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        Thermal or Night Vision? Pick the Right Optic for the Job

        By bmatheus  

        To say I was excited to get back out and hunt is an understatement. With work as it was, travel heavy… and then heavier, when I made it back to my desk, the gap of time since my last hunt seemed to have widened to Grand Canyon proportions. Honestly, the oppressive summer heat did much to keep my mind off of hunting anyway, but now, the desire to hunt gnawed at me like the kind of itch you just can’t scratch. Fortunately, just a few hours later, as the sun sank below the horizon, scratching had begun—we were on the hunt and, most of us armed with Helion XP50 thermal monoculars and Trail thermal riflescopes—one hunter employed an older Pulsar Digiforce digital night vision monocular and Digisight Ultra N355 Digital Night Vision Riflescope—found ourselves stopped along the side of a farm road, lights off, observing a sounder of pigs along a tree line roughly 500 yards away. It was go-time.

        The Perfect Hunt?

        Under the cloak of darkness, we slid out of the truck, slipped our rifles out of our cases, locked and loaded, made safe, then began our single-file stalk into the crop field. With the moon phase squarely on new moon, the stalk was slow, dependent alone on the lead’s use of his thermal monocular to close the distance. The rest of us did our level best to eke out the silhouette of the person in front of us no more than just a few feet away. Of course, walking uneven ground in such darkness also was no small feat. Fortunately, the ground was soft so potential ankle-turning obstacles were, for the most part, crushed under our boots, and the lead’s use of thermal ensured our navigation was across the least taxing terrain.

        When we finally reached our setup point, the lead quietly directed the rest of us to fan out into a firing line and make ready. Four of us fanned out. The last in our squad was a non-hunting team member armed with a second Helion thermal monocular (we often rotate this role among us.) Along with the lead, he focused on ensuring no one trailed behind on the stalk and then helped us fan out to safe positions on the firing line, remembering that at times on night hunts, we really can’t see the people on either side of us.

        Once I was in line with the other hunters, I set up in a tight kneeling position—the others had set up shooting sticks and were standing. In my kneeling position, I found the sounder of pigs on my Trail’s display, made quick imaging adjustments and then focused on relaxing my breathing. Soon after, I felt a tap on my shoulder.

        “You ready?”

        I whispered back and could hear him moving down to the person next to me for the same confirmation and so on. A few seconds later, our guide was back between us.

        “Here we go, counting down. On one.”

        With his confirmation, I pushed the safety selector switch on my AR to fire, found the trigger and waited.

        “Three, two, one…”

        At one, I sent a round through the largest hog closest to my side of the firing line and dropped him. Two other hogs also fell from other shooters and another half-dozen split and scattered in opposite directions. I focused on one of the three on the right. After a couple of shots, he bulldozed and soon after another on the right was hit by another hunter and rolled to a stop. The third made it out unscathed. One other pig on the left side of the field was dropped. Out of nine pigs, we took seven—a near-perfect hunt in the world of hog hunting and we had hours of pursuits in front of us, or so we thought.

        With a truckload of swine and hopes of adding to the stack, we continued to scan cut crop fields. For the next couple of hours, with the night sky black but clear, we observed fields teeming with other wildlife but no hogs. Then IT happened.

        Houston, We Have a Problem…

        They say if you don’t like the weather in Texas, wait 10 minutes. The wind shifted, pressure changed and stifling humidity filled the truck and along with it, the familiar scent of moisture in the air. Checking the night sky with Helion thermal monoculars, we could see the cloud line rushing in overhead… and then, we couldn’t see much of anything. With thermal sensors inhibited by blocking humidity, followed by rain, image quality degraded quickly. In a matter of minutes, what started out as a perfect night of hog hunting turned ugly. Not only would we contend with muddy fields, but we were also essentially running blind.

        For the next couple of hours, thermal imagers were effectively useless—the view, simply a fog-like blank screen; even the edge of the field was obscured from our thermal view; of course, things were slightly different for our digital night vision hunter. While his imaging wasn’t great, he could see certainly see well enough to detect movement and most assuredly, glowing eyes, even much further out. Still, with thermals, we were completely blind. To some extent, horrible weather can be an Achilles heel for thermal; however, night vision can continue to run, especially with IR, much like illuminating with a flashlight—vision isn’t ever optimum in foul weather but often, with help of a flashlight, you can still see well enough. The same can be said of generational and digital night vision.

        So, for the last few hours of the hunt, the one guy in our party with the least expensive optics became our eyes; in fact, he shot two more lone boars on his own while we waited in the truck. To add a bit of humor here, on the drive back to our original rendezvous point, the weather cleared. Thermal imaging progressively returned as the storm moved out. By the time we made it back to our trucks, the sky was clear again and a final scan revealed thousands of yards of landscape—far off tree lines, a water tower, distant homes and more.

        While we had a great hunt early on, it wasn’t nearly as epic as we thought it would be. The weather certainly whittled away opportunities but left us with a poignant takeaway. Even the best optics don’t always make the best tools. Like the kinds of firearms (or bows,) ammunition and other gear you choose for a hunt, your choices are often dictated (or should be) by the environment. Where and how you’re hunting, weather including wind direction and temperature, and other factors should always play into preparation and strategy—yes, optics included. This is why, in the end, our hunt was compromised; of course, one of us, simply because he couldn’t afford thermal, came out with wins while the rest rode blindly into the night, never firing another shot.

        More disappointing than weather shutting down our thermal hunt was the later realization that the storm had been forecasted—none of us had checked. Being so accustomed to hunting successfully with thermal, even in less than perfect weather where imaging was still attainable, left us ill-prepared. This wasn’t a thermal failure, per se, thermal technology is what it is; however, it certainly does mean, given the forecasted conditions, there was a more suitable optic option… and only one of us had it.

        The Right Stuff

        Getting charmed by thermal imaging is easy. Lay out five rifles with thermal optics and one with night vision, traditional or digital, for 5 hunters and 99-percent of the time, the rig with night vision is the only one left. While thermal target identification is exponentially more recognizable MOST of the time, it’s not always the right choice. Like the rest of your gear, pick the right optic for your hunt.

        Since this mess of a hunt, the Pulsar Digisight Ultra N355 Digital Night Vision Riflescope has been updated to the N455 and features an improved sensor, greater detection range and even better imaging. Like Pulsar’s Trail, Thermion, Helion and Axion (XM models,) the feature-rich Digisight Ultra N455 includes onboard still-photo and video recording capability, adjustable brightness and contrast, picture-in-picture and other practical features. Also like Trail, Helion and Accolade thermals, the N455 accommodates Pulsar’s ultra-popular 8-hour rechargeable battery pack.

        The Digisight Ultra N455 also features a 1280×720 CMOS sensor, high-resolution 1024×768 AMOLED display, over 10 reticle black and white reticle options with red and green aiming dots, nitrogen-purged IP67 waterproof construction, magnification range of 4.5-18x, continuous digital zoom of 1-4x and stepped zoom of 2-4x and a detection range of 550 yards. The N455 also includes a 940nm IR LED illuminator and is recoil rated up to 375 H&H. To learn more about the Pulsar Digisight Ultra N455 Digital Night Vision Riflescope, visit www.pulsarnv.com.

        How to Sight-In the Thermion Thermal Riflescope

        By bmatheus  

        The Pulsar Thermion thermal scope is designed for easy, “one-shot” zeroing or
        sighting-in. Sighting in your rifle makes your point of impact (POI) match your point
        of aim (AP) so your rifle is accurate.

        How to zero your Thermion scope:

        1. Mount the Thermion on your rifle, and set your rifle on a shooting rest, bipod
        or tripod.
        2. Aim at center-mass on your target at a known distance and take one shot.
        3. If the POI doesn’t match your AP, long-press (press and hold) the controller button (face of the
        controller ring) located on the left side of the riflescope to access the main menu.
        4. Rotate the controller ring to highlight the “Zeroing” submenu. Confirm your
        selection with a short press of the controller button.
        5. Select the appropriate distance listed in the “Zeroing” submenu.
        6. If there is no distance set, you can create a new zeroing distance by selecting
        “+” icon. Enter the distance setting you prefer by short-pressing the
        controller button and rotating the controller to enter the desired distance.
        Once entered, long-press the controller button to back out to the zeroing
        menu. Select the zeroing distance by short-pressing the controller button.
        7. Select the cross with center dot icon from the menu using the controller ring.
        Select this icon by a short press of the controller button. This accesses a new
        menu that lets you set up the zeroing parameters.
        8. Rotate the controller ring to highlight the “Freeze” option (annotated by a
        snowflake icon).
        9. The display image will freeze. A crosshair is displayed with an “X” at the
        center. Short-press the controller button to toggle between X- and Y-axis.
        Short-press the axis of your choice and rotate the controller to move the “X”
        toward the original point of impact. Work with both axis until the “X” covers
        the original POI.
        10. Once the “X” is over the original POI, long-press the controller button to back
        out of the adjustment mode and save your zeroing parameters.
        11. Take another shot to confirm zeroing. If necessary, repeat steps 6 – 10.

        Pulsar adds to the Core FXQ Family

        By bmatheus  

        (MANSFIELD, TEXAS 2019/07/03) – The leader in image clarity has outdone themselves again. Pulsar adds the new Core FXQ Black and White thermal front attachments. Perfect for hog, varmint and predator hunting, the Core FXQ BW will be available in two different models, FXQ38 BW and FXQ50 BW.

        Easily go from a day hunt into the night by adding the clip-on Core FXQ BW thermal front attachment to your daytime riflescope, transforming it into a thermal scope.

        The Core FXQ family offers a 384×288 (FXQ 38) 17-micron pixel pitch and a high-resolution 640×480 AMOLED display (FXQ 50) providing seamless clarity with black- and white-hot options. Core FXQ38 features a 3.1x magnification with a detection range of up to 1475 yards. The FXQ50 features a 4.1x magnification with a maximum thermal detection range of 1970 yards. 

        Core FXQs are powered by two CR123A batteries for up to four hours of battery life and can also be powered with an external power. The front attachment is crafted of glass-nylon composite material for rugged durability, is IP67 waterproof in up to 1 meter of water for up to an hour and is 100% dustproof. Included with the optic is an eyepiece attachment, carrying case, torque screwdriver, wireless remote control, hand strap, cleaning cloth and two CR123A batteries.

        If you are a dealer and want to speak to someone about pre-orders or becoming a new authorized Pulsar dealer please contact sales@pulsarnv.com or if you are a media member and would like to test and evaluate please contact mediarelations@pulsarnv.com.

        Digital Night Vision Riflescope Reticles

        By bmatheus  

        Have you ever been on a daytime hunt and didn’t see anything? It would be great if you had an optic to continue your hunt deep into the night, wouldn’t it? See at night with clarity with the new Pulsar Digisight Ultra N455 digital night vision riflescope. Pulsar’s enhanced technology is perfect to take down hogs, varmints and predators at night.

        More About Digisight

        The Digisight Ultra N455 4.5-18x features picture-in-picture, 2x/4x digital zoom with continuous and stepped options, wide field of view, 10 reticle options and a removable 940 IR illuminator. Use the Digisight Ultra to record your hunts with the built-in video recorder and 16GBs of internal memory, and easily stream your adventure with the Stream Vision App or use your phone for remote viewing. Hunt all night with Pulsar’s B-Pack allowing you to go eight-hours on a full charge. The Ultra N455 can withstand recoil up to .375 H&H and is IPX7 waterproof rated. The Digisight Ultra also includes a battery pack, charging kit, USB cable, wireless remote control, QD Weaver/Picatinny rail, cleaning cloth, carrying case and hex key.

        Display and Reticle Color Benefits

        Pulsar uses a high-resolution 1280×720 CMOS sensor with a 1024×768 AMOLED display and boasts a detection range up to 550 yards. Its black-and-white imaging is perfect to contrast the colored reticles. This display provides a stronger contrast to detect hogs, varmints and predators.

        One way to increase your visibility is by selecting the right reticle color option. Pulsar includes 9 color options to go along with 10 reticle displays (see below.) Colors options are black/red dot, white/red dot, black/green dot, white/green dot, red, green, yellow, blue and orange.

        There are many benefits to each reticle color, for example, a white reticle with a red or green dot (if available) provides greater contrast against targets appearing darker through your digital night vision device; and the same goes for a black reticle against a lighter target. The white or black reticle increases your ability to acquire a target quickly while the red or green dot helps with precise placement.

        Reticle Options


        The Digisight Ultra N455 includes two close-quarter reticles, D50i and C50i. D50i is a simple 2.6 MOA mini-cross reticle and can be magnified up to 7.4 MOA when zoomed in at 4.5x. C50i is your more traditional circle dot reticle with crosshairs. The circle dot reticle is a 35-MOA circle with 2.4-MOA center dot and increases to a 100-MOA circle with a 7-MOA center dot at full magnification. Both reticles are great when shooting between 50-100 yards.

        Close- to Mid-Range

        Reticles X54i, H50i, X50i and T54i are great for close- to mid-range shooting and mid-range hog, predator and varmint hunting. This set of reticles aren’t as complex as the close-quarter reticles. Reticle X54i is similar to C50i but features longer crosshairs to cover more target are at further distances. H50i features four crosshairs lines at 10-MOA (y-axis) and 110-MOA (x-axis,) X50i includes x- and y-axis crosshairs with the bottom 3 including a thicker crosshair at 90-MOA and finally, the T54i is a German #1 reticle. Each reticle increases in size when zoomed in at 3.5x magnification.


        Reticles M58i, X51Fi-300, M56Fi, and M57Fi are designed for longer-range target shooting and hunting where holdovers may be appropriate. The most complex reticle out of the group is the M58i reticle which is a Milli-radian reticle. This means the reticle holds subtension lines valued at 1-mil at 125 yards. Reticle X51Fi-300 is a simple crosshair pattern with three subtention lines on the lower y-axis. The first line measures 6 inches at 225 yards, great for predators, the next at 9 inches and the final line at 35 inches at 225 yards.

        The last two, M56Fi and M57Fi are similar. They’re both crosshair reticles with subtension lines measured at 3.5 MOA with, each subtension measured at 0.86 MOA at 125 yards. The only major difference between the two is that M57Fi features a longer lower y-axis.

        Enhance Your Hunt With the New Digisight Ultra N455

        By bmatheus  

        (MANSFIELD, TEXAS 06/12/19) – Pulsar continues to enhance night vision technology with the newest member of the Digisight family, the Digisight Ultra N455. Step up your hunting experience with the Digisight N455; take down predators, hogs and varmints day or night.

        Pulsar fuses a high-resolution 1280×720 CMOS sensor with a 1024×768 AMOLED display for a detection range of up to 550 yards. Designed for day or nighttime use, the N455 boasts a picture-in-picture 4x digital zoom with continuous and 2x, 4x stepped options, wide field-of-view and removable LED 940 invisible IR illuminator.

        Use the Digisight to record your hunts with the built-in video recorder and easily stream your adventure with the Stream Vision App through WiFi on your mobile or tablet device. Customize the way you use the Digisight N455 by selecting from over 10 electronic reticles and 9 color options, with each holding their own advantage.

        If you are a dealer and to speak to someone about pre-orders or becoming a new authorized Pulsar dealer please contact sales@pulsarnv.com or if you are a media member and would like to test and evaluate please contact mediarelations@pulsarnv.com.

        Additional Digisight Ultra N455 Specs

        • 5 rifle profiles with 10 zero distances
        • 10+ variable electronic reticles
        • One-shot zero with freeze function and zoom
        • External power supply adaptable 



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