Affordable Thermal Optics? Pulsar Core and Trail Systems—SHOT Show 2017.

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To purchase Pulsar gear on, click this link:


One of the biggest changes we are seeing in predator hunting, especially in states like Texas that have relaxed regulations for certain animals, is the growth of night vision and thermals. The consumer is by far the winner in this equation, as the price of technology is driven down by stiff competition. Several companies at SHOT Show offered thermals, but we liked the Pulsar brand ones in particular. We looked at two models, one an entry-level model called the Core and another mid-price one called the Trail.

Pulsar is offering some great thermal gear to consumers at surprisingly good pricing.


The CORE retails for around $1,900, which is a fair bit of change, but something like this wouldn’t have even been available a decade ago. It features the ability to record to your phone via a Pulsar app, on board memory to record your hunts direct, and good clarity of optic. One of the stranger things about this thermal is that it displays in green on black, which looks like night vision. It is thermal, trust us. During the engineering process, they chose to display in these colors to help prevent eye fatigue. If you have ever spent hours on a thermal device, you will appreciate it.

The TRAIL moves up in price to a starting price of $2,700, but you get some good bang for your buck. This model and above feature a new battery pack that is very reminiscent of a shrunk down Dewalt drill battery. And I say that as a compliment. The battery pack is condensed, easy to carry, fits naturally into the thermal unit without adding bulk, and runs for 10 hours. That is a pretty serious feat of engineering, and I will be looking forward to testing this one under field conditions. The battery pack fits the entire series of TRAIL, and I wouldn’t be shocked to see the same one fit future generations of night vision and other accessories. Look for some big things from this company over the next year.

The author had a chance to take a close look at some of Pulsar’s new thermal gear at the 2017 SHOT Show.

Price & Availability

Although thermal gear is not cheap, Pulsar is offering some really great products at very competitive pricing here. If you are looking to get into thermal without breaking the bank, then these deserve a close look. Keep an eye out for a mid-year release.

To learn more, visit

To purchase Pulsar gear on, click this link:

About the author: Clay Martin is a former Marine and Green Beret, retiring out of 3rd Special Forces Group. He is a multi-decade and -service sniper, as well as 3-Gun competitor and Master ranked shooter in USPSA Production. In addition to writing about guns, he is the author of “Last Son of The War God,” a novel about shooting people that deserve it. You can also follow him on twitter, @offthe_res or his website,

{ 2 comments… add one }
  • James Lehnerd January 31, 2017, 3:13 am

    I’ve got a Sig Echo 1 thermal on my coyote gun, and the feature set and price point really can’t be beat. It compares favorably to some TWS in use when we were in Iraq… the tech has come so far! Something like eight vision modes, stills stored onboard, runs on CR123s, build-a-reticle available so you can make choke-range reticles for your .300 blk loads, and wonderful definition and self-calibrate features. Was surprised to see bats out in the woods more than 200 meters away. Grand time to be alive.

    • Pat Boyer January 31, 2017, 8:49 am

      What caliber is your coyote gun? I’m looking for a “starter” thermal with ability to see/identify feral pigs at 150+ yards. I’m currently using a .308 win. Will the ECHO take .30 cal. recoil?

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