What’s a good reason to shop for Gen 1 night vision scopes?
At the price point of the NightStar NS43250, it’s as cheap as it gets and that’s no exaggeration. There’s also a very limited supply of such scopes at such prices.
So, if you’re avoiding digital technology or you need night vision right now while you save up for Gen 3 night vision scopes, NightStar might be the type of budget brand you need to consider.
Since all low-priced optics come with compromises, what is it about the 2x50 scope you must know before you buy?
Here it is laid out straight.
What We Like: Price
What We Don’t Like: Limited information
Best Uses: Night Shooting, Tactical Use, Hunting, Scouting, Varmint Control, Close-Range Detection
- IIT: Gen 1
- Magnification: 2x
- FOV: 15-degrees
- Resolution: 35 lp/mm
- Eye Relief: 45 mm
- Color Modes: Green Phosphor
- Battery: 1x CR123
- Dimensions: Unknown
Our Verdict: The NightStar night vision rifle scope has similar specs to Gen 1 tubes that have come and gone over the years. With a limited supply of such scopes, the 2x50 model is a breath-of-relief type of product to the market. It promises beginner performance and beginner quality. Knowing what it is you’re buying for the low price may very well bring buyer satisfaction.
Who is the NightStar NS43250 2x50 Gen 1 Best Suited to?
The NightStar is a starter night vision scope with a Gen 1 IIT. It’s best suited to night plinkers, varmint hunters, and beginners looking for a very simple and affordable introduction into night vision optics.
Its primary advantage is obviously its low price point, so it’s aimed towards the cost-conscious demographic. The second advantage is IIT technology over digital technology. While there are a lot of benefits for digital tech in NV scopes, some still prefer the tube performance provided by night vision. Even though it’s Gen 1, it’s a start. At this price point for IITs, it’s your only option.
How Does the NightStar NS43250 2x50 Gen 1 Perform?
Right off the bat, the NightStar is not going to perform anywhere close to the best night vision scopes currently in the market. It’s a Gen 1 scope with a low price point from a manufacturer that makes entry-level products.
However, it’s refreshing to see that there are Gen 1 IITs available in this price range when the market is flooded with digital options with many that don’t perform as promised.
The NS43250 is a 2x50 NVRS. It’s a good option for close-range detection and makes for an efficient weapon system due to its user-friendly and straightforward analog interface.
It has an illuminated reticle on a green night vision display, dual focus, built-in IR, integrated side rail, and permanently tethered objective lens cap.
It has the basics with solid quality expected of Gen 1. Depending on your intended applications, this may be the type of budget night vision that fits the bill.
Features & Benefits
NightStar specializes in budget night vision products, and as the only NVRS from the brand, it holds a lot of value for the night hunter with limited funds.
While digital scopes are usually the scope of choice for such a budget, you may desire an IIT that provides entry-level night vision like the real night vision scopes that professionals use.
However, far from being a professional device, the NightStar NS43250 is a starter model for those who want to ease into using night vision for recreational use and close-range varmint hunting.
Gen 1 Imaging Quality
The NS43250 is a Gen 1 IIT with no micro channel plate like all other Gen 1 scopes. Imaging quality is decent for Gen 1 since it has 35 lp/mm resolution which is quickly becoming the standard regardless of the low price points of today’s market. With low magnification and a good size 50 mm aperture, imaging quality is decent as it retains all its resolution power due to its fixed magnification.
However, it’s still only suitable for close-range nighttime visibility. As a starter scope, 25-100 yards is pretty good, possibly even one of the best night vision scopes under $500.
You will need to use the built-in IR illuminator to acquire clarity and distance, but this is usually true of all night vision scopes. You may notice edge softening or a sort of fish-eye lens effect that seems to look like warping or vortex-sucking imaging quality. This is generally a normal drawback of Gen 1 tech, but since you can’t have it all without compromise for the low price, it’s best to know what you’re buying from the get-go.
The NightStar NVRS is simplified night vision technology in a cheap and simplified packaged. This works for many. It has no digital technology and features which equates to ease of use and straightforward performance. Hardly do you have time to mess with menus and buttons when a target presents itself – and all this in the dark.
The simplified platform is actually a trending design for modern night vision scopes like the Yukon Sightline that is doing with away with all the extra bells and whistles. The difference with the NightStar is that this is a genuine Gen 1 tube with analog technology and not digital.
The scope has 4-button operation to run the IR and scope brightness settings. It has dual focus control allowing you to make both coarse and fine focus adjustments to bring a target into sharp clarity. With an integrated rail, you can equip an extra accessory or opt for an external IR illuminator.
Close-Range Varmint Hunting
There is no doubt that the NightStar scope is made for close-range hunting. While it may be assumed that it can get out to 200 yards, that is likely not the case. We would say about 100 yards is its limit which is certainly doable for pest control and some varmint hunting. A quality and appropriately matched external IR illuminator could extend its detection out a little further, but with 2x magnification and a Gen 1 IIT, it’s still quite limiting.
For its price range and titanium housing, it has better-than-average build quality. It’s extremely tough and strong. But with no official information about the quality of materials or recoil-resistance specs, we’d only recommend this for very light recoil weapons.
As such, it could be excellent night vision for an AR-15 or rimfire rifles.
NightStar is owned by Chengdu Lis Business Co. Ltd. They’re a Chinese brand based in China and are trying to expand their sports optics industry through their subsidiary NightStar.
One major drawback about the brand is the very limited information they provide about their products, warranty, and business profile. No online manuals are provided.
Potential buyers then turn to what the masses say about the brand and their products, and with limited information, it breeds limited sales. What the company does have going for it is its low price points. This is a Gen 1 NVRS and is bound to attract curious and serious buyers.
If you’re okay with buying a budget night vision scope, buy from a trusted vendor with a forgiving refund/return policy to provide enough time to determine if it performs as expected.
No. The NightStar NS43250 2x50 NVRS is an image intensifier tube night vision scope. It is extremely sensitive to bright light and must not be exposed to such sources – artificial or natural. It is only intended for dedicated nighttime use.
The NS43250 2x50 night vision scope requires 1x CR123 battery for operation. Operating time will vary based on use of IR and brightness settings.
Lifetime use is generally rated at 1000 hours for Gen 1 IITs.
No stated detection is provided by the manufacturer. However, based on its magnifying, aperture, and IIT platform, it is reasonable to assume that it will perform adequately for close-range detection from 25-100 yards.
There is no ability to record video, audio, or still images with the NightStar 2x50 Gen 1 rifle scope. It is complete analog technology that lacks digital features and video recording.
NightStar night vision products work, but the imaging quality is only that of entry-level standards. For modern standards, this is usually promoted for recreational use or close-range hunting purposes. There will be some image degradation as is expected with Gen 1, and they tend to rely heavily on IR illuminator use for decent performance.
Unfortunately, it’s a roll of the dice when you buy cheap night vision. It’s either going to work for you, or it won’t. The truth of it is, there is always going to be compromise with low price points.
The upside is, if you can narrow down the type of night vision performance you need, you can buy appropriately. This is the case with the NightStar NS43250.
It’s a starter night vision scope at a very low price point. It provides close-range detection, maintains good resolution, and is simple and easy to use. There’s not much more to it. When you can see in the dark, make accurate shots, and spend as little as possible acquiring it, it’s a good deal.
Upgrade later and go bigger. Cheers to Gen 3 in the future, right?
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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.