Friday Night Lights: SKEETIRX Micro Thermal Imaging Monocular

Nicholas C
by Nicholas C

If you remember, one of the items on my ALL I WANT FOR CHRISTMAS post was a SKEETIRX. Well Christmas came early thanks to my friend Earl. He lent me an old BAE Systems SKEETIRX and it definitely works as advertised. Let’s take a closer look at this tiny thermal monocular that packs a punch in resolution and detection.


The SKEETIRX is tiny. It is smaller than a PVS-14 or this MUM-14

The SKEETIRX has an onboard IR laser built into the housing. This is extremely helpful for pointing out something to your friends or team members who do not have thermal but may have night vision.

The SKEETIRX is a little limited in thermal modes it has black hot, white hot and edge detection. The pictures below are not as good as looking into the SKEETIRX. I simply put my iPhone up to the eyepiece and took a picture. The images produced by the SKEETIRX are a lot better.

White Hot
Black Hot
Edge Detect
Black Hot

Dual Band Goggles

One of the features of the SKEETIRX and the SKEETIR-L is that they can be mounted using a WILCOX bridge or any other bridge that has a dovetail mount. I have heard of many people who prefer a “Dual Band Goggle”. This involves bridging a night vision monocular like a PVS-14 and the SKEETIRX. As soon as I got the SKEETIRX in hand I mounted it to my WILCOX Bridge with a MUM014.

I was surprised by how well this worked. Much better than the PVS14 and FLIR Breach. The key to the SKEETIRX and night vision fusing in your brain is the edge detection mode. The FLIR Breach does not have this mode. Below is an example of what you see with a dual band goggle. SKEETIRX on the left eye and night vision on the right eye.

This is what my brain interprets and fuses the images together.

Simulated thermal fusion

I tried to film both systems. I used the ANVRS on the MUM-14 and my LPMR POV recorder to film the SKEETIR. As you watch the video, you can relax your eyes and your brain will fuse the two images. The videos are not that clean due to the low resolution of the POV cameras but you can experience what it could be like in real life,

Weapon Mounted SKEETIRX

SKEETIRX is a triple threat. Sure it is small so it works great as a handheld thermal monocular and it is lightweight enough to be worn on a helmet. But it is rated for weapon recoil.

The Wilcox G33 flip magnifier to side mount works with the SKEETIRX, you just flip the mount around 180º. You can use it as a standalone weapon sight but it also acts as a thermal clip-on for low powered optics. If you use it as a standalone weapon sight, the SKEETIRX has an adjustable reticle.

Here I mounted it on my Ruger 10/22.

Luckily, the rail-mounted RMR does not block the SKEETIRX, however, this means the RMR will not work with the magnifier. However, this means I can aim with the RMR by flipping the SKEETIRX and magnifier out of the way.

I can flip the SKEETIRX into place and I can see the small thermal image with my naked eye. However, the window is tiny. One surprising aspect is that the SKEETIRX is 1x so it is almost like a thermal overlay for what my eyes are looking at downrange. To make a more precise shot I can flip the magnifier and use that to make the thermal image bigger.

Here is the SKEETIRX mounted in front of an LPVO. If you use the SKEETIRX as a clip-on, it helps if your scope has an illuminated reticle.

SKEETIRX flipped to the side out of the path of the LPVO.
White Hot LPVO
Black Hot LPVO
Edge Detect LPVO


There is an adapter that can convert the SKEETIR into a COTI. The COTI adapter acts just like the PAS-29 COTI. There is a fiber optic periscope that outputs the thermal image into the objective of a PVS-14.

The COTI adapter is form-fitted to match the PVS-14 housing. There are clearances for the protrusions of the PVS-14.

Installing the COTI adapter is somewhat convoluted. You have to get the eyepiece of the PVS-14 into the loop in the back then pivot the adapter over the housing. You kind of walk the PVS-14 in.

Then you close this clasp and tighten the nut on the screw.

There is a set screw that screws into the J-ARM/Tripod hole of the PVS-14.

Underneath the COTI adapter is the dovetail mount to attach the SKEETIR.

One feature that the SKEETIR COTI adapter has above the PAS-29 COTI is the adjustable thermal image. Take a look at the photo below. The periscope has windage and elevation adjustment screws. This allows you to move the thermal picture anywhere in your field of view through the PVS-14.

In order to get the COTI adapter to project the thermal image, you need to plug the cable into the SKEETIR and adapter. Also, the SKEETIR has to be “COTI COMPATIBLE”. Unfortunately, the SKEETIRX does not have the proper firmware and is not compatible with the COTI adapter.


How does the SKEETIR COTI compare? Unfortunately, as I said earlier, the SKEETIRX is not compatible. When I turn it on, I do see a bright circle projected by the SKEETIR but it is not a thermal image. While I cannot compare the COTI images, I can compare other attributes, like weight. The SKEETIR COTI X PVS-14 setup is very heavy. Almost 1 lbs 13 oz.

Compare that to the same PVS-14 with a PAS-29 COTI, it is 11.4 ounces lighter!

Here is the best part. If I bridge the SKEETIRX with my MUM-14, it is lighter than the PVS-14 alone with SKEETIR COTI. I haven’t even attached the SKEETIR COTI to an arm or bridge for attaching it to a mount!

Just for fun I mounted both the PVS-14 and MUM-14 on the Wilcox Bridge and mounted COTIs on both.

With a little bit of finesse, I was able to mount the SKEETIR COTI to the QTNVG. Totally not practical at all. It is very very heavy.

What about dual COTIs on a PVS-14? Completely ridiculous but it could be done. Doubt it would work since the PAS-29 COTI periscope is blocked by the SKEETIR COTI. The proverbial two COTIs, one hole problem.

How about COTI-N-Ception?

Final Thoughts On The SKEETIRX

Aside from my ridiculous Legoing of various night vision and thermal devices, I can see why the SKEETIRX is very popular. On its own, it is a very capable thermal monocular. It is small, lightweight and produces a high resolution image. It has features that many thermal devices do not, like an onboard IR laser and it is recoil rated. It can double as a weapon sight or a thermal clip-on. This makes the SKEETIRX one of the most versatile thermal systems available. However, there is a downside to the SKEETIRX’s greatness, the price. Trijicon sells the SKEETIRX for $15,995. Yes, it is almost $16k dollars! As I said in my All I Want For Christmas post, $16k can buy a lot of devices. You could buy a decent binocular NVGs and a decent thermal weapon sight. You could compromise performance and get multiple items. The SKEETIR did work extremely well in edge detect mode when bridged with a night vision monocular. More thermal monoculars should have that mode in their programming. The FLIR Breach would be much better if it had edge detect rather than the variety of rainbow palettes. It also helps that the SKEETIRX has the same magnification as your eyes just like 40º FOV night vision. So when you look through both, one is not bigger or smaller than the other. This is one of the problems with the FLIR Breach.

I also question the fact that the nearly $16k SKEETIRX is not compatible with the COTI adapter that was designed for it. I would be rather dismayed having spent so much to find out the unit is not complete and in order to use the COTI, I have to buy a lesser model. The SKEETIR-L is supposedly COTI compatible.

Big thanks to my friend Earl for letting me check out the SKEETIRX.

Nicholas C
Nicholas C

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5 of 19 comments
  • XM1A2A XM1A2A on Jan 10, 2021

    The Skeet IR-X is not inherently incompatible with the COTI interface. There’s firmware access that is restricted by the OEM’s policy to law enforcement and military only to enable its use as a thermal image injector, with the infrared and visible light projection interfaces. The AN/PAS-29 COTI has similar access controls to the firmware that can be modified, with standard code, to allow the addition of aiming reticles, etc. to the image field.

    • See 1 previous
    • XM1A2A XM1A2A on Jan 11, 2021

      @Nicholas C It does do everything. You just don’t have the access [codes] to the firmware to enable the full feature set. But yes, for $16,000 Trijicon should open up the full feature set to customers by default. There’s no reason to keep it “secret” now that this line of equipment is being phased out of SOF issue. They’ll probably release the codes (which are not digital but a manual sequence) when the equipment is fully retired from the lineup of U.S. Military deployed equipment.

  • Ted Unlis Ted Unlis on Jan 11, 2021

    High end thermal optic that only the extremely wealthy or government agencies with unlimited budgets could afford; which makes Nick’s review a complete waste of my time and an irrelevant topic to 99% of TFB readers.

    • XM1A2A XM1A2A on Jan 11, 2021

      @Ted Unlis The rape level price inflation is because of the military (SOF) provenance of the SKEET IR. There was a time not long ago, where the only way for a civilian to get one would be for an issued one to be written off as lost equipment and then to find its way out of military control. That made these the “got to have at any price” gear for many civilian “geardos.” BAE has already borne all the sunk costs for developing and fielding the SKEET IR system more than a decade and a half ago, and so Trijicon, which has acquired the rights and engineers should really reduce the prices. However, you know how that goes with free markets and all. The Trijicon lineup already has other models, readily available for civilian sale and at 3/4 cost, with the same microbolometer (thermal core) and many of the advanced image processing features like the thermal outline modes. What these other models have, however, is the option in their lower price bracket for much larger diameter, germanium, objective lens systems. That’s where your “Big Bang” on your investment is at, as the size ratio of the objective lens to the microbolometer determines your effective resolution at distance. So, these other models that have option for up to 60mm objective lenses (or even larger ones if you know how to build your own) are like veritable thermal telescopes compared to the Skeet IR/X, allowing the user to pull in much more detailed, thermal images at much greater ranges. Always invest your hard earned dollars in the largest diameter, objective lens system you can buy, and you will never have buyer’s remorse.