A great night vision scope can be a lifesaver in the field. It provides you with the ability to see what others can’t, including movement and objects at night. This is useful for hunting, bird watching, or even observing wildlife. The best night vision scope has features that make it easy to use and carry while still providing excellent clarity and an impressive range. It shouldn’t pose a safety hazard in remote settings or while charging in the open.
These scopes also may come with attachments such as a tripod, stand, or even a rifle case. These accessories increase your visibility dramatically, giving you the advantage of knowing exactly where you are and exactly who is around you.
What To Consider When Choosing The Best Night Vision Scopes
When shopping for a new night vision scope, there are several factors worth considering. The following section looks at these in detail.
Before deciding on which model might work best, think about how you intend to use it and what features would help make that experience better.
- Long-range shooting: This type of shooting involves firing shots at targets beyond the range of standard sights. Longer barrels allow you to see your target more clearly while still being able to generate enough force to break them down.
- Short-range shooting: As the name suggests, this type of shooting takes place within close proximity of each other or connected via an optic system. For short-range shooting, a shorter barrel is often desirable so as not to spoil the shot by having to move your head too far back. However, longer barrels tend to give you a clearer view of the target, making them ideal for long-range shooting.
- Tactical shooting: This type of shooting may occur either closely grouped or at extended distances. In tight spaces, such as when engaging in hand-to-hand combat, a compact sight with a quick response time can be helpful. At longer ranges, however, a larger sight with a slower response time may be preferred because moving your head around quickly during firefights can be dangerous.
There are two main types of night vision scopes: monoculars and binoculars.
- Monoculars: These handheld devices have one lens that provides both eyesight and NVD capability. They’re great for quick inspections but less accurate than binoculars and don’t offer the magnification power of a large sight like a rifle scope.
- Binoculars: Also known as goggles with lights, these tools have separate lenses for each eye. Their accuracy makes them suitable for detailed inspection work but they don’t have the magnification power of a rifle scope.
The quality of light entering through the lens affects the visibility and clarity of images formed within the scope. A good rule of thumb is that the thicker the glass, the worse the coating will be needed. While this seems obvious, many manufacturers skimp on the coatings instead using cheaper materials or simply leaving them off altogether. This results in a hazy image that lacks contrast and definition, making it difficult to zero in on small details or shoot accurately. Fortunately, there are plenty of inexpensive options available with clear optics that come with excellent coatings.
A large field of view means you can see potential threats before they become a problem. Smaller fields of views mean you’ll need to take note of suspicious activity sooner rather than later. It’s all about getting ahead of the game. Most people prefer a wider field of view when looking at their phones or computers since it’s easier to scan large areas with multiple cameras. Wider fields of view also enable you to see potential obstacles or escape routes before reaching them.
High-quality optics produce a sharper picture than lower-end models. Tube vs. CCD is another important factor when it comes to optical quality. CCD technology has surpassed tubes in most areas except low light performance, where they remain superior. However, even among high-quality products, differences exist. Monocles tend to have a higher resolution (often measured in lines per inch) than binoculars, though this difference is rarely noticeable when viewing text or simple shapes.
If you plan on wearing your gun or holding it in front of you, weight could be an issue. It’s especially important if you’re going to be doing some fast walking. Riflescopes tend to weigh between 4 and 6 pounds, handguns usually under 2 pounds, and knives typically under 1 pound.
Night vision equipment isn’t cheap; expect to pay upwards of $1,000 for a pair of high-quality NVGs. Binoculars are generally cheaper than riflescopes, although prices do vary widely depending on brand and quality.
This kind of scope is battery-operated, so whenever they run out, you’ll need to get a new one. While you are on the hunt, you are allowed to bring any number of batteries, but it would be best to choose a model that uses premium AA batteries. These batteries have a very long lifespan and are rechargeable. A high-grade AA battery must be compatible with the model you choose because not all scopes operate using the same kind of batteries. A variant powered by lithium-ion batteries is an additional option.
Types Of Night Vision Scopes
Night vision technology is a specialized field with its own unique set of challenges. There are several different types of these devices on the market, each designed for a specific type of use.
Most people think that infrared light doesn’t work in the same way as visible light. Infrared light has a higher frequency than visible light and can be used to illuminate objects at night by heating them up. It’s what your eyes see when you look through an infrared device like night vision goggles (NVGs). These devices rely on thermal imaging cameras that detect differences in temperature to determine if something is present or not. They’re great for checking rooms before going to sleep because they won’t wake you up if someone turns off their heater. However, they aren’t very effective outside during cold weather because there isn’t much heat emitted from objects below zero Fahrenheit. Also, keep in mind that NVG filters out most forms of visible light so it will only work with lights that are filtered similarly. This includes LED flashlights, which don’t filter out any colors but appear white to us due to the high energy levels needed to generate enough heat to trigger the camera. If you have plans to use this scope in inclement weather or temperatures above freezing, it might not be ideal.
A more advanced form of thermal imaging uses digital image processing to create a color picture. Digital signal processors (DSPs) are extremely powerful and can do things like edge detection, pattern recognition, and even color adjustment. The downside is that DSPs are far more expensive than traditional CCD/CMOS sensors. Thermal imaging works by detecting differences in temperature between objects and then using those measurements to produce images. Different materials emit different amounts of heat depending on their temperature, meaning some objects stand out against a dark background better than others. Most common thermal imaging systems use passive infrared technology, where the system is powered by whatever radiation is allowed into the device. Active infrared systems require batteries, typically small disposable ones. Both styles of system are susceptible to false positives from hot coffee cups, electric blankets, etc., so you’ll need to exercise caution when using one of these systems.
The digital zoom feature allows you to magnify your view without losing quality. To accomplish this feat, the system takes multiple pictures at various focal lengths and combines them together to give you the best possible overall view. While digital zooms offer many advantages, they also introduce new problems. Since the process involves taking multiple photos, you’ll experience lag time while the camera processes all the information. Additionally, since you’re combining two separate images, you’ll get double the magnification fallibility. Finally, the amount of storage space required to save all these extra shots will quickly fill up your card.
How We Chose Our Top Picks
We started by searching for the best value in each category. Value is determined by price point, optics quality, and features.
We used personal ownership, on-site inspection, expert interviews, and a careful examination of product specifications to compile this review guide. To make sure we haven’t overlooked anything, we spend our time learning about the advantages and disadvantages of each product. We also study evaluations from customers and impartial experts.
Frequently Asked Questions About Night Vision Scopes
What is the clearest night-vision scope?
The PVS-14, also known as the AN/PVS-14A or SSE, has a maximum magnification level of 10x and features a lens diameter of about 50 mm. It’s not too shabby for open sights.
How do I mount a night-vision scope?
Follow the instructions provided by the manufacturer. Most manufacturers offer detailed information on how to install their optics, including pictures and tools for installation. Make sure you get a proper fit between your gun and the optic before taking off any rounds in low light conditions!
Can anyone use night-vision goggles?
Anyone can use night-vision goggles; however, they will most certainly enhance the abilities of those who practice regularly. Anyone who claims to be able to see clearly at night without using night-vision equipment is lying through their teeth.