There is a gross disparity in cost difference between night vision rifle scopes and night vision monoculars.
Sometimes, for that reason alone many will look to mating a monocular on a rifle to pair with a red dot or day scope.
This could be you once you see how expensive the best night vision scopes can really get.
One such monocular that can be rigged for this purpose is the Bestguarder WG-50. It’s a 6x50 digital monocular with a CMOS sensor and can be paired with a Picatinny/Weaver rail adapter for mounting to a rifle.
How does it perform as a scope?
That’s what we’re here to find out.
What We Like: Price
What We Don’t Like: Not long-term option
Best Uses: Night Shooting, Day Shooting, Hunting, Scouting, Varmint Control, Digital NV, Close-Range Detection, Beginners
- Sensor: 5MP CMOS
- Magnification: 6x
- FOV: 20.5-6.8 ft/100 yds
- Display Resolution: 1280x720
- Eye Relief: Unknown
- Color Modes: Day & Night
- Battery: 4x AA
- Dimensions: 1.54 lbs
Our Verdict: There is no getting around that this setup can be considered cheating, and we admit it’s not ideal. But for under $200, there’s no acquiring decent night vision without getting creative and thinking outside the box. If you can come to terms that you will require an upgrade sooner than later, the WG-50 will be an investment that will satisfy your needs for the moment.
Who is the Bestguarder WG-50 6X50 HD Monocular Best Suited to?
The WG-50 is a 6x50 monocular that could serve well for close-range hunting and observation. As a digital unit, it’s the best option for hunters and shooters that desire night vision at night but also want the same optic to perform just as good or better during the day.
If you’re wielding anything with more kick than an AR-15 in 223, this isn’t an option for you. The monocular body can only handle so much shock, and in this case, little to no recoil. So, light-cal rifles are the only setup it’s compatible with when functioning as a pseudo clip-on.
How Does the Bestguarder WG-50 6X50 HD Monocular Perform?
The Bestguarder Monocular is a fantastic, simple unit that could work well for scope purposes. It’s cheap, has excellent imaging quality for its price point, and can be manipulated to be mounted to a rifle.
It lacks WiFi, GPS, and all these other bells and whistles that expensive monoculars feature, but the WG-50 has the essentials – recording, a built-in adjustable IR illuminator, CMOS sensor, and an integrated Picatinny rail.
That rail proves important as it’s what you pair the adapter with to mount it to a weapon system. It’s not an ideal setup for permanent use, but it does fulfill a need that is lacking right now.
The WG-50 has better than expected imaging quality and detection up to around 200 yards. It’s extremely effective for 100 yards with little to no pixilation or image softening.
The best thing about it is, as a high-functioning monocular, it will still see use after you’ve upgraded your rifle with a real coyote night vision scope. The Bestguarder will remain an essential tool for many hunts and night stake-outs yet.
Features & Benefits
Seriously, since when does digital night vision with CMOS sensors cost under $200? Well, the WG-50 is a monocular first and foremost, so that may answer the question. Yet, Bestguarder has added value to the buy by paving a path to use the monocular as a night vision clip-on alternative when paired with the necessary components.
You could say the WG-50 is good for the money, which it is, but it’s earned its reputation as a good monocular with better-than-expected performance regardless of cost. It’s one of the best cheap night vision alternatives you’ll come across.
Though you must buy the rail adapter separately, it’s ridiculously inexpensive at under $20. Bestguarder should really look into bundling this as a package buy because it would be a hit.
The 6x50 HD monocular has a 5 mega pixel CMOS sensor. So, this thing is made to dish out the digital features some tech savvy shooters love to have.
To start with, the Bestguarder has optical magnification of 6x, and then you have digital zoom of 1-5x. You’ll likely need to use low digital zoom settings when pairing it with a day optic to find optimized imaging quality. It has auto power-off and even the option to remove icons from the display after a period when a button is pressed.
The monocular also allows for photo and video recording and is saved to a micro SD card that is not included in the package. When you purchase one, it cannot be larger than 32GB in size. There is also a USB port, so you can even wire it to your laptop and download the pics in a jiffy.
If you wanted to get really fancy, you can also connect it via the TV output jack to see it on a larger monitor/screen. This is a non-essential benefit for a hunter and shooter, but it’s good to know if you wanted to maximize use when you dismount it.
Cheap optics always surprise the user when they actually work. No one really expects cheap night vision to be worth anything, but there are budget night vision gems in the market that prove otherwise. You must choose wisely if you’re on a tight budget.
Most of the time, digital night vision is useless without IR light. The Bestguarder actually provides some decent performance without IR use, but it will blow you away when you incorporate the built-in IR. It can see out to 250-300 yards – good enough for recognition but not identification. But, as a close-range detection unit, the absolute best imaging quality for maximum clarity and detail is between 50-100 yards.
Although those distances may sound mediocre, the night vision detail and quality is by far the best compared to any night vision scope in this price range.
Mounting to a Rifle
This is the part that makes the difference. How do you mount the Bestguarder WG-50 to a rifle?
The WG-50 comes with a Picatinny rail to attach additional accessories like a laser or an external IR light – whatever you want. In this case, it’s going to serve as the connection to mating it to a Picatinny rail.
You will need to purchase the Bestguarder SYA-101 adapter. It’s a Picatinny-to-Picatinny rail adapter that does exactly what it sounds like it does – it’s the connection between two Picatinny rails.
Slide the adapter onto the monocular’s rail and hand-tighten the clamp. Then slide the attached monocular and adapter to the Picatinny rail on the rifle and hand-tighten the clamp. The adapter is also compatible with Weaver rails, so it can be adjusted for width.
As a side note, the monocular also has a standard tripod connection for tripod field use. If you really wanted to get creative with options, you could try out a tripod Picatinny rail adapter.
Not Long-Term Option
This isn’t your long-term night vision solution. Let’s face it – it’s a monocular without a reticle and must be used with another optic if you want any type of shooting accuracy with it. Plus, you’d really need to put some decent money down on a mount adapter that can hold up to continuous use and allows optical axis alignment with the scope already on your weapon system.
Looking at it this way, this is an expensive route to go for a temporary fix. The upside is, it’s a high-functioning monocular that will always have use when you’ve found a worthy and affordable night vision scope. You may want to consider the night vision under $500 budget if you’d rather stick with a scope.
There is no recoil-resistance rating for the Bestguarder WG-50 monocular. However, as a monocular, it must have a shock-proof build simply because it’s an outdoor tool that can be dropped and damaged.
It requires 4x AA batteries to operate. Lithium-ion AA batteries will provide the longest run-time, but alkaline and rechargeable (NiMH) can also be used with the Bestguarder 6x50 HD monocular.
The Bestguarder has a manual focus lens that adjusts for image sharpness and target distances. Rotate the objective lens as necessary to achieve optimal focus.
The monocular can be placed in either position, however, you must be using a low-recoil weapon if you want to avoid a scope kiss when it’s mounted in the rear. Day scopes with illuminated reticles (not too bright) and night vision compatible red dots are optics that can be used with a night vision monocular in this way.
Now this is creative thinking that has some merit to it. Monoculars have been mounted to rifle scopes time and again, and some perform well while others don’t.
The Bestguarder SYA-101 adapter is made to be compatible with the WG-50 – now that’s saying something. Even though this isn’t what we consider a long-term alternative to night vision rifle scopes, it is an option. It’s certainly cheaper and it can be better than some of the camera scope systems that are seen at this price point. At least with Bestguarder – it’s an option.
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Simon is an avid outdoor enthusiast and the owner of Target Tamers. He is passionate about bringing you the most up to date, accurate & understandable information on sports optics of all kinds and for all applications. When not glassing the local wildlife, you can find him in the garden with his German Shepherd.