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pulsar trail xp vs xq

Pulsar XQ vs. XP: In-Depth Review and Comparison

Pulsar thermal scopes are a go-to option for many professional hunters. They are highly regarded for their top-notch quality construction and premium features.

Founded in 1994, Pulsar today produces the latest scope technology in the form of their Helion and Trail series.

Both series are classified into XQ and XP core types.

The Pulsar XQ50 is the best model in the XQ series. It has a 50 mm germanium objective lens with F/1.2 optics.

It has an 1800m detection range and is based on a 384x288 pixel thermal imaging sensor. Plus, it comes with 4.1x to 16.4x magnification or zoom capability.

On the other hand, the Pulsar XP50 also has a 50mm germanium objective lens but with F/1.0 optics that provide excellent contrast and better heat transmissivity.

It has a higher resolution sensor of 640x480 pixels, which produces sharp and high contrast images.

The XP50 has the same human-size detection range of 1800m as the XQ50, but the former has a superior magnification power of 2.5x-20x.

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Pulsar Trail XQ vs. XP: Which One Should You Buy?

pulsar helion vs trail

Pulsar Trail scopes are some of the best thermal scopes available today. Their top-notch construction, innovative features, and functional design have made them a favorite of professional hunters.

At the end of the day, which scope you should buy is undoubtedly a personal preference. Take into consideration what you value in a scope.

If the image quality is an aspect you don’t want to compromise on, The Pulsar Trail XP38/50 is the best option. It has some of the best optics and image resolution you can get on a thermal scope.

However, if you’re looking for a budget-friendly option with some of the same features as the XP series, the Trail XQ38/50 is the right choice.

How Do the Pulsar Trail XQ and XP Scopes Compare?

When it comes to choosing between Pulsar scopes, the burning question that exists is: how do the XQ and XP series scopes compare with one another?

Well, to determine that, let’s take a look at the features of both thermal scopes:

Image Quality

The major difference between the Pulsar Trail XQ and XP scopes is the image quality.

The Trail XP has a higher resolution 640x480 pixels image sensor, while the Trail XQ has a 384x288 pixels image sensor.

Even though the two have the same 17 µm pixel pitch and human-size heat detection range, the Trail XP scope produces clearer and brighter images with more details.


The Pulsar Trail XQ thermal riflescope offers 10 electronic reticles to choose from. These include a variety of color and brightness options that you can select depending on your need or preference.

On the other hand, the Trail XP offers more electronic reticle options. The Trail XP50 has 14 different reticles, 10 brightness settings, and 2 colors (black and white) that you can choose from.


Both the Trail XP and XQ scopes are highly durable. They are built with top-notch material and designed to be sturdy, recoil-resistant, fog-proof, waterproof, and dust-resistant. They can even survive extreme temperatures ranging from -13° to 122°F and work just as well.

The Trail scope series is designed to be IPX7 waterproof which protects them even from heavy rain, snowfall, and submersion in 3 feet of water for up to 30 mins.

Zoom Capacity

The Pulsar Trail series XP and XQ both offer digital zoom.

However, the former scope series has a better magnification and can zoom up to 8x, while the Trail XQ series has just a 4x zoom.

The magnification power of the Trail XQ50 is 2.7-10.8x, and the power range of the Trail XP50 is 1.6-12.8x.

Generally, the image quality tends to become blurry at a higher magnification power, and the FOV and image resolution both decrease.

Out of the two scopes, the XP performs better than the XQ in this case. Even at a 100-yard distance, you won’t need to zoom in on the target, and you will get better FOV and image resolution; however, you will need to zoom in with your XQ scope.

Field of View

pulsar thermion xp50

Having a more generous field of view aids helps hunters take advantage of their peripheral vision for more convenience and precision during hunting.

Out of these two scopes, the Pulsar Trail XP series offers a greater field of view.

The Pulsar XP50 has a FOV (H/V) of 12.4/9.3 degrees, and the Pulsar Trail XP38 has a FOV of 16.3/12.3.

In comparison, the Trail XQ50 offers a FOV (H/V) of 7.5/5.6 degrees, while the Pulsar Trail XQ38 has a FOV of 9.8/7.4 degrees.

Video Recording

The Pulsar XQ and Pulsar XP series have an integrated video recorder. In addition to Wi-Fi integration, both these scopes come with cloud storage space for photos and videos taken with a digital or thermal imaging device if you are registered with the Stream Vision application.


Mobile compatibility is an important feature for thermal scopes.

Both the Pulsar XP50 and XQ50 scopes are compatible with Android and iOS operating systems. They come with the Stream Vision application that you can use to transfer the riflescope data onto your phone.

Plus, you can view the images in real-time or even use your phone as a smart remote control.


Riflescopes from both series are top-of-the-line, given their solid construction, performance, features, and incredible ergonomics.

Due to these reasons, they are on the more expensive end of the price spectrum and cost upwards of $2000.

With these highly innovative scopes, you pay for the top thermal imaging and cutting-edge LRF technology.

Out of the two, the Pulsar XP series cost more than the XQ series as it has a better sensor resolution, magnification power, etc.

Other Functions

The Trail scope series have a few other special features that add great value to their design.

Both the scope series have a frost-resistant AMOLED display and a high 50 Hz image refresh rate for the best performance, even at extreme temperatures. They have a lightweight construction even with their batteries inside, which makes them portable.

Plus, these two scopes have a quick detach rechargeable lithium battery, and they also enable connectivity to external power sources like a power bank for user convenience.

The user interface for both is quite friendly, too.

Warranty and Returns

All well-made products are backed by good warranty services that display a brand’s confidence in its product. It is crucial to opt for a unit with good warranty service.

Here are the warranty and repair Pulsar offers for these scopes:

Pulsar XP

pulsar trail xp38

· Pulsar warrants its scopes against defects of workmanship and materials for 3 years from the date of sale.

· A warranty card is issued which warrants the products to be fully functional and free of defects

· The manufacturer may nullify the warranty if the device is modified, tampered with, provided unauthorized repair, dropped, damaged due to natural disasters, etc.

· The user manual comes with a troubleshooting table that states if the problem encountered isn’t solved with the recommended action, the user should return the unit to the manufacturer for repair.

Pulsar XQ

pulsar trail xq50

· The scope is warranted against defects in materials and craftsmanship for 3 years

· The warranty will be nullified if the product is damaged due to dropping, unauthorized repair, as a result of natural disasters, or if it is tampered with, modified, etc.

· In case the recommended actions of the user manual don’t solve an issue, the product needs to be returned to the manufacturer for repair

· The term of possible repair is 5 years

Care and Maintenance

No matter how well-built or durable a thermal scope is, it is crucial to care for it and maintain it properly so that it lasts you a long time.

Here is how you can care for the Pulsar XP and Pulsar XQ:

The care and maintenance for both Pulsar Trail scopes are the same. The scopes should be provided maintenance at least twice a year with the following steps:

· Wipe the exterior metal and plastic surfaces with a cotton cloth to remove any dust buildup

· Clean the electrical contacts of the rechargeable battery using a non-greasy organic solvent

· Check the lens and eyepiece for dust and dirt buildup and remove using a non-contact method

· Clean the exterior surface of the optics

· Store the scope in its designated carrying case that it comes with and make sure you keep it in a dry and ventilated space.

· For prolonged storage, remove the batteries

Where to Buy

You can get your hands on the Pulsar Trail XP38 here and the Pulsar Trail XQ50 here.

Or check the latest prices now on

And if you are looking for other hunting paraphernalia, check out our guide to the best cheap thermal scopes and the best thermal spotting scopes.

About the Author Rob Carson

I work in commercial construction, in Dallas, TX.

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