Pulsar Axion vs FLIR Breach | Scout Thermal Monocular: Winner? (2022)

Pulsar Axion vs FLIR Breach | Scout Thermal Monocular: Winner? (1)Pulsar and FLIR are two leading manufacturers in thermal imaging world, and both of these established brands offer thermal monocular for various applications.

People use thermal imaging monocular for hunting and scouting, wild life observation, rescue and search operation, law enforcement and personal security, neighborhood surveillance, and much more.

This post starts with overview of differences among various Pulsar Axion scope models –

and then we’ll compare Pulsar Axion vs FLIR Breach and FLIR Scout thermal monoculars, followed by recommendations, so that you can make an educated purchase decision.


Pulsar Axion Thermal Imaging Scope Series Overview

There are 4 different product series of Pulsar Axion thermal imaging monoculars, equipped with varying configurations and features:

  • Pulsar Axion XM features 12 µm pixel pitch, 320×240 thermal sensor, and 1024×768 HD AMOLED display. Include functions like video recording at 1024×768 resolution, stadiametric rangefinder, 16GB built in memory, WiFi and streaming.

    Following the manufacturer’s discontinuation of Axion XM30 and Axion XM38, the latest available model is Axion XM30S which comes with 4.5 – 18 (x4 zoom) magnification, 1300m (1422 yards) detection range, and 4 hours battery life.

  • Pulsar Axion XM30S has received very impressive user reviews as shown >> here.

  • Pulsar Axion XQ features 17 µm pixel pitch, and 384×288 thermal sensor. Just like XM series, XQ is equipped with 1024×768 HD AMOLED display, video recording function at 1024×768 resolution, stadiametric rangefinder, 16GB built in memory, and WiFi.

    The available model is Axion XQ38 which comes with 3.5 – 14 (x4 zoom), detection range of 1350m (1476 yards), and 5 hours battery life.

  • This video gives a good overview of commonality and differences of Pulsar Axion XM30S vs Pulsar Axion XQ38 thermal monocular. As shown, the main differences of these 2 thermal scopes are their thermal sensor resolution, pixel pitch, magnification, weight, and battery life.

  • And then there is Pulsar Axion XQ LRF, with the available option is Pulsar Axion LRF XQ38 which has the same specification as the aforementioned XQ-series in term of thermal sensor resolution, pitch size, AMOLED display resolution, magnification, and detection range.

    Among the key differences, Axion LRF XQ38 has additional built-in precision laser rangefinder, however it does not have WiFi and video recording features that Axion XQ38 offers.

  • Lastly, there is entry-level Pulsar Axion Key with 12 micron pixel pitch 320×240 thermal sensor, just as the Axion XM. However, Pulsar Axion KEY is equipped with lower resolution of 960 x 768 LCOS display, without Wi-Fi and video recording features.
  • Available in two options with different magnification and detection range; Pulsar Axion Key XM22 with 2 – 8 magnification and 950m (1000 yards) detection range, vs Axion Key XM30 with 2.5 – 10 magnification and 1200m (1312 yards) detection range.

    This video gives an overview of Pulsar Axion XM30S vs Pulsar Axion Key XM30, comparing their differences and common features.

    Pulsar Axion Key XM30 also received excellent user reviews as shown >> here.



The highly portable Pulsar Axion products are the smallest, lightest, and the most compact thermal imaging scopes released by Pulsar to-date.

All Pulsar Axion thermal monoculars feature thermal sensing unit at 50 Hz frame rate,
rugged magnesium alloy housing, Germanium lens, picture in picture digital zoom, 8-color palette, instant start-up, and IPX7 waterproof rated.


Pulsar Axion XM30S and Pulsar Axion Key XM30 are the two most popular choices among users who want a mid-range thermal monocular for hunting, surveillance, etc.

The following side-by-side comparison table shows their key differences in a glance, in which Pulsar Axion XM30S has the edge over Pulsar Axion Key XM30 thanks to its better quality display, higher magnifications, video recording function, Wi-Fi and streaming feature.

Pulsar Axion

Key XM22

320x240 Thermal Sensor

12 micron pixel pitch

50 Hz Frame Rate

960 x 768 LCOS Display

2 - 8 Magnification

F22 / 1.2 Objective Lens

Chalcogenide lens

1000 yards Detection Range

No Wi-Fi Connectivity

No Stream Vision

No Video Recording

Weigh 8 ounces

(Video) Top 5 Night Vision Thermal Monoculars On Amazon

Pulsar Axion

Key XM30

320x240 Thermal Sensor

12 micron pixel pitch

50 Hz Frame Rate

960 x 768 LCOS Display

2.5 - 10 Magnification

F30 / 1.2 Objective Lens

Chalcogenide lens

1312 yards Detection Range

No Wi-Fi Connectivity

No Stream Vision

No Video Recording

Weigh 8 ounces

Pulsar Axion

XM30S

320x240 Thermal Sensor

12 micron pixel pitch

50 Hz Frame Rate

HD AMOLDED 1024 x 768

4.5 - 18 Magnification

F30 / 1.2 Objective Lens

Germanium lens

1450 yards Detection Range

Wi-Fi Connectivity

Stream Vision compatible

Video Recording Function

Weigh 8 ounces


Pulsar Axion vs FLIR Breach and FLIR Scout

To further compare Pulsar Axion with FLIR thermal imaging scopes as alternatives, let’s start with FLIR Breach.

The FLIR Breach PTQ 136 multi-purpose thermal monocular was introduced in 2018. Among its other uses, the PTQ 136 is designed to assist law enforcement capture the heat patterns of suspects as well as to pick out objects, even in completely dark conditions.

The above objectives are facilitated by the new FLIR Boson core, alongside 12-micron 320×240 VOx microbolometer with a frame rate of 60 Hz (similar specifications as Pulsar Axion XM30S and Pulsar Axion Key XM30/XM22).


While the FLIR PTQ 136 boasts a higher 1280×960 display resolution than the Pulsar Axion thermal scopes, the Quad-VGA FLCOS screen of FLIR Breach is generally less superior than the high resolution AMOLED display adopted by Pulsar Axion XM30S.

Furthermore, FLIR Breach has a significantly shorter detection range of 205 meters (224 yards), and lower 1-4x digital zoom magnification.



In comparison to the Pulsar Axion’s 8 color pallet, the FLIR Breach contains 7 color palette that includes Outdoor Alert, Artic, Sepia, Ironbow HC, Rainbow, Black Hot, and White Hot.

In terms of ergonomics, the FLIR Breach PTQ 136 is built with a tough protective polymer housing that provides a durable performance and shock-resistance.


This unit is equipped with an internal memory storage capacity that can hold up to 2.5 hours of video recording and 1,000 pictures. It also comes with a digital compass and inclinometer that help to improve situational awareness.

The lightweight FLIR Breach can be powered by one CR123A 3V Lithium battery or any CR123-type rechargeable battery with a voltage ranging from 3.0v to 3.7v.

(Video) Tactical Rifleman Goes Hands-on with FLIR Breach

FLIR Breach PTQ316

Mini Monocular

60 Hz Frame Rate

12 micron pixel pitch

320 x 256 Thermal Sensor

1280 × 960 Quad-VGA Display

205m Detection Distance

Video Recording Function

No Wi-Fi Connectivity

No Live Streaming

FLIR Scout III-320

Thermal Monocular

60 Hz Frame Rate

17 micron pixel pitch

336 x 256 Thermal Sensor

640 × 480 LCD display

550m Detection Distance

Video Recording Function

No Wi-Fi Connectivity

No Live Streaming

FLIR Scout TK

Thermal Monocular

(Video) Ep. #21 | Night Vision Industry News | Pulsar XP50 vs. Flir PTS 536

9 Hz Frame Rate

17 micron pixel pitch

160 x 120 Thermal Sensor

640 × 480 LCD display

90m Detection Distance

Video Recording Function

No Wi-Fi Connectivity

No Live Streaming

And then we have the FLIR Scout thermal monoculars, such as the entry level FLIR Scout TK, alongside FLIR Scout III that is available in three options:

  • Scout TK with 160 × 120 thermal sensor resolution, 9 Hz refresh rate, and 90m detection range.
  • Scout III – 240 with 240 x 180 thermal sensor resolution, 30 Hz refresh rate, and 350m detection range.
  • Scout III – 320 with 336 x 256 thermal sensor resolution, 60 Hz refresh rate, and 550m detection range.
  • Scout III – 640 with the highest thermal sensor resolution at 640 x 512 pixels, 30 Hz refresh rate, and longer detection range of 1140m.

(Note: This comparison guide excludes FLIR PTS233 Thermosight Pro because it is a thermal rifle scope whilst it has been discontinued by the manufacturer)


The following video on FLIR Scout III – 320 thermal monocular shows its image quality comparison at various distance of 50m / 100m / 300m / 500m, alongside different color palette selections:



All FLIR Scout thermal monoculars are equipped with 640 × 480 LCD display and video recording function. They also offer adjustable color palette that provides options like Black Hot, White Hot, and InstAlert.

These thermal monoculars are lightweight, rugged, weather-tight and impact resistant. They are simple and easy to use, that one doesn’t need prior training for using this device. All the buttons are placed at the top which means you can access them easily without having to take your eye of the target.

Check out FLIR Scout III user reviews >> here and see what they say

The FLIR Scout thermal monoculars are powered by an internal rechargeable lithium ion battery, that is charged with the help of USB cable. When fully charged, the device offers battery life of more than 5 continuous hours. In order to minimize the power consumption and save battery, the device automatically shuts off if left idle for 5 minutes.

These monocular come with an internal storage that allows you to capture images and videos with the mere click of a single button. The same USB cable used for charging is used for transferring files from the monocular’ internal storage to your PC or Laptop.

Choosing a Thermal Scope: Key Factors to Consider

Choosing a thermal scope that meet your needs can be a daunting task, especially when there are so many options with different specifications.

Some key consideration factors include:

  • Thermal sensor resolution: Higher sensor resolution produces better image quality.
  • Pixel pitch size: Refers to the spacing between pixel centers, measured in microns (μm). Smaller pixel pitch offers more image details and smoother edges.
  • Frame rate or Refresh rate: Measured in Hertz (Hz), refer to the frequency at which frames are displayed; Higher frame rate produces better or more “real time” image.
  • Detection range capability, which can be significantly different among various scopes, ranging from as low as 90m (~100 yards) to over 1325m (~1450 yards).
  • Your budget: While most of us would love to own a top notch thermal scope, not all of us can afford one. Determine your budget, narrow down the options, compare the features and user reviews, then get one that best suit your needs within your budget.

Pulsar Axion vs FLIR Thermal Monocular: The Verdict


Pulsar

Axion XM30S

320x240 Thermal Sensor

12 micronpixel pitch

50 Hz Frame Rate

1024 x 768 HD AMOLDED

4.5 - 18 Mag (4x Digital Zoom)

1300m (1420 yards) Detection

Video Recording Function

Wi-Fi Connectivity

Live Streaming

4+ Hours Battery Life

Weigh 8 ounces

Recommended

(Video) Top 6 Best Thermal Scope for Hunting 2022

Pulsar

Axion Key XM30

320x240 Thermal Sensor

12 micron pixel pitch

50 Hz Frame Rate

960 x 768 LCOS Display

2.5 - 10 Mag (4x Digital Zoom)

1200m (1312 yards) Detection

No Video Recording

No Wi-Fi Connectivity

No Live Streaming

4+ Hours Battery Life

Weigh 8.8 ounces

FLIR

Scout III - 320

336x256 Thermal Sensor

17 micron pixel pitch

60 Hz Frame Rate

640 × 480 LCD display

2x Digital Zoom

550m (600 yards) Detection

Video Recording Function

No Wi-Fi Connectivity

No Live Streaming

5+ Hours Battery Life

Weigh 12 ounces


Among the palm-sized Pulsar Axion and FLIR thermal imaging monoculars –

Pulsar Axion XM30S is our top recommendation, supported by its impressive user rating with very positive reviews.

We especially like its professional-grade 12µm pixel pitch, and the high resolution 1024×768 HD AMOLED display. In fact, you can’t find some of these great specifications on other more expensive thermal scopes.

On the other hand, the FLIR Scout III-320 60Hz model with 320 x 240 thermal sensor offers the best value among FLIR thermal monoculars. It is around $600 ~ $700 cheaper than the FLIR Scout III-640 and FLIR Breach PTQ136.

(Video) SHOT Show 2018 Live: FLIR Breach Thermal Monocular

Hope this guide is helpful for you to make an educated purchase decision.

FAQs

What is the best Pulsar thermal monocular? ›

In fact, they come at a better price than ever. So, Axion definitely wins the title for the best thermal monocular in the category of ultra-compact scopes by Pulsar.

What do you look for in a thermal monocular? ›

10 Things To Look For When Buying a Thermal Monocular
  • Resolution.
  • Magnification.
  • Micron Number.
  • Cost-Effectiveness.
  • Field of View.
  • Eye Relief.
  • Durability.
  • Battery Life.
24 Dec 2021

What is the best thermal vision? ›

The 4 Best Thermal Scope

Trijicon Teo Reap-IR Mini Therma: Best for Hog Hunting. Pulsar Trail XP38 1.2-9.6×32: Best Thermal Scope for the Money. Pulsar Digisight Ultra: Best Budget Thermal Scope. ATN ThOR 4 1.25-5x: Best For Coyote Hunting.

How far can you see with a thermal monocular? ›

Lens Size. The lens of a thermal monocular plays a major in role determining the maximum detection distance of a thermal monocular. Detection distances can vary between 90 meters to over 1.5km! Lens sizes can vary from 9mm up to 100mm and the general rule of thumb is 'Bigger is Better'.

What is the best thermal camera for hunting? ›

Leupold LTO-Tracker 2 Handheld Thermal Monocular

From optics giant Leupold, the LTO Tracker 2 is among the best thermal monoculars on the market for general outdoorsmanship and hunting. This monocular comes with a Beacon mode with which you can recalibrate the screen according to the different times of the day.

How do you camouflage against thermal? ›

How Can You Hide From Thermal Imaging Technology?
  1. Glass. One of the most effective methods to block IR is to conceal behind glass; if you are okay with carrying around a pane of glass, great! ...
  2. "Space blanket" ...
  3. Woolen blanket. ...
  4. Choose the right background. ...
  5. Warm clothes. ...
  6. Burn it out. ...
  7. Thick Netting.

Can thermal imaging scopes be used in daylight? ›

Thermal scopes detect radiation and do not require any visible light to produce an image. Thermal imaging devices can be used equally well day and night.

What is the best thermal imaging for coon hunting? ›

AGM Global Vision Taipan TM15-384. For hunters who want a device that can identify prey up to 200 meters in the dark, fog, or haze, this is the best thermal imaging for hunting monocular of 2022 for the money.

How do thermal spotters work? ›

An infrared, IR or thermal imaging camera works by detecting and measuring the infrared radiation emanating from objects - in other words, their heat signature.

What is the difference between FLIR and thermal? ›

FLIRs make pictures from heat, not visible light. Heat (also called infrared, or thermal, energy) and light are both parts of the electromagnetic spectrum, but a camera that can detect visible light won't see thermal energy, and vice versa.

Is Thermal better than night vision? ›

Thermal is best used to detect the desired game object. Night vision is best used to recognize, identify and harvest the game only if facial recognition is required or for deer depredation. If you have your choice of options, thermal imaging is the best twenty-four hour imaging option.

What is the highest resolution thermal camera? ›

Using UltraMax, thermal images captured with a 640 x 480 resolution Tsc-Series thermal camera can be turned into an ultra-sharp image with up to 1280 x 960 pixels.

Can FLIR see through walls? ›

No, it can detect heat from the wall near the surface that there is an issue, but not what is behind the wall. However, if there is something that is causing a difference in temperature in the wall, it will pick it up.

Can FLIR see through clouds? ›

In each case, pilot vision improves, but clouds and fog remain a problem. Water droplets are usually smaller than 100 microns, which is small, but still much larger than the span of an infrared or visible-light wave, so neither infrared light nor visible light can pass easily through clouds.

Can FLIR see through fog? ›

Although thermal imaging cameras can see in total darkness, through light fog, light rain, and snow, the distance they can see is affected by these atmospheric conditions.

What's the difference between night vision and thermal? ›

Night vision works by amplifying visible light in the immediate vicinity. Thermal imaging uses infrared sensors to detect temperature differences between objects in its line of sight.

What is the best thermal imaging for coon hunting? ›

AGM Global Vision Taipan TM15-384. For hunters who want a device that can identify prey up to 200 meters in the dark, fog, or haze, this is the best thermal imaging for hunting monocular of 2022 for the money.

How do thermal spotters work? ›

An infrared, IR or thermal imaging camera works by detecting and measuring the infrared radiation emanating from objects - in other words, their heat signature.

Can you see a snake with a thermal scope? ›

Modern thermal imaging cameras for hunting allow you to detect a thermal target in all light conditions. Grass and bushes are not significant obstacles. However, a thermal imaging camera will not be enough for snake detection.

What is the difference between FLIR and thermal? ›

FLIRs make pictures from heat, not visible light. Heat (also called infrared, or thermal, energy) and light are both parts of the electromagnetic spectrum, but a camera that can detect visible light won't see thermal energy, and vice versa.

Can you see deer antlers with thermal imaging? ›

Typically, deer have antlers so the thermal should be able to definitively tell you that none of your deer have horns. With a thermal, you can see the antlers when they are growing in and there is blood running in them. When they stop growing and harden you most likely can't see them, especially at any distance.

What is the best thermal camera for hunting? ›

Leupold LTO-Tracker 2 Handheld Thermal Monocular

From optics giant Leupold, the LTO Tracker 2 is among the best thermal monoculars on the market for general outdoorsmanship and hunting. This monocular comes with a Beacon mode with which you can recalibrate the screen according to the different times of the day.

What is the longest range thermal scope? ›

Scope Detection Range

A very high-quality thermal scope will allow you to positively identify the target at up to 4,000 yards, while an entry-level scope can limit you to 1,000 yards or less.

Can you hunt with a thermal scope during the day? ›

Thermal scopes, on the other hand, can be used at any time of day since they don't need light to operate.

Can FLIR see through walls? ›

No, it can detect heat from the wall near the surface that there is an issue, but not what is behind the wall. However, if there is something that is causing a difference in temperature in the wall, it will pick it up.

Can you see in the dark with thermal imaging? ›

Thermal imaging cameras see in total darkness, producing clear, crisp images without the need for any light. This makes IR cameras excellent instruments for numerous night vision applications.

Can you see fish with thermal imaging? ›

Unfortunately, thermal imaging will not help you see fish when you are fishing because fish are cold-blooded creatures whose temperature is not constant and depends on the water temperature.

Videos

1. First Look: FLIR Scion® Professional Thermal Monocular | SHOT Show 2019
(Teledyne FLIR)
2. Trionyx Pulsar Fusion thermal
(manijak013)
3. Flir™ Scout Handheld Thermal Imaging Camera
(Ti Thermal Imaging)
4. Best Night Vision & Thermal 2020
(Fieldtester)
5. BLAKNITE OPTICS FALK 35 MAX+ THERMAL IMAGER OVERVIEW (With samples) - HOW IT WORKS
(Ullberg)
6. Ep. 97 | AGM ASP TM25-384 Thermal Monocular Review
(The Late Night Vision Show)

Top Articles

You might also like

Latest Posts

Article information

Author: Roderick King

Last Updated: 11/12/2022

Views: 6047

Rating: 4 / 5 (51 voted)

Reviews: 90% of readers found this page helpful

Author information

Name: Roderick King

Birthday: 1997-10-09

Address: 3782 Madge Knoll, East Dudley, MA 63913

Phone: +2521695290067

Job: Customer Sales Coordinator

Hobby: Gunsmithing, Embroidery, Parkour, Kitesurfing, Rock climbing, Sand art, Beekeeping

Introduction: My name is Roderick King, I am a cute, splendid, excited, perfect, gentle, funny, vivacious person who loves writing and wants to share my knowledge and understanding with you.