Last Updated on April 7, 2021
Best night vision scopes come with the best features. That is why you need to know about the ins and outs. Guess what? You are just in the right place. Here we would be talking about the basic features of a night vision scope, night scope reviews, its evolution from generation to generation, the best brands of night vision, and most importantly, we will present you the reviews of the best night vision rifle scopes that we have selected from hundreds of them. So, hang in there buddy!
Top night vision scopes come in handy for people like the hunters who hunt at low light or in the dark or to the army guys who aim at the enemies at night. People like me just love them as it is a wonderful tool that gives you an upper hand when you are going for an outing to kill a game at night. As time passed, engineers have innovated new technologies that have upgraded night vision optics quite remarkably. As it costs some, you need to be choosy when you buy one.
Best Night Vision Scopes Review for the Money
01. American Technologies Network DGWSXS314Z X-Sight II Riflescope, 3-14x (Best Night Vision Scope Reviews Under $1000)
Our top choice night vision scope is the ATN night vision riflescope that works either day or night. Its X Sight ll HD can be readily used anytime you want and will provide you with the best quality images in every lighting condition. Its HD resolution will give crystal clear vision whenever you need it. This ATN DGWSXS314Z has quite a lot of options for color choice.
It has a built-in rangefinder to make any hunters’ life easier. So, if you go out, you don’t need to carry any additional equipment for ranging your target. This will help you to calculate the distance every time to make a perfect shot. It will identify the target with just two clicks. Then it will automatically adjust the point of impact. Which makes it one of the top-rated night vision scopes for rifles!
The most awesome feature of these night vision iron sights is its ballistic calculator. With this extraordinary feature, you may forget the complex reticles and charts for shooting. You just have to enter the environmental data and all the necessary calculations will be performed automatically for you. So, if you are a novice in the field of hunting or shooting with a night vision scope, you don’t need to be worried.
The scope offers very good magnification with a 3-14x option. The digital zoom is very smooth and fine-tuned adjustments are done with the perfect magnification. It has a 1080p HD video recording system with a recoil video option that can be saved with the help of an SD card. That means, it will automatically start the video before and after the shot is taken. Seriously, isn’t that amazing? The Wifi option is another upgraded technological feature.
- 1080p HD video capturing
- Magnification up to 3-14x
- Best day and night scope
- RAV option
- Built-in rangefinder
- Ar 15-night vision scope
- Best Night Vision Scope Under $1000
- Wi-Fi streaming by your phone or tablet
- Ballistic type calculator
- GPS and e-compass system
- The batteries can be improved
- The outlook is not the best
02. ATN X-Sight 4K Pro Smart Day/Night Rifle Scope 5-20x – Ultra HD 4K technology
Our second top night vision scope is the ATN X-Sight Smart Day and Night Riflescope. This scope is a great breakthrough from ATN with the blends of the traditional and latest technology. The low light 4k sensor and Obsidian 4 Dual-Core Processor bring unparalleled image resolution with millions of vivid colors. This also provides enhanced HD night vision mode that will allow you rapid vision even in the dark.
The built-in ballistic calculator of ATN X-Sight 4K PRO scope enhances your accuracy that won’t be affected by wind, range, target angle, temperature, and other obstacles. Its dual-mode video recording lets you record video on the SD card and streams the HD video on your mobile phone simultaneously.
Whether you want to hunt a deer on a foggy night or shoot the enemy in rain, this scope brings all these that you are looking for. Battery support is another important consideration, ATN X-Sight scope successfully passes this test as well. Some of the other features are laser rangefinder, Wi-Fi streaming, quick detach mount, etc.
This ATN Riflescope features 5-20x magnification that is amazing in long-range night shooting. Besides, the image will not be pixeled at higher magnification, so this will be your best day and night vision scope for hunting. A definite go-to product from the famous ATN if you want to use it as your best day night scope.
- 5-20x magnification
- 3864×2218 sensor resolution
- 600 lp/mm resolution
- Best night vision scope for hunting
- 18+ hours continuous battery life
- Long eye-relief
- Dual stream and video record
- Ballistic calculator
- Built-in laser rangefinder
- Recoil activated video
- RAV feature doesn’t work well
- Heavy to carry
03. Sightmark Wraith HD Digital Night Vision Riflescope
Sightmark Wraith HD 4-32×50 Digital Riflescope is another wonderful addition for night shooting and hunting enthusiasts. This higher magnification and objective lens riflescope can be used for versatile applications such as tactical, airsoft, varmint hunting, even deer hunting purposes. This is why many coyote hunters consider this scope as one of the best night vision rifle scopes for coyote hunting.
The built-in 1920×1080 HD sensor and 850 nm IR illuminator provide full-color viewing in daytime whereas classic green and black, or green and white vision at night. This will let you 1080p HD photo and video shooting. There are 10 different reticle options and 9 color choices to ease aiming and accuracy significantly. Additionally, you will get an IR flashlight with the scope that helps you shooting. You can mount the scope in the firearms using the included Picatinny rail.
Sightmark Wraith Digital Riflescope is constructed from aluminum housing. With this 1-8x digital and 4x optical zooming, you will get up to 32x magnification which will extend your vision up to 200 yards at night. In this scope, you can save up to 5 firearms zero profiles that will save your time and you can hunt easily. The 4 AA batteries allow using the riflescope for around four and half hours continuously. There is also an external micro USB port to export data.
- 4-32x magnification
- 50 mm large objective lens
- Saves 5 firearms zero profile
- 9 colors and 10 reticle options
- 1080p HD photo and video capture
- Comes with an IR flashlight
- 1920×1080 camera resolution
- Best night vision scope for .308 rifle
- Poor battery life
- Not completely weatherproof
04. ATN ThOR HD 384 Smart Night Vision Scope Review w/ High Res Video, Wi-Fi, GPS
This top-quality ATN scope comes with a 384×288 thermal sensor that provides an excellent image performance. This night vision scope is your ideal one as it will detect heat energy whereas many others detect just light. So this awesome technology will work tremendously in total darkness. Pretty cool, isn’t it? The ATN ThOR HD 384 provides you with multiple options to choose from.
Like the other spectacular scopes, this one also has a ballistic calculator which helps to determine the trajectory of the bullet. So, you will be able to find your target more easily. Through this magnificent calculator, you can adjust the point of impact which ultimately helps to improve your shot placement.
Also, it has a unique built-in rangefinder that helps to find your target more easily. If you want to improve your bow-hunting skills, this rangefinder may help you with it. As you have this with you, you don’t need any external range finder to carry with you. This will be just enough for finding the perfect target. Many night shooters consider this cool scope as the best night vision scope for shooting
Similar to other quality ATN products, it also has a recoil-activated pretty handy video option. As always, it will automatically start the video before the shoot is taken. The smooth zoom option will magnify the objects very nicely. It has four different products depending on various magnification options. With a higher magnification system, the price also rises high. So, you can select the one that fits your bill and requirements.
Starting with a 1.25-5x magnification, it ends with a 9-36x magnification! The choice is yours to make! There is also a high-resolution HD video recording system present and you can use Wi-Fi streaming to share your hunting with the help of your android phone with an android app or tablet. It can be the best rifle scope for deer hunting. Certainly, it’s a gem collection for any hunter or shooter. Now, you know which night vision scope is best for you.
- 1080p HD video capturing
- The magnification range varies from 1.25-5x to 9-36x
- Recoil activated video (RAV)
- Built-in smart rangefinder
- Best rifle scope for deer hunting
- Wi-Fi streaming by your phone or tablet
- Ballistic calculator
- GPS and e-compass system
- A bit pricey
05. Firefield 3x 42mm Gen 1 Night Vision Riflescope, Black (Best Night Vision Scope Under $500)
This Gen 1 product may be a bit old-fashioned but still can be a gem in finding long-range accuracy with the help of technological advantages in an inexpensive way. That is why Firefield NV Scope is one of the best seller items in the market despite being the old generation. The night vision riflescope comes with a magnification of 3x which will help to get your medium and long-range targets.
The scope has a high-power IR illuminator that will help to get a nice view if you are going after in the afternoon or late at night for a good shot. The scope has a sturdy and protective titanium body which is very lightweight in comparison with the other available Gen 1 items. It also has a well-engineered ergonomically designed shape that helps to give you the perfect grip for shooting.
Also, it can be successfully used in very delicate weather conditions if needed. This IR scope has a flip-up lens cover (making it a flip-up night vision scope) that will protect the multi-coated optics. And, if the cover is taken off, the red duplex reticle’s illuminated brightness can adjust for being active in any kind of situation.
Though Firefield has entered into the scope industry late, it has amazed by some very durable and reliable products. This is one of them. I hope you get some valuable information through this Firefield scope review. It’s one of the best-rated night vision scopes. Read the detailed review here.
- Illuminated red duplex reticle
- Magnification up to 3x
- Best night scope for the money
- Titanium body
- Best Night Vision Scope Under $500
- Built-in IR illuminator
- Quick detach system
- Capable of medium to long-range shooting
- Not the best magnification
- Absence of latest technology
06. Night Owl Optics NightShot Digital Night Vision Riflescope
The Night Owl Night Vision Riflescope has lots of astounding features that make night hunting and shooting easy and enjoyable. If you need a multi-purpose scope for airsoft, pallet-gun, paint-ball, hog hunting, coyote hunting, then you can’t overlook this top scope with night vision.
Besides, this Night Owl Riflescope is well-suited with rifles, shotguns, handguns, and crossbows. And it is compatible with various mounts like Weaver, Picatinny, even Dovetail rail mount using Dovetail to Picatinny adapter. This riflescope is designed for .30 caliber rifles or below the range for non-magnum that makes it the best night vision scope for 30 caliber rifles.
NightShot Digital Night Vision Riflescope ranges 100 to 200 yards of night shooting. The objective lens aperture is 52 mm. There are 3 different black and white reticle options so shooters can easily adjust the reticle with shooting environments. This is a plastic-constructed scope but can withstand heavy recoil.
Let’s know some of the main optical features of this Night Owl Riflescope. This scope has a built-in infrared illuminator and 640×480 pixels resolution. It works on an 850nm spectral range. With this night vision scope, you can focus on any target from 3 meters to infinity. It is run by 4 units of lithium or AA batteries and supports up to 7 hours at low IR and 4 hours at high IR.
On overall consideration, this is one of the best cheap night vision rifle scopes compared to other scope’s price and performance.
- Easy to use
- 3 reticle options
- Weatherproof scope
- Versatile riflescope
- 100 to 200 yards range
- Best night vision scopes for the money
- Plastic construction
- Fixed magnification
- Narrow field of view
- Only black and white vision
- Incompatible above 30 caliber rifles
07. Sightmark Photon RT 4.5-9x42S Digital Night Vision Scopes
If you are searching for the best night vision scope for the price, then look no further. This stellar piece of beauty is the ultimate bang for the money. It’s one of the best from the growing company Sightmark. This Sightmark photon works best at a medium shooting range. But, the Sightmark Photon also features six digital reticle options that give you different ranges to operate. Red, white, and green are the basic reticle choices.
It can shoot through its two crossbow reticles. Besides the crossbow reticles, the duplex reticles work superbly for rifle shooting or hunting any raccoon or hog. The scopes Mil-Dot optical help to find the perfect range and also help to estimate the holdovers. Also, if you like, you can use German-style reticles. In short, there are lots of options and features available and you choose the best one for you. Your choice!
The magnification of 4.5-9x, paired with the large 42mm lens and the 640×480 average resolution will guarantee you to see anything sharp for up to 220 yards. This remarkable product’s digital interface will let you know the wind direction or elevation height or the adjustments that you may need to make an accurate shot. It can be the best scope for hog hunting at night.
The scope has a 33% longer battery life than other scopes of its range. It is a pretty light scope comparing to its size. These are some reasonable features when you are looking for a scope that has a long runtime. Besides, when you are out in the dark, you may capture the footage of your game through its video output system. In a nutshell, this Sightmark Photon offers everything that you may need for a perfect hunting night. Now, you know what is a good night vision scope for hunting.
- High magnification
- Long battery life
- Digital rifle scope
- Very lightweight
- Best for medium-range shooting
- Large objective lens
- Best scope for hog hunting at night
- Great resolution
- Video output features
- Best entry-level night vision scope
- One of the best digital scopes
- Not very well constructed
08. Bestsight Digital Night Vision Hunting Scope for Rifle
Bestsight DIY Digital Night Vision Riflescope is the best choice for beginners who don’t know or love to read ins and out of the scope’s manual. This easy-to-use hunting night vision scope provides great performance in the field. With this scope, you will get perfect visual experience in total darkness for a wide variety of applications like wildlife observation, cave exploring, surveillance, and night hunting.
Bestsight Digital Night Vision Scope is a little bit different from the usual scope. There is a 5-inch portable display instead of an ocular lens. Besides, you will find 360 degrees adjustable camera and a 5 W powerful sliding 850 nm infrared flashlight. The camera lens is 16 mm that provides 3 million pixels for a clear and wide field of view.
This Bestsight night vision scope for rifle lets you see about 100 to 200 yards. When you are observing a target more than 100 yards far, use the Spotlight to get a small beam. And use Floodlight below 100 yards range. For watching a target greater than 20 yards, turn on the IR illuminator. Using the adjustable focusing range, you can easily adjust the infrared illuminator.
- 5-inch display
- 5 W IR flashlight
- Easy to assemble and use
- Full view adjustable camera
- 100 to 200 yards viewing distance
- 3 MP, 16 mm camera lens
- Spotlight and Floodlight mode
- Excellent budget night vision scope
- Provides HD imaging
- No battery included
- Don’t work well for long-distance
- Dual illumination can illuminate your face
09. Armasight ORION 5X Gen 1+ Night Vision Rifle Scope
This Armasight ORION 5X Gen 1+ is a high-class night vision that was popular when it first came out. It has a 5x magnification system that is quite surprising for a first-generation product. Also, it has a mid-range sight viewing ability that observes the target perfectly and helps well to aim for any hunter, shooter, or security personnel.
It is a very dependable product that you can find between the first generation items. The product has a very good resolution capability of 30-40 lp/mm. The FOV of this product is 10 degrees. It is built with a top-class optics system and the image intensifier tube is designed with a rugged rubberized aluminum alloy body. Like the other Orion series, it also boasts of having the feature of precise top wheel focus.
If you are a tactical shooter or hunter who just wants to improve your shooting ability, then this is the night vision that you need right now. In any dark environment, it will help you out to find the precise target. The price point is very much reasonable and just adds advantages over other products like those ones with the henry big boy 44 Magnum.
It has a detachable and long-range infrared illuminator that is another fine addition to its lists of amazing features. The water-resistant rubberized body is ergonomically designed to give the shooter a comfortable feeling for any shot to make. It is easily mountable on any weaver rail. This is a certain go-for product for a slicker price!
- Magnification up to 5x
- FOV is 10 degree
- Resolution is pretty good
- Waterproof slick body
- Mounts on ideal weaver rails
- Has a detachable long-range IR illuminator
- Magnification could have been better
- Old technology
10. Armasight Nemesis6x-SD Gen 2+ Night Vision Rifle Optics Reviews w/6x Magnification
This spectacular Armasight Nemesis 6x Gen 2+ night vision riflescope is a true competitor in the list of best NV scopes. It has a really powerful 6x magnification system which comes in real handy when you are out for any hunting. The shock-protected optics and 6.5-degree FOV is another awesome feature that ranks it higher in the order.
It has a very good auto-brightness control system that helps to protect you from bright sources. The illuminated center has a red cross reticle for any optimal contrast that has variable reticle brightness. Its slick waterproof body will help you to use it in any weather condition.
The operating system is very easy for this night vision optic. Like the other easy mountable products, it also mounts smoothly on any standard weaver rail. You can use it on handheld too. It is a spectacular product for its high-quality image intensifier tube. You will find it easy to adjust internal windage and elevation. In the nighttime situation, it will allow you to see through beyond your expectations.
It is very light in weight which is helpful for you to carry in the woods. The Armasight is engineered by the best craftsmen from aircraft aluminum. It has a Gen 2+ tube attached with it that helps the hunter or shooter to have a resolution of 45-51lp/mm. Besides, it has a detachable infrared illuminator. As a whole, this infrared scope just fits your bill!
- Has an illuminated center red reticle
- Magnification up to 6x
- FOV is a 6.5 degree
- Waterproof body
- Best gen 2-night vision scope
- Mounts on any top weaver rails
- Has a detachable IR illuminator
- Magnification could have been better
- Absence of latest technology
Buying Guide of the Best Night Vision Scopes
Before you decide to buy night vision scopes, you need to be very selective and sure to choose the right one with the right guide. For that, you need to know what you need and what the products are offering to you. Then you can match your features with those offers and choose the best scopes. This is also true when you are finding top-quality night vision goggles. There are lots of features for night vision depending on which your decision may vary. Let’s explore those features now.
Range Capacity of the Scopes
When you are buying any scope, you must not forget to check the range of the product. Though its range is the best like the smart thermal scope, it should offer some recognition range for you. So when you are checking any product, check whether the recognition range is for overcast light, starlight, quarter moon, or full moon.
The more the recognition range the better you can have a target for your shooting with a scope. So it is an important aspect for your scope to have very good rangeability. The traditional items offer a 1-4x range of power. But the expensive items offer up to 6x or more. Long-range night vision scope is always handy for you.
Weight and Design
The best night scopes come with the best magnification. For better magnification, you need larger optical bodies. But the common night vision problem is, the device becomes slightly bulky. If you are going to move a lot with your night vision gun scope, then it’s better to have a lighter one.
Also, some want to add a hunting light for predators like coyotes with lights, hogs, or others. There are some quality scopes for coyote hunting too!
Also, the ergonomics and design of the scope are very important as it helps to have a nice feeling when you use one. Besides, the best-designed products offer the best user experiences. Scopes don’t have binoculars, monocular competition types like goggles rather it is one type.
The design helps with your rail setup and you will need the least amount of mounts. The more you go for an upgraded generation, the less is the weight.
As night vision optics are very delicate items in terms of sophisticated technology used, it tends to be less durable than the traditional items. It is very common for an electronic item to be less durable and that is why they don’t offer you long warranty periods.
Always remember to take good care of it as you are using it outside in various weather conditions. It must be used in a way so that no water damage is done. For durable scope sight, you can have a quality bow sight if you are into bow shooting too.
Night Vision Scope Attachment
Night vision scope attachment is also a very important part to look for. You must check the attachments that will be necessary for the smooth running of the device. Always gather information as much as possible. It will keep you in good condition. Some clip-on night vision tools will also be handy for you when you want to add night vision to your scope.
Scope attachments are important as they help to sight in your night vision scope smoothly. So, don’t neglect good quality attachments. As they guide you better with your scope.
The budget is also an important factor as there are ranges of products out there and people normally start with a cheap night vision scope. If you are looking for a night vision scope under $500, then there are lots of options. But, you may sacrifice in terms of quality and features for getting the cheapest night vision devices.
Though, in a regular condition, they are quite enough for any hunter or shooter. If you look for a quality night vision scope like Vortex HD LH, then you will find more upgraded options. So the budget is very important to specify before you buy. The invention of perfect EOTech clone sights has made some budget choices for you.
Apart from that, you can always try to make your own night vision scope when you need it. It won’t be like the super cool ones found on the market, but you will love the experience of doing it.
Type of Shooting
You also need to specify the type of shooting you will be making before you buy any items. Generally, night vision hunting scopes don’t need any adjustments when you are out. Various reticle options work best in different conditions. So the type of shooting is very important. Like squirrel hunting with scope, long-range shooting with scopes, or target shooting.
You also need to know how night vision works before buying one for you. Following some helpful forums that deal with night vision can be a good idea too to have a grip on your device and learn the techniques on how to shoot with your night viewing scope.
We hope this guide will help you to be the best overall buyer who picks the best traditional night vision. Sometimes, buying guides can be confusing. You can research other guides too.
Types of Night Vision Scopes
Night vision optics allow you to see in low light conditions. Either they use an image intensifier tube or infrared camera sensor to generate visible images. A newly developed digital night vision scopes are also a wonderful addition in this field.
Image intensifier tube (IIT) system scopes are divided into several generations according to their development periods and performance. Below, we’ll cover all these to introduce you to different night vision scope types.
Night Vision Scopes Based on Generations
The history of night vision is not very old. Night vision scopes generations are denoted by Gen 0 to Gen 4. If you don’t know the differences between Gen 1, Gen 2, Gen 3, and others, you may fail to get your most suited one. So you should have a basic idea about them to get the perfect night vision scope (NVS).
Gen 0 Scopes
After the invention of night vision technology by Kalman Tihanyi, a Hungarian Physicist in 1929 lots of research and development took place in this industry. Generation zero night vision scopes were the very first NVS developed by the US and German Army during WWII. Generation 0 NV scopes largely relied on the external light source to illuminate objects.
The infrared (IR) illuminator, anode-cathode, and phosphor screen were the main components there. They were very bulky, fragile and the image quality was also very poor. Now they are totally obsolete from the market.
Gen 1 Scopes
Gen 1 night vision scope is the most simple and affordable category. It offers almost all the basic features for the people who want it in hunting and shooting. It was introduced in the late sixties and is sufficient for most of the shooting works. It provides common technologies. The downside is that it is not the best one. They have some flaws as it is the first generation and is relatively slow in terms of technological options.
- The average sight range is 75 yards
- Durability is about 1500 hours
- Inexpensive night vision
- Shorter battery life
- Old technology
- Low resolution
Gen 2 Scopes
Gen 2 night vision scope is the upgraded version of Gen 1. It offers more quality and is slightly expensive than the previous version. In terms of technological advancements, night vision Gen 2 is far better than Gen 1. It will help to see any human eye in a very low light situation and also in the moonlight. You can use an AA battery or other rechargeable batteries.
- The average sight range is 200 yards
- Improved micro-electronics system
- Overall durability is about 4500 hours
- Price is medium
- Resolution is great
- Resolution can be better
- Batteries are average
- Quality can be improved
Gen 3 Scopes
Gen 3 night vision scope is technologically so advanced that modern militaries and law enforcement agencies are using these products nowadays. This 3rd generation night vision is made by using gallium arsenide which helps to convert photons to electrons on the photocathode. Most of the items are quite pricey which is pretty obvious, isn’t it? But it offers the best options any hunter or shooter dreams of. You have all the modern technology at your disposal.
- The average sight range is 300 yards
- Modern technological help
- Overall durability is 10000 hours
- Best low light scope
- Resolution is the best
- Works in all conditions
- Most expensive items
Gen 4 Scopes
Gen 4 night vision scope is the same as the Gen 3 version with some automated features included here. The US army has categorized it as the filmless Gen 3. The main difference is the automated gated power supply which is capable of working instantly to any light fluctuations. It works superbly in all types of visible light conditions and environments. Military night vision has improved a lot because of the upgraded technology.
The following night vision photos will help you understand the image quality of different night vision scopes.
Digital Night Vision Scopes
Digital night vision devices work like security cameras. They use digital signals instead of amplifying lights and the process is fully electrical. Typically they are good for 100 to 300 yards range and their image quality lies between Gen 1 to Gen 2 optics. They produce black or white and blend some other color images.
They are affordable to buy and allow use in the day and night simultaneously. The best digital night vision scopes let you record live hunting or shooting videos, zoom in or zoom out, and reticle change options. Moreover, most of them come with a lifetime warranty.
Thermal imaging optics work based on heat radiation rather than light. These devices produce high contrast black-white or blend of color images. They can detect very small heat differences to 0.10 Centigrade. These devices can be used as daytime like digital night vision.
If you want to aim at targets fast in various lighting conditions, then the top thermal scopes will be a handy option. They allow you to use them in any harsh weather either fog, snow, or dust. However, they have some drawbacks.
Thermal Vs Night Vision Vs Digital Night Vision Scopes – Which should I Buy?
Thermal, traditional, and digital night vision scopes have their pros and cons. These make one scope superior to others in few cases and vice versa. Which one fits you depend upon the intended use. We compiled here some of their features that will help you understand which will be the best scopes for night use.
Day use: Most traditional night vision devices don’t allow you to see in the daytime, with some exceptions. Whereas thermal and digital night vision scopes can be used day and night simultaneously.
Image quality: Thermal scopes produce better quality images than digital night vision scopes. And the updated versions of night vision scopes win over the thermal imagers in terms of producing extremely clear images. Moreover, classical night vision scopes provide target identification with recognition. But thermal scopes do spotting only.
Versatility: Digital night vision scopes and thermal scopes have versatile applications. They are unaffected by the fog or smoke. So, you find them handy where smoke, dust, or fog is really challenging.
Price: Thermal scopes are the most pricy ones compared to the traditional and digital night vision scopes. Although thermal scopes are high-priced scopes, still they are more powerful. However, several higher generations’ night vision scopes are very expensive, especially the best night vision scopes for hunting and shooting for extended ranges ones.
Either you use a scope for day or night, clarity will be a top consideration. This will tell you how the image quality will be. Scope’s clarity is guaranteed by several factors including-
- Lens quality
- IR illuminator
- Sensor and processor
- Display resolution
- Gain setting
Bigger lenses capture and transmit more lights that help to get clear images. The fully multi-coated lenses or other superior coatings are good to have. The best night vision rifle scopes for AR 15, tactical scopes, and other quality NVS come with anti-glare and other top coatings for producing crystal clear images.
Typically IR illuminators wavelength varies from 800 to 850 nm. But some hunters complain, several predators can read red light illumination up to 850 nm. That’s why modern scopes come with more than 900 nm wavelength. Some night vision scopes provide a wavelength of 950 nm, but they aren’t good to brighten the target.
Infrared illuminators emit the IR light onto the target and scopes read this back towards you through some IR-sensitive sensors. These illuminators either be built-in or come as scope attachments. Whatever you choose, make sure you can swap to another option. The infrared coyote hunting light can help you greatly in such a situation.
Sensor and processor is another important thing that plays a significant role in light transmission and image quality. The modern non-thermal, photography and recording scopes utilize CMOS sensors. These sensors produce different resolutions such as 640×480, 768×576. Even some go up to 4k resolution.
There are several other factors like color accuracy, pixel shape, and quality that have good roles to recognize which resolution is better. Nowadays two most prominent sensor is HD and 4K. Let’s break down the difference between HD and 4K sensors.
Two popular and higher HD sensor resolutions are 1080p (1920×1080) and 720p (1280×720). The 1080p resolution is considered a gold standard whereas 720p is a lower one. Alternately, 4K sensor resolution is almost four times of the 1080p sensor. But actually, the 4K sensor provides 3840×2140 or 4096×2160 pixels resolution. So, if you want a higher resolution, go for the 4K sensor, but they are expensive than the 1080p.
Resolution is very important for any scope as it helps to present you with the perfect image of your target with a good depth perception like a digital camera. Regular items generally produce the best image resolution at the center of the scope and some blurring images around it. The more upgraded generation is the scope of the best resolution you may expect to get.
As the resolution is measured by lines per millimeter, you can detect it on the body of the scope having a unit named LP/mm. The more the LPM is, the better the image quality will be. The field of view is also very important. You can also try for a good red dot sight or a nice reflex sight too.
Best Gain Settings
Night vision optics work by magnifying imperceptible lights to a visible image through its infrared gain. If you are in a very dark situation, then you need a high gain scope to capture the digital image of an invisible object. This will be your ultimate best night vision for hunting like turkey hunting with a red dot.
When you need to see from a long distance then you need the help of high gain. It helps in the bad light situation. Using a powerful light will help to magnify better but it can’t transmit light properly. To watch the stars, you may use the night vision telescope if you want.
The higher your gain settings are the better you are off to shoot properly. And it makes sense too as magnification won’t be in any good if it only shows you darkness without any guide for long-distance! That is why the spotting scope has an upper hand over the monocular.
As digital night vision shows the image on an LCD screen through capturing the light, it helps to provide greater assistance to your work. The LCD screens are typically black and white but other colors are also available for other LCD screens.
There are different types of reticles, like BDC, Mil-Dot, Duplex, Illuminated, etc, and every type has its own pros and cons. Most hunters and shooters have their own choice of the reticle. When you are using digital night vision scopes, nothing to worry about reticle selection. The top night vision scopes come with multiple reticle options from where you can pick the best-reticle easily.
The well-known and good night vision companies provide some other features with the basic reticle function. And these features list is extended day by day. Some of the additional features are laser rangefinder, ballistic calculator, built-in GPS, auto zeroing, compass, accelerometer, barometer, recoil activated video, WiFi streaming, Bluetooth capabilities, micro SD card slots, wireless streaming, and so on.
An intensifier tube is an important component of a scope. The night vision image intensifier tubes (IIT) come with several specs. Before buying your night vision scope get the exact information of that features from the manufacturers. Some of the important tube specs are given below.
Aluminum or plastic body: Aluminum constructed body provides better shock-resistance than the plastic-type. Due to high-performance, aluminum construction scopes are pricier than plastic. But you can choose the plastic body scope for lower impact firearms. Moreover, aluminum can’t beat plastic scope, when you need a low-price one.
Signal to noise ratio: Signal to noise ratio or SNR is a significant indicator. Higher SNR device lets more image clarity in the darkness.
Resolution: It is denoted by line pairs per millimeter in short lp/mm. When buying, choose the higher resolution device. Keep in mind, the resolution doesn’t depend on generation.
Figure of merit: If you multiply resolution by SNR, you’ll get a new number this is the figure of merit (FOM). If the FOM value goes upper than 1400, the US doesn’t export the devices outside.
Photocathode sensitivity: This means how fine the photocathode is doing its job. Its measurement unit is microamperes per lumen (µA/lm). In the filmed and non-filmed tubes, ion barriers cause electron loss. So, a tube with more than 1600 µA/lm is ideal in this case.
Night Vision Scope’s Components & Its Working Principle
Night vision scopes consist of several components. The main ones are-
Objective lens: A lens from where light enters into the scope. After capturing light from the target body, the objective lens starts working and bypasses the light to the next section.
Image intensifier tube (IIT): Objective lens passes the light in this internal tube. IIT is the most complex part of the scope. There are lots of things like a vacuum tube, photocathode, microchannel plate (MCP), phosphor screen, power source, etc.
The cathode absorbs light photons and converts them into electrons. Then, MCP escalates the electrons thousands of times. The latest developed night vision MCPs have more than 10 million channels. After that, the electrons bounce in the tube and hit the phosphor screen.
Eyepiece lens: From where we see the intensified image of the object that was first captured in the objective lens.
This is the simple night vision scope’s design. From the discussion, maybe you also understand the fact, how does night vision scope work. If you want to know more, then this article will be a great resource for you.
How to Zero A Night Vision Scope?
Have you wondered how to sight in a night vision scope? This is almost similar to zeroing or sighting the day vision scope. The best night vision scope zeroing steps are explained below.
Check manufacturers’ guideline:
Most scope manufacturers provide a detailed outline on how to sight in a night vision scope. This is the recommended method for scope zeroing at night. However, if there is no recommendation, the next two ways will work for you.
Inspect if there is any pinhole:
As you are sighting in a low-light situation, the target will be invisible if the scope can’t hit the target accurately. Several night vision scopes have a tiny pinhole in the lens cap to allow a small amount of light in. This will be enough to let you see the target through the scope and making zero properly. In this way, you can easily shoot the target without any adjustment.
When there is no pinhole:
What will you do if your scope has no pinhole in the lens cap? In this situation, it’s difficult to see the target. But don’t try to make a hole by yourself. This may end up the optical device.
However, there are some tricks to see the target in this case. Set your target in a place, where there is some light and it will help to see the target even in the dark. You can use your binocular or other sighting devices to see whether you are hitting the target properly or not. One more way, you can take help from a hunting partner, who will tell you where you are hitting.
So by following the above-mentioned tips, you will be able to zero your nighty vision scope easily.
Night Vision Scope’s Use
Most night vision scopes have versatile applications such as hunting, tactical, wildlife observation, cave exploration, recreation, surveying, etc.
Hunting: This is important when any species of animal rise at an abundant number. For example, when the feral hog or coyote population has boomed at a large scale in the United States, hunters go out with their guns and scopes to shoot them out.
Tactical: One of the best uses of night vision scope is tactical and shooting. In the tactical situation, it’s essential to kill the enemy in one shot, the recommended night vision scopes will help greatly in this case. Keep in mind, the upgraded generation (like Gen 3 and Gen 4) scopes fit well for tactical purposes.
Recreation: Recreational shooting is very common among hunters. A good long-range scope makes deer hunting at night easy and enjoyable. You can also observe the wildlife with the handpicked night scopes.
Best Night Vision Brands
There are many top scope brands out there in the market that are producing excellent quality devices for night vision for the customers. Top-quality night vision devices are really hard to find. Whether you are a novice or an expert, you are certainly looking for excellent products at a reasonable price. So let’s find which brands are offering you the best night vision optics with the best night vision add-on.
Armasight is a very reputable night vision equipment company in the night vision field. They have given excellent products throughout their service and maintained a very high quality with great customer support. Also, they have a wide range of products to offer from $150 to $10k! It depends on you whether you need maximum technological products or not. They have headquarters in California and San Francisco.
The American Technologies Network, ATN, is one of the top scope brands like the Armasight. Their main headquarter is in San Francisco. Servicing for more than two decades, they have established themselves as one of the finest quality providers. This tactical night vision company has a wide variety of products that include high-priced items as well as low and affordable items. Both the hunters and military people use their products quite a lot.
Firefield was established in 2009 and is one of the new companies which are doing extraordinary work in the night vision field. Within a very short time, they have established themselves as one of the best scopes sellers in the market. They have provided the best affordable night vision optics throughout the journey and have maintained very high quality. They have a motto of producing excellent night vision scope for sale which is cheap.
Sightmark is also a comparatively new brand which was established in 2007 and has become very popular among the users. One of their popular items is the Sightmark z series. They have done excellent marketing and many reputed organizations are using their products. They have an awesome business goal and always thrive to give the best service. Located in Mansfield, Texas, they have become so popular in that region. Also, they have a long list of reputable retail companies that have become their customers. It’s a growing brand indeed.
Yukon is also a very reputable company that also has a wide variety of excellent products on night vision for sale. They always provide you with the latest technology and amazing features. Outdoorsmen, who are really in love with new features, love their scopes. They are an old company and very well known among the people. If you want the latest products, go for Yukon.
This is another trusted night vision scope brand that manufactures different optics for hunting and shooting. Their top-notch night vision scopes provide professional-grade performance. Night Owl Optics introduce new products in the market after long research and field testing. They developed iGEN, a tubeless night vision technology for night observers that takes night vision to new a level.
Bushnell is a renowned optics manufacturer brand that makes reliable day and night vision scope. Whether you are a beginner or pro hunter or shooter Bushnell’s optics will be a good choice to taste. They also focus on affordability so any outdoorsman finds their best-suited scopes and other optics there.
Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)
- How does night vision scope work?
Answer: The main part of the NV scopes is the Image Intensifier Tube. It collects available light from the ambient source, turns it into electrons, the electrons are then amplified and again turned into light. And finally, we see the crisp bright image even in the dark night.
- What type of light does a night vision scope use?
Answer: Night vision scopes mainly use ambient light sources from the surroundings. They also use IR.
- How far can I shoot with a night vision scope?
Answer: The range largely depends on the range of your NV scope. Earlier versions have a lower range like first-generation NV scopes that can cover up to 100 yards. And third-generation scopes can cover more than 300 yards.
- What do targets look like through the night vision scope?
Answer: The targets appear with a green hue through the night vision scope. The shadows and highlights become more vigilant than the target itself.
- Can I shoot with a night vision scope in pitch black conditions?
Answer: In that case, you must have IR to shoot with the night vision scope.
- What night vision scope does the military use?
Answer: The military always uses the latest models of optics. In the case of scopes, they generally use extended third-generation aka fourth-generation night vision scopes.
- What will happen if I turn on my night vision scope during light?
Answer: In that case, you may permanently damage your precious device. All night vision devices are sensitive to excessive light exposure.
- Why do night vision scopes have less magnification than other scopes?
Answer: Night vision devices are designed to provide crisp images at night. To do that, night vision scopes have less magnification. Because with higher magnification the amount of light gathering decreases. Therefore, images lose their clarity.
- Can night vision scopes see through smoke?
Answer: You will see but the clarity will decrease significantly. Since smoke, fog, and alike things block the light.
- How can I use NV scopes during day time?
Answer: You can only use it when your NV scope has dual functionality.
- Is night vision scope lasts a lifetime?
Answer: You may be heard, night vision optics burn out after a certain age. This is not a common scenario but it may happen for a few one, especially if you have a traditional night vision scope. But digital night vision scopes are free from such risks. The digital scopes endure for lifelong with proper care and maintenance. But the traditional NVDs fail after their lifecycle. Gen 1 NVDs lifetime is 1000 hours of use, whereas Gen 2 scopes last for 5000 hours. On the other hand, Gen 4 devices claim that they last longer than the former ones.
The items that we’ve selected as the best night vision scopes are handpicked from hundreds of them. We’ve collected the scope reviews of the users and studied them thoroughly. If you buy any one of the products, we are pretty sure that you won’t be disappointed. These night vision scopes will benefit you a lot when you will need them. We wish you the best outdoor time and hope you have a blast!