Going on hunting trips takes up a lot of time. We’re often limited by our day jobs and other commitments we have.
If you don’t have a night vision scope, then you better believe that being able to set just even ONE hunting trip a year would be so DIFFICULT.
Your daytime scope will only allow you to be out hunting for just half the day, so you’re often left out feeling unsatisfied with your trip.
We recommend that you try using a night vision monocular with your scope to ease your worries.
- What Is a Night Vision Monocular?
- Using Night Vision Monocular Scopes With Rifle Scopes: Is It Possible?
- Final Words
What Is a Night Vision Monocular?
A simple solution to your problem is a night vision monocular! With a night vision monocular, you can extend your hunting hours to the night to make the most out of your trip!
So what exactly is a Night Vision Monocular? Let’s breakdown the term into two parts:
- Night Vision
As the name implies, monoculars are binoculars for only one eye. As opposed to a binocular which has two lenses for viewing an image from a distance — one for each eye.
Both can be used for the magnification of an image.
For a monocular, you only have one lens, which is perfect for fitting with your rifle scope.
Monoculars are often preferred over binoculars if you want something portable and compact.
Night vision is the ability to see in low-light conditions. This can pertain to either biological or technological.
Either way, this is made possible thanks to a two-punch combo:
- Spectral Range Enhancement
- Intensity Range Enhancement
Human eyes can only detect visible light. Think RAINBOWS. From red and orange, all the way to violet.
Beyond that visible spectrum, there are infraRED, ultraVIOLET, and other kinds of electromagnetic waves.
With an enhanced spectral range, you can use non-visible electromagnetic waves (such as infrared or ultraviolet) to be able to detect and identify figures.
This is the ability to see with very small quantities of light using some sort of magnification.
Technologically, enhanced intensity range is obtained through the use of some type of NVD tube (more on this later).
Some animals such as owls have specialized eyes, which means they can easily see even in low-light conditions.
Unfortunately for humans, we don’t have that kind of ability with our ordinary lenses. Instead, we rely on TECHNOLOGY (like an NVD, more on that later, promise) to see.
Let’s now move on to the technological aspects of vision at night.
Certain technologies allow us to see at night. A gadget of this type is called a night vision device, as mentioned above.
A type of night vision device is our night vision monocular. These objects allow us to see objects in front of us, even if it’s at a far distance at night.
Night vision technology is based on two kinds of mechanisms:
- Image Enhancement
- Thermal Imaging
The process of image enhancement for night vision monocular scopes is just like the process for regular rifle scopes.
Similar to the mechanism in a regular rifle scope, you use a lens in order to produce magnification.
The key difference is that the Night Vision Technology Display (sometimes also called NVD) system transforms infrared light particles into electrons through an NVD (the device).
When these electrons pass through a tube, they get excited and cause a chain reaction process. This chain reaction is what forms the image that is observed through an ocular lens.
Thermal Imaging is basically the conversion of heat signals from distant objects into images.
Generally, living creatures that are moving at night tend to be HOTTER than their surroundings.
Examples of other objects hotter than their surroundings are:
- Moving vehicles
- Machines currently running
- Lighting devices
A night sight monocular will sense the heat radiating from these objects and FOCUSES them through a special lens.
The NVD then converts this heat signal into an image that can be recognized.
The BEST devices currently available to the public can scan at a rate of about 30 TIMES a second, and can sense temperatures ranging from -20 to 2000 ˚C. Not bad, right?
Now that you’ve had enough of this night vision optic talk, let’s move on to RIFLES!
Using Night Vision Monocular Scopes With Rifle Scopes: Is It Possible?
Can you use a monocular NVD with rifle scopes? Short answer: YES, you can, but you have to make a few adjustments.
You need to have the right adaptor and have to test and adjust your scope’s zero significantly.
So, how do you turn your one regular old rifle scopes into AWESOME night rifle scopes? Well, the first step is to pick a scope adaptor.
Step 1: Picking a Night Vision Scope Adaptor
Your scope adaptor is a night vision device that can be considered the bridge between your regular scope and your monocular NVD. You CAN’T just simply stick your monocular and regular scope together with some duct tape.
Make sure to consider the MEASUREMENTS of both your scope and your monocular NVD so that the adaptor fits well.
You should also consider any additional conveniences that your adaptor can offer.
Some adaptors are EASILY attached and removed, while some can be bent away so that you can use your day rifle scope while your adaptor is still connected to your monocular.
Step 2: Testing Your Zero
Once you’ve connected your NVD monocular-adaptor-rifle scope system, make sure to test out your zero on targets.
The thing with attaching a monocular to a scope is that you may have to SIGNIFICANTLY adjust your zero, whether you connect your NVD monocular at the front, or back.
Once, you’ve tested your zero at targets at a distance, make sure you then TEST it out on a tube or even other types of objects.
A high-end and expensive NVD monocular would normally not throw off your zero too much, although minor adjustments are still common. If you have money to splurge, then GO for it!
Remember that when you’re using an NVD monocular-adaptor scope system, chances are that you have to set your zero all over again.
#1 Does the Device Go in Front of or Behind Your Rifle Scope?
Well, there are pros and cons for both situations.
- Placing the monocular behind the scope gives you a GREATER sight range.
- The scope focuses light to pass onto the monocular. This gives you the ability to see farther objects even at night.
- You have to reposition your scope as the monocular would be sticking out and you would have awkward positioning.
- There is no need to adjust the positioning of the scope if the monocular is attached in front of the rifle scope.
- You can EASILY transition between day and night shooting by simply attaching and removing the monocular from the rifle scope.
- You would need to have at least TWICE the magnification for the scope or else the image will be too tiny to be even useful to you.
- You’ll have less sight range when you put the monocular in front.
#2 Can You Use a Night Vision Scope During the Day?
Your night sight is meant to get heat signatures and enhance them to get an image. If the infrared capturing system is exposed too much to sunlight, then the image becomes distorted.
You can even possibly destroy your one and only favorite unit if you expose it to too much sunlight.
#3 What’s Better: A Clip-On or Dedicated Night Sights?
It depends on the following:
- The kind of gun you are planning on using
- The kind of shooting activities you’ll be doing
If you’re just going to use the modular AR-15 or AR-10, then go with the dedicated night sight and buy a whole new upper receiver.
However, if you plan on using LARGER shooters with high-end night vision scopes, we recommend a clip-on.
Remember that to mount the clip-on, you’ll need to have enough rail space in front of your scope.
#4 How Do I Zero My Scope?
Zeroing in your scope can be tough, especially when you’re putting your night sight device on and off regularly.
- First, use the AMMO that you’re gonna shoot with most of the time. Different ammunition can cause the zero of your scope to be off, so it’s best to be consistent.
- Next, use a laser to get close to your zero so that you don’t waste too much ammo. Zeroing in your scope. Adjust accordingly with your elevation and windage knobs.
- Finally, shoot 3 – 5 shots to see your grouping, then make adjustments.
Getting information on using your night vision monocular on your scope may be a tough one, but hopefully, this helps you MAXIMIZE your time on your hunting trips.
Have fun SHOOTING various targets and objects at night on your next trip!
FINAL TIP: If you’re looking for affordable options to get started, we have a buying guide on NV scopes under $500.
CHANGELOG: June 9, 2022 - Added 1 new article link May 18, 2022 - Made minor updates to content, updated article title September 14, 2021 - Reviewed and updated article links