Infrared Imaging sensors operating in the 3 - 5 um (MW) and 8 - 12 um (LW) spectral bands have long since been traded against one another with respect to mission utility, sensor performance, and system viability (cost factors, technology maturity, etc.). Over the past decade, staring InSb detectors have matured to a refined level (high performance, moderate cost, high yields) and have been used extensively by IR sensor integrators throughout the industry. By the same token, 2-D LW QWIP-based FPA's are fast becoming a viable alternative to traditional LW-scanned technology systems, offering the benefits of mid and large format staring sensor resolution with good sensitivity (even for modest optical F/#'s). With the commercialization of QWIP technology, system viability is rapidly increasing, revealing the need for serious system trade assessments and field measurements to enable the best use of this emerging, complementary detector technology. This paper presents a top-level technical comparison of these two sensor technologies and their use in surveillance/night vision system applications. A variety of technical considerations are discussed to help end users be cognizant of the extent of the trade space that exists between MW and LW staring sensor selection with specific focus on performance comparisons for small, compact militarized IR thermal imaging sensors (including handheld, man-portable and small gimbal products) employing each detector technology in context to various surveillance missions. Application areas include: ground, airborne, and maritime surveillance. Field data is also provided to support the conclusions drawn from these comparisons.