2021 Optic of the Year: Pulsar Thermion XG50

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posted on December 22, 2021
man shooting rifle hunting scope award gold trophy NRA
2021 Optic of the Year: Pulsar Thermion XG50

Of the myriad riflescopes introduced and tested by your American Rifleman, Pulsar’s Thermion XG50 earns the top honor for 2021 as Optic of the Year. The thermal-imaging marketplace has grown significantly over the last decade, and Pulsar stands as a noteworthy contender in the field with designs such as its Thermion series, which are built to mimic the sleek appearance of modern riflescopes.

two riflescope side-by-side comparison black metal scope thermal imaging optics

A staff report right here at American Rifleman revealed that the Pulsar Thermion XG50 thermal riflescope “expands the range at which hunters can detect game and provides increased resolution, giving users more information about what they’re seeing downrange.” The XG50 thermal optic gives Riflemen a digital a 1024x768 AMOLED display for increased image clarity in the form of a standard-looking riflescope.

Rich with features and filled with top-quality mechanics and state-of-the-art electronics, the XG50 is capable of supplying more than just intel from distances out to 2,400 yards. Thanks to Pulsar’s partnership with BAE Systems, XG50 users receive a 640x480 microbolometer with 12-micron pixel detail for long-range applications packed within the uncooled thermal unit—no small accomplishment for a device possessing the appearance and layout of a conventional riflescope in a standard 30-mm body tube.

Standard XG50 riflescope features include a a rechargeable lithium-ion battery for up to seven hours continuous run time, Wi-Fi connectivity, 13 reticle options, recoil-activated recording, color viewing modes and a stadiametric rangefinder. In addition, Thermion XG50 users have the ability to program the optic for up to five rifle profiles as well, the thermal imaging riflescope can be controlled, recorded and monitored through the company’s Stream Vision App.

kit parts riflescope thermal imaging optics black metal soft case

American Rifleman sampling found, "Durability is also a priority for this field-ready optic, so Pulsar ruggedized the construction of this digital optic, giving it the ability to withstand repeated recoil on guns chambered up to .375 H&H. The optic is capable of operating in environments ranging from -13 to 122 degrees Fahrenheit, is IP67 dustproof and can be submerged in 1 meter of water for up to an hour with no ill effects."

It’s easy to understand why we named the Pulsar Thermion XG50 Optic Of The Year.


Are you interested in more Thermion content? Watch American Rifleman and Pulsar staff discuss the Thermion series thermal imaging riflescope here.


So what does it take to make the cut? The winners are selected by a seven-member committee consisting of editors, graphic designers and veteran NRA Publications staff, representing more than a century of collective experience in the shooting and hunting industry. The criteria required to qualify for consideration of a Golden Bullseye Award include being: introduced and available to consumers prior to the selection of the Golden Bullseye Awards; used/tested by a staff member or regular contributor to the magazine and/or affiliated media; reliable in the field, meeting or exceeding the evaluator’s expectations; innovative in design and function; readily perceived as a value to the purchaser; and styled in a manner befitting the shooting and hunting industry and, perhaps more importantly, its enthusiasts.

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