A rather horrifying video clip has emerged, allegedly showing Taliban marksmen taking down Afghan troops at night with the aid of thermal imaging riflescopes. If you’d like to see it, click over to Solomon’s place and follow the Twitter link he provides. WARNING: It’s graphic. Definitely not for the squeamish.
The screen capture below is from that clip. You can now buy thermal scopes and binoculars with built-in cameras to record things like this. The resolution may not be great, but it doesn’t have to be as long as it gets the job done – which the shooter does, a few frames later.
The thing is, this sort of gear is increasingly widely used. We no longer have to contend only with US military thermal sights and surveillance systems, which used to be far ahead of everything else out there. Equivalent gear (or near-equivalent) is now widely available from other sources, and is found all over the world. The Taliban have allegedly been using Pulsar scopes from Lithuania for several years, although I don’t know whether or not that’s true. Be that as it may, Pulsar thermal imaging gear is freely available in this country. There was some on sale at a gun show I attended a couple of weeks ago. It’s still relatively expensive ($3K to $4K at the high end), but that’s way cheaper than it was a few years ago. In another few years, it’ll be at the $1K-$2K level. Other competitors (for example, ATN) are already approaching that price point. There are more out there.
I’ve been seeing more and more reports that extremists in Antifa, BLM and similar movements are also carrying this stuff now. They’re currently using it more to watch their opponents and observe the police than as riflescopes, but there’s no reason that can’t change. The point is, the night is no longer the concealment that many people still assume it is. An enemy equipped with thermal imaging gear doesn’t need street lights or building lights to see you, and won’t use infra-red emitters to illuminate a scene. He or she can be completely passive. You’ll never know they’re there, but they’ll see you – and what you’re doing – clearly enough.
Keep that thought firmly in mind if you find yourself in a riot or unrest situation at night. If you can afford it, I highly recommend getting yourself some thermal imaging gear. The rest of us . . . well, we can’t afford it, but we should at least be aware of it, because well-equipped enemies of our society don’t labor under that handicap.
(No, I’m not being compensated by any of the companies linked here for mentioning their gear, and I don’t own any of their products. They’re just used as examples of what’s out there.)