Night vision technology has come a long way in recent years, and there are now many excellent scopes available on the market. These devices use infrared or thermal imaging to provide a clear picture of your surroundings in complete darkness. Whether you’re a hunter, law enforcement officer, or military operator, a night vision scope can be a game-changer.
In this article, we’ll take a look at some of the best night vision scopes currently available, factors you need to consider before you make a purchase, and some frequently asked questions that most new users have inquired about.
To be honest, there are essentially just two forms of night hunting where NV scopes are considered legal or ethical, and that is during predator hunting and hog hunting. These two major hunting types are common among hunters, but predator hunting (mainly coyotes) has become a hobby for many farm owners.
Meanwhile, hog hunting practice is also on the increase since wild pigs reproduce faster than rabbits and live almost anywhere; their wild populations are expanding and multiplying at remarkable rates making more hunters need a scope for accurate hunting.
Night-vision sights offer a novel technique to engage these sorts of animals in their natural surroundings while they are active. A decent scope may make your night hunt much more enjoyable, rewarding, and engaging since it introduces a completely new and considerably more exciting style of hunting.
To succeed in your night hunting, you must have the best night vision scope possible. Although most of the best night vision scopes are usually on the high-end side in terms of price, you can still get very good night vision optics at a lower price. Let us take a quick look at the top recommendations for the best night vision scopes for your nighttime hunting adventures.
Now let us go into detail on what a night vision scope is:
- What is a Night Vision Scope?
- How Does A Night Vision Rifle Scope Work?
- Is a Night Vision Optic Really Necessary?
- What Is the Difference Between a Thermal Riflescope and a Night Vision Scope?
- Factors To Consider When Choosing A Night Vision Rifle Scope
- Best Night Vision Scope Detail Reviews
- How Can I Mount a Night Vision Scope?
- How Do I Zero a Night Vision Scope?
What is a Night Vision Scope?
A night vision scope is an optical device that uses infrared or thermal imaging technology to provide a clear image in low light or complete darkness. It amplifies available light, such as from the moon or stars, or generates its own infrared light to illuminate the target, allowing you to see in complete darkness. These scopes are typically used by hunters, law enforcement officers, and military operators to see in dark conditions.
Night vision scopes can be mounted on firearms and often feature built-in infrared illuminators, which emit a low-level light that is invisible to the human eye but helps to illuminate the environment for the scope. Some night vision scopes also have built-in magnification, making it easier to see objects at a distance.
How Does A Night Vision Rifle Scope Work?
A night vision rifle scope works by amplifying available light or generating its own infrared light to create a clear image in low-light or complete darkness. There are two main types of night vision scopes:
This type of scope amplifies available light, such as from the moon or stars, to create a clearer image. It uses a photocathode to convert incoming light photons into electrons, which are then amplified by a microchannel plate and projected onto a phosphor screen to create a visible image.
This type of scope uses heat signatures, rather than light, to create an image. It detects the infrared radiation emitted by objects and converts it into a visible image. This allows the scope to provide a clear image in complete darkness or through fog, smoke, and other obstructions.
Regardless of the type, a night vision riflescope typically features durable construction, adjustable magnification, and a user-friendly design to make it easy to use in the field.
Traditional night vision scope
Traditional night vision scopes are known for their green color. They use image intensification technology to amplify available light and create a visible image in low-light or complete darkness. They work by converting incoming light photons into electrons, which are then amplified by a microchannel plate and projected onto a phosphor screen to create a visible image.
Digital night vision scope
Digital night vision scopes, on the other hand, use digital technology to create an image. They typically use a charge-coupled device (CCD) or complementary metal-oxide-semiconductor (CMOS) sensor to capture light and create an image. The image is then processed by an internal microprocessor and displayed on a screen. They also allow shooters to connect to Wi-Fi and carry out HD video recording.
Both traditional and digital night vision riflescopes have their advantages and disadvantages. Traditional scopes are typically more durable and offer better image quality, but they are also more expensive. Digital scopes are more affordable, but they may not be as durable or offer the same image quality as traditional scopes. When choosing between the two, it’s important to consider your needs and budget to determine the best option for you.
Is a Night Vision Optic Really Necessary?
The answer to this question is dependent on hunting preferences and the type of animal you’re after. You won’t need a night vision device if you do not intend to stay in the woods after it gets dark.
If you’re switching between day and night shooting, you may get a separate night vision monocular that can be mounted in front of a regular scope. If you are an expert in stalking games at night, you can invest in a specialized night vision scope.
Whether or not you should get an NV scope depends on HOW OFTEN you hunt at night.
What Is the Difference Between a Thermal Riflescope and a Night Vision Scope?
Thermal scopes and NV scopes allow shooters to go to places where no one has gone: into the blackness of night.
There are, however, a few fundamental distinctions between these two forms of night hunting scopes:
Thermal Rifle Scope
Thermal Scopes use heat to establish a target position, focusing light on things with higher internal heat via radiation. The images are generated in black, white, or blue with yellow and red.
The more radiation that a target emits, the sharper the image becomes. A Thermal rifle scope may be used at any time of day or night since it relies on heat rather than light. A Thermal optic can also see further than an NV optic, which requires ambient light. Although, excessively low temperatures can make a thermal optic worthless.
Night Vision Scope
Read previous discussions on what night vision optics is. Night vision devices are usually lighter and smaller than thermal riflescopes. They’re also more mainstream, providing shooters with more alternatives within an affordable price range.
Which is superior, a thermal optic or night vision optic?
The answer to “which is superior” in the contest between these scopes is totally dependent on what the shooter needs. Each optic has its own set of advantages and disadvantages.
THERMAL SCOPES will win when it comes to a game of detection. They let you get a better glimpse at moving targets from a distance; however, you may have difficulty determining or identifying the kind of game in your view.
NIGHT VISION is distinguished by its clarity. Even the greenest NV scopes can reveal minor features such as legs and faces.
The decision will be influenced by your hunting grounds. You must consider both your target and your surroundings. These will determine which of the two types will work best for you.
Further reading: thermal scope vs night vision
Factors To Consider When Choosing A Night Vision Rifle Scope
Choosing the Best Model
Night vision sights have become a low-cost and dependable technology, and this selection includes top NV models in a variety of price ranges. When choosing your NV scope, you need to pick a scope model that offers a clear, clean, and focused image with a dependable reticle.
You must consider the mounting choices to ensure compatibility with your rifle platform. The scope’s magnification range is also crucial since you might not be able to move closer to your target animals. Consider a NV scope with infrared illumination for enhanced sighting in low-light circumstances. Extras features shouldn’t be your priority when choosing a model.
Types Of Night Vision Devices
Night vision riflescopes are categorized as either active or passive, which essentially shows if they contribute to available light or not. Active gadgets light up the scene by emitting an infrared beam.
There are several kinds of “optics” that you may encounter in the NV world. Digital NV scopes are often less expensive. Standalone scopes are typically less expensive than clip-on. Weapon-mounted monoculars aren’t the best way to practice night shooting; however, they have their uses. Here’s a summary.
You can read the discussion about digital scopes above. Quick reminder, they display their images via a screen and can be used any time of the day.
Clip-On NV Scopes
They are smaller and more compact night vision devices, and they must be used in conjunction with a laser, red dot sight, or daylight scope because they lack a reticle. You can mount them on a rail in front of your aiming mechanism or on the objective bell of daylight scopes without an adjustable objective.
Standalone NV Scopes
They are dedicated scopes that have a reticle, turrets settings, and the ability to be zeroed. These scopes do not require the use of any other aiming device.
There are some monoculars that are weapon mountable. They are also very effective as night vision goggles. You can mount them on light-caliber small-arms rifles.
As previously said, an infrared illuminator emits infrared light, which brightens the night vision view. It comes very handy during dark evenings and low light settings. Their range is restricted, and their size grows in proportion to their strength. This will increase the weight of your riflescope. A detachable infrared illumination is ideal since it allows you to be flexible by just attaching it when necessary.
Night Vision Generations
Night vision technology has gone through several generations, each with improvements in performance and capabilities. The main generations are:
This is the first generation of night vision technology, developed in the late 1950s and early 1960s. It uses an image intensifier tube to amplify light but has limited performance and is primarily used for military applications. This riflescope has a practical range of around 75 yards, reduced battery life, and the life expectancy is approximately 1,500 hours. The image resolution is poor.
This is the second generation of night vision technology, which became commercially available in the 1980s. It has improved performance over Gen 1, but still has limitations such as short battery life and low resolution. These scopes are a good replacement for the previous generation, with significantly improved range and clarity.
The average practical scope range is around 200 yards. The device has a life expectancy of around 4,500 hours and has substantially higher picture quality. Further development resulted in Gen2+ sights, which are superior to Generation 2 but not as excellent as Gen3.
This is the third generation of night vision technology, which became available in the 1990s. It offers improved image resolution, a longer battery life, and a more durable design. The average effective range is around 300 yards (or more). You can also expect a battery of 10,000+ hours as well as great low-light performance and superb resolution.
This is the fourth and current generation of night vision technology, which became available in the 2000s. It offers the highest level of performance and features, including the best image resolution, a longer battery life, and a more rugged design.
This is the proposed fifth generation of night vision technology, which is still in development. It is expected to offer even higher levels of performance and features, such as increased image resolution and sensitivity to low levels of light.
It is pretty simple to determine the cost of NV scopes. Simply said, the cost is heavily dependent on the generation you want to acquire. Newer generations come with a higher price. It is as easy as that since, as previously said, each subsequent generation brings improvements over the preceding. These changes are not minor tweaks; they represent significant advancements in NV optic technology.
The Weight of the scope is another consideration that should play a significant role in your selection. You don’t want the scope to add excessive weight to your rifle. The weight would probably not matter much for ordinary use. On the other hand, if you’re traveling from thick bush to broad field or everything in between, you’ll need something lightweight and easy to carry.
Adjustment knobs, focal lenses, and material used to make the scope will contribute significantly to its weight.
Range or Distance
The range of a NV rifle scope is less than that of a standard riflescope. The identification range is critical, the range or distance at which you should anticipate recognizing a target and utilizing your rifle. It is, however, a subjective value because it is dependent on the ambient light and optics utilized. Some manufacturers mention the range for various lighting situations, such as starlight, overcast sky, or full moon.
Night vision riflescopes get more cumbersome as their power increases. To avoid overloading your gun with too much weight, match the amount of technology you’re getting to what you need. Lighter scopes are advantageous.
NV riflescopes are fragile because they’re made with delicate electronics and chemical elements. They are less tolerant of shocks and misuse. Choose a water-resistant and more durable type for difficult circumstances and bad weather.
Best Night Vision Scope Detail Reviews
Before NV scopes, the only device that allowed people to attain any degree of night vision visibility was night vision goggles. They weren’t particularly useful for hunting; they sometimes didn’t perform the job and were shortly replaced by scopes.
NV scopes that come in diverse sizes, shapes, and quality are now available on the market. We have a plethora of options; however, most high-quality scopes are generally expensive. As a result, we’ve gone ahead and reviewed some of the best night vision scopes. Let’s dig deeper!
1. ATN THOR HD
The first-night vision scope on our list is the ATN ThOR optics. You can use this optic both during the day and at night to hunt coyotes, rabbits, hogs, and a variety of other species. You cannot ignore the ThOr HD’s night vision capabilities; it remains one of the most amazing scopes.
The picture of this ThOR HD sight is clear and bright. It has an Obsidian IV Dual-core processor and a 384×288 sensor, making it ideal for long-distance hunting. This enhanced core takes more from the sensor, providing a crisp image even when viewing distant things at night or day.
With the illuminated reticle on this scope, you can easily and clearly see your aiming point on a target in complete darkness. The ATN HD improved my entire shooting experience by offering a variety of reticle designs and colors to choose from.
This scope includes High-Resolution Video Recording and Photos, as well as Wi-Fi Streaming. It comes with a massive replaceable SD card of 64GB. You can capture all your kill shots in high resolution using the ATN Obsidian app on your iPhone.
Asides from that, if you are a YouTuber, you may live-stream your hunting expeditions online. You do not need to hit the record button whenever you aim. The scope comes with a Recoil Activated Recording. When the scope detects a shot, the RAV system immediately captures the video. You can change the recording time as you wish. When I used one of these, I set mine to 15 seconds.
The scope can record both the before and after you take the shot. However, the audio recording is not as good as I expected for its price. But, because sound is not as important as video, we can look away from it.
The scope has an eye relief that ranges from 2.5 inches to 3.5 inches. It also has a pretty small eye box. Because of the tiny display, you must keep your eye on the scope. This might be difficult if you place it on rifles that have a high kickback.
This ATN HD is well-built, and it has highly responsive buttons. It also comes with a very strong battery life. You can use this sight for up to 8 hours before changing the AA batteries. Most NV scopes have approximately 4-hour battery life.
It was extremely simple to zero. Even after putting the optic through roughly 500 rounds, it never failed to maintain its zero. Another great feature I love is called “Profile Manager.” You may save all of the zero data for any weapon you intend to utilize with the ATN HD scope. There’s no need to re-zero any weapon every time.
This ATN scope is available in three magnifications: 4.5-18x50mm, 2-8X25mm, and 1.25-5X19mm. The 1.25-5x magnification range will give shooters a great detection view of about 750 yards, and you can enjoy easy target identification to around 180 yards for human-sized targets.
The 2-8x sight has a detection distance of 900 yards, while the identification is 250 yards. The detection for the 7-28x variant is 3,000 yards, while its identification is at 720 yards.
It has a smooth digital zoom, but as magnification increases, the image becomes hazy. The solution to this is to choose the model whose lowest magnification is your most used. As a result, you won’t have to rely much on digital zoom.
The ATN HD has a Picatinny Quick Release Mount. It was a snap to mount this sight on an AR-15. A ballistic calculator is also included with this sophisticated scope. It calculates elevation and ambient circumstances, as well as your rifle’s profile, to provide an accurate bullet path.
It also has a built-in Smart Rangefinder feature. This feature allows shooters to swiftly acquire targets for an accurate shot. No more squandering ammunition on failed shots!
It includes a 20,000 mAh battery, a micro USB connector, and a buttstock. This allows your sight to last for about 22 hours. The packaging was one of the few disappointments. The scope arrived in a canvas bag with little padding.
ATN offers a 3-year guarantee, so if they deliver a damaged optic, you can return it and get a replacement. Overall, the ATN HD is a fantastic game-changer. The scope is an excellent NV optic for hog and coyote hunting, among other things. It may lack a few bells and whistles, but it is unquestionably a great product worth the price.
Check out the best red dot for turkey hunting.
2. Firefield NVRS 3×42
The Firefield 3×42 is another great night vision scope available for less than $500 at the time of writing this article. This sight was purchased in a hurry since I wanted something inexpensive and effective for hunting. I haven’t had reasons to dispose of it since.
This scope’s glass clarity is excellent, with no dark spots, and it is well worth the price. The picture tube comes with a resolution of 30 Ip/mm, and it has multi-coated glasses, which makes the scope shine. Usually, I don’t accept anything less than fully multi-coated glass; thus, a low-cost scope with this feature is a welcome development.
Despite its modest size, the illuminator emits a powerful beam into the darkness. In the moonlight, you can see targets clearly up to 75 or 100 yards.
The field of vision is relatively small, but the scope is designed for hunting rather than panoramic photography. This unit’s reticle is a variable red-on-green duplex illumination reticle. It is essentially a fine crosshair lighted with red LED.
The crosshair definitely draws attention to the target. Shooting a red target will be difficult. However, black targets and evening animal hunting will not be an issue. This Firefield NVRS scope is a 1st-generation model with green phosphor screen, and it is still functional today.
Night vision scopes, unlike conventional scopes, operate best when the shooter’s eye is directly on the scope’s eyepiece. The flexible rubber that surrounds the eyepiece absorbs any rebound movement. The stable power supply can withstand recoil of about 3700 joules, which is normal for a Winchester.308 rifled barrel.
I went coyote hunting with this sight and dropped it several times. It still works perfectly. It is a durable scope made of a light titanium body. This titanium body and lens cover (flip-up) protect the sight from inclement weather, although it is not completely waterproof. The scope will withstand typical rainstorms, but don’t immerse the scope entirely in water.
Fortunately, this Firefield NVRS Gen 1 scope runs on regular AA batteries. The batteries have an average of 50 hours of power supply. You should have spare batteries on hand, just in case. If you leave the IR illuminator on for long, the battery will drain faster. Turn on the illuminator only when you need it, and turn it off when you’re not using it.
The scope is quite durable, but even a few seconds of direct sunlight can harm some components. So, do not use the scope in direct sunlight. Although it has a hat for use throughout the day, the clarity is only best during twilight hours. The scope was developed specifically for night vision, and it performs admirably.
The Elevation and Windage Turrets have 1 MOA adjustment. You won’t have problems keeping the turrets at zero. Also, I do not advocate zeroing in direct sunlight since it might harm the scope. Wait until it is dark before you zero. It was simple to aim and fine-tune the zero at 100 yards in full darkness.
The magnification is 3x. You can effortlessly shoot between 50-75 yards. Because it has a factory-set parallax adjustment, anything above 80 yards will make your crosshairs blur. The only flaw I see with this sight is that it might benefit from stronger IR illumination.
The QD weaver mount allows you to switch optics on the go and still maintain zero consistently. While the design is adjustable, incorrect installation will cause a slew of issues. You must modify the mount to fit your rail.
This scope has come in handy while hunting coyotes. So, if you’re on a tight budget, this Firefield scope is ideal for nocturnal hunting.
The quality of the glass beats everything in its price range, and its adaptable mount works well with almost any configuration. That is why it is a go-to for low-cost night vision.
3. ATN X Sight 4K
The ATN X-Sight is great NV scope for AR-15 shooters. In fact, even on the darkest evenings, this digital optic provides superb vision and crisp images.
The X-Sight 4K has night vision capabilities. You may also capture your hunting adventure in the video. However, the night vision images on this sight are a hit or miss. That’s unfortunate, but let’s weigh the benefits and drawbacks…
First and foremost, it has an outstanding smartphone WiFi streaming capability. You may simultaneously record and broadcast the videos to your phone. The video is a little bit blurry compared to the high-definition promised by the manufacturer. Also, the screen would occasionally freeze; this is something you don’t want to deal with while hunting.
Secondly, the NV was far superior to what I expected from an optic in this price range. But it is a little too bright. Your eyes might feel a burning sensation after staring at the screen for some time.
Furthermore, after you increase magnification, the black-and-white NV might become hazy. However, the sun will not harm this scope, meaning you can use the scope during the day and expect it to function well till night.
The lighted digital reticle comes in a variety of colors and patterns. All of these elements are customizable, allowing you to fine-tune it based on the situation. Just activate the black-and-white NV and choose the color you want to illuminate the FOV.
This 4K Pro sight has an eye relief of 3 inches, and it provides crisp visuals on the screen. The inbuilt lithium-ion battery can keep you going for almost 18 hours with a single charge.
The X-Sight Pro is extremely tough because of its hard aluminum alloy structure. It is also recoil resistant even with high-caliber weapons. It is totally weatherproof and can withstand even the toughest environments. The digital components are very impact-resistant, so there’s no need to worry if the scope drops.
However, there were difficulties with the buttons’ durability. When squeezed, the corners became stuck within the scope. It does not have physical turrets that you will adjust because it is digital. You have to learn the digital functions, which might be difficult if you’re only used to classic scopes.
The NV function is the first on the menu. You can modify your range by pressing a series of buttons. The Ballistic Calculator, for example, is a handy function. This program computes your range, windage, humidity, temperature, target angle, and other parameters. Just enter your weapons profile and data with your smartphone app, and the optic will adjust the point of impact.
The magnification ranges from 3 to 14x. However, as the magnification settings increased, the vision became pixelated. You will still see the target, but the HD image will not be that good.
This scope provides the simplest zeroing ever. Just take a few shots, adjust your reticle, and the scope is ready to use!
The ATN 4K Pro NV scope has a number of useful accessories. Two rings, a lithium-ion battery, an L-shaped ring, a lens cloth, a scope cover, a USB-C cable, a sunshade, and IR850 infrared light are included. No mount is supplied, so I used a 30mm QD ATN mount to install the scope.
It is light, easy to use, and can retain zero when you transfer it to another gun. Overall, you will receive a reliable digital NV scope with excellent video quality. You can replay your greatest shots or share them with other hunters.
4. Sightmark Wraith HD
Do you require a NV scope that is both inexpensive and of high quality? Take a look at the Sightmark Wraith.
It has excellent NV capability, and it can also save about 5 different zero profiles, allowing shooters to switch to any weapon they choose without needing to reset it.
The Sightmark has a sophisticated HD sensor with outstanding clarity. The nicest feature of this sight, however, is its 10 distinct reticle selections! You can select the best reticle for your shooting application using this sight. It also comes in 9 distinct color variations, allowing you to customize it to your liking. You can select between black/white or classic green, and it has a full-color option for daytime shooting.
The only disadvantage is that the reticle choices are second focal plane, which means they do not change size as magnification changes. It is a little more difficult to see targets that are located long distances away, but this is mostly for hunting between 150-200 yards, so it would not be a major issue.
The eye relief of your scope is determined by where you install it. If you’re tall, you have to mount the scope in a way that you’ll not need to crawl so close to see clearly. To achieve the necessary eye relief, you can use a long mount. If you’re not so tall, you might not require as much.
The scope is exceptionally tough and can endure rough use. It features a strong aluminum body, is water resistant, and can withstand high temperatures. I’ve had mine inadvertently knocked against trees at night hunting a few times, and it has no problem. They also offer a guarantee in case something goes wrong.
It does not have windage or elevation adjustment turrets since it is digital. You can easily explore the menu, the layout is straightforward, and you can set everything exactly the way you want it. And, as previously said, you can add zero settings for 5 different guns, making it extremely simple to switch to a new caliber or rifle.
The scope features a 2x magnification to 16x. The lower magnification is ideal for hog hunting, especially when combined with a long mount, which provides a broad field of vision. At night, you can see your target easily from 150 yards away. If necessary, you can purchase an additional infrared illuminator light.
The Wraith sight has a Picatinny rail for simple installation. Use a long mount, as I stated before if you need greater eye relief. The sight also has an 850nm IR light for better visibility to about 200 yards. It is detachable, allowing shooters to upgrade if they need long-range IR light.
Long range shooters can check this article on Best Long Range Rifle Scope.
I almost forgot to add that the scope features a memory card slot for recording video. It also contains a USB connector for exporting videos and connecting an external power supply. The Sightmark NV scope offers all of the features you want in a NV optic at a reasonable price. You may also film the entire hunt to demonstrate your expertise!
5. ATN X Sight LTV
You may wonder why we have reviewed multiple ATN scopes in this article. It’s because the ATN brand is one of the leaders in the Night Vision Optic industry. These scopes, which are packed with innovative technology that provides customers with an accurate and entertaining experience, are guaranteed to amaze all kinds of shooters.
This digital scope’s QHD sensor provides incredible clarity and depth with a resolution of 2688 x 1944. The LTV sight is compatible with practically any rifle and can be fitted with normal 30mm rings. It has broad 3.5 inches of eye relief that provides a comfortable and convenient eye placement for shooters.
When it comes to weight, the LTV sight has you covered. It is highly adaptable, weighing just 27.2 ounces. As a result, it is a great NV crossbow scope.
Images are shown on a micro display with a resolution of 1280 x 720p. The photographs can be viewed by the shooter and also shared with relatives and friends. You can record in High Definition Resolution to an SD card whose size ranges from 4GB to 64GB.
Despite having all of this technology at your disposal, the LTV sight is energy efficient, thanks to an integrated rechargeable lithium-ion battery. You can get about 10 hours of uninterrupted use.
6. Pulsar Digisight Ultra N455
Many shooters become concerned when a scope’s price tag begins to reach thousands. The Pulsar Digisight offers you exactly what you paid for; it’s still reasonably priced.
This digital NV riflescope is yet another class leader. It may be used during the day or at night, and it has an IR illuminator that provides detection to around 546 yards. The inbuilt laser rangefinder allows shooters to detect their target and estimate its precise distance.
The high-resolution monitor, HD sensor, improved nighttime sensitivity, and video recorder are all exceptional in this scope.
It is also very durable with IPX7 protection making it waterproof. It is also shock-proof; the magnesium body makes it recoil-resistant and gives it the ability to function in high temperatures.
It includes a variety of reticle settings for hitting short and long-range targets. It has a wide field of vision and a magnification range of 4-18x.
The Pulsar sight makes the best use of infrared light to assist you in hitting long-distance targets.
7. Night Owl Optics Nightshot
The Night Owl sight is a low-cost NV scope best suited for both small and big game hunting. The Nightshot’s sturdy designed thermoplastic body is shock-proof, waterproof, and recoil-proof.
It has an infrared illuminator integrated, and it can provide clear vision to about 200 yards using 3x magnification. The objective lens is also glare-free, so you won’t alert your target.
It has six distinct reticle settings, which you can rapidly turn through to select the reticle that best matches your needs.
It has a 640×480 monitor and may be mounted using Picatinny or weaver-style rails.
The Night Owl scope is one of the CHEAPEST, providing you with outstanding night vision features.
The Nightshot optic is an excellent choice for individuals who want to start shooting at night. It is not complicated, with few frills, yet it does the job effectively.
8. NightStar 2×50
Gen 2 NV technology is getting more affordable; as a result, Gen 1 scopes are becoming outdated. NightStar is a Gen 1 riflescope for shooters on a low budget and searching for an introduction to NV. The battery of the NightStar scope is not provided, but it should have roughly 50 hours of battery life. It will be useful to know that it requires a CR123 battery.
Gen 1 scopes are often seen as low-performing in comparison to Gen 2. Practically, the effective range of the scope is limited to 100 yards.
There are certain drawbacks to Gen 1 scopes; you can’t have all you need for the price range. The scope has a resolution of 35 lp/mm, it is at the top end of Gen 1 scope performance, and it gives its best result under moonlight.
The sight has a Weaver mount, so it comes ready for gun attachment. It comes with a red-lighted reticle that has duplex crosshairs which can be changed in terms of brightness using the button interface.
It is not suitable for tactical uses, even though it has a ‘tactical’ look and classification. It is designed for AR-15 and rimfire rifles used for critter hunting and plinking.
9. Armasight CO-LR
In terms of size and possible performance, the CO-LR differs from the model called Co-Mini. While it is less expensive, the CO-LR has an objective lens of 108mm, 11.7″ in length, and successful usage with 3-12x scopes.
The scope is as huge and hefty as a full-size regular scope, even though it is a specialized clip-on sight. You’ll need adequate space on the rail to place it, and keep in mind it weighs 2.4lb. However, its long-range usability and optional detachable infrared illumination of up to 1000 yards make it worthwhile.
It comes with a Gen 3 tube in either Ghost White or Green Phosphor. The white phosphor may cost extra.
Both versions offer automatic and adjustable gain, giving you complete control over the brightness. Both CR123A and AA batteries can be used to power this night vision. The coin-shaped battery can power it for about 24 hours; meanwhile, the alkaline battery can last up to 40 hours.
It has a wireless remote with one-touch operation. Whenever it shuts off while you’re in stealth mode waiting for coyotes to come, use the remote to quickly activate it without moving, so you won’t reveal your location. It is accurate to 1 MOA after being factory bore-sighted. Mount it, align it with your regular day scope, and start shooting.
Since being bought by Ecentria, Armasight has returned and is offering its best-selling products to civilians. The CO-LR is protected by the Longer Limited Warranty under new owners. It is insured for 3 years from the date of purchase if you register it. Without registration, the warranty automatically reverts to the 1-year Standard warranty.
So, what makes the CO-LR superior to the CO-Mini? The reason for this is long-term performance.
10. AGM Wolverine NL3
If you think you’ll ever be able to afford night vision, try AGM. AGM provides low-cost night vision for those on a restricted budget.
The Wolverine NL3 model is a high-end Gen 2 scope that delivers excellent value for money. It does not get much more inexpensive than this, yet the scope is still available at Gen 1 prices.
It features a fixed magnification of 4x, a resolution of 45-51 lp/mm, a green phosphor, and a battery life of roughly 50 hours. This kind of NV is what varmint hunters with small-caliber guns should invest in right away. I said low caliber because the eye relief is somewhat unforgiving with 45mm.
The Wolverine sight is ideal for night steel plinking, nocturnal hunting, and a variety of close-range shooting situations. The turrets have MOA adjustability and an illuminated mil-dot reticle. Some shooters may dislike the MOA/MIL combination, but you’re not going to be holding over or fiddling with adjustments in the dark, are you?
Having Gen 2+ scope at this pricing range is a value worth noting, and you can always get past any MOA/MIL concerns.
How Can I Mount a Night Vision Scope?
Night vision riflescopes, like every other riflescope, come with a variety of mounting options. Most night vision devices are compatible with military-grade mounts.
Before mounting the night vision optic, ensure that it is properly charged. If you’re using a night vision monocular, you can screw in an adapter mount using an Allen wrench. These are then attached to a weaver-style or Picatinny tactical rail.
A Night vision monocular that is designed to be put in front of lenses is frequently designed to be readily disassembled. Mount it on the rail, and secure it with the quick-release plate. All other NV scopes may be mounted directly on tactical rails with ease.
Setting up and mounting a night vision scope typically involves the following steps:
- Choose a mounting system
To mount your scope, you have to first pick a mounting system that is compatible with your firearm and the night vision scope you have. Some scopes come with their own mounting systems, while others may require you to purchase a separate mounting system.
Learn more about the best scope mounts
- Attach scope to the mount:
Attach the night vision scope to the mounting system following the manufacturer’s instructions. Make sure the scope is securely attached to the mounting system and that it is properly aligned with your firearm.
- Adjust eye relief
Adjust the eye relief to ensure that you have a clear, comfortable view through the scope. Eye relief is the distance between your eye and the eyepiece of the scope. It is typically adjustable, allowing you to set it to the ideal distance for your comfort.
- Adjust focus
Adjust the focus of the night vision scope to ensure that you have a clear image. This is typically done by turning the objective lens or by using an adjustable focus ring.
- Zero scope
Zero the scope to ensure that it is properly aligned with your firearm. This involves shooting a few rounds at a target and adjusting the scope until the crosshairs are aligned with the point of impact.
- Test scope
After zeroing, you need to test the scope to ensure that it is working properly. Turn it on and check the image quality, focus, and alignment. Make any necessary adjustments to ensure that you have a clear, usable image.
Note: Always follow the manufacturer’s instructions and guidelines when setting up and mounting a night vision scope, and take care to ensure that it is securely attached to your firearm.
Also read : how to mount rifle scope
How Do I Zero a Night Vision Scope?
Every sight requires zeroing. However, using your NV scope may necessitate extra caution and attention while zeroing. To zero a night vision scope, you need to align the crosshairs of the scope with the point of impact of your shots. The steps for zeroing a night vision scope are as follows:
- Choose a range
Choose a shooting range that is safe and suitable for zeroing your night vision scope. Make sure you have adequate lighting, or use a target illuminator if necessary.
- Prepare target
Set up a target at a suitable distance for zeroing your night vision scope. This distance will depend on the type of firearm you are using and the type of ammunition you have.
- Sight firearm
Sight in your firearm by shooting a few rounds at the target. Observe the impact points of your shots.
- Mount NV scope
Mount the night vision scope to your firearm following the manufacturer’s instructions. Make sure it is securely attached and properly aligned with your firearm.
- Shoot group shots
Shoot a group of shots at the target while looking through the night vision scope. Observe the impact points of your shots and make any necessary adjustments to the crosshairs of the scope.
- Adjust crosshairs
Adjust the crosshairs of the night vision device until it is aligned with the point of impact of your shots. This is typically done by using the adjustment turrets on the scope to align the crosshairs.
- Repeat process
Repeat the process of shooting a group of shots and adjusting the crosshairs until you have a consistent group of shots at the center of the target.
NOTE: digital NV scopes may be zeroed during the day. However, to get a satisfying feel while zeroing, you’ll need to do it in the dark.
What do infrared illuminators do?
Because night vision devices function by magnifying and intensifying the little available light, they cannot be used in full darkness. Infrared illuminators emit an infrared beam that cannot be seen by the naked eye. However, the gadget can detect it; consider it a spotlight for your optics. Infrared illuminators have varying ranges, although they may be up to 100 yards. Their strength increases with distance, and they may cover about 40% – 60% of the viewing area.
What precautions do you need when using night vision rifle scopes?
Night vision devices are a delicate piece of technology and should be handled carefully. Avoid shaking or dropping the scope and exposing it to shock. Avoid using the sight in direct sunlight and pointing it at bright light sources. Do not use your hands to wipe the surface of the lens; instead, use a soft brush or cloth. Keep it in its case when you’re not using it.
What distinguishes a thermal from night vision scope?
NV works by amplifying light to allow you to see in low-light situations. Thermal imaging detects heat: hot areas appear orange or red in your vision, with color intensity indicating hotter places.
Which NV Scope is Used by the Military?
Overall, the military makes use of Gen 3 or Gen 4 scopes that have 10,000+ hour lifetime durability. Contracts are issued with tube specifications that must meet military standards, and most of them are rarely accessible by civilians.
How far can a Night Vision Optic see?
In general, the distance you can see is determined by its quality, ambient light condition, and tube. A 6 inches target is expected to be identified at, say, 100 yards and detected at around 300 yards. This range is without the use of IR illumination; however, most Night vision rifle scopes can provide superior results.
Is it illegal to use night vision scopes?
Night vision optics are allowed for citizens of the United States to purchase, own, and use for hunting non-game animals. Each state has its own regulations governing the legal use of NV and thermal imaging technologies. It is your responsibility to research the laws before purchasing or shooting with these devices.
Mike Hardesty is a published freelance gun writer. He also possesses specialized expertise in rifle scopes With dozens of articles and reviews published in Pew Pew Tactical, Snipercountry.com, and TTAG (The Truth About Guns), Mike is considered a firearms expert. His special area of expertise is handguns.
Mike is a long-time shooter. He has been punching paper targets, taking deer and other game and shooting at competitions since about 1975. Other related pursuits include reloading and bullet casting. He currently reloads for over 10 calibers, both handgun and rifle. His reloads, particularly for 9mm, were in great demand during the height of the ammo shortage among family and friends. He donated hundreds of rounds to informal shooting sessions. He was quoted as saying “I do not sell my reloads but I sure will help my guys shoot ’em for free!”. He has a few cherished firearms that he has inherited or otherwise procured — those are his favorites.
He earned B.S. and M.S. degrees from Indiana State University in 1974-1975.
He’s a firearm experts and is the founder of mhardesty.com.