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Cutting-edge thermal spotter with added advantages

Mat Manning gives the lowdown on HIKMICRO’s Raptor RQ50L binoculars which combine full-colour optical daytime viewing with thermal imaging and infrared night vision, and even incorporate a laser rangefinder

Whether hunting by day or night, the HIKMICRO Raptor provides remarkable viewing for quarry detection and identification.

HIKMICRO hasn’t been on the shooting optics scene for very long, but the brand has certainly made a big impression over the past couple of years. Its success hinges very much on an unstinting commitment to pushing the boundaries of technological performance while keeping prices realistic. The Raptor RQ50L Thermal Fusion Optical IR LRF Binoculars continue in that vein, and while their £3,999.99 retail price isn’t cheap, you will appreciate just where that spend has gone if you pick them up and judge their performance for yourself.

These binoculars are special because, apart from providing thermal viewing in four colour palettes (Red Hot, White Hot, Black Hot and Fusion), they also provide optical viewing in full HD colour by day and in infrared at night. They can even be set to produce a hybrid image that’s a fusion of thermal and infrared, which shows your quarry’s heat signature while also giving a detailed insight of the landscape around it. Those viewing modes ensure optimum performance for spotting alongside sharp, detailed observation for confident quarry identification and confirmation of safe backdrops.

The HIKMICRO Raptor’s simple controls ensure quick, easy operation in the dark and when wearing gloves.

The Raptor also boasts a built-in rangefinder, which can be set to either give a single reading or to track – just place the cursor on the target and press the button. Accurate to within 1m out to 1000m, this is a brilliant feature, instantly confirming range to target so the shooter can apply correct aim-off with confidence.

Despite being very simple to operate, the Raptor binoculars have a vast array of useful features, including a clever sensor which switches them to standby mode when you take them away from your eye – not only does this extend battery life, it also boosts stealth by preventing you from being illuminated by any shine-back. They can also record still images and video to 64Gb onboard memory at the press of a button and can connect to the Hikmicro SIGHT app via built-in wifi, so you can pair with your phone to access controls and save and share recorded footage. They also come supplied with a very tough travel case, two sets of rechargeable batteries (each of which gives a continuous runtime of up to eight hours), a fast-charger, plus neck and side straps.

A tough travel case ensures that the Raptor and its accessories stay safe in transit.

As for optical specifications, the 50mm F0.9 thermal lens works with an industry leading 640x512px sensor to deliver sharp viewing with a detection range of up to 2600m for a man-sized object. The optical camera runs at 2560x1440px resolution and the built in IR illuminator gives a detection range of up to 400m. The viewing experience is further enhanced by Hikmicro’s Smart IR and image stabilisation features. Day, Night, Auto and Defog modes ensure optimum viewing in all conditions. Both eyepieces feature width and dioptre adjustment to ensure comfort and sharp focus. Optical magnification is 3.4x with 1-16x digital magnification.

Getting the most from the Raptor’s various functions is not difficult, because its controls are a doddle to master. Most are operated by short and long presses of the six buttons on the top of the unit. A long press of the ‘M’ button opens a more detailed menu which enables you to select and adjust settings. This menu is simple to navigate but most shooters are likely to use it for setting up the Raptor at home and then stick to the basic controls in the field.

Mat puts the HIKMICRO Raptor to the test as he scans the farmyard for rats during a night-time foray.

The Raptor has similar proportions to a conventional pair of binoculars, measuring 217mm from front to back and tipping the scales at 1120g. It is covered by a three-year warranty, has an IP67 waterproof rating and is stated as being “protected against temporary submersion in water” so rain won’t be a problem.
As for what shooting applications the Raptor can be applied to, there are lots of them. Fox shooters should find it to be an invaluable tool and I can also see it proving very useful for deer management. A farmer friend of mine, who had a look through the Raptor while I was out ratting on his holding, was so impressed that he is now seriously considering buying one to keep an eye on his livestock. Some airgunners will no doubt regard it as being a little too “high-end” but those who can justify the outlay will find it to be a remarkably useful accessory.

Mat takes aim at his quarry after spotting and ranging it with the HIKMICRO Raptor.

I have used it very successfully for after-dark rabbit control, where its thermal imaging function has proved very capable for spotting bunnies hiding amongst patches of brambles and nettles – it is also handy for finding shot rabbits after they slump down into the grass. The added bonus of having a rangefinder has proved to be a real asset for calculating hold-over on longer shots.

The HIKMICRO Raptor comes with two sets of 18650 batteries and a charger.

The Raptor has also been great for night-time ratting forays. It makes easy work of spotting marauding rodents and even showed the heat signatures of rats hiding in haybales. Again, the rangefinder was a boon; this time helping me to work out holdover for really close shots as well as lengthier ones. The thermal imager is so sensitive that the Raptor can also be used for spotting grey squirrels up in the treetops by day. With such effective performance on small pests, it should make very easy work of spotting and identifying larger quarry.

To sum up, the Raptor is arguably the most comprehensive day and night optic on the market. It takes quarry detection and observation to the next level and looks set to be another winning product from HIKMICRO.

As proud creators of Next-Level Spotting technology, you will have the chance to experience the ground-breaking RAPTOR thermal imagers on the Stalking show, HIKMICRO and ELITE stand number B27, 15th & 16th April 2023, Staffordshire County Showground, Weston Road, Stafford ST18 0BD

Image focusing is by means of a dial, the same as with conventional binoculars.


For more information:

Elite Optical