Robert, I finally had some time to play with my ThOR 2 IR scope. Here are my thoughts which some may find of value:

1: Unless you are planning on using this $10k optic on a fairly regular basis within the laws of society, (ie: law enforcement, military, LEGAL night hunting/predator control), you should just pass.

2: While it is a really “neato” appurtenance for your crazy gun collection, it is pretty darned expensive and has a very, very limited use for about 99% of us . . .

3: The actual images I see with it are nowhere near as clear and crisp as the ones on ATN’s website [see: above]. Not sure how they set that up but it wasn’t from MY ThOR unit, that’s for certain.

4: My first real test of the unit was in the outskirts of Tucson, Arizona.

I have it mounted on a Remington 700-PSS chambered in .223 with a Gemtech G5 suppressor. I set it up on a bench and while I had brought a couple of those cool little disposable hand-warmers to staple on the center of the targets for sighting in purposes, I found that the sun had heated up the black ink-dot and at 100 yards I could easily center-up the digital cross-hairs on the target and got a fairly accurate group for not having a traditional sight picture.

My initial group was roughly 2″ at 100 yards – I know you guys are already thinking, “that’s fairly accurate? What is this guy, a completely inexperienced Cub Scout?”

If you looked through the optic and centered it up on the ink-dot image heated from the sun, you’d understand… After a bit of practice, I was able to coax the group down to about 1-1/4″ which is almost MOA with a really crappy sight-picture. I stopped with the sighting in process, (it was high-noon, yes, bright daylight), and we put it away until dark.

I have NEVER allowed ANYONE to point a weapon at me with impunity but once it got dark out, I pulled the bolt out of my rifle and with my very small group of trusted and quite competent shooters, I walked down-range and gave them the okay to point in on me.

Once that was finished, I did the pointing in and the image was pretty good for an almost completely dark night. I could identify the target as a human, standing or crouching, opening and closing his mouth due to the change in color, and I could identify the unloaded pistol in his hand as well as the unloaded rifle slung on his back but only when he turned around. I could see the pistol because the colder metallic frame was in between me and him. I could see the rifle but only when turned to present the colder image silhouetted against his body.

We then had someone sit inside of a truck and we could see the driver ONLY when he rolled down his window. With all windows up, the driver was completely invisible to the IR device. We then decided to try other heat-reflective objects and found that a simple “Space Blanket” or survival foil blanket also made the person impervious to the IR optic. Something to keep in mind if you’re fighting bad guys – make sure you’re scanning with night-vision devices as well as the IR just in case you get three insurgents sneaking up to your FOB with a sheet of glass in front of them….

5: Conclusions – Again, I wouldn’t spend the money on one unless you have plenty of it. I simply wanted one as I have many very expensive optics because there are so many out there but nowhere to actually go an check them all out in person, (okay, my gun safes are one place to do just that…).

It is just too expensive with a huge lack of actual necessity or use unless LEO/MIL/Fish & Game. I am working on a LEGAL night hunt opportunity in the near future with the ThOR, Gemtech G5 and a case of .223 and when that is complete, I will send an update.

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6 Responses to Gear Review: ThOR 2 Color IR Optic

  1. No pictures through the scope?

    When I read an optics review, some of the things that I am looking for are:

    1) Mounting. The manufacturer says it has a “MIL-STD-1913 (Picatinny Rail) Quick release Mount”. Is it solid? And, does it provide enough flexibility to mount it at the distance/height that you need it to be at?

    2) Optical performance. What is the field of view (and does it accurately reflect the claimed specifications)? Same goes for eye-relief (were you able to use the scope when you had a proper cheek-weld on the stock?). And since this is an electro-optical device, the optics portion is only half of the story. Regarding resolution (and your ability to achieve tight groups), ATN’s website says: “Highly sensitive, 30μm pixel size, 320 x 240 uncooled, Amorphous Silicon Microbolometer Detector with real-time image processing is ideal for long-range target engagements.” And that explains the lack of precision in shot placement. That low level of resolution is never going to provide any comfortable level of target identification or accuracy at a distance longer than derringer-range. Sure, it has VGA image size and a 852×600 display, but those are being fed from a 320×240 source and that’s not even acceptable for a webcam nowadays.

    3) Adjustments. What range of adjustments are available, and in what increment? Do you make adjustments by hand, or do you need a coin/screwdriver? Was the display brightness adjustable to provide a useable image in daylight as well as in total darkness (and were there enough increments)?

    4) Overall fit and finish. What was the overall build quality like? Do the focus ring and adjustable objective turn smoothly and stay where you set them (or are they rough in spots when you turn them, and get mis-adjusted easily)?

  2. A great tool for the toolbox…would make quick work of taking care of the neighborhood dog that won’t shut the hell up at 3am

  3. I would guess the manufacture took thier pictures on a very cold day. The greater the temperature difference, between the target, and the surroundings, the better the image. I haven’t used this particular optic, but with other optics a space blanket does camouflage a person, but it still shows up as an abnormality. Thermal optics don’t work thou glass. For some reason most people are surprised by that. A thermal optic helps more with surveillance, than actual shooting. You can tell is an engine has been running, if a car was parked in a spot recently, and if your optic is good enough, if someone was setting in a chair. You can tell if a woman has breast implants and, with some practice, someones sex. One last thing, you can also identify a suicide vest with a thermal optic at a much greater distance that you normally would be able too. .

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