Trijicon IR Hunter MK3 60mm Review: Is The MKIII Worth It?

Image showing the hunter mk3 60mm with the title of the article and logo

The Trijicon IR Hunter MK3 is an advanced thermal hunting scope that serves one purpose: to provide an incredible hunting experience every time. This riflescope is durable, easy to use, and has excellent image quality for long-range shooting.

But is it worth its price?

Trijicon IR Hunter MK3 60mm Review

side view of the irmk3 60 with logo

Pros

  • Aluminum body 
  • Very long battery life with battery extender 
  • Parallax removal ability 
  • Adjustable turrets for focusing 
  • Excellent objective lens and large magnification

Cons

  • Price

Best for: Day shooting, night shooting, tactical purposes, surveillance, scouting, and hunting.

*January 7, 2023 Update*

The Hunter MK3 has been discontinued by Trijicon. It has been replaced by the superior Hunter Type 2 at the same price point. But if you like the Hunter MK3 you’ll love the improved Hunter Type 2:

**February 3, 2023** Update

The IR Hunter Type 2 is currently on sale until February 8, 2023 with our certified supplier. Make sure to use the links on this page to ensure you’re getting the low price:

customer review of product

Specifications

view of the top of the irmk3 60

Before we get into the features in detail, here’s a quick overview of the IR Hunter’s specs:

  • Pixel: 8 – 12 micron technology
  • Thermal resolution: 640 x 480
  • Eye relief: 1.06″
  • Refresh rate: 30 Hz/60 Hz
  • Battery: 3x CR123/6 hours
  • Color modes: White Hot/Black Hot
  • Dimensions: 7.6 l x 3.1 h x 3.3 w

Features & Benefits

ETR & Edge Detect

another view of the top of the irmk3 60

You know when the image gets that annoying low contrast at certain times that won’t give you a good focus on the target? It’s blending in too much with the environment and the image quality just isn’t sharp enough.

Well, that’s when you activate enhanced target recognition (ETR), which is exactly the function that’ll improve image quality and contrast for better vision and a surer shot.

And then there’s the Edge Detect feature that manages the display’s brightness. What this underrated feature does is prevent your location from becoming compromised, also minimizing night blindness and fatigue. With this, you can just stay on task without worrying about being detected or straining your eyes and going home early.

close up of the hunter mk3 60mm
 adjustable turrets and eye piece showing the 60mm lens

In addition, Edge Detect mode outlines the edge of the target, making it easier for the eyes to stay focused. What this means practically is that you can view your target without the image being washed out against the sky or horizon and always shoot your shot with crystal clarity.

Excellent Build Quality

A scope that you’ll be shooting thousands of rounds with needs to be superior quality, period. That’s not a problem for the MK3 though: military-approved and made from 6061-T6 aluminum. 

How do we know this? Well, the device is rated MIL-STD-810G, which indicates it has undergone harsh tests to determine its strength, ruggedness, and recoil ability. 

view of the oled display of the irmk3 60

Additionally, smaller details such as the LaRue dual lever mount, dust caps, and tethered dust covers, are great features that make up this device. Even at this price, each feature is high-end.

Versatile

The MK3 is a special hunting scope with a variety of magnifications, featuring an 8x digital zoom and 4.5x optical power, which is only the base magnification. That means users can take advantage of a whooping 36x digital magnification and track targets from incredible distances.

All you need to do is sit pretty and wait for the right moment at a comfortable distance away.

Simple and User-Friendly

Now, don’t get us wrong – although this device features a great number of functions, that doesn’t mean it’s incredibly high-tech and hard to navigate.

In fact, the intuitive interface removes the distraction of extra features, with the idea being to bring high-tech into a practical and usable device for hunters’ use without a fuss. 

So, shooters looking for thermal tech can save time setting videos, finding buttons, streaming recordings, or messing around with different color pallets.

Visual Display Resolution

For a high-end scope like this, the display quality is certainly up to the task. With a 8 – 12 micron pixel pitch (referring to the distance between the pixels on the digital display) and a 640×480 thermal resolution (the sensitivity and quality of the thermal core), you end up with a level of clarity and sharpness that’s considered the best on the market. (1)

Remember, this scope can serve purposes ranging from hunting, to surveillance, to military use, so when the best thermal tech is required, people usually turn to Trijicon.

Construction & Durability

Essentially, this advanced thermal hunting scope is built with top-quality 6061 Aircraft-grade aluminum, nitrogen purging, and a black matte finish for waterproofing. 

What this particular alloy of aluminum does is blends the properties of its constituent elements to create a stronger, more flexible, and more durable metal, resulting in a scope that’ll beat out its competition.

Attachments

picture of the Hunter Type 2 thermal optics mounted on a rifle

Now, this thermal riflescope comes with some extra attachments, including a stadiametric rangefinder to accurately tell the distance of objects of known size, a dual lever mount, battery extender, and video cable. 

Plus, it also features the useful diopter range that allows individuals who require glasses to adjust the focus and see clearly without glasses, matching their eyeglass prescription. So no need to worry about glasses on a hunt, it’s accounted for on this scope.

Refresh Rate

What’s particular about this thermal scope is that it features a dual refresh rate of 30Hz and 60Hz, allowing hunters to flow with fast-moving targets without the images blurring. Without the lag at 60Hz – the best refresh rate available – it speeds up target acquisition and lets you effortlessly track distant fleeing targets. 

So, no need to worry about an inadequate scope that can’t keep up and missing your chance.

However, switching to 30Hz will help conserve battery life and is generally suitable for most hunting conditions. With this option, you can achieve the device’s proposed 6 hours of battery life, but extra battery packs and rechargeable batteries are also viable options for getting it running again.

Limitations 

Price

As we’ve mentioned, the high price point of this device is really the one true downside of it. However, if you’re aware that Trijicon specializes in high-quality thermal imaging and night vision for the military and people in the civilian market, you’ll understand that this device is worth the salt

If you’re uncomfortable with the price, find a lesser alternative (link below). But keep in mind that quality will be sacrificed in most cases. So if you’re looking for the best, Trijicon should definitely be considered.

Who is the Trijicon IR-Hunter MK3 60mm Best For?

Image of a coyote in the crosshairs of a typical thermal optics with crips image due to the 12 micron technology

The IR-Hunter is, very unmistakably, the best for hunters and suitable for hunting in the most intense conditions. With its identification range of 400 yards, it ensures that no skinwalker, coyote, or hog can get past a hunter. 

What’s more, long shots in the dark won’t be a problem as it provides high clarity and sharpness to close the gap and ensure every hunt is a success. 

With the quality it brings, there’s no wonder why this model is a hunter’s favorite. 

How Good is the Performance of the Trijicon IR-Hunter MK3 60mm?

This Trijicon scope offers the most advanced system and digital focus control on the market. At a price a bit higher than other models, this scope provides exceptional value for the money.

But the price tag on the IR-hunter is not for everyone, just as dropping coyotes and hogs every night is not for everyone too. 

But what’s good to know is that Trijicon is known to bring out the best scopes in the thermal imaging industry, so if you want the best, here’s one that’s certainly up there.

Although, if the size is an issue and you’d like a smaller scope, go for the Trijicon Reap-IR 35mm thermal scope. The features are quite similar and the only differences are its lighter weight and lower magnification but wider field-of-view.

Trijicon IR Hunter Type 2 vs MK3

As noted above, as of January 7, 2023, the MK3 been replaced by the Type 2.

So, the question on everyone’s mind: it the new Type 2 better than the MK3?

In short, absolutely.

The IR Hunter Type 2 was made with the intention to directly respond to customers’ complaints and feedback to improve the quality of the popular MK3.

The Type 2 features an enhanced stadiametric rangefinder, improved reticle options, and more savable reticle locations. It also comes with a built-in auto dimmer and improved edge detect and image capture for even better thermographic quality.

One of the biggest aspects of this system is the improved 12-micron thermal image sensor that delivers top-notch image quality with increased thermal sensitivity in almost any light condition. Not to mention the 640×480 resolution also comes with four times as many pixels as competing 320 systems.

Trijicon IR Hunter vs Reap-IR – Which is Better for Hog Hunting? 

image of a pig in the crosshairs of a thermal scope seen through the ir hunter mk3 60mm

Between the Trijicon IR Hunter and the Reap-IR, the Reap-IR is a better option for hog hunting.

However, to preface, these scopes aren’t much different. The reason why we’d say the Reap-IR is because of its lighter weight and smaller size, making it more maneuverable when out in the field. Additionally, it’s more versatile compared to the IR Hunter as it’s helmet-mountable, weapon-mountable, and can be handheld too.

But many other features are the same and both units can easily detect hogs beyond 1 mile, making either option very capable of taking down hogs with its high specs.

Trijicon IR Hunter MK2 vs MK3

Now, there are several notable differences between the IR Hunter’s MK2 and MK3. 

Unlike the MK3, the MK2 features a single lever mount, a lower base magnification of 2.5x, a wider field of view at 12°, and the option to choose between a 20mm or 35mm lens. 

Depending on your preference, some users prefer the MK2 with a 20mm lens because of its wider view, but that also comes with a lower detection distance. 

Although the MK3 is not too different in many aspects, its improved magnification with the 60mm model is incredibly useful for long-range shooting but offers a smaller field of view. So if you’re one who regularly shoots long distances, the MK3 is a clear upgrade from its previous model.

Trijicon IR Hunter User Manual

Generic image of a user's manual explaining the maxpol polarity white hot adjustment features

For a product as feature-packed as this, the IR Hunter MKIII’s user manual will come in handy, providing proper instructions for its appropriate use. From basic to advanced features, it covers it all, so if you want a deeper look, you can download the user manual here.

My Personal Notes and Findings

If you’re a serious hunter that needs thermal for clear visibility in day and night conditions, then the Trijicon IR-Hunter MK3 is a must-have. I know, it’s not quite an affordable buy, but the value you get certainly exceeds its price.

The only attribute that may be irritating to some is the manual sensor calibration that’s required every now and then, whereas some other scopes have automatic calibration. However, it’s a minor annoyance that you get used to, overshadowed by the sheer quality it brings.

The Best AR-15 Thermal Scope for Coyote Hunting

If you’re looking for more great thermal scope picks, take a look at our article on the best AR-15 thermal scopes for coyote hunting. We cover the top IR optics for those of you who love hunting yotes with your ARs.

FAQ

What accessories come out of the box with the Trijicon IR Hunter Thermal?

Accessories that come out of the box with the Trijicon IR Hunter Thermal are a quick-release dual-levered mount, a hard case, and a shuttered eye guard. It also features necessary paperwork, including the quick reference guide, user manual, warranty card, plus the brand logo sticker, batteries, lens pen, and download cards with cable.

Does the Trijicon IR Hunter come with a mounting system?

Yes, the Trijicon IR Hunter comes with a quick-release dual-levered mount. 

Can the IR-Hunter be Mounted to a Helmet or Headgear?

No, the IR-Hunter cannot be mounted to a helmet or headgear. 

What is the Warranty on the Trijicon IR-Hunter MK3?

The Trijicon IR-Hunter MK3 and the IR series in general are covered with a warranty for the lifetime of ownership on the metal housing and the optics. 

For its electronics, the warranty only covers the first three years of purchase. 

If you’re looking to utilize the warranty replacement and repairs, users must register their IR scope with the company (a newly purchased IR-Hunter can be authenticated on their site).

What is the Detection Range of the IR-Hunter MK3 60mm?

The detection range of the IR-Hunter MK3 60mm is 1200 yards, with an identification range of 400 yards.

Where is the Trijicon IR Hunter MK3 60mm manufactured?

The Trijicon IR Hunter MK3 60mm is manufactured in the USA. Even the Japan-made Trijicon products, save for select riflescopes, are manufactured in the US. (2)

Can the IR Hunter be used as a clip-on with day optics?

No, the IR Hunter is not usable as a clip-on with day optics – it has zero clip-on capabilities. 

What caliber recoil is the IR Hunter scope rated for?

The IR Hunter scope is rated at a caliber recoil of .308. 

Verdict: Expensive, But Worth It

product image

Pros

  • Aluminum body 
  • Very long battery life with battery extender 
  • Parallax removal ability 
  • Adjustable turrets for focusing 
  • Excellent objective lens and large magnification

Cons

  • Price
customer review of product

References

  1. ResearchGate, Effects of Display Resolution on Visual Performance, retrieved from https://www.researchgate.net/publication/13315672_Effects_of_Display_Resolution_on_Visual_Performance
  2. Trijicon, Trijicon IR-HUNTER Thermal Riflescope, retrieved from https://www.trijicon.com/products/subcategory/trijicon-ir-hunter

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