The 7 Best Night Vision Scopes in 2022



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Marine Sniper Using a Night Vision Scope

It’s no secret that one of the best parts of being in the military is playing with the government’s cool science projects. One of these projects is the night vision scope.

The Marine Corps does use night vision scopes, but nowadays most infantry guys are issued a PVS-14 monocular. The underlying technology is the same, but with a monocular, you need some additional gear to actually hit anything in the dark. Marines use a PEQ-15 that has a built-in infrared laser system.

You can also mount a monocular on the rail system of your rifle and use it in conjunction with another optic like a red dot sight (like the image below).

PVS 14 Night Vision Monocular with Red Dot Sight Setup
PVS 14 Night Vision Monocular with Red Dot Sight Setup

In this guide, we’ll be locking in on the best night vision scopes and a couple of my favorite monocular units. I’ll explain how this human sensory augmenting technology works and give you some tips on how to use your night vision effectively.

After you understand night vision terminology, we can begin shopping! I’ll review my personal favorite optics and show you exactly where to find the best deals!

Introduction to Night Vision: Understand the Jargon

To even start talking about this futuristic space-age technology, we first must understand all the jargon. NV stands for night vision while NVD indicates a night vision device. Not all NVDs are created equally and there is a wide range of different NV capable products such as goggles (NVG), scopes, telescopes, cameras, binoculars, monoculars, and sensors.

Night vision gadgets are classified as optoelectronic device which means its capable of producing images in extremely low light conditions, near-total darkness. NVDs are typically considered passive NVDs which means they can convert invisible (to humans) light into visible displays using only the available light spectrum. NVDs that are used in tandem with an infrared (IR) illuminator are called active NVDs.

NVDs are most often used by law enforcement and military personnel in several countries around the world, however, this technology is becoming increasingly available to consumers and has become popular with hunters, people searching for home defense systems, and entertainment industry.

Some NV scopes are firearm mounted monoculars and can be taken off the firearm and mounted with headgear or on a tripod.

Differences Between the Generations of Night Vision

Shopping for NVDs may be a bit confusing due to the several varying generations available. NVD has come along way since its inception in WWII and the technology is constantly improving.

Generation 0

You probably won’t ever come across one of these unless you’re a historian, but these are what paved the way for the NV technology we have today. Generation 0 NVDs were popular among tankers using goggles to guide the way in the dead of night and even in sniper scopes.

Generation 0 was first introduced in 1939 and was used by just about all major parties involved in WWII. After the war, Vladimir K. Zworykin developed the first commercial use NVDs which was dubbed the “black light”. It was terrible, and it was far too heavy and costly for anyone to implement effectively. They also had awful durations of lifespan and were difficult to use without incredibly bright illuminators.

Generation 1

First-generation passive NVDs were introduced during the Vietnam War and were patented exclusively by the US Army. These were upgraded Generation 0 platforms that utilized ambient light more effectively instead of infrared light sources. These used an S-20 photocathode and amplified images to up to 1000x. These, however, were still incredibly bulky and difficult to use without a great deal of moonlight available.

These are by far the most affordable units available and will offer basic nighttime activity capabilities. The image resolution will certainly be subpar, but hey, some night vision is better than no night vision, right? Its maximum useful range is roughly 75 yards and has no ability to operate passively. They rely on IR illuminators which are always hard at work, sapping your battery life and giving your entire face a green aurora.

Generation 2

NVDs now came equipped with more advanced image intensifying tubes that used microchannel plates (MCP) with a greatly improved S-25 photocathode. This resulted in much brighter images during even lower light situations and greatly increased the overall resolution of the finished image.

Generation 2 NVDs were among the first devices to be usable without the aid of the moon and amplified light to roughly 20000x.

Generation 2+ was a slight upgrade upon these new tube designs which were called SUPERGEN tubes. These had slightly improved resolution levels over the base generation 2 NVDs and had more tactical characteristics such as impact resistance, signal noise reductions, and prolonged battery life.

Generation 2 NVDs are a massive step up from Generation 1 and in most cases are well worth the additional funds. Their useful range is roughly 200 yards and they contain a much higher level of resolution than their older counterparts. These also have the ability to operate passively, reducing the need for an IR illuminator constantly being on. These also boast attractive battery life improvements and generally have to triple the life expectancy of Generation 1 NVDs.

Generation 3

Using an improved ion barrier MCP from Generation 2 NVDs, Generation 3 NVDs were capable of implementing photocathodes that consisted of gallium arsenide. This means they could produce significantly higher image resolution.

The new ion barrier coating on the MCP caused a few issues, though. It greatly improved the life of the tube, but it decreased the total amount of electrons that could pass through, resulting in a halo effect around bright spots. Light amplification was improved to roughly 30000 – 50000 but NVDs were still difficult to use and power consumption became even higher than Generation 2 NVDs which is a major constraint, even in NVDs today.

Like generation 2 NVDs, generation 3 NVDs also got a special boost shortly after becoming available dubbed Generation 3+. There is a little miscommunication here, though, as the US military calls these “Generation 3 autogated tubes” (GEN-III OMNI-VII).

These come with automatic gated power supply systems that self-regulate the photocathode voltage. This boosted power efficiency as well as made it possible for the NVD to adjust to varying light sources. Along with this upgrade also came a significantly thinner ion barrier, fixing the issue of the ion barrier depleting electron flow. You can thank the US Army Research Labs for these advancements!

Generation 3 NVDs are where the chumps leave the pros to play. These are generally what the US military and special forces are implementing on the battlefield. Of course, there are several different Generation 3 products with varying degrees of features and enhancements which makes this category range quite a bit. Generally, you’ll find effective ranges to be in the 300-yard area with unmatched resolution quality. These are nearly completely passive night vision optics and the go-to NVDs for covert operations.

“Generation 4”

Technically, there is no generation 4 just yet. The US Military initially released technology that was due to be the next generation of NV technology, however, it barely missed the mark and didn’t live up to the strict expectations set before the technology was developed and delivered. Since the reliability, resolution, and lifespan missed the mark, the military simply decided against naming newer NVDs “generation 4” and have stuck them in the generation 3 category.

This hasn’t stopped private companies from naming their night vision capable products as Generation 4, though, for (arguably shady) marketing purposes. This is quite confusing and makes shopping for NV products a bit difficult. If “top of the line” and “state of the art” are words you live and die by, look for “filmless gen 3” or “unfilmed gen 3” NVDs.

You can purchase said “generation 4” NVDs but in reality, they are just varied versions of generation 3 NVDs which are generally more expensive.

Further Generations

Night vision capable devices are constantly changing and now that NVD is becoming popular with consumers around the world you can expect this technology to be expanded and improved upon by a plethora of private companies.

There are experimental NVDs capable of panoramic night vision that boost vision up to 95 degrees! These are currently only used on the A-10 Thunderbolt, MC-130s, and AC-130U.

Night vision capable devices are constantly growing and no longer are the days of the US Army solely developing these changes. A manufacturer called ITT is currently developing thermal NVDs that combine NVD and IR technologies. Another newbie to the space is NV by Armasight which implements Ceramic Optical Ruggedized Engines (CORE).

Digital Night Vision

Digital Night Vision is a somewhat new-age tech but is rather comparable in image quality to Gen 2 night vision. With that said, and seemingly disappointing, Digital night vision does actually have a lot of perks that may be of interest to you.

Digital night vision doesn’t amplify the light available to the optical system using an amplifier like traditional night vision does but actually processes what it can see through a digital signal which is then sent as an electrical impulse through an image sensor that is then converted back into the image you see with your eyes. Your eyes aren’t seeing the actual target in the darkness, though, your eyes are seeing a screen that’s displaying the image instead.

Using a computer chip and image sensor to provide the image in night vision sounds high tech and it is, but it hasn’t quite caught up to the best of what traditional night vision has to offer. The big advantage digital night vision has is that it’s very cost-effective. 

A lot of the smaller brands you see in the night vision market are usually using digital night vision modules because they are far easier to work with and bring to the market. As technology gets smaller and more efficient we should see digital night vision surpassing the capabilities of traditional night vision but only time will tell.

Image Enhancement vs Heat Signature

Night Vision can only produce image enhancement and does not have the ability, on its own, to detect heat signatures. While NV can detect lower portions of the light spectrum than the human eye, it cannot detect and amplify energy itself.

The difference between NV and IR is that while NV is busy magnifying the available light it collects, IR is focusing on the energy itself that is radiated from almost all objects in the universe. Since nearly all objects radiate heat in some form of energy, IR scopes use advanced technology to detect light so high on the spectrum that humans and NV cannot visualize, thus creating a picture of what our eyes cannot see, even in daylight.

If you need optical solutions during no light situations, never fear! I’ve covered IR scopes too, so go ahead and check those out on this site as well! (INSERT IR SCOPES PAGE)

A Sea of Green

The image displayed by most NV headsets and scopes on today’s market will produce an image in a green hue. That, of course, isn’t what your NV is seeing but what it is presenting to you on your end of the scope. Instead, the light of all colors enters the NV as it would a typical scope. Unfortunately, technological limitations are at play here and we haven’t quite figured out how to keep the color spectrum intact while amplifying and converting photons into electrons.

We could choose to use NV in white and black, however, the human eye is far more sensitive to movement in the spectrum of light that green sits in, which means a green display is far more effective than a black and white display. We achieve this green colored display by choosing a special phosphor within the screen.

It is possible to find NV in other colors, such as grayscale and even blue, however, green is tried and true and continues to be the industry standard in NV screens.

White Phosphor technology has started to gain traction and is typically only available in high-resolution Generation 3 NVDs. Law enforcement and military personnel are starting to implement this technology more often due to their natural display appearance. These NVDs have white and black images as opposed to the traditional green and black imaging.

Legalities: You Want to See in the Dark Not Time in the Pen

Night vision isn’t always a legal option so please consult with your local laws to ensure you don’t end up in the pen for having some tacticool fun. Countries such as Germany and Hungary do not allow NVDs to be paired with firearms whatsoever. Other countries such as the Netherlands have no regulations regarding NVDs mounted on firearms but require special permits to actually hunt with them.

In the great US of A, the states hold the power which of course means the legality of NVD usage is an incredibly complex web of red tape and confusion. California, of course, slaps you with an automatic misdemeanor if you possess an NVD that “could” be mounted on a firearm, but this only covers Gen 0 and not subsequent generations according to my sources.

Hunting and even just firing your firearms at night may not even be legal in your area, rendering a night vision scope pretty much useless, so before you go spending dough (and you will most definitely spend some dough on NV), make sure you have the permits and permission for your nightly pew pew sessions!

In any situation, these laws are subject to change and it is solely your responsibility to ensure you are operating within the correct corresponding legal restraints. Do your research! The last thing you want is to end up with your expensive NV scopes (and perhaps firearms) confiscated and the only traces of it left are found on your criminal records.

Even if using NVDs to hunt in your area is legally acceptable, it may not be ethically acceptable. Many sportsmen generally consider hunting an honorable sport. When using technology such as night vision or thermal optics to actually kill a game, many hunters consider this cheating and a breach of ethics. Using a monocular to identify games and then using regular optics to take them down seems to be acceptable, though, and using a night vision monocular to track game after a shot has been taken is A-Okay as well!

Pew Pew Pew Even In the Dead Of Night

Alright, this is probably where most of the hunters and gun enthusiasts want to skip to if they just want to figure out which NVD should be sitting on their pride and joy boomsticks.

There are two main types of night vision scopes.

The first operates similarly to a regular rifle scope in that it sits on its mount and offers a similar look and feel to a traditional scope alongside the benefits of night vision capabilities. A night vision scope is perfect for a rifle whose sole purpose is to be operated in low light conditions.

The second is a standalone unit that is used in tandem with your rifle scope and typically sits in front of the scope. Similarly, to the EOTech holographic sight and magnifier combo, these can be flipped in or out depending on the situation you find yourself in. These are called day/night systems and although they offer a fantastic range of capabilities, they lack the same level of quality and precision as a dedicated night vision scope.

Night Vision Tips And Tricks

Using night vision is a bit different than using traditional optics. Among the first things, you’ll notice is an odd sense of depth perception or rather a lack thereof. Through traditional lenses, you can obtain a decent feel of perspective because you can visually see depth, shadows, etc. When using NV you won’t be privy to that information and depth perception becomes incredibly challenging to judge. The picture you’re receiving is a flat representation of what the NVD is picking up which can take users a little time to adjust for.

Using NVDs to operate a firearm, especially at night, is incredibly dangerous for those who aren’t trained properly. It’s difficult to see what may be behind the target you’re shooting at and not everything is always illuminated perfectly. Mixed with low resolution and lack of depth perception, this makes ensuring the area is safe very difficult. The best practice would be to survey the area you’ll be operating in during the daytime so that you have a better grasp as to what you’re shooting into.

Batteries with NVDs can range widely and may include rechargeable batteries. If you like to outfit your kit with what the military uses, though, you may find it troubling to find the proper batteries and you may even be shocked at their price once you find them. The military often has special use batteries for their gear that are not always available to the general public.

Speaking of batteries, NVDs are certainly not known for impeccable battery life so its imperative that you always have a spare set on hand!

If you’re purchasing night vision to use on a general use sporting rifle, you may want to opt for a day and night unit. These units are almost always more expensive, but they offer capabilities in nearly any lighting setting. Most of these can switch between the two with the flip of a switch but your fancy Cadillac versions can often determine the perfect setting to use automatically!

Reticles are often an important tool for shooters to judge distance and adjust their targeting for bullet drop, windage, etc. Night vision capable scopes, however, typically lack reticles that are of help in this category leaving you with a beaded reticle or simple duplex reticle. Since Night vision scopes aren’t capable of extremely far ranges anyways, this issue typically doesn’t discern most shooters. Of course, if you’re using a tandem designed unit, you can pair your NV scope with whatever reticle you have on your optical unit!

Aside from everything else, expect your night vision scopes to be significantly heavier and a bit bulkier than traditional scopes. Some people I know don’t even like attaching their NVDs until they’re ready to shoot because of the weight making the rifle a bit awkward to carry and handle.

You’re probably wondering which generation of NVDs you should be searching for. Generally, Gen 1 and 2 will fulfill just about any need a general civilian would have a need for. Some Gen 3 and “Gen 4” devices are much more difficult to find and the highest end optics in those categories are generally military and law enforcement use only.

Shopping Guide: Night Edition

Time to discuss the best night vision capable scopes on the market! In this list, I’ll order my favorites by their cost starting with the lowest budget options and I’ll give a brief review of my experience! As always, I haven’t used every single product in this niche and of course, this technology is being developed and introduced further each and every season. If you find something I’ve missed or something new comes out after the release of this article, don’t be afraid to share it with us in the comments! If I can get my hands on it, I’ll gladly add it to the list!

Budget Bin: Best Night Vision Scopes Under $500

It’s tough to call something that requires several Benjamins to obtain a “budget bin” option, however, if you’re in the market for night vision then you better prepare yourself to buck up, even for the cheapos.

Quick Answer: Here Are Best Night Vision Scopes (Listed by Price)

7. FireField FF16001 NVRS Gen 1 (Cheapest)

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NV Tech Generation: Gen 1
Resolution: 30 lp/mm
Magnification: 3x42mm
Detection Range: 300m
Recording: No
Battery: 20-50 with two AA
Water Resistance: IPX4

Note: Before we jump into reviews, keep in mind that this review is laid out by price range. With night vision, in general, you get what you pay for. We’ll start with the most affordable optics and work our way down to the top of the line optics, and at each price point, I’ll share my favorite optics.

My Review: As far as budgeting goes, this is probably the lowest priced night vision scope that is worth buying. It has a decent amount of magnification that more than matches the range capabilities of night vision for a gen 1 device.

It also comes with a very nice construction consisting of titanium which allows this gen 1 to be incredibly lightweight (as far as gen 1 devices go) and durable. It is a gen 1 device and personally, I’d prefer to buck up the cash for a gen 2 as gen 1 has a plethora of black dots and residual impurities in the display.

This is an excellent started NV scope for those of you who more or less are buying an NV scope to be tacticool and have some casual fun in the dark with it.

Key specs:

  • 14-degree field of view
  • 45mm eye relief
  • Diopter adjustment +- 4
  • 6mm exit pupil
  • Built-in IR illuminator
  • Titanium construction
  • Quick detach weaver rail mount
  • Adjustable reticle brightness

The only cons I see:

  • Low resolution and display dots
  • Only capable of roughly 100 yards

6. Bushnell Equinox Z Digital Night Vision Gen 1

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NV Tech Generation: Digital Night Vision
Resolution: 36 lp/mm
Magnification: 4.5x40mm
Detection Range: 350m
Recording: 640×480 Photo and Video
Battery: Two AA
Water Resistance: IPX4

My Review: The Bushnell Equinox Z is certainly my best value winner in that it has Gen3+ qualities for Gen 1 pricing.

Firstly, the Equinox is more of a handheld unit than it is a scope. Fortunately for us, we can get pretty good performance using it as a monocular or scope by pairing this with a red dot and using an enhanced IR illuminator.

When first testing this product one of the first things you’ll notice is how efficient the unit is at automatically adjusting to various light intensities. This is especially important when using the recording function as you’ll get much smoother frames without much light splash.

Key specs:

  • Adjustable IR brightness
  • Daytime color adjustment
  • Tripod mounting capability
  • Compatible tandem use with NV setting optics
  • Rubberized ergonomics
  • An effective range of 100 yards
  • Has impeccable light-adjusting performance for the price
  • Excellent image clarity

The only cons I see:

  • Doesn’t work well as a standalone unit and would only perform well when paired with nice optics
  • Eyepiece glare during direct sunlight makes the unit incredibly hard to see through

5. Night Owl Optics NightShot Digital Night Vision Gen 1

Night Owl Optics NightShot Digital Night Vision Riflescope with IR illuminator, Black, NIGHTSHOT,Medium

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NV Tech Generation: Digital Night Vision
Resolution: 640×480
Magnification: 3x40mm
Detection Range: 200 Yards
Recording: No
Battery: Four AA or Li-Ion for up to 5 hours
Water Resistance: IPX4

My Review: This scope is perfect for those of you who just need barebones NV capabilities at a very low price.

The NightShot is built with simplicity in mind and has been light by implementing a plastic body, which may or may not be a pro depending on your preferences. It’s lighter and has a more effective range than most other gen 1 NV scopes but I’d say its considerably less durable and less waterproof than most others as well.

To me, this doesn’t seem like a horrible trade-off and makes this particular scope attractive to someone who shoots for fun at night and doesn’t need to worry about getting caught in a storm.

The other sacrifice you have to make for this bargain to happen is having awful battery life. This thing kills four AAs in roughly 3 hours which is by far one of the lowest-performing models on the market. So long as you carry a bunch of AA batteries with you, this won’t be an issue and since you saved a ton of money by buying this, you should have plenty left over for a big box of AA batteries.

Then there is the IR850-NS which is the illuminator you really need to get along with the scope to make it truly worthwhile.

Key specs:

  • 2.7” of eye relief
  • Simple and lightweight platform
  • Best in category range capabilities
  • Adjustable elevation and windage
  • Weaver or Picatinny rail mounting
  • Selection of 3 reticles
  • IR Illuminator built-in
  • 3 reticles available in either black or white color configurations

The only cons I see

  • Only built to withstand mounting on calibers of .30 or lower
  • Cheap plastic body

Mid-Grade: Best Night Vision Rifle Scopes Under $1000

I’d assume these are what most people are looking for and I think finding night vision scopes under $1000 should offer plenty of performance and features for just about everybody. You probably won’t find a bunch of Gen 3 and Gen 3+ units here but let’s face it, for general civilian usage you don’t really need a top of the line unit.

4. Sightmark Photon RT Digital Night Vision

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NV Tech Generation: Digital Night Vision
Resolution: 768×576
Magnification: 4.5-9x42mm
Detection Range: 400m
Recording: Video and Sound
Battery: Four AA for roughly 3.5 hours
Water Resistance: IP55

My Review: The Sightmark Photon RT is a family of NV capable scopes and the one being reviewed here is the cheapest one. The main difference in these scopes is the magnification so before buying consider the magnification you’ll need and choose a model accordingly. The others range in the $600-$700 range.

The first thing you’ll notice about this family of scopes is the emphasis on media creation. The stream vision app is easy to use and works very well. I was impressed with the ability to watch in real-time via smartphone. I’d say the overall resolution is okay but not incredible. The battery life is also a huge detractor as these things will eat through sets of four AAs in just a few hours.

Key specs:

  • One-shot zero function
  • 6 reticle options with 4 color configurations
  • Built-in video, image, and sound recording capabilities
  • Download videos and images via USB cord or wireless download
  • Wifi remote view via pulsar steam vision app
  • 8GB built-in memory
  • Weaver rail mount built-in which allows the use of power banks
  • Incredible range capabilities
  • Media creation is very easy and high quality compared to other similarly priced units

3. ATN X-Sight Pro Smart Day/Night Rifle Scope

ATN X-Sight 4K Pro Smart Day/Night Hunting Scope w/ Ballistics Calc, 3864x2218 Resolution, Video Record, Wi-Fi, 18hrs+ Battery

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NV Tech Generation: Digital Night Vision
Resolution: 4K
Magnification: 3-14x or 5-20x models
Detection Range: 200m-400m
Recording: 4K 120 FPS video capture
Battery: 18 hours with 20,000 mAh ATN Rechargeable Power Pack
Water Resistance: IPX4

My Review: The ATN X-Sight is a feature packed scope that has the feel of a little mini rifle mounted computer.

Looking through this thing is like peering through the HUD display of a fighter jet. With on-screen wind speed, humidity, temperature, ballistics, range, etc you will be completely clued in to take the perfect shot whether it’s day or night.

Alongside these features come some pretty incredible battery life capabilities and some smartphone apps that come in quite handy when using the recording functions. The scope comes with an attachable 20000mAh battery pack and an X-Trac remote control and is mounted via an ATN quick detach mount that is all included in this package.

Key specs:

  • HD 4k Sensor with Obsidian 4 dual-core processor
  • Simultaneous mobile device streaming and SD capture recording
  • Recoil activated video (RAV) technology
  • 120fps video recording
  • Built-in rangefinder
  • Ballistic calculator
  • E-Compass and barometer
  • Built-in IR illuminator

Top of the Line: Best Night Vision Systems $1000+

The bells, the whistles, mil-spec durability, and a fat price tag to match it all. Buy once, cry once!

2. Armasight Nemesis Gen 2 Plus

ATN X-Sight 4K Pro Smart Day/Night Hunting Scope w/ Ballistics Calc, 3864x2218 Resolution, Video Record, Wi-Fi, 18hrs+ Battery

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NV Tech Generation: Gen 2+
Resolution: 47-54 lp/mm
Magnification: 4x or 6x
Detection Range: 300m-600m
Recording: No
Battery: A single CR123A for up to 60 hours
Water Resistance: IPX7

My Review: If you have the extra funds on hand, opting for a nice Gen 2+ NV from Armasight is definitely a steady investment.

With significantly better resolution and much further effective range, this is the scope all serious hunters need that find themselves in low light situations. It’s big and it’s heavy but it also has a very ruggedized design that feels sturdy and can definitely handle some inclement weather.

Overall, this is one of the best NV scopes you’ll find that is still within a reasonable price range.

Key specs:

  • 6.5-degree FOV
  • 46mm eye relief
  • Windage and elevation adjustments ½ MOA
  • Integrated shock protection
  • Aircraft aluminum construction
  • Automatic brightness adjustment
  • Illuminated center red cross reticle with variable brightness settings
  • Three accessory rails
  • Detachable IR Illuminator
  • Multi-Alkali photocathode
  • Plenty of range for most hunting rifles
  • Significantly better than Gen 1 and Gen 2 model

1. Armasight PVS14 Gen 3 Night Vision Monocular

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My Review: This of course isn’t a scope but the point here is that you don’t need a night vision scope to have the benefits of night vision while operating a firearm. If you do choose to get something like the PVS-14 make sure the optics you choose are night-vision compatible, which usually means they have a super low brightness setting that doesn’t interfere with the night vision you use.

In the late 90s, the PVS-14 was issued to the USMC and NATO forces and continues to this day to be the most battle-proven NV system available. Armasight has taken the original PVS-14 design and improved it considerably, creating a multi-use NV system with both civilian and military capabilities. It is by far one of the lightest and most rugged NV systems on the market that is fully capable of rendering high-resolution NV imaging.

Armasight PVS14 (Night-Vision Used by Military) Being Used With Pistol

If you have the money and you know you’ll be relying heavily on NV, this would be the “buy once cry once” option.

Key specs:

  • Combat ready design including a waterproof, shockproof, rugged design.
  • Thin-film GaAs photocathode
  • Automatic shutoff system
  • Built-in IR illuminator and flood lens
  • F1.2 lens system with proprietary light enhancement film
  • Multi-use capable including firearm mounted, helmet, handheld, camera mounted, etc.

How Does Night Vision Work?

Naturally equipped with roughly 120 million rods and 6 million cones, the human eye is certainly a marvel of biology, however, it isn’t the best equipped visualizing machine when it comes to low light situations. In this category, many creatures have a massive advantage with larger pupils that contain far more light collecting rods than the human eye does. Some of these critters, like our furry feline friends, come equipped from the factory with a handy dandy tapetum which is essentially a natural mirror that reflects the light out of the eye, bouncing these beams off of incoming light twice over and increasing its visibility.

Humans don’t have a tapetum, but we do have brains capable of augmenting our reality with technology, and in the mid-1930s the Germans created the first Night Vision for use in World War II. Alongside the Germans, American scientists weren’t far behind and also developed NV to be used in WWII and later implemented this technology further in the Korean War.

Night Vision was made possible by implementing almost the same idea as a guitar amplifier. The same technology ideology took the pluck of a string and amplified it to fill entire stadiums.

First and foremost, optics to pull in light are required. We already had that technology, though, and we even know how to magnify it, but the limitations of optics end there. Going further, we require an amplifier and some electricity to overcome our low light deficiencies.

NV scopes essentially take in light through the front-facing lens and then amplify it into a strong current of electricity. This is possible because the light is made of photons. These photons are recorded across a light-sensitive surface called a photocathode (think solar panel). This panel’s main job is to convert all these colorful photons into electrons.

After we gather all these electrons in one spot, a photomultiplier is enabled which amplifies each electron entering the unit, resulting in a massive multiplier in the total amount of electrons available.

These magnified electrons are then released across a phosphor screen and when they hit, they create tiny flashes of light. These electrons work together to paint us a picture of what we’re looking at but can’t quite make sense of under low light conditions.

Without light at all, NV works just as well as the human eye, which is null. NV cannot function without at least trace amounts of light available. Since NV’s job is to intensify and magnify the available light and paint a picture based on what its technology can muster, there MUST be at least some light available. If you need visual aid in situations where there is absolutely no light present whatsoever, you’ll need to use infrared technology.

FAQs

Can night vision See Through scope?

Yes. You can see animals and objects with night vision and a scope attached to it. Even in low light conditions, you can see through the glass of the scope clearly.

How far can you see with a night vision scope?

With the right night vision scope, you can see from 200 to 1000 yards. You can see humans, animals, and objects, even at night with a night vision scope.

Which is better: night vision or thermal vision?

Thermal vision is definitely better than night vision. But it is also more expensive and newer technology than night vision.

Thermal imaging is better at detection as it relies on temperature.

Do you need light for night vision?

No. Night vision is specifically designed for producing an image when there is zero illumination or very little light.

This same technology is used in scopes and you can even see through fog and rain.

Wrap Up

NV is a fantastic technology that has been around since WWII. It is used across the world and comes in many different shapes and sizes. This article should have shed some light on which generation NV device should fit your needs and I hope my recommendations have helped guide you find the best night vision scope for your needs! Although getting an NVD is thrilling, please remember to use them responsibly and consult with the laws and ethics of your area accordingly.

As always, I cannot possibly review every product on the market so if you have something not found on this list, don’t hesitate to share your experience with it in the comments section!

If this list helped match you up with the perfect NV system, let me know! I’d love to hear from my readers as it helps me to continue providing content and continuously increase the quality of content I bring to this site!

FAQs

What scope should I use for night vision?

Thermal scopes are another night vision option, but they are a little different. While night vision optics need some sort of ambient light to work, thermal scopes perform in complete darkness. They can also be used both day or night, while most night vision (Gen 1&2) will be damaged by daylight

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How far can you see with night vision scope?

1,000 yards away

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Which is better thermal or night vision scope?

Thermal is best used to detect the desired game object. Night vision is best used to recognize, identify and harvest the game only if facial recognition is required or for deer depredation. If you have your choice of options, thermal imaging is the best twenty-four hour imaging option

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How good is the PARD 007?

The image quality is very good as long as you focus your scope and the unit itself properly. The built in IR illuminator is good out to about 200 yards and the night vision quality is very good. It is very useful to be able to attach this to the scope on any of my rifles for video recording both day and night.

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5 Best Night Vision Scopes in 2022 – Reviewed | Alpha Militaria

5 Best Night Vision Scopes in 2022 – Reviewed | Alpha Militaria Our Top 5 Night Vision Scopes in 2022: Pulsar Digisight Ultra LRF 450 Richard Saunders: An Experts View All of our reviews are based upon Richard Saunders opinions. Richard has been shooting air rifles for nearly forty years. Today he hunts and carries out pest control on more than a thousand acres spread across different locations in the south of England. He is a regular contributor to Airgun Shooter magazine, writing mainly hunting features and product reviews, as well The Airgun Show on YouTube. Disclaimer As an Amazon Associate I earn from qualifying purchases. I get commissions for purchases made through links in this post. Introduction Stating anything as ‘the best’ is always subjective and we could have called this the ‘can of worms column’. Opinions are like backsides – everyone has one – and at the end of the day, my opinion is no more important than anyone else’s. However, if you happen to have stumbled across this article because you are looking to invest in a night vision scope you may be a little confused by all the information out there. The best option is to try out every single product for yourself. Best, but often impractical. So we’re back to my opinion. The only thing I can offer is that I am lucky enough to own several NV products and have reviewed many others for various magazines and websites. So whilst I won’t be bestowing any kind of ‘best’ title, here’s a run down of some of the many night vision products I’ve experienced. Infrared or thermal? Putting lamps and torches to one side for a minute, night vision (NV) means either an infrared (IR) scope that relies on the use of an infrared torch also known as an illuminator, or a thermal scope which uses a sensor to detect heat and turn it into an image. The obvious difference between the two is cost. Neither are cheap, but generally speaking, thermal technology costs a lot more, especially if you want something usable. Thermal is better than IR for spotting quarry, but when it comes to targeting, my preference is IR. We may well take a look at thermal in a future feature, but for now I’m going to focus on IR. 1. PARD NV007 ASee More There are two products offering a choice of 12 mm and 16mm lens. Both cost the same – around £430. The main difference is that the 12 mm model will give you a slightly wider field of view and 1-7x magnification whilst the 16mm model has 4-28x magnification. As a ‘clip-on’ attachment rather than an actual scope, the PARD NV007A attaches to the rear of a regular day scope and sees through it. Not only does this mean you can use your normal scope during the day before swapping to NV when it’s dark, it also means you don’t have to change your zero. The unit itself is tiny, weighing only 250g and measuring 106mm long. Although the eye relief is short at 35 mm, you may find you…

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7 Best Night Vision Scopes in 2022 | Review by a US Marine

The 7 Best Night Vision Scopes in 2022 This site contains affiliate links. As an Amazon Associate, I earn a commission from qualifying purchases at no extra cost to you. Full Disclosure Here. It’s no secret that one of the best parts of being in the military is playing with the government’s cool science projects. One of these projects is the night vision scope. The Marine Corps does use night vision scopes, but nowadays most infantry guys are issued a PVS-14 monocular. The underlying technology is the same, but with a monocular, you need some additional gear to actually hit anything in the dark. Marines use a PEQ-15 that has a built-in infrared laser system. You can also mount a monocular on the rail system of your rifle and use it in conjunction with another optic like a red dot sight (like the image below). PVS 14 Night Vision Monocular with Red Dot Sight Setup In this guide, we’ll be locking in on the best night vision scopes and a couple of my favorite monocular units. I’ll explain how this human sensory augmenting technology works and give you some tips on how to use your night vision effectively. After you understand night vision terminology, we can begin shopping! I’ll review my personal favorite optics and show you exactly where to find the best deals! Introduction to Night Vision: Understand the Jargon To even start talking about this futuristic space-age technology, we first must understand all the jargon. NV stands for night vision while NVD indicates a night vision device. Not all NVDs are created equally and there is a wide range of different NV capable products such as goggles (NVG), scopes, telescopes, cameras, binoculars, monoculars, and sensors. Night vision gadgets are classified as optoelectronic device which means its capable of producing images in extremely low light conditions, near-total darkness. NVDs are typically considered passive NVDs which means they can convert invisible (to humans) light into visible displays using only the available light spectrum. NVDs that are used in tandem with an infrared (IR) illuminator are called active NVDs. NVDs are most often used by law enforcement and military personnel in several countries around the world, however, this technology is becoming increasingly available to consumers and has become popular with hunters, people searching for home defense systems, and entertainment industry. Some NV scopes are firearm mounted monoculars and can be taken off the firearm and mounted with headgear or on a tripod. Differences Between the Generations of Night Vision Shopping for NVDs may be a bit confusing due to the several varying generations available. NVD has come along way since its inception in WWII and the technology is constantly improving. Generation 0 You probably won’t ever come across one of these unless you’re a historian, but these are what paved the way for the NV technology we have today. Generation 0 NVDs were popular among tankers using goggles to guide the way in the dead of night and even in sniper scopes. Generation 0 was first introduced in 1939 and was used by just about all major parties involved in…

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PARD NV 007S REVIEW, night vision footage in the real world …

The Best Night Vision Scope in 2022

The Best Night Vision Scope in 2022 In this guide I’m going to show you the best night vision scope. In fact: These are the same scopes that many optic experts and competitive shooters use. The best part? I’ve sorted the scopes by use. So whether you’re on a budget or need a solid great night vision scope for hog hunting, you’ll find it here. Let’s get started! If you’re pressed on time, here’s a quick list of the best night vision rifle scopes: ATN ThOR HD 384: Best Night Vision Scope. ATN X-Sight 4K Pro: Best AR-15 Night Vision Scope. Sightmark Wraith: Best Night Vision Scope for the Money. Firefield NVRS 3×42: Best Night Vision Scope Under $500. 1. ATN ThOR HD 384: Best Night Vision Scope The ATN ThOR HD384 is the best night vision scope. In fact: I’ve used this scope both in daytime and nighttime for hunting hogs, coyotes, rabbits, and several other game. Even if you completely disregard the night vision aspect of the ThOr HD, it’s still one of the most impressive scopes on the market. Here’s why… Image Clarity & Reticle The image quality is bright and clear. The ThOR HD comes with a 384×288 sensor and a new Obsidian IV Dual-core processor, great for long-range hunting. This improved core extracts more from the sensor, giving you a sharp image even when observing distant targets, both day and night. In fact: This scope allowed me to see clearly in total darkness through the fog and smoke, thanks to its illuminated reticle. Equipped with several reticle patterns and color options, the ThOR HD enhanced my overall shooting experience. Recording and Streaming This scope comes with High-Resolution HD Video Recording & Photos plus Wi-Fi Streaming. With a whopping 64GB removable SD card. I was able to record all my kill shots in excellent quality via the ATN Obsidian app that I connected to my iPhone. On that note, if you’re an avid YouTuber, you can stream your hunting trips LIVE on social media. The best part? You don’t have to worry about pressing the record button every time you aim. The ThOR HD also comes with Recoil Activated Recording (RAV). As soon as it senses a shot, it records a video automatically. I had mine set to 10 seconds, but you can adjust how long it records before and after the shot to your liking. However, a downside is the audio recording isn’t as perfect as I’ve expected for the price tag. But considering the sound isn’t the most crucial aspect, I’ll give it a pass. Eye Relief The eye relief ranges from 2.5-3.5 inches. The eye box is a bit unforgiving. Since it has a very small display, you have to have your eye against the scope, which can be an issue if you mount it on a rifle with a big kick. Durability and Battery This ThOR HD is sturdy, and the buttons are tactile. The battery life on this scope is great too. I worked this scope for 8 hours before I swapped the AA batteries that came with the box. Most night vision scopes only last 4 hours making the ThOR HD perfect for long hunting trips. Zeroing Zeroing was incredibly easy. I’ve put the scope through 500 rounds, and it never had issues holding a zero. One of my favorite features is the Profile Manager. You can store all the zeroing-in data for every weapon that you plan to use the ThOR HD on. No worries about resetting everything up every time. Magnification This scope can be purchased with multiple magnification options: 1.25-5X19mm, 2-8X25mm, 4.5-18x50mm. So, which magnification should you pick? A magnification range between 1.25-5x will give you a detection range of up to 750 yards for a human-sized target and an identification range of 180 yards. The middle range 2-8x provides a detection range of 900 yards and an identification range of 250 yards. The 7-28x magnification version offers a detection range of…

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12 Best Night Vision Scopes In 2022 (Digital, Clip On & More)

12 Best Night Vision Scopes In 2022 (Digital, Clip On & More)This article contains affiliate links. We may earn a small commission if you purchase via these links.Whether it’s coons or hogs you’re after, the hunt doesn’t start ‘til after dusk.And since it’s fair to assume you don’t have superhuman powers to see in the dark, you’ll need a high-quality night vision scope.The best night vision scope is currently the Pulsar Digisight Ultra N450 LRF. What sets it apart is the built-in laser rangefinder. With ranging, digital day/night use, and a high-res sensor all in one package, it is a worthy title holder.To explore all grande alternatives, I lay out the top models from high-end to bottom dollar that will light up the path and illuminate the night.I also tell you how to identify the best from the posers in our buyer’s guide.Know all your options and make your first buy the right buy.Night vision scopes can be a new and different world to many: beginner shooters have a lot to catch up on; night hunters have their own hunting styles that demand various features of an NVD, and law enforcement/military personnel who are buying a personal device outside of issued gear find value in knowing what the best available civilian scopes are.Since there is no one scope that does it all for every application you might have in mind, I must disclose how I chose these options.All scopes listed would be excellent for wild hog and pest hunting to ensure those critters don’t get the best of your crops or your wits. A handful of these options are well-suited for tactical applications such as law enforcement, duty work, security, etc. To help you make the most informed decision, we’ve hand-picked the best of the best scopes currently available.While I do list some budget and affordable night vision scopes, you will see that I also provide very expensive options. I can’t deny the good stuff to those who have a taste for it – and who can afford it.  Without further ado, let’s shine the light on the right night vision scope for you.Night Vision Scope Reviews1. Pulsar Digisight Ultra N450 LRF – Best Digital Night Vision ScopeImage Credit – Pulsar NVWhat do you get when you marry a laser rangefinder with a night vision rifle scope? The Digisight Ultra N450 LRF.Pros:Standalone scopeLRF featureDigital featuresWiFiRecoil-proofCons:Battery lifeThe Digisight Ultra LRF is standalone, digital night vision scope with the works. It has everything you could expect from a digital device from video recording and app control to live streaming. If you want the works from a digital scope, you have it with a Pulsar product – just be ready for the learning curve.However, its digi tech is not why the Digisight LRF is priced so high for a digital scope, it’s the laser rangefinder technology. While some scopes offer a sort of stadiametric version, this model has a fully functioning laser unit complete with scan and angle compensation.Even though it’s teched out to the max, it’s no small and fragile scope. This beast is 14.6” long and weighs 2.4 lbs (approx.). You won’t mind the heft when you hear that it’s made to take repeated recoil. While many NV scopes find it difficult to handle hard kicks, the Digisight Ultra LRF doesn’t mind sitting on a 12-gauge shot gun, 308 Win, or 9.3×64.What’s the catch? Just be quick about what you’re setting out to do. If you’re messing around with streaming and digital features too much, you’ll be through the 4-8 battery life before you can take down any hogs.2. NightStar 2×50 – Best Gen 1 Night Vision ScopeGen 2 technology is becoming more affordable which in turn is driving Gen 1 tubes to become obsolete. However, for those on a budget and looking for an introductory scope to night…

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