ATF NFA SBR Engraving Requirements for Form 1 Short Barreled Rifle Build

So every time someone considers building a short barreled rifle with an AR15 receiver, MP5 Receiver, or any of the vast variants that exists out there for making an SBR, inevitably someone will chime in and say you either do or don’t need to get it engraved.Why is there so much confusion about this?  Partly because people who should read don’t, or they think it takes a lawyer to interpret the NFA regulations, or joe shmoe on some ar build forum said somebody at some large manufacturer said you don’t need to, or lastly, because somebody called the ATF and the ATF said it wasn’t necessary.  If you search hard enough you’ll find all of these cases online and clearly documented.  So, who’s right?  Well, the guy who read the regulations in the actual NFA handbook is right.  So what exactly does the handbook say about engraving NFA items that you make on a form 1?

A great location to engrave your SBR, under the trigger guard

ATF 5300.4 in 27 CFR 479.102 (see page 92) the following must be on the firearm

1) On the Frame or Receiver the Serial number;

2) on the frame, receiver, or barrel the following additional information;

A)The model;

B)The caliber or gage;

C)Your name or name of the Trust in the case of a Trust

D)The city and state

The above mentioned information must be engraved, casted, stamped (impressing) or otherwise conspicuously placed or caused to be engraved, cast, stamped (impressed) or placed to a minimum depth of .003 inch and in a print size of the Serial number shall be no smaller than 1/16 inch.

Now, where it gets dicey is in your interpretation.  If you have a lower that is already marked with a serial, manufacturer name, city/state, etc… can you use this information?  In short, you can use part of it, you can use the serial number and the model number.  However since you are filling out the form 1 (application to MAKE and register a firearm….) that makes you the maker, so your information needs to go on it as well.  See where the confusion happens?  You need to make sure your name and city/state are on the receiver.  But it says barrel is ok too…..  Yes, but to keep it simple, do it on the receiver.  There is no reason to over complicate it, and if you ever change the barrel, do you want to have to explain that, ever?  The correct answer is no…

So now that we have this new need to engrave our SBR, where should we go?  Well, how much time/money/pain&suffering do you have tied up in building an SBR and filling the appropriate forms out?  Sure you can go to a local trophy shop and have it done (engraving is considered gunsmithing, and an FFL is required – even if you wait in the office for it to be done….) at your own risk, but just google a few key words to see how inexperienced people have goobered up somebody’s receiver that is already on the application that was mailed in, or already on their tax stamp, etc….  All to save $20 over having a professional that does it on a daily basis take care of it.  The choice is ultimately yours, and yes, I have a little bit of skin in the game here, but seriously, think about the reward versus the risk, just to save a few bucks.  Another often overlooked aspect is rotary engraving vs. laser engraving.  Both methods have their advantages, rotary is fast and efficient, and laser engraving is much more even and clean.  Rotary engraving will often chip up the edges of the anodizing, and there is the possibility of having minor scuffs or marks from jigs that are required to hold the receiver in place.  Laser engraving does not suffer from these drawbacks, and has the ability to mark in tight places where a rotary engraving head is not able to reach, so ask your engraver what they use to get it done.  As for us, we use an industrial laser, so we are able to mark under trigger guards, and also engrave logos on the mag well in extreme definition not afforded with rotary engraving.  When you get ready to build your next short barreled rifle, check out the SBR engraving at

NFA SBR Engraving Starter Kit – Fastest way to getting a legal SBR Build Done

NFA Engraving for an SBR Build

Our NFA SBR Kit with an additional engraved logo

With the popularity of short barreled rifles on the rise, an interesting problem has arisen regarding the marking requirements of the National Firearms Act.  The law states that anyone that makes a firearm on a Form 1 must mark the receiver or frame with the name and city/state.  Since you are making the firearm, that is you!  There are some other details about depth and height that you don’t need to worry about, only the engraver does.  So what do most people do?  They wait until they have their form 1 and then they have to send off their lower that is now a registered NFA firearm to an engraver out of state to have their markings put on the lower.  We are offering a more convenient and cost effective (cheaper!) option to purchase a lower from us and have the engraving done up front.  This saves you time and money right from the start.  We offer this service on all of the lowers we sell and have special deals on Anderson Manufacturing and Spike’s lowers.  We are also a full custom shop with the ability to cerakote and even color fill most logos.  We’ll ship the lower to your FFL for free and you’ll be ready to go and fill out your Form 1 as soon as you receive your lower.  If you are looking to make a really stand out firearm, we can also custom engrave fire control marks, magwell logos, and we offer engraving on a full line of AR accessories such as the ejection port dust covers, takedown pins, pivot pins, mag releases, etc….  Our turnaround times are usually pretty quick depending on how much extra work we are doing.  We can also blacken the text and engrave on the front of the mag well/trigger area if requested.  If you have specific caliber needs we can also accommodate them.  If you are new to the NFA game, we highly recommend getting a trust (while you still can!).  So what are you waiting for, get your Form 1 started off the right way with our SBR Engraving kit.  For details like pricing and how to order check out our AR Engraving section on our website.


SBR Engraving Service For NFA Form 1 Firearms

A good spot for getting your SBR engraved, under the trigger guard

Hidden place for NFA engraving, under the trigger guard

With the recent news of the Sig arm brace approval getting redacted, this leaves a ton of AR pistol owners out there with a gun that they can’t use as they were hoping.  AR pistols are cool, don’t get me wrong, but 99% of the reason that most of you bough them was for the Sig Arm brace loophole, right?  Well, the ATF stomped all over that by reversing their ruling and stated that if you shoulder the arm brace, you have just NFA’d your pistol (I know NFA’d is not a real word, but you know what I meant!).  A lot of people didn’t like the aspect of getting an SBR, and lets face it, there is some hassle, but we are doing everything we can to make it as easy as possible.  We have combined several services under one roof so you can get your SBR done as fast as possible.  We are able to deep engrave your trust or personal name and city,state as required by the national firearms act when you make a form 1.  Since we also Cerakote, we can do this at the same time to save you both time and money and shipping all the way around.  If you are looking to start a new build, we can also provide you with a lower receiver from Anderson, Spike’s, Noveske, and any other brand we carry.  If you have questions about the NFA process or Form 1 completion don’t hesitate to shoot us an email and we’ll do our best to assist you.  We can also color fill, add custom fire control engravings, or other engravings on the firearm.  This is a truly one of a kind one stop NFA shop for building your SBR.  Turn around time is usually pretty quick so get your orders in ASAP so you can start the hurry up and wait ATF process.  If we can offer some advice, get a trust done by someone familiar with NFA trusts, this can be done for as little as $80 online.  Keep your trust name short, because it has to be engraved completely without abbreviations, so if you are looking for engraving in the trigger guard, or front of the magwell this is important!  You can send us a lower you have, or buy the lower straight from us, either way is perfectly acceptable.  Find out more about getting your SBR engraving done at

Laser Engraved AR15 Lower Receiver with Custom Graphics

AR Lower Receiver Laser Engraved

A custom engraved AR15 lower receiver deep engraved with industrial laser

AR’s are all the rage right now.  Everybody has one, some have many!  And right there is the main topic of this post. Everybody has an AR15, they all look pretty much the same, so how can you make yours stand out?  We have come up with a great solution to this #firstworld problem, laser engraving.  Why?  Because we can.  So you may wonder why would I want to get this laser engraved.  Think of it this way, this is YOUR rifle, there are many like it…yeah, I know you’ve heard it.  Getting a laser engraved AR15 lower receiver with a custom logo or graphic is your opportunity to express yourself to your gun buddies and random people you will meet at the range.  If you have an engraved receiver, people will definitely notice, and chances are, you will be one of the few, if only, to have it done.  It will take you from just another AR junkie, to an AR junkie with flare, even in some cases operator status!  All joking aside, we are human, it is in our nature to tweak things, modify things, customize things, you name it, and this is simply taking it to the next step.

Whether you are looking to put company logos, personal sayings, 2nd amendment, tribute dates, or other logos, this is the way to do it.  We do offer deep engraving as well that we’ll discuss in another post, but it really gives you the feel of quality and can be color filled to create great contrast.  Or, if you are building a form 1 SBR (short barreled rifle) we can also handle the ATF requirement for engraving.  Shoot us an email today to discuss your custom job and we’ll make sure your next trip to the range is an awesome one.  Get more information on custom engraved ar-15 lower receivers.

Custom Laser Engraved Ejection Port Dust Cover for AR15

Laser Engraved AR15 Ejection Port Dust Cover

An example of laser engraving the ejection port dust cover for an AR-15

We’ve all seen them, some of us have them, but you can never have enough of them.  What am I talking about?  Custom Laser Engraved ejection port dust covers for the AR-15 rifle and or pistol variant.  Come and take it, MOLON LABE, Don’t tread on me, Zombie Killer, Gonzalez Flag, Gadsden Flag, Liberty or Death, Caliber designations such as 300 AAC Blackout, 6.8SPC, 9mm, 556/223…  I could literally go on forever with what is possible to put on these covers.  A personal favorite of mine is the polite exterior cover such as the Don’t Tread on Me Snake when closed, then when you are engaged in firing the door opens and shows Come and Take It.  The themes are limited only by your imagination.  Another one referred to hope and change, I’ll let you guess which engraving when where….  Why do we like these so much?  They are a personal touch, a piece of flare if you may, that you can easily and cheaply add to your rifle to show off when at the range.  It will definitely turn heads at the range and it’s sure to start a conversation with some of your favorite friends sharing similar political ideals – usually!  Installation is quite simple, remove the c-clamp and carefully slide the retaining rod out towards the end of the receiver (this is for standard uppers, it will look like it won’t pull all the way out, but with a little gentle caressing, it will go…).  Take not of which direction the spring is installed, in fact, take a picture or make sure to have another upper around that you can reference when re-installing it.  Once installed, check the function and make sure the door opens and closes as it should.  After that, take it to the range and show it off.  Oh, don’t forget to take a few selfies with it and post on facebook where you got it :)   J/K…  Our dust covers are engraved in house using a state of the art laser engraving system that creates an oxide laser on the surface of the cover what will not wear off or rust.  We priced them right – just like everything else – so what are you waiting for, start collecting your pieces of flare and get them suited up on your AR.  A standard AR is a neglected AR, bling yours out today with a custom laser engraved ejection port dust cover from

Laser Engraved Magpul Pmag for 300 AAC Blackout AR15 Rifles

Laser Engraved 300 AAC Blackout Magpul Pmag

Laser Engraved 300 AAC Blackout Magpul Pmag

So you just finished your 300 AAC Blackout AR15 rifle did you?  With the amount of accessories available for AR’s these days, custom and personalized parts are becoming the next greatest thing in allowing you to take your rifle to the next level of awesomeness.  The Magpul PMAG is no exception.  Through a unique process we are able to permanently engrave text and images into the polymer of the magazine using an industrial laser engraving machine.  The laser actually super heats the polymer to the point of foaming, which results in tiny air bubbles forming in the polymer.  So in effect, it makes the polymer lighter in the areas we hit with the laser.  This is a pretty slow process as it has to be done carefully so as not to melt the polymer all together.  The PMAGs are a great canvass to express your opinion or pro-2nd amendment sentiment to all of your buddies at your next range party.  We all know and love the Magpul PMAG for what it is primarily, a highly reliable functioning magazine, and we all have stacks of them sitting around, so what better use for a few of them to engrave and personalize them.  This particular mag has been marked “300 Blackout” in a cool font.  Slap this sucker in the next time you go to the range and let everybody know that you aren’t just your everyday AR plinker shooting milsurp 556 ammo, but that you are sending some serious lead downrange (and lets face it, some serious dinero….).  These mags are simple but quite effective at communicating the tacticoolness of your rifle.  As a side note, if you have multiple AR’s including some chambered in 556/223, this is an easy way to keep your rounds separate to prevent the bad scenario that could happen if you try to load the wrong round in your gun (think KA-BOOM!)  All in all, you can’t really go wrong with these mags if you have a Blackout, stash a few in your go bag, or just keep them ready for the range.  Check out a short video on how we make these in house below, and head to to pick a few up.

Storm Lake Barrels Review

Storm Lake Barrel

Storm Lake Barrel

For some gun owners, the way a gun comes from the factory is the way the gun stays forever.  For others, it is just the beginning of a journey to optimum fit and function to an individual’s needs and wants.  We’ve done a few topics so far, Tritium Night Sights, LaserMax Native Green Guide Rod Laser, and we’ll have more to come, as this is a very meaty subject!  Obviously today we are looking at Storm Lake Barrels and what they bring to the table as far as pistol customization.

I originally began looking at replacement barrels so I could use a suppressor on my pistol.  Most factory barrels are not long enough and they are not threaded to support a suppressor.  Some manufacturers offer factory threaded options, but the list is rather short and they are usually pricey and hard to get.  That’s where Storm Lake comes in.  They have an extensive list of barrels available with an amazing amount of options.  You can get threaded barrels, ported barrels, extended barrels, custom feed ramps, custom finishes, and I’m sure even more than that.  Let’s not forget, we are just talking about a barrel here, and that is a lot of options!

Storm Lake Barrels offer replacement barrels for most 1911 pistols, Glock, Sig Sauer, Smith & Wesson, and Springfield Armory.  The barrels are all machined from 416R Stainless steel and hardened to 40-42 HRC.  Storm Lake describes the barrels to be match grade, and broach rifled so they are able to shoot jacketed or lead bullets.  Because of the many options they have available, I highly recommend when you are ready to get one, heading on over to their website and using the barrel builder to get the exact part number you need so you can make sure you order the exact right barrel.

Our test gun for this review is a Glock 19 Gen3.  I wanted to be able to suppress this pistol, so I opted for the threaded barrel with a thread protector.  Just a side note about thread protectors – use them.  If you have anything that is threaded, before you either remove a muzzle device, or install a threaded barrel, make sure you absolutely have a thread protector.  One small “oops” and your threads – and barrel – are ruined.  Back to the barrel!  Installation was a snap, if you can remove your factory barrel, you can add a Storm Lake Barrel, very easily.  If using a threaded barrel, make sure you remove the thread protector when installing the barrel, and INSTALL THE BARREL VERY CAREFULLY SO AS TO NOT SCREW UP THE THREADS!!! Ok, I’m done with my soapbox for now…  Once you have the barrel through the slide, put that thread protector back on it, and reassemble the pistol.

The fit was perfect, and functions perfectly in the Glock 19.  Immediately you will notice, your pistol now looks different (if you get the stainless finish…) which will make it stand out, and will probably get people asking about it.  In shooting, I didn’t notice any thing out of the ordinary, and the barrel performed just as you would expect a match grade barrel to perform.  If you choose to get an extended barrel with ports, the ports will help to keep muzzle rise to a minimum, which is especially helpful for match shooters.  The suppressor we put on the Glock is a SilencerCo Osprey45, and it threaded on perfectly and functions flawlessly on the pistol.  I couldn’t be more pleased with the combination.

Overall, Storm Lake Barrels makes a great product for the money and it is sure to keep you on target, while giving you the flexibility you need to customize your pistol for your purposes.  As always, get Storm Lake Barrels at for the lowest price online!




Trijicon Pistol Night Sights Review with Pictures Green-Yellow-Orange

Trijicon Tritium Pistol Night Sights

Trijicon Tritium Pistol Night Sights

Anyone who has a pistol for self defense or is just a gear-head has heard about (or at least should have!) night sights for your pistol.  Night sights are up there on my list of top upgrades to be done as soon as I get a new pistol, before I even carry it!  It is naive to assume any confrontation you will have will be lit enough for you to use the standard sights to easily aim and hit your target, lets face it, it’s dark about half of the time!  So it should go without saying that you should equip your pistol with some way to use the sights in the event of low or poor light conditions.  There are a number of ways to do this – a flashlight, laser sight, etc…. but when it comes down to reliability nothing really beats good old tritium night sights.  The basic premise of tritium night sights is a small tube is lined with phosphorescent material then filled with gaseous tritium.  The beta decay of the tritium causes the phosphorescent material to glow.  Because of the slow decay of tritium, this process will effectively work for about 10-20 years with only minor dimming of the light output.  Tritium night sights require no external charging or power to work, and most are guaranteed for up to 10 years!  It is this simple and reliable reason that tritium night sights are the preferred option for night sights on your pistol.

So now that we have established why tritium night sights are the way to go, there are several manufacturers that make these sights, how do you choose?  I have noticed that most of the tritium vials are made by Trijicon and then used in other manufacturers sights.  Really the best way to go is to find the set that fits your pistol the best and offers the features/look that you want.  What features you ask could be present in a standard tritium night sight?  Well, one important one we’ll discuss here is color.  Some manufacturers offer the option to get different color front and back sights.  The reasoning behind this is if you are in a stressful situation with low light, there is a chance you might accidentally line up your front sight on the outside of your rear sight and not know it.  Here are a few examples of a set of green/green tritium sights, and a set of yellow/green tritium sights.

Yellow/Green Trijicon Night Sights

Yellow/Green Lined up properly

Yellow/Green Trijicon Night Sights

Yellow/Green Misaligned

Green/Green Trijicon Night Sights

Green Sights aligned properly

Green/Green Trijicon Night Sights

Green sights misaligned

You can see how there is much more contrast between front and back with the yellow/green sights.  I’m not going to say that you wouldn’t be able to figure it out with the green/green, but in a gunfight, you don’t want to play fair, you want every possible advantage, and if the contrast can possibly help you, why wouldn’t you want it?!?!  Now you might wonder why I specifically chose the yellow/green sights.  There are a number of different colors and combinations of tritium night sights out there, so here are a few things to consider:

  • Green is the brightest tritium color and will last 10-20 years
  • Yellow is also a very bright tritium color (not quite as bright as green) and will last the same as green, 10-20 years
  • Orange is not as bright, and will only last 5-10 years

So with these considerations, I recommend having a green front sight since it is further from your eye, and a yellow rear sight since it will last longer than orange.  Trijicon makes the yellow/green tritium night sight set for most pistols, it might take some digging to find it, but I believe it is worth every penny.  I have a set of green/green on a S&W M&P, and this new set of yellow/green is installed on my Glock 19.  I can honestly say that while either is better than nothing, the yellow/green set really stands out and I’m able to line up the sights faster given the contrast of the different colors.

Trijicon makes night sights for almost all major brands such as Glock, S&W, Remington, Sig Sauer, Taurus, most 1911 pistols, Beretta, Browning, Colt, CZ, Desert Eagle, Kimber, H&K, Ruger, Springfield Armory, Walther & more.  If you do get a set of Trijicon tritium night sights for your pistol, pay a gunsmith the $30 or so it will cost to have them installed.  There are a lot of ways to scratch a pistol slide up, and if you do it to your own gun, all you’ll ever see is the scratch you left when you look at the sights!  Hopefully this has helped clear up the mud a bit on pistol night sights, when you are ready, come visit us at ManVentureOutpost for Trijicon tritium night sights.

LaserMax Native Green Guide Rod Laser Review

LaserMax Native Green Guide Rod Laser

LaserMax Native Green Guide Rod Laser

LaserMax recently launched a new spin on and old favorite, the Native Green Guide Rod Laser.  This new laser breaks through some of the barriers that kept older green lasers from being as reliable as any firearm owner would want them to be.  But, who cares, green, red, it’s a dot, right?  Well, sort of right.  Firearm lasers have been around for a long time now, and most of them are red.  Why?  Red lasers are cheap, efficient, and maybe most importantly, reliable.  Why would you ever want to change that? Well, the human eye is more sensitive to green light, so a green light will appear brighter than a red light of the same intensity.  While some people will call green lasers “daylight” lasers, they certainly work much better than their red counterpart, but in direct sunlight you are still going to have a bit of trouble locating the dot at more than 10 yards.

Until recently, green lasers were a power hungry and unstable beast, usually inoperable at cold temperatures, you know, in the arctic tundra where most of us live right now……Where was I, oh yeah, the green laser.  Older Green lasers are called DPSS (diode pumped solid state) lasers which means an infrared laser diode is aimed at a special crystal that doubles the frequency of the light and out comes green light.  The new technology that has just come out does not have the frequency doubling crystal, and instead the laser diode is actually green.  So what does this mean, the new Native Green LaserMax lasers combine the reliability and simplicity of the tried and true red laser with the visibility of the green laser.

So with all of that technical stuff behind us, lets look at the actual LaserMax Native Green Guide Rod Laser.  We installed our guide rod laser in a Gen 3 Glock 19, a very standard pistol.  Installation took probably about 10 minutes.  LaserMax provides all the parts and even a few tools to make installation go quickly (we’ll have a video on youtube soon).  The basic premise of the installation is as follows:

  1. Unload firearm and verify it is empty and safe
  2. Remove slide from frame
  3. Remove take down (this will vary from gun to gun, but was super easy on the Glock 19
  4. Replace take down with the new one provided by LaserMax
  5. Remove guide rod and recoil spring from slide
  6. Replace with guide rod laser and spring provided
  7. Check function of pistol and activation of laser

That’s about it, they keep it very simple.  I’m going to focus on the Glock 19 installation here for a bit, and discuss why I like it.  LaserMax provides a new take down latch and spring, and a handy tool to get the spring back in the correct spot.  Once installed, the laser is activated by pressing in on the take down.  This means the laser is ambidextrous, and the switch is exactly where it should be, your finger rests on it when you are keeping it off the trigger in the safe position.

Now I am also a fan of Crimson Trace and the instinctive activation, and thought that was great, but LaserMax brings up a good point in their literature about lasers and why theirs is superior.  They state with their laser, you don’t activate it until you want to, so there is no chance you reveal yourself/firearm/position/etc… until you actually flip the laser on.  Honestly I can see both sides, but it is something to consider depending on how you think you will be using the laser.

Back to the LaserMax Native Green Guide Rod Laser.  As with all the guide rod lasers, there is no adjustment they are factory aligned at 20 yards.  This is a strong point to consider, there is nothing to go out of alignment, you can be confident that wherever the laser is pointing, that is where you are going to shoot.  Since the laser is internal, it also means you will be able to use it with any holster you might have or any other accessory you might want to, and it adds absolutely no bulk to the pistol.  In fact, if you were to look at a pistol with a guide rod laser and compare it to one without, you probably wouldn’t notice unless you were familiar with the guide rod laser controls.  The guide rod lasers are also very durable, and they are backed up by an unheard of 5 year warranty.  When is the last time you heard of anything electronic being backed up with a warranty that long???  One last feature to mention is the actual laser.  The laser, when activated, pulses rapidly.  This is to help your eye pick up on the dot faster.  I have yet to confirm this, but I can see where they are coming from, and another benefit is it will increase the battery life versus a continuous wave laser.  A related note, the battery life is rated at one hour of use, which will probably last most users a very long time unless you are just pointing it around all day for fun…..which I don’t recommend!

I have had the Native Green Guide Rod Laser installed on my Glock for probably a month now.  I left it in my truck overnight when we had some below zero temperatures this month, and it still functioned, which honestly surprised me, so you know it is good to go!  Shooting with the laser can help illuminate (pun intended) bad habits such as anticipating or pulling, because you will see the jerk right before you shoot.

One last thought regarding putting a laser on a pistol.  Not only can having a laser give you a faster target acquisition time, improve your “bad position” aim allowing you to be confident in situation where you might not normally be, but is also shows the bad guy right where you are aiming.  When you get right down to it, nobody wants to have to shoot someone to defend themselves.  If I wound up with a weapon laser dot on my chest, I would certainly think twice about whatever it was I was doing that got it there, so weapon lasers can also act as a deterrent.  In my book, the LaserMax Native Green Guide Rod Laser is a definite advantage that I am sure glad I have on my side.

Buy LaserMax at

FLIR PS24 and PS32 Scout Thermal Camera Review

FLIR PS32 PS24 Scout Thermal Camera

FLIR PS32 PS24 Scout Thermal Camera

You have everything, we get it…but, do you have a FLIR thermal camera?  Probably not.  Why do you need one?  Because they are AMAZING!  I have had one for a year or so and I played around with it a little, and it was at best a novelty with a few legitimate uses I came up with so my wife wasn’t as upset at me for getting it….  That all changed a few days ago when I took it with me out to the tree stand for deer season.  I was skunked the day before, and as I was going back to the house, I literally took 1 step from the tree stand ladder and spooked a few doe that were about 50 yards from my tree stand that had been there all morning, and I never noticed.  So I thought the next day I’d take the FLIR PS32 Scout out with me to see if I could see anything bedded down close to the tree stand.  Well I picked the perfect morning, it was foggy, I mean can’t see where you are walking foggy.  As I approached the woods I again spooked up a few doe, I assumed they ran off down the mountain, but just to check I pulled out the FLIR to see what I could see.  They had not ran down the mountain, but rather across a culvert 90 degrees from where I thought they went.  This was on the other side of a massive thicket that you can’t see through, about 40 yards away.  So, pitch black outside, foggy, and the deer are on the other side of a large thicket, but I can see exactly where they are thanks to the FLIR PS32 Thermal Camera.  I sat there for a few minutes just watching them through the camera walk up the hill.  I was astonished how clearly it was to locate them using the red hot mode of the camera.  I decided to continue down to the tree stand, stopping and scanning every 30 yards or so with the FLIR.  It was cool to be able to see in the pitch black fog, but it was more valuable to know that there were no deer around and to keep moving.

After I got myself settled in the tree stand, a quick scan around the perimeter to see if there was anything interesting around, and about 100 yards away I see a small red speck using the red hot mode.  It was still too foggy to see more than about 15 yards, but I had spotted this deer a long ways away, in between a lot of trees.  It continued to move away from me and there was no way I could see it through my rifle scope to determine anything further.  I ended up sitting there a few more hours and didn’t see anything, and I know nothing evaded me because I was continually scanning with the FLIR Scout.  This experience was very eye opening because it demonstrated to me how much actually gets by us when we are in the woods, and how effective the thermal camera was at viewing through dense vegetation to see a deer sized animal.

Aside from the intended use of the FLIR Thermal Scout as a tool for wildlife viewing and hunting, I have also used the FLIR for a lot of other uses.  I have identified leaks or poorly insulated places in our home.  You can find air leaks in your house easily so you can seal them up and lower your heating/cooling costs.  I have used it to view overloaded circuit breakers in a breaker box.  Varmint hunting at night is awesome with a thermal camera, you can see them long before they can see you, if you pair it with a night vision scope, you can completely hunt in the dark and never spook them, making your shots even easier.  I have also used it to diagnose problems with cars, as you can easily target exhaust leaks, sticking brake pads, or overheating components.  It also makes it very easy to determine if a car has been started recently as the whole front half of the car will show as warmer than the rear.  You can see footprints, hand prints, even people with a fever will stand out when compared to others.  The uses are literally limited only by your imagination.

If you are using this as an alternative to traditional tube night vision, I find that the black hot mode provide excellent contrast for navigating your way around.  FLIR Cameras excel in this particular use, because they require absolutely no ambient light, and do not need an illuminator in low light conditions.  This means if you are wanting to remain hidden, you won’t have to use what is equivalent to a flashlight to other people with night vision (illuminator), and you will see them coming from several hundred yards away!  Maybe one of the biggest differences when using a FLIR Scout versus traditional night vision is the ability to see through fog.  I discussed it earlier in regards to the deer, but it is very significant.  Very thick fog will cut down on how far you are able to see with the camera, but you will still be able to see other warm blooded or hot objects a good ways off.

The FLIR Scout PS32 comes with a native resolution of 320×240, and has a 2x digital zoom, which basically cuts the resolution in half, but makes the perceived image larger.  The FLIR Scout PS24 has a native resolution of 240×180.  Both have an integrated tripod adapter, a rechargeable lithium ion battery that can be charged from a USB port, and feature a rubberized outer case that is comfortable to hold.  My biggest complaint however, is the lack of a hot shoe for these units.  For surveillance or wildlife viewing, the ability to capture video on an external device is a necessity, and I can only speculate at why that functionality was left off these units.  There are sites showing a “diy” hot shoe using the connectors on the bottom, which I have used to capture video, but do that at your own risk.

With the revolutionary FLIR PS32 and PS24 Scout Thermal Camera, FLIR has essentially brought thermal imaging capability to the masses.  Sure it’s still expensive, but it is at least attainable without literally trading in a car to buy it.  If you can find other uses and reasons to own it, such as insulating your house, finding faulty wiring, security, missing person searches, varmint control, etc…. there I go with that list of great uses to tell your wife again….  The bottom line, if you have always wanted thermal imaging from the time you first saw it, it is now available, and there are some very good reasons to have one.  Buy the FLIR PS24 and PS32 Scout at  You can watch our demo video on Youtube (we used the ports on the bottom where a hot shoe should attach and a video recorder to get this footage).