Best Night Vision Scope

Best Night Vision Rifle Scope Reviews of 2021

As the name suggests, night vision scopes are scopes used to see objects in low light conditions. After being introduced on the battlefield of world war 2, night vision scopes primarily remained an instrument used by the military. Due to unavailability, high expense, and strict regulations, civilian shooters were prevented from using night vision scopes. But that's no longer the case. 

Night vision scopes are now widely accessible to civilians. Markets are full of affordable, easy-to-use, and effective night vision scopes that are made to fulfill the needs of civilians. As a result, game hunters and tactical shooters can easily acquire good quality night vision scopes for recreational use.

There are many types of night visions to choose from. Night vision scopes use an image intensifier tube (IIT) or a camera sensor to transmit target images to the user. Night vision scopes that use IIT range from gen 0 to gen 3. 

Gen 0 Night Vision Scope

Gen 0 night vision scopes are the first types of devices introduced on the battlefields of world war 2. This version uses active infrared light to create a viewable image. The setbacks of using this prototype piece of equipment are that it is heavy, fragile and the images are low resolution. Moreover, the IR light exposes the shooter's location.

Gen 1 Night Vision Scope

Gen 1 night visions use passive infrared and ambient light. These versions make use of an improved photocathode to improve image resolution and reduce the distortion of the image. But the images often have blurry edges and low resolution compared to current technology. 

Gen 2 Night Vision Scope

Gen 2 nigh vision scopes produce a much clearer image compared to gen 0 and gen 1. This also comes with an added micro-channel plate to increase light capture and image resolution. 

Gen 3 Night Vision Scope

Gen 3 night vision scopes have the latest technology. For example, they come with an addition of gallium arsenide to increase sensitivity. As a result, they have the clearest image of all night vision scopes. They also last longer than other versions. But the catch is that they are much more expensive than the other versions. As a result, it's often difficult to find a gen 3 night vision scopes for under $2000. 

Night vision scopes ranging from gen 0 to gen 3 show green images. The internal tubes of these devices cannot be exposed to bright light. Otherwise, they will burn out. 

There are also digital night vision and thermal imaging.

Digital Night Vision Scopes

Digital night vision converts light into a digital image, which is then viewed on a screen. The image quality is similar to gen 2 night vision scopes. Digital night vision scopes allow users to adjust reticles, zoom and record. These are much cheaper than gen 2 or 3 night vision scopes. Digital night vision scopes can also be used during the day.

Thermal Imaging Night Vision Scopes

Thermal imaging uses heat rather than light to create an image. These are high-contrast black and white images. This technology can detect micro-level differences in heat signature down to 0.01 centigrade. Scopes that have thermal imaging can also be used during the daytime. 

How To Choose The Best Night Vision Scope

Choosing the best quality night vision scopes for a reasonable price that suits the shooters' needs can be daunting. This is because there are so many night vision scopes on the market to choose from. To make this daunting task more straightforward for aspiring hunters and tactical shooters, we have prepared a detailed list of the top ten best night vision scopes currently available on the market. 

Comparison Table - 9 Best Night Vision Scopes

9 Best Night Vision Rifle Scope Reviews


1. ATN X-Sight-4k Pro Edition 3-14x Smart Hunting Rifle   Scope Review

atn x-sight 4k pro edition smart hunting rifle scope Review

This premium hunting rifle scope is suitable for both day and nighttime hunting as it includes night vision technology.

The ATN X-Sight 4K Pro 3-14x brings the latest technology and the traditional scope form to achieve the best of both worlds.

It is powered by a dual-core processor with a low light 4k sensor. This premium device offers the best quality image performance with cutting-edge smart features. It is one of the best scopes made by ATN.

It is built to look similar to a traditional scope with standard mounting rings and long eye relief. It has no pixelation when zoomed in. Under the hood, it is extremely powerful. 

Highlights:

  • ATN Obsidian IV Dual Core smart processor. 
  • IR Illuminator is included.
  • The ATN X Sight 4K Pro comes with an HD Night Vision mode.
  • It comes with an Ultra HD Sensor with Obsidian 4 Dual Core Processor, ensuring higher resolution, faster optics, and lifelike colors. 
  • It has a built-in Ballistic Calculator. It is now possible to calculate range, wind, temperature, angle to the target, humidity, etc., accurately to achieve maximum efficiency.
  • It is supported by Dual Stream Video Recording. Now, users can stream hunting video on their mobile device at high resolution and record to the SD card inside. 
  • It has 18+ hours of battery support.
  • It has RAV (Recoil Activated Video). This means the scope will automatically record the video of each shot fired. 
  • Wifi, Bluetooth supported. 

Pros

  • Smart and easy-to-use device.
  • Longer battery hours.
  • Ultra HD sensor
  • Ballistic Calculator
  • Rav (Recoil Activated Videos)
  • Dual Stream Video Recording
  • Wifi, Bluetooth supported.
  • Both day and night time usage.
  • A traditional scope-like build.
  • Long eye relief.
  • No Pixelation when zoomed. 

Cons

  • Past 45 yards, built-in night vision is not that adequate. An aftermarket IR Illuminator might give better results.

2. Night Owl Optics NightShot Digital Night Vision   Riflescope with IR illuminator

night owl optics nightshot digital night vision riflescope with ir illuminator Review

This digital night vision scope is perfect for evening varmint hunting. Rats, rabbits, larger hogs, and coyotes can also be hunted from 100 yards and beyond.

The Night Owl Optics NightShot Digital Riflescope has a large FOV along with a 3x magnification and a sturdy, waterproof build. 

It can be easily mounted on Weaver or Picatinny rails. It also has three reticle options and a built-in infrared illuminator. 

The NightShot Digital Night Vision riflescopet is made from heavy-duty engineered thermoplastic. That's why it's lightweight and durable. It is completely waterproof. It supports the recoil of rifles up to .30 caliber. It is preferable for .308, 030-06, or .300 Win Mag. This is a great affordable night vision scope if you're wanting to hunt at night, but you're on a budget.

Highlights:

  • Plastic build.
  • Easy to use mount, sight, and shoot.
  • The range is 100-200 in a typical nighttime environment.
  • It has a high resolution, 640x480 display.
  • Can be used with rifles up to 30 caliber. 
  • It comes with a built-in infrared illuminator.
  • It is waterproof.
  • Daytime usage will not damage the scope. 
  • 3x magnification.
  • Focusing distance- 3M to infinity.
  • Compatible with Weaver or Picatinny rail. 
  • Three different reticle types.
  • 4 hour battery time with IR on High.

Pros

  • An acceptable range of 100 yards and beyond.
  • Easy to operate.
  • Lightweight and durable.
  • Waterproof
  • Works during daytime.
  • It supports the recoil of rifles up to .30 caliber.
  • Large Fov of 5.6 degrees.
  • 3x magnification.

Cons

  • Short battery life.

Best Night Vision Scope Under $500

3. Sightmark Wraith HD 4-32x50 Digital Riflescope   Review

sightmark wraith hd 4-32x50 digital riflescope review

The Sightmark Wraith HD 4-32x50 Digital Riflescope is the best night vision scope under $500.

This digital riflescope made by Sightmark comes with an advanced 1920x1080 HD sensor. That is why it can provide excellent image clarity, both during day and night time.

With just the flip of a switch, night mode can be turned on from full-color daytime mode.

This Sightmark night vision scope has a classic emerald night vision sight image and an easy on the eyes white viewing option. The user can choose between the two.

The Sightmark Wraith HD 4 32x50 is built for hunting, and nocturnal animals like hogs and coyotes are easy to hunt with this night vision scope.

There are ten different reticle options to choose from, along with nine different color variations. It also comes with a removable IR illuminator with a detection range of 200 yards. 

The Sightmark Wraith digital riflescope is one of the most affordable nighttime optics on the market today. However, although it has a price tag under $500, this optic is anything but cheap.

Highlights:

  • Day/Night mode.
  • Gives full-color viewing during the daytime.
  • Black and white, or classic green for night mode. 
  • Comes with a high-definition sensor. 
  • Comes with high-resolution imaging with video recording in 1080p HD.
  • It has 8x digital zoom with a 4x optical system up to 32x magnification.
  • It is supported by HD photo and video recording. 
  • 4.5 battery hours. 
  • An external micro USB port is given to create options for power. 
  • Users can save up to 5 weapon profiles.
  • Comes with an IR flashlight.

Pros

  • Ten different reticle options.
  • Removable eye cap.
  • Day/Night/Green mode.
  • Easy to operate.
  • Micro USB and memory card slots.
  • 1920x1080 HD sensor.
  • 1080p video recording.
  • It has 8x digital zoom – a 4x optical system
  • for up to 32x magnification.
  • Detection range of 200 yards.
  • Adequate for hunting nocturnal animals. 

Cons

  • No built-in memory card.

Best Night Vision Scope Under $1000

4. Pulsar Digex N455 Digital Night Vision Scope

pulsar digex n455 digital night vision rifle scope review

This rugged-looking Pulsar night vision scope is ideal for both hunting and tactical shooting. 

It comes with a substantial 500-meter nighttime viewing range. It is tough because it is made with a durable, all-metal housing. It is also IPX7 waterproof-rated.

In addition, it is built in a way that can resist the persistent shock of heavy-recoiling firearms. Among those firearms includes 12-gauge shotguns, .375 H&H, and other large caliber rifles. 


The Pulsar Digex N455 Digital Night Vision Scope can be used in conjunction with smartphone live streaming or remote operation. If used in complete darkness, users need to add the included IR illuminator for better accuracy. This is a high quality night vision riflescope and this quality is reflected in the price. It is definitely our pick for the best night vision scope under $1000.

Highlights:

  • It has enhanced nighttime sensitivity with a 1280x740 HD sensor.
  • It has 4-16x veritable magnification.
  • It comes with a High Precision Aiming with a "Picture-in-Picture" Mode.
  • Users can save up to 5 different shooting profiles that can hold up to 50 zeroing distances. 
  • Ten different reticle types to choose from.
  • Scalable ballistic reticles included.
  • Remote operation and live streaming supported. 
  • Fully waterproof. IPX7 rated. 
  • It has All Metal Housing with Operating Temperatures of -13 °F to 122 °F.
  • Over 500-meter nighttime viewing range.


Pros

  • It has a substantial 500-meter nighttime viewing range.

  • Both day and nighttime usage.

  • Lowest possible mounting point.

  • Flexible positioning on the rifle.

  • Ten different reticles.

  • Remote operation and live streaming support.

  • All-metal housing. Which makes it durable.

  • Five different shooting profiles can be saved.

  • It supports High Precision Aiming.

  • It has enhanced nighttime sensitivity with a 1280x740 HD sensor.

  • Fully waterproof, IPX7 rated.

  • Supports large caliber firearms.

Cons

  • Expensive.

  • Due to the metal build, it might feel heavy to some people.


5. ATN X-Sight LTV 3-9x Ultra Light Day & Night Vision Rifle Scope

ATN x-sight LTV ultra light day and night vision rifle scope review

The ATN X-Sight LTV Ultra Light Rifle Scope is powered by an ATN Obsidian LT core that is optimized for low power consumption.

It has a small and ergonomic form factor. It gives its images vivid and crisp clarity during the day and incredible nighttime performance.

It can record HD videos. The ATN X-Sight LTV rifle scope can get on target fast with just a one-zero shot. 

This rifle scope has an incredible 10+ hour battery life. It can be mounted on any platform with standard 30 mm rings. 

The ATN X-Sight LTV Ultra Light Rifle Scope  gives its users a simple and no-frills experience. 

Highlights:

  • It has a QHD+ sensor that ensures high image quality at any time and distance. 
  • It comes with an HD screen and 3" comfortable eye relief. 
  • Target acquisition is rapid under night mode.
  • Records video in sharp 720p quality.
  • It has one shot zero.
  • It comes with multiple reticles to choose from.
  • 460 ft (9°); 240 ft (5°) Wide FOV.
  • It can be easily mounted on virtually any platform with 30 mm standard mount rings. 
  • 10+ battery hours.


Pros

  • Easy to use.
  • QHD+ sensor.
  • 720p video quality.
  • One-shot zero.
  • Good battery life of 10+ hours
  • FOV is 460 ft (9°); 240 ft (5°).
  • Multiple reticles.
  • IR illuminator.
  • Lower power consumption thanks to ATN Obsidian LT core.

Cons

  • No ballistic calculator.
  • No wifi
  • No Bluetooth.
  • No live streaming.



6. Sightmark Wraith HD 2-16x28 Digital Riflescope

Sightmark Wraith HD 2-16x28 Digital night vision scope review

The Sightmark Wraith HD 2-16x28 Digital Riflescope has an 850nm IR Illuminator. A 1920x1080 CMOS sensor is used in this scope to detect objects up to 200 yards away at night. This device carries 8x digital zoom, and the 1280x720 FLCOS screen provides excellent detailed images. 

In night mode, it shows either black and white or green images. It can also be used in the daytime, displaying full ranges of lifelike colors.

Because of its wider field of view and 2x lower base magnification, this scope is ideal for hunting fast-moving hogs and varmint. 

There are ten reticle options in 9 colors to choose from. Users can save up to 5 weapon profiles. The Sightmark Wraith HD 2-16x28 riflescope also has built-in 1080p video recordings to preserve the memories of your hunts.

It has a durable aluminum build with an IP55 water-resistant rating. The operation g temperature range of this device is 20 to 122 degrees. Thus, it can withstand adverse conditions for many years. All the features of more expensive scopes make it our choice for the best night vision scope under $500.

Highlights:

  • Day/Night mode.
  • Full-color viewing for the day.
  • Black and white or green for the night mode.
  • Video recording in 1080p.
  • High definition sensor.
  • It has 8x digital zoom, a 2x optical system for up to 16x magnification. 
  • Five weapon profiles can be saved.
  • IP55 water-resistant rating.
  • 850nm IR Illuminator.
  • Detects objects up to 200 yards away at night. 
  • Ten different reticle options. 
  • Removable eye cap. 
  • Micro USB and memory card slots. 
  • It can be mounted on Weaver rails.

Pros

  • High resolution
  • Higher magnification.
  • High range of detection.
  • High-quality video recording.
  • Five weapon profiles can be saved.
  • Dynamic usage.
  • Waterproof.
  • External memory and power can be added.

Cons

  • No built-in memory card.

Best Thermal Scope For The Money

7. ATN Thor LT 3-6x Thermal Night Vision Rifle Scope

ATN Thor LT Thermal night vision Rifle Scope review

The ATN Thor LT Thermal Rifle Scope uses heat signatures to detect objects and produce an image. It makes excellent nighttime optics.

Because it can detect animal body heat through crops or fog, it does not need any visible light to produce a sharp image.

So, in moments of total darkness, hunters can fully rely on this scope to better understand the surroundings and potential targets.

 The ATN Thor LT Thermal Night Vision Rifle Scope is made for simple and efficient use. It is our pick for the best thermal scope for the money.

Highlights:

  • Advanced heat detection sensor. Users can see objects in total darkness. 
  • It is a 30mm tube scope made of hardened aluminum alloy. It is recoil resistant to higher caliber weapons. 
  • It has 10+ hours of battery life. Which makes for maximum efficiency with lower power consumption. 
  • It has one shot zero. 
  • Lightweight. (650 g)
  • Micro USB and memory card slots. 
  • It can be mounted on Weaver rails.

Pros

  • It is cheaper than most thermal rifle scopes.
  • It has a simple, efficient build.
  • Longer battery life. (10+ hours)
  • One zero shot saves valuable time.
  • It's very light at 1.4lbs/650g in weight.
  • Advanced heat detection sensors can detect animals through grass, fog, and total darkness.
  • Has recoil resistance for large caliber weapons. 

Cons

  • No ballistic calculator.
  • No wifi
  • No Bluetooth.
  • No live streaming.

8. Sightmark Wraith 4K Max 3-24x50 w/IR Digital Night     Vision Riflescope Review

Sightmark Wraith 4K Max 3-24x50 Digital Night Vision Rifle scope review

The Sightmark Wraith 4K Max 3-24x50 night vision scope carries enormous power. With its enhanced ultra-high-definition 4000x3000 digital CMOS sensor, objects can be detected at night from as far as 300 yards. During the daytime, the scope surpasses that. 

Its sharp 1280x720 display resolution provides high-quality imaging. It has a substantial digital magnification of 3-24x, giving shooters the versatility to adjust according to their needs. 

 Its 850 nm IR Illuminator can last for 90 minutes. It has an aluminum housing that makes it durable. It also has a built-in 4k video recording with audio. There are ten reticle options to choose from. It has an IPX5 water-resistant rating. It has a rechargeable internal battery which provides up to 8 hours of power. This is one of the best night vision scope under $1000 and is well worth the money.

Highlights:

  • 4k digital imaging.
  • HD video recording.
  • Day/Night mode.
  • Full-color viewing for the day, black and white or green for night mode.
  • 8x digital zoom with a 4x optical system for up to 32x magnification.
  • Adjustable reticle options. (10 different reticles)
  • Nine different color options. 
  • Four weapon profiles to save.
  • Enhanced ultra-high-definition 4000x3000 sensor
  • Range of 300 yards.

Pros

  • Both day and nighttime use.
  • Longer battery time.
  • Longer range.
  • Large digital magnification.
  • HD video and audio recording.
  • High-resolution imaging.
  • Waterproof.
  • Durable due to aluminum build.

Cons

  • No memory card included

Best Pulsar Thermal Scope

9. Pulsar Thermion XG50 3-24x42 Thermal Night Vision   Rifle Scope

Pulsar Thermion XG-50 Thermal Night Vision Riflescope review

We've left the best for last. The Pulsar Thermion XG-50 Thermal Night Vision Rifle Scope is one of the best thermal scopes in the market.

It is the most expensive night vision scope on our list of the best night vision scopes, but you pay for quality. The Pulsar Thermion XG50 won't disappoint. 

Those who prefer thermal scopes over digital night vision, can definitely give this one a try.

The best part about the Pulsar Thermion XG50 is it’s portability. Despite having the latest thermal imaging technology, the scope comes in a 30-mm aircraft grade tube which makes it lightweight and extremely strong. The XG50 version has a 2,400 yard detection range, along with 640 x 480 resolution on a 1024x768 AMOLED display. Customize your color display by choosing black hot, white hot, sepia, monochrome, red or violet to give you the display that gives you the least eye fatigue.

If cost is not an issue, then the Pulsar Thermion XG50 night vision scope should be top of your list.

Highlights:

  • 2 lbs weight
  • Dimensions: 16 x 3 x 3 inches
  • 2,400 yard detection range
  • 640 x 480 resolution
  • 8x digital zoom
  • Instant Start-up
  • Dual Battery System
  • Built in recording
  • 5 Rifle Profiles
  • 13 variable electronic reticles
  • IPX7 Waterproof Rated

Pros

  • Compact and portable.
  • Easy to use.
  • Long detection range.
  • Great recoil activation.
  • Can connect to a smart device.
  • BAE Sensor with Multiple Color Palettes

Cons

  • Expensive





Want An Affordable Night Vision Scope?

Hunting in low light conditions is impossible without a good quality night vision scope. For hunters on a budget it seems impossible to find a cheap night vision rifle scope. 

In this section we show you the most affordable night vision scopes available in the market.

It must be mentioned 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 telescopic lenses in some cases.

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

1. Sightmark Photon 6.5x50S Digital Night Riflescope

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

Like most of the Sightmark rifle scopes, this unit can be used during the daytime and nighttime. You'll have excellent results for an affordable basic rifle scope.  I suggest you give this Sightmark model a try. 

This weatherproof and shock-proof scope can be mounted on an automatic rifle without affecting its overall performance and weight. It is the best choice if you are looking for a cheap night vision rifle scope with some great features. 

This riflescope 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. Hunters who are looking for a digital night vision scope this is a good affordable option for you. 

The video output options is a great feature for recording, not to mention that the weaver rail provides a platform to attach 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 quality yet affordably priced night vision scope.

Tip: Use the lens cap to enhance 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. At night it doesn't lack anything for hunting. 

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 Night Vision Rifle Scope

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

The great thing about Sightmark is its daytime and nighttime use, which hunters love.

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 hogs.

The vivid detailing provided by the impressive 6.5x magnification makes it easier to differentiate objects, while the video output feature which consists of the utility rail for attaching a screen, allows for video capture.

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

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

This Sightmark scope works well for a scope with this low price point.

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
  • Light weight

Cons

  • Short battery life
  • 1 moa cross reticle dots
  • The images can be a bit grainy

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 on our list. 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 this scope 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 the 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 surrounding 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 is a basic scope, but performs well for the price.

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 Night Vision Rifle Scope

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

 In our list of top 10 night vision scopes this is at number 4 position. Once it was mounted properly, we liked that it was easily adjustable so that seeing through the eye cap was possible. We especially appreciate that it didn’t interfere with the 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 wanting a 50 and 100 yard bull’s eye. 

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, and provides clear and crisp images with its built-in IR within a 75-yard distance. You may add a separate IR flashlight for greater distances, which is great for hunting. 

The Sightmark 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 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


Best Night Vision Monoculars and Binoculars

Night vision monoculars and binoculars are great to use when hunting in low light conditions and tracking at night. You look through monoculars with one eye while you look through binoculars with both eyes. 

Night vision monoculars are easier & more convenient to deploy due to the fact that they are usually smaller and more light weight than binoculars. Night vision binoculars, however, are easier to get used to because you look through the lenses with both eyes so it feels more natural and the field of vision is larger.

Night vision monoculars are cheaper than night vision binoculars, so if cost is a determining factor then this needs to be considered too.

Personal preference plays a big part in choosing whether to use night vision monoculars over binoculars, but with time & practice both options can be used by everyone.

Take a look at some of the best night vision monoculars and binoculars that have been tested:

1. 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. This night vision is developed as an equal for day vision. When you are looking for something with long range night vision scope this is the one we recommend to you. 

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. It is one of the best night vision scope for hunting available out there. 

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

2. Bushnell Night Vision 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. This bushnell one is one of the best long range night vision scope in the market. 

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.  Though we have it in at number 6 position still it is one of the top night vision scopes you can purchase for less. 

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. Comparing the price tag and everything it is one of the good night vision scope available for purchase. 

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

3. 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

4. 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

5. 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

6. 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

Tips for Beginners Using A Night Vision Scope

When you’re new to using night vision scopes, you will find that there’s a learning curve in its effective and efficient use. Part of the learning curve is understanding when to add in accessories such as an additional infrared illuminator. We decided that it would be very useful for beginners to have some tips for using night vision scopes, even though it is also highly recommended to experiment & use trial & error to understand what works best for your particular circumstances and requirements.

Use the scope to magnify the images in your surroundings in general and your target in particular. Your night vision scope shouldn’t be your only tool for seeing in low light conditions as it has a limited field of vision. Your eyes are still your best sight tools 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-dark conditions but it isn’t a substitute for your senses of hearing, smell and touch as well as 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 your target because that’s what the scope is meant for! You can tell your feet where to go when you know where you’re going.

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 using it during a hunt, for instance. This may save your life and that of others by not making silly mistakes because you're trying to familiarize yourself with your scope for the first time.

You should, in fact, be able to manipulate the scope’s basic controls on the fly. Otherwise, you can miss out on a great opportunity to take down your prey just because you were fumbling with the adjustments.


How to Zero A Night Vision Scope

Zeroing a night vision scope comes with a major challenge, it's a scope meant to be used in low light conditions. This means that it's going to be difficult to judge where your shots are hitting the target. Follow these steps and you will be able to zero your night vision scope. Firstly, look through the manual of your night vision scope to see if the manufacturer has explained how to zero your particular model. If the manual does not give the information you need, visit the manufacturers website and check if the website explains how to zero your night vision scope. 

If the manufacturer has not provided the information needed then check whether your night vision scope lens cap has a tiny pinhole which permits a small amount of light in. This will allow you to sight your night vision scope in during the day. If it does not have the pinhole then you won't be able to zero your scope in during the day. The only way you would be able to zero your night vision scope in during the day is if it was a digital night vision scope that functions in both daylight and nighttime conditions. In this case you would zero your night vision scope in during the day and it would be zeroed in for the night vision mode too.

If you are not able to zero your night vision scope during the day, then zeroing your night vision scope would need to take place during the night. In this case, I find using a pair of night vision binoculars to check after each shot and then make the necessary adjustment works the best. An alternative is having a hunting partner standing a safe distance away from the target and then reporting back to you after each shot. Here, safety is of paramount importance. So take the necessary precautions to avoid an accident.


How Much Does A Night Vision Scope Cost

Night vision scopes are specialized pieces of equipment that allow you to hit target under low light conditions. Previously, night vision scopes were extremely expensive, but as technology advanced it meant that night vision scopes with older technology or fewer features became cheaper.

High quality night vision rifle scopes constructed of top quality materials and the latest technology can cost thousands of dollars. The night vision scopes that I've featured in the article range in price from a few hundred dollars to a few thousand dollars. I have featured night vision scopes that cater for all budgets.

Final Verdict

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

Relevant Resources:

About the Author Steve

I'm Steve & I've been handling firearms and hunting most of my life. I'm passionate about sharing what I've learnt with anyone who is interested, from beginners to seasoned marksmen and hunters. Riflescopely helps me do just that!

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