5 Best Gen 3 Night Vision Scopes In 2024 (Filmed & Unfilmed)

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Who is Gen 3 for?


I looked for professional-grade quality that promises to provide professional-grade results from the best Gen 3 night vision scopes around.

Armasight Vulcan
Armasight Vulcan 4.5x standalone scope - Image Credit: Armasight

I set a criteria for both filmed and unfilmed IITs, green and white phosphor, the highest SNR and resolution performance, and more.

I also compare the specs in the buying guide below!

Best Gen 3 Night Vision Scopes

tt-table__imageAGM Wolverine Pro-6 3AL1 Gen 3 NV
  • Technology: Gen 3
  • Magnification: 6x
  • Color Modes: Green Phosphor
tt-table__imageATN PVS14-3 Gen 3 Monocular
  • Technology: Gen 3
  • Magnification: 1x
  • Color Modes: Green Phosphor
tt-table__imageArmasight CO-Mini
  • Technology: Gen 3
  • Magnification: 1x
  • Color Modes: Green & White Phosphor
tt-table__imageArmasight PVS-14
  • Technology: Gen 3
  • Magnification: 1x
  • Color Modes: Green & White Phosphor
tt-table__imageTRYBE PVS-14
  • Technology: Gen 3+ / Gen 3P
  • Magnification: 1x
  • Color Modes: Green or White Phosphor

Why Trust Us?

After hundreds of hours of hand-testing night vision scopes in the field and at the range, and thousands more hours researching and writing about them, we feel we earn the title of experts when it comes to optics!

We purchase as many of the optics for our tests as possible, and run them through their paces to make sure they will perform at the range and in the field.

Our combined decades of experience from wildlife observation and hunting, to big game hunting and competitions has been integral in putting together this round-up of the best gen 3 night vision scopes.

Get the inside scoop on how we test optics here.

When people talk about how expensive night vision is, they’re usually referring to high-end technology which is an indication of Gen 3.

How much does Generation 3 night vision cost?

You’re looking at a significant price range that may start at $3000 on the very low end, if you’re lucky to find it, and can quickly climb up from there. It’s best to set a budget between $4000-$5000 for A-grade Gen 3 night vision scopes.

Armasight Co Mini and ACOG
Co-Mini clip-on paired with Trijicon ACOG day sight - Image Credit: Optics Planet

You may want to consider a scope alternative such as a Gen 3 clip-ons, and in some cases, a Gen 3 monocular, like the PVS-14.

My lineup explores some of the top options from some of today's most recognized night vision manufacturers like AGM, ATN, Armasight, and Trybe.

Best Gen 3 Night Vision Scope Reviews

1. AGM Wolverine Pro-6 3AL1 Gen 3 NV - Best Overall

AGM Wolverine Pro 6
Image Credit - AGM Global Vision

The Wolverine Pro-6 3AL1 is one of the best scopes AGM offers. While they’re still a new brand yet to be widely recognized, their inventory shows experience and expertise. The Wolverine Pro is evidence of this.


  • Standalone scope
  • Autogating
  • Excellent imaging
  • Projected chevron reticle
  • Long-range detection


  • Heavy

To get it out of the way first, the standalone scope is massive at 3 lbs (approx.) and it’s largely due to the enormous 100 mm objective lens. A larger aperture means more ambient light can be transmitted through the scope. What the system does with that is of equal importance which is why this scope has autogating.

In short, the system is consistently refreshing imaging quality, so there are essentially no negative effects when observing and shooting around dynamic light. The tidbits that AGM provides regarding quality imply that the scope has a high SNR value of at least 24-25 with tube performance not unlike pinnacle and filmless tubes. However, AGM fails to provide tube specs as general information, but imaging quality speaks for itself.

With an adjustable, projected reticle, fast target acquisition and accuracy is guaranteed. The chevron reticle has bullet drop and a windage crosshair, and ½ MOA adjustments.

As an NVD, the Wolverine Pro-6 scores. As a rifle scope, the Wolverine Pro-6 scores again. If you can wield the weight, this scope will serve.

2. ATN PVS14-3 Gen 3 Monocular - Best Value

Image Credit: Airsoft GI

Got a red dot on your rifle and you want night vision too? While it’s always best to opt for a clip-on, there may be some sideways benefits to going the monocular route. The PVS14 shows you how.


  • Monocular
  • Mil-spec
  • Weapon-mounted
  • Head/helmet-mounted
  • Close-range detection


  • Low recoil resistance

If you’re happy with a monocular that is not designed as a weapon sight but can serve as your weapon sight, you must have the PVS14. You will need the right mount, but there are plenty in the market as the PVS14 is often used for stealth operations and civilian use for hog and coyote hunting.

View through ATN PVS14 3
View through ATN NV monocular (top) - Image Credit: Optics Planet. View through ATN PVS14-3 (bottom) - Image Credit: Night Vision Rentals

It does have low recoil resistance for 5.56 NATO, so shooters and hunters sporting the popular AR-15 in .223 Rem will find this to be a perfect Gen 3 alternative for multiple applications.

The PVS14-3 is built to mil-spec with military-grade materials. While it’s the autogated version that sees military action, this is the standard Gen 3 unit. So, if you want mil-spec night vision but don’t need the finesse that Special Operations require, this is a worthy alternative.

ATN PVS14 3 and helmet mounting
On/Off/IR switch (top left) Battery compartment (top right) Attaching to helmet (bottom) - Image Credit: Night Vision Rentals

When all is said and done, if you ever upgrade to a standalone scope or a thermal scope, the monocular will always have a place in your tool kit. Try mounting it to a helmet next time and discover the world of handsfree night vision.

3. Armasight CO-Mini – Best Clip-On

Mounted Co Mini clip on
Image Credit - Optics Planet

Overall, the CO-Mini sight is a high-quality Gen 3 night vision device in a compact, clip-on form factor. Armasight has returned as strong as ever and now only offers Gen 3 products. There is no better option in their small selection for converting your daytime setup into a nighttime one.


  • Gen 3 IIT
  • Manual gain
  • Battery life
  • Compact/lightweight
  • Green or white phosphor


  • Low magnification performance

The Co-Mini is a 1x clip-on and works best with low power ranges of 1-6x on day scopes. Though it won’t be a high-powered champ for your high-powered scope, it would be great for duty, patrol, and hunting with an LPVO.

It comes ready to be mounted with the quick release mount. It sits at a height of 1.5” and can be used with night vision compatible red dot sights. To make the process smooth for attaching to day scopes, it comes with light suppressor sleeve.

Specs include a 38mm lens, 20° FOV, and focus range from 20m to infinity. It doesn’t affect eye relief and with inside of 2 MOA or better performance, Armasight says there’s no need to rezero your day scope.

The Co-Mini has excellent clarity and detection with its Gen 3 tube and manual gain. You can get it in either green or white phosphor. It’s short-range, so it’s best for use inside 300 yards (approx.).

The Co-Mini is compatible to be used with a wireless remote and long-range IR illuminator both of which are included in the box. It’ll add minimal weight to your entire setup as it’s 1.06 lbs and 4.9” in length. Though it takes a AA battery, it only provides 24 hours of runtime. With a CR123A battery, you can stretch it out to 45 hours.

With Armasight’s return, they’re offering a very clear-cut warranty – 3 years to the original owner with proof of purchase and registration. It’s worth it considering that the extended warranty defaults to 1-year coverage if you don’t.

4. Armasight PVS-14 – Best PVS14

Armasight PVS14
Image Credit: Armasight

Overall, PVS-14 NVDs make for excellent hands-free goggle use. However, there will always be those that will use a weapon mount to pair with a red dot sight or magnified scope. To cater to that crowd, it’s worth knowing that Armasight proudly offers a Gen 3 IIT in green or white phosphor PVS-14.


  • PVS-14
  • Autogated
  • Manual gain
  • Mounting options
  • Compact/lightweight


  • Low recoil resistance

The number one concern of weapon mounting monoculars is the recoil resistance. Gen 3 IITs tend to be recoil resistant to no larger than 5.56 calibers. Even so, it’s at your own risk to mount it. Due to its 1x magnification, it will work best with 1x power settings on magnified scopes or night vision compatible red dot sights.

The PVS-14 has a Gen 3 autogated IIT with 64-72 lp/mm resolution available with green or white phosphor. Both tubes have manual gain and Bright Light Cut-Off. Like others of its ilk, it has a 27mm lens, 40° FOV, focus range from 0.25m to infinity, and a diopter adjustment.

It’s very compact for both head/helmet and weapon mounting as it’s 4.5 x 2 x 2.25” in size and weighs only 12.4 oz. When it comes to detection ranges, it has an integrated IR illuminator to bring clarity and resolving detail to clearly pick out hogs, coyotes, and intruders on your property up to 350 m. Recognition ranges are typically around 250-300 m and identifying the target will be inside 200 yards.

Mounting a PVS-14 isn’t for everyone, and any tube damage due to recoil will automatically void the warranty. However, the PVS-14 is a versatile monocular that can be used in multiple applications. If you ever get a dedicated NV rifle scope, the Armasight NVD will be of use head mounted or as a handheld optic.

It’s covered by a 3-year Limited Extended Warranty if you register it within 60 days of purchase. It’s valid only to the original owner and requires proof of purchase. If you forget, it’s still warrantied but is limited to Standard 1-year coverage. For an optic under $4000, it’s highly recommended not to forget.

5. TRYBE PVS-14 – Best Pinnacle

Image Credit: Copper Jacket TV

The Trybe PVS-14 is a Gen 3 Pinnacle IIT night vision monocular. The PVS-14 is often weapon-mounted to add to its versatility having a 5.56 recoil-rated tube. However, it’s always at a risk to weapon mount a PVS-14, but if you’re going to do it anyway, the Trybe can do it minimal cost.


  • Price
  • Pinnacle tube
  • Green or white phosphor
  • Mounting options
  • Compact/lightweight


  • Low recoil resistance

As is true of all PVS-14s, they have low recoil resistance and Gen 3 pinnacle tubes can only handle recoil up to 5.56 calibers. Though not advised for weapon-mounting, the PVS-14 is compatible with weapon mounts to sit behind a night vison compatible red dot sight.

Trybe has multiple price points that are more attractive than like competition with their Gen 3P typically starting at $2500. There are both green and white phosphor tubes with white starting at $3000. Price variances will be due to tube quality between regular or hand-selected (Elbit or L3).

TRYBE PVS14 White phosphor VS Green phosphor
TRYBE PVS-14 White phosphor (left) - Image Credit: Alpha Omega Survival Supply VS green phosphor (right) - Image Credit: Thomas Hernandez

All Trybe’s PVS-14 monoculars have standard specs in line with a mil-spec AN/PVS-14 but for civilian use. It has 1x magnification, 27mm lens, 40° FOV, and 64-82 lp/mm resolution. With a AA battery, you can power it for 50+ hours. It’s 4.5 x 2.5 x 2.75” in size and weighs 10.8oz.

It’s a performer as a hands-free goggle when mounted to head gear or helmets. Since it’s excellent for navigational use, it’s focusable from 0.25m to infinity. Its detection range is standard for a PVS-14 having been rated for 350 m use and with excellent identification inside of 200 yards. TRYBE’s warranty policies were updated in 2020, and it has a 2-year limited warranty and is limited to the original owner.

TRYBE PVS14 head gear and battery compartment
Head mounting gear and battery compartment w/AA battery (top right) - Image Credit: Copper Jacket TV

What sets this PVS14 apart from alternatives are the price points and its pinnacle tube. Though likely short serving as a night vision scope, it will serve until you can pull the trigger on a dedicated clip-on sight. The Trybe can always be your permanent goggles for patrol, civilian, and hunting applications.

What to Look for in a Gen 3 Night Vision Scope

YouTube video

When you’re considering Gen 3 night vision, understanding specifications is essential. Not only is it a way to determine if a scope will fit your needs, but it will also tell you what kind of performance you can expect. Not all Gen 3 is the same, and this is how you can tell the difference between the varying levels.


The price range for the best night Gen 3 night vision scope will vary between $2500-$5500. Primary factors that determine the overall night vision scope cost include type of IIT, device type, and specs.

ProductPrice Range
AGM Wolverine Pro-6Under $5500
ATN PVS14-3Under $4000
Armasight Co-MiniUnder $4500
Armasight PVS-14Under $3600
TRYBE PVS-14Under $4000
Gen 3 Night Vision Scope Price Range Comparisons

Generation 3 Tubes

AGM monocular collection
Image Credit: AGM

In Gen 3 scopes, you’ll see some differences from tube and photocathode type between models and manufacturers. Depending on various components implemented or intentionally omitted will determine overall tube performance and photocathode sensitivity.

What you will typically see in Gen 3 night vision:

  • GaAs (Gallium Arsenide) tube
  • Pinnacle tube
  • Autogated
  • Thin filmed
  • *Unfilmed/filmless

*Unfilmed/filmless is usually marketed as a Gen 4 classification. But since there is no official Gen 4, it is also marketed as an upper end Gen 3 or Gen 3+ classification. It depends on the manufacturer’s way of classifying their NVDs to showcase features and separate night vision series based on tube/photocathode performance and capabilities.

ProductGen 3 TubeAdditional Tube FeaturesPhosphor Screen
AGM Wolverine Pro-6Regular (standard)Auto-gated “Level 1”White phosphor
ATN PVS14-3GaAsAuto-gated/Thin-filmedGreen phosphor
Armasight Co-MiniBravoThin-filmedWhite phosphor
Armasight PVS-14BravoThin-filmedGreen or white phosphor
TRYBE PVS-14Regular & Hand SelectFilmed, Filmless, PinnacleGreen or white phosphor
Gen 3 Night Vision Scope Tube, Tube Features & Phosphor Screen Comparisons


Autogating is seen in only Gen 3 and higher night vision although not all Gen 3 NVDs feature autogating.

It’s technology that allows the system to automatically turn itself on and off rapidly. There are benefits provided by autogating that includes protection against bright light, impulsive noise reduction, photocathode voltage duty cycle regulation, and overall improvement of IIT performance.

ProductAutogated IIT
AGM Wolverine Pro-6Yes
ATN PVS14-3Yes
Armasight Co-MiniNo
Armasight PVS-14No
Gen 3 Night Vision Scope Autogated Tube Comparisons

Figure of Merit

It used to be that judging an NVD solely on generation classification was good enough – not these days. Now, many specs come in to play to judge NV performance including the Figure of Merit (FOM) value.

The FOM is calculated by multiplying resolution (lp/mm) by SNR (Signal-to-Noise Ratio). Governments use this value to determine if it’s an exportable product, and it also provides some insight into tube performance quality.

Anything over 1400 is non-exportable. Because photocathode sensitivity has come a long way in improving SNR, a high FOM can be an indication of high-performing night vision across the board.

If a manufacturer provides these tube specifications, you can gain greater understanding of IIT performance and value. Some may only provide the minimum FOM value as it can vary depending on the tube you eventually get in the box.

ProductFigure of Merit
AGM Wolverine Pro-61600*
ATN PVS14-31600 typical
Armasight Co-Mini1400 minimum
Armasight PVS-141400 minimum
TRYBE PVS-141600-2400 minimum
Gen 3 Night Vision Scope Figure of Merit (FOM) Comparisons

*Not disclosed: best guesstimate

Signal-to-Noise Ratio

View through Armasight PVS14 Bravo tube
View through the Armasight PVS-14 Bravo tube - Image Credit: Armasight

SNR is a value that is inherently connected to FOM, photocathode sensitivity, MCP operating voltage, and more. It’s why thin-filmed and filmless tubes, autogating, and sensitive photocathode scopes have a higher SNR value than lower generation night vision.

SNR is an excellent indication of low-light performance with contrast and resolution taken into account. The higher the value, the better the imaging quality under extremely difficult observation conditions. Anything over 21 is considered worth buying, however, rarely is it a value that is disclosed.

ProductSignal to Noise Ratio
AGM Wolverine Pro-6Not disclosed
ATN PVS14-322 typical
Armasight Co-Mini22 minimum*
Armasight PVS-1422 minimum*
TRYBE PVS-1418-30*
Gen 3 Night Vision Scope Signal to Noise Ratio (SNR) Comparisons

* Not disclosed: likely value based on tube (guesstimate)


Plain answer: This is the lp/mm (line pair) measurement of horizonal and vertical lines to distinguish any sort of clarity and imaging quality through an NVD. While many factors are in play to provide ultimate resolution, you can figure up a crude picture of what imaging quality will be like based on the resolution specs.

Gen 3 night typically indicates resolution of 64-72 lp/mm. However, resolution is not a generation-specific spec. You can have WPT, Gen 2, and Gen 2+ with resolution that performs like what you would expect of Gen 3.

While resolution is a good measuring unit, you must also account for tube type, FOM, photocathode sensitivity, and any additional features such as thin-filmed or unfilmed, manual gain or automatic brightness, etc.

AGM Wolverine Pro-664-72 lp/mm
ATN PVS14-364-72 lp/mm
Armasight Co-Mini64-72 lp/mm
Armasight PVS-1464-72 lp/mm
TRYBE PVS-1464-71 – 72-81 lp/mm
Gen 3 Night Vision Scope Resolution Comparisons

Gen 3 Night Vision Applications

CO LR clip on scope
Armasight CO-LR mounted with day scope - Image Credit: Optics Planet

What can you use Gen 3 night vision for? While we know the U.S. military use Gen 3, you may be a civilian or LEO looking to equip your firearm with night vision. Is Gen 3 overkill for your needs?


Gen 3 is not only top-shelf, but it’s also mandatory quality if you demand better-than-average night vision, especially if your life depends on it. As a night vision scope, you can use Gen 3 for:

  • Hunting
  • Security & surveillance
  • SHTF prepping/survivalists
  • Observation
  • Patrol & stakeouts
  • Law enforcement

You will also need to consider what type of Gen 3 night vision scope is appropriate for your applications. Do you need a clip-on if you’re leaving your day scope on? Do you need one device to move between different rifles? Do you need other uses from the one device?

Steiner T5Xi LPVO in action
PVS-14 on helmet can be used as a handheld and weapon-mounted with day sight - Image Credit: Steiner
  • Standalone Scope – Dedicated weapon sight that is recoil-proof and designed to work without another optic. Inherently has a reticle, adjustments, and must be zeroed.
  • Clip-On – Must be used with either a collimated red dot or daytime rifle scope as it does not have a reticle or adjustments. Sits forward on the rail or can be attached to objective bell of daytime scope. No need to rezero scope but must confirm no shift in POI. Usually more expensive than standalone scopes.
  • Monocular – Must be used with a collimated red dot or laser sight. Low recoil resistance since it’s not designed as a weapon-sight although some can be used as such. Must be compatible with mounting to a firearm and sits behind the red dot. Mount must be purchased separately. Must be able to acquire sufficient eye relief.
ProductDevice Type
AGM Wolverine Pro-6Standalone rifle scope
ATN PVS14-3Monocular
Armasight Co-MiniClip-on scope
Armasight PVS-14Monocular
TRYBE PVS-14Monocular
Gen 3 Night Vision Scope Device Type Comparisons


For as expensive as Gen 3 night vision, it’s essential to consider the type of warranty that comes with the NVD. Warranties will vary between manufacturers, are rarely lifetime warranties, and are typically valid to the original purchaser.

AGM Wolverine Pro-63-year transferable warranty
ATN PVS14-32-year warranty
Armasight Co-Mini3-year extended warranty & 1-year standard warranty
Armasight PVS-143-year extended warranty & 1-year standard warranty
TRYBE PVS-142-year standard warranty
Gen 3 Night Vision Scope Warranty Comparisons


What is the Highest Generation Night Vision?

Generation 3 night vision is the highest official classification. Unfilmed and filmless night vision is often marketed as Generation 4 although this is not an official classification.
This type of night vision is exceptionally expensive but provides high IIT performance and imaging quality appropriate for professional, military, and law enforcement applications.

What Generation Night Vision does the Military Use?

Generation 3 is what the U.S. military use. Since night vision materials, designs, and technology is improving, the demand to outfit the military with higher performing night vision is greater. 3A or 3AG is quickly becoming the standard for military needs.

Are Gen 2 Scopes Worth Buying?

While there are some Gen 2+ devices that can outperform some standard Gen 3 ones, Gen 3+ will always be highly recommended if you can afford it because it is the gold standard and provides the best type of night vision quality most NVD users require.
However, while Gen 2 lacks the advantages of high-end Gen 3, they are exceptional for hunters, LEOs, security, and preppers and are a significant improvement from Gen 1.

Night Vision at its Best

Armasight Co Mini in action
Co-Mini clip-on - Image Credit: Optics Planet

Gen 3 is the gold standard for night vision. While there are various levels of Gen 3 quality, expected performance from standard Gen 3 is worthy of its classification.

This means that whether you want all the works from autogated to filmless tubes or if you simply need the better resolution provided by standard Gen 3, it’s a win-win type of buy.

If you want the best night vision available, look to night vision at its best – Generation 3.

Further Reading

Photo of author

Simon Cuthbert - Founder

Simon is an avid outdoor enthusiast and the founder of Target Tamers. He is passionate about bringing you the most up to date, accurate & understandable information on sports optics of all kinds and for all applications. Simon has contributed to notable publications online and teaches beginners the technical side of optics through his extensive library of optics guides.

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