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Digital Night Vision Scope: Best use cases for hunters, shooters, and tactical gear enthusiasts

Oct 17, 2023 | 0 comments

When hunting in low-light conditions the right digital night vision scope makes all the difference. But which one should you buy? With a growing set of digital night vision scope options, which are gaining in popularity to traditional/analog night vision scopes, there’s a lot to consider. While all NV scopes enhance visibility in the dark, differing scopes offer distinct advantages depending on the circumstance. In this article, we’re going to explore the benefits and advantages of digital night vision scopes.

Operational Use: Where Night Vision is Best

  1. Hot and Low-Light Conditions

Digital Night vision riflescopes like Pulsar’s Digex C50 work at their best in low levels of ambient light, relying on available light sources such as moonlight, or IR (infrared) illumination. In these environments digital night vision scopes provide visibility and clarity. They are especially helpful if you don’t require a heat signature, or during summer months when the ambient heat is too high for less effective optics

  1. Observation and Identification

Digital night vision scopes excel in observing and identifying targets with visual clarity. They are especially useful in discerning fine details, like determining the species or identifying specific body parts of an animal. For example, iRay’s Bolt TD50L digital night vision riflescope can enhance the contrast and sharpness of an image, making it quicker for you to distinguish subtle features.

  1. Urban or Close-Range Hunting

In urban environments or scenarios where your shooting range or line of sight is very close, digital night vision scopes are a great choice. The ambient urban lighting will help you see targets much more easily especially if you’re using a hands-free helmet-mounted night vision monocular.

Features: Where Digital Night Vision Shines

Night vision technology has been around a lot longer than the tech used in thermal riflescopes. This means more companies make night vision products, creating some benefits for hunters and night vision enthusiasts like:

  1. Affordability: Getting More Bang for Your Buck
  • Established Market: Night vision scopes have a well-established market, with numerous manufacturers competing, leading to increased affordability.
  • Wide Availability: Due to their popularity and long market presence, night vision scopes are readily available from several manufacturers. There is a broad range of options at varying price points.
  • Cost of Production: The manufacturing process for night vision scopes is relatively simple, requiring fewer specialized components.

PVS-14 mounted on black Team Wendy tactical helmet.
A PVS-14 mounted on a Team Wendy helmet.

2. Lightweight and Durable: Easier to Carry & Built to Last

  • Optics Tech: Night vision scopes use image intensifier tubes, which are small and light. For example, the AN/PVS-14A “ZS” GEN III weighs less than a pound at 12.2 oz.
  • Materials and Design: Night vision scopes often feature sturdy construction, including rugged housings and high-quality lenses that can withstand impact and tough environments.
  • Accessories: Night vision’s lightweight characteristics make them easy to mount and carry on your rifle or helmet, like on the Team Wendy EXFIL LTP Bump Helmet Rail 3.0.

3. Battery Efficiency: Prolonged Hunting Expeditions

  • Less Energy-Intensive Tech: Night vision scopes amplify available light, requiring less battery power.
  • Longer Battery Life: With lower power demands, night vision scopes can operate longer with less battery. This can extend your hunting sessions without needing to change or recharge batteries all the time. On just 1 AA battery the PVS-14 A GEN III can operate for 8 hours.
US Night Vision Designate IR-V shown mounted to the front of an AR-15 style rifle.
The DesignateIR-V laser mounted on an AR-15.

4. Visibility Upgrades: IR Illumination

  • Increase Range: You can greatly enhance your night vision range with an infrared (IR) illuminator like the best-selling DesignateIR-V laser. This IR laser is great for sighting in on your targets at a distance. 
  • Increase Visibility: The DesignateIR-V also doubles as an IR flashlight. With the supplied CQB filter you can “spill” or “diffuse” the laser beam to illuminate your surroundings like a flashlight.
  • Reduce Shadows and Glare: IR illumination can help minimize shadows and glare in environments with limited or uneven lighting, like in the woods, mountains, or some urban settings.
  • Enhanced Stealth: IR illumination allows the use of night vision equipment in complete darkness, providing you with a tactical advantage in hunting or covert applications.

Best Cases for NVGs Weather Conditions and Versatility

Here are some conditions where night

  • Hot and Humid Conditions: NVGs dominate in these conditions, where other optics may struggle.
  • Rain and Fog: Night vision optics won’t be hindered by rain, fog, or heavy atmospheric moisture, which can reduce visibility and compromise target detection capabilities.
  • Cost: The advanced data processors, memory cards, and video tech required to operate more complex scopes mean NVGs are more affordable.

A Winning Combination

Night vision scopes are a great choice for many hunters. However, it’s worth noting to cater to different hunting scenarios, it helps to have both a thermal scope and a night vision scope in your kit. By understanding the strengths of each, you can optimize your hunt and increase your chances of success in any environment or lighting condition.

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