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Knights Armament AN/PVS-30 Night Vision Scope Review (Clip On)

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If you’re considering a Knight’s Armament night vision scope, it’s probably best not to ask what you’re hunting.

After all, these scopes are the epitome of professional use as they are employed by US Special Ops and law enforcement.

Efficient for front-line sniper use, it may seem overkill for a coyote hunter.

But if you want one clip-on that can be used for hog hunting and then switched over for when duty calls, you may as well go with the best night vision scope worth owning that does it all.

Quick Overview...

What We Like: AN/PVS-30 clip-on

What We Don’t Like: Heavy

Best Uses: Night Shooting, Tactical Use, Hunting, Scouting, Varmint Control, Professional Use, Law Enforcement, Military Use, Mid to Long-Range Detection

  • IIT: Gen 3+
  • Magnification: 1x
  • FOV: 9-degrees
  • Resolution: Unknown
  • Eye Relief: N/A
  • Color Modes: Green Phosphor
  • Battery: 24+ hours
  • Dimensions: 9.6 x 3.5”/2.9 lbs
Knights Armament AN PVS-30 clip on night vision rifle scope review
Image Credit - Knights Arm Co

Our Verdict: When you’re buying a Gen 3 night vision scope, buy right by buying once. There’s no such thing as overkill when you’re considering the best product that will serve various weapon systems in various applications. The AN/PVS-30 is the one tool that will do it all and shines in long-range detection.

Who is the Knight’s Armament AN/PVS-30 Clip-On Best Suited to?

Yes – if you’re just coyote hunting or using night vision for casual applications, the KAC scope will be an over-the-top buy. But if your ranch and livelihood is further protected by keeping hogs and predators out, plus the occasional intruder, you’ll want the best night vision that protects the things you love most.

Suitable for hunters, survivalists, police, security, and military personnel, the KAC clip-on will serve you well. It is heavy, so it’s best suited to shooters who are in prone and shooting off a rest, bipod, etc.

But what about the high price? They retail for over $11,000 brand new. Now, that’s beyond expensive for most people. There are refurbished PVS-30 devices that you may be able to get for a steal.

If you’re looking at a budget half the price, you can always check out the Bering Optics D-790W Gen 3+ that is a dedicated scope with excellent long-range performance too.

How Does the Knight’s Armament AN/PVS-30 Clip-On Perform?

YouTube video

The PVS-30 is a mil-spec night vision clip-on sight. For the price, you can ascertain that this is no mediocre clip-on. It’s military-grade, Gen 3, and SOCOM-issued. This scope is legit.

It has a huge 120 mm refractive telephoto objective lens that provides a longer apparent focal length than the scope actually has. Combined with a large aperture, there is plenty assurance that maximum light (photons) is transmitted and then converted to electrons to produce an image.

Its unparalleled performance comes down to photocathode sensitivity and an autogated tube. As you can tell, the PVS-30 exhibits the best traits of advanced night vision. With all its features, it provides imaging quality indicative of high SNR and FOM values. It works exceptionally well in very little light (starlight only) and you may not ever need an IR illuminator.

When we say the clip-on is suitable for long-range detection, we mean it. The PVS-30 takes things to the extreme with positive recognition on targets beyond 1000 yards in quarter moonlight.

If it’s good enough for military operations, it’s definitely good enough for the civilian. Overkill maybe, but since when is investing in a tool that helps to protect your home, ranch, property, and lives ever “too much?”

Whether you’re prepping for a SHTF future, working classified operations, or are making a living in hunting hogs, you’ll need state-of-the-art night vision. The Knight’s Armament clip-on is that and more.

Features & Benefits

Knights Armament AN PVS-30 clip on night vision scope
Image Credit - Knights Arm Co

AN/PVS-30 Clip-on

The AN/PVS-30 mounts forward on your rail in front of your long-range day scope. Since it’s painstakingly collimated at the factory and is designed to work with any day scope, it’s an extremely desirable NVD.

It mounts to a mil-spec M1913 rail with a single-lever quick detach mount, but this is no dinky QD mount. It holds tight to the rail and the included shroud keeps excess light out of the paired optical system.

It’s rather forgiving as far as alignment of the optical axes between the clip-on and the day scope is concerned. There is no shift in POI with the clip-on – none. If there is, it’s less than 0.5 MOA and is repeatable. You can’t ask for better than that.

Gen 3+ IIT

The KAC AN/PVS-30 series has different models but this one is the L3 Filmed tube with autogating. Autogating seems to be a standard feature on the PVS-30 clip-ons, and this model is the most affordable within the series.

It also seems that resolution and FOM (Figure of Merit) values vary between models. This is more so with refurbished buys because you’re not sure what has been replaced or repaired regardless of what the stamp says.

But you can be sure that these clip-ons vary in FOM and seem to start at 1600. This is indicative of 64 lp/mm resolution and 25 SNR (Signal-to-Noise Ratio) specs.

To protect such a high-quality tube, the clip-on is completely waterproof to the point of being submersible to 3 ft for 4 hours. If it’s that waterproof, you can bet it’s fogproof and shockproof too.

Long-Range Detection

The Knight’s Armament clip-on can be used with any day scope up to high-power settings of 20x. Because it’s made of such high quality, it can effectively be used with your long-range day scope. It produces excellent imaging at 20x in full to half-moon light, but its sweet spot is within 12-15x in half to quarter-moonlight conditions. This is more than double what most clip-ons are capable of.

Looking to bang steel at 1000 yards with no illuminator? Put your skills to the test with the PVS-30. It’s capable of getting you there. This scope does not need an illuminator. Sure, you can use one if stealth is not a requirement for you, but it doesn’t need one to function out to extended ranges. Heck, you’ll find you’ll barely need to amp up gain.

In starlight conditions, you can see a man-size target at 800+ m and vehicle-size targets at 1000+ m. In quarter-moon conditions, you can see a man-size target at 1000+ m and vehicle-size targets at 1500+ m. Needless to say, but we’re going to say it anyway – the KAC AN/PVS-30 is a revolutionary night vision rifle scope that will change the way you embrace long-range shooting at night from here on out.

Simple to Use

For as expensive as it is, you may be expecting a device that may seem too complicated to actually use. Wrong. The AN/PVS-30 is incredibly easy and fast to employ. It has an on/off knob that also doubles as the variable gain control. When you turn it on, it defaults to the highest gain setting, and you can turn that all the way down since we can guarantee that you likely won’t need it that high.

The only other function on the clip-on is the focus collar. It’s towards the objective lens bell which makes it a bit awkward to use since the clip-on is so long. But kick your side focus on your day scope into infinity and use the focus ring on the clip-on to achieve crisp, sharp imaging.

That’s all there is to the clip-on scope. No rezeroing your day scope. No built-in video recorder and no messing around with digital features. It’s just passive, high-quality night vision for your daytime weapon system.



The PVS-30 is not a little, cute clip-on. Its built like a tank, weighs like one, and when it sits in front of a long day scope, it’s all the way forward. Weighing in at 2.9 lbs, sporting an objective lens size of 120 mm, and having a length of 9.6”, it’s a big clip-on.

You may need to experiment with mounting options if you don’t have an extended rail handguard. You’ll also have to see if you can reach the focus ring from where it’s mounted as it may be too far forward.

If you have the right setup and are shooting prone with a type of rest, it’ll work out perfectly. Managing the front-end weight is a non-issue when you have long-range night vision without an illuminator and accuracy on your side. Its heft is a small price to pay.

Popular Questions

What Type of Batteries does the AN/PVS-30 Need?

There is some confusion on whether the PVS-30 takes two or one batteries. The older versions required two. The new versions require only one AA battery to operate for 24+ hours. It can also take one DL123 lithium battery that extends operating time to over 36 hours.

This is thanks to the interchangeable battery technology that consists of a battery compartment cap that can be flipped to accommodate the battery type that is being used. Top-loading, interchangeable, and long-lasting – that’s a versatile clip-on right there.

How Recoil Resistant is the AN/PVS-30?

The KAC AN/PVS-30 is as recoil-resistant as a standalone scope. While clip-ons tend to be incompatible with high recoil calibers, the PVS-30 stands apart from the rest of the commercial market. It’s recoil-proof to high calibers that includes .50 BMG.

Is Knight’s Armament Worth the Price?

If you must ask, you must not have used a Knight’s Armament night vision scope before. The AN/PVS-30 is unprecedented clip-on quality and is mil-spec and currently in production for the United States Army. The manufacturer is a family-owned, small, American business and has been said to have excellent and fast customer service should service be needed. Their products may be expensive, but when performance, accuracy, and customer service wipes out the competition in the marketplace, they’re worth it.

What is the Warranty on the Knight’s Armament AN/PVS-30?

The AN/PVS-30 clip-on is covered under a 1-year limited warranty by the manufacturer. It is non-transferable, so it applies only to the original owner from the date of purchase.


If you’re going to buy a Gen 3 NVD just once in your life, you better make the right choice.

With KAC, you can’t go wrong. With the AN/PVS-30, you can clip it to any weapon system you want without any POI shift. It’s carefully collimated, is used for long-range applications, and functions superbly without use of an IR illuminator.

Recoil-proof, military-grade, and sniper-approved.

What more can you ask for?

Further Reading

Photo of author

Simon Cuthbert - Founder

Simon is an avid outdoor enthusiast and the founder 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. Simon has contributed to notable publications online and teaches beginners the technical side of optics through his extensive library of optics guides.

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