Top 10 Best Night Vision Scopes for AR-15 In 2024

night vision scopes

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In the realm of nocturnal hunting & precision shooting, the evolution of technology has brought about remarkable advancements in firearm accessories.

Among the most noteworthy innovations are digital night vision scopes and thermal vision scopes, revolutionizing the way many operate in low-light conditions. 

In this article, we’ll delve into the top ten night vision scopes for rifles, exploring the features, capabilities, and nuances that differentiate digital night vision from thermal vision, guiding you towards making an informed choice for your nocturnal pursuits.

Product Reviews

IMAGE PRODUCT
  • Versatile
  • Wide magnification range
  • Easy-to-Use Interface
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  • Budget-Friendly
  • Included IR Illuminator
  • Can be used during the day
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  • Multiple Reticle Options
  • Ballistic Calculator
  • Long Battery Life
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  • Ballistic Calculator and Smart Rangefinder
  • Recoil Activated Video
  • Ultra Low Power Consumption
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  • Affordability
  • Weatherproof
  • Reliable
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  • Instant Start-Up
  • Built like a tank
  • connect to your phone
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  • Versatile Magnification Range
  • Tactical Turrets
  • Rugged Construction
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  • Waterproof and Rugged Design
  • Ultra Low-Light Sensitivity
  • Won’t Mount to Rifle
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  • Relatively High-Resolution Thermal Imaging
  • User-Friendly
  • Not Rifle Compatible
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  • Shooting Modes
  • Sony IMX Sensor
  • Not weatherproof
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1. Best Overall – Sightmark Wraith HD Digital Night Vision Riflescope

Sightmark Wraith HD 4-32x50 Night Vision Digital Riflescope

Overview

The Sightmark Wraith HD tops our list because it is a powerful and versatile device that pushes the boundaries of nighttime shooting.

Combining advanced technology with impressive functionality, this riflescope offers a seamless transition from day to night vision, providing clear and detailed imaging in all lighting conditions. 

Features & Specifications

  • High-Definition Digital Optics: The Wraith HD features a high-resolution 1920×1080 CMOS sensor. The 1080p sensor gives an image that is competitive in quality to traditional scopes in daylight and can (of course) be used in night settings as well.
  • Daytime Color Mode: With the ability to switch to a full-color mode during daylight hours, the Wraith HD doubles as a daytime riflescope, so you don’t have to swap out optics.
    • The Wraith HD (because it’s digital) can save weapon profiles to store zeroes for multiple rifles
  • HD Photo/Video Recording: The full HD sensor gives you great quality videos and photos so you can share your experiences and review your shots later.
  • Customizable Reticle Options: The riflescope offers 10 different reticle options, with 9 different colors to choose from. You can go as simple as a single red dot in the middle, or go up all the way to crosshairs with 1 MRAD hashmarks on all four axes. No Christmas tree option, though. 

You can see the options here:

Reticle Wraith HD Digital Night Vision Riflescope

Pros

  • Versatile: The Sightmark Wraith HD works in both day and night shooting scenarios, so you don’t need multiple optics.
  • Wide magnification range: Optically, it’s just 4-8x, but the sensor allows you to use a digital zoom, which extends that all the way to 32x. Your image won’t be as crisp or clear when it’s that crunched, but you can still distinguish your target from its surroundings.
  • Easy-to-Use Interface: The interface is user-friendly and simple to use. The controls are intuitive, and there are fewer reported malfunctions than with other digital scopes.

Cons

  • A Bit Heavy: This scope is a little over 2 pounds, but considering that it’s a long-range scope, daytime scope, night vision device, and HD camera all rolled into one, the weight is actually pretty impressive.
  • Battery life sucks: you’ve only got 4.5 hours of battery life with 4 AA batteries. You can also bring a USB battery bank, but it’s probably easier to come to terms with the fact that you’ll burn through 8 AA batteries each full night you’re out.

Summary

Despite the low battery life, the Wraith HD is, in my opinion, the best overall night vision scope out there in 2023. It’s versatile, got good image quality, and all the features you might want. It even comes with a removable IR flashlight (850nm).

Sightmark Wraith HD 4-32x50 Night Vision Digital Riflescope

Sightmark Wraith HD Digital

The price of Sightmark Wraith HD Digital varies, so check the latest price at

2. Best Budget Option – BestSight DIY Digital Night Vision Scope

BESTSIGHT DIY Digital Night Vision Scope for Rifle Hunting with Camera and 5" Portable Display Screen

Overview 

It’s weird, but it actually works pretty well. The BESTSIGHT DIY Digital Night Vision Scope is a budget-friendly option that offers essential features for rifle hunting in low-light conditions.

You’ll be able to use this for close-range ratting or pest control around the ranch or farm with small calibers, but I’m pretty sure a single recoil of a .308 or larger would, at minimum, throw off your zero.

Features & Specifications

  • Digital Night Vision Technology: The BESTSIGHT DIY scope utilizes digital technology to amplify ambient light and provide clear visibility in the dark.
  • 5″ Portable Display Screen: The included display screen allows for convenient viewing of the captured footage and real-time imagery during shooting sessions.
  • Adjustable Zoom: This is essentially just a tube-shaped camera that mounts on the eyepiece of your existing scope, so whatever magnification you already have is what you’ll get
  • Ring Mounting: You mount the IR flashlight and the display screen on the scope tube, so you have to make sure your scope is at least 10 inches long or you won’t have room for all the rings.

Pros

  • Budget-Friendly: This night vision scope offers an affordable option for those looking to venture into the world of digital night vision without a significant financial investment.
  • Included IR Illuminator: It’s not all that bright, but should work well in most situations under 50 yards. Again, this whole setup isn’t really for the big times, it’s just for taking care of business around your property.
  • Can be used during the day: Since all this is is a camera that grabs onto the ocular lens of your scope and pipes the image to a screen mounted above, you can use it in pretty much all light conditions. 

Cons

  • Limited Range and Performance: As a budget option, the BESTSIGHT DIY scope won’t hold up  in terms of range and overall performance compared to higher-end options.
  • Limited Advanced Features: You can’t record video or photos using this system and the mounting system isn’t the most secure.
  • Lower Image Quality: You get what you pay for, and the image quality doesn’t match the level of clarity and detail offered by more expensive digital night vision scopes like the Wraith.

Summary

It’s a different way to go about solving the problem, but it’s a legitimate solution for a lot of folks.

If you already have a scope and all you want to do is add the ability to do some nighttime shooting onto it, then this is a good way to go.

I was able to find one reviewer on Amazon who claimed he was using it on a .300 Win Mag, but most of the reviews are in agreement that this is only for smallbore calibers.

BESTSIGHT DIY Digital Night Vision Scope for Rifle Hunting with Camera and 5" Portable Display Screen

BestSight DIY Digital Night Vision Scope

The price of BestSight DIY Digital varies, so check the latest price at

3. Best Flexibility – ATN X-Sight-4k Pro Smart Day/Night Scope

theOpticGuru ATN X-Sight-4k Pro 3-14x Smart Day/Night Scope w/Full HD Video rec, Smooth Zoom, Bluetooth and Wi-Fi (Streaming, Gallery & Controls)

Overview

The X-Sight-4k Pro from ATN is a lot like the Wraith HD. The differences are that it has a few more features and advanced capabilities, while being less reliable overall.

Since reliability is more important to me than features, the Wraith took the top spot and the X-Sight is here. Both are fantastic options and the X-Sight might be more your flavor.

Features & Specifications

  • Ultra HD Optics: The X-Sight 4K Pro offers awesome Ultra HD optics with a 3864×2218 resolution, ensuring crystal-clear images and exceptional detail.
  • Enhanced Night Vision: Equipped with an advanced night vision mode, this riflescope provides improved visibility in complete darkness, allowing for targeting as precise as during the day (in theory).
  • Smart Rangefinder: The built-in Smart Rangefinder utilizes ballistic calculations to accurately determine the distance to the target, making adjustments for optimal shot placement.
  • Recoil Activated Video (RAV): RAV automatically starts recording video before, during, and after each shot, ensuring no crucial moment is missed and providing a convenient way to review shots later.
  • Dual Stream Video Recording: If you’re really into sharing scope footage, the X-Sight 4K Pro allows simultaneous video streaming and recording, enabling real-time sharing of your shooting experiences.

Pros

  • Multiple Reticle Options: Choose from a range of reticle styles and colors to suit your shooting preferences and environmental conditions.
  • Ballistic Calculator: The integrated Ballistic Calculator provides precise data for adjusting your shots based on range, wind, and other environmental factors, enhancing accuracy.
  • Long Battery Life: The X-Sight 4K Pro features a long-lasting internal battery, to the tune of over 18 hours of battery life.

Cons

  • Price: The ATN X-Sight 4K Pro falls into the higher price range, making it less accessible for budget-conscious shooters.
  • Reliability: With so much going on inside the scope, things tend to go wrong more often. Sometimes it’s something that doesn’t matter as much, but sometimes the entire screen goes black and you have to go through a cumbersome reset process to fix it.

Summary

On paper, the X-Sight-4k should be the best overall, since it’s only a bit more expensive than the Wraith HD and has better image quality and a more robust feature set, but it’s the reliability of it that holds it back.

It still has a 4.3 out of 5 stars on Amazon with over 300 ratings, so it’s not like the thing is a ticking time bomb, it just has enough issues to make me lean towards something that is a bit better.

theOpticGuru ATN X-Sight-4k Pro 3-14x Smart Day/Night Scope w/Full HD Video rec, Smooth Zoom, Bluetooth and Wi-Fi (Streaming, Gallery & Controls)

ATN X-Sight-4k Pro Smart

The price of ATN X-Sight-4k Pro Smart varies, so check the latest price at

4. Best Thermal Scope – ATN ThOR LT or ThOR 4

ATN Thor LT Thermal Rifle Scope w/10+hrs Battery & Ultra-Low Power Consumption

Overview

Alright, now we’re getting into options that aren’t, strictly speaking, “night vision”.

Thermal imaging is a different thing altogether, but it’s a perfectly viable way of seeing at night, and recent technological advancements have made thermal imaging a lot more affordable than it used to be. If you want to go thermal, the ThOR is the way to go.

I’m combining the ThOR LT (or “light”) and the ThOR 4 (which is way more expensive) in this because which one you choose will depend on your budget, but they are both fantastic at their respective price points.

Features & Specifications

  • Thermal Imaging: The ThOR scopes utilize thermal imaging technology to detect heat signatures, providing visibility in complete darkness and adverse weather conditions.
  • Lightweight Design: Weighing only 1.4 pounds, the ThOR LT is designed for portability and ease of use, and the ThOR 4 is only 1.93 pounds.
  • Multiple Color Palettes: Choose from various color palettes to enhance visibility and target detection based on your surroundings and personal preference.
  • One Shot Zero: This feature allows for quick and precise sight-in adjustments, minimizing the time spent zeroing the scope and maximizing your shooting efficiency.

Pros

  • Ballistic Calculator and Smart Rangefinder: The integrated Ballistic Calculator and Smart Rangefinder provide accurate target ranging and compensate for bullet drop.
  • Recoil Activated Video (RAV): RAV automatically records videos before and after each shot, capturing your shooting experience and allowing for easy review and sharing.
  • Ultra Low Power Consumption: The ThOR scopes are designed with energy efficiency in mind: the LT will give you 10+ hours of battery life and the 4 will give you 18+ hours.

Cons

  • Lower Resolution or High Cost: The LT thermal sensor isn’t high enough resolution to give a very detailed image, particularly at long range. The 4’s sensor is, but then you’re paying thousands of dollars for the privilege.
  • Limited Advanced Features: Compared to the ThOR 4, the ThOR LT lacks a lot: video recording, wifi/bluetooth connectivity, and even the ballistics calculator.

Summary

The ThOR LT is an impressive piece of tech, but it’s more expensive than digital night vision devices that offer more features and sharper imagery.

To match the features and imagery, you have to go with the ThOR 4, which is eye-poppingly expensive. Granted, thermal opens up a lot of options, so it may be worth it to you. 

ATN Thor LT Thermal Rifle Scope w/10+hrs Battery & Ultra-Low Power Consumption

ATN ThOR LT or ThOR 4

The price of ATN ThOR LT or ThOR 4 varies, so check the latest price at

5. Best Plug-and-Play Option – Night Owl Optics NightShot

Night Owl Optics NightShot Rifle Scope, Digital Night Vision Riflescope with IR illuminator, High Resolution, Weatherproof, Night Vision Rifle Scopes for Hunting

Overview

First off, this thing is a lot bigger than the photo would have you believe. But that aside, if you just want something that lets you see at night with no muss no fuss, the NightShot is a good option.

It’s a fixed 3x magnification, has a built-in IR illuminator, and mounts directly onto a pic rail without even needing a riser (thanks to the 3x magnification).

Features & Specifications

  • Easy Mounting: The NightShot features a Picatinny rail for easy mounting onto various firearms, ensuring compatibility and hassle-free installation.
  • Lightweight: With its lightweight (1.4 pounds) design, the NightShot offers portability and ease of use during extended hunting or shooting sessions.
  • Adjustable Reticle Brightness: The reticle brightness can be adjusted to match the ambient lighting conditions, ensuring optimal visibility and aiming accuracy.
  • Integrated IR Illuminator: The built-in infrared (IR) illuminator enhances visibility by emitting infrared light that is invisible to the human eye but illuminates the surroundings for the scope’s sensors.

Pros

  • Affordability: The NightShot offers an affordable option for those seeking a digital night vision scope without breaking the bank.
  • Weatherproof: The NightShot’s polymer construction is built to withstand various weather conditions, making it suitable for outdoor use in different environments.
  • Reliable: The NightShot does one thing and does it well: lets you see at night. Simple to use and operate.

Cons

  • Limited Range: The effective range of the NightShot may be more limited compared to higher-end night vision scopes, but this can be helped with a brighter IR illuminator.
  • Lower Image Quality: The image quality of the NightShot may not match the clarity and detail offered by more advanced and expensive night vision options.
  • Probably Missing the One Feature You Actually Care About: Many of us shooters think we don’t care about extra “fluff” until we run up against a feature that we actually really like. Whatever that feature happens to be for you, it’s a good bet the NightShot does not have it.

Summary

The NightShot is a close-range, basic, affordable digital night vision device.

It is unlikely to malfunction on you, but it also won’t stream HD video while simultaneously recording everything you see in your scope and automatically rangefinding and running ballistics calculations so you don’t have to.

Night Owl Optics NightShot Rifle Scope, Digital Night Vision Riflescope with IR illuminator, High Resolution, Weatherproof, Night Vision Rifle Scopes for Hunting

Night Owl Optics NightShot

The price of Night Owl Optics NightShot varies, so check the latest price at

6. Pulsar Thermion 2 Pro

Pulsar Thermion 2 XP50 Pro Thermal Riflescope

Overview

Remember when I said the ThOR 4 was “eye-poppingly expensive”? Well I’d like to introduce you to the Pulsar Thermion 2 Pro, which is double the price of the ThOR 4.

Now, there are some good reasons for that, but keep in mind that we are talking about a specialty scope that probably only makes sense for some very niche situations.

Features & Specifications

  • Ultra High-Resolution Thermal Imaging: The Pulsar Thermion 2 Pro boasts up to a 640×480 thermal sensor, which is quite large for thermal sensors and can give you heat detection out to an astounding 2,000 yards.
  • Long Battery Life: The Thermion 2 Pro features battery design that incorporates internal & external batteries, allowing you to hot-swap the external batteries as needed.
  • Integrated Video and Photo Recording: Capture your hunting experiences and memorable shots with the scope’s built-in video and photo recording features, allowing for easy sharing and documentation.
  • Streaming, Ballistics, Recoil-Activated Recording, all of it: Not only does the Thermion 2 Pro have these features, but they actually work as intended pretty much all of the time.

Pros

  • Instant Start-Up: Most digital scopes take at least a few seconds to start up, but the Thermion Pro lights up immediately when you hit the power button, so you aren’t as likely to miss your chance.
  • Built like a tank: IPX7 waterproof and recoil rated up to 6,000 Joules, so up to .375 H&H and a 12-gauge shotgun.
  • Can connect to your phone to give you a real-time monitor of what’s in your scope.

Cons

  • Higher Price Range: The Thermion 2 Pro falls into a higher price range compared to entry-level thermal scopes, making it less accessible for budget-conscious shooters.
  • Learning Curve: The advanced features and settings of the Thermion 2 Pro may require some time and effort to fully understand and utilize, especially for users new to thermal imaging scopes.

Summary

The best use case for this scope I can think of is when you’re shooting at relatively small targets at relatively large distances.

The 8x magnification is enough to get you out to 300-400 yards or so, and the thermal sensor is high enough resolution to let you identify a coyote at that distance.

Pulsar Thermion 2 XP50 Pro Thermal Riflescope

Pulsar Thermion 2 Pro

The price of Pulsar Thermion 2 Pro varies, so check the latest price at

7. NightForce NXS C433 5.5-22x50mm

NIGHTFORCE NXS 5.5-22x50mm F2 30mm Tube Durable Precise Accurate Black Gun Scope - ZeroStop Parallax Adjustable Second Focal Plane Shooting Scope, Moar - 20 MOA Reticle (C433)

Overview

I know, I know, the NightForce (despite its name) is not a night vision scope.

I’m including it because sometimes you can eliminate your need for a night vision scope by simply getting a regular scope with good enough light transmission to keep you shooting in moonlight and between sunset and full darkness.

Features & Specifications

  • Large Objective Lens: With a 50mm objective lens, this scope allows for increased light transmission, resulting in brighter and clearer images even in low-light conditions.
  • High-Quality Optics: This scope boasts high-quality optics that deliver exceptional clarity, sharpness, and color fidelity, providing a clear and detailed sight picture.
  • Illuminated Reticle: The illuminated reticle provides enhanced visibility in low-light conditions, allowing for better target acquisition and aiming accuracy.
  • Side Parallax Adjustment: The side parallax adjustment enables shooters to eliminate parallax and achieve a clear and focused image at various distances.

Pros

  • Versatile Magnification Range: The variable magnification range of 5.5-22x provides versatility for different shooting scenarios, from close-range targets to long-range engagements.
  • Tactical Turrets: The tactical turrets offer precise and repeatable adjustments, facilitating easy windage and elevation corrections for improved accuracy.
  • Rugged Construction: The scope’s rugged construction ensures durability and reliability in demanding shooting environments. It’s waterproof, fogproof, and shockproof.

Cons

  • Price: The NightForce NXS C433 falls into a higher price range, making it less accessible for budget-conscious shooters.
  • No Actual Night Vision: If you really need to be able to shoot in total darkness, this scope won’t do it for you. If you just need something to extend your hunting or shooting hours, this can be a great way to go.

Summary

The NightForce is built to maximize light transmission and make it possible to shoot with a traditional scope in low-light situations that most scopes can’t handle.

Coupled with incredible optics and a good feature set, this makes the NightForce an overall fantastic scope, in my opinion.

NIGHTFORCE NXS 5.5-22x50mm F2 30mm Tube Durable Precise Accurate Black Gun Scope - ZeroStop Parallax Adjustable Second Focal Plane Shooting Scope, Moar - 20 MOA Reticle (C433)

NightForce NXS C433 5.5-22x50mm

The price of NightForce NXS C433 varies, so check the latest price at

8. SiOnyx Aurora Pro

Overview

The SiOnyx is not a scope, and it is not designed to be mounted to a rifle. It’s a night vision camera that functions much like a monocular.

You can mount it to a helmet just fine (in fact, one amazon reviewer mounted two – one for each eye), but you also really need an IR illuminator to feed the SiOnyx the light it needs to give good quality.

Features & Specifications

  • Full-Color Night Vision: Unlike traditional night vision devices that produce green or black-and-white images, the Aurora PRO provides full-color night vision.
  • HD Recording: This device allows for high-definition video recording, capturing your nighttime adventures with impressive clarity and detail.
  • Wi-Fi and App Connectivity: With built-in Wi-Fi and the SiOnyx app, you can wirelessly connect your Aurora PRO to your smartphone or tablet, enabling remote control, live streaming, and content sharing.
  • GPS and Compass: The integrated GPS and compass provide location data and direction information, enhancing navigation and tracking capabilities during nighttime activities.

Pros

  • Waterproof and Rugged Design: The Aurora PRO is built to withstand outdoor elements, featuring a rugged and waterproof construction that ensures durability and reliability in various environments.
  • Ultra Low-Light Sensitivity: The SiOnyx Aurora PRO boasts exceptional ultra low-light sensitivity, and with an IR illuminator can give you great imagery.

Cons

  • Limited Range: The effective range of the Aurora PRO may be more limited compared to specialized long-range night vision devices, potentially impacting target detection and recognition at longer distances.
  • Price: The Aurora PRO is a more expensive options than some.
  • Won’t Mount to Rifle: This is really only an option if your use-case doesn’t require your NVD to be mounted directly to your rifle. 

Summary

If you’ve got a red dot on your AR and you’d like to add night vision functionality to your set-up, this could be a good option.

Particularly if you’re thinking about home defense and you can just throw on a helmet with an IR illuminator. Then you have better situational awareness since everywhere you look you’ll be able to see. 

SiOnyx Aurora Pro

The price of SiOnyx Aurora Pro varies, so check the latest price at

9. Teslong Thermal Monocular

Thermal Monocular,Teslong Thermal Imaging Monocular Handheld Infrared Thermal Scope, Weather-Resistant Thermal Binoculars Short Range Thermal Monocular for Hunting, Outdoor Camping, Travel (256x192)

Overview

The use-case here is similar to the SiOnyx, but the Teslong uses thermal imaging instead of digital night vision.

The sensor is small enough that you want to be at closer ranges, but I would be hesitant to recommend it for home defense since your image won’t likely be detailed enough to quickly tell the difference between an intruder and a family member.

Features & Specifications

  • Wide Temperature Detection Range: This monocular offers a wide temperature detection range, wider than most dedicated thermal riflescopes, and at a competitive price point.
  • Multiple Color Palettes: The Teslong Thermal Monocular offers a range of color palettes to enhance image interpretation and customization. Some palettes are better for some situations, so it’s good to be able to swap.
  • Long Battery Life: The Teslong Thermal Monocular features a 10-hour battery life, ensuring extended usage time without the need for frequent recharging.
  • Digital Zoom: The Teslong Thermal Monocular offers a 4x digital zoom, so you can magnify the thermal image for better target identification and observation.

Pros

  • Relatively High-Resolution Thermal Imaging: The Teslong Thermal Monocular’s 256×192 thermal sensor is about twice the size of other budget thermal scopes, and about ⅓ the size of the ThOR 4’s sensor.
  • User-Friendly: All the buttons are laid out and labeled simply and clearly, and there aren’t a ton of different functions to deal with, so it’s pretty easy to pick up and start using.

Cons

  • Limited Range: The sensor resolution will limit the effective range of this monocular, and the reliance on a digital zoom will as well.
  • Not Rifle Compatible: Like the SiOnyx, you’ll have to get creative about mounting this to either a tripod or a helmet to use this while shooting.

Summary

The Teslong Thermal Monocular is a good tool to use to spot a target in zero-light conditions.

Once you’ve found it, you can use a more typical night vision riflescope to to acquire it and take your shot. Think of it like a specialized no-light spotting scope with only 4x magnification.

Is it worth the money most of the time? No, but in the cases where it makes sense, it’s absolutely worth it.

Thermal Monocular,Teslong Thermal Imaging Monocular Handheld Infrared Thermal Scope, Weather-Resistant Thermal Binoculars Short Range Thermal Monocular for Hunting, Outdoor Camping, Travel (256x192)

Teslong Thermal Monocular

The price of Teslong Thermal Monocular varies, so check the latest price at

10. ACPOTEL NV30 Night Vision Monocular

ACPOTEL NV30 Night Vision Monocular, Infrared Digital Night Vision with Sony Sensor for Full Color 100% Darkness with Rechargeable Battery, for Hunting&Surveillanc Support Video&Photo (6 * 40mm NV30)

Overview

This is an affordable option that packs a lot of punch, and it will give you 6x magnification, which is more than either of the other two monoculars I’ve included on the list.

With the built-in IR illuminator, you should be able to use this to spot out as far as 300 yards or so. The digital zoom will also add another 10x onto that, making it a total of 60x.

Features & Specifications

  • 40mm Objective lens: Having a large objective is important with night vision devices as well, and the 40mm objective contributes to a clear and clean image.
  • Adjustable aperture: An adjustable aperture means you can control how bright the image is. Most of the time you’ll probably want it as open as possible, but sometimes you may want to close it down so it’s not as bright.
  • Built-In Battery: The internal battery will last up to 6 hours on a new charge, so you should be able to last most of a night depending on what you’re doing and how constantly you’re using it.

Pros

  • Shooting Modes: The Acpotel has 5 different IR modes to shoot in, and can go from moonlight to total darkness.
  • Sony IMX Sensor: Sony makes good sensors. Sony sensors are often used in Hollywood movies, and on the prosumer side, sony sensors are widely known for their low-light capabilities.
  • 9” “digital” imaging screen: It’s not actually 9 inches, but when you look in the viewfinder it will be as if you were looking at a 9-inch screen. 

Cons

  • Menus are confusing: As is typical with prosumer cameras, the menu systems fail to strike the balance between offering access to features and keeping things simple.
  • Movement is blurry: Part of the way the camera achieves low-light imagery is by slowing the shutter speed down significantly. This means that fast movement will be very blurry.
  • Not weatherproof: Rain can cause problems, and submersing it will likely destroy it.

Summary

It’s cool, it’s cheap, and it’s effective.

It won’t hold up in difficult conditions and it won’t mount directly to a rifle, but if your use case does not require that then it’s a good option, and it’s one of the most affordable options on the list, especially considering that it comes with a built-in IR illuminator.

ACPOTEL NV30 Night Vision Monocular, Infrared Digital Night Vision with Sony Sensor for Full Color 100% Darkness with Rechargeable Battery, for Hunting&Surveillanc Support Video&Photo (6 * 40mm NV30)

ACPOTEL NV30 Night Vision Monocular

The price of ACPOTEL NV30 Night Vision Monocular varies, so check the latest price at

Buying Guide

Best Night Vision Scopes for AR-15 - Buying Guide

Here are some factors to consider when buying a night vision scope.

1. Various Ways to See at Night

Nighttime can present unique challenges, whether you’re engaging in outdoor activities, wildlife observation, or even security surveillance.

To overcome the darkness and enhance visibility, various technologies have been developed. Here are the three popular methods of night vision: traditional night vision, digital night vision, and thermal imaging.

Traditional Night Vision

Traditional night vision, also known as analog night vision, has been in use for decades. It relies on the amplification of available ambient light, such as moonlight or starlight, to provide a visible image.

This technology uses an image intensifier tube that captures and amplifies the incoming light, making it visible to the human eye. The amplified image is typically displayed in shades of green.

Traditional Night Vision devices are still available but are no longer widely used.

Digital Night Vision

Digital night vision has gained popularity in recent years due to advancements in sensor and display technology.

Instead of amplifying ambient light, digital night vision devices use an electronic sensor to capture the available light and convert it into an electronic signal.

This signal is then processed and displayed on a digital screen, providing a clear and detailed image.

Thermal Imaging

Thermal imaging works based on detecting the heat signatures emitted by objects rather than relying on visible light.

Thermal cameras detect the infrared radiation emitted by objects and create a visual representation of the temperature differences.

Warmer objects appear as brighter or different-colored areas, while cooler objects appear darker.

2. Image Quality

Image quality matters a lot when it comes to seeing at night. In this regard, digital night vision devices tend to offer more bang for the buck than thermal imaging devices.

If you need to be able to tell the difference between various four-legged creatures, then you want to be careful of budget thermal devices.

Sometimes it doesn’t matter – if you’re looking for something large or uniquely shaped, then you can get away with a less crisp image – but sometimes it matters more than anything else.

3. Versatility

I’m a big fan of buying one tool that does as many things as possible. I want one scope for each rifle that will do everything I want that rifle to do.

Consequently, for me, if I were presently in the market for a night vision scope, I would want one that would also do a good job for me in daylight shooting conditions.

Day & night isn’t the end of the versatility question, though. You also want to check the magnification range and the weatherproofing to be sure it’s as versatile as you need it to be.

4. Battery Life

Anything above 10 hours is considered good.

For the most part, I would always recommend carrying spare batteries when you’re out shooting with a digital scope of any kind, since product info will always overstate battery life, and you just never know when you might need to swap batteries. 

5. Form Factor

I would argue that sometimes, it is not the best solution to mount the night vision device directly to your rifle.

When you have to do that, you are limiting your situational awareness to only what you can see through your scope. Any situation that would call for a red dot or LPVO may be better approached with a head-mounted night vision or thermal imaging device.

6. Consider the Round

In this article, we did not really delve into truly long-distance options, because we’re talking about AR-15s, so the vast majority of the rifles will be chambered in .223/5.56, .300 blackout, or 6.5 Grendel, none of which are going to be amazing past 300-400 yards.

If you wish to know how does a laser finder works? Go through our video shared below:

FAQs

Which Is Better, Night Vision or Thermal Scope?

Depends on your situation. At the same price point, a night vision device will give you a crisper picture than a thermal scope, but a thermal scope will usually make it a lot easier to see an animal amongst foliage than a night vision device will.

Do Snipers Use Night Vision Scopes?

Yes, sometimes. Military snipers around the world, and even in the U.S. military, do not always use a standardized set of equipment that all snipers use. Personal preference plays a role here.

What Magnification Is Recommended for AR-15?

I’m afraid this question is simply too vague to answer. Generally speaking, I would say start by dividing the distance you want to shoot at by 50. So, for example, if you want to shoot at 200 yards, divide it by 50 and you get 4x magnification. I would consider that a good starting point if you want to hit a man-sized target at 200 yards. For sub-MOA groupings, start by dividing by 25.

Conclusion

There are a lot of options for seeing at night when you’re shooting your AR-15. Some of them will be great for your situation, some will not be.

I feel that the Sightmark Wraith HD is the best overall option for most shooters, but the ATN X-Sight-4K is great as well, and if you want to go thermal then there are the ThOR line of scopes and the Pulsar Thermion Pro.

I tried to include a variety of options on this list to fit each budget and use-case, but there may be some that I missed. Feel free to let me know in the comments, and happy hunting!

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