Thanks to my friend for alerting me to this hidden gem at SHOT Show 2019. Steiner is the maker of many night vision and laser devices. They make the PVS21 night vision goggles and DBAL weapon laser. Well at SHOT Show they have a new thermal weapon sight that is the first of its kind. The Steiner CQT is a reflex day sight with thermal overlay.
In the world of Thermal and Night Vision there is a thing called COTI (Clip On Thermal Imager). Rather than have a stand alone thermal weapon sight and night vision, the COTI literally clips onto a night vision device, like a PVS-14, and overlays a thermal image. That is right, night vision with thermal!
When looking through the PVS-14 this is a sample of what the COTI shows.
You can set the COTI to just show an outline.
You can look directly through the COTI using a separate eye piece and it looks like something out of a 1990s video game.
COTI are not cheap. On TNVC they go for $6,800. And while you can use them independently you should really use them with NODs (Night Observation Devices) so you can aim and shoot while seeing the thermal image. So add another $3,000 for a PVS-14 and you can see people in the dark. Why would you need COTI when you have night vision? Simple, mixed lighting can cause harsh shadows that even the best night vision cannot see into without some assistance. This is why we have infrared illuminators. But camouflage and the monochromatic look of night vision can make it challenging to see people in some situations. Having a COTI thermal overlay makes them pop out from the ambient background.
What does this have to do with Steiner’s CQT? Well now you don’t need NODs to use COTI. The CQT is a reflex weapon sight with built in thermal overlay. As far as I know this has never been done before. Sure you have your stand alone thermal weapon sights but they are not reflex day sights. They are glorified thermal digital cameras and you need to look into an eye piece to stare at a digital screen. You lose situational awareness and peripheral vision this way. Steiner’s CQT gives you the best of both worlds.
In the photo above you can see a dark tinted lens folded down just in front of the hood. This acts like sun glasses so when you use the CQT in bright day light, the ambient light can wash out the thermal overlay. Flip the lens up and it makes it easier to see the thermal image.
Below you can see the thermal image super imposed over the POV of the CQT. There is a holosun like reticle in the window. The CQT was set to just thermal and not outline. The thermal image is a green tint and even in the Sands convention center, it seemed washed out and hard to see the thermal image.
Here the Steiner representative switched the CQT into outline mode. It looks just like the COTI but im using it in the day time with a reflex sight. In the photo below, the tinted window was flipped up to show the outline better.
I photoshopped the image below to show that you can see color and objects through the CQT window while having the thermal image overlaid across the window.
The CQT is an exciting new type of weapon sight but the price reflects its uniqueness plus it is a Steiner device. The CQT costs about $9,000 USD. Ouch. That is not cheap. But if you compare that to COTI and traditional night vision you are spending a similar amount of money and you still don’t have a weapon sight or a way to aim while you shoot. Add the fact that a COTI equipped night vision setup can’t be used in the day time. The CQT would be great for LE or Military going from day time to dark indoor environments without having to use night vision indoors. The thermal overlay will alert officers or soldiers to potential threats or targets while being passive. No need to shine lights unless your want PID of your target.
Check out Steiner for more info.