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FLIR ThermoSight PRO PTS233 Thermal Scope Review

The FLIR ThermoSight PRO PTS233 is one of the hottest new thermal scopes on the optics market; its technology and performance are revolutionary while remaining affordable.

FLIR ThermoSight PRO PTS233 Thermal Scope Review

As the leader in thermal technology, FLIR has developed products for a wide array of applications, everything from fighting fires to catching thieves and poachers. The company’s new line of thermal scopes also is revolutionary – one being the ThermoSight PRO PTS233 – and they’re changing the way we hunt and shoot. What’s more, this thermal technology is more accessible and affordable than ever before.

The FLIR ThermoSight PRO PTS233 is a lightweight, durable optic that is user-friendly and offers around-the-clock imaging capabilities. It’s powered by FLIR’s revolutionary Boson Longwave Infrared (LWIR) core which provides industry-leading image quality with extremely low power consumption. The Boson core is light and compact, measuring just 4.9 cubic centimeters and weighing 0.3 ounces which allows this 12-micrometer vanadium oxide uncooled detector to fit into compact optics like the PTS233.


The 320x256 resolution offers superb image quality under any conditions. A decade ago that same level of sophistication would have required an optic that was extremely large and heavy and cost tens of thousands of dollars. The new ThermoSight PRO PTS233 measures just 8.7 inches long and weighs 1.4 pounds. MSRP for the unit is $2,199, a great value for this level of performance.

Additionally, FLIR has made it easy for shooter to mount and operate the PTS233. The base is designed to mount quickly to Picatinny, MIL-STD 1913 and Weaver rails and the quick-release lever design allows you to install or remove the optic in seconds while maintaining your zero. There’s also a 1 ½-inch side rail on the right side of the housing that allows you to easily mount lights or other accessories to the PTS233.


The controls are easy to operate and allow you to adjust several different functions with the touch of a button. Simple onscreen navigation menus allow the shooter to customize settings including reticle color and pattern, color palette, brightness, and digital zoom settings. With seven different palette colors and four reticle color options you can find the right setting for your personal preferences.


The PTS233 runs on two CR123A 3v lithium batteries that fit into a battery cassette, and a spare swappable cassette also is provided for backup power in the field. Battery cassettes fit into the side of the unit and are secured by a screw-on cap that protects the sights internal structure from dirt, debris, and moisture. The unit’s internal memory is capable of holding up to 2.5 hours of video or 1,000 still images, and the PTS233 is equipped with shot-activated video recording and a USB cable so you can share and store videos and images. Battery run time is about four hours.


All that technology is packaged in a rugged, durable housing. The PTS233’s 19mm germanium precision ground objective lens protected by a tethered cap, and the unit is capable of operating in temperatures ranging from -4o to +122o Fahrenheit. Additionally, the American-made PTS233 is backed by a 10-year warranty.


FLIR ThermoSight PRO PTS233 Thermal Scope on the Range

The hot Arizona sun was high overhead as I made my way down a narrow wash at Gunsite Academy. Known as the Donga, the twisting crevasse stretches for several hundred yards and around each blind turn there could be multiple targets hiding in the rocks and brush. It’s an excellent place for firearms training, and it was a great place to put the PTS233 through its paces.


The FLIR ThermoSight PRO PTS233 I tested was mounted on a Ruger PC carbine in 9mm, and before entering the Donga I customized the optic’s features using the touch pad. I prefer a white-hot palette and a black cross-center-dot reticle setup, though the PTS233 offers several different reticle options (including no reticle at all, if you prefer). Boresighting was already completed using the digital display, so once I adjusted the color menu, I was ready to shoot the course.


The brilliant sun made glare in the Donga a challenge, but one of the benefits of FLIR’s thermal imaging products is that the optic detects heat. When I rounded the first blind corner, I scanned the opposite hillside and saw a thermal target glowing in the optic. I fired and heard the crack of the bullet striking steel, then I continued.

By the time I completed the course, I hit all seven targets and had a new appreciation for the FLIR PTS233. The 12o x 9.5o field of view allows the shooter to access the scene and pick up targets quickly, a real benefit for those who intend the hunt hogs and predators with this scope. Three-inch eye relief allowed me to position my head comfortably on the stock of the rifle, and the extendable rear sight shade kept ambient light from distracting me while shooting the course. And, unlike other thermal optics, the lightweight FLIR didn’t add a lot of weight to the gun.


The most compelling reason to mount the thermal sight on your gun is the fact that you can enjoy that type of performance around the clock. Once the sun sets, the FLIR ThermoSight PRO PTS233 isn’t limited the way other scopes are, and the high-resolution thermal-imaging capabilities allow you to see living objects hundreds of yards away. One advantage of thermal over night vision optics is that thermal makes it easy to see heat signatures when the animal is still or shrouded by brush, a common occurrence when hunting hogs or calling coyotes. With the PTS233 you can pick up those hidden heat signatures quickly and the high resolution provides a clear image. With 1.5x magnification and 1x, 2x and 4x digital zoom capabilities, you can hone in on distant targets or reduce magnification for maximum field of view.


The durable, easy-to-operate FLIR ThermoSight PRO PTS233 is a revolutionary thermal scope that’s affordably priced, considering the bevy of high-tech features it offers. Plus, this type of thermal technology has never been available in such a compact optic design.

FLIR is changing the way we see the world, and the ThermoSight PRO PTS233 offers the best bang-for-your-buck in the thermal scope market.


FLIR ThermoSight PRO PTS233 Thermal Scope Specifications:

  • Detector Type: 320x256 Vox Microbolometer
  • Internal Memory: 2.5 Hours Video, 1,000 Still Images
  • Video Output: Digital Video
  • Size (LxWxH): 8.7”x 2.7” x 3.3”
  • Weight: 1.44 lbs.
  • Zoom: 1x, 2x, 4x
  • Optical Magnification: 1.5
  • Core: FLIR 12um Boson
  • Height of Scope Axis Above Rail: 1.65”
  • Weapon Mount Type: Picatinny, MIL-STD 1913, and Weaver rails
  • Operating Temperature: -4o to +122o Fahrenheit
  • Reticle Types: 7
  • Reticle Colors: 4
  • Polarity Options: 7
  • Video Refresh Rate: 60 Hz
  • Operation Switch: On/Off/Standby
  • Made in: USA
  • MSRP: $2,199

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