If you’ve been paying attention to video games in recent years, you know that first-person shooters continue their domination of the industry. Franchises like Call of Duty and Fortnite have allowed players to hone their shooting skills from the comfort of a couch.
Since we’re all about using thermal scopes in real life, we wondered – what are the best thermal scopes in video games? Since these titles tout their realism and authenticity (at least, as far as weapons go), we wanted to check out some thermal scopes to see how well they stack up. Here’s a breakdown of what we discovered.
Top Thermal Scope in Video Games
Although there are tons of FPS video games, and many have thermal scopes, we’re narrowing our search to modern franchises offering stunning realism. Examples include Call of Duty: Warzone and Escape From Tarkov.
Here’s an overview of each scope and how well it works within its respective game.
Call of Duty: Warzone
Warzone is a Battle Royale game with a massive multiplayer map, but what’s most impressive is that it’s free to play. Whether you enjoy perching and sniping or getting into the thick of it, Warzone has two guns with thermal scopes: the M4A1 Assault Rifle and the Kar98k Sniper Rifle.
M4A1 Fully-Automatic Assault Rifle
Using scopes on an assault rifle can be dangerous when playing a Battle Royale game. Since the outline of the scope takes up most of your screen, your peripherals are virtually invisible while you’re aiming.
However, as the video below illustrates, using an M4A1 with a Merc Thermal Optic Scope actually provides users with a distinct advantage. Since some map areas are cluttered or offer limited visibility, this thermal scope cuts through the noise exceptionally well.
Kar98k Sniper Rifle
As far as sniper rifles go, the Kar98k doesn’t seem to be anyone’s favorite. However, with the thermal scope equipped, users notice a significant improvement in speed and accuracy.
The COD developers evidently want to incentivize players to advance to higher levels to unlock better equipment. And fortunately, this tactic seems to be working for Warzone. (1)
Call of Duty: Modern Warfare
Initially, Call of Duty games were set during World War II. However, with only so much material to mine from that conflict, the franchise eventually branched out into modern warfare. It’s a good thing it did because thermal scopes didn’t exist in the 1940s, but they’re treasured for modern conflicts.
Kilo 141 Fully-Automatic Assault Rifle
Again, putting a thermal scope on an assault rifle is a bit tricky and risky. However, players can unlock the Merc Thermal Optic Scope at level 56, then the Thermal Hybrid Scope at 61.
Both scopes offer exceptional accuracy and filter out much of the player’s surroundings. Plus, it gets easier to manage quick shots the more you use these scopes.
Escape From Tarkov
This game sets players in the fictional city of Norvinsk, where two rival private defense companies are engaging in an all-out war. There are several thermal scopes you can collect and equip during the game, including:
- FLIR RS-32 2.25-9x 35mm 60Hz thermal riflescope
- Torrey Pines Logic T12W 30Hz thermal reflex sight
- Trijicon REAP-IR thermal scope
Since these scopes reflect real-world counterparts, they offer remarkable realism when playing this game. Plus, some scopes are usable as a monocular on a helmet or as a separate viewing device.
Since Fortnite came out in 2017, video gaming has never been the same. This title kicked off the current Battle Royale phase and is still a fan favorite among younger players.
Unlike Call of Duty or Escape From Tarkov, Fortnite only has one assault rifle with a thermal scope attached. Unfortunately, this one gun isn’t quite as handy or realistic as its other video game counterparts. (2)
However, shortly after it was released, one enterprising individual discovered you could get 100-percent accuracy by switching to the scope and back immediately so it doesn’t take over the whole screen. That said, this loophole has likely been patched since this discovery.
Overall, it’s easy to see that thermal scopes are highly popular in video games, and this trend is unlikely to change anytime soon. As long as thermal imaging delivers more accurate results than looking through a standard lens, these scopes will always attract lots of attention.
Popular Podcasts and Thermal Scope Forums
If you’re looking to learn more about the IR optics available for purchase, make sure to check out our article on popular podcasts and thermal scope forums. It’s a great place to learn more about what’s out there and interact with the community.
- Dexerto, “Warzone guru JGOD proves Kar98’s thermal scope gives surprising buff,” retrieved from https://www.dexerto.com/call-of-duty/warzone-guru-jgod-proves-kar98s-thermal-scope-gives-surprising-buff-1721210/
- Eurogamer, “Where to find thermal weapon in Fortnite and Huntmaster Saber location,” retrieved from https://www.eurogamer.net/where-to-find-thermal-weapon-scoped-ar-fortnite-9006#section-1
I have been writing firearms and outdoor material for over 50 years to date. I have hunted across the world, including Russia, and a great deal of time professional hunting in Australia. I currently live in the American West and hunt all across the Black Hills of South Dakota and the Big Horn Mountains. I have specialized much of my work as a load developer in shotguns and rifles. I have run a small company that builds suppressor barrels of my design and load tests for writing purposes and consulting. My commercial names include Ballistics Research & Development / Metro Gun Systems TM.
Or contact me at: