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How to buy your first-night vision sight

Jun 07, 2022 | 11:45 am 58 0
How to buy your first-night vision sight

Everyone decides for himself to buy and use a night sight for hunting because apart from the legal aspect of night scope use, there is also a moral one, when representatives of traditional hunting consider hunting with night sights as inhumane, arguing that the beast has almost no chance to escape. Opponents say that the hit does become more probable, but it reduces the risk of leaving a lost animal. Nevertheless, both sides agree on one thing: the right choice of a proper hunting accessory, be it a hunting knife, optics, or ammunition, defines to a large extent the success of the planned hunting trip. And when the decision to purchase a hunting accessory for hunting weapons matures, we are indeed faced with the problem of choice. Especially when this accessory is your first-night vision device, the purchase of a quality model that meets specific objectives is usually just as valuable as the choice of weapon with which to go out to the beast. And the only qualitative device of night vision gives the possibility practically in zero visibility to orientate correctly, explore the situation, get a clear picture of the object of hunting, and its location, to determine the distance, quantity, and even sex belonging to the game. What is the primary purpose of a night scope? To see the target at night or in deep twilight, in a cave, to see the beast in dense bushes.  And, of course, if you have a rangefinder scale, determine the distance to the target. 

The appearance of the sights is similar to monoculars for night vision. Still, their essential difference is the presence of a unique mount that allows the night sight to be installed on firearms, pneumatic weapons, and, if necessary, crossbows. The price list makes you think: is it worth saving when buying such an expensive product? Can a multi-thousand dollar investment in a modern gadget turn into a long-term investment? Let's start with the fact that it should not be a nice-looking Chinese fake but a quality device compatible with one or another weapon. For an extended period, he should maintain a high level of obtaining a clear picture at night or in zero visibility conditions. When buying NV equipment, the first place is given to circumspection, responsibility for advertising slogans of different manufacturers, analysis, and opinion of actual device users. So how to buy your first-night vision sight?


The classics of the genre - the necessity of inventing devices of night vision "is connected" with military actions. When we understand that the enemy is easier to kill under cover of night or the body of fog - there is only one obstacle - in these conditions, you cannot see anything. The problem was solved in different ways. In particular, illuminating ammunition was used to illuminate the road for assault troops, which at night shone with a bright white light to decorate their own and the enemy. Everything changed after the invention of the electron-optical converter (EOP) in the thirties. Electrons "knocked out" by infrared radiation from the photocathode were accelerated and focused by the electromagnetic field at the anode, drawing visible radiation. Depending on the class of operating EOPs, night sights were divided into several generations. It is an indisputable fact - inexpensive electro-optical converters of the first generation are still used today in the night sights for hunting rifles. The main drawback of these night sights is that the image "holds" only in the center. In the next generation of EOPs, the resolution was significantly increased, and most importantly, the picture was protected from glare due to lateral point sources. The generation's night vision devices with the electron-optical converter are the most demanded even today. On the plus side, high quality of operation in bad weather conditions. For example, a human figure can be detected at six hundred meters, and details can be seen at three hundred meters. This sight works at night without moonlight. Using gallium arsenide photocathodes, these devices have shown effectiveness in open-view spaces, determining a shot accuracy of more than eighty percent. This also includes the conduct of the search process in passive mode and resistance to recoil.

The third and fourth generations of night vision sights have miniaturization, and improved characteristics, such as flat electro-optical transducers and photocathodes of increased efficiency. These devices are effective in meager light conditions and have a clear picture and high contrast. 


Methods of technological realization of night vision are different and are used by manufacturers worldwide. These are digital models based on electronic-optical converters and thermal imagers. With such a variety of equipment on the market, the price range is quite extensive. Hence the question of understanding how night vision devices (NVDs) work. The main thing is the presence of an electro-optical transducer (EOP), which allows the human eye through the infrared range and ultraviolet amplification of non-visible light to see in the eyepiece of the device previously not the visible image. Night vision scopes consist of a lens, an electronic-optical converter, and an eyepiece securely assembled in a single shockproof housing. Night vision devices can be divided into three conditional groups: ESPs on the electronic-optical converters, digital devices,s and thermal imaging ESPs. The majority of modern night vision devices operate on electro-optical converters (EOP) equipped with the technology of converting the light flux into a flow of electrons. As technology has evolved, the transducers have changed, gaining new capabilities for most of today's binoculars, goggles, and night vision scopes. 

The electro-optical transducer is simple in design, and by transmitting light through the lens to the photocathode, we can see a clear picture where we cannot see anything with the naked eye.

Digital technology is at the forefront of the development of UAVs. The lens optics receives the light, and from there, the amplified signal (picture) is transmitted to the display via a processor. Digital devices can operate in a day-night mode, successfully used for hunting.

Not bad proved itself night vision devices operating in the infrared range, are called "thermal imagers. They are built on a special bolometric matrix, which captures the thermal radiation heated in the infrared range, thus changing its electrical resistance. As a result, the display shows an image of "thermal objects" - animals, people, and uncooled equipment. The main difference from other technologies is that thermal imaging matrices "see" not the reflected light but the bodies' radiation, which allows us to see living objects in the dark. 

Summary: A night vision device with high image clarity is built on amplifying the light entering the lens of the device to perform a specific task—hunting, surveillance, military, research, or other.  


Remember, night vision devices are expensive and sophisticated equipment, solving specific purposes. They are designed for practical observation in low light conditions and are used in amateur and professional activities. Indispensable for hunters.  Using special high-power night optics in many devices triggers the protection of the converter from backlighting. When using the device in bright light conditions, the protection from accidental backlighting will be activated. In total darkness, an infrared illuminator with adjustable output and a spot beam can be turned on to increase the range of the instrument. Add to that the sleek design, compactness, plus waterproof all-weather lightweight housing, and you have a great night vision device that is on the market in large numbers and a variety of price ranges. We should add that some models of NVs will please fans of hunting with the possibility of exchanging ballistic information with optical sights and the ability to record video in Full HD with 120 FPS. After all, it's no secret that because of the high price of high-quality FPS, they are bought mainly by wealthy people who mostly hunt specially bred animals. Therefore, it is not enough to study the specifications before buying it, weighing all the pros and cons. It is necessary to find an answer to the question: "am I ready for such an expensive purchase. 

Nevertheless, when choosing your first-night vision scope, it is easy to get lost in various devices and their manufacturers, from budget ones to the most expensive ones. And here, you need to find the "golden mean" that will provide price and quality. Digital sights are in great demand among hunters. They are appealing due to their low cost. However, practice shows that all manufacturers of digital pictures follow the retail prices of their dealers. And you can count on a slight discount when you buy them, but not on the cost of half the market price. In this case, look for a catch on the seller's part: either it is a fake, or the manufacturer does not give a warranty on the device. In principle, an inexpensive rifle scope is directly enough for the shot because the distance is limited by the possibility of the weapon and the rules of hunting. Usually, it does not exceed 150 meters. But for, tracking and observation of the animals is another matter.  That is why the first and immutable rule - the device's low cost is provided by installing sensors with small resolution and limited functionality. The second rule, the main task of the device, is to determine the distance of detection and recognition of the object of hunting. The third rule applies to models with a large angle of view and reasonable resolution, which will positively affect hunting. It is not harmful to have a device with a stadiometer function, which will help to calculate the distance to the target visually. In this case, simple models no longer fit into the budget options, and you need to choose more advanced versions.

Science does not standstill. In the future development of night vision sights - creating an electro-optical converter for the next generation, increasing the technical parameters concerning the range and field of view due to the natural illumination of the night space during the entire dark time of the day. Such devices are expected to provide increased protection against interference, as most of them have an emission spectrum in the near-infrared region and the field of view.


You are the lucky owner of your first hunting "trophy" on your weapon - a night vision sight. 

We will see the so-called "mark," which acts as a front sight when shooting at night. It is a monocular, where the sight mark is placed on the visual field, designed for severe overloads created by the gun's recoil when firing. So that in low light, the marker does not blend in with the background, we choose a sight with "reticle" - variable illumination of the aiming identification. We check the laser designator, which creates a dot acting as the aiming mark at any time of the day. It is possible to actively use the night monocular and quickly mount it as a night sight, which does not require zeroing if a laser designator is already mounted and aimed at the weapon. 

It's better to test it with a powerful cartridge of the 8x68S caliber, usually used for hunting big game. The weight will be added to the carbine with the system installed, but considering that the device is not too heavy, it does not upset the weapon's balance within acceptable limits. It is desirable to test the quality of the picture given by the PUV in complete darkness at different magnifications of the sight and distances during the detection and processing of the conditional target. Shoot at the target under night conditions to understand possible deviations from the standard. Here you will be surprised by the quality of the picture, which cannot be achieved with a camera. Of course, such a quick acquaintance with the night vision sight cannot reveal all the details of using the device, all its advantages and probably disadvantages.  Everything will be shown by its practical application in real hunting conditions.

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