How Mirage Affects Your Thermal

How Mirage Affects Your Thermal

A heat mirage, also known as a thermal mirage or atmospheric mirage, is a phenomenon caused by the bending of light due to temperature differences in the air. On a scorching hot day, when the sun heats up the ground, the air near the ground gets warmer than the air above it. This temperature difference creates a gradient, causing light rays to bend as they pass through the layers of air with varying temperatures.

When you look across a surface, like a road or a field, the light bending can create the illusion of water puddles or waviness in the distance. It's like looking through a patch of hot air above a grill or a bonfire, where the heat makes everything seem wavy or distorted. Hunters and sharpshooters encounter heat mirages often, especially when shooting long range in open areas with lots of sunlight. These mirages can affect their perception of distance and accuracy, making it crucial for them to understand and account for these optical distortions to make precise shots.

In addition to ambient heat from the ground, a mirage can also be generated by a shooter's firearm itself. When a shooter fires multiple rapid shots in succession, the barrel of the firearm heats up significantly due to the intense friction and combustion involved in the firing process. This heat radiating from the barrel can create mirage effects, distorting the shooter's view and potentially affecting their accuracy.

Now, let's talk about suppressors. A suppressor, also known as a silencer, is a device attached to the muzzle of a firearm to reduce the noise and muzzle flash produced when firing. It works by slowing down the release of gases generated by the combustion of gunpowder in the barrel. These gases are briefly and partially trapped inside the suppressor, allowing them to escape more slowly than they would without the suppressor.

Suppressed Daniel Defense DD5V5 chambered in .260 Remington with a Pulsar Thermion 2 XL50. Note the covered suppressor.

However, this process also means that the suppressor has a longer time to absorb heat from the gases. As a result, even after firing just one or two rounds, a suppressor can become extremely hot. This intense heat buildup can cause mirage effects, creating significant distortion in the shooter's line of sight.

When a hunter uses a digital thermal optic, the heat generated by their firearm can cause some unwanted effects on their view. One common issue is the obscuring of the bottom quarter of the screen due to mirage caused by the heat.

Here's how it works: As the hunter fires their weapon, especially in rapid succession or with a suppressor attached, the intense heat can create a mirage effect, distorting a digital thermal optic’s display. Since the digital optic is positioned above the barrel, the rising heat can interfere with the bottom part of the screen, obscuring the hunter's view.

Moreover, the intensity of this mirage can vary depending on the optic’s height over bore. The closer the optic is to the barrel, the worse the mirage will be. This means that hunters who have their optic mounted closer to the barrel will experience more significant distortion in their view compared to those with their optic mounted further away.

Using suppressor covers or barrel covers from companies like Armageddon Gear can effectively mitigate the heat generated by the barrel and suppressor, reducing the mirage effect and maintaining clearer optics for hunters and marksmen.

Armageddon Gear Suppressor Mirage Cover for Diligent Defense Enticer S on a Centurion Arms CM4 (5.56x45mm) with a Pulsar Thermion 2 XL50.

These covers are designed to withstand the intense heat produced during firing, especially in high-rate-of-fire situations. Let's break down how they work:

Material Composition: Suppressor and barrel covers are typically made of durable materials like carbon fiber and Kevlar. This construction provides excellent heat resistance, allowing the cover to withstand the extreme temperatures generated by repeated firing without melting or degrading.

Insulation: The Kevlar lining of these covers acts as a thermal insulator, helping to trap and dissipate heat away from the barrel and suppressor. By reducing the transfer of heat to the surrounding air, these covers help minimize the mirage effect caused by the rising heat.

Protection: In addition to mitigating mirage, suppressor and barrel covers also provide protection for the shooter. They help prevent accidental burns or injuries caused by inadvertently touching the hot suppressor or barrel during or after firing.

Compatibility: These covers are specifically designed to fit snugly over the suppressor or barrel of various rifle models, ensuring a secure and reliable fit without interfering with the operation of the firearm.

By using suppressor covers or barrel covers from reputable companies, shooters with suppressed firearms can effectively manage the heat generated by their firearm, reduce mirage effects, and maintain optimal visibility through their optics, even in demanding shooting conditions. However, it should be noted that after prolonged rapid fire, it’s recommended to remove a suppressor cover to allow for better heat dissipation.

Thermal Bloom

When using a thermal imaging device during the daytime, mirage can often distort the appearance of targets, making them appear fuzzy or larger than they really are. However, this distortion can be effectively mitigated by using advanced products like those offered by Pulsar, such as the Thermion 2 XL50.

The key to the effectiveness of the Pulsar Thermion 2 XL50 lies in its pixel ratio. Both the thermal sensor and digital display have a resolution of 1024x768. This means that each pixel captured by the sensor corresponds exactly to a pixel displayed on the screen, creating a 1:1 comparison between the two components.

In other thermal imaging devices where the digital display resolution is larger than the sensor resolution, the riflescope upscales the thermal image to fit the screen. This process can introduce filler pixels, leading to a phenomenon known as "thermal bloom," where the edges of objects appear blurred or distorted. However, with the Pulsar Thermion 2 XL50's matched sensor and display resolutions, there's no need for upscaling or filler pixels, resulting in the sharpest resolution possible without any blooming effects.

By ensuring a direct one-to-one correspondence between the sensor and display resolutions, the Pulsar Thermion 2 XL50 delivers exceptionally clear and detailed thermal images, even in challenging conditions where mirage distortion is present. This makes it an ideal choice for hunters and marksmen who rely on precise target identification and accurate shot placement, regardless of environmental factors like mirage.

In the world of hunting and marksmanship, understanding the impact of heat mirage is crucial for achieving accurate shots, especially over long distances or in high intensity firing situations. Mirage, caused by temperature differences in the air, can distort the appearance of targets, affecting a shooter's perception of distance and accuracy. This distortion is compounded when firearms generate additional heat, such as from rapid firing or the use of suppressors. However, innovative solutions like suppressor covers or barrel covers, designed to withstand extreme temperatures and reduce heat transfer, can help mitigate these effects, ensuring clearer optics and better shot placement. Furthermore, utilizing advanced thermal imaging devices like the Pulsar Thermion 2 XL50, with matched sensor and display resolutions, eliminates the risk of "thermal bloom" and delivers exceptionally clear thermal images, even in the presence of mirage distortion. By incorporating these technologies and techniques into their arsenal, hunters and marksmen can maintain precision and accuracy in any shooting environment, ultimately enhancing their overall performance in the field.

Pulsar Unveils the Axion XQ30 Pro: The Ultimate Compact Thermal Imaging Monocular
Read more
Merger LRF XP35: Compact and Powerful
Read more

Leave a comment

Please note, comments need to be approved before they are published.