Night vision rifle scopes are very beneficial for nighttime hunting and target practices. The military often relies on this form of optic technology extensively in low light conditions. Many hunters also appreciate the night vision technology as it makes it easier to see the creeping animals in the dark. Hog and raccoon hunting is often performed during the night hours and thus, the need for night vision rifle scopes is generally preferred and needed.
This guide covers everything you need to know in order to make an informed purchase of a night vision rifle scope. We’ll cover options in various price ranges and with varying technology, as well as go over what the different brands and generations of technology have to offer. Use the table of contents below to jump to any section.
Table of Contents
- Best Night Vision Rifle Scope for the Money
- Best Night Vision Rifle Scope for under $2,000
- Best Night Vision Rifle Scope for under $1,000
- Best Night Vision Rifle Scope for under $500
- Best Gen 1 Night Vision Scope
- Best Gen 2 Night Vision Scope
- Best Gen 3 Night Vision Scope
- Top Night Scope Brands
- Night Vision Generations
Best Night Vision Rifle Scope for the Money
As you already know, Sightmark is a steadily growing brand in the field of rifle scopes. This particular model is for sale on Amazon at a bargained $462.93. With a stellar star rating of 4.6 stars, it has proven to be a great scope for the buck.
What are the details?
The Sightmark Photon comes with the ability to make shots through medium range. It features six different digital, optical options that allow you to operate on a variety of ranges. These options are colored in red, white and green, depending on the range.
The rifle scope itself has two crossbow opticals that are created for 320, 350, 370 and 400 fps crossbows. It has two duplex opticals that are great for hunting game such as hog or raccoon. It has a Mil-Dot optical that works to discover range. There’s also an optical created in a German style. In other words, there are several features and options to choose from when operating this rifle scope. It all depends on what your preferences are and the situation in which you are trying to make the shot.
As for the magnification, it’s at a 4.6x. With the large 42mm lens, you’re guaranteed to easily see anything through the scope. It has an above average resolution with 640×480 measurements to ensure that you have sharp details for up to 120 yards!
As for the battery life, it has a 33% longer life than the average in it’s domain. It’s also lighter than the average rifle scope of this ability. Now that’s worth considering since you have to hold the rifle for extended periods of time in some situations.
The Sightmark Photon has a video output feature that allows the hunter or shooter to capture everything whether during the daytime or nighttime. You can attach other accessories to the rifle scopes rail and thus, offering optimal performance.
Even better? The Sightmark Photon offers a digital interface that informs you of the wind direction and elevation height and the certain adjustments needed for making an accurate shot.
Overall, the Sightmark Photon is a great device for the money. Priced below $500, it has everything that most shooters and hunters need to make those accurate shots. Day or night.
Best Night Vision Rifle Scope for under $2,000
Armasight is probably one of the most popular brands in the world of night vision scopes and thermal imagery. The Armasight Nemesis 4x is a real gem for the professional hunter or shooter. Considering it’s a Gen 2 model, that’s an impressive bargain!
It comes with many technological advances and features, so hang on tight as we give you all the details!
If you are needing a device that helps you in making shots from long distances, this is the perfect choice. The Armasight Nemesis 4x comes with an internal windage, a high quality image intensifier tube and easy elevation adjustments and controls. It has simple push buttons that make it easy to use when you have to stay as still and steady as possible. With the imagery and scope, you can see further than typically expected in the nighttime. In fact, there aren’t many other night vision rifle scopes that have the same thin, defined crosshairs as the Armasight Nemesis 4x. With this design, it offers the ability to make precise shots on extremely small targets and targets that are further away.
With the mounting rail, it offers highly accurate positioning for all accessories that allow you to have remarkable comfort without compromising your precision and markmanship. It comes with three accessory mounting rails and with accessories such as the long range IR illuminator.
Obviously, it has a 4x magnification with incredible ten degrees FOV. It’s shock protected with a glass IR transmission, multi-coated optic technology. It comes with the Auto Bright Control option that is perfect for nighttime adjustments. There are flip-up and back-up iron sights that make operations convenient. There’s varying degrees of brightness and lighting choices so that you can adjust easily to the darkest of night or low lighting such as twilight.
The rifle scope is water resistant! Don’t worry about a thing if you’re having to make a shot during a rainstorm.
Finally, it has a battery life of 60 hours and a convenient two year warranty. This rifle scope is worth every penny.
Best Night Vision Rifle Scope for under $1,000
What are the details?
The ATN X-Sight comes with many technical conveniences such as Wi-Fi, GPS, E-Compass and a geotag option. It records your altitude and measures velocity with incredible precision and accuracy. You can also record videos or take photos either during the day or night. All images and video are in 1080p HD and high resolution.
As for the Geotag option, it is incredibly effortless as it can keep up with your path and show you a map of every step you’ve taken and where.
The Wi-Fi options allows you to connect your rifle scope to your smartphone or computer device. If you connect it to your smartphone, you can use it as a viewfinder. This is very handy when in the field!
Best Night Vision Rifle Scope for under $500
With a wonderful 4.2 star rating on Amazon, the Yukon Titanium even earned a nickname. It’s known as the “Varmint Hunter”. Why? Well, it’s the smallest rifle scope in the Yukon’s line of titanium scopes. It is highly durable and lightweight and has a lengthy mount that’s designed to give a comfortable performance while shooting. This scope also fits a large range of rifles- even the bolt action rifles.
It has a 42 ml lens that offers high resolution imagery. This is essential in many night time scenarios.
Other features include a flip-up lens covers, multi-coated optics and an illuminated reticle. The infrared illuminator broadens the sight range and also works diligently to improve battery power.
Since the rifle scope is has digital camera abilities, it comes with a digital camera accessory.
It has precise wind measurement controls and elevation adjustment controls. The standard weaver rail mount system is sure to please as well as the water resistant capabilities. (The water intrusion satisfies the IPX5 rating.)
Finally, it has a simple on and off switch and comes with a sturdy tote case. All of this for under $500.00. You can’t beat that!
Best Gen 1 Night Vision Scope
As you know, Gen 1 is usually the most purchased night vision rifle scope models. Mostly due to its inexpensive values while still providing the shooter with the advantages of technical assistance in the field of long range accuracy.
The Firefield FF16001 is available on Amazon for only $339.99 and has a rating of 4 stars.
What are the features?
It has a high 3x magnification that helps you to see from a good distance. The titanium body is sturdy but very lightweight in comparison to many other rifle scopes. The ergonomic design gives you a comfortable use and aids in delivering a more accurate shot.
It comes with a weaver rail mount, buit-in IR and high power IR illuminator. As for the imagery, it delivers high quality and great resolution.
Finally, it offers the reticle brightness adjustment and controls. This rifle scope has everything that you need to get the job done. You don’t have to worry about your wallet suffering!
Best Gen 2 Night Vision Scope
Now, you know that when you start looking into the Gen 2 technologies that you’re looking at some pretty impressive stuff! (The Armasight Nemesis 6x is a notch above the previously mentioned Armasight Nemesis 4x.) It comes with many great features and details for only $1,595.00. Even better, the Armasight Nemesis 6x has a great 4.5 star rating on Amazon.
So, what are the features and details?
For starters, it has an impressive 6x magnification with 6.5 degrees FOV. That’s very convenient for those long range points that are often too difficult to accurately hit without this form of advanced technology. You will love all of the digital controls!
It’s shock protected with an all glass IR transmission, multi-coated optics system. It has a bright source protection with the Auto Bright Control system. (Otherwise known as ABC).
The illuminated center red cross reticle makes it easier to pinpoint your target as it offers optimal contrasts and viewings. For anyone that is passionate about target shooting, this would be the ideal prize in the whole package!
The controls and adjustments are very simplistic and not difficult or complicated to use. This is important when you’re needing to remain as steady as possible. Every professional shooter knows the importance of patience, steadiness and slow movement. You don’t want to have to hassle with a rifle scope that will cause too much noise or movement. The Armasight Nemesis 6x allows you to complete these skills without the fuss.
The rifle scope is waterproof so you don’t have to be concerned when the skies open and dump tons of rain on your back. Your Armasight Nemesis 6x will be just fine and it won’t hinder the operation at all.
It comes with the handy flip-up and back-up iron sights. The mounts are the standard weaver rails that are pretty much across the board with many night vision rifle scopes.
The detachable infrared illuminator is treasured by many who purchase this model. It’s comes with many benefits and plentiful of uses.
It has a lengthy 60 hour battery life! That’s much more than the average Gen 1 models offer you as they aren’t designed to last as long as the Gen 2.
Finally, the Armasight Nemesis 6x has a two year warranty. If it causes any issues, you can return it without it costing you a dime. It was an easy choice to include this model as the best Gen 3 night vision scope.
Best Gen 3 Night Vision Scope
The Armasight Vulcan has a powerful name for a powerful rifle scope. Nothing gets better than the mega Gen 3 night vision scopes. In fact, if you remember from earlier, it’s these Gen 3 scopes that the United States Military uses for all of their rifle needs. It’s the best of the best with no doubt.
On Amazon, the Armasight Vulcan is priced at $4,495.00. It has a stellar 5 star rating, which, why would you expect anything less?
Let’s move on to the features and details of this rifle scope and why we chose it as the best choice for the Gen 3 models.
It’s comprised of small dimensions and measurements but it packs a heavy punch. This device will NOT overload your rifle with heavy weight. It won’t unbalance it or hinder it’s performance in any way. That’s why it’s nicknamed, “The Ghost”.
The Armasight Vulcan has an adjustable mount that will fit to either the Weaver rail or the Picatinny rail. Even better? It can be mounted in literally seconds without a single tool. Wow!
It has multi-coated, all glass lenses that provide excellent viewing capabilities. With an internally adjustable reticle, you’re guaranteed to make a professional shot with the utmost in precision. It sounds so complicated but really, this model makes it very easy.
It has the standard 3.5 magnification but has an optical doubler that helps the shooter to transition the rifle sight into the 7x scope. Don’t worry, it doesn’t take long to do that. It merely takes seconds to make the transition with the Armasight Vulcan.
The rifle scope is not only water resistant like the previous models mentioned but it is also sand and dust resistant! This increases the power of this scope as it is virtually untouched by any element.
It comes with tactical rails that are specifically for lasers and illuminators. In the package, it comes with the standard high power IR illuminator.
The Armasight Vulcan is perfect for the big game hunter, marksmen or anyone that needs a night vision rifle scope.
It comes with a manual gain control feature (MG) that allows the shooter to manually increase or decrease the image brightness in any situation. This amount of control is very convenient in situations where you need exact measures taken for the appropriate lighting. The model is equipped with a very popular, high quality Ghost White Phosphor Gen 3 IIT with a manual gain control (MG) that provides clear black and white imagery and high resolutions.
This is, by far, the best night vision option for the Gen 3 models.
Top Night Scope Brands
There are many great brands out there that produce excellent quality night vision scopes. Most likely, if you’re reading this article, you’re either a novice or you’re an expert and seeking the best of the best while paying a bargain price. Before we jump into the awesome products that we have compiled for you, let’s take a look at some of the amazing brands!
Armasight is a big name in the thermal imaging and night vision technological field. For years, they’ve designed, invented and created products such as night vision rifle scopes. The main headquarters is located in San Francisco, California. Armasight is very popular among those that use night vision, laser technology and thermal imaging products. They offer spectacular quality for a variety of prices. You can purchase a high standard night vision scope for $10,000.00, or go all the way down to $150.00. It merely depends on the features and technology that you desire and the amount of money that you’re willing to spend.
ATN is another huge brand in the night vision and thermal imaging scope technology. It’s letters represent the name, American Technologies Network, and it’s also located in San Francisco. This company has been around for over two decades and takes great pride in having all of their products manufactured in the United States. ATN is often compared with Armasight simply because they are both incredible names in the night vision and thermal imaging business. They produce great night vision scopes at prices big and small. Just like Armasight, hunters, law enforcement employees and the military use this brand frequently.
Firefield is rapidly building its reputation among the shooter community. Believe it or not, the company is very new with having been created in 2009. Firefield saw the growing need of affordable scopes and thermal imaging products with the decline in the economy. They realized that there was an opportunity to serve the people that couldn’t afford the over-priced tactical products. Their philosophy is to provide optical equipment for shooters that are of high quality but low price. Never let the newness of a company deter you from giving their quality of products a try.
Emerging in 2007, Sightmark is also a new brand and company that’s increasing in popularity among the shooter crowd. Their technology is sloganed for helping people “make the mark”. With their main headquarters in Mansfield, Texas, the brand and products have found their way into many outdoors retailers such as Academy Sports and Cabela’s and Gander Mountain, to name a few. Sightmark offers high quality rifle scopes for affordable prices. It’s no wonder that it’s an increasingly growing brand.
Yukon is another great rifle scope company. They’re committed to giving their consumers the latest and greatest in night vision rifle scope technology. Most people that have never shot a rifle in their life have heard of this brand and name. That says a lot. It’s a name to consider when shopping for the perfect night vision rifle scope for you.
Night Vision Generations
If you’re new to the shooter community and learning about what rifle scope is best to purchase, it’s important to know the difference between Generation 1, Generation 2, and Generation 3. These terminologies are typically shortened to Gen 1, Gen 2, and Gen 3. Keep that in mind as you start searching and shopping for the best scope.
Gen 1 is fairly simplistic and affordable. For most shooters and hunters, it offers everything that you need and then some. What’s better? It’s the most inexpensive of all the generations. Gen 1 was introduced to society during the early sixties. This was during a time when the Space Age was introducing new technologies that humanity never thought possible and continued to wow and inspire people. In fact, this was during a time when a simple computer wasn’t so simple. Computers were the size of a small house and more! Smartphones today are far more powerful than the large computer that helped send man to the moon! Anyway, enough on that. Let’s return to the Gen 1 birth and description. Overall, a Gen 1 night vision scope is sufficient for most shooters’ needs. However, since it is the first generation, it has some slower perks than the later generations.
Here are some of the details (Remember that these details work for most!)
- The average useful sight range for Gen 1 is about 75 yards.
- It has shorter battery life span.
- Overall life expectancy is 1500 hours of use.
- Due to older technology, the user is generally illuminated thus making it obvious and visible.
- Lower resolution imagery
Gen 2 is a step up from Gen 1. Although it is more expensive than the Gen 1, it’s still not as expensive as the Gen 3. However, in the form of technological advances, Gen 2 blows Gen 1 out of the water.
Here are some of the details:
- The average useful sight range is about 200 yards. (That’s 125 more yards than Gen 1’s 75 yards)
- It has a longer battery life than Gen 1.
- Overall life expectancy is 4500 hours.
- Great resolution for images.
- Doesn’t need the IR illumination
Gen 3 is the big, bad boy when it comes to night vision rifle scopes. This is, no joke, the real thing. In fact, it’s so advanced that the United States Military uses the Gen 3 on all of their rifle scopes and other optical equipment. However, keep in mind that most Gen 3 rifle scopes are very pricey. Don’t fret. With the advanced technology and accuracy, you will get what you pay for!
Here are some details on the Gen 3:
- The average useful sight range is 300 yards. (Sometimes more depending on the model and grade that you have.)
- Offers the best low light performance
- Imagery technology allows it to work in all light shades and conditions.
- The absolute best resolution for images.
- Has the longest life expectancy with an amazing 10,000 hours and more of operation!
Now that we have covered the overall basics of night vision rifle scopes, let’s take a look at some of the best products out there. We’ve compiled a list of rifle scopes for nearly every situation and scenario.
Hopefully, this article has helped you in your search for the best night vision rifle scope. We have covered the basics of the night vision technology to the brands that make them. Good luck!