FLIR’s ThermoSight Pro Series PTS223 Features High-End Technology, Delivers High Performance

So, I am a bit of a Luddite when it comes to technology. I also am intrigued by the look and utility of FLIR (forward looking infrared) and a fan of how it is used in the real world.

Working in law enforcement, I get to see and benefit from FLIR in the field, usually obtained from a helicopter. Knowing that someone is checking the area from above with FLIR gives me some reassurance because I know the observer is able to clear an area or is just keeping an eye out for anything out of the ordinary.

“The ThermoSight Pro offers seven different palette options that allow you to work in low contrast daylight, total darkness and everything in between.”

When the opportunity was presented to use and review a handheld, or in this case weapons-mounted, FLIR device, I jumped at the chance. When they green-lighted the project, they promptly shipped a ThermoSight Pro Series PTS223 weapon sight, which happens to be the smallest in the Thermal Imaging Weapons Sight Pro series.

First Look

Getting to the heart of the matter, the ThermoSight Pro makes images from heat, not light.  This allows the optic to help you “see” clearly without any visible light, as well as reveal camouflaged people, animals or objects where their heat contrast can be discerned. Using the ThermoSight Pro you can see people, objects, or animals in difficult terrain in reduced visibility; see through smoke, dust, or fog; see camouflage in any lighting condition, and see more and farther than would be possible with night vision goggles. This makes the ThermoSight Pro a viable force multiplier in daylight, low light or total darkness.

You can understand why I was anxious to try the product.

The unboxing revealed a Pelican-style box which serves as a permanent, heavy-duty home for the ThermoSight Pro when not mounted to a rifle. Besides the ThermoSight, the case contained a very handy Quick Start Guide, a more in-depth User Manual, two CR123A batteries, a battery caddy, a USB cable, and a keychain three-inch lens cloth. The batteries and Quick Start Guide are enough to get you up and running, so I started with those. I only went to the User Manual after a couple of days once I had a feel for what the ThermoSight Pro could do.

“ … the ThermoSight Pro has internal memory that allows the user to record up to 2 1/2 hours of video or take up to 1,000 pictures.”

The ThermoSight Pro has an integrated quick detach rail mount. Once securely on my rifle, zeroing the optic was a simple matter thanks to the simple layout and intuitive controls.  The optic also has the lens cover and battery cap dummy corded so the entire unit is self-contained.


Tactical Review

Using the ThermoSight Pro, I was able to experiment with it in tactical training. As mentioned, light was not an issue, so I had an immediate advantage when in a low-light environment.  I was quickly able to recognize heat sources and discern role players in training. This allowed me to address them earlier, even and most importantly, when they were attempting to conceal themselves or suck up into a tight space. The consensus from the team is that having one ThermoSight Pro in the stack gives us an additional and significant advantage when searching a location.

“It also didn’t hurt that the image made it look like I had Predator vision.”

Regarding a non-tactical environment, I have the benefit of working in the foothills, and was able to use the ThermoSight Pro in wooded areas where we have the occasional bear and other wildlife. More than anything, I was able to locate small animals that I would not have seen otherwise. The thermal imaging makes detection easy and allows you to then take your time in recognizing and identifying what you have in front of you.

FLIR’s ThermoSight Pro Series features a durable aluminum alloy that can withstand drops in the field.

On the Web


Product Specifications

Detector Type: 320 x 256 VOx Microbolometer
Digital Zoom: 2x, 4x
Eye Relief: 45mm
Field of View: 12 degrees x 9.5 degrees
Focus Range: 10m to infinity (not focusable)
Image Processing: FLIR Proprietary Digital Detail Enhancement
Internal Memory: Up to 2.5 hours of recorded video or up to 1,000 pictures
Operating Temperature: -4 F to +122 F
Size (LxWxH): 8.7 inches, 2.7 inches, 3.3 inches
Weight: 1.44 pounds
Zoom: 1x, 2x, 4x
Boresight Adjustment Type: Digitally controlled
Color (housing): Black
Lens System: 19mm; F/1.0
Reticle Type: Cross, crosshair, crossdash and no reticle
Weapon Mount Type: Picatinny, MIL-STD 1913, Weaver rails
The MSRP: $2,199

Read the entire story in the December issue. It’s available now.