LAS VEGAS — The distances that military snipers shoot with new combinations of rifles and calibers require optics that see farther and with more clarity.
A new add-on device, the ThermoSight HISS-HD, a long-range cooled thermal sniper and machine gun sight by Teledyne FLIR, offers high-resolution views at 2,200 meters, or more than 7,000 feet, and the ability to see the shooter’s bullet in flight even without tracers.
Teledyne FLIR debuted this new optic at the annual Shooting, Hunting, Outdoor Trade (SHOT) Show this week.
Zack Fuller, senior manager for weapon sights and handhelds with the company spoke with Military Times for SHOT Show this year about the device.
Fuller served a decade in special forces, four years as a sniper with the U.S. Army’s 5th Special Forces Group and another four years at the U.S. Army Special Operations Command Science and Technology Department working on visual augmentation.
The HISS-HD is a clip-on thermal sight that fits in front of the existing weapon optic. It was originally developed for the .338 Norma Magnum machine gun, which is still under development, but is compatible with existing weapons such as the M240B machine gun, Fuller said.
The sight offers four times the resolution and clarity of existing thermal sights. What that means for shooters is the ability to see details as precise as whether a target’s hands are at their sides, or if they’re carrying a weapon even at distances over a mile.
That also allows a shooter to see their bullet in flight, or what is called “day trace,” Fuller said.
“It allows you to take a rapid follow-on shot and correct because you’re seeing the shots,” he said.
The thermal sight allows that in day or night conditions.
With those features, Fuller said the sight triples the performance for machine gun sights and doubles it when compared to existing thermal sights designed for sniper rifles.
The optic weighs 4.6 pounds with batteries and measures 10.6 inches long by 3.5 inches wide and 3.7 inches high.
With the MIL-1913 mount, it fits the Picatinny rail system. The optic has digital video recording features and uses a CR123 battery with a three hour runtime, according to data provided by the company.
Todd South has written about crime, courts, government and the military for multiple publications since 2004 and was named a 2014 Pulitzer finalist for a co-written project on witness intimidation. Todd is a Marine veteran of the Iraq War.