This article contains affiliate links. We may earn a small commission if you purchase via these links.
Night vision and AR-15s - it's a natural pairing.
But, what scope should you top your AR with?
Asking myself this question, I set out to list the best night vision AR-15 scopes that get it done for hogs, coyotes, enemy airsofters, and zombies.
I set a criteria to include digital and passive night vision as well as a thermal option just in case you're interested.
As you can guess, the price points vary dramatically, but I listed great scopes under $1000 as well as some very expensive units for professional applications - think LE or military!
Our 8 Top Picks for AR-15 Night Vision Scopes
|ATN X Sight 4K Pro 5-20X||CHECK PRICE|
|Sightmark Wraith HD||CHECK PRICE|
|Atn X-Sight LTV 3-9x||CHECK PRICE|
|Armasight Co-Mini||CHECK PRICE|
|Armasight Vulcan 4.5x||CHECK PRICE|
|ATN Thor 4 Smart HD||CHECK PRICE|
|AGM Wolverine 4 NL2||CHECK PRICE|
|NightStar Gen 1 Tactical||CHECK PRICE|
From shooting hogs, hunting coyotes, and varmints to home/personal defense, security, and duty use, there's a whole lotta reasons why you'd want a night vision (NV) scope on your AR 15 (ArmaLite 15).
So, what do you need out of your night vision scope?
Do you need to identify targets and take long shots? Gen 3 might offer the best clarity at distance.
Are you hog hunting or keeping rats and foxes from the coop? Thermal or digital night vision can do that very well.
The type of quality you'll need from your scope will also determine your budget. Night vision, thermal, and even high-end, lowlight scopes can be very expensive. But I also included some affordable options as low as $500.
Between the price point and technology varieties of scopes in my line-up, there's bound to be one worthy of sitting on the rail of your AR.
8 Best Night Vision Scopes for AR-15
1. ATN X-Sight 4K Pro 5-20x - Best Overall
The X-Sight 4k Pro is ATN’s flagship line of digital night vision scopes. It has works from dual streaming to ballistic calculations and even an adjustable, smart MIL dot reticle. You won’t be left wanting if you’re after maximum performance from a day/night system.
- Smart features
- Long-lasting battery
- Tech issues
When you have a technologically advanced optic, you will likely run into tech issues. Fortunately, ATN provides firmware updates. So, if you’re willing to master the learning curve and update your scope as necessary, you’ll be pleased to have the extra bells and whistles.
One of the awesome features I like about the X-Sight 4K Pro is the smart MIL dot reticle. It’s a dynamic reticle that allows the user to adjust the mil space between the hashmarks to calibrate it to your load and preferences.
You also have a smart stadiametric rangefinder, dual stream video, on-board ballistic calculator, and Bluetooth and WiFi connectivity. Yes – it can also sync to your other smart ATN devices. Think ATN Radar… now that’s access to live information alright!
You have One Shot Zero to get zeroed in, it holds zero, tracks accurately, and can be mounted to heavy caliber rifles just in case you hang up the AR for the 30-06.
It’s decently lightweight at 2.2 lbs, but I know the long-lasting battery life of 18+ hours is a major advantage for a digital device. I also really like that it comes with the rings to mount it.
2. Sightmark Wraith HD 4-32x50 – Best Digital
The Wraith HD is a popular digital night vision scope that offers a lot of value. It’s a long-ranging scope with 8x zoom and allows wildlife detection to 1000 yards during the day though its best performance is inside 500 yards without maxing out magnification and too much image degradation.
- 8x zoom
- Selectable reticles
- Video recording
- Older model
The Wraith HD is not the latest Wraith from Sightmark. The new one is the Wraith 4K Max that has a 4K Hi-Res sensor. While I think the 4K Max is priced affordably, the Wraith HD is often under $500 which makes it a great option for those on a budget.
It comes with a detachable IR illuminator that is likely to be needed most of the time at night. Though it has impressive daytime detection, its effective range is inside 350 yards during the night.
The Wraith HD is not a clip-on or a monocular but a standalone scope. As such, I like that it has several reticles that you can choose from, reticle colors, and of course you can zero with digital adjustments.
One feature I really like for bragging purposes is the video recording. Though the Wraith doesn’t capture audio, it will record what is seen through the scope.
Covered with a 3-year warranty, I recommend the Sightmark digital scope for airsoft, coyote and hog hunting, and pest control.
3. ATN X-Sight LTV 3-9x - Best Budget Option
The X-Sight LTV scopes may be one of my favorite versions of the X-Sight models to date. They’re ultra-lightweight, high-functioning, and best of all, so easy to use in the field.
- Simple system
- New body style
- HD display
- Long-lasting battery
- Simple system
The best thing about the LTV scope may also be its downfall. It’s a scaled-down version of the ATN X-Sight 4K Pro which means it doesn’t have all the smart features that its upgraded sibling has. While the extras are considered non-essential, there are still those who believe that if you’re going to buy digital, you may as well have it all. To them I say, this is not the right X-Sight for you.
Although it lacks the extra fixin’s, it still has excellent performance in what it does provide. It has the new Obsidian LT core and color CMOS sensor that provides the HD resolution you’ll be seeing through the scope day or night.
I really like its incredibly light weight of 1.6 lbs – so it’s excellent for lightweight setups like your AR-15 or to top an already heavy bad boy that loads 375 H&H. The body also has a very tube-like aesthetic that takes standard 30mm rings and looks more like a real rifle scope than some bulky contraption on your upper receiver.
With 3-9x magnification, a wide field of view, and day/night modes, you have great performance out to 300 yards (approx.) – perfect for taking those night prowlers out. For even more power and to stretch the distance, consider the lightweight X-Sight LTV 5-15x model.
4. Armasight Co-Mini – Best Clip-on
Armasight is back and so is the favorite Co-Mini clip-on night vision sight. With a Gen 3 tube and manual gain, it’s ever expensive as expected. Considering its high price, register it with Armasight to acquire the 3-year warranty.
- Gen 3
- Manual gain
- Wireless remote
- Dual power option
The clip-on design lets you keep your favorite day scope on your rifle as it converts your setup for night vision. Seeing as it’s used in front of the rifle scope, it doesn’t affect eye relief, it lacks a reticle of its own, and it’s set for an approximate 1.5” height setup. I would say it's best for professional applications like law enforcement and military.
For mounting and pairing with the day scope, it comes with a light suppressor and Weaver mount for fast attachment to a rail. Given that no rezeroing is required, it can be assumed that the Co-Mini is factory-collimated to be within 2 MOA or better and works best with the 1-6x powers of a day scope.
It has a Gen 3 IIT with manual gain, 64-72 lp/mm resolution, and Bright Light Cut-Off. You can power the clip-on with either a CR123A battery for 45 hours of runtime or a AA battery for 24 hours. To conserve battery life and reduce the need for unnecessary movement, the included wireless remote will wake the Co-Mini from standby mode for instant activation.
I recommend it for close to mid-range work normally up to 350 yards. The included, detachable IR850-XLR Long Range IR Illuminator enhances range and visibility to an approximate 546 yards. With the integrated rail on top the 1.06 lb, 4.9 x 2.7 x 2.2” clip-on, you can mount an accessory such as a laser or red dot.
Though I know clip-ons can be just as expensive and even more so than standalone NV scopes, it does give you the option of incorporating your favorite day scope into the nighttime hunt – perp or hog.
5. Armasight Vulcan 4.5x – Best GEN 3
The Vulcan 4.5x is a standalone night vision weapon sight recently brought back with Armasight’s return. With 4.5x magnification, Gen 3 IIT, manual gain, and having been designed to purposely fit the AR-15, the Vulcan is a high-end option for the semi-auto shooter who demands the best.
- Gen 3 IIT
- Manual gain
- 4.5x magnification
- Wireless remote
- Dual power option
As a high-end NV scope, the Vulcan has a Gen 3 tube, 64-72 lp/mm resolution, manual gain, and automatic brightness. I really like the huge 108mm lens with multi-coated optics that allows for a lot of potential for bright, clear, and sharp seeing. Consequently, it also tacks on weight for a total of 2.4 lbs. As expected, it’s not exactly a compact scope considering it’s 11.7 x 3.8 x 2.8” in size.
Turrets have adjustments in ½ MOA with a total of 45 MOA in E/W travel. It has very short eye relief of 1.77” and I think it seems better suited to the AR-15 anyway. It has a red, illuminated crosshair reticle as the only option in both green and white phosphor tubes.
The scope can handle the conditions of the hunt given that it’s shockproof, waterproof, and nitrogen-purged. It also offers the dual power option via a CR123A battery for 40 hours or AA battery for 20 hours of runtime.
If for some reason it’s exposed to excessive lighting conditions, the Bright Light Cut-Off will instantly shut it off for tube protection. Making things convenient in the field and to conserve battery life, it comes with a wireless remote for activation while in standby mode.
Considering that the Vulcan 4.5x is extremely expensive, it’s a purchase that requires some serious thought and coin. In the grand scheme of things, I strongly recommend taking the time to register it with Armasight within 60 days to qualify for the Extended 3-year Warranty.
6. ATN Thor 4 Smart HD Review – Best Thermal
Heading out the door to hunt down coyotes tonight? I hope you’re prepared with the right gear to catch those elusive and sprightly creatures. One sure-fire way to get it done – thermal imaging. The Thor 4 Smart HD 640 is thermal scope designed to provide maximum sight, convenience, and accuracy.
- 4th Gen - New Version
- Long detection ranges
- HD Display
- Smart digital features
This is the newest version of the Thor thermal riflescopes, and this model has 640x480 resolution and a 60 Hz refresh rate – top of the class. It offers 1.5-15x magnification, 90 mm of eye relief, and a 1280x720 HD display.
It has multiple thermal palettes, reticle patterns and colors, and of course, it records video and audio. Its detection range is over 1000 yards, recognition range over 500 yards, and identification range is over 300 yards – impressive! I definitely recommend it for hunting.
This is one very smart device with its Bluetooth/Wi-Fi compatible feature that can connect to iOS and Android systems. It has ATN’s One Shot Zero, Ballistic Calculator program, Smart Rangefinder, Smart Mil Dot Reticle, and so much more.
But, what are the specific upgrades? It has the Gen 4 Next Gen sensor core, upgraded tactile controls, and it’s supposed to be easier to mount than ever with its standard 30 mm rings.
One feature that I think more than worth pointing out is that it has a 16+ hour battery runtime which is excellent for thermal.
The Thor 4 is weather-resistant, weighs 2 lbs, is 13.5 x 3 x 3” in size, and it comes with a 3-year warranty. It’s a very impressive thermal unit that may be too fancy for your AR-15, but it might be everything your AR needs, plus some!
7. AGM Wolverine 4 NL2 Review – Best GEN 2
AGM is a very new optics manufacturer compared to the night vision brand staples, ATN and Armasight, we’ve become familiar with over the decades. Earning a spot in this lineup for quality without compromise is the Wolverine 4 night vision weapons sight.
- Gen 2 “Level 2”
- Double-level quick-release mount
- 4x magnification
- Illuminated reticle
- Long battery life
All Generation 2 optics and higher will always cost an arm and a leg, and this scope is right within budget. The Wolverine 4 has 4x magnification, a huge 108 mm aperture, a very nice 9-degree field of view, and excellent 51-64 lp/mm resolution.
The scope itself is 2.6 lbs and is 12.1 x 3.7 x 3.8” in size – so, I'd say it has some decent heft and length to it which is right around the standard for scopes of this nature. To boot, it has an adjustable, illuminated, mil-dot center-cross encompassed by a non-illuminated duplex style reticle.
The Wolverine also has an integrated rail to allow attachment of the included AGM Sioux 850 Long Range IR illuminator. I like that the CR123A battery will power the scope for up to 50 hours at standard temperature (20°C/68°F). It has 45 mm of eye relief, ¼ MOA adjustments, and a diopter adjustment.
This is about as good as Gen 2 gets without seeing a significant price jump. It’s extremely clean and sharp to look through, and it detect targets at long range distances. I know hunters and law enforcement will appreciate the expert and quality materials available at a reasonable price. With a 3-year warranty, I recommend giving the Wolverine a chance.
8. NightStar Gen 1 2x50 Tactical – Best GEN 1
Overall, as Gen 1 technology seems to be phasing out, NightStar is one manufacturer that is still assembling the affordable tubes. For the cost-conscious buyer wanting to mount night vision to an AR for recreational or small game use, the 2x50 Gen 1 tactical scope may fit the budget.
- Gen 1
- 2x fixed magnification
- 150-yard range
- 35 lp/mm resolution
- Gen 1
This NightStar NVD is a fixed 2x power rifle scope that comes with a Weaver rail mounting system. It’s not a monocular rigged with a mount, and it does not have digital technology. I like that it's completely analog and that it's a standalone scope with 35 lp/mm resolution and a green phosphor display.
The problem I predict people will have with it is that’s it’s Gen 1, and build quality can be suspicious given its lack of tube spec transparency. It has inherited the fish-eye lens effect and you will need to use the IR illuminator to achieve any clarity and range. Even so, the NightStar scope can detect out to 100-200 yards and recognition out to 80 yards. Inside 100 yards is where the NightStar will show its best performance.
To be clear, this budget night vision rifle scope is not intended for professional and stealth applications regardless of its ‘Tactical’ marketing in the model name. The IR light is said to emit a visible, red light. I recommend its best use for recreational target shooting or for pest/small game control. It could possibly be used for some predator hunting if it’s working sufficiently for 100-yard distances.
It has the necessities such as elevation and windage adjustments, focus, illuminated and adjustable brightness red reticle, 4-button interface, and it takes a CR123A battery.
The NightStar 2x50 tactical scope isn’t fixed with all the bells and whistles, and its overall performance is not suited to professional tasks. However, for starter night vision on your AR, it fits the budget more so than high-quality digital alternatives and certainly Gen 2.
What to Look for in an AR-15 Night Vision Scope
If someone is going to return their scope or doesn't like it for whatever reason, it's likely related to one of the factors listed below. Know what you want and what's important to you before you buy!
The price range for a night vision scope to mount to your MSR is as variable as uppers, lowers, barrels, and stocks. You can land a medicore sight for a few, measly bucks or you can spend close to $10,000 on the latest night vision tech - probably more scope than you'd need for your AR.
Because we're trying to keep realistic budgets in mind with realistic shooting applications done by the majority of shooters, we've got some scopes in the budget range of $600-2000. But also some high-end options for all you high-rollers.
|ATN-X Sight 4K Pro 5-20x||Under $800||Digital|
|Sightmark Wraith HD||Under $700||Digital|
|ATN X-Sight LTV 3-9x||Under $600||Obsidian LT Core Digital|
|Armasight CO-Mini||Under $5000||Gen 3|
|Armasight Vulcan 4.5x||Under $5500||Gen 3|
|ATN Thor 4 Smart HD||Under $4000||Thermal|
|AGM Wolverine 4 NL2||Under $2500||Gen 2|
|NightStar Gen 1 Tactical||Under $500||Gen 1|
Night vision and thermal scopes are heavy compared to their daytime counterparts. Make sure you take overall size and weight into consideration with your type of night time hunting and shooting.
Weight won't matter so much if you're sitting prone and set up with sticks or a bipod patiently waiting to take your shot. However, if you're going to spend a good amount of time tracking and stalking, a lightweight option will best suit your needs.
|ATN-X Sight 4K Pro 5-20x||14.9 x 3 x 3 inches||2.2 lb|
|Sightmark Wraith HD||10.5 x 1.9 x 3 inches||2.3 lb|
|ATN X-Sight LTV 3-9x||12.2 x 2.2 x 2.2 inches||1.6 lb|
|Armasight CO-Mini||4.9 x 2.7 x 2.2 inches||1.06 lb|
|Armasight Vulcan 4.5x||11.7 x 3.8 x 2.8 inches||2.4 lb|
|ATN Thor 4 Smart HD||13.5 x 3 x 3 inches||2.03 lb|
|AGM Wolverine 4 NL2||12.7 x 3.7 x 3.8 inches||2.6 lb|
|NightStar Gen 1 Tactical||Undisclosed||Undisclosed|
Digital scopes are all the rage these days thanks to the lower prices and digital features. If you're willing to spend the time to get to know the interface beforehand, you'll be set up for a productive shoot and hunt.
If you're forced to click through multiple menus, screens, and functions in the split seconds you need to aim and shoot, you could lose your shot. Make sure you know the interface or it's easy to use in the dark. Don't fiddle fart your way through the night without even getting to take a shot.
|ATN-X Sight 4K Pro 5-20x||Advanced smart features such as video recording, live streaming, remote control, rangefinding, ballistic calculations. Requires regular firmware updates.|
|Sightmark Wraith HD||Digital smart features such as selectable reticles, reticle colors, video recording and image capture.|
|ATN X-Sight LTV 3-9x||Fewer smart features and therefore easier to use than the X-Sight 4K Pro.|
|Armasight CO-Mini||Gen 3 technology. Clip-on design to day rifle scopes.|
|Armasight Vulcan 4.5x||Gen 3 technology. Best in tube performance save for unfilmed/filmless Gen 4 night vision (classification term).|
|ATN Thor 4 Smart HD||Ultra-smart features such as Bluetooth/Wi-Fi compatibility, One Shot Zero, Ballistic Calculator, Smart Rangefinder, Smart Mil Dot Reticle.|
|AGM Wolverine 4 NL2||Gen 2 technology. Huge leap in performance and tube specs between Gen 1 and Gen 2. Higher resolution, better clarity, and with magnification, possibly better detection range.|
|NightStar Gen 1 Tactical||Gen 1 technology. Entry-level night vision performance from an image intensifier tube (IIT). Some fish-lens effect, but works to provide vision in the dark inside 100 yards.|
Resolution is typically disclosed with two numbers in digital night vision. One would be the pixel resolution of the sensor and the other the display resolution of the screen. Resolution when it comes to analog night vision is determined by the tube.
|Scope||Night Vision Type||Screen Resolution||Color Modes|
|ATN-X Sight 4K Pro 5-20x||Digital||1280x720||Day & Night|
|Sightmark Wraith HD||Digital||1280x720||Day & Night|
|ATN X-Sight LTV 3-9x||Digital||1280x720 HD||Day & Night|
|Armasight CO-Mini||Gen 3 IIT||64-72 lp/mm||Green or White Phosphor|
|Armasight Vulcan 4.5x||Gen 3 IIT||64-72 lp/mm||Green or White Phosphor|
|ATN Thor 4 Smart HD||Thermal||1280x720 HD||Black Hot, Color & White Hot|
|AGM Wolverine 4 NL2||Gen 2 IIT||45-57 lp/mm||Green Phosphor|
|NightStar Gen 1 Tactical||Gen 1 IIT||35 lp/mm||Green Phosphor|
Digital scopes will eat battery life at the speed of a Popsicle melting on hot concrete - fast. The extra features are nice, but they can be draining. If you're planning on only being out for a few hours, you're set. Night vision scopes are expensive but the battery life lasts a lot longer than digital, often lasting over 20 hours.
Traditional scopes will be the best conservers of battery life as they only power the illuminated reticle, and that's if your scope has an illuminated reticle. If you're out at low light and after, it really should have this feature.
|Scope||Battery Type||Battery Life|
|ATN-X Sight 4K Pro 5-20x||Internal Rechargeable Li-ion||18+ Hours|
|Sightmark Wraith HD||Internal Rechargeable Li-ion||5-8 hours|
|ATN X-Sight LTV 3-9x||Internal Rechargeable Li-ion||10+ Hours|
|Armasight CO-Mini||1 x CR123A, 1 x AA||45 hours, 24 hours|
|Armasight Vulcan 4.5x||1 x CR123A, 1 x AA||40 hours, 20 hours|
|ATN Thor 4 Smart HD||Internal Rechargeable Li-ion||16+ Hours|
|AGM Wolverine 4 NL2||1 x CR123A 3V Lithium||Up to 50 hours at 20°C|
|NightStar Gen 1 Tactical||1 x CR123A||Undisclosed|
The best night vision and thermal tech is going to cost a fortune - thousands of dollars, and that's the kind of money it will take to get usable data for several hundred yards in the dark. Realistically, very few people have the budget to spend in those price ranges and that inherently affects how effective you can see and shoot in the dark.
You might be able to see 800 yards out, but being able to recognize and identify the target, what it is, what gender, and what it's doing is a different story.
Most night vision scopes will allow you to see between 50-250 yards. Beyond that, be prepared to spend more, invest in a quality IR illuminator, or learn tricks of the trade in how to flash blind predators and make for a successful nighttime hunt.
|Scope||Detection Range||Recognition Range|
|ATN-X Sight 4K Pro 5-20x||Approx. 500 yds||Approx. 75-100 yds|
|Sightmark Wraith HD||Approx. 350 yds||Approx. 300 yds|
|ATN X-Sight LTV 3-9x||Approx. 500 yds||Approx. 75-100 yds|
|Armasight CO-Mini||Approx. 500 yds with IR||Approx. 100-350 yds|
|Armasight Vulcan 4.5x||Approx. 500+ yds||Unspecified|
|ATN Thor 4 Smart HD||Human Detection: 1050 yd||Human Recognition: 530 yd Human Identification: 330 yd|
|AGM Wolverine 4 NL2||Up to 1000 m with Sioux 850 IR||Unspecified|
|NightStar Gen 1 Tactical||Approx. 100-250 yds||Approx. 80-100 yds|
It's irrelevant if you're spending a couple hundred bucks or a fortune, everyone deserves a quality warranty to protect their product. Warranty coverage on electronic parts may not be covered under certain warranties, and yet that's often the type of coverage you need on a night vision, digital, or thermal scope.
Be sure to look over what's covered and what you'll end up having to fork out for. A customer service track record given by the masses may be important to consider. Stay brand-specific or stick with manufacturers you've had positive experiences with even if it might cost you a little more.
|ATN-X Sight 4K Pro 5-20x||2 Years||2-year warranty on the scope, 6 years on the battery.|
|Sightmark Wraith HD||3 Years||3-year warranty on the scope. Non-transferable. Registration required within 30 days of purchase.|
|ATN X-Sight LTV 3-9x||2 Years||2-year warranty on the scope, 6 years on the battery.|
|Armasight CO-Mini||Extended & Standard Limited Warranty||3-year warranty with registration within 60 days from date of purchase for Extended Warranty. No registration defaults to 1-year Standard Warranty.|
|Armasight Vulcan 4.5x||Extended & Standard Limited Warranty||3-year warranty with registration within 60 days from date of purchase for Extended Warranty. No registration defaults to 1-year Standard Warranty.|
|ATN Thor 4 Smart HD||3 Years||3-year warranty on the scope, 6 years on the battery.|
|AGM Wolverine 4 NL2||Limited 3-Year Warranty||Covers design flaws, materials failure, and workmanship issues.|
|NightStar Gen 1 Tactical||Limited Lifetime Warranty||Unconfirmed. No warranty details provided by manufacturer.|
Be the Hunter Not the Hunted!
You'd think hunting and stalking would be easy since you have the cover of darkness to aid in being stealthy. However, predators have heightened senses when the moon comes out and taking on the role of being the hunter means having the right gear and being able to see your target.
If you don't have the right scope on your AR-15 rig, you're soon to be the hunted. If you can't see, what's the point of being out after dark?