Thermal optics are fantastic for those who hunt nuisance species like hogs, but they’ve always had one huge problem: the price. A typical thermal rifle sight has traditionally been in the same price range as a small car, which puts it out of the reach of the average shooter. The reason for that price is that thermal optics have usually been marketed primarily towards the military, with civilians a secondary consideration. Now, FLIR is introducing a line of thermal optics designed and priced specifically for the consumer — the R-Series.
Unlike some other watered down versions of military-intended products, the R-series optics seem to have all of the same bells and whistles that you would expect. In addition to the optic itself, the the scope features a USB port that will not only charge the optic, but allow you to record the video to a secondary device. It also seems to work really nicely — I had a chance to test it out at the Crimson trace Midnight 3-Gun Invitational last weekend and it was a joy to use.
The base model RS24 ($3,499 at Optics Planet) offers a 1x thermal sight with no digital zoom, and the only thing you gain with the increased price tag in this series is increased zoom capability. So really, for hunting things in places like Texas, the RS24 is enough scope for your needs.
The sight uses a standard ACOG mounting system, and comes with a LaRue mount from the factory. If you want to change mounts though, the ACOG mounting design is something that a number of different companies support, so finding additional options should be easy as pie.
The only downside: the scopes aren’t built as tough as their military brethren. The biggest caliber the FLIR reps recommend is .308 Winchester and even that has only been tested to 10,000 impacts. Of course, 5.56 can be handled with ease, along with 300 BLK, but the bigger calibers would require one of the higher-end series scopes to work for any length of time.
The R-Series launched at SHOT Show this year, so they’re still very new to the market. But at this price, even I’m tempted to pick one up.