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From PVS-14s to clip-ons and standalone night vision scopes, there's a lot of variety between night vision types, cost, and quality.
To help make the most of what is likely a one-time buy, I selected and compared the best night vision rifle scopes from high-end to bottom dollar that are worth considering.
I also tell you how to identify the best from the posers in my buyer's guide by pointing out things to look for to stay informed.
Best Night Vision Scopes
Auto gated/manual gain
Night Owl Optics NightShot
Built-in IR illuminator
Simple and lightweight
ATN X-Sight 4K Pro 5-25x
Digital with HD sensor
Day/night color modes
Ultra-long battery life
Since there is no one scope that does it all for every application, I must disclose how I chose the best night vision riflescopes.
Some scopes listed are good for recreational applications like airsoft, target shooting, and some pest control. Most scopes listed are excellent for hog, coyote, and varmint hunting to ensure those critters don't get the best of your crops or your wits. However, only a handful of these options are well-suited for defense applications such as law enforcement, home defense, security, etc.
To help you make the most informed decision, I've hand-picked the best of the best scopes currently available considering digital, Gen 1, Gen 2, and Gen 3 technologies. I also set a criteria to include weapon-mountable monoculars, clip-ons, and standalone scopes.
While I do list some budget and affordable night vision scopes, you will see that I also provide very expensive options. I can't deny the good stuff to those who have a taste for it - and who can afford it.
Without further ado, let's shine the light on the right NVD for you.
|ATN X-Sight 4K Pro||CHECK PRICE|
|Sightmark Wraith HD||CHECK PRICE|
|Night Owl NightShot||CHECK PRICE|
|NightStar 2x50||CHECK PRICE|
|Meopta MeoNight 1.1||CHECK PRICE|
|EOTech ClipNV||CHECK PRICE|
|AGM Wolverine Pro-6||CHECK PRICE|
|AGM Wolverine 4 NL3||CHECK PRICE|
|Armasight PVS14||CHECK PRICE|
|Armasight Co-Mini||CHECK PRICE|
|Armasight Vulcan||CHECK PRICE|
|Armasight CO-LR||CHECK PRICE|
Night Vision Scope Reviews
1. ATN X-Sight 4K Pro 5-25x - Best Digital Night Vision Scope
I don’t know if you remember the X-Sight II back in the day, but I do and the X-Sight 4K Pro digital scopes came out to replace them. I think they’re awesome and they definitely bring smart features to the field for everything hog and coyote hunting.
- HD Sensor
- High magnification
- Day & Night color modes
- Ultra-long battery life
- Tech issues
ATN does have firmware updates, so make sure to keep up on those to fix bugs and all the nasties – it is tech at the end of the day. The other thing I’d mention is the learning curve. There’s a lot of features to play with, and it’s probably best to get that part out of the way when you’re not about to face off with hogs.
The high 5x zoom promises a lot, but even with the high-resolution sensor, I’d still stay away from maxing it out since it can get grainy. As a standalone scope, it’s complete with an adjustable mil-dot reticle. I really like that it scalable, so you don’t have to worry about being at a certain power to holdover – if it really comes to that, I’d hope you confirmed drop beforehand.
Since it’s smart, there’s always more to play with. Yes, it can record and stream live, range with the integrated (pre-calibrated for height) rangefinder, and get holdover solutions from the ballistic calculator.
I reckon it’s best feature is its ultra-long battery life of 18 hours. ATN says it can run longer than that but if you’re using the works on this thing, you’ll drain some of that battery life faster than you may expect. For a digital NV scope, it’s long-lasting, has a fantastic sensor for its price point, and is the best digital scope ATN has made yet.
2. Sightmark Wraith HD 4-32x50 – Best for Varmint Hunting
In all transparency, the Wraith HD is the older model to the Wraith 4K Max. But to save a few bucks to stay under $500, the Wraith HD fits the bill. It’s digital, affordable, and has 8x zoom. It sounds pretty good to me.
- Standalone scope
- 3x color modes
- Selectable reticles
- Battery life
There’s no other way to say it than to just be out with it – the battery life stinks... of the IR illuminator. Ha! I probably got you there. If you’re using all settings on high illumination, that battery is dead in two hours. As far as the Wraith device goes, it has about 5-8 hours of runtime.
Since it’s a standalone scope, it has three color modes, 10 reticles, nine reticle colors, and you can zero with digital adjustments. Even though it’s smart, the Wraith HD keeps things simple. It doesn’t have audio recording, but it can video record and capture images.
I like that the Sightmark Wraith HD has good digital features, but it doesn’t go overboard. I’d say it’s good for airsoft and really good for varmint hunting, and why not try it on a bolt action? That sounds like a fun night to me.
Just remember that the 3-year warranty doesn’t cover paintball paint that gets into scope or tacti-cool aftermarket modifications you make to it. The Wraith is a solid unit for maybe 500 yards at max with IR illumination, and that’s a long ways to go to take down coons or enemy airsofters.
3. Night Owl Optics NightShot - Best for Airsoft
For the money, you cannot beat the Night Owl NightShot digital riflescope. It’s an all-in-one, ready-to-go, cheap scope with night vision that works – well, digital night vision that works.
- Standalone scope
- Built-in IR illuminator
- Battery life
With 640x480 display resolution, it’s not going to compete against more expensive digital units, but for under $400, you get what you get. It’s actually not that bad when used correctly. You will more than likely need the IR illumination every night, which of course makes you visible to other airsofters, but you’ll be able to squeeze out every bit of clear yardage you can get with it – about 100 yards and maybe 200.
I like that it’s not as heavy as other standalone scopes at only 20.8 oz. This weight includes the built-in IR, but I doubt it includes the weight with batteries inserted. Speaking of batteries, it requires 4x AA. That’s a lot for only 3 hours of use. I say 3 hours because you’ll be using the IR consistently and that will drain it quickly. By the way, batteries are not included.
The NightShot has 3 reticles (crosshair, dot, hash mark BDC) in which each can be changed between black or white colors. Adjustments are made in 0.5 MOA values. It does not capture photos or video record. Though it seems lacking for a digital scope, it’s why it’s about as cheap as you can get for night vision.
However, I really like its simplicity. The less there is to mess with, the less chance of screwing up in the field. It’s as simple as turning it on and getting night vision.
4. NightStar 2x50 – Best Gen 1 Night Vision Scope
Gen 2 technology is becoming more affordable which in turn is driving Gen 1 tubes to become obsolete. However, for those on a budget and looking for an introductory scope to night vision, NightStar has the 2x50 Gen 1 rifle scope that fits the bill.
- Gen 1
- Weapon mountable
- 15-degree FOV
- 45mm eye relief
- 35 lp/mm resolution
- No battery information
As a gen 1 optic usually rated for 1000 hours of battery life, it’s unlikely the NightStar Tactical scope can provide that. Battery life will be in the 50-hour range if it can provide that at all. It will help to know that it takes a CR123 battery.
While Gen 1 IITs are generally considered low performing ‘toys’ compared to Gen 2 IITs, it’s a fact that Gen 1 is more affordable, and it works. Realistically, its capacity for effective use is short range, inside 100 yards even with an illuminator.
There are inherent downsides to Gen 1, but you can’t have it all for real night vision under $500. With only 35 lp/mm resolution, it’s in the upper end of Gen 1 performance and works best with moonlight.
It comes with a Weaver rail mounting system, so it’s ready for weapon-mounting right away. It has a red, illuminated reticle with duplex style crosshairs that can be adjusted for brightness with the 4-button interface.
Despite its ‘tactical’ appearance and description as a tactical scope, it’s not suited to tactical applications. It’s recreational specific for rimfire and AR-15 rifles for critter hunting, target shooting, and plinking.
Overall, the NightStar Tactical night vision scope is not the best NV scope in the market but given its low price point due to its Gen 1 tube, it’s certainly one of the top Gen 1 scopes still available.
5. Meopta MeoNight 1.1 – Best Gen 2 Night Vision Scope
Meopta has a reputation for high-quality day scopes, so it goes without saying that the MeoNight 1.1 has a lot to live up to. Its price point is indicative of its upper Gen 2 tube and green phosphor display. But the real ticker is the warranty. In the NV world, 10 years can’t be beat.
- Gen 2+ Photonis XX1441 tube
- 1x50mm configuration
- Clip-on scope
- Auto shut-off
- Manual gain
- Cabled remote
The MeoNight is powered by a user supplied CR123A battery which lasts for approximately 50 hours. It has a very nice Gen 2+ Photonis green phosphor IIT with manual gain. It works with day scopes up to around 15x magnification before you will start seeing image degradation.
Its best performance at 1x will allow for seeing out to 600-800 yards. With magnification, fox and critter shots can be taken out to 250 yards, but with experimentation, you’ll come to see what the MeoNight is capable of and where its limitations are.
As a clip-on, it can be quick mounted to a Picatinny rail for independent mounting or fixed to the objective bell of a day scope via the included mounting bell adapters of various sizes. The MeoNight 1.1 is 8.2 x 3.3 x 2.5” in size and weighs 25 oz. We’d go so far as to say that it’s compact for a clip-on given its long-range performance.
It offers 55-67 lp/mm resolution, a SNR of >18, 12-degree FOV (minimum), low battery indicator, and auto shut-off after an hour. The included cabled remote activates the MeoNight for instantly ready use but it’s a shame that it’s not wireless. Meopta didn’t neglect glass or build quality as it features MeoBright, MeoDrop, it’s shock/recoil-rated for 3500 joules, and is both fogproof and water-resistant.
The MeoNight 1.1 is covered for 10 years under Meopta’s Extended warranty if you register it within 30 days. No registration and it defaults to a 2-year warranty. The electronic components are only covered for two years. You must have proof of purchase or else the warranty does not apply. With 10 years of protected coverage, we dare other manufacturers to compete with this. Meopta certainly has an edge here.
6. EOTech ClipNV - Best for Law Enforcement
EOTech doesn’t have a standalone rifle scope with night vision – yet. But for now, the ClipNV will do as a solution to converting a daytime sight into a night vision one. Costing twice the price of the MonoNV, what’s the difference?
- White phosphor
- Auto gated/manual gain
- Quick detach mount
- Double the price of the MonoNV
At half the cost and more than half the weight, the MonoNV is tempting since it’s helmet/head mountable with a Wilcox G24 quick-release dovetail mount. Although EOTech clearly states that it’s weapon mountable too, I disagree. Currently, there is no mount separately available that allows the MonoNV to be weapon mounted and maintain repeatability. I think it’s mainly intended for helmet mounting.
The ClipNV comes with a mount that obviously passes their recoil tests, it’s a significant cost jump for the clip-on benefits. Truly collimated clip-ons are expensive to manufacture and are usually just as or more expensive than their standalone counterparts.
The ClipNV is collimated to work with 1-12x magnification day sights to provide night vision. This primarily means that you won’t need to re-zero your entire setup when attaching the EOTech to the front of the rail – in front of your day sight. The mount and the collimation make for repeatable results on any AR with any day sight with less than 1 MOA zero shift.
Since EOTech is no longer a sub of L3Harris, the new tubes are coming from ESA – Elbit Systems of America. In the CilpNV, you’re getting an auto-gated Gen 3 White Phosphor IIT with manual gain and with a minimum FOM of 2376.
I really like that the EOTech ClipNV, alongside their entire NV and thermal lines, is covered by a 10-year warranty for defects under normal usage. It does start from date of purchase, so make sure to keep your receipt, and I’d recommend registering it with EOTech.
7. AGM Wolverine Pro-6 - Best White Phosphor
Is bigger always better? In this case, it is. The Wolverine Pro-6 is just as high-performing as it is big, and the Pro-6 is big.
- Gen 3
- Standalone scope
- Projected reticle
The Wolverine Pro-6 is a long-ranging workhorse, and it should be. It has a huge objective lens, 6x magnification, and tube quality that makes it one of the best scopes on AGM’s shelves. But I think it's major drawback is that it weighs over 3 lbs.
I'd recommend that if you're going this high end, the white phosphor screen is the route to go. It provides the black/white imagery that many have come to prefer over the time-honored green glow. If you prefer green night vision, the Pro-6 3AL1 model has the green phosphor screen.
The Pro-6 has a Gen 3 gated IIT and is guaranteed to be free of blemishes in zone 1. While AGM doesn’t provide tube specs, it’s reasonable to suspect that SNR and FOM specs are up there with the best.
I like the MOA adjustments, adjustable brightness, and projected chevron reticle. While there is only one chevron, it features windage and elevation hashmarks.
If you’re a coyote caller or prone-shooting and steel-hitting sniper, then this could be the high magnification night vision scope you need. Got sticks?
8. AGM Wolverine 4 NL3 – Best for Hog Hunting
If you doubt that you can ever afford night vision, get out from under your rock. AGM delivers affordable and competitive night vision quality for hunters from hunters. With 4x magnification, a Gen 2 IIT, and an integrated reticle, it's a combo made for hogs.
- Gen 2+
- Standalone scope
- Auto Brightness
- Dual-lever QRM
The Wovlerine-4 NL3 is an upper-end Gen 2 scope with awesome performance for the money. Gen 2+ just doesn’t get as affordable as this, and yet, here the Wolverine stands – at what used to be Gen 1 price points.
It has fixed 4x magnification, 45-51 lp/mm resolution, green phosphor, and approximately 50 hours of battery runtime. Keep in mind that eye relief is pretty tight at only 45 mm. No one likes scope bite, right?
I'd recommend the Wolverine scope for hog and coyote hunting, target shooting, and home defense. Adjustments are in MOA and you have an illuminated center cross mil-dot reticle. Some may not like the MOA/MIL combo, but it’s not like you’ll be messing with adjustments inside 300 yards in the dark.
But to have Gen 2+ at this price point, I think it’s a deal worthy of recognition and you can get over your MOA/MIL fears. If you want value, get on board.
9. Armasight PVS-14 – Best PVS-14
With Ecentria powering Armasight, the all-time popular brand is back in business with the favorite PVS-14. The helmet and weapon-mounted monocular is available in either Ghost White Phosphor or Green Phosphor. The pick is yours, but if budget is the deciding factor, Green Phosphor it is!
- Gen 3 tube
- Manual gain
- Built-in adjustable IR
- 1x27 configuration
- 50-hour battery runtime
- Not a dedicated weapon scope
The nature of the PVS-14 is versatile, but it’s still a monocular/goggle optic that’s usually head mounted and basic head mounting accessories are included in the box.
However, for those who go the extra effort of buying the right rail mount, the Armasight PVS-14 can be weapon mounted. Since it lacks a reticle, I recommend the best pairing is with a red dot sight with night vision compatible illumination.
With 1x magnification, 64-72 lp/mm resolution, and manual gain to adjust brightness to user preferences, the night is yours and is optimal for seamless navigation when you’re on the move. It has a diopter adjustment of -6 to +2 (helpful for those with vision problems), 40-degree FOV, and a focusing range of .25m to infinity.
It comes with a built-in IR illuminator and the illuminator indicator will be displayed in the FOV. Even with the illuminator, the effective range for shooting will be within 100 yards. I really like the simplicity of having a AA battery power source. We all have them stashed in a junk drawer. It has a runtime of 50 hours.
I like that the PVS-14 is backed by Armasight’s Extended Limited Warranty which entails three years coverage with registration. If you fail to register it within 60 days, it’s an automatic default of the Standard Limited Warranty which is one year. It’s nice to see Armasight back in business and providing manufacturer competition, but ultimately, quality options for consumers.
10. Armasight Co-Mini Clip-On – Best Clip-on Scope for Home Defense
The Armasight Co-Mini is a clip-on night vision sight dedicated to turning ordinary rifle scopes into nighttime setups for taking out critters, coyotes, and intruders. Its small size is what calls out to buyers, so if you’re big on weight savings, the Co-Mini is an expensive but a worthwhile buy.
- Gen 3 tube
- Green or white phosphor
- Manual gain
- Battery options
- Wireless remote
- Low magnification performance
This model has the Bravo IIT that has a minimum FOM of 1400. If you opt for the slightly more expensive Co-Mini Pinnacle thin-filmed IIT, a FOM of 2000 is guaranteed.
Like every NV clip-on, the Co-Mini has a pet magnification it likes to work with. Its recommended use is with day scopes with 1-6x magnification. The consequence of going too high in power is a grainy image. What comes to mind is that it would be a perfect pairing for a LPVO for hunting or law enforcement use.
I really like that the Co-Mini is perfect for the flat-top AR as it has a quick release mount set at a height of 1.5" (approx.). It can also be mounted directly to the objective bell of a rifle scope with the help of special adapter rings that I don't believe are included in the box.
With 1x magnification, manual gain for manual control of the brightness, a detachable IR illuminator, and a 20 degree FOV, you have a lot to work with for shooting inside 150 yards and identifying within 250 yards.
With wireless battery control, I like that you can eliminate unnecessary movement to activate the Co-Mini. Anything that prevents you from giving your position away is a valuable feature. With either a CR123A or AA battery, you have 24 or 45 hours of runtime.
Its most attractive feature as a clip-on is that it’s small and unobtrusive. It’s 4.9 x 2.7 x 2.2” in size and weighs 1.06 lbs. Its low profile is ideal for pairing with a NV compatible red dot sight or in front of a day scope. Backed by Armasight’s Extended Limited Warranty, if you register it, the Co-Mini is protected for three years.
If you want to marry your favorite day scope with a night vision optic for nighttime shooting, the Co-Mini has a long reputation of doing it right.
11. Armasight Vulcan – Best for AR-15
The Vulcan is a standalone rifle scope from Armasight. This particular unit has fixed 4.5x magnification, a Gen 3 Bravo IIT, and a white phosphor screen. For the money, this is a lot to spend on an entry-level IIT for an AR-15, but it’s competitive and comparable to alternatives of the same caliber.
- Gen 3
- Standalone scope
- 4.5x magnification
- Auto & manual brightness
- Detachable LR IR illuminator
Gen 3 is going to be expensive technology whether it’s in a clip-on or a standalone scope. The Vulcan 4.5x comes with a Bravo Gen 3 IIT that is thin-filmed and comes with manual gain, although you do have the option to run in auto mode for dynamic lighting conditions. Either way, the tube will protect itself with bright-light cut-off.
I like that this is an all-in-one system, meaning it’s an actual standalone rifle scope. You don’t need to pair a daytime scope or a day sight to get night vision and an aiming point. The red reticle is a simple cross on the white phosphor display and is highly visible. You have 45 MOA in elevation and windage adjustments, so enough to get zeroed, set it, and forget it.
The Vulcan is everything else I expect it to be for the money: waterproof, high resolution, and it can take either a CR123A or a AA battery to power it for almost 50 hours.
Though it’s not the best night vision warranty I’ve seen in the industry, it does come with a 3-year warranty that’s worth something. You’d be surprised how many only come with 1- or 2-years’ worth. Just don’t forget to register your Vulcan.
12. Armasight CO-LR – Best Long-Range Clip-On Scope
In general, the CO-LR is different to the Co-Mini in size and therefore potential performance. While competitive in cost, the CO-LR with its 108mm objective lens, 11.7” length, and effective use with 3.5-12x power day scopes, the bigger night vision clip-on is made for long-range performance.
- Gen 3 tube
- Auto & manual gain
- Green or white phosphor
- Battery options
- Wireless remote
As a dedicated clip-on weapon sight, the CO-LR is just as big and heavy as a full-size day scope. You’ll need to have enough room on your rail to mount it and consider its 2.4lb weight. But the long-range performance and included detachable IR illuminator out to 1000 yards might just make it worth it.
It has a Gen 3 tube available in either Green or Ghost White Phosphor. As expected, the white phosphor will cost more. Both models have automatic and manual gain so that you have total control of brightness. To power the night vision, you can use either a CR123A or AA battery. The CR123A battery will provide 24 hours of runtime while the alkaline battery while power it for 40 hours.
A wireless remote is included for one-touch operation. When it shuts down while you’re waiting in stealth mode behind brush for coyotes that come in under cover, use the remote for fast activation without movement that could risk giving your position away. Having been factory bore-sighted, it’s supposed to be accurate to within 1 MOA. Mount it, focus your day scope, and get shooting.
Since Armasight was acquired by Ecentria, the manufacturer is back and offering their best-selling night vision scopes to the civilian market. Under new ownership, the CO-LR is covered under the Extended Limited Warranty. With registration, it’s covered for three years from date of purchase. Without registration that warranty automatically defaults to the Standard warranty which is one year.
So why choose the CO-LR over the CO-Mini? Long-range performance is why.
What to Look for in a Night Vision Scope
Overall, night vision is a world of its own terminology, technology, and specifications. I compare cost, mounting type, phosphor screens, resolution, size, battery life, and more NV scope features in this guide.
To get you up to speed, I'll share a few educational tips to help navigate your way through the dark!
Cost is now less of an identifying factor of scope type and generation as NV technology improves and new manufacturers deliver competitive alternatives to the market.
With that said, prices are really only a budgeting factor in helping you to narrow down the available options. You can spend as little as $500 on night vision for a digital scope, or you could spend upwards of $5,000 and land a high-end, mil-spec, Gen 3+ scope.
Set a budget, stick to it because you’ll always be tempted into spending a little bit more and then a little bit more for the next best thing. If you can swing that extra thousand or so, all the more power to you. If your budget remains small, some night vision is better than no night vision at all.
|ATN X-Sight 4K Pro||Under $800||Digital Smart technology, Day/Night modes, Ultra HD sensor, Smart rangefinder, Bluetooth, 18+hours runtime|
|Sightmark Wraith HD||Under $500||Digital technology, Day/Night modes, 8x digital zoom, Photo & video recording|
|Night Owl NightShot||Under $400||Digital technology, Built-in IR illuminator, 3x magnification, 100-yard detection, selectable reticles|
|NightStar 2x50||Under $500||Gen 1, Low price, Rail mount included, Adjustable reticle illumination, 100-yard detection|
|Meopta Meonight 1.1||Under $3500||Clip-on NV scope, 1x magnification, Manual gain, Cabled remote included|
|EOTech ClipNV||Under $10,000||Works with 1-12x magnification day sights, Auto-gated, Manual gain, Focus knobs, Quick detach Pic mount, Integrated pic rail for accessories|
|AGM Wolverine Pro-6||Under $5500||White phosphor, Adjustable projected reticle, 6x magnification, Waterproof|
|AGM Wolverine 4 NL3||Under $2500||4x magnification, Mil-dot reticle, Automatic brightness, Dual lever QD mount included|
|Armasight PVS-14||Under $4000||Military-grade PVS-14, Gen 3, Manual gain, Variable brightness, Waterproof, Weapon mountable|
|Armasight Co-Mini||Under $4500||Clip-on, Manual gain, Wireless remote, Battery options, Best with low magnification day sights|
|Armasight Vulcan||Under $5000||Fixed magnification, Manual gain, Wireless remote, QD mount included, White phosphor|
|Armasight CO-LR||Under $5000||Clip-on, Auto & manual gain, Wireless remote, For long range detection, Best with 3-12x magnification day sights|
Night Vision Type
In general, digital alternatives are more affordable than passive night vision scopes with an image intensifier tube. Standalone scopes tend to be lower priced than collimated clip-ons. Weapon-mounted monoculars are not the most practical way to get shooting in the dark, but they do have a place.
- Digital Scope – A digital standalone scope that incorporates a light-sensitive sensor, electronic image processing circuitry, and a display. Can be used both day and night.
- Clip-On Scope – Shorter and compact night vision device that must be used with a red dot sight, laser, or daytime scope as it has no internal adjustments or reticle. Mounts to rail in front of aiming device or can be mounted to the objective bell of a daytime scope that does not have an adjustable objective (AO).
- Standalone Scope – A dedicated scope that does not need to be used with any other aiming device as it has a reticle, adjustments, and can be zeroed. Can be a digital or passive night vision.
- Monocular – Weapon mountable monoculars, like that of the PVS-14, are especially efficient for goggle/head-mounted use. They can be weapon-mounted to light caliber small arm rifles behind a red dot sight or daytime optic but there are limitations.
|Product||Night Vision Device Type||Integrated Reticle|
|ATN X-Sight 4K Pro||Standalone rifle scope||Yes|
|Sightmark Wraith HD||Standalone rifle scope||Yes|
|Night Owl NightShot||Standalone rifle scope||Yes|
|NightStar 2x50||Standalone rifle scope||Yes|
|Meopta Meonight 1.1||Clip-on scope||No|
|EOTech ClipNV||Clip-on scope||No|
|AGM Wolverine Pro-6||Standalone rifle scope||Yes|
|AGM Wolverine 4 NL3||Standalone rifle scope||Yes|
|Armasight Co-Mini||Clip-on scope||No|
|Armasight Vulcan||Standalone rifle scope||Yes|
|Armasight CO-LR||Clip-on scope||No|
Night Vision Generation & Technology
In the past, saying that a scope is Gen 1, Gen 2, or Gen 3 used to be enough to help predict tube performance and price. Now, specs change significantly between generations as the technology improves, more tube manufacturers vie for contracts, and prices become competitive.
As an example of advancements in the NV field, unfilmed/filmless tubes, commonly known as Gen 4, is now capable of providing .50BMG recoil resistance. Not so fragile as once was thought, right? However, I have yet to come across a plethora of filmless tubes in a standalone scope platform.
|Product||Night Vision Technology||Display|
|ATN X-Sight 4K Pro||Digital||Color & Black/White|
|Sightmark Wraith HD||Digital||Color & Black/White|
|Night Owl NightShot||Digital||Black/white|
|NightStar 2x50||Gen 1||Green Phosphor|
|Meopta Meonight 1.1||Gen 2+||Green Phosphor|
|EOTech ClipNV||Gen 3||White Phosphor|
|AGM Wolverine Pro-6||Gen 3||White Phosphor|
|AGM Wolverine 4 NL3||Gen 2+||Green Phosphor|
|Armasight PVS-14||Gen 3||Green & White Phosphor|
|Armasight Co-Mini||Gen 3||Green & White Phosphor|
|Armasight Vulcan||Gen 3||White Phosphor|
|Armasight CO-LR||Gen 3||Green & White Phosphor|
Night Vision Scope Specifications
Far more important to the buyer are the tube specifications. This is the information that provides a general idea of expected performance from any given IIT. Many manufacturers don’t provide this information, so it may require a phone call prior to purchasing if you want more details.
The most asked-about tube specs are:
- Resolution: IIT resolution measurement expressed in line pairs per millimeter (lp/mm). The higher the number, the better the resolution. It’s important to note that resolution does not determine the generation of an IIT, but it can be an indicator.
- Signal-to-Noise Ratio (SNR): An excellent indicator of tube lowlight resolution performance. The higher the SNR, the better the tube performance in lowlight conditions to resolve targets with good contrast, detail, and clarity.
- Figure of Merit (FOM): Another indicator of tube performance. It’s calculated by multiplying lp/mm (resolution) by SNR. NVDs with FOM of 1400 and above are non-exportable.
- Photocathode (PC) Type: As the input surface of an IIT, it’s responsible for absorbing photons (light) and releasing electrons to form an image for the user. The material the photocathode is made from is a good indicator of night vision generation.
- Photocathode Sensitivity: This is a measurement of how well the photocathode does its job. Measured in microamperes per lumen (µA/lm), this figure is another indicator of tube performance. However, with filmed and thin-filmed tubes, electron loss occurs in the ion barrier tube. Raw PC sensitivity data typically does not reflect the electron loss rates. So, tubes with 1600 µA/lm may very well perform at half that rate.
|ATN X-Sight 4K Pro||3864x2218||N/A|
|Sightmark Wraith HD||1920x1080||N/A|
|Night Owl NightShot||640x480||N/A|
|NightStar 2x50||35 lp/mm||ND|
|Meopta Meonight 1.1||55-67 lp/mm||ND|
|AGM Wolverine Pro-6||64-72 lp/mm||ND|
|AGM Wolverine 4 NL3||45-51 lp/mm||ND|
|Armasight PVS-14||64-72 lp/mm||1400*|
|Armasight Co-Mini||64-72 lp/mm||1400*|
|Armasight Vulcan||64-72 lp mm||1400*|
|Armasight CO-LR||64-72 lp/mm||1400*|
ND: Not disclosed
*Bravo IITs offer 1400 FOM minimum
Though tube specs are hard to come by, there are other specs that are worth knowing and that are actually disclosed.
|Product||FOV (degrees)||Dimensions||Weight||Battery Type||Battery Life|
|ATN X-Sight 4K Pro||5||14.9 x 3 x 3”||35.2 oz||Internal Li-Ion||18+ hours|
|Sightmark Wraith HD||4||10.5 x 1.9 x 3”||36.3 oz||Internal Li-ion||8 hours|
|Night Owl NightShot||5.6||13.2 x 2.7 x 4”||20.8 oz||4x AA||3 hours|
|NightStar 2x50||15||7.2 x 3 x 2.5”||12 oz||1x CR123A||30 hours|
|Meopta Meonight 1.1||12||8.2 x 3.3 x 2.5”||25 oz||1x CR123||50 hours|
|EOTech ClipNV||13.7||7.1 x 3.5 x 3.2”||31.7 oz||1x AA||60+ hours|
|AGM Wolverine Pro-6||5.7||11.2 x 4.3 x 3.6”||52 oz||2x AA||40 hours|
|AGM Wolverine 4 NL3||9||12.1 x 3.7 x 3.8”||41.6 oz||1x AA||50 hours|
|Armasight PVS-14||40||4.5 x 2 x 2.25”||12.4 oz||1x AA||50 hours|
|Armasight Co-Mini||20||4.9 x 2.7 x 2.2”||16.7 oz||1x AA or 1x CR123A||24/45 hours|
|Armasight Vulcan||9||11.7 x 3.8 x 2.8”||38.4 oz||1x AA or 1x CR123A||24/45 hours|
|Armasight CO-LR||9||4.9 x 2.7 x 2.2”||38.4 oz||1x AA or 2x CR123A||24/45 hours|
Night vision mounting options will vary between the various types of night vision scopes. Most of the time, a mounting system is included and pre-installed to the night vision scope. However, clip-ons may require additional adapters and monoculars may only come with helmet mounting accessories.
- Clip-on scopes generally work best on extended rails and will likely come with a quick release mount. Adapters to mount to the objective bell of a daytime optic is usually only available as an optional and separate purchase.
- You must also consider the fact that clip-on scopes must be mounted so that the optical axes of the clip-on and aiming device are within 3mm of each other to ensure no shift in POI.
- Though mounting to a free-float handguard is generally avoided, it is customary for a clip-on scope to be mounted here. Other factors such as mount quality, handguard quality, collimated prisms, and unique shooting styles and positions can mitigate some of the effects of mounting optics to the hand guard.
- Standalone scopes may come with either a direct-to-rail Picatinny mount or a quick release mount. They will vary between manufacturers. One thing to scrutinize on cheaper digital scopes are available replacement or upgradeable mounts in case the one included in the box does not fit your needs or is too flimsy.
- Not all monoculars are weapon-mountable. If it is, they likely don’t come with the weapon mount included in the box. Must be purchased separately.
|Product||Mount Type Included||Mounting Accessories Included|
|ATN X-Sight 4K Pro||30mm rings w/pic rails||L-shape ring|
|Sightmark Wraith HD||Picatinny rail mount||N/A|
|Night Owl NightShot||Picatinny rail mount||N/A|
|NightStar 2x50||Weaver rail mount||N/A|
|Meopta Meonight 1.1||Picatinny rail mount||Mount base only, no ring adapters included|
|EOTech ClipNV||Quick detach Picatinny||Mount base only, no ring adapters|
|AGM Wolverine Pro-6||Double-lever quick release mount||N/A|
|AGM Wolverine 4 NL3||Double-lever quick release mount||N/A|
|Armasight PVS-14||No rail mount included||J-Arm adapter, Skullcrusher|
|Armasight Co-Mini||Quick detach Weaver||N/A|
|Armasight Vulcan||Quick detach Weaver||N/A|
|Armasight CO-LR||Quick detach Weaver||N/A|
Overall, warranties will vary significantly between manufacturers. Regardless, they will all be limited warranties and most likely require registration, proof of purchase, and will have other conditions such as normal use versus professional use clauses.
Buying used night vision, though a great way to save money, usually means it will not be covered under warranty. Very few manufacturers offer transferable warranties on night vision.
|ATN X-Sight 4K Pro||2-year Warranty||Original purchaser only, registration required|
|Sightmark Wraith HD||3-year Warranty||Proof of purchase required, registration required within 30 days, non-transferable,|
|Night Owl NightShot||1-year Warranty||Non-transferable, proof of purchase with date required|
|NightStar 2x50||Limited Lifetime Warranty||Must contact NightStar|
|Meopta Meonight 1.1||10-year Warranty||Must be registered within 30 days|
|EOTech ClipNV||10-year Limited Warranty||Proof of purchase required|
|AGM Wolverine Pro-6||3-year Warranty||Transferable, registration required|
|AGM Wolverine 4 NL3||3-year Warranty||Transferable, registration required|
|Armasight PVS-14||3-year Warranty||Requires registration|
|Armasight Co-Mini||3-year Warranty||Requires registration|
|Armasight Vulcan||3-year Warranty||Requires registration|
|Armasight CO-LR||3-year Warranty||Requires registration|
As a whole, the military uses Gen 3-Gen 4 night vision scopes with lifetime reliability of 10,000+ hours. Issued contracts entail tube specs that must pass military standard requirements and are rarely available to civilians. Knight’s Armament AN/PVS-30 is an example of mil-spec night vision.
As a general rule, quality, tube, optics, and ambient light conditions determine how far you can see with a night vision scope. Expected identification of a 6’ target is 100 yards with detection at 300 yards. This is without use of an IR illuminator, although many can offer better performance.
There are benefits to using both for hunting and work applications. Thermal is day and night compatible, does not need light to work, and has long detection ranges. Night vision is less costly and provides identification details better than thermal. See our comparison guide on both technologies.
Night vision scopes are legal to buy, own, and hunt non-game animals with for U.S. citizens. Each state has laws regarding illegal use of night vision and thermal devices. The onus is on you to learn the legalities before buying, shooting, and hunting with night vision.
Sightmark Wraith 4K Max 3-24x50
ATN X-Sight LTV 5-15x
Pard NV008 Plus 6.5-13x
SiOnyx Aurora Black Monocular w/Mount
X-Vision KRAD 4-8x
Accufire Noctis TR1
See our Best Night Vision Scopes Under $1000 for more information.
Detecting the Right Night Vision Scope for You!
There are several factors to consider that will help determine what scope is right for you. You don’t need to go broke over buying night vision. Even Gen 1 is far better than no night vision at all.
Between all the improvements, manufacturer competition, and newly-released technologies, affordable night vision scopes are now a reality. Keep your eyes peeled and your IR on.
Change the way you hunt and the way you see with a night vision scope tonight!