Thermal weapon sights aren’t anything new but training with them is a hard thing to accomplish sometimes. When I was invited out to shoot with some of SIG Sauer Electro Optics’ thermal sights, they had to heat up our steel targets using a battery-powered heater in order for us to see the targets. IR.TOOLS, which specializes in thermal and IR targets and patches has both passive and powered thermal shooting targets for use with thermal weapon sights in many different environments.
Thermal Shooting @ TFB:
- Infrared Wavebands And Rifle Sights
- Liemke Keiler Thermal Monoculars Now Available in the USA
- Friday Night Lights: SIG Echo3 Thermal Reflex Sight
- POTD: Pulsar Thermal Clip-Ons and Thermal Sight on a Blaser R8
IR.TOOLS Life-Like Thermal Shooting Targets for Thermal Sights
The swell of thermal sights on weapons has introduced a whole new line of shooting targets.
Passive Thermal and Powered Thermal targets are now taking center stage for thermal sight training. Soldiers, police, and sportsmen are sharpening their shots by training with these high contrast thermal targets. Both the Passive thermal and Powered thermal targets offer clear benefits to expand your training regimen.
But deciding which target best suits your training depends on your personal criteria. There are a few questions to answer before you proceed:
- Are you training inside or outside?
- What is your budget?
- How easy is it to set up?
- What safety measures should I take?
Are you shooting targets inside or outside?
Passive Thermal: This target is outside only. Taking this target inside is not an option. The no power option works only outside in the open, and leaning back at a 15º angle. For instance attaching it vertically to a tree trunk would hinder the contrast.
Like a fisherman, you will want to check the weather forecast. The best contrast is seen on a clear, cloudless day. Also you will want to avoid days when the temperature of the sky and ground are the same, such as winter time.
Powered Thermal: This target will work inside, outside and obstructed areas. The target is not affected by clouds or temperatures. Therefore, the target maintains a consistent contrast regardless of the environment. Your target training is seldom interrupted because of weather conditions.
How much will it cost me?
Passive Thermal: The absence of a power source results in less cost to operate. After your initial purchase, which is dependent on the size and volume of targets, expenses are minimal. You can extend the life of a target with low cost thermal pasters. Depending on size of caliber expect over 500 rounds of high contrast shooting.
Powered Thermal: The heating element in the thermal target as well as the extra cables, batteries, etc will add extra cost. Like the passive target, thermal pasters will extend the life of the target. Depending on size of caliber expect over 1000 rounds of high contrast shooting.
How easy is it to use?
Passive Thermal: The Passive target travels light and you will like the flexibility. Peel and Stick or staple the passive target onto any target backer. The target needs no power source to produce a high contrast image to shoot.
The placement options are vast. Just remember it needs to lean back 15º towards the sky. Your positioning to shoot the target must be at 90º ( directly in front of it).
Powered Thermal: The powered thermal target requires a handful of logistics and pre-planning before engaging because you will need to secure a power source, cables, extension cords, and or batteries. The target is light, portable and takes just 4 minutes to power up the life-like high contrast.
Because of the power element, the target does not need to lean at a 15º. Your positioning to the target can range from 90º-15º and multiple shooters can shoot at the same time.
What are my safety concerns?
Passive Thermal: Put aside any worries about electric shock or fire because it will not happen. The passive target is extremely safe.
Powered Thermal: Extra safety precautions need to be taken. Misuse or mishandling of targets could lead to electric shock, injury or fire. The higher the voltage(120v) the more dangerous the shock. Warnings and precautions should be reviewed and adhered to at all times.
Unmatched high contrast guaranteed!
As you can see, there are pros and cons for each of your training choices.
One thing we can guarantee, when used as directed, each training target will provide an unmatched life-like high contrast you seek.
If you need help evaluating your training scenarios to determine the best option, contact us and we will help you!
I could see these thermal shooting targets being used not only for training purposes within the defense and military world but also for hunters using their thermal sights for either pest control or traditional hunting. While the powered option seems like it is better suited for more structured ranges, I think that the passive targets could work very well for proper training/zeroing out in the field when you’re working to confirm zero on your nighttime hog hunting gun. IR.Tools also sell thermal zeroing targets for that explicit purpose, these are $30 for a set of three self-contained targets.