I am lucky to often play with military grade weaponry, but today we will be talking about military grade optics, thermal optics to be exact. Today we will be looking at the Andres Industries TigIR thermal sight. The TigIR is a compact clip-on thermal sight meant to be used in front of your day optic.
I tested the TigIR on one of my SRS M2 rifles chambered in 338LM, on top of the rifle was a Steiner M5 riflescope.
The TigIR has some very convenient features that make it rapidly deployed and easily adapted to your application. Things like a quick power-up when opening the front lens cover, assorted mounting options, and offset adjustment to remove optical offset. I really enjoy some of the nerdy tech side of shooting, so lets get tucked into this review.
Target hangers as seen from 200 Mts at zero fahrenheit
The TigIR comes in a very nice little polymer carry case with a in both German and English, which came in very handy. One of the first things that surprised me about it was for an optic so filled with functions and features, it only had four buttons. There is a fairly complex menu that is navigated using only the four buttons, using either quick presses or holding the button depressed until selected. But first I had to install the four CR123 lithium batteries
The TigIR has several filter options that allow different views of different landscapes, each one having a strong-point. The different filters are easily toggled through to see which one best presents your target in any given place. There are also several different brightness settings you can use to adjust to your purposes. The waterproof housing also has a connection for video output and remote control. In addition, the TigIR allows you to create several profile offsets within the device for different rifles or calibers. When you add a thermal sight to your rifle, or anything to your rifle for that matter, it can affect the way the rifle recoils and change your point of impact.
In addition, when you put an additional device infront of your day scope that is zeroed to the rifle, you can also cause an optical offset (sorta like a shallow prizm). The TigIR allows you to correct for this offset, so that your point of impact remains the same with or without the thermal installed. And as I mentioned you can save up to six different profiles to use with the TigIR.
The front lens cover is held shut by two bungees, the unit powers-up when you open the cover. The bungees then hold the cover firmly in place to avoid unwanted movement. It can also be used for rapid recalibration, by simply closing and opening again it will cause the unit to reset. After startup you can select a power setting from .8X up to 6X, this is handy for various viewing purposes and are easily toggled with the zoom button (#2).
You can select one of the fifteen or so different filters, each of them have strong points such as looking for a person vs. looking at a vehicle. Some of the filters are much better than others depending on what you are looking at, so make sure you try several different options.
The TigIR is easily mounted using a clip-on picatinny rail clamp, but there are other options such as scope-bell clamps as well as observation eyepieces to use the unit alone. The four batteries should power the unit for ten hours according to the manufacturer, though in my experience I would not expect it to last near that long in this kind of cold.
I must admit that the lionshare of my time was spent learning how to operate the TigIR, which is no surprise as it is a complicated device. It took some trial and error for my captain caveman brain to get everything figured out. But after some time I was ready to make some noise.
To the rifle range
The TigIR mounted to my Desert Tech SRS M2
Having already ensured my rifle was zeroed at one-hundred meters, I clamped the TigIR into place to see what happened next. It’s not often that I play with thermals, and I always forget to bring something warm to use as a target. But to my surprise I didn’t really need one this time, targets and details show so clearly through the TigIR that it was almost unnecessary. I could even see the differing colors of the paper target, as long as the sun was shining on them. As temperatures changed so did my perspective of the targets. It was actually easier to shoot into the snow, where the fresh holes in the snow would show up quite clearly through the thermal. After confirming the offset, I entered the offset data into the profile for my 338. This would ensure that with or without the TigIR installed I would be on target.
Observing target handlers, note “WH” denotes selected IR filter, and 0.8X denotes selected zoom.
The images portrayed through the TigIR were quite impressive, making an incredible amount of detail possible. I pushed it out a little further to see how well I could see things at six-hundred meters, and it was still very useful. I continued to shoot and to my surprise I could even see sticks moving behind the target as they were hit by the bullet after passing through. It was actually quite impressive until thick fluffy snow began to fall, and as the air filled with frozen snowflakes the magnified image became unclear with or without the thermal installed on the rifle. I did try some of the other thermal filters and did get some improvement, but not enough to make it worth spending expensive 338 Lapua rounds. I’ll also add that the images shown here don’t show the quality as well as your eye does in real time.
You can also select one of several reticles from the TigIR menu, different reticles with differing values that can be used either independently of you day scope, or in conjunction with it. And if using the TigIR as spotting device, you can use the reticle values to call corrections for your shooter.
I was thoroughly impressed with the TigIR-6M, it was very compact compared to other units, and it performance was better than those I am more familiar with. Yes it is a complex piece of tech so there is definitely a learning curve, but I think once you figure out how to use it properly, you will be very happy with it. The price is just shy of €10K, which is certainly not cheap, but it much more affordable than comparable units I have used. I would definitely get one of these units if you’re in the market for a thermal, its an outstanding little device.