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October 7th, 2019

Thermal Optics for Hunters — Leupold LTO Tracker 2 and HD

Leupold stevens hunting hunter Thermal Optic Imager LTO heat source spotter

Were in prime hunting season now. Here’s an advanced product that can help you track down a prize buck. The Leupold Thermal Optics (LTO) Tracker 2 is a hand-held, heat-detection device designed as a hunting tool for game observation and game recovery. A high-performance 7X thermal spotter, the LTO Tracker 2 can detect heat sources out to 600 yards. The advanced thermal imaging engine fires up in less than five seconds and offers fast 30hz frame rates and 240×204 display resolution. The LTO Tracker 2 is compact and weighs just 7 ounces. It is listed as 100% waterproof, fogproof, and shockproof.

The hand-held unit features a 14-degree field of view and 7x digital zoom. Five different thermal filters provide multiple viewing options. The LTO’s CR123 lithium battery provides more than 10 hours of continuous use. A user-controlled reticle allow the user to quickly pinpoint a game animal or other thermal source. The latest LTO Tracker 2 is $526.14 on Amazon, while Leupold’s High-Definition (HD) LTO Tracker 2 HD unit retails for around $950.00.

Leupold stevens hunting hunter Thermal Optic Imager LTO heat source spotter
Photo shows original model LTO Tracker. The newer Tracker 2 is 7X vs. 6X magnification.

Use LTO Tracker 2 Thermal to Track Animals and Guide your Hunt
From checking your ingress path to your stand, to helping track wounded animals, the LTO Thermal can perform many tasks. Hunters can use the LTO Tracker 2 to spot their quarry’s heat trail and efficiently recover the downed animal. Using the LTO Tracker 2, hunters can also plan their walk to their stand or blind with minimal risk of scaring off game. Where legal, varmint or feral hog hunters can use the LTO Tracker 2 to identify their quarry, leading to more successful hunts.

Verified Purchaser Field Test Review:
“I have a night vision scope I use for hunting hogs and it works well up to about 150 yards. I purchased the Leupold LTO Tracker 2 hand-held thermal monocular for scanning and identifying critters outside the range of the night vision scope. The first night I used the device, I was able to see rabbits playing at 200 yards, two deer eating in a soybean field 315 yards, and I was able to see hogs at 150 yards (5 yards inside the woods before they came out into the open field). Without this device, I would not have known the hogs were there and would have moved to another location. It is somewhat pricey, but good equipment is not cheap. This is a good product and you do not need a degree from MIT to use it.” — Wm. Thompson (Amazon Buyer).

“We see thermal as a vital tool in any hunter’s kit, just like binoculars or laser rangefinders,” said Tim Lesser, vice president of product development for Leupold & Stevens, Inc. “For observation and recovering downed game, the LTO Tracker will help hunters find success in the field.”

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September 7th, 2019

FED DOJ Demands Google and Apple Turn Over Scope User IDs

U.S. Federal Department Justice DOJ Google Apple ATN Obsidian 4 sofware app night vision

Here’s a scary development that could impact the privacy rights of firearms owners. The Federal Department of Justice (DOJ) has filed a legal request to compel tech companies Google and Apple to disclose information on over 10,000 persons who downloaded software Apps used to calibrate ATN night-vision scopes. The Feds say they need the info to track possible illegal exports of ATN scopes. Frankly, this is a dangerous precent. What comes next? Will the DOJ demand the names and emails of all Snipers’ Hide members, or all NRA members for that matter?

Forbes Magazine reports: “According to an application for a court order filed by the Department of Justice (DOJ) on September 5, investigators want information on users of Obsidian 4, a tool used to control rifle scopes made by night-vision specialist American Technologies Network Corp. [ATN]. The App allows gun owners to get a live stream, take video, and calibrate their gun scope from an Android or iPhone device. According to the Google Play page for Obsidian 4, it has more than 10,000 downloads. If the court approves the demand, and Apple and Google decide to hand over the information, it could include data on thousands of people who have nothing to do with the crimes being investigated, privacy activists warned. Edin Omanovic, lead on Privacy International’s State Surveillance program, said it would set a dangerous precedent and scoop up ‘huge amounts of innocent people’s personal data’.”

U.S. Federal Department Justice DOJ Google Apple ATN Obsidian 4 sofware app night vision

The purported purpose of the data harvest is to aid the U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) agency track possible illegal exports of ATN Night Vision scopes. But this kind of sweeping information request is both over-broad and dangerous in its implications. Cybersecurity experts were stunned by the ICE request, according to Forbes Magazine:

Innocents Ensnared
The request is undeniably broad and would likely include all users of the app within America, not just users abroad who might indicate illegal shipments of the gun appendage. Tor Ekeland, a privacy-focused lawyer, said it amounted to a “fishing expedition.” “There’s a more profound issue here with the government able to vacuum up a vast amount of data on people they have no reason to suspect have committed any crime.” Ekeland added.

Even those who’ve worked in government surveillance were stunned by the order. “The idea that this data will only be used for pursuing ITAR violations is almost laughable,” warned Jake Williams, a former NSA analyst and now a cybersecurity consultant at Rendition Infosec.

U.S. Federal Department Justice DOJ Google Apple ATN Obsidian 4 sofware app night vision

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June 10th, 2017

MilSurp Gold — The $27,556 XM-3 Sniper Rifle

Sniper Rifle DARPA XM-3 XM3 CMP Auction Iraq War

Would you pay over twenty-seven grand for a slightly-used Rem 700 bolt-action rifle and Nightforce scope? Well somebody did just that recently, paying the princely sum of $27,556.00 for a DARPA XM-3 Sniper Rifle system in a CMP Auction. In fairness the buyer did get a case, a PVS22 Night Vision Device (NVD), and some other accessories. Created for the USMC, only fifty-two (52) XM-3s were ever made, so this is a pretty rare rifle. But, honestly, is this thing really worth $27,556? What do you think?

Sniper Rifle DARPA XM-3 XM3 CMP Auction Iraq War

This XM-3 system was recently sold by the CMP at auction (SEE Auction Photos). There was plenty of interest in this item, with 111 total bids for the rifle, case and accesories. Here is the CMP Auction product description:


These XM-3 sniper rifles used by the United States Marine Corps. In mid-2005, DARPA worked with Lt. Col. Norm Chandler’s Iron Brigade Armory (IBA) to field items to expeditionary units in Afghanistan. Since they already had a great working relationship, DARPA contracted IBA to build and test lightweight sniper rifles that incorporated the improvements the snipers desired in combat. The mission was to be lighter and smaller than the existing M40s, while having better accuracy, clip-on night vision that did not require re-zero, better optics, and better stock, and it had to be suppressed. The barrel had to be short enough to allow maneuverability yet long enough to deliver a 10” group at 1,000 yards. If the barrel was too heavy, maneuverability would decrease, yet if the barrel was too light it would only be able to shoot a few rounds before the groups started to shift due to barrel temperature. IBA tested a number of barrel lengths, ranging from 16 to 20 inches and in different contours. Each rifle with a different length was assigned an XM designator starting with XM1 through XM3. In each case, everything on the prototype rifles was kept the same except the barrel.

During the final phases of testing it was found that the 18” barrels had no issues keeping up with their longer 20” brethren. The final barrel length was set at 18.5”, and the contour was a modified #7. The straight taper on the barrel was only 2” vs. 4” and the overall diameter at the muzzle was .85” vs. .980”. This helped reduce a lot of the rifle’s weight while not negatively affecting accuracy or effective range. A number of the groups at 1,000 yards were < 1 MOA. The Marines of I-MEF were the first to field test the rifles at Camp Pendleton. Shortly after I-MEF took receipt of the XM-3s, the first units in II-MEF took receipt of theirs. By mid-2006 there were dozens of XM-3s in Iraq. There were 52 XM-3s made. More info on the XM-3 Sniper Rifle can be found at

Sniper Rifle DARPA XM-3 XM3 CMP Auction Iraq War

Also included: Scope SN P06798; Sniper Data Book with some firing information; PVS22 Night Vision Device SN 2936D (NVDs function); appears complete tool/cleaning kit with cleaning rod; sling; suppressor case and wrap (SUPPRESSOR IS NOT INCLUDED!); bipod; cold bore shot target; instructions; iM3200 Storm case.

Sniper Rifle DARPA XM-3 XM3 CMP Auction Iraq War

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August 29th, 2008

Drive Safe This Holiday Weekend

Today, millions of Americans will hit the road to begin a long, Labor Day weekend. We urge you all to drive safely. Don’t try to cover too many miles, or drive long distances at the wee hours of the morning. Fatigue can be a killer. An average of 115 persons die each day in motor vehicle crashes in the United States — one every 13 minutes. Every year over 43,000 Americans die in auto accidents and there are roughly 2.9 million injury cases. The cost of these accidents exceeds 230+ Billion dollars.

Famed Shooters in Recent Road Accident
Think an accident can’t happen to you? Consider this… Just a few days ago, when returning from the Camp Perry National Championships, Mid Tompkins and Nancy Tompkins (at left) were involved in an accident in Kansas. Mid and Nancy are both legendary long-range shooters, and Nancy is the author of the excellent book, Prone and Long-Range Shooting. Mid was driving a van, pulling a trailer. It was late at night, and (for reasons unknown) the van and trailer went off the road and rolled over. Mid suffered cartilage and rib damage. Nancy was trapped in the van for 20 minutes before rescue workers cut her free. She was then air-lifted to a Topeka hospital and treated for leg, knee, and shoulder injuries. Fellow shooters Bob Jones and Steve McGee were following on the same highway and helped the rescue effort. Thankfully, neither Mid nor Nancy sustained life-threatening injuries, and we send them our prayers for a full recovery.

Nancy recently posted on “Mid is doing well, but is very sore. His ribs — front and back — are bothering him and he has a nasty cut on this left elbow with some lacerations. I have a broken right tibia (leg bone), right patella (knee) left shoulder, and a tear on my left rotator cuff, a broken nose and very sore ribs and face. No matter what, we feel very blessed to have survived this. We made it as did our three cats that we absolutely love and adore.”

Drowsiness Degrades Driving Skills
A driver who is very fatigued will suffer impairment in his driving skills similar to being intoxicated. Even if you don’t nod off or blank out, drowsiness impairs your reaction time, degrades your peripheral vision, and dulls your ability to concentrate on the road. Remember that when traveling at 60 miles per hour, you’ll cover 90 feet in just one second. Nodding off for just an instant could be fatal, as the following video explains:

YouTube Preview Image

Night Driving — A Special Warning for Older Drivers
A significant percentage of competitive shooters (if not the majority) are over 45 years of age. As we reach “middle age” and beyond, our night-vision degrades significantly. This is a progressive process, and most individuals don’t notice a change from year to year. Scientific studies have shown that a 50-year-old driver needs twice as much light at night as does a 30-year old driver. Older eyes also do not recover from glare as well as young eyes. Pupils shrink and don’t dilate as much in the dark as we age. Various reports indicate that the retina of a senior citizen receives far less light than the retina of a 20-year-old. This can make older drivers function as though they are wearing dark sunglasses at night.

CLICK HERE for National Safety Council Tips on Night Driving.

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