Let’s get right to the point.
There are two reasons you’re here…
You’re on a budget or you’re looking for a digital scope.
Night vision is not cheap, but it’s a whole lot cheaper than thermal.
If you already have a thermal optic for nighttime spotting, and you are now looking for a budget night vision scope for identification, you’re in the right place.
Let’s scope out the market’s current offerings and specific tips to choosing a night vision scope under $1000 bucks.
Best Night Vision Scope Under $1000
|Bering Optics Trifecta Core+||CHECK PRICE|
|Pulsar Digisight Ultra N455||CHECK PRICE|
|Sightmark Wraith 4K Max 3-24X50||CHECK PRICE|
|Yukon Sightline N470S||CHECK PRICE|
|ATN X-Sight LTV 5-15X||CHECK PRICE|
|Luna Optics 6-36X50 G3 RS50||CHECK PRICE|
|Pard NV008 Plus 6.5-13X||CHECK PRICE|
|SiOnyx Aurora Black Monocular w/Mount||CHECK PRICE|
NVDs were saved for military and law enforcement operations and maybe for a SHTF prepper with deep pockets. However, as NV technology has improved, they are becoming less ubiquitous as they become more affordable.
The tech is now so affordable that you can buy night vision for under a grand. Most of the night vision options in this price range will be digital. Digital scopes have their advantages that includes day and night use, digital reticles, One Shot Zero, and more digital features.
There are some Gen 1 tubes in this price range, but they must be weighed against quality digital options as digital may prove to provide better imaging quality.
To see what the best options are in this price range, let’s shoot straight into it.
Best Night Vision Scope Under $1000 Reviews
1. Bering Optics Trifecta Core+
If you’re an optics snob, you may think that IITs are the only real night vision scopes worth buying. Fortunately for you, your snobbery can be indulged even if you’re on a budget since this scope is under $1000 bucks.
- High resolution
- Fixed magnification
The Trifecta Core+ is deceivingly heavy for its compact build with its 9” length. It weighs 2.6 lbs, so it’s one of the heftier ones compared to new scopes in the market.
Evident by its model name, it’s an IIT scope with Core+ technology that puts it within the Gen 1 classification as it likely lacks a micro channel plate. However, it has extremely impressive resolution of 50-60 lp/mm! This is thanks to the Core tech that also reduces many of the visual issues of Gen 1 scopes.
The Bering Optics scope is tough too. It can handle recoil from a good portion of high caliber rifles. If you’re hunting, mount it to an AR-15 223, 270, or 308. If you’re on patrol, it’s a non-issue to mount it to a 300 Blackout for close-range identification and take-down.
Since it provides effective detection ranges up to 300 yards, it’s perfectly designed for varmint control, surveillance, and predator hunting.
2. Pulsar Digisight Ultra N455
If you’re after a feature-packed digital scope, there are few brands that can compete with Pulsar for this very attribute.
- HD sensor
- 50 zeros
- Fully waterproof
- Button interface
Right off the bat, the 50 zeros is a little overkill especially when its detection range is only to 500 m and you have a black/white display for daytime shooting too. But it’s still cool to have especially if you want digital with all the perks.
To have a button interface has always been the standard for NVDs. The Digisight Ultra has it too, but since the Digex N455 has dial control with a turret-like system, it does make buttons look a little old-school beyond the fact they not the most convenient option to use in the dark.
But enough of that. The Digisight still has plenty to brag about from its WiFi and Stream Vision app compatibility, five user profiles, high-resolution HD sensor, rugged build, One Shot Zero & Freeze, and more.
It’s rated for use with high caliber weapons, so be it hog hunting, stake-outs, or fox hunting, this scope doesn’t care what you’re mounting it to and what for.
3. Sightmark Wraith 4K Max 3-24X50
The Wraith 4K Max is new, hot, and as digital as it gets. Giving digital alternatives a run for the money, the Wraith may be the preferred scope for your next nighttime adventure.
- 4K Hi-Res sensor
- Dial interface
- Day & Night modes
- Digital features
- Needs extended mount
The Wraith has an unusually high CMOS resolution sensor of 4000x3000 and high display resolution of 1280x720. Obviously, there’s only so much the eye will see once it hits the display and then the eyepiece. But still, exceptional resolution is promised.
It’s rated to provide detection out to 300 m so that automatically gives us some insight into more of the technical side of the specs and how it performs. With use of the IR, it boosts even more clarity and distance – but that’s true of all scopes.
We like that it has a dial control for navigating the digital interface, although it is rather small. It could be beefed up, but that may be a future design tweak.
As far as digital features, there’s not much you can do to tweak this thing as it has everything from recording, colored Day mode, adjustable display settings, One Shot Zero, and a stadiametric rangefinder.
You will need the rear extended mount to get it closer rearward for comfort among other things, and unfortunately, it’s not included in the package.
As a scope that has the makings to compete with the other digital bad boys, the Wraith certainly has a few, interesting perks of its own.
4. Yukon Sightline N470S
- High resolution
- Dial interface
- PiP mode
- 30 zeros
The Sightline N470S is a new kid on the block, and it’s sporting modern features that are comparable to newer alternatives. One such modern feature is the dial control. This is a one button/dial control interface, and it’s incredibly user-friendly and intuitive.
One thing that isn’t modern about it is its 2.5 lb weight. You need to give it some credit though because it’s super tough. Rated to 6000 joules, it’s recoil-proof for practically any weapon you want to go hunting with. The only thing stopping you from shooting down a coyote with night vision with a 375 H&H is probably the laws. So, its toughness allows you to forgive the extra poundage.
The imaging quality is excellent for digital scopes of this class with its 1280x720 sensor and good display. You also have high magnification, so the higher resolution is obviously needed, and the PiP mode is awesome. If you don’t know what it is, just know that once you’ve tried it, you can’t go without it again.
Fair warning to considering the Yukon Sightline – if you’re prepared to check it out, be prepared to buy it.
5. ATN X-Sight LTV 5-15X
The X-Sight LTV series of scopes may very well be setting the new industry standard for lightweight night vision scopes. Seriously, everything else seems heavy and bulky now.
- HD display
- Ultra-low power consumption
- New look
- Limited digital features
The X-Sight II of yesterday has been discontinued and to replace it is the X-Sight LTV. Both the 3-9x and 5-15x models are incredibly lightweight, have new cores and sensors, and a new body style.
The X-Sight’s Obsidian LT core and QHD+ M584 sensor brings color to life during Day mode and light to the eye in Night mode.
Its body style has moved away from the tank-like and bulky build of its predecessor and now sports a classic outfit that appears more natural on the rifle during daylight hours. It’s slim at 2.2” tall/wide and weighs a mere 1.7 lbs – told ya so!
Because ATN took the chance to redo the X-Sight, they also took the chance to provide a scaled-down scope that rids itself of the features shooters didn’t seem to care for. That would be the syncing with other ATN products, inbuilt rangefinder, and WiFi compatibility. It still retains video recording as a staple essential, so that may be about as techy as you get.
All in all, without the extra fuss, this ATN may very well holdup. It may be safe to say it won’t crash on you as much as their other products have proven to do.
6. Luna Optics 6-36X50 G3 RS50
Luna Optics provides affordable, entry-level products and one of their specialties is digital night vision. The G3-RS50 is their flagship model and offers some nice perks.
- Color sensor
- 3x display modes
- 2x integrated rails
- QD mount included
- Poor battery life
The G3 has a high-resolution sensor and HD display. This allows you to make the most of both your daytime and nighttime hunts and shooting. As a color sensor, it does provide excellent daytime visuals with good night vision quality.
One interesting perk is its multiple display modes. You have Color, Black/White, and Green. To make the most of trying to reach mid-range detection distances, you will need the IR, but then again, most budget NV scopes need a little help in that arena too.
The two integrated mini rails allow for versatile attachment of accessories. The tiny one on top is perfect for a mini red dot or laser and the side rail is great for an external IR illuminator. You may want to use an external light because the G3 is a battery hog only providing 3.5 hours of operation. Best advice? Keep spares on you.
The RS50 is compact at an 8” length but it weighs more than it looks at 2 lbs. Not bad but with the 50 mm lens, it could be better but that’s just being critical.
It comes with a quick detach mount for fast and convenient mounting and dismounting if need be. Even though it’s a standalone optic, it’s not rated for high-recoil rifles. It’s quite limited in what it should be mounted to. AR-15 223 and 22LR for examples – you’re golden. .270 or .308 – no go.
While other scopes are ditching video recording and the like, the G3 RS50 requires it as an essential feature. Included are the cables to hook it up to a TV if you really like to see your adventures on the big screen. Brag much? With the G3, you can brag as much as you want.
7. Pard NV008 Plus 6.5-13X
This is one compact, lightweight standalone NV scope. The firmware-updated model is new, but the previous version created quite the buzz with the masses. It only gets better, right? Check it out.
- Day & Night Mode
- Fully waterproof
The NV008 Plus was and is still known as the NV008 6.5-12x scope. With the upgrades, it now has 2x zoom that has changed its magnification specs – hence the new name.
The NV008 has a color sensor that provides both a color Day mode and black/white Night mode. It’s excellent for coyote hunting and other pests that may be skulking around the property. But this isn’t your long-range scope as it’s a close-range 200-yard max detection NVD.
The mount isn’t great out of the box because it requires shims to lift the rear-end to raise the reticle, acquire enough elevation, and get zeroed. Once it’s done, this thing will get you onto bull’s-eye with no issues. It’s been done over again and is worth taking the time to make this extra step.
It’s 6” long, weighs 1 lb (seriously!), and it’s not a clip-on – it’s a standalone rifle scope. It’s also IPX7 rated, so this thing is fully waterproof – not splashproof. For the price, the Pard NV008 is the best cheap digital scope for the money.
8. SiOnyx Aurora Black Monocular w/Mount
An imaging camera used as a rifle scope? It’s an odd contraption but it works. This is a tool you will never get rid of.
- Action camera
- For AR-15
- Day & Night Mode
- Clip-on design
- Imaging camera
The SiOnyx Aurora Black is the mid-range unit of its series. It’s essentially a digital night vision camera that functions best as a monocular within the sports optics realm. However, it’s been weapon-rated to 223 (5.56) calibers for mounting to an AR-15 for shooting and hunting in the day and dark.
The camera has both color and monochrome modes, and it actually functions rather well with only ambient light. As such, it does not come with an IR illuminator – built-in or otherwise. That will be up to you to buy separately.
Because it comes with a Picatinny mount, you can mount it to a rail. Whether it goes in front or rearside of your day scope or red dot, it works. The only thing about it is, you’ll be kissed by the scope if you’re mounting it to a kicker cartridge.
With plenty of digital features to explore, it’s worth its digital cost. Do you really need it? Well, think of use beyond the barrel – it’s not a tool that is destined to collecting dust. Helmet, handheld, boating, NV imaging – the Aurora Black wears many hats and can pull them off too.
What to Look for in a Night Vision Scope Under $1000
Stumped with what specific features you should look for in an affordable scope? Not sure what’s reasonable to demand what is out this price range? Clear the haze with this quick buying guide.
Digital VS IIT
Digital makes up the market of night vision scopes within this price range. They’re often feature-packed with multiple reticles types, stadiametric rangefinders, video recording, and more. However, more recent models are doing away with the extra digital features for a scaled-down product that appeals to no-nonsense shooters.
This includes the like the Yukon Sightline that does not include WiFi or recording. Other products like that offered by Pulsar are usually packed to the max with digital features.
IIT scopes are naturally more expensive than digital scopes. For under 1K, you will not find any IIT scopes save for limited entry-level Gen 1 scopes and possibly Core technology scopes. Gen 2 and higher – it’s out of your price range.
For the price, you can expect night vision performance anywhere from 50 yards to 500 yards. That’s a wide difference between models and manufacturers which is why you must do your research and keep in mind that most specs include use of an IR.
However, detection is different to identification. You may be able to spot a moving target at 400 yards but cannot identify it at the same distance.
Being able to tell the difference between a human and an animal or deer from a hog is essential and necessary for safety and legalities. Effective detection ranges depends on a lot of things, but at this price point, expect usable night vision distances up to 150-200 yards.
For Gen 1 scopes, resolution is pretty low and bottoms out at around 25 lp/mm. This often causes the fish-eye lens effect, edge distortion, a lower signal-to-noise ratio, and overall image degradation. Look for a Gen 1 scope that has higher resolution with a large aperture.
For new digitals, 1280x720 resolution sensors are quickly becoming the standard. In this price range, you will find multiple models with similar resolution and CMOS sensors.
Size & Weight
Night vision scopes are typically large, bulky, and heavy. Fortunately, as the tech improves so does its physical dimensions. Size and weight is not determined by price point, but this is still relevant information to know as it will determine if it’s right for your weapon system.
There are lightweight models as featherlight as 1 lb but 2 lbs is also considered lightweight. Heavier models will generally have larger objective lenses like that of 70 mm to 100 mm and will likely weigh over 2 lbs.
Size tends to be similar across the board with scopes measuring in around 9-13” and averages 3” in both height and width. The most compact models will be 6-9” long and 2” tall and wide.
What should you expect to get with a scope that costs almost a $1000? At this price point, you can expect to see a carry case with the scope. It may be an on-rifle scope cover or a soft carry case. Hard carry cases are rarely seen at this price point and are saved for the more expensive, high-end night vision scopes.
You will also receive a mount, but whether it’s a quick release/detach mount or rail is usually a manufacturer preference.
Almost always, an IR illuminator is included by either being built into the scope or provided as an external device with hardware or mounts for attachment. An 850 nm IR illuminator is typically the standard type.
Usually, the first battery supply is on the manufacturer, and if necessary, the charging hardware will be included.
Other small accessories may be thrown in like a micro SD card, lens cloth, objective lens cap, rain guard, and light suppressors.
Warranty information and a user manual is always provided. If they are lacking, it may be expected to retrieve this information online on the manufacturer website.
The best night vision brands all offer scopes under $1000. This includes ATN, Pulsar, Sightmark, Yukon, Luna Optics, Bering Optics, N-Vision Optics, and Pard.
They have comparable warranties that are non-transferable, limited to 1-3 years, and supplied batteries may only be covered for 1-year. Some may require product registration within a specific time window, so be sure to follow through with that after purchase and with proof of purchase.
You can acquire identification ranges from 80-150 yards with a night vision scope. While there are many things that determine detection and identification distances, use of an IR illuminator will extend these ranges.
Some of the best long-range scopes provide detection past 400 yards and incorporate high-quality IITs, large objective lenses, and high-resolution sensors.
The best night vision scope for the money is the one that performs. Regardless of how much you spend, if you utilize all its features, acquire repeatable accuracy, and can see in the dark to the distances reasonable of what the scope can provide – it’s a good scope for the money.
But you must also consider what you’re using it for or what you’re looking for in an NVD if your budget doesn’t stretch past $1000. If you want the lightest weight, the Pard NV008 does it. If you want no-nonsense simplicity, it’s the Yukon Sightline N450S. If you want feature-packed for a decent price, it’s the Sightmark Wraith 4K Max.
Biased for Digital NV? It’s What $1000 Buys You
After some time spent perusing the best night vision scopes available, you’ll find vast differences between cost, quality, and type.
If you can set your budget and it falls within the $500-$1000 price range, the market naturally narrows it down to digitals and Gen 1 scopes. That is the long and short of it.
Save some money, choose the best for your needs, and get hunting the best way – in the dark!