I2 and thermal weapon sights are a sophisticated and expensive piece of equipment. It is imperative that they be rugged and durable to take on whatever the environment throws at them. Either type of weapon sight, deployed for military of law enforcement operations should conform to MIL standards for ruggedness. The weapon sights should able to withstand shocks and vibrations of the weapon and keep the lens assembly and electronics safe and intact so that they do not lose their calibration for aiming and accuracy due to such shocks.
Weapon sights, whether I2 or thermal should have easy-to-use, exposed controls while calibrating or adjustments for scale, magnification, elevation and windage.
Amongst the prevalent mounting systems on weapons like the dovetail rail, weaver rail, Picatinny rail and the NATO accessory rail, Picatinny rails have more or less become the go-to standard on modern weapon systems. Weapon sights should ideally be compatible to the mounting system on the weapon they are going to be used with. For legacy issues, there are adapters available to allow compatibility of weapon sights with a particular mounting system to other types of mounting systems. Normally weapon sights compatible with weaver rail devices will fit on Picatinny rails, but Picatinny compatible devices may not always fit on weaver rail devices.
The battery life of a weapon sight is an important criterion to be delved into and should not be overlooked. While I2 weapon sights are frugal on their power requirements and come with good power backups, thermal weapon sights tend to consume more power, generally, a backup of five hours should be the minimum requirement while selecting a thermal weapon sight.
Another important aspect while choosing a weapon sight is the type of battery it uses. It is recommended to opt for devices that use commercially available batteries against that those that use proprietory batteries as it reduces the dependency to go back to the manufacturer every time and is less likely to result in sudden discharge conditions near or during operational requirements.
Important features to look for in an I2 weapon sight
Infra-Red (IR) Illuminator
An IR illuminator in an I2 weapon sight acts like an IR flashlight that comes in handy in environments with little or no ambient light. Infrared rays are almost impossible to detect without IR sensitive optics of an I2 weapon sight. An IR illuminator when activated, helps the I2 weapon sight to pick up the emitted infra-red light as a light source in very low light or pitch-dark conditions to deliver a bright image to the operator. While it is recommended to have an IR illuminator on your device, you can’t rely on it all the time, especially in tactical situations where the opponents might also have night vision devices
, in such two-way scenarios, it could also give away your position of vantage.
Autogating is a desirable feature in I2 weapon sights, as mentioned above sudden or unstable surges of bright light can hamper the visibility of an I2 weapon sight. The Autogating feature in weapon sights helps it quickly adjust the blinding effect of such exposures to produce a stable image for the operator.
Bright light cut-off
Too much bright light can damage the sensitive sensors inside I2 weapon sights. The bright light cut-off is a desirable safety feature in I2 weapon sights to protect the sensor inside it to get permanently damaged. It automatically switches off the device in circumstances in which the device is exposed to excessive light.
Thank you for reading this guide. We hope it helped you understand more about what to keep in mind while choosing the right weapon sight for your requirement. Please feel free to reach out to us if you might have any other queries which we might have missed out here or if you require any more information regarding weapon sights.