It’s fun to go hog hunting, but it’s exhilarating to turn it into an extravaganza. Farmers and ranchers will thank you for your productivity.
But how do you get to the point to where you’re actually being productive about hog hunting?
Top-shelf night vision scopes are always the first pick. Think the best night vision scopes in upper Gen 2 and Gen 3.
But if you don’t have the cash for such an NVD, not all hope is lost.
Digital can work really well for pigs too and as a coyote hunting scope as well. Now that’s a productive off-season from deer hunting!
Best Night Vision Scopes for Hog Hunting
|AGM Wolverine Pro-4 NL1||CHECK PRICE|
|Armasight CO-Mini||CHECK PRICE|
|Pulsar Digisight Ultra N450 LRF||CHECK PRICE|
|ATN X-Sight LTV 3-9X||CHECK PRICE|
|ATN X-Sight 4K Pro 5-20X||CHECK PRICE|
|Armasight Vulcan 4.5x||CHECK PRICE|
Every hunter’s need is different from the next. Some may want a standalone scope while others prefer to use their day scope’s zero and add night vision with a clip-on.
Some may be diehard IIT night vision users and others are open to using digital scopes. The appealing price points of digitals is attractive – it can’t be denied.
But scope fundamentals that hunters demand in common is to be able to adequately see in the dark and expect the scope to hold zero.
Not all scopes are made equal. The cheapest night vision scopes are all digital and have mediocre or at least decent quality. The best of those are listed in this lineup and have proved their salt to be mentioned as a worthy pig hunting scope.
On the other hand, the best Gen 3 night vision scopes are extremely expensive, but they offer unparalleled night vision performance. To provide options, a handful have been provided below.
To give you an idea of what you can do to keep the pigs out of the peanut rows tonight, check out these scopes and have fun.
Best Night Vision Scope for Hog Hunting Reviews
1. AGM Wolverine Pro-4 NL1 - Best Gen 2
The Wolverine Pro 4 NL1 is the best Gen 2 scope AGM has to offer in 4x magnification. It’s a dedicated night vision scope, so there’s no need to buy anything else – it’s already expensive enough as it is.
- Gen 2+ IIT
- Standalone scope
- Projected chevron BDC reticle
The AGM Wolverine Pro-4 is a military-grade night vision scope. It’s been put under high-stress and harsh testing procedures to ensure that it will deliver ultimate ruggedness and durability for real-life applications. While you may only be pig hunting with the scope, you’ll at least know that you’ll be hunting with the best.
It’s great for long-range detection and identification, and the green phosphor display is the most discernable color to the human eye. It’s not for everyone, but high-end night vision scopes will almost always have the green color.
The Wolverine Pro is based on the military AN/PVS-12/12A. This is a standalone scope with a projected chevron reticle with bullet drop and a windage crosshair. Adjustments are made in ½ MOA clicks, and it’s easy to dismount with a dual lever quick release mount.
When you must have clear and crisp night vision, long detection ranges, and a tried-and-true zero that holds, an IIT night vision scope is always the best buy. It’s why they’re so expensive. Worth it? Well, when those hogs start dropping, you’ll know it is.
2. Armasight CO-Mini – Best Clip-On
Armasight has weathered through some tough times and have come back with renewed purpose and improved quality like we’ve not seen from them before. The CO-Mini clip-on will see you through tough times in the field and improve the quality of your hog hunts in Gen 3 IIT style.
- Gen 3 IIT
- Manual gain
- Battery life
- Green or white phosphor
- Short range
The CO-Mini is 4.9” long and weighs 1.06 lbs which is more than doable for adding to the weight and bulk of a daytime scope and rifle. When it comes to range, it has 350-yard (approx.) max performance. Usual detection is inside 300 yards with excellent performance at 100-150 for observing and taking down the root cause of torn up crops.
With 1x magnification, it works efficiently with 1x red dot sights that have night vision safe brightness settings and with magnified optics that have very low power from 1-6x. Seeing as this is where it shines best, the LPVO comes to mind as a suitable scope to pair with the Co-Mini.
It mounts with a 1.5” height from the rail and comes with a quick release mount. Since it goes in front of the optic, it’s factory-set to at least be better than 2 MOA out of the box – no need to rezero your day scope, and it doesn’t affect eye relief.
The Armasight clip-on scope has manual gain for controlling the brightness in any night light conditions. It has a 38mm lens, focus that is adjustable from 20m to infinity, and a 20° FOV. With a dual battery option, you can squeeze out 24 hours of continuous runtime from a AA battery or stretch that to 45 hours with a CR123A battery.
Though you’re spending a lot of money on night vision and a clip-on scope generally costs even more, standalone scopes aren’t as versatile as clip-ons. The CO-Mini offers flexibility by converting your already proven daytime setup into a night vision system.
3. Pulsar Digisight Ultra N450 LRF - Best with Rangefinder
If you’re paying max dollar for a digital scope, it better have everything. No stadiametric rangefinder allowed at this price point. Lucky for you, Pulsar doesn’t disappoint.
- Standalone scope
- Laser rangefinder
The Digisight Ultra LRF scope is one of the most expensive digital scopes there is, but it’s one of the best night vision scopes in the digital sector. So, if you’re going to pay this much for a digital, it better have a built-in laser rangefinder. It does.
It has a 1000 m max range, scan mode, angle compensation – you name it. It’s a real laser rangefinder, so you’re essentially combining your LRF with your rifle scope. But the digital perks don’t end there.
The Digisight Ultra LRF delivers their ever-favorite PiP mode. You also have scalable reticles, multiple reticle patterns and colors, WiFi, simultaneous record and live streaming, and more. It’s feature-packed to the max.
But apart from its digital performance, how does it hold up as a rifle scope? Well, it wouldn’t cost this much if it couldn’t perform in that arena too. The Digisight Ultra N450 LRF is recoil-proof to high calibers – it can handle tough kicks. As a night vision scope, it has a 550 m detection range.
Pulsar is a brand known for quality. While more expensive than most, you at least know where the money is going – into the scope.
4. ATN X-Sight LTV 3-9X - Best Value
Out of all the X-Sight series ever released by ATN, the LTV series is our favorite model out of the lot over the years. It’s HD, ultra-lightweight, has long-lasting battery life, and is a no-frills scope that holds its zero. Enough said, right? Now, where’s the buy button?
- Standalone scope
- New look
- Ultra-low power consumption
- Not “smart”
The only people who will be disappointed by its inability to connect the LTV with other ATN smart devices are ATN buyers with ATN smart gear. This is not your feature-packed X-Sight, and it’s intentionally designed to be scaled-down. We heart this bold move.
What else is new about this X-Sight, other than the Obsidian LT Core and QHD+ sensor (awesome!), is obviously its new body. Not only is it slimmer and you can see why standard 30 mm rings work for mounting, it’s super lightweight at 1.6 lbs!
While some may hold the X-Sight LTV’s simplicity against ATN, this series is designed to be the extreme opposite of the X-Sight 4K in terms of digital features. It’s meant to be simple, easy, and fast to use. The only real digital feature about it is its video recording.
With 10+ hours of operation, an internal rechargeable battery, and performance where it matters most – night vision and accuracy, the X-Sight LTV is a winner every time for everything hunting.
5. ATN X-Sight 4K Pro 5-20X - Best Digital
This X-Sight series is hardcore. Everything you could want in a digital scope plus some is offered through the 4K Pro 5-20x. Extreme magnification, extreme digital performance, and extreme battery life is what you can expect. What about an extreme cost? N/A.
- Standalone scope
- Tech gadget
With a digital scope of this caliber, it’s not just a rifle scope, it’s a technological gadget too. Some will dismiss it simply because they consider the additional features as non-essential that give rise to software/firmware issues. Others will love the capabilities of this scope which can translate to possibilities in the field. What possibilities?
Think Radar technology. With the app and other ATN smart devices, you can tag an animal and the entire hunting party can track it and home in.
Think WiFi for Dual Stream Video. Show YouTube viewers that you’re a master hunter. With a digital stadiametric rangefinder, Day & Night modes, Ultra HD quality, and recoil-resistance for high calibers, you won’t miss.
Since it it’s a dual-purpose scope, you must demand long-lasting battery life for both day and night hunting. ATN thought of that. The internal, rechargeable battery lasts 18+ on a full charge. Who says the hunt need stop just because it’s last legal light? Coyote hunting anyone?
6. Armasight Vulcan 4.5x – Best Gen 3
Overall, the Vulcan 4.5x is a high-end standalone night vision scope. It’s not a clip-on and it doesn’t require another aiming device to function suitably for professional engagements and for coyote and hog hunters. Though expensive as it is, performance of the Vulcan 4.5x meets expectations.
- Gen 3
- Manual gain
- 4.5x magnification
- Long-range detection
- Dual power option
It should come as no surprise that the Vulcan is a pricey night vision scope. It has a Gen 3 64-72 lp/mm tube with manual gain and automatic brightness. In order to bring maximum performance in the darkest nights, it has a huge 108mm lens that explains its 11.7 x 3.8 x 2.8” size and 2.4 lb weight.
As a true riflescope, it features an illuminated crosshair reticle. Though not a digital NVD where an adjustable brightness reticle is the norm, you can do that on the Vulcan. It’s a red reticle on a green screen or white phosphor screen – whichever tube you choose. You can also zero your scope with a total of 45 MOA in elevation and windage travel with ½ MOA turret adjustments.
Though its 1.77” of eye relief is short, it’s still better than the 0.9” (25mm) of other makeshift alternatives on a rail, i.e., monoculars paired with sights or scopes. Even so, it’s likely best with a semi-auto with little kick. You’ll need to be the judge of that for your coyote or hog hunt.
As is expected of a NVD, it has Bright Light Cut-Off, and it comes with a wireless remote. It’s also shock, water, and fogproof. Like Armasight’s CO-Mini, it has the dual battery option of using a CR123A or AA battery for the power source.
For the price and the capabilities, you should register it with Armasight within 60 days to acquire the Extended 3-year Limited Warranty. Seeing that you plan on keeping it for a long time to come, it’s best to not let it default to the Standard 1-year Limited Warranty. The Vulcan 4.5x is an investment into the most productive hog hunts you will see yet.
What to Look for in a Night Vision Scope for Hog Hunting
The most asked-about attributes of a hunting night vision scope are cost, magnification, recoil, features, and if night vision or thermal is better. We address all of it right here.
Like daytime scopes, the prices vary due to scope type, quality, and additional features. If you know what type of scope you want to own, you can set a budget and save for it. If you have a budget in mind but have no idea what you can afford, it may help to have a general guideline of night vision scope costs.
- Filmed/Unfilmed (Unofficial Gen 4 ): $ 4000+
- Gen 3: $3500+
- Gen 2: $1500+
- Gen 1: $1000+
- Digital: $500+
These are approximate prices based on the lowest prices found online to date. It may be worth doing some research on night vision generations to understand why price points are significantly different.
How much recoil can a night vision scope handle?
This is a common question for anyone buying a night vision scope or clip-on, and it’s a legitimate one. There is no universal standard for recoil resistance within night vision scopes. While it seems strange, some scopes are only good enough for rimfire calibers. It also doesn’t help that most manufacturers don’t post recoil resistance information, and if they do, it’s in measurements that the lay person can’t understand.
To provide some insight, clip-on scopes can usually only handle up to 3500 joules of maximum energy. This equates to an approximate 15-18 lbs of free recoil energy. To put that into perspective, the highest compatible caliber would be the .308 Winchester that is a great and popular hunting cartridge for hogs. Some standalone scopes are also only rated to .308 Win.
Often, the highest recoil that the toughest digital or IIT scopes can handle is 6000 joules (approx.). This equates to about 37 lbs of free recoil energy that includes calibers such as 375 H&H, 9.3x64, 450 Marlin, etc. For smooth bore shotguns, these scopes can handle 12 gauge with 2.75” long 1 ¼ oz loads.
What are the most popular hunting calibers for hogs?
- .308 Win – pair with scope rated for 3500 j
- .270 Win – pair with scope rated for 3500 j
- .30-06 Spfd – pair with scope rated for 6000 j
- .300 BLK (within 100 yards) – pair with scope rated for 3500 j or 8 ft. lb
- .223 (with excellent shot placement) – pair with scope rated for 3500 j or 8 ft. lb
These are the most common recoil resistant terms you’ll see when researching night vision scopes. The 8 ft. lb is a free recoil energy measurement.
Magnification for Hog Hunting
Shooting at night is harder and couldn’t be more different to shooting in the bright light of day. Using magnification or digital zoom will be different too. You have both fixed and variable magnification night vision scopes. You will want at least 3x magnification for detection beyond 100 yards.
But is there a point in having night vision if you can’t see hogs with low magnification? Yes – stay quiet and scoot closer to where pig activity is so that you can get a clear picture. Don’t be lazy now as it will take some effort on your part. Night vision doesn’t solve every problem for you.
The higher you crank the power, less light travels through the scope dimming the view and clarity. In a digital scope, the image quality may start to pixelate and degrade which destroys clarity and resolution. So, there’s a balance between magnification and effective range, and this revolves around many scope factors including the IIT and aperture or sensor and display quality.
It’s always best to sacrifice power and move on closer for better performance than it is to go with high power and experience poor night vision performance.
Digital scopes are all the rage for all the digital perks they offer. Perhaps the only real advantage they provide is their dual-purpose use – safe operation in daylight. But then again, hogs are mostly taken at night…
However, there are multiple features offered with digital scopes that gain a lot of attention. While some manufacturers are providing digital scopes with the attitude of “less is more,” there will always be plenty of options with all the digital works.
Digital scopes can have all or some of the following features:
- Digital zeroing program
- Multiple reticle patterns and colors
- Multiple color display modes
- User adjustable settings
- Stadiametric or built-in laser rangefinder
- Video recording and photo
- Simultaneous recording and live streaming
- WiFi/Bluetooth connectivity
- Smart connectivity to other devices
Whether you deem the additional features essential or non-essential is subjective. Some hunters need and want them, and others don’t have time to use them in the field. To each their own.
Night Vision VS Thermal for Hog Hunting
While having both is extremely satisfying and awesome, it’s a luxury. Hog hunting with thermal provides two advantages: long-range detection and it can see through fog and brush. However, determining detail is more difficult. Thermal is also much more expensive than night vision.
While night vision can’t see animals unless they’re within detection range, sometimes only within range of an IR beam, it can make out details that thermal imaging lacks. Night vision is also cheaper than thermal.
However, both can cost upwards of thousands of dollars, so it’s a matter of preference and how much you’re willing to spend. To compare the two technologies side by side, check out our night VS thermal imaging comparison.
Hogs have poor vision in general, and at night, their vision is, again, poor. This means they overcompensate with excellent hearing and sense of smell. You can get extremely close to hogs without them knowing. If you’re worried about them seeing you before you can get close, limit surrounding lights as they get skittish around passing shadows. Move slowly and quietly, and of course, get night vision.
No. Hogs cannot see infra-red light. They cannot see IR beams from your illuminator as a human cannot see it. If there are any visible LED lights on your scope, keep it out of sight. Since you can see it, they sure can too.
During the Summer months, feral hogs tend to be nocturnal creatures. During the Winter months, you may find them especially active during the middle of the day as you do at night. This is not unlike coyotes and other prey as they break from the norm to scrounge for food and survival.
But it’s fact that hogs are most active after last light and before first light – late nights and early mornings.
Snorting at the Bit to Hunt Oinkers?
If you intend to do any hog hunting, you must have night vision. Nighttime predators, invasive species, and varmints will hear you long before you can catch a glimpse, and they will be another elusive catch to you.
You can stay ignorant and think they’re hard to hunt, but the problem may be your lack of night vision. With a good scope on your rifle, you can detect them, get closer to see swirly tails wagging, and make for a productive night. If you’re snorting at the bit to hunt hogs, night vision is a must.