Night Vision Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ)

Night Vision Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ) Let us know what questions you have about: Digital Night Vision Night Vision monoculars (like the PVS-14 (review link)) night vision binocular night vision scopes […]

TNV/PVS-14 night Vision d-740 dbal-i2Night Vision Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ)

Let us know what questions you have about:

We will update the questions and answers below over time.

Can Civilians own Night Vision?

Long thought to be available only to law enforcement, military and secret squirrel agencies, Night Vision (NV) equipment is actually readily available for civilians to purchase. NV gear is relatively expensive, but technology advances are driving down prices. For the purpose of this FAQ we are only talking about NV gear that makes it possible to see via amplifying ambient light, supplementing with Infra Red light, or some combination. We are not talking about Thermal Imaging systems in this article.

What is NV good for?

  • Hunting: Depending on your local laws  you may be able to use NV equipment for hunting. For example, in North Carolina it is legal to hunt invasive species like coyotes and feral hogs using NV gear.
  • Law enforcement and military: Yeah, the stereotypical NV uses.
  • Personal protection: Throughout recorded history people have done nefarious things under cover of darkness. With night vision goggles (for example) you negate, or at least diminish that advantage.
  • Survival: You don’t have to be a prepper to understand that the US food supply system is dependent on trucks and trains. A minor disruption on either could plunge whole regions into panic and anarchy. Good night vision gear will allow you to be active at night when most folks are hunkered down.

Where should I purchase NV gear?

Until you know the ins and outs of night vision equipment, we recommend that you stick with specialist shops like that only carry high quality Night Vision gear. Alternately, a reputable shop like Brownell’s will have a mix of consumer grade and better NV gear.  Beware, as many NV products don’t live up to even modest expectations. However, if you know what you want, then an online discounter like Amazon might be worth checking out.

Why, does an average person need NV gear?

TNV/PVS-14 night Vision WMDGuns AR500armor 1Many don’t need NV equipment enough to justify the steep investment. However, for those that live away from normal police patrols, have livestock to protect, or hunt at night, quality Night Vision gear is a game changer. I believe that effective night vision gear can be useful to pretty much anyone… just not useful enough to justify the price for most people. Prices for the best NV gear have fallen over the past few years, putting good NV goggles and scopes within reach of some recreational hunters and enthusiast. However, until the price comes down further, quality intensifier tube Night Vision is too costly for most people to justify purchasing. However, there are other options…

New “budget” option: Digital NV

Several companies have started selling digital night vision scopes, monoculars and binoculars that are MUCH less expensive than intensifier tube NV gear. Here are a few examples of the Smart HD line of digital Day/Night optics from ATN that we have reviewed:

How does digital NV compare with standard image intensifier tube NV ?

The current generation of digital day/night optics that I have used have had better resolution and color correctness vs Gen 3 green or white phosphor image intensifier tube NV. My experience is limited on both types.

3 Basic types of intensifier tube nv systems:

  1. Head/Helmet mounted – moves with head
  2. Dedicated Scope – can only use at night. 1 gun for day, another for night
  3. Clip-on – attaches to rail in front of day scope. No re-sighting. One gun for day or night

Which system is right for you will depend on a variety of factors that we will dig into in a later article.

About Jeff

Jeff is the Editor in Chief of Gear Report and a National Shooting Sports Foundation Media member. He reports on the outdoor industry, reviews gear for camping, hiking, shooting, hunting, paddling, backpacking and other active pursuits. A USAF veteran, Jeff earned a MBA in Marketing and Health Services. He specializes in consultative selling and internet marketing. As the VP of BD & Marketing, Jeff provides sales and marketing leadership to MGECOM, Inc. and helps acquire new clients in need of solutions for online merchants in need of Affiliate Marketing program management. Jeff founded and manages Cress Sales & Marketing LLC, offering online sales and marketing consulting and services to online merchants and service providers.