April 03, 2023
Thermal has completely changed the game. Its tactical and hunting advantages at night are practically unparalleled, and it has years of field “proof-of-concept” behind it, proving its more than a novelty. Cost has been the biggest barrier to entry, but like almost all technologies, time and the free market has brought thermal to a reasonable cost for the civilian market. Leading the charge is Sightmark with its brand-new Wraith Mini 2-16x35mm Thermal Riflescope. Sightmark has packed a lot of technology and features into a thermal scope with a price tag right at $1,999, which makes it one of the most affordable thermal scopes on the market that is “true thermal.”
Daytime and Night Capable
Sightmark’s Wraith line has been a popular digital night vision scope option for years, but they are not true thermal or night vision optics. The new Wraith Mini 2-16X uses actual Germanium glass, which is one of the key components for a thermal scope. There are a lot of design similarities between the digital Wraith offerings and the new thermal Wraith scope. If you already own one of the digital Wraiths, you'll find the controls and function is essentially identical, so there is a very short learning curve to pick up the new thermal option. Those who are new to the Wraith line will appreciate how easy it is to operate the scope. When you're in the field, thermal scopes with tons of buttons are not your friend, especially when you're trying to make a quick shot.
For everyone like me who can only afford one thermal scope without maxing out all the credit cards, swapping a thermal scope between guns will happen a lot. An awesome feature on the new Wraith Mini is the ability to store up to five firearm profiles/zeroes on the scope, so it’s easy to move the scope to different guns with Picatinny rails without needing to re-zero every time.
The biggest question with any new thermal scope is what is the detection range? Sightmark’s new Wraith Mini boasts an impressive 1,400-yard detection range on deer- or pig-size game. It has a 384x288 resolution sensor and a 1024x768 display resolution, so image quality will be solid. Will that be as crisp as a $15K thermal scope? No, but it’s more than enough for general use, and it is far superior to any digital night scope. There are five thermal color palates and nine reticle colors to choose from, and it also has a built-in audio and video recording for those who like to record hunts.
The new Wraith Mini has both a 2X optical zoom and a 1-8X digital zoom, so this will be an excellent close to mid-range thermal optic, especially on an AR-style rifle. The Wraith Mini weighs just more than a pound, coming in at 19.3 ounces, and it’s compact, too. Dimension measurements come in at 6.6 inches long by 2.9 inches in height and 3 inches wide. While it’s perfect for an AR, there will undoubtedly be plenty of bolt guns that will see good use with the new Wraith Mini.
After detection range, battery life is usually the second question about new thermal scopes. The Wraith Mini uses two CR123A batteries for 3.5 hours of use on “video mode” and 4.4 hours of use on “preview mode.” That’s not exactly amazing, but it is rechargeable, and the batteries are easy to swap. You’ll definitely want to bring plenty of spares and keep batteries on the charger, too. At such an affordable price, tradeoffs have to happen, so I’m perfectly happy with a shorter battery life as long as it’s easy to swap batteries.
The new Sightmark Wraith Mini 2-16x35 Thermal Scope has solid durability specs. Sightmark states the scope has an effective operational temperature range of -4 degrees Fahrenheit to 122 degrees, which is important for a digital/thermal scope that can be used in day and night. For calibers, Sightmark rates the Wraith Mini to .308 Winchester or less-powerful cartridges, which is standard for most digital/thermal optics.
This is an incredibly exciting new thermal scope, and I have high expectations for use in the field. It has all the features I look for in thermal, yet it lives at a truly affordable price point. As a final nice touch, the new scope comes with a 3-year factory warranty. There is still a lot to unpack and test on the new Sightmark Wraith Mini Thermal Scope, so be sure to keep an eye out for a complete review in an upcoming issue of Firearms News!
Sightmark Wraith Mini 2-16x35 Thermal Scope Specs
- Type: Thermal/Digital
- Magnification: 2X (optical), 1-8X (digital)
- Objective Diameter: 35mm
- Thermal Sensor Resolution: 384x288
- Display Type: OLED
- Display Resolution: 1024x768
- Video Recording: Yes, 256 Gb max.
- Pixel Pitch (µm): 17
- Spectral Range (µm): 8-14
- NEDT (50 Hz, 300 K, F/1) (mK): 40
- Detection Range: 1,400 yards
- Battery Life: 3.5 hrs. (video mode), 4.4 hrs. (preview mode), uses two CR124A Batteries or external USB power supply)
- Construction: Aluminum
- Length: 6.6 in.
- Width: 3 in.
- Height: 2.9 in.
- Weight: 19.3 oz.
- Warranty: 3 years
- MSRP: $1,999
- Contact: Sightmark
About the Author
Jack Oller is a U.S. Army veteran, having served in the Military Police with one deployment to the Camp VI Detention Facility in Guantanamo Bay, Cuba. He has extensive firearms training from military and civilian schools and is a passoniate shotgun shooter and hunter. Jack has an English degree from Illinois State University, and he started his career in the outdoor industry as Associate Editor for Guns & Ammo magazine. After Gun & Ammo, he worked as Brand Manager for Crimson Trace and now is the Digital Editor for Firearms News.
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