Boar Upright Thermal Target for downrange practice

 Passive Upright Thermal Shooting Target

Powered Thermal Etype shooting target

 Passive Upright Thermal Shooting Target

The swell of thermal sights on weapons has introduced a whole new line of shooting targets.

Passive Thermal and Powered Thermal targets are now taking center stage for thermal sight training. Soldiers, police, and sportsmen are sharpening their shots by training with these high-contrast thermal targets. Both the Passive thermal and Powered thermal targets offer clear benefits to expand your training regimen. 

But deciding which target best suits your training depends on your personal criteria.  There are a few questions to answer before you proceed: 

  • Are you training inside or outside? 
  • What is your budget? 
  • How easy is it to set up?
  • What safety measures should I take?

Are you shooting targets inside or outside?


Passive Thermal:  This target is outside only. Taking this target inside is not an option. The no power option works best outside in an open environment. 1st generation passive targets require you to lean the target back at a 15º degree angle. IR.Tools Upright Passive Targets generate a great contrast at any angle, therefore eliminates the 15º.   

Like a fisherman, you will want to check the weather forecast. The best contrast is seen on a clear, cloudless day. Also you will want to avoid days when the temperature of the sky and ground are the same, such as winter time.

Powered Thermal: This target will work inside, outside and obstructed areas.  The target is not affected by clouds or temperatures. Therefore, the target maintains a consistent contrast regardless of the environment. Your target training is seldom interrupted because of weather conditions. 

How much will it cost me?


Passive Thermal: The absence of a power source results in less cost to operate. After your initial purchase, which is dependent on the size and volume of targets, expenses are minimal. You can extend the life of a target with low-cost thermal pasters. Depending on the size of caliber expect over 500 rounds of high contrast shooting. 

Powered Thermal: The heating element in the thermal target as well as the extra cables, batteries, etc. will add extra cost.  Like the passive target, thermal pasters will extend the life of the target. Depending on the size of the caliber expect over 1000 rounds of high-contrast shooting.

How easy is it to use?


Passive Thermal:  The Passive target travels light and you will like the flexibility. Peel and Stick or staple the passive target onto any target backer.  The target needs no power source to produce a high-contrast image to shoot.

The placement options are vast. Just remember, depending on what brand of thermal target you are shooting, you may need to lean it back 15º toward the sky.  Upright thermal targets eliminate the required angle and multiple shooters can shoot from various positions at the same time. 

Powered Thermal: The powered thermal target requires a handful of logistics and pre-planning before engaging because  you will need to secure a power source, cables, extension cords, and or batteries.  The target is light, portable and takes just 4 minutes to power up the life-like high contrast.  

Because of the power element, the target does not need to lean at a 15º.  Your positioning to the target can range from 90º-15º and multiple shooters can shoot at the same time.  

What are my safety concerns?


Passive Thermal: Put aside any worries about electric shock or fire because it will not happen. The passive target is extremely safe.

Powered Thermal: Extra safety precautions need to be taken. Misuse or mishandling of targets could lead to electric shock, injury or fire. The higher the voltage(120v) the more dangerous the shock. Warnings and precautions should be reviewed and adhered to at all times. 

Unmatched high contrast guaranteed!


As you can see, there are pros and cons for each of your training choices. 

One thing we can guarantee when used as directed, each training target will provide the unmatched life-like high contrast you seek. 

If you need help evaluating your training scenarios to determine the best option, contact us and we will help you!

Stay safe!


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How to Sharpen Your Customers’ Thermal Scope Training

 The Author

Tom Boyer profile picture

Since 2006, Tom has been the driving force behind IR.Tools, dedicated to delivering top-notch infrared solutions to the military, law enforcement, and sportsmen communities.

What began with a single infrared patch has blossomed into a comprehensive store featuring hundreds of IFF patches, vehicle IFF, an extensive suite of thermal training targets, and tools for drone pilots.

Beyond his innovative products, Tom is passionate about educating users on infrared technology and showcasing how advancements in IR can enhance their operations.

Tom holds an MS in Mechanical Engineering from the University of Maryland and an MBA from Regents University.

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