If you want to hunt like a pure-bred predator, you need to own the night and drive lesser creatures into shelter and hiding. If your targets can see through the dark, so should you. To aid your poor vision in the dark, you must own the best night vision scope for your AR 15. However, there are many NVGs in the market to choose from. Which one should you get?
Table of Contents
- 1 Top 10 Night Vision Scopes for AR-15
- 1.1 1. Pulsar Digisight Ultra N455 Digital Night Vision Riflescope
- 1.2 2. ATN X-Sight LTV 5-15X Ultra Light Day & Night Vision Rifle Scope
- 1.3 3. AGM Wolverine-4 NL2 Night Vision Rifle Scope
- 1.4 4. Night Owl Optics NightShot Digital Night Vision Riflescope with IR illuminator
- 1.5 5. Pulsar Digex N450 Digital Night Vision Riflescope
- 1.6 6. BESTSIGHT Night Vision Scope for riflescopes with Night Scope Hunting Camera
- 1.7 7. WANNEY Smart Day /Night Colorful Digital Night Vision Scope
- 1.8 8. ATN X-Sight II HD 5-20 Smart Day/Night Rifle Scope
- 1.9 9. Burris 300217 Armalite Rifle Tactical Sight
- 1.10 10. Yukon Sightline N470S Digital Night Vision Riflescope
- 2 Buying Guide
- 3 How to Set Up An AR-15 Night Vision Scope
- 4 What Technology to Use on Your AR-15 - Digital NV or Traditional NV?
- 5 FAQs
- 6 And Our Top NV Scope for An AR-15 is...
Top 10 Night Vision Scopes for AR-15
1. Pulsar Digisight Ultra N455 Digital Night Vision Riflescope
Pulsar Digisight Ultra Digital Night Vision Riflescope is the best night vision scope for AR-15 that features a digital night vision technology to take down hogs, predators, and varmints day or night. It has a 1280×720 CMOS sensor bonded with a 1024×768 AMOLED display for a nighttime detection range of up to 600 yards, so hunting at night would be as easy as hunting during the day.
Like the Pulsar Helion XP50, this NVG can last up to eight hours, so hunting late into the night or low light conditions is still possible.
The Digisight rifle scope also features a 4.5-18x magnification and picture-in-picture 2x/4x digital zoom with continuous and stepped options. It also has a wide field-of-view with over ten reticle options and a removable modular IR illuminator.
You can use this night vision scope to record your hunting sprees with its built-in recorder with 16GB of internal memory. You can connect it to your phone for remote viewing via Stream Vision App. Hunt late into the night with Pulsar’s B-Pack, allowing you to go 8-hours on a full charge using standard AA batteries.
2. ATN X-Sight LTV 5-15X Ultra Light Day & Night Vision Rifle Scope
The theOpticGuru ATN X-Sight LTV 5-15X Ultra-Light Day & Night Vision Rifle Scope is one of the best night vision scopes for AR-15 powered by the new revolutionary ATN Obsidian LT Core optimized for low power consumption, even in a small and ergonomic form factor. It provides vivid and crisp clarity during the day and nighttime performance, like other ATN scopes like ATN Thor Gen 1 scopes.
This night vision riflescope gives the user a simple, no-frills experience at an affordable price range. It can also record HD videos, get on target fast with its one-shot zero feature, with a magnification of 5-15x, eye relief of 90mm, and a field of view of 240 ft.
This scope can last up to more than 10 hours of battery life using one lithium-ion battery like most ATN Thor Gen 1 scope series. You can also mount this scope on any platform using the standard 30mm rings.
3. AGM Wolverine-4 NL2 Night Vision Rifle Scope
The AGM Wolverine-4 NL2 Night Vision Rifle Scope is a rugged and advanced night vision scope that offers a high-quality Generation 2 image intensifier tube and adjustable illuminated reticle at a competitive price range. It also features easy-to-use internal windage and elevation adjustments and simple controls that allow shooters to see beyond the expected low light conditions.
This riflescope is equipped with a double-lever quick-release mount, allowing highly accurate rail positioning to maximize user comfort. It also boasts a shock protected, water-resistant, and fog-resistant all-glass and detachable Sioux850 Long Range IR transmission multi-coated optics. Its body is constructed from aircraft aluminum alloy.
4. Night Owl Optics NightShot Digital Night Vision Riflescope with IR illuminator
The Night Owl Optics NightShot Digital Night Vision Riflescope with IR illuminator features a 3x magnification with a focal length of 52mm. It also has a field of view of 5.6 degrees, an aperture of 40mm, and a focusing distance of 3m to infinity.
This best night vision scope for AR-15 is lightweight, inexpensive, has polymer construction, and easy-to-operate. It also has a flat spot on one of the cross-bolts that can be reversed to work in different mounts, such as weaver mounts, wherein the spacing between the slots varies. This scope has a green/red duplex reticle that helps you shoot better in the dark.
This scope is compatible with any rifle below 30 caliber bullet, magnum or non-magnum, and rifle with a 30 caliber non-magnum bullet. Depending on how you use this scope, its battery life may last up to 4.5 to 17.5 hours of battery life.
5. Pulsar Digex N450 Digital Night Vision Riflescope
The Pulsar Digex N450 Digital Night Vision Riflescope is the first to market, full-featured, night vision riflescope thought-out in the shape of a classic day sight. This fully waterproof NVG allows the lowest possible mounting point, allowing an appealing external view and flexible positioning on the rifle.
It features a high-resolution sensor and display, an objective lens of 50mm, high-quality fast optics, high magnification, and enhanced nighttime sensitivity. Its powerful built-in IR for a moonless night makes this scope the perfect device for detecting targets at distances out to over 546 yards.
It has a high precision aiming frame, allowing its user to closely control the aiming area’s images. Its built-in recorder can capture still images or HD quality video recording that shooters can stream through their smartphone’s display.
6. BESTSIGHT Night Vision Scope for riflescopes with Night Scope Hunting Camera
The BESTSIGHT Night Vision Scope for rifle scopes with Night Scope Hunting Camera is a night vision scope for AR-15. It features high-quality night captures activity perfect for visual experience in complete darkness. This rifle scope is best for various uses like surveillance, night hunting, and shooting.
It also features a 360 degrees adjustable camera, 5.0 inches clear display screen captures, and 5W extended sliding infrared flashlight. You may buy an additional 5W IR illuminator for your riflescope to get more night vision range.
7. WANNEY Smart Day /Night Colorful Digital Night Vision Scope
The WANNEY Smart Day /Night Colorful Digital Night Vision Scope is a night vision scope for AR-15 that provides a full-colored image best for night and day hunting. The scope’s image of daytime and low-light is colored while it projects black and white during complete darkness.
This riflescope features a long visible distance using 2x digital zoom and 3.9x optical amplification. It also has 940nm invisible IR wave light, giving a visual distance of more than 300 yards in complete darkness. It has a built-in rechargeable and long-lasting battery life that lasts about 6-8 hours working time.
Its 1080p resolution provides a clear image, which can be synced with your phone via an app or WiFi. It also features a built-in gyroscope and ballistic calculator that compute the angle of inclination, ballistic coefficient, bullet caliber, target range, wind velocity, and relative humidity to accurately specific shooting points.
8. ATN X-Sight II HD 5-20 Smart Day/Night Rifle Scope
The ATN X-Sight II HD 5-20 Smart Day/Night Rifle Scope is a night vision scopes that features Smart HD Optics Technology best for day and night hunting adventures. It also has a Recoil Activated Video (RAV) that can record all your victories, readily available to share with friends and family via Wi-Fi Streaming like the ATN Thor scope series.
It also has a built-in digital range finder that calculates the distance for better and faster target locking, giving shooters a perfect shot. It features a Ballistic Calculator that does all the calculations to provide you with the opportunity to see your target.
This rifle scope has an ATN X-Trac Tactical Remote Access Control System that provides control over various features such as Ballistic Calculator, Video Recording, Range finder, etc. It also has an IR 850 Pro Infrared Illuminator, Obsidian Dual-Core Processor, X Sight Long-Lasting Battery Pack 20000mAh that can last up to 22 hours continuous use.
9. Burris 300217 Armalite Rifle Tactical Sight
The Burris 300217 Armalite Rifle Tactical Sight is a battle-ready night vision rifle scope that gives you an inside track in close quarters combat. This optic also offers a 3x zoom, fully multi-coated optics, 3x magnification, and a ballistic 3x reticle that make laser-sharp placements.
It also features an illuminated round target horseshoe, an illuminated target dot, and a t-shaped MOA Crosshair for more precise shots at distances. Its LED illumination system has two colors (green or Red) and five brightness settings for each color.
This night vision scope is parallax-free at 100 yds and has windage and elevation adjustments of 80 MOA ranges and 1/2 MOA per click values. This battle-ready sight is housed with a robust and durable aluminum that provides a waterproof, fog proof, and point of impact-resistant performance.
10. Yukon Sightline N470S Digital Night Vision Riflescope
Yukon Sightline N470S Digital Night Vision Riflescope is another best night vision scope for AR-15 that features new electronic components and advanced firmware, enabling a two-fold increase of nighttime sensitivity. With this Gen 1 night vision rifle scope, the Sightline operation in twilight and nighttime comes with minimal external illumination, even in long-range shooting.
The Sightline Gen 1 NVG also features an ultra-fast 3.5 second startup time, a built-in Infrared Illuminator, and is operated with a single controller with dedicated buttons to activate. It also comes with a 1280 x 720 HD-sensor with 6-24x magnification and over 400-meter nighttime viewing range.
The best night vision scopes are battery-operated, so we suggest that you find a night vision scope that will last a few hours. You wouldn’t want to go into the wilderness, hunt animals, and have your night vision scope fail to operate because it didn’t have enough battery for you to use.
A scope lasts from six to eight hours. Other scopes may last up to more than 20 hours. Having rechargeable batteries for your scope is also good. Some scopes can be charged through a power bank, which we think is one of the best ways to charge your scope thus far conveniently.
Magnification power measures how much larger an object appears after magnification.  Optical power or magnification power is essential to be considered when buying the best night vision scope.
Before you decide to buy one, you must first determine how far you plan to shoot. Do you prefer short-range, mid-range, or long-range shooting? It is challenging to shoot in the dark, and it gets even harder to shoot with little magnification when it comes to distance. Typically, digital scopes have around 15x to 25x magnification with zoom features.
Length & Weight
Compared to daytime scopes, the best night vision scopes are bulkier and heavier. Therefore, you need to make sure that the scope you are about to buy has a considerable weight and size that your rifle could take for a comfortable shooting experience.
If you are to hunt without setting up with sticks or tripod, weight may be irrelevant. However, if you are to hunt without any tools, you must consider buying a lighter scope to better suit your needs. Also, since night vision scopes are naturally bulky, we suggest that you choose a possibly smaller scope to cause you any inconvenience.
Glass & Lens Size
The glass and lens of scope are also critical features that need to be considered. Lenses are usually situated at the front part of the scope and determine the field of view’s size as it gathers light to the target.
Therefore, the bigger the lens is, the more light it would get to the target.
And the more light you get through your target means the image the scope would project would be brighter, even during the night. The optimum lens size is 30-40 mm.
However, it is also noteworthy that bigger lenses will demand bigger mounts to prevent them from touching the gun.
Compared to traditional scopes, night vision scopes are more expensive because it uses a digital technology that traditional scopes do not have. However, it would be best if you found a scope with features that would at least give your money’s worth. There are AR-15 scopes that are below $100. Consider the glass or lens size, the extra features that come with the scope, and the scope’s price point.
If you are to buy a night vision scope, make sure to choose a durable and heavy-duty scope. The force generated from AR 15 rifles in terms of recoil may or may not be minimal, so you need to buy a scope that can withstand the recoil of your particular weapon. Determine whether the scope is rated for light, moderate, or heavy recoil.
You also need to find water and dust-resistant scope since night vision scopes are always exposed to the environment. And most importantly, we suggest that you buy a scope that is constructed with an aluminum body because it is sturdier than polymer or plastic. Aluminum may be more expensive than plastic, but it can resist falls, drops, and kicks better than plastic.
The extra features of the scope need to be considered, too. The more extra feature a scope has, the better. Most digital scopes need IR boosters or lights, the ability to record what you see through your scope and even transmit it via Wi-Fi. Some may have GPS features, HD resolutions, and rechargeable batteries.
Since most night vision scopes are large and bulky, they cannot possibly mount with the usual mounting hardware used for scopes like the Weaver Rail system.
Therefore, these night vision optics usually come with their own integrated mounting solution system like the Weaver Rail. And these mounts will probably use Allen screws to any normal Picatinny or Weaver mount easily and without the need for adapters.
Therefore, ensure that you have appropriately sized rings for your AR-15 and that the scopes are not over-tightened. You also have the option to use other AR-15 scope mounts.
Digital scopes have digital features, so you need to know their interface beforehand to set up for a productive hunt. To operate these scopes, click through multiple menus, screens, and functions in the split seconds for you to aim and shoot. So, if you don’t know how to operate the scope’s user interface, you could lose your shot.
Scope Detection Range
The best night vision scope will usually allow you to see between 50-250 yards like Gen 2 night vision scopes. However, recognizing and identifying the target and what it’s doing is a different story. So, you need to invest in a quality IR illuminator to make for a successful nighttime hunt. We suggest that you find a scope with detection and recognition range is the distance from which you see something and the range at which you can identify what it is. Choose a night vision scope whose recognition range is a safe shooting distance.
Also Read: How Do You Zero an AR-15 at 25 Yards?
It would be best to find a scope that mounts to different mounting rail systems compatible with various AR-15 rifles and weapons. It would be excellent to have a night vision scope that has dual usage. In other words, your night vision scope can also be used as a substitute for your daytime scope.
It’s irrelevant to spend a couple of hundred bucks for a product that doesn’t come with a quality warranty to protect the product. This warranty coverage may be for electronic parts or the body itself.
However, the warranty for these scopes may vary depending on the company’s warranty policy that made them. So, it would be wise to look over what’s covered and what you’ll end up having to look out for.
How to Set Up An AR-15 Night Vision Scope
To set up an AR-15 night vision scope, you will need to mount it with the usual mounting hardware used for scopes such as the Picatinny or Weaver rail. Use an Allen wrench to secure the Allen screws to make your scope stable and secure atop of your AR-15 rifle even without the need for adapters.
These scopes will also use a standard scope ring, so you can mount them just as you would a regular scope on whatever bases or mounts you have. However, you need to have properly sized rings and ensure that they are not over-tightened. We can also show you how to mount a scope on an AR-15 with front sights.
HOW MUCH MAGNIFICATION DO YOU NEED?
Generally speaking, night vision scopes have moderate levels of magnification. If your scope has a bigger lens, the higher its magnification it will have. Some digital models have high magnification for daytime use, but a magnification of something less than 10x is more than enough. Night vision scopes would perform well even with a 3x or 4x magnification. Here’s how you can zero your AR-15.
What Technology to Use on Your AR-15 - Digital NV or Traditional NV?
Based on our research and personal preference, it is best to use digital technology for your AR-15 rifles. Digital technology has features that make almost everything easier. It also makes target locking and shooting easier and more precise.
Having the ability to record the hunting sprees you’ve done at night through videos or pictures is also an advantage over a traditional night vision scope. Perks-wise, digital scopes have better features such as Wi-Fi streaming capabilities, better image quality, GPS, and distance range finder abilities.
Like most devices, night vision scopes on an AR-15 could last depending on how you use them or how much abuse they need to withstand when used during night shooting. However, some people claim that night vision scopes, as long as used with proper care, could last a lifetime.
A solid Generation 2 + system can last up to 5,000 hours of use, while a Gen 3 system can stay in operation for up to 12,000 hours to 15,000 hours. However, if you want to extend the Gen 2 scope’s life, you can just shut it off when not in use.
Unlike Gen 2 or Gen 3 scopes, the Gen 4 night vision system isn’t a US military recognized generation. After testing the life span and reliability of the Gen 4, they determined that this technology did not meet their strict requirements recanted its definition. But then, some companies now use the Gen 4 term as a marketing ploy to claim that their products are at their best image.
No, a night vision scope does not work in total darkness because it uses light from the environment to amplify it, unlike a thermal scope. Digital and intensified tube night vision devices are passive devices that need light to project an image. They use natural ambient infrared light from the moon and the stars to create an image. Unfortunately, these scopes will not work effectively on cloudy nights or in total darkness, unlike a thermal scope.
And Our Top NV Scope for An AR-15 is...
Based on research, our top NV scope for AR-15 is the Pulsar Digisight Ultra Digital Night Vision Riflescope because it features a digital technology best for day or night hunting. It also has a CMOS sensor and AMOLED display with a detection range of up to 600 yards, making hunting at night easier.
This scope also features a wide field-of-view with over ten reticle options, a removable modular IR illuminator, and a battery pack that can last up to eight hours. With its 4.5-18x magnification and picture-in-picture 2x/4x digital zoom, your hunting sprees will be more accurate and more fun. And lastly, the Pulsar Digisight riflescope has a durable aluminum housing, is rated IPX7 water-resistant, and can withstand high-caliber recoil.
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