If you didn’t know already, Wolf Performance Ammunition have expanded their offerings to include NVDs through Wolf Performance Optics.
One of the top night vision scopes released when the company teamed up with Russian NPZ is the WPA PN23.
It’s a standalone scope, compact, and ultra-lightweight.
Better yet, the low price can’t be beat.
What We Like: Gen 3 autogated
What We Don’t Like: Battery life
Best Uses: Night Shooting, Tactical Use, Hunting, Scouting, Varmint Control, Professional Use, Standalone Scope, Close to Mid-Range Detection
- IIT: Gen 3
- Magnification: 3x
- FOV: 12-degrees
- Resolution: Unknown
- Eye Relief: 1.96”
- Color Modes: Green Phosphor
- Battery: 15+ hours
- Dimensions: 8.2 x 3.3 x 3.1”/1.43 lbs
Our Verdict: The Wolf Performance PN23 looks like an awesome scope on paper. If you’re familiar with NPZ optics, then you may be faster in deciding if this is the scope for you. Since Wolf does not release tube specs prior to purchase, like so many other brands, it may be harder to pull the trigger on the buy. However, the low upfront investment in buying a Gen 3 autogated scope may change your mind.
Who is the Wolf Performance WPA PN23 Best Suited to?
The price makes this Gen 3 scope a steal of a buy for anyone looking for the best deal on the best night vision scopes. Its low price alone makes it a curiosity in and of itself just to try it out.
Its specs look awesome on paper, and for those who have been able to test it out, they would tell you it lives up to its claims.
Its compact and lightweight outfit makes it suitable for all types of night vision applications -scouting, patrol, surveillance, coyote hunting, close combat, mid-range shooting, and more.
Since it’s said to be recoil-proof, you could mount this to vigorous recoil weapon systems for hunting hogs, shooting steel, deterring intruders, and much more – where legal, of course.
How Does the Wolf Performance WPA PN23 Perform?
Wolf Performance Optics brings Russian night vision to the United States. It’s hard to tell why it’s priced so cheaply, and much is left to the imagination when tube specs are not provided. However, they claim it’s a Gen 3 autogated tube put together in a compact and lightweight standalone scope.
It’s made for fast target acquisition and performs exceptionally well within 200 yards but is also capable of providing a recognition range at 400 meters. One can only assume that tube specs meet Gen 3 standards as it should have some of the tube features we’ve come to expect of a Gen 3 NVD.
With its lightweight and compact body being the highlight feature of the scope, it’s also worth knowing that it’s a highly recoil-resistant scope, has mil adjustments, and a high-quality quick detach mount makes it convenient for fast mounting and dismounting to your rifle.
Features & Benefits
Gen 3 Autogated
It’s hard to believe for the low price that the WPA PN23 is a Gen 3 scope with autogating as its price tag puts it within the Gen 2 realm. To be outfitted with some of the best features as scopes that cost twice as much seems almost too good to be true.
Without being able to confirm tube specs, we can’t fully comprehend tube performance. Resolution specs are also not provided. But to have a Gen 3 tube with autogating typically means that it has a GaAs tube with signal-to-noise ratio of 22 or better, figure of merit of at least 1400-1600, and resolution of 64 lp/mm – at least according to U.S. generally accepted standards.
With autogating, it has better than average protection against excessive bright light, and it reduces the blooming and halo that would otherwise be seen through non-gated devices.
If it’s a true NPZ scope, we can reliably expect these types of specs as long as Wolf Performance Optics hasn’t requested original specs to be altered.
The Wolf Performance PN23 is a very cheap Gen 3 scope. In fact, it may be the lowest priced Gen 3 ever to hit the market. This does raise some questions about quality especially when there are zero tube specs provided by the brand.
The PN22K day/night scope has seen some tried-and-true testing from buyers, and Wolf even says the PN23 is the same as the PN22K just without the day mode. This provides some insight in determining tube quality and performance of the PN23 because the PN22K, surprisingly, is also available in a Gen 2+ and Gen 3 IIT. Many like the PN22K for its better passive performance and extra range than the PN23.
Even so, the Wolf standalone scope is manufactured by NPZ who has a well-known history of producing Russian military optics. They have a good reputation of quality within the U.S., but that’s all you have going for you until you put one through the ringer.
Compact & Tough
One of the highlight features of the WPA PN23 is its compact and lightweight design. Remember, this isn’t a clip-on but a standalone scope. It’s 8.2 long and weighs 1.4 lbs. That’s the definition of a compact scope right there.
Even though its size may be deceiving in respect to durability, don’t be fooled. The scope is Russian and is made like a Russian tank with robust construction. It’s completely waterproof and nitrogen-purged for internal protection against condensation and fogging.
The PN23 has 10 MIL adjustment travel and both turrets are referenced with 0.1 MIL clicks that reminds you of conventional daytime scope turrets. It has an illuminated chevron reticle for fast target acquisition and a reticle brightness control.
It has a built-in IR illuminator but its performance without illumination is excellent at 100-300 yards. Furthermore, the scope is said to provide an impressive recognition range of 400 meters and all of this through a wide 12-degree field of view.
While the Wolf PN23 only requires a single AA battery that is widely available everywhere, it only provides 15 hours at best without use of the IR. Granted, you may not be using the illuminator very much anyway since it’s made to perform exceptionally well without it. Still, it falls short of the industry standard of around 40-60 hours or better for a Gen 3.
The WPA PN23 is rated to be recoil-proof to high recoil calibers such as 9.3x64mm and smooth bore 12-gauge. This is excellent recoil-resistance, however, the PN23 is intended for use with small arms. With its 2” of eye relief, it’s best to be conservative anyway.
The PN23 removable bracket mount fits MIL-STD-1913 Picatinny rails. While it’s designed to be modular for fitting to various rifles, it’s best suited to Picatinny rails.
The PN23 is a night vision only scope, is ultra-compact, and lightweight. The PN22K is a dual-channel night vision device with an image intensifier tube, so it’s not a digital scope. It has unique technology that cuts off the night vision channel for use during daylight operation. At night, you rotate the oversized knob for night vision use. It’s heavier and longer than the PN23 but has slightly better passive performance and detection range.
Wolf Performance Optics is a California-based brand that sells optics. They do not manufacture night vision devices as that is done by NPZ in Russia. For a seller to import such devices, they must have an exclusive license to do so and are ITAR-compliant.
There is no warranty information provided by Wolf Performance Optics. It’s essential to purchase through a trusted vendor to inquire about manufacturer warranty information and what type of standard or extended warranties the vendor can provide.
With a lot of unknowns, the Wolf Performance PN23 may be a difficult purchase to make. But with what its promising, it could be the steal of a century for a Gen 3 autogated standalone scope.
While its battery life isn’t all that impressive, at least the batteries are easily accessible for purchase – you can buy them anywhere – literally. That’s a small compromise to pay for Gen 3 performance, great detection range, and an incredibly unobtrusive size. Suitable for use in multiple applications, you can move, hide, shoot standing, shoot prone – you name it. The PN23 gives you flexibility in movement while promising to remain accurate and clear any time throughout the night.
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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.