Reviews: Best Night Vision Scope For The Money – Rifle, Crossbow, Hunting
Just a few years ago, night vision was only available for the military and for science fiction films. Now, it is a reality for civilians in the real world. Night vision scopes are available for sale at a variety of price ranges, even under $500.
These scopes make it easier to hunt in all hours of the day and night. While they are available in a wide variety of price ranges and with several features, not all states allow their use. Be sure to check out your state’s laws regarding them before you make a purchase.
How Does Night Vision Scope Work?
Night vision is easy to use, but it is a bit complicated to understand. There are different types of scopes, goggles, and cameras that are called Gen 1, Gen 2, and Gen 3. The higher the Gen, the higher the level of performance. So, the Gen 3 night vision devices are used in the military. Gen 1 devices are often basic monoculars. Many of the devices that are available for civilians work by intensifying the weak light so the human eye can see it.
The night vision scopes that you can add to your hunting gear turn up the power of available light. Night vision scopes let you see what is out there in the night, but you cannot magnify anything. Although there are some that allow for a small amount, like 2x and 4x. Some night vision scopes use infrared illuminators that work with available light.
The infrared lets people see in real darkness and when the infrared is activated, there is often an indicator that lights up. Some of the better devices use image intensifiers that are photocathodes that convert any available light into electrons that speed up and hit a phosphor screen and create an image. Gen 3 devices have high-tech image intensifiers, while Gen 1 might not have them at all.
How To Choose The Best Night Vision Scope?
There are several factors to consider when buying a night vision scope. It is wise to consider what features you actually need prior to making your purchase. If you buy one with too many features, you might not be able to find what you want for under $1000. Along with the different Gens, there are also different types of scopes.
One is the monocular, which is a device that you look through with one eye. These are useful because they are small and lightweight, but they also have limitations. They help you see at night, but they do not provide any magnification. They can be mounted onto a rifle or crossbow, which makes them one of the few options for use as a crossbow scope. They can even be thrown into a shirt pocket for quick use.
The other type of night vision device that many hunters like to use is the night vision scope. There are actually two different types of them and they both have pros and cons. The rifle scope or weapon scope is like typical magnifying scope, but with night vision capability.
They are heavier than the regular scope, because they have added technology. The second type of night vision scope actually fits onto the end of the regular scope - these are called day-night systems due to the fact that they are removable.
A day-night system will amplify light and give you the magnification from your regular scope. All you need to do is put the day-night system on your scope, but you will notice that putting it on does reduce the amount of light that gets in. However, it is a good choice to use a scope like this if you only have one rifle and you are hunting in darkness. To ensure that your night scope works well, you need to have a good regular scope first.
When you choose the type of scope you want, consider whether you want magnification or you just want to see at night. A dedicated night vision scope that you mount on your weapon will not have magnification technology, so if that is important to you, the day-night system will be a better choice as a thermal scope.
Another important consideration is the price of the scope. They come in a variety of prices from under $500 to well over $1000. There are little monoculars that can be purchased for under $100, but they do not attach to weapons, so they are not as useful as a real weapon scope.
Best Night Vision Scope Reviews 2017
**Below, you'll find our more detailed reviews, but you can also click the links above to see current prices or read customer reviews on Amazon.
2. Firefield FF16001 NVRS 3x 42mm Gen 1 Night Vision Riflescope - Best Cheap Night Vision Scope
An affordable night vision scope is a rare find and the Firefield NVRS provides plenty of features for a low price. This Gen 1 rifle scope has a built-in infrared illuminator that is high powered to provide clear images in the darkest conditions.
This device can be quickly attached and detached with a weaver mounting system. It has a 42mm lens and 3x magnification. The lens and magnification will help you see long-range targets with just the right amount of light. The lens and magnification technology is protected by a titanium body that makes the scope weigh only 1.8 pounds.
The protective body is lightweight and has a flip-up cover for the lens, which can be used to protect it from the elements or from scratches while traveling. The high-tech optics are coated with several layers and there is a red reticle that can be adjusted to the right brightness. The flip cover does have a small hole in it, which allows the scope to be used during the day to keep too much light from entering the optics.
3. Sightmark Photon XT 4.6x42s Digital Night Vision Riflescope – Best For Crossbow
Adding a crossbow scope with night vision is a reality with the Sightmark Photon XT. This little night vision scope is lightweight and versatile. It works well for medium range shots with its 4.6x magnification and a 42mm lens. It has a resolution of 640x480 so you can see objects clearly at a distance up to 120 yards.
The scope fits on crossbows that have FPS numbers between 320 and 400. The two reticles help with different types of animals. It also includes a Mil-Dot reticle and a German-style reticle. The reticle options include different colors and can be used in a variety of different situations.
This high quality scope is designed for precise shots. It has a long battery life, especially when compared to the other options on the market. It works well during the day and at night, especially when you use the video output option or you attach different accessories to the rail. The digital elevation adjustment system helps ensure that shots are accurate and sets the device apart from other scope. This streamlined scope takes AA-batteries
The Yukon NVRS is a powerful night vision scope that makes it easy to hunt and shoot varmint, which are only really active in darkness. The 1.5x42 scope provides a clear view of even the smallest critter.
This scope is made of lightweight titanium and is ergonomically designed to sit tightly on a variety of rifles, even those with bolt action. It has a 42mm lens that brings in enough light to activate the night vision technology with includes an illuminated reticle. The flip-up lens cover protects the lens and the technology inside.
There is a built-in infrared illuminator that uses a diode pulse to save battery life. The pulse cannot be detected by the human eye, so it will not bother you while it is working. The pulse helps let the illuminator get into longer distances. The powerful scope can work as an accessory for a digital camera and it can be used as a laser pointer as well as an infrared flashlight.
5. Armasight Vampire 3X Night Vision Rifle Scope – Best For Rifle Scope
A night scope named “Vampire” has to be the dream of any hunter who wants to shoot when the animals are active. This rifle scope does not disappoint, either. It is a heavy scope, weighing in at three pounds, but it is loaded with technology. It has a 60-70 lp/mm resolution with 3x magnification. The scope adjusts for wind and elevation and the lens is 108mm with F/1.5. It uses an infrared illuminator that is detachable, but will detect at a long range.
The rifle scope is rated to tolerate water and it is fog resistant and is designed to operate at wide range of temperatures from -40 to 50 °C. The scope works with 3V battery. The scope will tell you when the batter is getting low, with an indicator in your field of vision. Batteries usually last about 40 hours. The Vampire scope mounts on a weaver rail.
This hunting scope uses what Armasight calls CORE (Ceramic Optical Ruggedized Engine) to offer more night vision than a typical Gen 1 device. The images are crisp and clear, which makes them look more like a Gen 2 device built them. You can even see good images in ambient light. This scope includes a two-year warranty from the manufacturer.
6. Armasight Nemesis 6x-SD Gen 2+ Night Vision Rifle Scope - Best Night Vision Scope For Hunting
If you are looking for a night vision scope with all the bells and whistles, this is it. This scope comes with 6x magnification and includes 6.5 degrees of a field of vision. The infrared red optics are made of shock-protected glass. You can easily see the illuminated center due to the red cross reticle. Armasight made the Nemesis to be water resistant and easy to mount on a weaver rail. The infrared illuminator is detachable. And, the iron sights flip up and back.
This sight is a Gen 2+ and has powerful resolution with 45-51 lp/mm. It has an automatic brightness control so the scope is not overpowered when the lights brighten up. It works with a 3-volt battery that will last up to 60 hours. It also includes a field-of-vision low-battery indicator. It is a heavy scope, but it is because of the technology on the inside that makes it weigh 4.2 pounds. Armasight includes a two-year warranty.
Night scopes have come a necessity for hunters who like to shoot nocturnal animals. While most night vision scopes for amateur hunters are Gen 1 and Gen 2, they offer enough illumination and some also have magnification. They can be found for prices under $1000 and even for under $500. Most of them need to have some light to work with and most can even be used as a crossbow scope.
Hopefully, you are able to find a night vision or thermal scope that will meet your needs and your budget.