Night vision technology has seen much advancement in the past few years. Probably in response to the war on terror, night vision optics has been under ongoing research, resulting into much cheaper and accessible products to the civilians. Although it’s still far from cheap, it’s downright affordable that it was a decade ago.
Hunters are undoubtedly a major category of night vision users. Even outside of hunting, a best night vision scope offers a variety of many different functions. People with huge stretches of land can certainly benefit from the technology, which is invaluable in property protection and private security. Of course, we all know how much fun night vision is to soot with, especially when it’s paired to an IR laser to engage your target regardless of the lighting conditions.
Besides the dedicated night vision users, it can be quite difficult to access guidance on how to buy the optics, which options are the best, and what features one should look for. Moreover, who wants to toss hundreds or even thousands of dollars into the wind, with the hope that they will get the scope that can fulfill their needs?
How Night Vision Technology Works
Night visions works by amplifying the available light to produce a clear picture in low light situations. However, in a dark room that has absolutely no light at all, night vision is useless. But keep in mind that for it to work, the light can be as subtle as moonlight, or technologically based such as an active infrared lamp. The ambient light is collected by the objective lens, which tosses it through the image intensifier tube. The system then applies power onto the tube components, converting the light photons into electrons. As the electrons go through a micro channel that multiplies them over and over to create thousands of new electrons. These electros then hit a phosphors coated screen to create the exact same original picture.
Why You Need Night Vision Scope
Scopes are different in many ways, in terms of design, size, and quality. The night vision are generally designed to hit the target precisely, not just observe it. They can be as accurate and precise as they can be realistic. Here are some of the benefits you get with modern night vision scopes:
The resolution of optics is crucial for tactical operations and hunting. In simpler words, if you can’t identify your target clearly, then you have no business pulling the trigger. Modern scopes have higher resolutions, meaning the clarity of the target is much higher.
Although night vision scopes have not reached the point where it functions as a rifle scope that has the ability to see thousands of yards, the technology in night vision optics today has come quite a long way, making accuracy even at 99.9%. Moreover, when it comes to night vision scopes, the total range is not as important as the recognition range. In this case, when choosing a scope, it’s better to look for better recognition range over total range. For longer optics, you can get more light, as range is often enhanced with high amounts of ambient light.
3. State of the Art Equipment
Let’s face, spending hundreds or even thousands of dollars on a night vision scope is quite an investment. However, you can be sure that the lenses, intensifiers, adjusters, and magnifications are state of the art, working to produce the clearest and most precise sight you can get at night. This helps you capture your target faster, with much ease.
What Are the Best Night Vision Scopes for beginners and professionals alike in the market today?
The most common applications for night scopes are usually for tactical night hunting, military, security, and for those civilians who have destructive varmints and pests lurking around their property at night. Regardless of the application, here are the top scopes in terms of reliability, affordability and included features.
1. Firefield 5×50 Nightfall 2 Night Vision Monocular
For night vision monoculars, bigger is not necessarily better. The Firefield 5×50 Nightfall 2 highlights this quite well, as when compared to similar night vision monoculars in the market, it might seem almost tiny. Don’t let this fool you. It comes with a durable design and high quality optics that surpasses what you might expect from a product in its price range. It packs a 50 mm lens, giving it a very distinctive shape. Its buttons are perfectly placed along its sides and are big enough for you to locate them in the dark without having to fumble around.
The housing is made from durable rubber, which should protect the delicate internals from a few bumbps. However, be careful not to drop the device as the lens might probably not survive the impact. The Firefield 5×50 Nightfall 2 is also waterproof, meaning you can still rely on it even when the elements are against you in the wild.
• Ergonomic design that makes it much compact compared to similar models
• 5X magnification capability with a large objective lens
• High power built-in infrared illumination that comes with a power saving feature
• 100% weather resistant
• Easy to operate and grip design
• Incredibly lightweight, with a durable rubber-armored casing
• It uses the conventional AA batteries rather than other proprietary or more expensive types of batteries.
• The batteries are not included in the package.
• The infrared light can be seen by observers from the right angle.
The Firefield 5×50 Nightfall 2 is easy to operate, and comes at a good price. It might not be as flashy as some other models we have tested, but it’s reliable and durable, which count more.
2. Firefield FF16001 NVRS 3x 42mm Gen 1 Night Vision Riflescope
This is a relatively new addition to the Firefield line of night vision scopes. The company is trying to make night vision scopes a bit more affordable than they currently are. It achieves this with the all-new 3×42 Gen 1 Night Vision Riflescope, which currently sells at under $400. Even at such a low price, the scope offers a great Gen 1 tube that comes with a 42 mm objective lens and 3X magnification.
The Firefield Gen 1 NVRS comes with a tactical look and a great compact design, and you can expect it to be among the popular series within the airsoft community, farmers, and hunters. It comes with a built-in high power infrared illuminator to make sure that images are enhanced, and to increase the viewing range in situations of total darkness. With a shockproof design, it also features a weaver mounting system with a quick detach feature to make the process of switching to iron sights or changing optics much easier; while still maintaining a high return to zero reliability.
• Durable, lightweight titanium body
• Produces high quality image resolution
• Illuminated red duplex reticle with adjustable brightness
• Flip-up lens covers to protect the lens from harsh weather and impact
• Ergonomic design for quick power-ups
The Firefield 3×42 Gen 1 Night Vision Riflescope is the one night vision scope you want to use in the dark wild.
3. Yukon NVRS Titanium 1.5×42 Night Vision Rifle Scope, Weaver Mount
This is actually the lightest and smallest model in the Yukon’s line of Titanium models. As the name suggests, it uses a durable titanium body, enhanced optics, and a sleek design that distinguishes it from other night vision scopes in its price range. It’s compact, effective, and affordable to give you sight in the darkness. With its multicoated optics, the model ensures that you get a clear 20 degree field of view, so that those sneaky pests (or other targets) don’t get past you unawares. A flip-up lens cover protects your Yukon NVRS Titanium 1.5×42 riflescope from harsh conditions, and when it’s not in use.
It also comes with a powerful Pulse infrared illuminator to extend your viewing range at 2 or 3 times farther compared to the standard IR illuminators in situations of low light or no light. Its pulsating frequency gives the Yukon NVRS Titanium 1.5×42 an incredible 30 to 50 hours of battery life, using 2-AA batteries.
• High power PULSE infrared system from Yukon
• Powerful resolution intensifier
• Durable, rock-solid titanium body
• An adjustable Red-on-Green duplex reticle with brightness control for quick target acquisition
• An exclusive on/off remote switch
• Weaver rail mount system
• An ‘on-rifle’ carrying case is included
With the arsenal of features, the Yukon NVRS Titanium 1.5×42 is a varmint hunter’s companion and the worst nightmare to pests and varmints. It’s covered by Yukon’s Limited lifetime warranty to make sure you never fall prey to the riflescope.
4. Sightmark Photon XT 4.6x42S Digital Night Vision Riflescope
Finally, there’s a night vision scope that you can afford straight out of the gate. Regardless of what you intend to use it for; the Sightmark Photon XT NVRS will give you what you are looking for at a fairly competitive price. If you want to enjoy the high quality tactical optics, flashlights, lasers, and boresights on a budget, then Sightmark’s booth is where you should start your hunt. You can be sure that Sightmark won’t disappoint in terms of quality, especially with the Photon XT 4.6x42S Digital riflescope. The model is ideal for both day and night use.
• 6 digital reticle styles
• 656 x 492 camera resolution with a 640 x 480 resolution LCD screen
• High power built-in 810 nm LED infrared illuminator and a CMOS sensor
• 4.6X magnification capability
• Video output
• 120 m range detection through a 42 mm objective lens
• 100 mW equivalent infrared power
• 30 mm long tube with front focus
• Weaver accessory mount, and
• A long 60 mm eye relief
In line with Sightmark’s reputation, the Photon XT is weather proof, and can handle the toughest of missions and up to 1000Gs of recoil with its metal glass-nylon composite body.
5. Yukon Nvrs Tactical 2.5X50 with Internal Focusing Night Vision Riflescope
Created from a state of the art titanium body, this riflescope is durable, rugged, and lightweight. It comes with a powerful 2.5X magnification, coupled with an incredibly powerful light gathering f/1.4 objective lens, making this night vision scope perfect for various applications. As the tactical version of the scope, the Yukon 2.5×50 NVRS Tactical Night Vision Rifle Scope provides a weaver rail to let you customize your scope according to your needs.
• Lightweight, durable, titanium body
• Multi-coated optics exhibiting a high frequency contrast characteristics
• Adjustable duplex Red-on-Green reticle to assist you in target acquisition
• A rugged compact designed body that comes in an on-rifle case for easier carriage
• Remote control function for on/off switch, and remote infrared on/off remount function
• Ergonomically built standard weaver rail mount system for easier handling
• Precision windage with elevation adjustment functionality
• High-power built-in infrared illuminator from PULSE IR, with a great service life and a better battery life.
• Can be difficult for left-handers to use it comfortably
• The 20 degree field of view may make it difficult to aim holding the rifle with a single hand
What to Look For When Choosing The Night Vision Scope
Bottonline, quality doesn’t cost, it pays. If you plan on relying on the optic for more than just recreational plinking, then quality is of utmost importance. Ask yourself the following, is the optic weatherproof, shockproof, and fog proof? Will you need to get special batteries?
2. Coated lenses
This is an essential feature when considering the best night vision scopes, especially with fully multi-coated glass. The coating will let the scope capture more light too help acquire the target in low light conditions. The size of the objective lens is also important; the larger it is, the more light it can capture.
The Night Vision Scopes are going to come with somewhat fragile electronics, some definitely more than others. Be sure to consider the type of warranty that comes with the optic, as any of the parts of the optic can fail unexpectedly.
Battery life and the type of batteries needed for the rifle are also an important consideration. Don’t forget to check if the optic can work without batteries. Some of the night vision scopes come with illuminated reticles where the glass is etched and these may not need batteries to work. Others rely only on batteries.
Manufacturers constantly improve the design and construction of their products, often adding up new technologies periodically. This means that new products will always be hitting the market. however, most of the models we picked in our top 5 best night vision scopes will certainly remain a useful companion for you, until you decide you need to upgrade.