Pulsar Trail XP Thermal riflescope

Back view of the Pulsar Trail XP Thermal 
Objective view of the Pulsar Trail XP riflescope mounted on a Steyr AUG A1 rifle

The Trail riflescope series from Pulsar is indeed a breakthrough in thermal scopes. 

Not because of any one single feature or specification, rather because all its functionalities, features and qualities are rolled into one almost perfectly balanced device that offers a completely new experience in the use of a thermal aiming device.

Based on the same technology at the core of the new Helion thermal monoculars, the Trail line of thermal riflescopes includes two lines: the XP and XQ, and each line is offered with two objective lens options, 38 and 50mm focal lengths.

PULSAR Trail XP and XQ: properties of the thermal aiming devices 

The on/off button of the Pulsar Trail XP
The on/off button is the only control located on the side of the Trail XPriflescope. If pressed momentarily it just turns the display off, it needs to be pressed for 3 s to turn off completely the device.

As is usual for Pulsar devices, the name of the individual device includes the focal length, i.e. XP38 and XQ50.

The difference between the XP and XQ line is the native resolution of the sensor array, which is 640x480 and 384x288 pixels respectively. Because of the different resolutions of the sensors of the XP and XQ, and since the actual sensor size differs (the pixel pitch of both sensors is the same, 17 µm, therefore the 640x480 sensor is larger than the 384x288), the native magnification of the devices is different; this is commonly called “crop factor”, and is very familiar to photographers. Because of the "crop factor", the XP offers a native magnification of 1.2 and 1.6 respectively for the 38 and 50mm lenses, while the XQ offers a magnification of 2.1 and 2.7. 

Function buttons of the Pulsar Trail
Four buttons located on top of the Pulsar Trail XP manage all the functions of the device.
Focusing knob of the Pulsar Trail XP 
The focusing knob is on top of the objective lens, in line with the main controls.

Both the XP and XQ versions offer digital zoom, in fixed steps or in smooth, continuous mode.  Digital zoom is up to 8x for the XP and 4x for the XQ. The Trail family of riflescopes all also share the same tough and durable housing, built with composite glass fiber reinforced Nylon techno polymer material, that is IPX7 rated – meaning it can withstand full immersion in 1 meter of water for thirty minutes! The Trail is also considerably more compact than previous generations of thermal riflescopes from Pulsar, a definite advantage.

The Picatinny rail mount of the Pulsar Trail XP
The Picatinny rail mount of the Pulsar Trail XP features an adjustable tension locking lever.

Power is supplied by a proprietary rechargeable battery pack, that is already standard across many optronic devices built by Pulsar. The battery pack is very easily replaced as is locked into the device by a lever that has to be pulled up to release the pack. The battery is completely sealed and once mounted and secured, the contacts are completely waterproof.

Included with each Trail riflescope is a ‘standard’ IPS5 battery, that allows about 8 - 10 hours of continuous operation. Additional batteries are optionally available: the beefed up IPS10, offering 16 - 20 hours of operation, and normal AA or CR123 lithium batteries adapters.

The battery pack is easily recharged without removing it off the Trail riflescope, using a wall adapter and a Mini-USB connector on the housing of the scope.

MiniUSB connector to recharge the battery
The MiniUSB connector is used to recharge the battery and to connect the Pulsar Trail to a PC.

Although compact, the Pulsar Trail XP riflescope is hefty, weighing in at 950 grams including IPS5 battery and QD mount. The Germanium objective is protected by an integrated door type cover, and the eyepiece features a ribbed rubber extension to prevent stray light from the microdisplay to bleed out of the eyepiece and protect the shooter from the recoil of the firearm while providing optimum eye relief.

The main controls of the Pulsar Trail riflescope are located on top of the device; four buttons in line, each with a different shape and texture so that the shooter can easily identify its function by feel alone without having to break hold or lose target. The focusing knob is also on top, slightly forward from the button console, and above the objective lens. The power on/off button is the only control placed on the side of the Trail. The OLED microdisplay integrated inside the Trail riflescopes is a black & white 640x480 unit that is surprisingly crisp and clear; the quality of the eyepiece itself has also been improved. The eyepiece offers ± 5 diopters of adjustment, that can be set with a traditional focus ring.

Pulsar Trail XP 
The compact size of the Pulsar Trail XP is an added bonus and a definite improvement vs previous Pulsar thermal riflescopes such as the Apex.

The Trail line offers full 50 Hz high refresh rate, for the smoothest possible image even when following high speed targets and panning rapidly across the field during observation.

IPS5 battery pack of the Pulsar Trail XP rifescope
The IPS5 battery pack is easily removed operating a single locking lever located on top of the Pulsar Trail XP rifescope.
Battery pack of the Pulsar Trail
The Lithium Ion IPS5 rechargeable battery pack can also be replaced by a larger IPS10 or an adapter for AA or CR123 batteries.

A small wireless remote that can be attached on the rifle is included. It can replicate most of the functions of the main console on top of the Trail, and adds an encoder knob that can be used to cycle through menus, and set magnification, brightness and contrast in a very intuitive way; it is however not as waterproof as the thermal riflescope. 

PULSAR Trail XP thermal riflescopes: with integrated wireless remote control

Pulsar Trail XP with the wireless remote
The wireless remote can replicate most of the controls and adds an encoder knob that can be used to cycle through menus and adjustments.

A very innovative technology that is shared with the Helion line of thermal scopes and other Pulsar upcoming digital devices is the 2.4 GHz WiFi connection, that can link to compatible Android or IOS smartphones and tablets using the free Stream Vision app. 

This technology not only allows video streaming from the Trail to the connected device through the Stream Vision app, to display what the shooter sees in his riflescope and share videos on YouTube, but also remotely control and manage the device, and update its firmware when necessary.  

Another shared feature  is the built-in DVR recorder with 8GB of internal memory.

Integrated accelerometers and a gyroscope can be used to increase accuracy displaying rifle cant with angles greater than 5° with an arrow in the field of view indicating direction and lateral tilt values. Additionally, it can be programmed to turn off the device when the rifle is resting in a non-shooting position. 

Here you will find the article about the shooting test with the Pulsar Trail XP.

For more informaton, please visit the Pulsar website.

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Pulsar Trail XP38 and XP50


Back view of the Pulsar Trail XP Thermal Franco Palamaro

ManufacturerPulsar - Yukon Advanced Optics 
ModelTrail XP38 and XP50
TypeThermal imaging riflescopes
Magnification1.2x and 1.6 optical magnification, up to 9.6x and 12.8x with digital zoom
Lens focal length38mm and 50mm F1.2 with full Germanium elements
SensorULIS Pico 640 x 480 pixel (VGA) Amorphous Silicon microbolometer sensor with 17 μm pixel pitch
IR sensitivityLWIR (from 7.7 to 13.2 um), NETD approximately 55 mK
Eyepiecewide angle with 0.31" OLED 640 x 480 pixel B&W microdisplay, ± 5 diopter adjustment, 8 mm exit pupil, 50 mm eye relief 
Max. observation range of a 170 x 50 cm rectangular heated object in optimal conditions: 1350 and 1800 m (lights a pixel at this distance)
Focusing range5 m to infinity
Reticledigitally generated, can be chosen from a set of preloaded patterns
Click value27 and 45mm at 100m, 200 clicks available, total adjustment range at 100m, 5.4 and 9m
Dimensions285x72x76mm and 292x72x76mm
Weight500 and 600g without batteries
Materials/FinishesMade entirely of composite glass fiber reinforced technopolymers on a metal frame
NotesPowered by Pulsar B-Pack Li-Ion IPS 5/10 batteries, built-in DVR recorder, WIFI Stream Vision connectivity, Compatible with Android and IOS smartphones/tablets, MicroUSB socket, IPX7 waterproof certified
PriceN.A. (has to be requested to your local distributor)