In the world of target practice and training with your thermal sight, your choice of thermal film target plays a role in the quality of training sessions.

At IR.Tools we are often asked, “Which film should I choose, High Contrast or Upright?” Although these films share similarities, there are important differences to consider when making your selection.

This article aims to guide you through the distinctions, similarities, and practical implications of each option. In the end, you can make an informed decision tailored to your specific needs.

Similarities between high-contrast and upright thermal films

Before delving into the unique features of each type of thermal film, it is important to recognize the similarities that render both options suitable for target practice:

  • Durability: Both high contrast and upright thermal films exhibit a high level of durability. Each withstand the demands of hundreds of hits without easily tearing or degrading.
  • Ease of Installation: Installing either film is a straightforward process. Users can simply use their favourite methods for installing, i.e. staples, tape, adhesive sprays, etc.
  • Available Sizes: Whether you prefer custom-cut thermal film or pre-cut sheets, both options are available in versatile sizes. The standard 24-inch roll provides flexibility for custom sizing, while pre-cut sheets cater to those seeking convenience. Resizing can be effortlessly achieved with a pair of scissors.
  • Cost Efficiency: Both high contrast and upright thermal films are priced similarly. Neither has the advantage here.

Distinguishing features of high-contrast vs. upright thermal films

Now, I will address the differences between these two films. Each shines in different categories. Understanding these differences will guide you in selecting the most suitable option for your thermal target practice sessions.

High Contrast Thermal Film

  • Color Variability: There are 3 color options with High Contrast thermal target film; tan, green, and brown. If colour is important to you, High Contrast is perfect.
  • Target Positioning: For the best visible contrast, the high-contrast target must be positioned to lean back at a 15° angle. This allows the film to reflect the cool air above to create a distinct aim point.
  • Long History: The Army has trusted high-contrast film for decades. More than any other thermal film, it is the choice the US Army uses for optimal training.

Upright Thermal Film

  • Colour: Upright offers one colour. What that color is, is up for debate. Somewhere between silver, grey and light tan. Let me know how you see it.
  • Target Positioning: This is where Upright really separates itself. This film does not require an angle or special positioning to see a visible contrast. The film is built with thousands of microthermal reflectors to produce a ridiculous contrast for your shooting drills.
  • No Hassle: In a quick minute, your target is ready to shoot. Mount on your favourite backer, Aim and Shoot.


If colour is a criterion or the fact the Army has trusted and deployed this film for years matters, then High Contrast is your choice.

If the convenience of a rapid set-up and a hassle-free position sounds good, then the Upright is no doubt tailored to your needs.

Regardless, both films come at a similar cost and offer hours of dependable, precision training.

For a wide range of premium thermal film products, visit the IR.Tools website shop and explore all our thermal target options to enhance your training sessions.

If you still have questions, don’t hesitate to contact me.