Wolf Performance Optics PN22K Day & Night Vision Scope Review


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Have you ever heard of a night vision scope that can function during daylight hours?

We can think of plenty. But what sets the Wolf Performance Optics PN22K apart from all those scopes is that it’s not a digital night vision scope.

The PN22K has an image intensifier tube but it’s designed to work in Day Mode without damage to the IIT. Interesting, right?

Even better, it works.

Because it delivers and it doesn’t have a crazy price tag, the Wolf Day & Night scope is a great choice of night vision scope you haven’t heard about yet… until now.

Quick Overview...

What We Like: Day & night sight

What We Don’t Like: No tube specs

Best Uses: Night Shooting, Day Shooting, Tactical Use, Hunting, Scouting, Varmint Control, Professional Use, Standalone Scope, Close to Mid-Range Detection

  • IIT: Gen 2+/3
  • Magnification: 3x
  • FOV: 12-degrees
  • Resolution: Unknown
  • Eye Relief: 1.97”
  • Color Modes: Green Phosphor
  • Battery: 16 hours
  • Dimensions: 12.4 x 4 x 4.2”/2.86 lbs
Wolf Performance Optics PN22K Day and Night Scope Review
Image Credit - Optics Planet

Our Verdict: For the price, the Wolf Performance Optics PN22K is an incredible buy. To have a Gen 2+ or Gen 3 IIT with a dual channel day and night system is a different kind of buy altogether. Whether you actually use it for both day and night or just for nighttime, the PN22K is affordable and it’s a performer. It’s a win-win.

Who is the Wolf Performance WPA PN22K Best Suited to?

The PN22K will work well for shooters and hunters looking for a day/night system in one night vision scope. You could go the digital route and spend significantly less, like the ATN X-Sight LTV 3-9x, but when you have something like the PN22K, why not stick with the reliability of an IIT?

It’s also a great option if you’re on a tight budget but want to experience the performance of a Gen 3 tube. It’s priced exceptionally low even for standard Gen 3 specs, but that works in your favor.

How Does the Wolf Performance WPA PN22K Perform?

Wolf Performance Optics PN22K Day and Night Scope
Image Credit - Optics Planet

Wolf Performance has brought Cold War-style night vision in modern form. The PN22K is a heavy scope by today’s standards. But it’s pretty lightweight for what used to be standard and is lighter still than some of the best scopes in the market like the AGM Wolverine Pro-6 3AL1 that weighs over 3 lbs. Then again, the Wolverine Pro-6 has a much larger aperture (double in size) and double magnification.

If performance is exceptional than its weight and size can be worked around. The Wolf PN22K is promised to be a performer. From its time in the market, it’s been bought, tested, reviewed, and used. While no data is provided to the civilian about tube quality, it’s been said to perform as expected for a Gen 2+ and Gen 3.

As a day and night scope, it allows the user to keep only one scope on the rifle. You don’t need to remove it with a daytime scope, and you don’t need to worry about excessive bright light damage to the IIT. It’s an interesting dual-channel technology that is not seen in mainstream night vision.

If you’re curious about the PN22K, its price tag is low enough to satisfy that curiosity. It’s certainly one of the cheapest, if not the cheapest, Gen 3 night vision scopes around.

Features & Benefits

Looking through a Wolf Performance Optics WPA PN22K Day and Night Scope
Image Credit - Optics Planet

Day & Night Sight

The PN22K is an interesting NVD like none other. One might think it’s a digital scope due to its ability to function in both day and night conditions, but it’s not. It has a single IIT tube with dual channel assemblies – essentially, two optical systems.

There is a large, oversized knob on the top of the scope that switches the scope between modes. When in day mode, the caps go back onto the system and the IIT is automatically cut off to protect it from bright light damage.

In night mode, the caps come off and it’s ready to go. This dual channel system is actually very convenient. Although the view through the scope with 3x magnification is somewhat small when using the daylight channel, the field of view is workable.

It’s especially sufficient for sighting-in during the day without the need to rezero when you move into night mode. There is a point of impact shift of about 1 MOA at 100 yards (approx.) due to the optical mounting assemblies between the modes. Adjustments are in 1 MIL increments, although Wolf Performance states that it’s 1 cm clicks with 80 cm of total adjustment.

Gen 2+ & Gen 3 IIT

The WPA PN22K is available with either Gen 2+ and Gen 3 image intensifier tubes. No tube specs are provided by Wolf Performance or the manufacturer, so it’s difficult to predict tube performance on paper.

What is provided on paper and by other buyers does give you an indication of expected performance. The Wolf Performance PN23 scope has a Gen 3 autogated tube, but no autogating is mentioned for the PN22K.

However, we do expect that the Gen 3 model features Gen 3 expectations in regards to resolution, signal-to-noise ratio, and figure of merit. It likely has a Gallium Arsenide photocathode type with resolution of 64 lp/mm. Other specs, while they can be assumed, have not been confirmed.

Great Detection

While the Wolf PN22K comes with a built-in IR illuminator that is especially effective for 100-200 yards, it has impressive night vision performance without the IR. You can see and shoot steel at 300 yards without illumination, but of course, the IR will light it up for even better seeing.

The detection range of the Gen 2+ model is 350 yards, and the Gen 3 goes further to 450 yards. The Gen 3 PN22K is said to be better performing in complete passive mode than even the PN23. For a small price difference, it may be the better value to go with the PN22K, but you’ll have to be prepared for the extra size and weight.

Scope Features

The PN22K has a modular mount assembly that allows it to be mounted to mil-spec 1913 Picatinny rails and custom side mounts. It’s recoil proof up to 30-06 calibers but is really designed for small arms.

It has a chevron reticle with no caliber-specific hashmark crosshairs. It has red illumination and can be adjusted for brightness.

The nicely oversized turrets are clearly referenced for 1 cm at 100 m adjustments, so it’s a well suited scope for coyote hunting and close-range fire.

It requires only a single AA battery for operation but only lasts up to 16 hours without use of the IR. You’ll need plenty of spares if you plan on using the IR.

Limitations

No Tube Specs

Not knowing tube specs before you buy may very well be an automatic strike-out. Wolf Performance does not provide any tube specs for the PN22K nor for the any of the other Wolf brand night vision optics they have in store.

Saying that an optic has a Gen 2+ or Gen 3 tube does have some value, but transparency on tube specs provide an even better picture at determining tube performance. These specs include and are not limited to signal-to-noise ratio, resolution, photocathode type, figure of merit, overall life expectancy, and more.

With the low price tag the Wolf PN22K sports, it’s hard not to imagine that it might not be as good as it may seem. If it weren’t for buyer tried-and-true testing in the field, it would remain a scope that sounds good on paper, but potential buyers would remain skeptical about it. Fortunately, it has seen action.

Popular Questions

Who Makes Wolf Performance Optics Night Vision?

Wolf Performance Optics has teamed up with Russian NPZ (Novosibirsk Instrument-Making Plant). Wolf Performance is an American-based brand that sells optics manufactured by NPZ.

What are the Optical Specs of the PN22K for Day and Night Modes?

In day mode, you have 3x magnification with a 21 mm objective lens that provides a 7 mm exit pupil – plenty big enough for daylight operation.
In night mode, you have 3x magnification with a 50 mm objective lens, and of course, the IIT running the operation.

What is the Difference Between the WPA PN23 VS PN22K?

The PN23 is a night vision only scope, is smaller and lighter by about 4” and 1 lb, and it’s a Gen 3 Autogated IIT. The PN22K is a day and night system that is larger and heavier and comes in either a Gen 2+ or Gen 3 IIT.

The PN22K is slightly more expensive but that’s because it’s outfitted to provide both day and night performance.

What is the Warranty on the Wolf Performance WPA PN22K?

No warranty information is provided by Wolf Performance at this time. It’s essential to discuss warranty and coverage options with your retailer of choice before you buy.

Conclusion

The PN22K, for as different as it is, works. The low price may be motivation enough to overlook the lack of tube specs and warranty information, but it will force you to buy through a trusted vendor.

Why mess with remounting and dismounting day scopes and night vision scopes when you can have dual functionality from one unit?

The PN22K fits the need. Even if it’s only used for nighttime hog hunting or hitting steel in the dark, it still has plenty of value well worth the price.

Further Reading

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