Q&A: Is TI worth the extra money?

First your magazines were excited about NV; now it’s TI. As a relative Luddite can you explain the practical difference between those two? Is TI worth the extra money?

Mike says: I’ll answer the last question first: It all depends how serious a foxer you are. Assuming you are dedicated and can afford it, don’t hesitate to invest in some TI – I have no doubts whatsoever that it has revolutionised night shooting. I would, however, have some reservations about using TI on its own as a shooting sight, and that’s where NV comes in.

The primary advantage of a TI unit over NV is that you will see every fox within its range, say out to 300 yards. With conventional NV, it is inevitable that you will overlook quarry if it is partly hidden or has its back to you, even if it is relatively close. With TI if it’s there and you have a clear line of sight to any part of its anatomy, you will see it. Identification won’t come naturally but is something you will learn from experience. You are only seeing an image that at distance will be blurred, but you will soon be able to recognise animals by their movement and behaviour.

Elsewhere on the practical use side, I find most TI riflescopes heavy and, for my own use, a bit on the fiddly side. When you are out after foxes you need to be able to spot, identify and shoot under what can be difficult conditions and not be distracted. But I can guarantee that should you decide to go for a thermal imager as a spotter, you won’t regret it for a moment. I use a Pulsar thermal spotter in conjunction with conventional NV – I tend to use either a Longbow or Archer. With this set-up you have the best of both worlds: the ability to spot out to and beyond shooting distances, and then to positively identify and shoot when the quarry is within range.

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