Best Night Vision Scope

10 Best Night Vision Scope in 2018 – Proper Guideline & Reviews

The use of night vision scopes for civilian purposes continues to grow, partly thanks to the increasing popularity of hunting for game. Also known as night optical devices (NOD) and night vision devices (NVD), these allow clearer and sharper images in near-darkness conditions.

Their first uses were in the military and law enforcement agencies while civilians followed their example when these became available to the general public.

These devices work in one of two ways. First, the image captured by the device is converted to visible light in both near-infrared and visible light spectrum. Second, the image can also be captured using thermal infrared technology.

In both cases, the typical image generated is monochrome, which means these are in shades of green with a black background.

Emphasis must be made that NVDs usually come as a complete unit consisting of several parts. These include an image intensifier tube, a mounting system, and a weather-resistant housing, even sacrificial lenses or telescopic lenses in many cases.

There are also devices that have an IR illuminator so these become active NVDs.

Comparison on 10 Best Night Vision Scope

10 Best Night Vision Scope in 2018 - Reviews

1. Sightmark Photon 6.5x50S Digital Riflescope

Sightmark-Photon-6.5x50S-Digital-Night-Vision-Riflescope

Like most of the Sightmark riflescopes, this unit can be used during the daytime and nighttime, both with excellent results for an affordable basic riflescope.

The weatherproof and shock-proof scope can obviously be mounted on an automatic rifle without affecting its overall performance and weight – although, of course, you will have improved sights on your desired targets.

This also has a convenient feature for daylight use – a protection against bright light exposure so you get good images in daylight. We like the easy-to-use digital interface because adjustments can easily be made.

The video output options is a great feature since we oftentimes like recording the images, not to mention that the weaver rail provides a platform for the attachment of more accessories. This is a digital scope so for people who are used to optical scopes, the learning process can initially be a challenge.

While this is a first-generation scope, the image quality is almost like a second-generation scope, which adds to its appeal for scope users looking for a high-quality yet affordably-priced unit.

We discovered a trick: Use the lens cap in enhancing the clarity of the images – flip it completely open for nighttime use and use it for a pinhole effect in daytime.

The high-resolution images generated by this first-gen scope means you’re getting the best bang for your buck.

Pros

  • Digital scope with easy setup after reading the manual
  • Images closer to second-generation scopes
  • Suitable for daytime and nighttime use
  • IR illuminator works well for longer distances up to 60 yards

Cons

  • Minor issues in zeroing out the scope

2. Sightmark Photon 6.5x50L Digital Riflescope

Sightmark-Photon-6.5x50L-Digital-Night-Vision-Riflescope

The great thing about Sightmark is its daytime and nighttime use, which hunters take advantage of.

We appreciate the six reticle styles since these allow for more long-distance uses, whether it’s for holdovers and range-finding or for hunting of hogs, among other applications.

The vivid detailing provided by the impressive 6.5x magnification makes it easier to differentiate between friend and foe, while the video output feature (i.e., utility rail for attaching a screen) allows for video capture.

The scope also has a digital windage/elevation adjustment system that should be zeroed in first before putting it to a field test. This is an easy-to-use scope for beginners and veterans alike because it just makes it so easy to see well farther in faint light.

We have seen many hunters use it to increase their effectiveness, such as when hunting for coyotes that cause havoc in their farms. We suggest scanning the surroundings with a 4.6 and shooting with it mounted on an automatic rifle.

This Sightmark scope works well than most scopes with similar prices so we think that it’s a great bargain.

Pros

  • Solid build with rugged features
  • Adjustable reticles for multiple applications
  • Great images especially with the IR illuminator
  • Extended viewing scope with its more powerful magnification power
  • Suitable for use during the day and night

Cons

  • Short battery life
  • 1 moa cross reticle dots
  • Bit grainy images in a few cases

3. Armasight ORION 5X Night Vision Rifle Scope

Armasight ORION 5X Gen 1+ Night Vision Rifle Scope

The Orion scope is among the most robust in our list so it can withstand extreme conditions during hunts, among other activities, thanks to its rubberized aluminum housing.

We observed that it adds more weight to a rifle but since it can stand the bolt action recoil of most rifles, we consider it a minor flaw.

We recommend it for fixed position setups although it can also function well in stalking-style arrangements. Be sure to manually adjust the windage/elevation first before using the scope for best results.

This can be done by finding zero click – turn the elevation knob up and down to its maximum setting while the windage adjustment should also be turned all the way to its left and right. You should be able to sight in at 25 yards and 50 yards with clear images, thanks partly to its 5x magnification power.

But if you want to improve its performance, we recommend using it with two IR illuminators – the unit’s built-in illuminator and another illuminator, such as an Armasight 810mw illuminator. This way, you can illuminate both the target and its sounding area so you can get more precise shots.

All in all, the Orion gives great value for the money considering that it’s a first-gen scope with limited capabilities than, say, fourth-generation scopes. This may be a basic scope but it’s among the best in our list.

Pros

  • Little distortion at the edges of the viewing area
  • Great images in faint light conditions and in near-darkness with two illuminators up to 200 meters
  • Rugged housing suitable for multiple uses (i.e., suitable for security personnel and hunters)

Cons

  • Requires additional illuminator for better results

4. Sightmark Photon XT 4.6x42S Digital Riflescope

Sightmark-Photon-XT--Night-Vision-Riflescope

Once it was mounted properly, we liked that it was easily adjustable so that seeing through the eye cup was possible. We especially appreciate that it didn’t interfere with bolt action and sight operation, both of which are essential in fast reactions during hunting. 

Just keep in mind that it’s designed for medium range sighting of up to 120 yards.

This was also easy to zero and its recoil isn’t an issue although we must also say that using a muzzle brake will contribute to less recoil. We strongly suggest using the easy-to-use digital windage/elevation adjustment system for the zeroing process, as well as using the right reticle depending on the time.

For example, the #2 red reticle will do well when zeroing in during the day, especially if you’re after the 50- and 100-yard bull’s eye.

Of course, this is an NVD and it performs as well as can be expected, especially with the right accessories. The device powers up in a about 5 seconds, as well as provides clear and crisp images wits its built-in IR within a 75-yard distance. You may add a separate IR flashlight for greater distances.

The Photon is a high-quality riflescope that even beginners will be able to use. There are plenty of tutorial videos that can help in its effective and efficient use on the field, too.

Pros

  • Great construction quality
  • Easy-to-learn yet useful controls
  • Silent operation from turning it on to adjusting the features
  • Longer battery life while the batteries are easy to replace
  • IR illuminator will suffice for most purposes
  • Multiple reticles for different light conditions
  • Clear and crisp images although there’s a bit of graininess
  • Fine click distance
  • Video hookups and recordings are possible

Cons

  • Awkward placement of a few controls, such as the front focus dial
  • Little information on crossbow use on the instruction manual
  • Narrower than expected FOV

5. Bestguarder 6x50mm HD Night Vision Monocular

Bestguarder 6x50mm HD Digital Night Vision Monocular

This monocular can actually be connected to a television set using a television cable or a computer with a USB cable, thus, it becomes part of an infrared surveillance system.

We have to say that for an affordable price for it plus our existing audio-video systems, we find it gives good value for the money.

We even like filming, so to speak, the nighttime external surroundings, thanks to its durable water-resistant housing that can be mounted on a tripod. The relatively clear and crisp images are the result of high-quality lenses and CMOS sensor, a combination that captures images from as far away as 300 feet.

The fully-coated optics can also decrease glare from the moonlight, perhaps the stray light coming from random streetlights, although getting the right focus can be a bit tricky. The videos can be viewed live or recorded in either PAL or NTSC setting, too, with the date and time stamped, if desired.

If you want better images, you may also attach compatible accessories to the monocular. These attachments, such as a more precise and powerful IR illuminator, can be mounted on the built-in mounting rail.

The unit itself has its own built-in infrared illuminator that can turned on and off for nighttime and daytime use, respectively.

We recommend the Bestguarder monocular because of its great images generated although there are a few minor issues with its operation. You may want to consider adding accessories, such as lens modifications, to improve its FOV.

Pros

  • Built with durability in mind
  • Video and photo streaming, recording, and storing options
  • Great IR illuminator with option to attach an additional one
  • Easy to hold and handle
  • With strap for easy carrying
  • Great images in dark conditions but FOV can be limited

Cons

  • Shorter battery life than expected
  • Requires cleaning of certain parts before turning it on, such as when replacing batteries

6. Bushnell NightVision 4.5x40 Equinox Z

Bushnell NightVision 4.5x40 Equinox Z

This scope can be mounted on a rifle without adding too much weight to it. We like that it’s a rubber-armored scope since it adds to the unit’s durability in rugged conditions, such as in hunting game.

We had a relatively easy time setting it up on a rifle, thanks partly to the instructions manual with step-by-step directions and photos and partly due to our prior experience.

In field tests, the green screen images were satisfactory even when the IR illuminator is turned off and when the unit itself is in its lowest setting but there’s a caveat – there should be faint light for these results.

When the IR illuminator is turned on, the images are significantly improved in quality – and the green images now have more of a clear black-and-white quality with touches of graininess, even on a moonless night. We can see as far away as 750 feet away with it on although the light conditions will affect actual performance.

The monocular can also be hooked up to a television or computer in order to capture videos and images.

We suggest adjusting the IR brightness depending on the light conditions and mounting it on a tripod for better results. We have also mounted it on a rifle using its removable rail mount, thus, making it one of the most versatile scopes in our list.

The Bushnell scope is a great unit when you’re an avid hunter or observer of nature. You may need a few more accessories, such as an IR illuminator, but it works well on its own, too.

Pros

  • Sturdy unit with a high-quality rubber feel that can withstand multiple rugged uses
  • Easy-to-access buttons for controls
  • Outstanding image clarity with decent light-gathering capabilities, even in lower IR light settings
  • Automatic light adjustments according to the lighting conditions

Cons

  • Additional IR illuminator may be necessary in near-total darkness
  • Limited battery life

7. Night Owl 5-Power NOXM50 Night Vision Monocular

Night Owl Optics 5-Power NOXM50 Night Vision Monocular

The Night Owl monocular has an extended body that gives it more heft in the hands while still being comfortable to handle. The high-quality, all-glass optics consist of two lenses – ocular and objective – so we were able to get good images during nighttime.

The infrared light increases visibility although it’s visible to the naked eye (i.e., a red LED viewed from a distance).

We were able to determine that there were humans and animals approaching our field of vision although the finer details, such as facial features, weren’t as clear as we would like.

We observed, too, that the best images come from people and animals standing still or standing out in the open although people in camouflage gear are harder to detect in faint light conditions. This unit also doesn’t come with an eye shroud, which means its user will likely light up, in a manner of speaking, when viewed from another NVD.

We also observed the so-called fish eye distortion but this is to be expected in a monocular, especially one with an older technology. We appreciate the 200-feet FOV coupled with the 15-degree angular FOV for a monocular with these lenses.

For its price, this monocular has multiple uses that makes it one of the best buys in night vision scopes.

Pros

  • Great images in faint light conditions (i.e., semi-lit street) and satisfactory results in near-darkness environment
  • Comes with an infrared illuminator that can be turned on and off
  • With carrying case, plastic focus ring, and hand strap
  • Requires one lithium battery

Cons

  • Regular adjustments on the objective lens
  • Fish eye distortion

8. Night Owl Lightweight Night Vision Monocular

Night Owl Lightweight Night Vision Monocular

This Night Owl monocular has a lower zoom level than others in our list – just 4 times – but it works well in many low-light conditions because of a combo of useful features.

We want to point out the powerful IR illumination with its 150-feet range, the light amplification feature, and the top-of-the-line objective lens as the reasons for its good field performance.

We like the 200-feet FOV as a result of turning on the IR illuminator, a handy feature when you’re seeing objects on a moonless night.

The combo of machined aluminum and rubberized finish makes it among the sturdiest monocular in our list, too. Just be sure not to drop it one too many times since it can succumb to the abuse. This is a lightweight monocular so you don’t have to worry about lugging along so much weight on your hunts.

This scope is usable for many night vision applications although we suggest setting realistic expectations since it’s a first-gen scope.

Pros

  • Clear images that allows for seeing in the dark, literally
  • Adjustable lenses with +/- lens adjustment so view customization akin to binoculars is possible
  • Sturdy and strong mechanical housing
  • Easy to set up and use

Cons

  • Smaller FOV at longer distances

9. Firefield 5x50 Nightfall 2 Night Vision Monocular

Firefield 5x50 Nightfall 2 Night Vision Monocular

We have to say that for a first-generation monocular, the Firefield performs well in nighttime conditions although there are certain limitations, such as a narrower field of vision and a spot in the view.

Nonetheless, these are minor flaws since it’s a first-gen monocular so these are to be expected.

The more important aspect in its use is the highly satisfactory clarity of the images generated by the monocular, whether it’s in near-total darkness or with ambient light (e.g., moonlight or street light).

The front and rear focal lenses combined with the IR illuminator allow for dialing in crisp and clear images, which are useful for hunting, surveying the area, and observing people from afar, if necessary. The infrared light can be tuned on and off, too, depending on your current needs.

We appreciate the manufacturer’s dedication to providing consumers with out-of-the-box, ready-to-use products, too.

You should be able to use it within minutes after opening it although we recommend reading the instructions manual first for more information. You wouldn’t have issues with its compact design and lightweight quality, too.

Pros

  • Sturdy housing
  • Easy-to-use basic controls
  • Satisfactory image quality within approximately 50 yards
  • Regular AA batteries are used

Cons

  • Narrower FOV
  • Eye piece and lens require adjustments with every use

10. DAXGD Waterproof Fogproof Binoculars

DAXGD Waterproof Fogproof Night Vision Binoculars

When we unpacked the binoculars from its box, we were quiet impressed with its excellent workmanship from the eye cup to the lenses.

This also came with its own strap, nylon soft case, and lens cloth, even dust covers because rugged scopes also require dust protection especially for the lenses.

But we have to emphasize that this isn’t a scope for near-total darkness since these aren’t infrared night vision goggles per se.

You can enjoy comparatively good images in faint light conditions up to 9,800 feet, thanks to its 8x magnification and 50mm lenses. You will also likely get ultra-wide images so you have an expanded scope of the surroundings.

We like the rubber feature on the eye and sighting lenses since these ensure comfort and convenience when using and setting down the binoculars. We also want to take note of the rubber pads for the fingers, which make it so easy to grip in hot and cold weather.

Pros

  • Highly satisfactory images in faint light conditions
  • Well-made quality
  • Range graph included
  • Useful features included like the compass, rubber eye cup, and rubber grips
  • Multiple uses

Cons

  • Issues with getting the focus
  • Unsuitable for use in near-total darkness conditions

Tricks for Beginners For Using Best Night Vision Scope

When you’re a beginner in night vision scopes, you will find that there’s a learning curve in its effective and efficient use, more so in adding accessories like an additional infrared illuminator. We then decided that these tricks in using these products will be useful in this regard although experimentation with each scope is also recommended.

Use the scope to magnify the images in your surroundings in general and your target in particular. But it shouldn’t be your only tools for seeing as it has a limited field of vision. Your eyes are still your best sight tools especially when it comes to peripheral vision, which even the best night vision scopes aren’t equipped with.

Use your situational awareness skills, too. Keep in mind that night vision scopes can only enhance images in low-light and near-darkness conditions but it isn’t a substitute for your senses of hearing, smelling and touching, much less for your intuition.

When using the scope while walking, avoid looking at your feet since you’re more likely to trip over them. Instead, you have to keep your eye on the surroundings and/or target because that’s what the scope is for! You can tell your feet where to go when you know where you’re going, too.

Before using the scope in field situations, such as in hunting, be sure to test it out in your backyard, for example. You will then be able to experiment with the features, fiddle with the controls, and familiarize yourself with the scope’s capabilities.

You can then reduce the risks of missteps and mistakes while on the field, which may save your life and others.

You should, in fact, be able to manipulate the scope’s basic controls on the fly. Otherwise, you can miss out on an opportunity of a lifetime just because you were fumbling with the adjustments.

Final Verdict

Night vision scopes are great tools for a wide range of applications from securing the perimeter to hunting wild animals. But these are just tools that should be used properly in order to get the most benefits from their use – and you must learn the basics first for it to happen!

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