No matter how well our eyes see during the day or how perfect our aim is, during the night or in surroundings with poor natural lighting we miss out on a lot more than we realize.
During night time, a regular riflescope will not help much because our eyes cannot see every detail without the help of equipment that is designed to work in low light or pitch darkness. This is the reason why night vision scopes are so popular.
In today’s post, we bring to you our top 5 best night vision scopes which you can buy under $1000.
Affordable and high in quality, these devices will allow you to remain alert and have the upper hand even in pitch black surroundings.
5 Best Night Vision Scope Under $1000
The NVRS by Firefield is an excellent night vision scope that is fully equipped with high-end features and made to last through challenging weather conditions.
The scope is ideal for shooters who are seeking something to help them hunt better at night without having to spend a lot of money on a really fancy device.
The lightweight titanium body of the NVRS riflescope is tough and durable and made completely weatherproof.
It offers a magnification of 3X with its 42mm objective lens and a field view of 14 feet at a 100-meter distance. This is good enough to aim and shoot at most medium to long range targets.
The multi-coated optics are protected with a flip-up cover that seals away moisture and acts as a shield against impact.
The red duplex reticle (red crosshairs) is illuminated with brightness adjustments that allow the shooter to choose the amount of light for the best visibility.
For extra brightness and clarity, there is also a built-in heavy-duty IR illuminator. If you do not need to use the illuminator under certain lights then you can simply have it detached and kept away.
The lens focus is 70mm and the eye relief measures at 45mm.
If you use this NV scope without the IR then the battery will last you approx 50 hours and with the IR it might last anywhere between 18 to 20 hours.
Most users of this scope were impressed by the durability and the well-placed adjustment knobs but some mentioned the difficulty in mounting.
Are you looking for a rifle scope that you can use during the day and also at night? While most night vision scopes are designed only for use in low or no light, thanks to evolving technology and manufacturing companies that always take customer demands into account, if you can spend a few hundred dollars you can own one of these Days/Night scopes.
The X-Sight II by ATN not only offers you with its great service 24 hours around the clock but comes with smart HD optics technology and a Recoil Activated Video feature that allows you to capture your thrilling experience in clear images.
While many scopes struggle to give you decent quality images during the night, this NV scope is offering you High Definition images under any lighting condition.
Just the fact that this scope can be used in daylight and nighttime and record everything in HD is enough to get us hooked but the good news is that it does not end there.
The X-Sight II sports a number of other useful features that will make your hunting experience so much better.
With a built-in rangefinder, the scope takes the responsibility of calculating the distance when you aim for your target. This is done using the company’s own designed laser tool that measures any distance within 1 yard or less.
The Ballistic Calculator is another addition to this product where you just have to add data and the tool with calculating ballistics in no time.
Included is a battery pack that holds a charge for up to 22 hours so you can enjoy your weapon and all other accessories for a longer period of time.
This is another NV scope with dual modes for day and night use. It is an extremely versatile device with multiple options and usage to give you more than the money spent.
With 6 reticle options, you are no way limited to anything specific. Included are 2 crossbow reticles, 2 duplex reticles, a mil-dot reticle, and a German-style reticle.
Magnification is fixed at 4.6X where the 42mm large objective lens provides you with clear and sharp images at up to 120 yards with a resolution of 640×480.
The high-resolution display is crucial for identifying your target and firing at an accurate angle whenever you aim for your target.
The LED IR Illuminator that comes with the scope increases visibility and also your chances of hitting your target successfully.
With a video recording feature, you can capture your amazing hunting skills and keep track of your scores. It is also a great way to share your experiences with friends and family.
Fully shockproof and weatherproof, the scope is built to last and handle any sort of climate changes or challenging environment.
The battery life is decent and the whole device is portable and very easy to use. Designed for versatility and longevity the Sightmark Photon XT is an all-rounder that shooters on a budget can definitely benefit from.
The Armasight Orion is a Generation 1 NV scope that performs really well in its category. For the price, this product carries amazing value and ensures that shooters get the best out of their night time activity.
The image sighted has a resolution of 30-40 lines per millimeter and is magnified to power of 5X.
The optics is shock protected so the lens will not easily be damaged. The scope itself is water resistant which means that you don’t have to worry about what kind of weather or environmental changes you put it though.
With durable materials and smooth performing features, you can now focus on your accuracy and increase your success rate of hitting your target even when the lighting condition is poor.
Although the magnification power is fixed and you are required to try and get to a certain range before you can shoot, the hassle of changing or adjusting the power levels is eliminated.
Clarity is doubled with the built-in Infrared Illuminator that can also be detached when it is not required.
The battery will last you approx 40 hours and you will be alerted when it starts to lose life.
Buyers will get a warranty period of 2 years (limited) from the manufacturers which should provide shooters with the assurance that the device will serve its purpose well.
If you liked the Sightmark Photon XT series then you will love the Photon RT, which is an improved version with enhanced features and reliable performance.
You can use the Photon RT in daylight if you must but its performance during the night is truly praiseworthy.
Even though this scope will not set you back with its price, some of its features are in no way less impressive than many other high priced NV scopes.
With variable magnification power of 4.5 X – 9 X at a range of 220 yards shooters can maintain a safe distance and hit their target on point. The range may be affected by the environment and weather conditions but the difference will not be much.
With a one-shot zero function, you can zero the device in no time and also enjoy accurate aiming and successful shots from any angle.
The 6 reticle style options also increase your chances of marking your target with ease and precision.
Other features include a 2x digital zoom, built-in LED IR Illuminator, and video recording with sound.
What Can a Night Vision Scope do for you?
Night vision scopes are designed to fit your rifle and give you a clearer view of your target in darkness. Technologies such as thermal imaging or image enhancement use whatever little light they can collect and amplify it to allow you to see what would have been impossible to see with the naked eye.
Hunters or target shooters out at night need this special equipment for successful aiming, shooting and also for protection.
Factors to Consider Before Purchase
Night scopes are not used to just sight a target as that can be done using a simple binocular too, a night scope is designed to observe and hit a target at the same time.
This is why it takes a lot more to design a high performing rifle night vision scope than other night vision equipment.
We have listed below some of the main things to look out for when searching for the best night vision scope.
1. Image quality
When we talk about image quality or clarity we mean resolution. You may be familiar with the term as it determines the quality of all kinds of optics such as pictures and videos.
In hunting or target shooting, especially during the night, you need to be able to see the object clearly before you can fire.
This is also critical in a scenario where you are not really hunting down anything. But just using the night vision scope to pass through risky areas.
If the image quality is poor then you will not be able to identify or differentiate between what poses a threat and what doesn’t.
The resolution on a scope is measured by lines per millimeter (lp/mm) and the greater the number of lines the better the quality of the image shall be.
The magnification may be fixed or variable on your scope and both have their advantages and disadvantages.
Most scopes come with variable power where you can adjust the amount of magnification you prefer according to the distance between you and your target.
This is great in the sense that you will not be limited to a certain distance every time you fire and can set yourself up whenever you come across a potential game to hunt down.
The drawback to this, however, is that the adjustments take up time and may cause you some complications.
With a fixed power you don’t have to worry about changing any settings or fiddling with adjustments but you will be limited to aim and shoot from a certain range every time.
3. Recognition Range
Please note that the recognition range is different from the total range. In regular rifle scopes a shooter will get a great range where a long distance can be sighted through the optics. But in night visions it all comes down to the recognition range which can vary according to the natural light available.
For example, if your night vision scope has a recognition range of 500 yards on a night where the moon is shining bright, the same scope will have a recognition range of 200 or 100 yards on nights where there is no moonlight.
This happens because night vision scopes work with whatever light that is available and with a lesser amount of light the recognition range will noticeably decrease.
Some models of night vision scopes come with information on the type of range you will get based on the amount of ambient natural light.
4. Field of View
The field of view in simple words is how much area you see through the scope at a certain distance. Most optics have a set distance of 100 yards and if your scope has a 20 feet field of view then it means that you can see a scenario of up to 20 feet wide at 100 yards distance.
But keep in mind that the field of view will get smaller as you increase the magnification settings on your scope.
5. Infrared Illuminators
Some scopes have the optic lens that comes with built-in infrared illuminators (IR). These are provided to help shooters see better in areas where there is pitch darkness.
If your optic lens has an IR or your scope allows you to have one attached separately then you will be able to throw out an infrared night on your target to increase brightness.
Some shooters settle for spotlights instead but an IR seems like a more convenient option.
Make sure to check out the range of this light because the range is usually not that much and works better for close distance shots.
An accessory means an added weight and just like regular rifle scopes, night vision scopes also have a bit of weight on them. The weight, however, will depend on the construction material and size of the components on the scope.
If you want a scope with a lot of magnification power then expect a heavier weight as the lenses need to be bigger for higher magnification.
We recommend a lighter scope because it is much easier to move about and aim with lighter equipment. The last thing you would want is to be slowed down because of the added weight on your weapon.
No one wants to spend hundreds and thousands of dollars on an item that does not last. Even though all our listed products are priced under $1000, we were very precise about choosing only the night vision scopes which are durable and not prone to damage by bad weather or unpredictable environmental changes.
You need to make sure that the scope you are looking to buy is waterproof and fog proof. Night vision scopes are electronic items so water is an enemy.
But a well-made scope will not let water or any other substances get in and hamper its mechanism.
One thing that manufacturers do to prevent the entry of moisture is to seal the tubes to make them fully waterproof.
The same goes for fog if your optics is blurred by fog then you will not be able to see well through the eyepiece when aiming at your target.
Some other factors to consider is how much of recoil can the scope handle and if the body is scratch resistant or not.
8. Customer Reviews
Want honest opinions on a product? Then check out what other users have to say about it. Sites like Amazon have a section for customer reviews where customers share their experiences about the product- good and bad- so you will be able to get a clearer picture of the whole deal.
Understanding Night Vision Scope Generations
NV scopes come in 4 Generation choices and each generation caters to a certain category of shooter requirements.
Of course, Generation 3 will have enhanced features when compared to the lower generations but that does not mean that it is better for you.
Depending on the frequency of your activities and the need for more specialized equipment we recommend either Gen 1 or Gen 2 for their price and availability to the general population.
These scopes use light from the moon and the stars to increase the amount of light that is reflected in the surrounding of the target.
Normally these scopes have a recognition range of 75 to 100 yards but that can vary on the amount of light collected.
If you want to stick to reasonably priced NV scopes then we recommend Generation 1 because it comes with all that you need without costing you too much.
Shooters using these scopes can expect an average recognition sight of more or less 200 yards and get a better view of the target even when the light is quite low. With better technology and improved mechanism, these scopes offer clearer images and a longer life expectancy.
This is one of the higher definition scopes where both the image resolution as well as the recognition range is high. It is believed to be the generation of choice by the U.S military, so you can get an idea of its quality and range from that information.
Life expectancy is high and an average range of 300 yards is expected. However, Gen 3 or Gen 4 NV scopes are rarely found on the market and not many people outside the military use them.
This is the latest version till now and a combination of all the previous models made better with high end performance in all levels of light.
Benefits of a Night Vision Scope
We often tend to avoid accessories with the fear of adding weight to a certain product and sometimes we even question the need of the extra item in the first place.
But there are some accessories which actually increase the value of the product it is added to and come with more pros than cons.
A night vision scope is definitely one such item that has a lot of advantages and help the shooter make better use of his or her rifle.
Let us check out some of these advantages –
1. Accuracy in aiming
You will be surprised that even the best of shooters sometimes struggle with aiming right and most of them have their fair share of missed shots. This is probably why rifle scopes are so popular even among experts and experienced shooters.
If you don’t want to take a chance and just need to give your best shot (literally) then you will increase your chances of hitting your target with the help of a rifle scope.
2. Perfect aim even in poor lighting
This is what gives a night vision scope an advantage over a regular scope. With the ability to provide shooters with visibility at night when natural lighting is low or barely there, these special equipments gather light from the tiniest source and work to deliver clear images of the target.
3. Increases range
As scopes come with magnifying power you can aim from a distance and still have a good chance to hit your target on spot. This allows you to shoot from a safe location without worrying about the distance affecting the accuracy of your aim.
Depending on the model of your scope and its power range, you can easily see objects far away and fire away with confidence.
4. Hunt down your target
Whether you are a military shooter or a hunter chasing game at night, you can track down and shoot with precision even in deep darkness.
With a night vision scope, you have a strong advantage over your target which will automatically boost your confidence to take on any challenge and return with satisfactory results.
5. Less missed shots resulting in higher scores
When your aim is right you miss fewer shots, thus increasing your score of successful shots. This does not only count in competitions but also assists you in doing better every time and improving your skills with better precision and accuracy.
As a night vision scope allows you to see your target even in darkness, you get to enjoy limitless shooting and on-point results with minimum effort.
Frequently Asked Questions
Can I use my night vision scope during the day?
It is not recommended to use a night vision rifle scope during the day because of the amount of natural light that is present.
Generally, night vision scopes are designed to work under low light or total darkness which makes them prone to damage if used in broad daylight.
However, some models are made for day and night use too, just like the Sightmark SM18008 Photon XT Digital Night Vision Riflescope.
Do night vision scopes have the same range as regular rifle scopes?
Night vision scopes can easily cover a distance of 100 yards or more but this will, of course, depend on the environment and lighting condition.
If you are in an open field then the range will be better whereas obstacles can affect this range quite a bit. Regular scopes designed for use during the day normally offer a better range because they have the advantage of natural lighting.
How do these scopes perform on cloudy days?
If it is almost dark like during dusk or before dawn then these scopes will work well but if it is just cloudy during the day then we do not recommend a night vision scope.
However, almost all of the products which we reviewed above come with dual modes that work in daylight and darkness too so by picking an appropriate model you can get good visibility even on cloudy days.
Do night vision scopes have the capability to record videos?
Depending on the model you buy, many digital night vision scopes have a video output feature which allows shooters to capture whatever they see through the scope’s lens.
Hunting in the dark can be thrilling and adventurous but only if you have the right equipment to help you see clearly. If you keep missing shots or lose your target due to poor lighting then the fun magically disappears.
With a night vision scope, you will be able to see objects far away much more clearly even in darkness. This is an advantage for every shooter making the rounds at night.
Thanks to technology you can also capture every moment and create memories to share with others afterward.
In order to get the best night vision scope for your money, you must be prepared to compare different models and also cross out features which you feel will be of no use to you.
Regardless of your budget, you are sure to find something that will work best for you from the products we listed in this post for you.
Just be sure to set your expectations realistically so that you can fully enjoy your night vision scope when it finally arrives at your doorstep.