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Hunting varmints, stealth shooting, and performing tactical operations at nighttime can be daunting without using a night vision device. We compiled the best night vision scopes in the market today to help you choose the right scope that can satisfy your shooting requirements at the most reasonable price.
OUR #1 RATED
Pulsar Digex N450 Digital Night Vision Riflescope
OUR #2 RATED
theOpticGuru ATN X-Sight LTV 5-15X Ultra Light Day & Night Vision Rifle Scope
OUR #3 RATED
ATN Night Spirit-2 Gen 2+ Night Vision Multi Purpose System
Table of Contents
- 1 Top 10 Night Vision Scopes
- 1.1 1. Pulsar Digex N450 Digital Night Vision Riflescope
- 1.2 2. theOpticGuru ATN X-Sight LTV 5-15X Ultra Light Day & Night Vision Rifle Scope
- 1.3 3. ATN Night Spirit-2 Gen 2+ Night Vision Multi Purpose System
- 1.4 4. Night Owl Optics NightShot Digital Night Vision Riflescope with infrared illuminator
- 1.5 5. BESTSIGHT Night Vision Rifle Scope
- 1.6 6. BESTSIGHT Night Vision Scope with Night Scope Hunting Camera
- 1.7 7. ACPOTEL Night Vision Monocular, 5 x 35 Digital Night Vision HD Scope
- 1.8 8. ATN X-Sight II HD 5-20 Smart Day/Night Rifle Scope
- 1.9 9. Bering Optics Avenger 3.0 x 50 Gen I Night Vision Sight
- 1.10 10. Celestron night vision-2 Digital Night Vision Scope
- 2 How It Works
- 3 Types of Night Vision Scopes
- 4 Steps to Zero In
- 5 Importance of Quality Night Vision Scopes
- 6 Purpose For Using It
- 7 Should I Use Plastic or Aluminum?
- 8 Night Vision Scopes Buying Guide
- 9 How to Mount A Night Vision Scope
- 10 Can I Use It During Daytime?
- 11 FAQs
- 12 And Our Top Night Vision Scope is...
Top 10 Night Vision Scopes
1. Pulsar Digex N450 Digital Night Vision Riflescope
Digex is made of a metal housing, making it reasonably rugged and durable. It features a highly sensitive HD-sensor and was designed for day and night use. It has a detachable high power of 850nm and 940 IR illuminator, which helps in sighting games at far distances while remaining inconspicuous.
This night vision scope has a 4-16x magnification range. It offers over ten different reticle options in various color palettes to suit your shooting preference. The crosshair is electronic and always stays in the same plane as the target. It features different functions, including direct shot, ballistic, scalable, and regular.
It has a built-in recorder to capture still images and HD-quality video. You can view them in real-time on your Android or iOS smartphones and tablets via Wi-fi connection. It also features wireless remote controls.
Like the Pulsar Helion XP50, it’s easy to use and has flexible mounting options. It can detect games at distances over 500 meters. It features generous eye relief and field of view.
2. theOpticGuru ATN X-Sight LTV 5-15X Ultra Light Day & Night Vision Rifle Scope
ATN is a durable digital scope that can deliver excellent performance and streamlined ergonomics for a more comfortable and faster shooting experience. It’s high-quality optics and sensor can deliver vivid and crisp images both day and night. It can retain day-night resolution.
It has a 50mm lens diameter for optimal light transmission. The magnification range is 5-15x.
Similar to ATN X-Sight 4K Pro, it can record HD videos of your great adventures. The long-lasting internal battery will keep you hunting from morning until evening, as it can operate for more than 10 hours of continued use.
Its One-Shot Zero feature automatically corrects the impact point electronically. You can choose among multiple reticle options to fit your situation. The FOV is 240mm, while the eye relief is 90mm.
It’s very easy to use and has a quick-detach mount so you can move it from one platform to another without losing zero. You can mount it on any platform with standard 30mm rings.
3. ATN Night Spirit-2 Gen 2+ Night Vision Multi Purpose System
ATN night vision digital scope is primarily used for law enforcement and professional applications. Hence, it’s guaranteed reliable and accurate. It features a high-resolution 2nd Gen intensifier tube that helps you get bright and sharp pictures in total darkness. It retains day-night resolution.
The optics are multi-coated that decreases glare. Its integrated IR illuminator improves the user’s ability to sight accurately and operate in confined, pitch dark areas. Its micro-channel plate amplifies light better than any other night vision scopes. ATN is powered by 1.5V AA size batteries.
ATN is weather-resistant, so you can use it in both dry and wet conditions. It can be used handheld, with headgears, or helmet-mounted.
4. Night Owl Optics NightShot Digital Night Vision Riflescope with infrared illuminator
The Night Owl Optics NightShot is a very affordable digital rifle scope that was designed to help you get good enough quality and performance. It’s compact and lightweight, making it a decent companion for mobile hunting, target shooting, and tactical operations. It has three reticle types to fit your shooting environment.
It features 3x magnification, 40 mm objective diameter, and a 640×480 resolution display. It can detect targets at 100 to 200 yards during day time.
Its built-in infrared illuminator can help you see targets in totally dark conditions at around 75 to 150 yards. It offers an eye relief of 2.7 inches and FOV of 5.6 degrees. These figures are reasonably good for short-range shooting.
This rifle scope is compatible with Picatinny or Weaver rails. It’s great for rifles, crossbows, airsoft, paintballs, and pellet guns.
5. BESTSIGHT Night Vision Rifle Scope
This night sighting device consists of separate parts that you can attach to your scope. It offers a 5-inch display screen, 360 degrees adjustable camera, and 5W extended sliding infrared flashlight. Hence, you can get clear and sufficient visuals of your target.
It’s good for sighting targets at about 100 yards. It’s very easy to use and assemble.
It’s great for surveillance, night hunting, and shooting.
6. BESTSIGHT Night Vision Scope with Night Scope Hunting Camera
This night vision scope is a valuable tool for nighttime hunting. It offers a 5-inch display screen so you can see your targets.
It has a 360 degrees adjustable camera and 5W extended sliding infrared flashlight so you can get a wider and more vivid view of your aim. It’s great for sighting targets at about 100 yards.
It’s very easy to use. The manual instruction for assembling this rifle scope is very easy to understand. It’s applicable for a variety of purposes, including surveillance, night hunting, and target shooting.
7. ACPOTEL Night Vision Monocular, 5 x 35 Digital Night Vision HD Scope
This rugged night vision scope has a built-in 850NM infrared illuminator for clearer sighting in poorly lit environments. You can get clear images of your target even at 1000m away during daytime. At nighttime, you can see targets at 200m.
It’s equipped with a rechargeable lithium battery. You can charge it by connecting a 5.0V/1000mAh adapter or connecting the computer through the USB cable.
You can easily view high-resolution pictures and videos on your laptop or smartphone. Its digital screen is 1.54 inches, which is long enough for better viewing. It has an extra 8GB memory card to store more videos and photos.
It’s lightweight and compact, making it great for outdoor activities such as surveillance, search and rescue operations, hunting, hiking, and bird watching.
8. ATN X-Sight II HD 5-20 Smart Day/Night Rifle Scope
ATN X-Sight II HD night vision scope features advanced technologies and ergonomics for greater accuracy, convenience, and efficiency for all sighting and shooting applications. It offers multiple reticle options so you can choose the one that fits your situation.
ATN has a wide magnification range for better viewing at longer distances. You can get incredibly clear and undistorted sight pictures through its Smart HD Optics Technology.
ATN has a ballistic calculator that can provide accurate calculations of the distance between you and your aim. Thus, you can acquire it easily in the shortest possible time.
Its Recoil Activated Video helps you get an HD video and photos of your hunting sprees. The Smart Rangefinder enables you to identify your target’s distance and adjust the impact point with only two clicks to make shooting more intuitive and faster.
9. Bering Optics Avenger 3.0 x 50 Gen I Night Vision Sight
It’s one of the most compact and lightweight night vision rifle scopes for varmint hunting. It’s made of durable aircraft aluminum material and was specifically designed to make it your convenient and comfortable hunting companion.
It features 3x magnification, which helps view targets at close to medium distances. The FOV is 12 degrees, while the eye relief is 50mm. The focus distance is 10 yards to infinity.
It can be powered by either AA batteries or CR-123 batteries. It has a built-in infrared illuminator, which can be easily activated to improve the brightness and clarity of images even in totally dark environments. It’s compatible with a weaver rail.
10. Celestron night vision-2 Digital Night Vision Scope
This night vision scope is quite good for long-distance viewing of targets up to 200 yards. It features a VGA 640×480 color display for enhanced image quality. The brightness of the screen will adjust automatically based on the illumination of your current environment.
It can be magnified up to 4.5x and has a 5x digital zoom. It requires one Lithium-ion battery, which is rechargeable. It offers good eye relief (12mm) and FOV (5ox3.75o).
It was designed to provide you with opportunities to record and save clear video or photos. It has 8GB microSD for more data storage. You can mount this on a weaver rail.
How It Works
Night vision scope allows you to see in dim light or complete darkness.
The traditional night vision scope uses optoelectronic image enhancement. This means that it relies on sensing amounts of infrared light and amplifying it to generate a clear image of your aim in a greenish hue.
By contrast, digital night vision scope features digital image enhancement, which captures ambient or artificial light on a digital image sensor and digitally refurbishes the full-color display images. The light entering the objective lens is then converted into a digital signal through a complementary metal-oxide-semiconductor (CMOS) sensor . The larger the CMOS, the higher the resolution of the image.
In a digital night vision rifle scope, you can directly view your target via the LCD screen. You can also connect this with other devices, such as a smartphone or laptop for remote viewing.
Digital night vision devices typically display black and white images on the screen.
Types of Night Vision Scopes
Night vision scopes can be divided into two major types, which are the digital night vision scopes and traditional night vision scopes.
Digital night vision devices don’t rely on image intensifier tubes but rather on digital signals to process and convert images into electrical signals, which can be viewed on a screen.
Traditional night vision scopes rely on light amplification technology to generate images. This is divided into four generations:
- Gen 1 night vision devices use intensifier tubes and have straightforward configurations. They are cheaper as compared to the latest generations.
- Gen 2 night vision devices feature a microchannel plate (MCP), optimizing the light on the tube by about one thousand times. Thus, they produce brighter and clearer images.
- Gen 3 night vision devices are military-grade. They have advanced technological features and excellent resolution. They have MCP plate and gallium arsenide for optimal clarity and crispness of images.
They provide the longest range and operate without using the IR illuminator in all light conditions. Gen 3 is quite durable and versatile.
- Gen 4 night vision devices are the most advanced night vision sight in the world today that use gated/filmless technology. They are designed to provide the best visibility, clarity, and performance at extremely low light settings.
Gen 2, 3, and 4 night vision rifle scopes offer better light amplification and performance than Gen 1. However, they are more expensive.
Steps to Zero In
- Learn about firearms safety. Always remember that firearms are dangerous and deadly. Make sure that you know what’s beyond your target before shooting.
- Read the instructions in the manual. It’s pertinent to consult first the product’s manual as different night vision devices have varying configurations and zeroing methods.
- Setting up. Find a stable shooting position to lessen the chances of human error. You can use a rifle bipod or a bench-rest. The more stable your position, the easier and faster you can zero your device.
- Find good targets. You can use paper or steel targets with square-shaped markers. This helps you to differentiate the degrees of each hit you make.
- Fire a few times. Fire in three rounds increments. Make sure not to move the gun.
- Make adjustments. Once you’re downrange, observe your target, and measure the distance from your three-round group to the target. Measure on straight, vertical, and horizontal lines. Adjust the reticle based on the calculations. Fire more three shots and repeat this process until the scope is reliably zeroed. The bull’s eye should be hit.
- Confirmation. Fire more shots to confirm that the scope is zeroed correctly.
Related Post: How To Sight In A Thermal Scope
Importance of Quality Night Vision Scopes
Hunting in dark settings can be tremendously challenging without the aid of a night vision device.
Night vision scopes and their attachments will provide you with sufficient light, visibility, and clear images for better surveillance and fast target acquisition.
Both traditional and digital night vision devices usually offer a wider field FOV. This helps you to keep track of your targets, especially in dark and tricky terrains. The former amplifies ambient light to increase your target’s image’s clarity, making them appear more natural and real. Meanwhile, a digital scope can be used day or night.
Generally, NV scopes are more reliable and have a longer battery life than other night vision technologies. This is a huge advantage, especially when you’re hunting outdoors for an extended time.
Purpose For Using It
The use of night vision scopes for plinking and other recreational shooting purposes is not uncommon. They make the job way easier, faster, and more accurate during the day or night. A Gen 1 technology would be enough for this purpose.
An affordable night vision rifle scope with reliable features and performance is all you need to accomplish your shooting needs. But if you can cough up more cash for the expensive ones like Gen 2 or Gen 3, that’s fine too. If you want to learn how to make DIY night vision goggles, check here.
Traditional and digital night vision devices are valuable tools for tactical purposes, such as surveillance, rescue operations, sniping, and target shooting. Gen 2, Gen 3, and Gen 4 are often highly recommended for these kinds of activities. You need to have the most vivid sight pictures and video as much as possible to eliminate guesswork and errors.
Suppose you’re a law enforcement officer or military personnel. In that case, your life may depend on the quality of your night vision scope, especially if you’re targeting a criminal or a foe, either during the day or night.
Hunting predators in dark settings are almost impossible without mounting a high-quality night vision device. Having a night vision scope will greatly help you clearly see your targets and make accurate discriminations if what you’re seeing is a coyote or a state-protected animal.
Gen 2 or Gen 3 are considered the best night vision scope for hunting. They have very clear optics and can produce vivid and sharp images.
If you’re on a tight budget, a seasoned shooter, or hunting in abundant ambient light, a Gen 1 technology could accomplish your shooting goals just as much as the higher generations.
You also need to choose a scope that’s recoil-resistant and rugged enough to withstand weather conditions and abuses in the field. Furthermore, an IR illumination system will aid you in seeing your targets in pitch dark environments.
Should I Use Plastic or Aluminum?
Aluminum body construction is quite durable and impact-resistant. They are longer-lasting as well. They are a reasonable choice for hunting and shooting in difficult terrains.
Many night vision scopes are made of aircraft-grade or military-grade aluminum, which means that they are exceptionally tough and solid. However, they often come at a higher price.
Plastic bodies are great for plinking and light hunting. They are way cheaper, but they aren’t durable enough to withstand severe abuses.
It’s best to go with tough material composition. But if you’re short on cash or a novice shooter, you can go with plastic bodies.
Night Vision Scopes Buying Guide
Night vision scopes require a battery to function, such as AA batteries. Some batteries are rechargeable, like lithium-ion. Some scopes come with an integrated battery pack, while others don’t.
With AA batteries, you’ll get five hours of power with the IR illuminator on.
The advanced features and technology of a night vision digital scope tend to drain the power quickly. Some may last up to 20 hours, depending on use. You would need some extra spares when you’re on the field for a longer time.
A traditional night vision system with an infrared illuminator can last longer as it only powers when the illuminated reticle is turned on in low light settings.
Gen 2 or 3 technology has longer battery longevity than Gen 1 technology.
The magnification of your scope is another consideration to take into account. If you’re aiming and shooting at long-range, a higher magnification is a practical option.
However, take note that the higher the magnification, the lower the FOV and the lesser the clarity of your image. The more magnification your night vision scope has, the heavier, bulkier, longer, and more pricey it tends to be.
If you’re shooting at close-range, extra magnification could slow you down and make your target appear blurry and distorted.
3-6x power range is best for most shooting scenarios, but if you’re shooting at close distances, a lower magnification range is more helpful.
In night vision scopes, the resolution pertains to the device’s intensifier system’s capacity to distinguish between various objects that are close together. It is expressed and measured in a line of pairs per millimeter LP/MM.
Generally, the higher the resolution and the more advanced the scope’s system, the clearer and sharper the video and sight pictures you’ll get.
The resolution of a night vision device is related to the optic’s generation. The higher the generation, the greater clarity and crispness of the image quality.
Scopes are divided into four generations. Depending on your budget, profession, and shooting requisites, opt with higher generations for more advanced features or systems and dependable performance.
Take note that any plus (+) sign on a Gen scope means more features have been introduced to this generation. Hence, a Gen 3 technology would be more inferior to a Gen 3+.
The best night vision scope may be defined as the one that can deliver good enough performance as per your shooting needs at a reasonable price. In some situations, a Gen 1 technology would be sufficient for your needs.
Image Recording Capacity
Many digital night scopes allow you to capture and save HD-quality videos and pictures of your hunting adventures. You can view these data in real-time or remotely on your electronic devices such as laptops, tablets, or smartphones. You can also upload them directly to your social media accounts.
Generally, night vision scopes with image recording features come at a higher price. They often have Wi-fi and Bluetooth functions.
The best night vision scopes have a high-quality glass. They can generate clear and bright images of your targets, even with those with low magnification levels. However, this entails a high cost. For scopes with cheap glass, no matter how high the magnification is, your image may still be blurry and distorted.
Some manufacturers include multiple reticle options in their night vision scopes so that users can choose the reticle type, size, and color (e.g., black and white, red, green) that match their situation.
These are some questions that you may ask yourself when considering the right reticle for a night vision scope:
- Is it visible on a low magnification level?
- Do I prefer it to increase in size as I increase magnification or the same size?
- Will it hinder vital kill-zones of my target when I zoom in?
- Will it obscure with the vision of my target?
- Does it have a cross, an open circle, or a dot?
- Do I prefer a thick or a thin crosshair?
An infrared illuminator works like a flashlight. It allows shooters to see in low light settings or complete darkness by emitting infrared light. It is handy, especially during the night when ambient light is not sufficient or pitch black.
The larger your infrared illuminators, the more powerful they are. Generally, they have a limited range, which hovers around 30 yards.
If you’re buying a night vision rifle scope, it’s a good decision also to purchase attachable or handheld illuminators in case you may need them in your future nocturnal escapades.
The quality of the material construction for scope is another factor to consider. An aluminum-alloy body is extremely durable and rugged. Some Gen 2 and 3 night vision scopes have a titanium body, which is also tough and solid.
The best night vision scopes are water-resistant, shock-proof, fog-proof, and able to withstand extreme weather conditions. Look for one with multi-coated lenses rather than fully coated as they reduce glare much better and allow more light transmittance.
A night vision rifle scope that can withstand power recoil is a wise choice. This will help prolong your scope, maintain zero well, and protect your shooting eye and face from recoil injury.
Length & Weight
Night vision scopes are generally heavier or bulkier than their daytime counterparts due to added features. Be sure to take into account the length and weight of your scope as these factors can encumber you while moving around the field.
Many night vision scope is compact and lightweight, so they are easy to carry around. Scopes that are made of aluminum or titanium body is light and best for mobile hunting. Others may be heavier and longer, but you can get great reliability and performance from them.
The price of a night vision scope depends on several factors, including its built-in technology and system, housing composition, optical quality, generation, brand, power, and range.
There’s a ton of options in the market for a good scope. However, they aren’t inexpensive. But you can find cheaper ones with an IR illuminator that can deliver good enough performance. Gen 1 system is the cheapest you can get in the market.
There are many extra features that a night vision scope can have. These include the following: accelerometer, SD card slot, wireless streaming, wireless remote controls, Bluetooth capabilities, recoil activated video, sound recording, zero in function, compass, built-in GPS, e-barometer, laser rangefinder [2,3], and ballistic calculator [4,5].
Gen 1 technology has the most basic and limited features as compared to higher generations.
The best night vision scope may have an automatic zeroing system for accurate aiming all the time.
The more features added to the scope, the higher the price. But it can be truly worth it, especially when you’re hunting erratic games in tricky terrains. Tactical operations could also greatly benefit from extra features and advanced technology.
Night vision mounting system helps you achieve the accuracy and precision you need for a spot-on shot.
Scope mounts offer different position options (low, medium, high). They are made from titanium body, steel, or aluminum. Hence, they are often lightweight.
Most scopes are compatible with either Weaver rail or Picatinny rail. Some of them can be mounted on headgears or helmets. Some have quick-detach weaver, which is great when you’re changing rifles from time to time.
Scope Detection Range
When buying a night vision rifle scope, look for the detection range over the total range. Detection range depends on the optic’s generation, magnification, and objective lens diameter. Manufacturers often include in the product’s manual the detection range for full moons, quarter moon, starlight only, and overcast.
The detection range decreases as the amount of ambient or artificial light decreases. For instance, a scope that can detect targets at 600 yards in a full moon may only be detectable at 100 yards with an overcast sky.
Most night vision scopes allow you to see between 50 to 250 yards. Beyond that, you need to have infrared illuminators, higher power, and pricer brands.
It’ll save you money and time if you get a night vision rifle scope that is versatile. This means that it can be mounted on a variety of firearm platforms, such as rifles, crossbows, pellet guns, shotguns, and so on.
The best night vision scope can be used day and night. It’s also good to get one that offers multiple reticle options and has a wide magnification range, as these factors are helpful in certain shooting scenarios.
It’s important to know the terms and conditions of your night vision scope’s warranty to protect your rights and your product. Some scopes offer a lifetime warranty, while others are only limited and for a specific period.
In some cases, coverage on electronic parts may not be included in certain warranties. Furthermore, consider the track records of the product’s company when it comes to customer service.
How to Mount A Night Vision Scope
Mounting a night vision scope is pretty straightforward. You can mount them as you would a regular scope.
Most night vision scopes are equipped with mounting rings with a Weaver rail. Make sure your rifle’s rail fits the mounting rings of your scope. Before attempting to attach your night vision scope to your rifle, make sure your rifle is not loaded.
Loose the mounting screws at the base of the night vision range and increase the mounting bracket size.
Place the scope on the Picatinny or Weaver-style base, then align the mounting screws with the base’s cutting slots. Place the mounting bracket along the side of the base and tighten the screws.
It’s better to read the instructions in the manual on how to mount your scope correctly and safely.
Can I Use It During Daytime?
It depends on your scope’s technology. You can use a digital night vision scope during the day or night.
It can give you sight pictures with great resolution and clarity.
Most traditional scopes should not be used during the day. They rely on nighttime ambient light. The internal structures may get damaged by sunlight just from being turned on. Some brands and models can be used during the day as long as the infrared illuminators are not turned on, and you will not point the scope directly at the sun.
It’s best to follow the instructions in your manual to prevent damaging your night vision scope and consequently wasting money for repairs or buying a new one. If you’re a beginner, it’s best to get help from a seasoned shooter.
It depends on several factors. Gen 1 technology is the cheapest scope line yet it’s great for non-extreme hunting.
The higher the generation of the traditional night vision scope and the more features and smart technologies incorporated in a digital scope, the higher the price.
Those with an IR illumination system and quick-detach weaver tend to be a bit pricey too. The more branded the scope is, the more expensive it’s likely to be.
The power longevity of a night vision scope depends on its type, brand, model, and frequency of use.
Generally, digital night vision riflescopes have shorter battery lives than traditional or thermal scopes.
Gen 1 could last for a few hundred hours up to 1,000 hours. Gen 2 could last 5,000 hours while Gen 3 could last up to 10,000 hours. Meanwhile, Gen 4 has a battery life expectancy comparable to Gen 2.
In contrast to thermal scope, night vision riflescope provides more details so you can identify and differentiate easily what you’re looking at. It provides a much better view of the environment.
Thermal scope is less capable when it comes to target identification. You might have a hard time distinguishing whether you’re sighting a coyote or a feral hog.
Thermal scope covers shorter ranges and often runs out of battery power more quickly than night vision.
Coyotes are nocturnal creatures, so you need to use night vision scope to see them clearly in complete darkness while remaining unnoticeable.
The best night vision scopes for this purpose is any one on our top 10 list. It’s better to use night vision system like Gen 2 or 3 than a Gen 1. A digital night vision or a thermal scope would also be a great choice.
Get one with the clearest sight images.
It depends on the model and the system of your night vision scope. Many variables can influence yardage, such as amount of lighting, weather conditions, landscape, target size, signal-to-noise ratio, resolution, photosensitivity, and front lens focal length.
You’ll get precise estimations of range detection and recognition from the manual of your night vision scope.
Generally, the best night vision scope has high values for its resolution, signal-to-noise ratio, and sensitivity.
And Our Top Night Vision Scope is...
Our top pick for a night vision scope is the Pulsar Digex N450 Digital Night Vision Riflescope. It has advanced technological features and good ergonomics, making night hunting and shooting adventures more accurate, convenient, and faster.
This digital night vision scope features an intuitive user interface and offers a generous FOV and eye relief. You can set it to zero pretty easily. It has video and sound recording capabilities to capture your great shooting escapades.
Its infrared light is sufficient for most hunting situations. It can be used both day and night. It helps you get impeccably clear and high-resolution images, even in poorly lit settings.
It’s the best night vision scope for the price.