Hunting: Dave Barham's First Try on the 3 IN 1 Versatile CHEETAH LRF

27 maj 2023

To Dave Barham, hunter and the editors of Airgun World and Airgunner magazines from UK. Dave has used the CHEETAH LRF for some time, and this is the conclusion of his review of the HIKMICRO Cheetah Digital Day & Night Vision unit. Check out Dave's actual hunting experience below.





First and foremost you can actually control the unit via the App (HIKMICRO Sight), including the zoom function, brightness, contrast and many other aspects, but also this is where you take your photos and record video too. You can toggle between photos and video, and all the files are saved directly to your phone. You can also update the unit's Firmware via the App, which saves having to plug it into a computer. Okay, how does it perform out in a real-life hunting scenario? Well, pretty damn good to be honest!




After spending more hours than I care to remember in my back garden and at my local range, I was familiar enough with the unit and App to take it out for a night hunting. I decided to put the Cheetah LRF on top of my new rifle because I knew that this particular rifle and pellet combination were absolutely spot on from previous testing, so it created a firm base to test the Cheetah LRF out in the field.


You can control most of the unit's functions directly from your mobile phone.



My first job was to re-zero the combo. I'd been shooting mostly at 25 metres, but upon getting to my rabbit permission I did a quick check with the rangefinder and settled on 33 metres as being my optimum zero. I chose this because the fence line at the back of the field where I knew the rabbits would emerge is 35 metres, so zeroing at 33 gave me perfect zero once the rabbits hopped into the field.



I settled down into my shooting position during dark, so had the unit switched onto daylight mode. As the light began to fade, it was noticeable just how good the daylight mode is in low light. I waited until it was almost too dark to see, I had to switch into NV mode with the IR illuminator switched on. I didn't need to tinker with the IR torch at all, it worked perfectly out to well past 70 metres, not that I'd consider shooting anything at that range with a sub-12 air rifle!


The one thing I did do, and it's definitely something I can recommend to air gunners, is to switch the Smart IR function off from the main menu. I just found it to give that little bit more definition at the ranges I was shooting at. Push it out past 45 yards and that's where the Smart IR function comes into its own.



It didn't take long for the first rabbit to pop out from under the fence. I must stress that this permission is a really challenging one, and not absolutely 'loaded' with rabbits, so two or three in a night is a really good session.


I'm really impressed with the resolution. I found that switching the Smart IR function off paid dividends at close range.


My first job was to shoot a couple of rabbits for the pot, then start messing about with the App to take a couple of photos to show you what it's all about.


To cut a long story short, the first two rabbits that I saw resulted in quick, clean kills, and then the rain started! I laid on the ground as the rain got heavier and heavier, and all the while I had the unit switched on. I did check periodically, during the heaviest rain, and the unit was still functioning perfectly, even through the raindrops.


I knew it was only going to be a quick shower, so I just waited for it to stop, and I thought I'd be in for a bonanza session, but as the rain stopped a family of Badgers emerged and started tearing up the field. I waited another hour, and when the badgers finally left and big old fox came wandering through the field. At this point I'd had enough, I couldn't see any more rabbits making an appearance with all that going on, so I packed up, happy that I'd got two rabbits in the bag.



I returned the next day minus the rifle with the Cheetah LRF mounted on a camera tripod, purely to get these photographs, and wouldn't you believe it the place came alive as it got dark! As you can see the photo resolution is quite good at 2x magnification, and it's okay at x4 too, but it does become grainy at x8 as you would expect. I hope this goes some way to showing what the Cheetah LRF unit is capable of. And if I was asked the question "Would you buy one?" The answer would be a resounding "Yes"!


    "My first impressions of the CHEETAH LRF are extremely good!

The picture quality in night mode is outstanding!

Everything about this HIKMICRO

unit oozes quality."

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