Once you have tried to hunt in the night or just go plinking when it is dark, you know, that it is pretty hard to see and even harder to hit something. However, we do not have to surrender to the limitations of our eyes. Technology made it possible that we can have Night Vision Goggles, but why stop there. To see in the night is cool, but equally important is to hit something. Here the Night Vision Scopes come in handy.
For a good scope for the night, there are several things to consider and compare. It all starts with the magnification as it is still a scope for the night. Typically, the magnification is in the area of 3-6 times. However, there are scopes with up to 20 times magnification out there. Given the fact, that most night vision devices have a limit of 100-200 yards, 3-6 times is mostly enough.
The next thing you need to look at is the resolution. The night vision scopes work a little bit different from the pure optical daylight scopes. Typical resolutions go around 640×480, but you can also find some that can give you true 4K. A better resolution helps with finding, identifying, and ultimately hitting the target, but the standard is enough in most cases.
Sometimes, the resolution might be given in LP MM, that means lines per millimeter. Here you use the same rule of thumb. The higher the number, the clearer the picture, and the better you can see the target.
Another important factor is the generation. With them comes a price tag and quality of picture. The lower the number the cheaper the price and the less you can see.
A Generation 1 scope works with passive infrared and ambient light. You can see as far as 75-100 yards. Some go beyond that, but this comes at a price.
Generation 2 scopes give you a better picture because of a higher resolution. Also, they can see out to 200 yards.
Generation 2 scopes can use more photons to create a picture. That gives you a higher resolution and a greater range.
Furthermore, many night vision scopes offer you the possibility to take a video or a picture. This allows you to record your practice shots and learn or to record your hand and relive your greatest moments later. In the latter case, that might also save you some trouble. Licensing is a tricky thing when it comes to hunting. If you can prove what you shot, you might get yourself out of a potentially legally problematic situation.
The best night vision scopes will start to record automatically as soon as you shoot. They have a sensor for the recoil. This allows you to concentrate on your target instead of fumbling with the controls in the most important moment.
Another point that should not be discounted is the glass quality. The better the glass, the more you get out of the light. This means, more light gets captured and you can see a clearer image and that on greater ranges.
High quality night vision scopes come with a coating. This protects the high-quality glass of the scope from the shock and from scratches. Here, it is better to invest a little bit more and have some more life from the scope than having to buy a new one again and again.
Next is the size and type of the reticle. You should have a BDC (Bullet drop compensation) reticle that compensates for bullet drop. This way, you can zero your rifle for 100 yards and get an aimpoint for every further 100 yards.
Some night vision scope will allow you to also use them in daylight. This is great because it means that you get to scopes for one price. However, check if it is really true. Just to be able to use it in daylight doesn`t mean it is useful. If the daytime use came as an afterthought or is built in as a gimmick, it will not help you much compared to a real scope.
Night vision scopes are used in a lot of different weather situations. There is the temperature drop in the night, there is fog, and there is water. It is better to look for a weatherproof model that also includes fog proof and even shockproof. That way, it can stay with you a lot longer.
It comes at a little bit more than 600 Dollar, but with it you know what you get. This starts with a clear vision night and day and this in HD 1080p. This means, you get images that a crystal-clear and this over hundreds of yards. The magnification can be adjusted from 5-20 times. This allows you to actually put the ranges to good use.
Besides the picture that you get from your target. But if you think that stops there, you are wrong. You can stream it life via a Wi-Fi connection.
The recording function can be set to start automatically once a recoil is detected. This allows you to go hands free on the camera (not the rifle).
The scope includes a ballistic computer that can calculate the trajectory of your bullet and show you the right point of impact. This simplifies your practice and of course your hunting.
It comes also with a smart rangefinder. Just two clicks later you can have the range to your target accurate within plus minus 1 yard.
If you want to know which way to go, the scope offers you a GPS and E-Compass. The battery will hold for 22 hours of continuous use and you can recharge it. Also, it has an infrared illuminator that can also work with other night vision devices.
The price is high but the scope brings the value. This it does even double as it also offers you a clear daytime vision, so you can use it day and night. However, it has one small disadvantage, it is not weatherproof.
If you are on a budget, you can also go for some less expensive options. A good alternative is the Sightmark Photon XT. With a price of only 329 Dollar it costs you half as much, but it is still pretty versatile. The magnification is fix at 4.6 times. You can choose the color of the reticle according to your needs. You have the option to switch between green, white, or red. Also, the types of the reticle can be switched. You can have it as a Duplex, Mil-Dot or German-style.
All options have a resolution of 640×480 and you can see up to 120 yards away. Of course, you cannot expect a picture that extraordinarily clear or crisp, but you can still see quite clearly.
The biggest advantage of this scope is its weight. It is one of the lightest you can find. It is sleek and compact. It comes with an integrated Weaver rail that allows you to attach accessories. You can adjust the windage digitally.
This scope also offers a recording function, but it needs to be activated by hand. However, this also means it saves electricity what leads to a 33% longer battery life. The scope is also very durable and weatherproof.
Nest is the Firefield NVRS 3×42 Gen 1 that you can get for a little bit more, for 380 Dollar. It offers you a fixed magnification of 3 times which offers you a good accuracy up to 200 yards. You get a great image and a high-powered illuminator. With this, you can see every detail in the dark.
With a lens of 4mm, the scope gives you a lot of light and at the same time a good field of view. The lens can be shielded with a flip cover. This is handy when you are transiting between positions.
The reticle is a duplex type with an automatic illumination that can be adjusted. The scope is light, durable, weatherproof. The optics have multiple coatings to allow for a better transmission of the light while being resistant to scratches. However, on the day, you will not be so happy with it.
We go on with the Armasight Nemesis 6x-SD Gen 2+ This is a generation 2 plus scope that offers you a 6 times magnification. You can shoot out to 200 yards and more. The resolution is 480P. Just in case, it comes with flip-up iron sights. This means, you can switch between your eyesight and night vision. This is not as good as a daylight optic, but it gives you options in changing light conditions. The scope is shock protected and give you a wide field of view what allows you to spot your target easily. You can use manual or auto brightness settings and you have an illuminated red cross reticle in the center. The battery holds for 60 hours before it needs recharging. However, the disadvantage is that it is water- but not weatherproof.
For this scope, you need to cash out a little bit more, as it costs upwards of 700 Dollar, but you have a true Day and Night scope with ultra HD and Obsidian 3 Dual Core. This brings you the best pictures under all conditions. Shooting it is easy, as a ballistic calculator helps you and it even includes range and wind into the calculation. You can stream the picture and record to an SD card in the scope. It is recoil activated and the battery holds for 18 hours.
With the Night Owl Optics we have a less expensive option that hovers below 400 Dollar. With a 640×480 resolution and a 3 powered optic you can see and shoot out to 200 yards. You can adjust the type and illumination of the reticle. It is weatherproof and it is compatible either with Picatinny or Weaver rails. Using typical AA batteries, you can always have some spares with you.
Our next scope is the Bushnell 4.5X40 Equinox Z, that can be mounted on your rifle or a tripod. It offers excellent clarity and color day and night. However, it offers only a shorter battery life.
Let’s take a look at a more affordable model, the Best Sight DIY Digital Night Vision Scope. With a price a little bit over 100 Dollar, it is a great option. It even comes with an 18 months warranty. You can use it in daylight and in the night. You have the scope and a monitor as well as a camera. However, you need a separate battery for it.
The Armasight Orion 5X Gen 1+ is another great and affordable option. It offers a range of 200 yards and a 5 times magnification. With a shock protection and a battery life of 40 hours, it is a welcome companion to your rifle when you go into the night.
Our last model is the Pulsar Digisight N750 Digital Night Vision. You can switch between a resolution of 4.5 and 6.75. It has a laser infrared illuminator and you can detect a target up to 650 yards out. It is protected against bright light, gives you a great eye relief and a good image quality. However, it comes at a price.