Once reserved for gadgets demanding five-figure prices, companies like FLIR are now bringing thermal, electro-optic technology within reach of the average consumer.
In 2010, FLIR released its first hand-held thermal monocular Scout product, the TS series. Then came the value-priced Scout PS retailing for $2,000. The Scouts were performers and proved very useful in hands of law enforcement officers for investigative purposes, hunters searching for downed game and civilians who may have just been curious as to what tipped over their garbage can. The subsequent Scout II and Scout III were light, easy to use and compact. Then, in 2018, FLIR released the Breach.
For nearly the same money, the Breach beats the pants off the Scout in every way. Officially designated “Breach PTQ136,” it is one the most rugged, compact and lightest FLIR thermal-imaging monocular currently available. It weighs just 7.4 ounces and measures only 5½ inches in length.
Startup takes less than 1½ seconds and one CR123A lithium battery powers the thermal for 90 minutes while offering the ability to record 1,000 still images and 2½ hours of video at the push of a button.
The Breach is outfitted with FLIR’s latest Boson thermal core, a circuitry producing 12-micron pixels and a 60-hertz, 320x256, VOx Microbolometer detector. Translation? This tech produces a bright, high-definition display with exceptional image clarity and resolution, a quick refresh rate and the ability to recognize features such as body shapes, hair styles, clothing type and even some facial features out to 300 yards. Detection ranges double that.
The Breach can be comfortably carried in a pocket and be used as a handheld unit or it can be helmet mounted by way of a Red Queen Effect (RQE) universal bridge mount. This mount allows it to be mounted alongside a PVS-14 night-vision monocular. Mounted together, you’ve got quite the system with a thermal over one eye and night vision over the other. (Never over both eyes at the same time as your brain cannot fuse the images.)
Users can choose between seven color palettes, creating a customizable viewing experience and quicker detection in specific environments. This feature allows us to tailor the unit to our preference. (I generally select sepia or white hot.)
If you’re curious about what’s roaming the woods during the day or night, how long a car has been parked on the street corner or where the dog went — through smoke, haze, rain or fog — the applications of a thermal are many. Visit flir.com for more information.