-mounted related capacity. From the review I read, the range is also short enough that it is really a close range unit only.

    Still, very cool that something like this is affordable now. They will only get cheaper and better as time goes on. A guy from FLIR stated that he wanted thermal imaging to be as ubiquitous as GPS.

    • Vermithrax, very good point. We think this is the tip of the iceberg for consumer thermals. Got to start somewhere and will be an interesting ride.

  • LongBeach

    DAMN that house needs air conditioning…

  • As someone who uses thermal tech on a regular basis: this thing has extremely limited range, and even less so when the lights are out. Because this uses FLIR’s MSX technology that blends visible light and thermal data, removing that visible light badly affects your image quality.

  • Secundius

    Correct me if I’m wrong, but isn’t the FLIR One limited to 10-meter in range?

  • Not Buying It

    Seeing how my guns shoot farther than 10 meters, i’ll pass and save up for some mil-grade items. As sure as the sun rises, there will be idiots out there adopting it for uses it was NEVER intended or capable of performing.
    That being said, I hope there are enough dumb earlier adopters to fund them into making decent performing thermal imaging tech more affordable in the future.

  • AznMike

    Great, now all it needs to do now is tell distance and all I need is a smart gun. Though it feels like the heart beat sensor from MW2.

  • NotoriousAPP

    Wait for the higher res, lower profile, cheaper IR imager by Seek thermal. It should be out for Xmas, I’ve been manufacturing parts for them all year.

  • NotoriousAPP

    Skip the FLIR ONE, it’s low resolution and pricey. Check out the new SEEK Thermal camera for iPhone and Android. The SEEK is 206×156 pixel array and only costs $199 with free shipping; it’s a much better thermal imager. They’re taking orders now, check out their website: http://www.thermal.com/