5 Best Pulsar Thermal Scopes

Best Pulsar Thermal Scope
Alfred Mendoza

Since their discovery, thermal scopes became inevitable hunting devices. Hence, it’s not surprising to learn that Pulsar, a premium optics manufacturer and pioneer, designed new cutting-edge technology for their line of thermal scopes.

However, with several Pulsar thermal scopes in the market today, which one stands out for its features and capabilities?


Pulsar Thermion XM50 Thermal Riflescope

Pulsar Thermion XM50 Thermal Riflescope


Pulsar Thermion XM30 3-13x Thermal Riflescope

Pulsar Thermion XM30 3-13x Thermal Riflescope


Pulsar Trail LRF XQ50 Thermal Riflescope

1. Pulsar Thermion XM50 Thermal Riflescope

The Pulsar Thermion XM50 Thermal Riflescope features a 1024×768 HD AMOLED display that provides clear picture quality. It has a 5.5 – 22x magnification, 30 mm tube diameter, and a 340×240 pixels sensor resolution.  It also features up to 2,500 yards heat-detection range and a built-in recording with recoil activation that captures your hunting escapade with your every shot. 

This riflescope also features a Stream Vision app that connects your optic to any smart device for your live streaming. It also comes with 13 different reticle options that can customize all of your shooting experiences and long battery life.

This Pulsar thermal scope also provides an integrated stadiametric rangefinder that detects your targets’ distances to perfectly calculate your every shot. It also saves your settings up to 5 rifle profiles and 50 zero saves to save you time from making constant adjustments whenever you switch firearms.

Pulsar Thermion XM50 Thermal Riflescope



2. Pulsar Thermion XM30 3-13x Thermal Riflescope

The Pulsar Thermion XM30 3-13x Thermal Riflescope spots heat signatures up to 1,000 yards away. This thermal scope also offers a customized hunting escapade with 13 variable electronic reticles, eight color palettes, and five rifle profiles with up to 50 zero saves. Furthermore, it features a color viewer, picture in picture mode, 12-pixel pitch core, rock, forest, identification viewing modes, and a one-shot zero function w/ freeze function.

This thermal imaging rifle scope also provides a built-in recoil-activated video feature that automatically captures a hunter’s every shot using its recoil. It provides a stadiametric rangefinder and an easy-to-read and high-resolution AMOLED display. It also comes with a 3.3 – 13.2 x magnification, 320×240 pixels sensor resolution, 50 Hz refresh rate, and a 25 mm objective lens diameter. 

Its lens is made from high-grade Germanium, while its body is built with sturdy metal. It easily mounts with Picatinny and Weaver rail system and has a 4x e-zoom continuous zoom and 2x, 4x stepped zoom feature.

Pulsar Thermion XM30 3-13x Thermal Riflescope



3. Pulsar Trail LRF XQ50 Thermal Riflescope

The Pulsar Trail LRF XQ50 Thermal Riflescope boasts an integrated laser rangefinder that delivers accurate distance reads up to 1,100 yards. It also comes with a heat signature detection range that detects up to 2,000 yards and a customizable, user-friendly interface of 13 different digital reticles. These reticles vary in patterns, color, and brightness. The Pulsar Trail also comes with a picture-in-picture mode and a temperature sensor stabilization, reducing noise sensitivity and temperature.

The Pulsar Trail in Second Focal Plane (SFP) thermal imaging optic model also provides a picture-in-picture feature that aims at your scope’s reticle without losing field of view. It also saves three different zeroing profiles and records and saves them into its integrated 8 GB memory SD card. The Pulsar Trail LRF XQ50 Thermal Riflescope also features 2-inch eye relief and eight hours of battery life.



4. Pulsar Thermion XP50 Thermal Riflescope

The Pulsar Thermion XP50 Thermal Riflescope features a 1,975-yard detection range, making it easier and precise to take down the deer from a distance. Like the Pulsar Helion XP50, is also equipped with an HD AMOLED display which provides high-quality image views. 

It also comes with a Second Focal Plane (SFP), high refresh rate, wide field of view, and generous eye relief. This Pulsar thermal riflescope also comes with a 16ft minimum focus distance and a full-color image intensifier. It is powered by two B-Pack Mini 18650 Li-Ion batteries that last up to five hours and is waterproof rated at IP67. It also comes with a 1,975-yard detection range and an 8x e-zoom – continuous zoom and 2x, 4x, 8x stepped zoom. 

This versatile thermal scope saves up to five rifle and firearm profiles and 50 zero saves without recalibrating its settings. Furthermore, it also comes with a picture in picture mode, long battery life, and a high refresh rate.

Pulsar Thermion XP50 Thermal Riflescope



5. Pulsar Trail 1.6-12.8x42 LRF XP50 Thermal Riflescope

The Pulsar Trail 1.6-12.8x42mm LRF XP50 Thermal Imaging Riflescope is an advanced thermal scope that detects heat signatures up to 2,000 yards. It also provides “white-hot” and “black hot” viewing modes, a reasonable refresh rate, and 13 digital and customizable reticle options. 

This Pulsar scope also saves up to three different rifle profiles with 5 zero saves, making it easier to swap optics on various firearms without changing any settings. It is powered by a single lithium battery that runs up to 8 hours of battery life. This scope is made from Glass-Nylon Composite, durable enough to withstand harsh environmental conditions.

Pulsar Trail 1.6-12.8x42 LRF XP50 Thermal Riflescope



Buying Guide

buying guide


Generally, thermal imaging optics are more expensive than standard day optics or even night vision devices. And since Pulsar optics offer a more advanced technology that makes night hunting easier and more accurate, you won’t exactly have anything cheaper than a thousand dollars. 

However, if you want to find a cheaper thermal scope for your night hunting experience, be prepared to receive a lower resolution model, fewer features, and limited range detection capabilities. A wise buyer always knows that you get what you pay for. 


Magnification refers to the action of magnifying something. Furthermore, it refers to enlarging the apparent size and not the physical size. This enlargement is certainly quantifiable. [1

When buying a Pulsar thermal scope for your hunting experience, we always suggest hunters determine their magnification powers. This is a crucial factor in deciding whether your optic can show targets at longer distances. 

Typically, long-distance hunters look for optics with higher magnification and a wide field of view. They are more helpful in giving them clearer target pictures. Also, get optics with a wide field of view, high refresh rate, and high detection range to match its magnification range for optimal performance.

Aiming Capacity

A Pulsar scope’s aiming capacity lies on several factors such as its lens diameter, detection range, wide field of view, heat detector sensor, and display. Pulsar optics feature advanced technology that detects thousands of yards away from the safe distance the shooter chose to stay, a performance they boast with.

Our team suggests that you find a Pulsar model that can detect up to more than 2,000 yards like the Thermion XM50 Thermal Riflescope. If you aim to hunt long distances, you need to have optics with an excellent aiming capacity and a wide field of view. It would reduce your chances of shot failures.

Lens & Reticles 

When buying a Pulsar thermal imaging model, you also need to consider its lens size, field of view, lens material, and reticle options. Thermal detection uses heat, but it also depends on the focus of the objective lens. Various hunting or shooting applications require different parameters for optimum performance. Pulsar optics offer objective lens sizes such as 19mm, 38mm, and 50mm.  

They also offer different reticle patterns and reticle options that shooters can choose from. Pulsar features up to 13 customizable reticle options, multiple colors, and patterns that improve reticle visibility depending on your hunting environment. 

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All Pulsar thermal optics are waterproof. Some optics are rated IPX6, while some are rated as IPX7, like the Pulsar Trail thermal rifle optics, including the XQ30. You won’t have to worry about hunting through the rain or accidentally slipping it into the water with these optics. 

The Pulsar optics lenses are also made of high-quality Germanium, making them weatherproof and durable. They also feature sturdy bodies made from high-quality steel materials that can withstand even the harshest weather condition.

Thermal Capacity  

You also need to consider the thermal capacity of the model you intend to buy. Look into its thermal heat detector sensor and sensor resolution. Its detector must perceive even the slightest temperature of your target to measure its distance accurately. Thermal capacity makes your aim point more precise. 

We suggest that you get optics that feature the highest thermal resolution, which is 640×480. Your scope’s thermal capacity must be aligned with its heat detector sensor. A higher resolution gives better image clarity and a more accurate aim point. This advantage gives hunters the ability to locate their targets even in total darkness.

Mounting Options

Pulsar optics are mountable on multiple rifle positions. They are also mountable to different mounts such as the Weaver SQD Mount or Quick-release mount, Weaver Mount, Prism 14/200 Mount, and CZ550 Mount. You can also mount them on Los/ Dovetail Mount, MAK Adapter, Side Mount, and Weaver QD112 Mount. 

These options vary depending on the Pulsar model. Still, they are all mountable to the standard Picatinny or Weaver Mount system rails. Therefore, you won’t have much hassle in choosing Pulsar optics if you particularly want to mount them onto different firearms or weapons. These optics are also mountable to standard 30mm scope rings, making them more versatile.


Extra Features

To get the most out of your hard-earned money, you must also consider the extra features this model offers. Most Pulsar optics have almost the same advanced technology best for a thermal scope. However, one differs from the other with the extra features it offers.

Some of the most popular features are quick to detach mount, wi-fi capabilities, laser rangefinder, ballistic calculator, and built-in recoil-activated video feature. These extra features usually determine the optics’ cost, as optics with more features are more expensive. We also recommend finding a model that offers an external battery pack, especially the USB-capable ones, to extend your scope’s battery life.

Battery Life 

It’s essential to look for the best thermal scope that lasts at least eight hours if you are frequent night hunting. So, we suggest that you look for optics with a Li-Ion battery pack because they usually last for about eight hours, enough for a night hunting activity. 

These battery types are also rechargeable, giving a higher advantage than those optics that use standard and disposable AA batteries. Our team also suggests that it’s wise to find the best thermal scope with an extra battery pack that lasts up to 22 hours of continuous battery life. You may also select optics that allow a USB-rechargeable battery. It’s more convenient to use in outdoor activities.


Pulsar thermal optics are not specifically expensive. As a matter of fact, all thermal imaging optics are generally more expensive than other types of optics, such as night-vision goggles or standard day optics. Since Pulsar thermal imaging optics use high-quality body materials and lenses, it’s somewhat fair to see their prices a little higher than other brands.

Pulsar thermal scopes are made from Heritage Mansfield, Texas, United States of America. This is where the headquarters of Pulsar is located. All of their high-grade optics are produced here. Although they stopped producing the best thermal optics in the US, Pulsar made a comeback to US production and expansion after four years of having a quick pause.

And Our #1 Pulsar Thermal Imaging Scope is...

Based on our research, our #1 Pulsar Thermal Imaging Scope is the Pulsar Thermion XM50 Thermal Riflescope. It features a high-definition AMOLED display, a wide range of magnification, a 30 mm tube diameter, and a high-sensor resolution, providing a clear, crisp picture quality. It also has up to 2,500 yards heat-detection range. 

We also find its built-in recoil-activated video and Stream Vision app interesting and helpful. It also features customizable reticle options and saves up to five rifle profiles, making it easier to mount in on different weapons. Its integrated stadiametric rangefinder gives precise distance calculations. It provides a wide field of view, wi-fi capabilities, and other essential features.

Pulsar Thermion XM50 Thermal Riflescope

Our #1 Recommendation

Pulsar Thermion XM50 Thermal Riflescope

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