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Thermal Will Get You Killed

  • February 15, 2024
  • By Jared Daub
Thermal Will Get You Killed

Thermal Will Get You Killed. Or maybe it’s better to say a LACK of thermal will get you killed. Either way, let’s talk thermal.

Thermal Will Get You Killed

Why is a ‘Steel Target’ Company discussing thermal?

For those of you who know us and have been around our pages and content since 2015, you’d know that we aren’t just a company manufacturing steel targets. It is true that we manufacture world class steel targets and steel target systems right here in PA. It is also true that we started with a humble beginning simply trying to make the best steel targets money can buy. But we evolved from there. We realized our broader mission: To effect change in the culture around us. That meant expanding. That meant teaching and proliferating the knowledge we’ve acquired over the years. And here we are, discussing thermal.

Arkayne Co

As some general housekeeping, we have another brand called Arkayne Co. Arkayne is where we sell fighting gear, nods, thermal, and everything else you’ll need to get to training with purpose. Steel targets: TA Targets. Gear, thermal, nods, body armor, and more: Arkayne Co. Got it? Awesome. Make sure after you are done reading here that you check out both sites. Information and products are abundant.

Thermal is the tool we should be focusing on most.

How often do you see folks debating the “best” night vision device? One quick search on any forum will show you that most people are still debating which intensifier tube is best. Additionally, you’ll find ample evidence of the obsession over glass, housings, gain vs no gain, mounts, and more. Our team sees the landscape very differently. While you might observe most people obsessed over night vision tech, we believe that you should be spending more time and attention to thermal. Should you ignore night vision altogether? Absolutely not! But we do feel that you should understand thermal. You might have a balling set of binos, but some dude with a 384 core thermal can clap you in an instant. Thermal changes the landscape. Let’s break this down.

Thermal Vs Night Vision.
Thermal VS Night Vision
This slide shows some images from Night Vision tubes as well as several thermal units. Notice the clarity of the Thermal Units.

It helps to have a BASIC understanding of the differences, so let’s discuss. In essence, analog (and digital) night vision REQUIRE some form of ambient light to function. They take existing light, collect it, amplify it, and present it into a more usable image for the end users eye. You can have ambient light and you can still see nothing with your bare eye. We aren’t talking about TONS of light, but light IS required. Inside a building with ZERO ambient light, night vision will not function at all. Unless, of course, you utilize supplemental infrared illumination. Thermal is not restricted to functioning with ambient light present. It doesn’t affect it. Thermal operates in a completely different frequency. You can run thermal day or night. You can be in a completely dark room, thermal will still detect heat signatures. This is an obvious advantage over night vision alone.

What about cold objects?

Everything emits a heat signature. The only exception to this rule is an object at an absolute zero temperature. This is approximately -460 degrees F. Snow, ice, water, rocks, trees, brush, and other “not living” objects will all show clearly with quality thermal. This effectively means with modern thermal you can see and interpret and identify objects in your terrain.

Thermal is a major player in ALL conflicts.

The reality is, if you enter a conflict in today’s world, quality thermal will be on deck. You will either have access to it, or you’ll be trying to avoid it. From aircraft, to drones, to cameras, helmet mounted units, and weapon mounted units, it will be present. What this means is at a MINIMUM we should be understanding this tech and how it is applied. The reality is: Night vision can be EASILY defeated, even without camouflage. Thermal requires an immense amount of work to defeat. Don’t hate the messenger, it is what it is.

Helmet Mounted Thermal:

Helmet mounted thermal is a fairly new invention. Or at least its within the last 3 years (give or take) that it has become mainstream. Previously, the industry lacked bridging methods and adapters to make it happen. Further, the units themselves were not designed with helmet mounting in mind. This has all changed. Now users can pick from a plethora of different helmet mountable options on the market. Year after year, more and more people are switching from dedicated night vision binoculars and switching to hybrid units. When we say “hybrid” or “Dual Band”, this simply means a PVS-14 bridged to a Thermal Monocular.

Benefits of Helmet mounting a thermal:

The biggest benefit of helmet mounting a thermal monocular is the speed of detection and identification. Having night vision on your head as a primary navigation tool and then being able to view through thermal immediately is critical. It expands the information that can be obtained in the darkness. You can take data from night vision and reference it against what you see through the thermal monocular. This happens seamlessly. And it is MUCH faster and safer than trying to scan with your rifle. You can be in a secure, safe position and view the landscape. Then simply deploy the rifle when your target is found. This greatly increases the efficiency of finding targets in the darkness. Further, helmet mounted thermal is a powerful evasion tool. You will see what night vision will not. But you still have night vision for tasks where night vision excels.

Weapon Mounted Thermal:

Weapon mounted thermal imaging scopes bring yet another capability to the table: Being able to shoot in complete absence of ambient light. Thermal imaging scopes have been in existence for many years. The last 3-5 years this technology has rapidly increased its capabilities. Thermal imaging of the old days showed basically heat blobs that were not about to be identified. This is why many folks mistakenly claim “thermal is used for detection, night vision is used for identification”. That USED to be true. With the technological increases of thermal imaging scopes, this really isn’t entirely true. In fact, thermal is outpacing night vision in terms of advancement year over year. Night vision is basically functioning the same way it has (largely) for the past 20-25 years. It does keep getting better, but not the scale of thermal.

Why not just run a night vision clip on like the PVS30?

We have spent many hours running PVS30’s and clip on units like the UNS SR. Frankly, they don’t offer the performance of a high quality thermal clip on or dedicated scope. By the time your buddy with his PVS30 even finds the target, you already took the shot with your thermal scope. The value just isn’t there for most situations. The one benefit of a night vision clip on is the ability to run your daytime glass. But…the same can be done with a unit like the Infiray Outdoors  RH25. We think it’s more viable and obtainable to get your hands on a clip on thermal versus a clip on night vision unit.

Thermal is headed into a wildly new territory: Fusion technology.
Thermal Vs Night Vision
This is a JFB thermal fusion binocular. The JFB is one of the only fusion systems available to consumers in the US.

Fusion is ultimately where this all is heading at this moment. The ability to take thermal and night vision and create one usable image is wild. Units, like the JFB fusion binocular, are able to offer the best of all worlds. This tech is still maturing, but it is becoming more and more prevalent. Ultimately, night vision and thermal both have their place. They are both important. We simply see it as a disservice to the community when we spend 90% of the time talking night vision and VERY little time understanding the true superpower: Thermal imaging. It’s why we keep saying: “Night vision is what will get you into the darkness. Thermal is what will get you killed.”

What’s next for our companies?

TA Targets and Arkayne Co will both continue speaking, educating, and equipping citizens with fighting tools. We will not simply tow the industry line and do what is popular. We will constantly search for up-and-coming tech, new companies, new gear, and new ways to utilize and train with this equipment. Our overwhelming priority is helping as many people to understand the capabilities of this equipment as possible. In alignment with the second amendment protection of our natural rights, we believe citizens have the God given right to have supplemental gear. We believe our nation is better when our people are prepared to defend liberty from both foreign and domestic threats. And we will never stop. We will do the work now, and pass the baton to others who will continue the lineage for future generations. We will never stop.