Adding Night Vision to a Scope: Detailed Step By Step Guide

Adding Night Vision to a Scope

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Adding night vision to a scope is easy to do, if your scope will support a night vision add on. In this article, we’ll take a look at the process of adding night vision to a scope.

Let’s take a closer look at the step-by-step process! 

How to Add Night Vision Monoculars to a Scope?  

How to Add Night Vision Monoculars to a Scope

Before buying an add-on night vision device, you need to know that your scope will support the device. Some NV devices clamp to the eyepiece or objective lens on a tube scope, and it’s worth noting that reflex and red dot scopes cannot support this kind of mount. 

Remember, the objective bell or the front is usually larger than the eyepiece. This is not always the case.

If you are mounting an NV for a reflex or red dot you need to make sure the two devices are compatible.

Using Night Vision Monoculars with a Scope

Using Night Vision Monoculars with a Scope

Most night vision clip-ons are also NV monoculars. Using a night vision monocular with a scope means deciding how to mount the two together on your gun. 

Adding night vision to a traditional tube scope is much easier than getting one for a red dot. . With a traditional tube scope, you decide if you want a front or rear mount. 

More and more companies are producing red dot scopes that integrate night vision or thermal vision so you do not need an add-on device.

This makes finding a clip-on for a red dot increasingly hard.

Here are the steps telling you how to add night vision to a scope.

1. Check compatibility

Check compatibility
  • The first thing you have to do is check compatibility before adding night vision to a scope. 
  • This is critical with red dot scopes. The red dot is generated by a laser and that bright light can damage the sensor in the NV add-on. Check with the red dot company to make sure it is compatible.
  • Traditional tube scopes are compatible with night vision devices. You just have to make sure the clamps fit your scope. The clamps adjust with allen wrenches included with the adapter.
  • NV monoculars that mount behind the red dot are the best idea.  

2. Move the scope

  • If you are putting an add-on night vision to a red dot scope, you may need to move the scope. Before you start moving the scope, put the gun in a vise or something similar that will hold it steady.
  • Get behind the gun like you intend to shoot it.
  • Now place the NV in front of your red dot and look through it. If this is a comfortable fit, then you need to mount the NV there. Place the NV behind the red dot and look. If that works, then decide how to mount the scope there. 
  • If neither setting works, then you have to move the red dot. Move it backward or forward until you get an eye relief you like.
  • Before you move a traditional tube scope, attach the clip on to the scope. Look through it. Check the eye relief if it is a rear-mound NV device. If everything is comfortable, do not move the scope.
  • If you have to move the scope, you must re-zero it.
  • Some mounts require more picatinny rail. Some clip to the already-installed scope.

3. Front Mount

Front Mount
  • If you use a front mount, then your scope is already set. You just need to get the appropriate adapter mount for adding night vision to a scope to the front bell on the scope. 
  • Many NV clip-ons come with adapter rings to fit smaller bells. If you have a scope with a 55 or greater objective lens, then you likely need to shop for a larger adapter.
  • The advantage here is your eye relief does not change. Unfortunately, front mount NV devices are rare.

4. Rear Mount

  • Rear mount NV devices are much more common than front mount. The drawback is these clip-ons may require you to move your scope to set the eye relief. Check this before you ever shoot the gun.
  • If the eye relief is too short, the scope assembly will slam back into your face. 
  • Remember to re-zero your scope if you must move it.
  • Once you get this set, you can take the NV off for daytime use. The drawback here is, your eye relief is again different. You may need to spend some time shooting the gun with the NV mounted and with it off. You can learn to compensate for the eye relief.

5. Camera NV

  • Some NV clip-ons come with a camera or smartphone mount. You aim at the target by centering the crosshairs by watching the screen.
  • The advantage here is you do not move your scope. Your daytime shooting eye relief never changes.
  • It does take a few shots to get used to looking at the screen instead of down the tube. You also need to decide where the gun stock needs to rest against your body since a shoulder mount is no longer necessary.

6. Sighting in

Sighting in
  • True night vision devices need to be sighted in at night. 
  • Daylight will burn out the sensor inside the scope. 
  • As you will be hunting at night, it makes sense to spend some range time at night anyway.
  • Just make sure your range allows nighttime shooting.

7. Use

Using a NV scope is almost the same as using the scope without the clip on. Of the two differences, one is critical.

  • The critical difference is that you must never point your NV device at a bright light. It will damage the internal sensors.
  • Pack extra batteries or charger if your NV does not have removable batteries.

When you are hunting at night, turn the device on and look for your target. Simple as that.

Adapter Problems

You may not be able to find the exact size adapter you need. If you have this adapter problem, here is an easy fix:

  • Get the nearest sized clamp ring you can that is bigger than what you need
  • Make a sabot or collet. This is just like a shotgun or black powder slug sabot.
  • Take a piece of plastic and cut strips. You need at least two. More at better. The gap between the clip-on collar and the scope will tell you how thick these pieces need to be.
  • Two have to be centered on opposite sides on the clip-on ring. If you do more, it makes it easier to equally space them between the scope and the clamp ring.
  • Seal the gaps other pieces of plastic, paper, some kind or fabric or similar. 
  • DO NOT USE GLUE! You want to be able to remove the NV and glue can make that difficult.


Can you convert aa scope to night vision? 

You cannot directly convert a regular scope to night vision. Night vision requires a special screen and internal electronics. The best you can do is get an add-on device. This is not a direct conversion; it is an adaptation.

Can you mount night vision in front of a scope? 

You can mount night vision to the front of a scope. You can mount NV to the back of a scope. The device you get determines where it is mounted. Make sure you can support the device you get.

Which is better night vision or thermal scope?

Deciding which is better, night vision or a thermal scope depends on you, your hunting style and your wallet. NV is far cheaper than thermal, but it has a much shorter range. Get thermal for shots past 100 yards.


Before you buy an add-on NV or thermal device, make sure it is compatible with your setup.

Some NVs mount to the picatinny rail. These can be used for the tube, reflex and red dot depending on how the NV is configured. You just have to be sure you have enough rail to mount the device.

Some guns will let you extend the rail or put a longer rail in place. Cantilever barrels generally cannot have longer rails added without work by a good gunsmith.

Clip-on NVs usually come with one or two adjustable clamps to go on the eyepiece. You may need to buy a bigger or smaller clamp to fit your scope.If you have a short pic rail and cannot extend it, this is your only option.

If you get one that attaches to the pic rail, make sure you have enough room for the existing scope as well as the add-on. If you shoot an AR-style rifle, you can get a replacement handguard to extend the rail over the barrel.

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