Just when you thought every possible scope tech combination had been exhausted, Pulsar come out with yet another spin on what you can expect from a digital scope. This time they’re combining thermal and daytime digital via a unique dual-format optic. The device blends a daytime 4k CMOS sensor with an f1.0 XP50 Pro style 17μm 640x480 thermal.

This combination provides not one, not two, but three modes: thermal only, daytime digital, or a combination of the two. There’s no overlay or hybrid image, as it would be impossible given that both ‘scopes’ sit above and below each other and therefore aren’t aligned. However, there is a workaround.


The third mode employs a picture-inpicture (PIP) function, allowing you to have thermal in one channel and daytime digital in another. You can have thermal as the main image and full colour in the PIP or vice versa, with the thermal image in the PIP and the full-colour image as the main screen. Zoom can be applied to the PIP when active, or to the entire image when disabled. It’s simply a matter of a few button presses to toggle to whichever combination you require.

For daytime hunters and deer stalkers this is a particularly useful feature. You can use the thermal to spot a deer in cover, or any dog walkers or stock that might be obscured by the greenery. Once your quarry is located with the thermal, you can switch to daytime colour mode to make the final identification, checking the age, sex and condition of the animal prior to taking your shot.

So if one ‘scope’ is basically sitting on top of the other, how do you go about zeroing? Well it’s easy enough, but you do have to zero each channel separately. Admittedly that sounds a bit odd, but if you think about it, it’s the only way it can be done.


A bit more ammunition than usual will be expended during the initial setup phase, but it does offer some intriguing opportunities. You could set a 100m zero for the thermal channel – ideal for a spot of after-hours rabbiting or foxing – and a 200m zero on the 4k daytime optic for deer stalking. I’m a bit more of a traditionalist and zeroed both at the same distance. That way they share the same holdover, giving me a little less to think about when the time comes to pull the trigger.


The Duo follows the familiar Thermion 30mm tubed format. With all key controls, mode toggling, zoom control and recording grouped above the eyepiece, it’s effortless to drive. There’s a focusing dial up front on each side of the lens to fine-tune the thermal image, making it a truly ambidextrous device. The power button has been placed behind the day camera, with a short press nuking the sensor and a longer hold of more than three seconds initiating standby or complete shutdown.

The dual-battery system employed on all the Thermions, with one internal and one removable, simplifies management and enables easy swaps in the field. A six-hour runtime is quoted but that can obviously vary depending on how often you put the unit into standby mode. With instantaneous power up from standby and a cold boot that’s also very quick, power shouldn’t be a problem.

The image quality of the 1024x768 HD AMOLED display is impressive in both channels. However, it’s the unique ability to instantly flip between modes for detection via the thermal channel and then get detailed identification with the digital day camera that stands out for me.

Nevertheless, despite its innovative features, the Pulsar Thermion Duo DXP50 does have its limitations. The digital camera is fixed focus and designed for daytime use, making it less than ideal for twilight and a nonstarter for night shooting. However, it does feature automatic transition to a low-light mode, switching from fullcolour to a black-and-white image.


It seems the target audience is primarily daytime hunters and deer stalkers who want the backup of a thermal in the field for those tricky spotting situations, or hunters who may stay out after a stalk for some afterhours pest control.

However, let’s not forget that this is a very high-end thermal rifle scope at its core. The lack of IR/low-light imagery via the daytime digital channel won’t necessarily be a deal breaker for many night hunters.

The Duo DXP55, its bigger brother in terms of magnification range (but identical in every other respect) might also be worth a close look. The daytime image on the DXP55 looks particularly impressive from some examples I’ve seen and it might well be worth trying both models side-by-side before making a final decision.


Under the bonnet – or should I say, within the menu system – it’s business as usual from Pulsar, with all the features you’d expect from a device in this price range. Their user interface and short-press/long-press combinations have been aped by everyone in the industry, but Pulsar still rule the roost when it comes to interface design and the customisability of their optics.

Multiple reticles, first focal plane (FFP) style and otherwise, custom colour schemes, one-shot zeroing and freeze frame, and connectivity to the Stream Vision 2 app – it’s all there waiting to be used.


A dedicated night hunter might well prefer the LRF version of the Thermion 2 – the LRF XG50 – which retails for roughly the same price. But for those who are predominantly daytime shooters and want the additional detection talents and backup of a thermal while out stalking, the Duo has real appeal.

With the Thermion Duo XP50 Pro retailing at the same price, you’re essentially getting its daytime digital abilities thrown in for free – although the term ‘free’ does seem a bit surreal when we’re talking about optics that retail in this sort of price range.


  • 640x480, 17μm, <25mK NETD Europeanmade thermal sensor
  • 3840x2160 4k CMOS daytime full-colour sensor
  • Fast aperture 50mm f1.0 germanium objective lens
  • 2x base magnification to 16x
  • Combined picture-in-picture from both optics
  • 1024x768 HD AMOLED display
  • Still image and video recorder
  • Stream Vision 2 compatibility
  • Picture-in-picture
  • 8 colour palettes
  • 5 shooting profiles
  • 10 zeroing profiles
  • 10 colour customisable reticles
  • High-calibre recoil rated
  • IPX7 waterproof rated