The ability to see and fight in the pitch dark is a relatively recent innovation.
The development of night vision technology is largely thanks to the military’s need to engage targets in COMPLETE DARKNESS.
These scopes allow users to see their prey across vast distances without any source of ambient light. These night vision scopes even have video recording and thermal imaging settings!
Let’s look at some of the best night vision scopes today.
We’ll see their advantages over a daytime scope and why you would need an NV scope for low light or even no-light conditions.
- Best Night Vision Scope Reviews – Top 10 Picks
- 1. ATN X-Sight 4K Pro 5-20x
- 2. Pulsar Digisight Ultra N455 LRF
- 3. Sightmark Wraith HD 4-32x50mm
- 4. ATN ThOR HD 384 1.25-5x
- 5. Yukon Sightline N450S
- 6. Night Owl Optics Nightshot 3X
- 7. Pard NV008
- 8. BUSHNELL 4.5x40mm Equinox Z2 Digital Night Vision Rifle Scope
- 9. Pulsar Thermion XM50
- 10. Armasight CO-LR Gen 3
- What Is a Night Vision Scope?
- Do I Really Need a Night Vision Scope?
- The Different Types & Generations of Night Vision Scopes
- Thermal Scope vs. Night Scope: What’s the Difference?
- Things to Consider Before Buying the Best Night Vision Scope
- The Limitations of Night Vision Rifle Scopes
- Frequently Asked Questions
- How Long Does a Night Vision Scope Last?
- How Far Can You Shoot With a Night Vision Scope?
- What Night Vision Scope Does the Military Use?
- What Kind of Night Vision Do Navy SEALs Use?
- Can I Use Night Vision Scopes During the Day?
- What’s the Best Cheap Night Vision Scope for the Money?
- What’s the Best Night Vision Scope for Hog, Coyote, and Fox Hunting?
- Summary of Top Picks
- Final Words
Best Night Vision Scope Reviews – Top 10 Picks
With so many options, you’re sure to find affordable night vision scopes to help you get into nighttime shooting or the ideal night vision scope to record video with.
These scopes were chosen from hundreds of night vision optics across dozens of brands.
Whether you’re going hog hunting, developing your target shooting skills to get the perfect shot, or conducting operations in low-light conditions, you’ll find the right night vision scope for you.
1. ATN X-Sight 4K Pro 5-20x
The American Technologies Network (ATN) X-Sight 4K is an excellent dual-purpose digital night vision scope, seamlessly transitioning between daytime and night vision work.
It’s equally ideal for hog hunting, coyote hunting, and target shooting. It’s a do-it-all scope that allows you to do nearly anything during any time of day… or night.
The X-Sight 4K Pro is filled to the brim with useful features and outperforms every other digital night vision riflescope in its class. It’s a digital computer as much as it is a scope.
In addition to day and night use, it has a complete darkness ballistic calculator, recoil-activated video recording, Wi-Fi streaming, Bluetooth pairing, GPS, barometer, and a smart rangefinder.
It also offers 4K video recording and image quality, making it a weapon sight that allows you to show off your hunts in all their glory. It prevents you from getting lost and gives you all the data you need!
It doesn’t stop there. The ATN X-Sight 4K Pro includes an incredible 18+hour battery life, having reliable 5-20x magnification with a huge 85 mm objective lens and a mil-dot reticle.
Coming in at a less than $700 price tag, it is the best digital night vision scope for under $1000. It gives you all the data you need to make the right shot and even lets you record your kills and stream them in 4k.
- Has advanced digital night vision riflescope functions
- Mid-level price tag
- Works in both day and night with rapid transition
- High image quality and 4K image resolution
- Less power consumption with longer runtime
- Constructed with hardened aluminum alloy and is recoil-proof
- May have too many features geared toward hunting
2. Pulsar Digisight Ultra N455 LRF
When the price tag starts adding zeroes, we start to get nervous. Fortunately, you get what you pay for with the Pulsar Digisight Ultra. Besides, at less than $2000, it’s still on the affordable side.
This digital night vision riflescope is another powerhouse of its class. It offers day and night use and includes an IR illuminator with a detection range of 546 yards (half a kilometer).
What makes the Pulsar Digisight unique is the integrated laser rangefinder, which allows you to spot your target and determine its exact distance even from a long-range away.
Its high-resolution display with HD sensor, enhanced nighttime sensitivity (for picking up infrared light), picture-in-picture viewing mode, and integrated video recorder make it an absolute MUST-HAVE.
It’s also incredibly durable, having IPX7 protection that makes it waterproof, a shock-proof magnesium alloy body that makes it recoil-proof, and works at extreme temperatures.
It has many reticle options to hit long and short-range targets. It has a 6-objective lens eyepiece that gives you the best field of view and offers 4-18x magnification.
The Pulsar Digisight Ultra uses infrared light as efficiently as possible to help you hit long-range targets, recording your kill, and zooming in to get the most precise shot.
- Has a smart rangefinder, Wi-Fi integration, and companion app
- Durable construction and recoil-proof
- Multiple reticle options
- Long-range IR Illuminator and an HD sensor
- 6-hour battery life
3. Sightmark Wraith HD 4-32x50mm
BEST BUDGET PICK
The Sightmark Wraith is an excellent night vision scope that becomes even more excellent when you see that it costs less than $500.
It’s more affordable than its nearest competitors but just as packed with features!
Being powered by only 4 AA batteries, it offers a 1980×1080 HD digital imaging sensor, full-color day mode, a mountable infrared illuminator, and excellent target acquisition up to 200 yards.
The Wraith is a Generation 1 night vision scope that offers 4-32x magnification with a reliable 50mm objective lens. This night vision rifle scope offers multiple reticle options as well.
The Sightmark Wraith is an excellent night vision scope for those looking to record their kills, offering 7 hours’ worth of 1080p footage on a micro-SD card. It’s made for fox and hog night hunters.
It has generous eye relief and offers IP55 waterproof resistance, which is SUBSTANTIAL compared to other night vision devices. It’s also made of durable aluminum and includes multiple Picatinny rail mounting options.
This rifle scope is marginally shock-proof and can operate in extreme temperatures. It even offers 5 different weapon profiles to save your most commonly used settings.
The Wraith is a capable night vision scope, and its affordable price, infrared illuminator, and sturdy construction make it a must-have for those looking to start hunting at night.
- HD imaging and display quality
- Detachable IR illuminator
- Works in both day and night conditions
- 8x digital zoom
- Auto-bright control to handle bright light
- Not good for long-range shooting
- Low battery life
4. ATN ThOR HD 384 1.25-5x
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This night vision scope distinguishes itself from others on the list by simply NOT using night vision technology. The ATN ThOR is a thermal scope, allowing you to see in abject blackness.
This thermal rifle scope runs on an Obsidian core, making it a smart computer that’s easier than a smartphone and more customizable. It’s capable of making calculations in seconds!
The Obsidian technology includes a built-in ballistic calculator that offers you the input you need to give it your best shot. Once you pull the trigger, it even activates the recoil-activated video.
The ThOR is so smart that it has an integrated weapon profile manager, allowing you to save any zeroing, zoom, velocity, and data information for your weapons systems and calibers.
This allows this thermal imagine rifle scope to help you see your target, help you determine distance and ranges, plant your shot, and record it in HD video quality.
It includes other useful features such as a gyroscope to measure tilt and leveling, E-compass to keep you oriented, and an E-barometer to measure environmental factors.
The ATN ThOR is the long-range thermal imaging night vision scope of the future. It pushes the limits of current-day night vision technology and gives you the complete scope package.
- Recoil-activated HD video
- Fully digital
- Long battery life, even with AA Batteries
- Integrated rangefinder and ballistic calculator
- Moderate eye relief
5. Yukon Sightline N450S
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The Yukon Advanced Optics Sightline N450S digital night vision scope is one of the market’s best-rated night vision scopes. It offers almost 400 yards of nighttime viewing range.
It comes with an external high-powered long-range IR illuminator to help you see in complete darkness. It even offers illuminated, color-changing reticles to help you get a bead on the target.
The Sightline can also operate in intense temperatures and is extremely durable. The scope offers 4-16x magnification with a 50mm objective lens, giving you an excellent sight picture.
The Yukon Sightline night vision scope is equipped with a CMOS sensor and HD AMOLED display to help you see clearly in the dark, allowing you to track your target and strike it.
It even includes a picture-in-picture mode allowing you to zoom in on the part of your prey you’re targeting without losing sight of your target.
If that wasn’t enough, it also comes with a rangefinder to help you determine your distance, and it allows you to save your most commonly-used settings.
The Yukon Sightline is an excellent night vision scope that allows you to easily find your target. It helps you follow it and make the right calculations to hit it from a long distance.
- Quick target focusing technology
- Simple to set up and use
- Offers HD footage and high definition view
- Has a built-in stadiametric rangefinder
- Auto-shutdown function to help save batteries
- White screen is hit or miss
6. Night Owl Optics Nightshot 3X
The Night Owl Optics Nightshot 3X is an affordable night vision scope that serves as an ideal hunting companion for small and large game.
The Nightshot’s strong engineered thermoplastic body makes it shock-proof, weatherproof, and even recoil-proof with most heavy-caliber shotguns and hunting rifles.
It includes a built-in IR illuminator that can give you clear vision up to 200 yards with 3x magnification. Its objective lenses are also glare-proof, keeping you from alerting your prey.
It offers 6 different reticle options, allowing you to quickly cycle through and find the one that suits your needs. It received high praise for its ease of use and effectiveness in the hunt.
It offers a 640×480 display, and thanks to its Picatinny and weaver-style mounting options, it can fit pretty much any long weapon you need it to fit. It’s a lightweight and versatile scope!
This Night Owl Optics scope is one of the CHEAPEST on this list, giving you access to excellent night vision for a fraction of the cost of any of the other scopes on the market.
The Nightshot is a perfect alternative for those looking to get into night-based shooting. It’s simple with no fuss and minimal frills, but it gets the job done well.
- Incredibly affordable
- Lightweight design
- Durable construction
- User-friendly and easy to use
- Easy to adjust knobs and turrets
- Multiple mounting options
- Short battery duration
- Not suited for ammunition above 30 caliber
7. Pard NV008
Pard is a newcomer to the night vision and thermal imaging game, especially when compared to more venerable brands like ATN or Pulsar. It’s also the only Chinese brand on the list.
The Pard NV008 is notable for having all the trappings of a great and reliable night vision scope without the ridiculous price tag. It’s a technological marvel in a compact package.
The NV008 is a fully-digital scope that works in day and night conditions. It’s waterproof and offers a 350m field of view thanks to its IR illuminator. It even has a ballistic calculator.
This Pard scope comes with Wi-Fi and Bluetooth connectivity. It helps you measure distances accurately up to 1200m away. Like higher-end models, it lets you take high-definition videos.
It even offers 2x picture-in-picture magnification to help you see where you’re aiming. The PARD has its own Visible Light Enhancement Algorithm to make things clearer and enhance nighttime sensitivity.
The scope is rated IP67 water-resistant and comes with a totally-silent button to keep you silent and stealthy. If you can think of a feature, PARD NV008 probably has it.
This compact and portable scope is a phenom, giving you features available on higher-end models at HALF the price. It is the best night vision scope under $700, bar none.
- Shock-proof and waterproof design
- Has a ballistic calculator and 1200m rangefinder
- Uses Visible Light Enhancement Algorithm (VLEA) for better image clarity at night
- Decent price
- Laser and rangefinder are sold separately
- Newer, unproven brand
8. BUSHNELL 4.5x40mm Equinox Z2 Digital Night Vision Rifle Scope
Bushnell is one of the most established tactical and outdoor scope industry names. Their Equinox scope only adds to their prestige as a reliable night vision scope that the average man can afford.
The Equinox is actually a monocular as opposed to a sniper scope. It can be mounted quickly to a Picatinny rail or handheld, allowing you to follow your target even in complete darkness.
This is thanks to its integrated IR illuminator, which allows you to see almost 200 yards away. It also allows you to capture and share high-quality videos thanks to its Wi-Fi and HD camera.
It uses a CMOS sensor to give you exceptional edge-to-edge clarity and outstanding image output. It offers 4.5x magnification using a multi-coated 40mm lens which lets you see up to 900 feet away.
The Equinox camera records high-quality video and lets you upload your footage by inserting its micro-SD card into your devices or live-streaming via Wi-Fi.
Bushnell is so sure about the quality of their products that they even offer a lifetime warranty for Equinox. This lightweight monocular can help you own the night during your hunt.
The Equinox works best when mounted in front of a sniper scope, allowing you to turn your daytime scope into a night scope by using the Equinox as an adaptor to help you hunt in the dark.
- Extremely affordable
- It can be used independently as a handheld monocular
- 500-foot range (almost 200 yards)
- 1080p HD video recording
- Built-in infrared illuminator
- Compact and lightweight
- Wi-Fi integration and live-streaming
- Needs separate scope or optic for reticle
- Not meant as a sniper scope
9. Pulsar Thermion XM50
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Pulsar’s Thermion XM-50 is a high-end thermal imaging scope that allows you to track your target and head after it without worrying about your scope. It’s one of the best thermal scopes on the market.
Its high-quality all-metal aircraft-grade aluminum construction lets you take it to multiple environments. It’s rated IPX7 waterproof, shock-proof, and recoil-proof.
The Thermion offers superior thermal imaging using state-of-the-art software to help you spot targets using their heat signature. These images can then be downloaded, uploaded, and shared.
Its germanium optics also allow you an extreme detection range of 2.3 km in total darkness, farther than any other scope on this list. It also allows you to see thanks to Pulsar’s image boost technology.
These software algorithms allow you to see your targets no matter how far away they are. They also allow you to take stunning visuals of your prey and record HD-quality footage.
Thermion’s thermal imaging technology allows you to have the clearest possible view of your target, allowing you to even live-stream, thanks to its excellent video quality.
The Pulsar Thermion does everything that every other scope on this list can do, and it does it even better than them. It’s one of the top thermal imaging scopes available, and it’s an absolute POWERHOUSE.
- Intuitive, user-friendly, and ergonomic design
- Exceptional durability and weatherproofing
- Extremely long-range
- Uses proprietary image boost technology
- Wi-Fi integration and streaming
- Very expensive
- Huge learning curve
10. Armasight CO-LR Gen 3
The Armasight CO-LR (Clip-On, Long-Range) scope is a far-reaching night vision optic that offers a quick-release mount, which no other scope on this list has.
But its unique properties don’t stop there. The CO-LR is an add-on to help you easily transition from day shooting to night shooting. It’s meant to be used in front of a dedicated day scope.
This Armasight scope is intuitive and easy to use, remove, and reuse. Because of its factory bore-sighting, it requires no zeroing and no recalibration on your day sights. Mount it and fire away.
It’s a quality scope made of high-quality, durable housing that makes it waterproof and weatherproof. It can take a beating and still help you spot a target up to 1000 yards away.
The CO-LR offers variable gain control, 3-12x magnification settings, easy conversion ability, wireless remote control, and a whopping 60 hours of battery. It’s a BEAST of a scope.
The Armasight CO-LR comes with a detachable IR illuminator to allow you to see your targets clear as day despite prowling during the darkest of nights. If you need to see a target, it will help you get the job done.
This Armasight day-to-night adaptor is quickly becoming a military favorite. It comes with a lens cloth, wireless remote control, battery adaptor, light suppressor, and night-vision clip-on system.
- 1000-yard range
- Quick-release mount and full-color HD AMOLED display
- 60-hour battery lifespan
- Waterproof and weather-resistant
- Usable as a day and night scope
- Sniper scope sold separately
What Is a Night Vision Scope?
A night vision scope is a sniper scope that allows you to see at night through night vision or thermal imaging technology. This is thanks to their image intensifier tube.
These tubes take any available light in the area (no matter how minimal) and funnel it into your eyes, allowing you to see in low-light creation.
The primary audience for NVSs are military and law enforcement personnel. However, night vision scopes have become popular with civilian hunters, birdwatchers, and other recreational users in recent years. This is thanks to the variety of scopes on the market.
Let’s look at some of the most important things to know before buying a night vision rifle scope and why you might need one.
How Does a Night Vision Rifle Scope Work?
Night vision scopes are divided into traditional and digital image enhancement. While most people know the traditional scopes by their green color, modern scopes are the future of night vision.
The traditional night scopes use optoelectric image enhancement, gathering trace amounts of ambient infrared light bouncing off of objects and magnifying that into the iconic green tint.
This green hue allows the human eye to pick up the most amount of light and make sense of their surroundings in the dark.
FUN FACT: These scopes were widely used from the 1980s to the 2000s.
Nowadays, commercial-grade night vision scopes are all digital, using digital image CMOS sensors to absorb light and project the image on a full-color display as video.
Combine that with proprietary image enhancement algorithms, and it’s as if you see it in the daytime. This digital setting allows them to easily integrate Wi-Fi and HD recording into their features.
How Do I Set Up and Mount a Night Vision Scope?
Like other rifle scopes, night vision scopes offer several different mounting options to help you quickly mount them on top of your rifle.
They can be mounted using any military-grade mounting system.
Make sure that your night vision scope is fully assembled and charged before mounting.
If you are using a monocular, you can use an adaptor mount which you can screw into place with an Allen wrench. These then mount on Picatinny or weaver-style tactical rails.
Night vision monoculars that are meant to be mounted in front of optics are often meant to be quickly detached. Line it up on your rail, close the quick-release plate, and you’re all set.
All other night vision rifle scopes can be easily mounted on tactical rails by placing them on top of your rifle rails and screwing them into place.
Once your rifle scope is mounted, you can then set it up. You will need to activate your optic, go through your focus and brightness (when using a digital scope), and start zeroing.
How Do I Zero a Night Vision Scope?
Zeroing is essential for every sight, scope, and optic. However, doing it with your night vision scope may require extra care and attention.
TAKE NOTE: Digital night vision scopes that are usable during the day can be zeroed in daylight. You will need to zero them in the dark for more classic or night-only designs to get the right feel.
Like normal scopes, zeroing entails adjusting your eyepiece to get ideal eye relief, though night scopes work better if the socket is closer to your eye. You will need a scope that absorbs recoil.
You will then need to perfectly level your rifle (mounting it on a table or the ground) before adjusting your reticle. This includes fiddling with your windage and elevation turrets.
You will then need to set your minute of angle (MOA) before firing shots in sets of 3 to see if you have perfect zeroing and recalibrate if not. You can save these settings and access them easily using a digital copy.
The important thing is to do it safely and always take care of your equipment. Proper mounting and alignment can go a long way.
Do I Really Need a Night Vision Scope?
This question depends on your hunting preferences and what kind of game you’re tracking.
If you’re not planning to stay in the forest after nightfall, you don’t need a night scope.
If you want to experiment with transitioning from day to night shooting, you can choose a separate night vision monocular that mounts in front of your day scope.
Should you gain more experience prowling and stalking nocturnally, you can then choose to buy a dedicated night vision scope. It’s vital to have one if you’re hunting hogs or foxes in the dark.
Using night-vision will depend on IF and HOW OFTEN you decide to go hunting at night. If you find it to your liking, you will need a reliable and clear night vision scope to help you hit your targets.
The Different Types & Generations of Night Vision Scopes
While we often view night vision technology as a modern innovation, night vision generations began in the 1930s and were used by the German Army as early as World War 2.
The history and technological advances in night vision can be traced to which generation they belonged to.
We’ll go through each generation to find the different types of night vision devices.
These first-generation NODs and scopes were cutting edge… in the 1950s. They allow for short-range target observation and are, nowadays, an entry-level device to allow casual enthusiasts to see in the dark.
Gen 1 scopes are affordable and barely go above 75 yards. Dedicated hunters and uniformed personnel looking to hit their targets need not go back in time to use Gen 1 optics.
The second-generation night vision series was an incredible step up from Gen 1 devices. They were standardized globally to reach the same standards of quality. They last much longer and see much farther than the Gen 1s.
Gen 2 optics are still very reliable, though, at their price range, you would be better off spending a few hundred dollars more and moving to Gen 3 if your budget can handle it.
Gen 3 night fighting devices are the pinnacle of technological research in seeing in the dark.
Today’s military and special operations units use Gen 3 scopes for their night-fighting capabilities.
They allow you to see hundreds of yards, offer high-resolution images, thousands of hours of use, excellent performance in all light conditions, and are more affordable with each new model.
Fourth-generation scopes are Gen 3 scopes perfected, though it can be argued that semantically, they are just the latest and most advanced Gen 3 scopes since the military stopped calling new scopes “Gen 4.”
Semantic confusion aside, these scopes offer all the advantages of Gen 3, emphasizing digital light gathering and viewing. Gone are the days of all-green night vision!
Thermal Scope vs. Night Scope: What’s the Difference?
Both thermal and night vision scopes allow you to boldly go where you would have never gone before: Into the darkness of night.
However, there are a few key differences between these two types of scope:
Thermal imaging relies on heat to determine the location of objects, focusing brightness on objects with more internal heat using radiation.
Images can be generated in white, black, or blue with red and yellow.
The hotter an object is, the more radiation emanates, and the clearer the image is. Thermal rifle scopes can be used during the day and night because they rely more on heat than light.
This also allows thermals to see farther than NV scopes, which need ambient light.
Unfortunately, extremely cold temperatures can render thermals useless because there is no heat to gather.
Night Vision Scope
On the other hand, electronic night vision scopes rely on infrared illuminators (either built-in or externally mounted like flashlights) to generate invisible light.
Night vision scopes are often lighter and more compact than thermal scopes. They are also more mainstream, giving you more options within your price range and list of needs.
Unfortunately, digital scopes are limited by how much light their IR illuminators can release, just like their predecessors. This means that you can see less than thermal scopes.
Which Is Better: Thermal or Night Vision Scope?
In the battle between scopes that allow you to see in the dark, the answer of “which one is better” will depend entirely on your needs.
As much as this is a cop-out, they each have their strengths and weaknesses.
If detection is the game’s name, THERMAL SCOPES have already won. They allow you to get a bead on moving targets from further away, though you may have trouble identifying what kind of creature is in your sights.
On the other hand, clarity is what makes NIGHT VISION SCOPES excellent. Even the greenest of scopes can show you small details like faces and legs. What more now that they come with picture-in-picture video?
The choice will depend on your hunting ground. You will need to consider your prey and your terrain. These will decide which of these two kinds will work better for you.
Things to Consider Before Buying the Best Night Vision Scope
Night vision scopes are the pinnacle of optical technology, which means they’re an investment and need to be treated with respect, handled with care, and paid the right price.
Let’s consider the important factors when choosing among the best-rated night vision scopes available. Let’s look at what you need to know to make an informed purchase.
Price is king when it comes to considerations, especially with more luxurious purchases like night-vision sniper scopes. That being said, you get what you pay for.
Night vision optics go for less than $200 on the cheapest end of the scale. Although they don’t come with many bells and whistles, these can get you decent ranges with enough image stability.
Your best bet is to stick to a $500 – $1500 price range. Mid-tier scopes offer useful digital features like HD recording, Wi-Fi and app integration, and gyroscopes and barometers.
Several models go up to $3500 and even $12,000, giving you the highest level of construction, technological innovation, and integration that make the $500 models look like toys.
Several factors affect how much light your scope can absorb and how it can broadcast a sight picture. These include signal-to-noise ratio, figure of merit (FOM), and resolution.
You will need to research which image intensifier tube to use, which lens size works for you, IIT resolution, and other essential factors determining how well you can see your target.
#3 Focus Range
This is the range in which your depth of field can be seen clearly, or how far out you can see your target. Most night vision scopes can at least 200 yards, with the best going 1.2 km away.
Your focus range will depend on your typical engagement distances. You will not need to see very far if you’re hunting ducks, but you might need it when hunting foxes and deer.
The higher up you go in price, the more your IR illuminator increases intensity. This allows your focus range to increase, giving you 500 yards to 1000 yards of clear visuals.
#4 IR Illuminator
For the longest time, night vision goggles and scopes couldn’t be used in pitch darkness because they needed to funnel existing light into the optics. An IR illuminator solves this problem.
An IR illuminator will allow you to see where no visible light is available by harnessing invisible light to give you clarity.
The more powerful your illuminator is, the farther you can see into the distance.
The standard is 850 nm IR illuminators, allowing you to go above 200 yards. Anything more than that can get you to 500 yards clearly and effectively.
You will be roughing it in the great outdoors, bumping into branches, rocks, wood, and rushing through the water.
Your scope needs to survive the encounter unscathed and still help you shoot your shot.
The best scopes are durable aluminum alloy, full metal, or a specialized thermoplastic that makes it impact-resistant, recoil-proof, and water-tight for any environment.
The higher-end models will allow you to survive many encounters without worrying about your scope’s survivability. It should be able to take you where you need to go.
A scope is no good if it’s too heavy for you to use properly. It needs to be a decent weight without sacrificing performance. It should also be finely tuned, allowing you to find your knobs and buttons.
Your windage, elevation, and parallax turrets need to have reassuring clicks to give you exact measurements.
These can then be saved digitally by your system’s computer. Your buttons should also be easy to find.
If your buttons and turrets are easy to find and your construction feels robust and well-built, it will allow you to quickly and efficiently make split-second adjustments.
#7 Added Features
You may be more likely to choose a scope if it comes with more features. Digital night vision scopes can come with laser rangefinders to help you determine target distances and ballistic calculators, which help you make calculations.
The smarter your scope gets, the pricier it gets. However, it may be worth the price to have live-streaming and HD video upload capabilities, picture-in-picture view, and different color and shaped reticles.
These added features set digital apart from the more traditional green field of view goggles and scopes. They bring your scope into the modern age and allow you to make the most out of advancements in hunting technology.
The Limitations of Night Vision Rifle Scopes
Night vision scopes are miracles of modern technology. They overcome humanity’s greatest adversary of night darkness and allow you to see your prey as clear as day.
But still, it’s not perfect.
Night vision scopes are limited by how much light they can gather and reflect into your eyeballs. They are limited by the image quality, recognition range, and even the time of day.
Unless rated for daytime use, a night vision rifle scope should be used only at night to protect its lenses and sensors. You will need an IR illuminator to see in the pitch black.
Because they need to filter light in, night vision devices also have limited ranges compared to daytime optics. You are better off looking at closer or larger targets when using night vision devices.
Frequently Asked Questions
Have any questions or concerns about using night vision rifle scopes? Are you curious to know what NV scopes the military trusts for its needs?
Let’s go through some of the most burning questions people have regarding their night vision scope and what you need to know to find your ideal affordable night vision scope.
How Long Does a Night Vision Scope Last?
Your night vision device has a finite lifespan because of its tube coating, but it will last 5,000-15,000 hours depending on the night vision scope generation. Each subsequent generation lasts longer than the previous one.
In the field or on the hunt, night hunters also need to consider the battery life of their digital night vision scope, which depends on your scope’s battery life or recharge length.
A night vision rifle scope is a fine-tuned piece of equipment that withstands combat situations, but they’re also sensitive. When cared for properly, an NV scope can last a long time.
How Far Can You Shoot With a Night Vision Scope?
A night vision device works by amplifying the smallest amounts of light present in the environment. Most night vision scopes will allow you to shoot from at least 200 yards away.
The better your night scope works, the farther it will allow you to see. This means having adjustable brightness, an illuminated reticle, and high-quality image resolution.
The best night vision scope will allow you to shoot up to 300-500 yards away, sometimes further. This may change as another generation of night vision or thermal imaging rifle scope comes along.
What Night Vision Scope Does the Military Use?
The US Military is still the gold standard for rifle scopes and night vision technology. The civilian market notices when the military adopts a night vision rifle scope.
Army and Marine infantrymen use Gen 3 and Gen 4 rifle scopes. Pulsar (with the Thermion X50), Burris (with the XTR II), and ATN scopes (with the ATN X-SIGHT 4K) are the most trusted brands.
Many of these models are available for purchase by civilians, which means that you may be able to buy better than military-grade models if you can afford them.
The 4-eyed GPNVG-18 goggles entered the popular imagination when DEVGRU’s (SEAL Team 6) loadout became common knowledge. Out of all the USSOCOM units, SEALs are still the main trend-setters.
Having one of the highest budgets in the US Military, SEALs can afford to use PEQ-15 light-laser combinations, Gen 4 night-vision scopes, and EOTech holographic sights, which can be seen from their night vision devices.
Can I Use Night Vision Scopes During the Day?
The best night vision scope can work in complete darkness and even during low-light conditions in daylight. However, night vision mode would be a waste of battery life.
That being said, the sun’s bright light may DAMAGE the objective lens of your night vision optics. It would be best to switch to a daytime scope in areas with bright ambient light.
You will need to check the rating of your scope model to see if it’s suitable for daytime use. Feel free to use it as a normal rifle scope if it is.
What’s the Best Cheap Night Vision Scope for the Money?
Most night vision scopes can break the bank. They range from $500-$1000 if you want decent battery life and other features like a built-in infrared illuminator or thermal sensor.
They can even go as high as $11,000 for military-only models. However, you can still find a digital scope like the Sightmark Wraith for $490 and even the Bushnell Equinox for less than $200.
What’s the Best Night Vision Scope for Hog, Coyote, and Fox Hunting?
Hunters often benefit from military-style equipment, though their targets and tactics differ. Nighttime shooting, hog hunting, coyote, and fox hunting require a certain scope.
Many of the scopes on this list work great for hunting game. However, the AGM Wolverine Pro-4 is the right scope for hunters because it is affordable, simple, and accessible.
It allows hunters to have rugged, reliable, higher-end night vision optics that can help them quickly track and take out their game — though it does get pricey.
Summary of Top Picks
All the scopes on this list excel at their chosen mission. They can help you hunt down elusive prey or fight an enemy in situations with no ambient light.
However, these are the best-rated night vision scopes on the list. They are leaps and bounds over the competition regarding quality, affordability, features and overall user experience.
Best Overall – ATN X-Sight 4k 5-20x
What can we say? The X-Sight 4k is the BEST digital night vision riflescope, outclassing and outperforming every competitor. It’s a computer on a scope mount.
The X-Sight comes with an illuminated reticle, smart range finder, ballistic science calculator, IR illuminator, 18-hour battery life, and recoil-activated video recording.
It even works during the day!
Best Value – Pulsar Digisight Ultra N455 LRF
This powerhouse digital night vision rifle scope offers significant features that allow you to lock onto your target and never let go. The Pulsar Digisight offers unparalleled precision and digital ability.
This night scope comes with various reticle options, a strong IR illuminator, significant eye relief, accurate zoom, and reticle adjustment. It has everything you could need in a digital scope.
Best Budget Pick – Sightmark Wraith HD 4-32×50
The Sightmark Wraith is one of the highest-rated scopes because it is the most reliable and feature-filled in its price range.
It offers an intense infrared illuminator, HD footage, 4-32x magnification settings, and waterproof, durable aluminum construction.
It’s one of the night vision scopes that work during the day and helps you find your target precisely.
With so many different night vision scopes available, the best night vision scope will depend on your needs, preferences, and budget.
You may not need an $11,000 scope to hunt foxes, but a $200 may not get the job done.
The best night vision scope offers adjustable brightness levels for day and night movement, a long detection range, comfortable eye relief, and the ability to hit your target.
It should help you make the shots that count, helping you become the best shooter you can be.
Having an HD recorder, ballistic calculator, and wireless remote control are bonuses to consider.
To see our list of the best red dots for AR 15, check out this guide!
CHANGELOG: August 10, 2022 - Added 1 new article link