FLIR Breach Thermal Monocular
Good things come in small packages
Over the past couple of weeks I’ve been testing the new FLIR Breach PTQ136 thermal monocular. This is a hand held or helmet mountable unit and the first noticeable thing is its size. The Breach is one of the smallest and lightest thermal units that I’ve used and is definitely the smallest monocular that I’ve used, weighing in at just 210 gm, or 7.4 oz.
The Breach is packed with great features starting with the new FLIR 320 Boson Core. When you look through the eyepiece, the 1280×960 high resolution display gives the high definition performance of a sensor twice its size.
It has a continuous 1-4x digital zoom, but the breach has an optical magnification of 1x which is particularly ideal for helmet mounted use and its focusing range is from 0.25 m out to infinity. The 60 hz refresh rate makes it very smooth when panning the environment if you’re using it hand held or if you were helmet mounted and clearing rooms.
Depending on your preference there are seven colour pallets to choose from,
- White Hot
- Black Hot
- Rainbow HC
- Outdoor Alert
Another excellent internal feature is the memory space it has. The breach is able to capture up to 2.5 hours of video footage or 1000 still images.
The Breach is powered by a single CR123A battery and although I didn’t do a continuous run test to see how long it would take to completely kill the battery I have been informed that it has about 1.5 – 2 hours continuous use in it, which wouldn’t surprise me because the high definition and high resolution display will definitely eat batteries. However, it has a USB port and there is a helmet counter weight power pack available, or a small power pack that will attach to a picatinny rail.
With only a 9 mm objective lens you might think that range is compromised, but what we really need to differentiate between is detection and identification. The detection range on the Breach is extremely far. I was recently out on one of my permissions and looked back down into the valley to where my house was. I knew the wood burner was fired up and I could make out the chimney heat signature. In a straight line I was a good three quarters of a mile away. When it comes to identification, and this is the really important part, I was able to accurately ID species at 200 to 250 yards. This is not a massive distance when you think about some of the thermal products on the market at the moment, but if you were out shooting foxes you’d probably be looking at bringing them in much closer than that before taking the shot, so it’s very suitable for that type of spotting.
Where the Breach really comes into its own, and where I personally think that this sits in the civilian market, is for milsim. There are three points on the Breach where it can be fitted to a helmet mount and with the 1x magnification your situational awareness is not going to be distorted. It does take a little getting used to, but once you’re familiar with looking through the thermal display using it to navigate through total darkness is very easy thanks to the seamless and smooth 60hz refresh rate.
We all know that thermal technology does come with a price tag. The FLIR Breach retails for around £2,344. Having used the Breach out in the field, I don’t think that’s bad money at all! Small, light and with a very high quality display, the FLIR Breach PTQ136 thermal monocular would be the perfect companion for a night hunter with an NV rifle set up. If you’re a milsimer kicking in doors with the Breach helmet mounted there will be no hiding place in the dark.
The range of FLIR products will be available on the Scott Country International stand at the British Shooting Show 2019 where you will be able to pick up and use the thermal and NV to see just how good this technology is. Stirling Airsoft will also be on the stand to show how NV and thermal is used for milsim and military applications.