One of the most revolutionary pieces of gear to ever grace the world of hunting is the night vision scope. They offer hunters the ability to pick up precise shots in low-light or foggy conditions.
Before night vision scopes came along, the only thing available on the market to help you achieve this level of vision at night, were night vision goggles. Needless to say, they weren’t very practical for hunting purposes; they often didn’t even work at all, and quickly were replaced with scopes.
Now the market is flooded with night vision scopes of all shapes, sizes, and quality. Not only do you have so many choices to pick from, but the high-quality night vision scopes out there usually also come with a large price tag.
Because of that, we have gone ahead and taken the time to review a few of the best night vision scopes on the market. You believe in being well-equipped when you go hunting, right? So, why not be just as prepared when you decide to buy your next night vision scope?
Here are our picks for the best night vision scopes. It might be worth skipping below to read about the different generations of night vision scopes and what they mean. This will help you decide which option is best for your needs and your budget.
First up on our list is another budget-friendly option; the Wraith Digital Night Vision Riflescope from Sightmark. This scope is designed in a way that is meant to make it extremely versatile and about 30% lighter weight than any other digital night visions riflescopes on the market.
It delivers higher magnification than other comparable riflescopes and features 10 different digital reticle options so it can be used for a wide range of applications from hog and varmint hunting to rangefinding and holdovers.
The lens is a large 50mm lens that offers resolution as high as 1920 x 1080. At this level of resolution, you are getting crisp and detailed pictures at up to about 120 yards. Some shooters even claim that the crisp image it can give you a bit better than that of the comparable ATN X Sight II HD. It gathers ample light with no issue as far as we can tell, and is resistant to bright light exposure.
Comes with a removable 850nm IR Illuminator with a detection range of 200 yards.
The onboard Micro USB allows photo/video export and outboard additional power supply. Additionally, you can also make use of the built-in Weaver rail system. This system allows you to attach additional accessories to further expand the capabilities of the Wraith.
Looking for a scope that gives you a much better picture for your hard-earned money? Take a look at the ATN X-Sight-4K, 3-14x Pro Edition Smart Day/Night Hunting Scope.
The body of this scope is superb. Not too heavy, not too light, just solid and sturdy. It has no issue staying zeroed in and can take some minor rough handling and being jarred around.
The lens of the ATN X Sight is where all the magic happens as it comes with a few nifty features. There is a day/night mode, a built-in rangefinder, a ballistic calculator, and a video capturing feature to allow you to record your best shots.
All of these features will save you a ton of time and the hassle of carrying around additional range-finding equipment that you would otherwise have to deal with to do those same things. That said there are reviews that suggest you might consider downloading the the Obsidian 4 App for expand night viewing options.
One of the most impressive features of this scope, though, is something called the Recoil Activated Video (RAV). This feature gives you the ability to record your best shots to video or capture still photos. These can then be shared with friends and family, or you can watch them yourself to study your shooting form and see what areas you need improvement in.
Day or night time use
Picture is HD but looks grainy on overcast or foggy days
RAV feature is a bit laggy and can be a bit difficult to figure out
This scope is packed with a ton of features that are geared toward the nighttime hunter. The internal infrared illuminator has three different modes that can be adjusted to account for varying light conditions. But lighting shouldn’t be such a big deal anyway because the 50mm fully-adjustable lens on this thing is, dare we say… on par with a few Gen 2 scopes, we’ve messed around with.
Zeroing in on this scope is probably one of our favorite features. Depending on what scope you currently own, you may find windage and elevation settings to be a chore. With the Pulsar N750, both settings are controlled with one knob. Just turn the knob to set windage, click the button, then repeat to set the elevation.
There is also a digital zooming feature that allows for magnification from 4.5x to 6.75x, options for video output, a remote control that can be mounted just about anywhere, and a weaver rail for additional accessories.
The overall build quality is solid and weighs in at 2.2 pounds. It will certainly put some weight on your rifle, but it’s a small price to pay for a good digit scope that you can rely on.
We had to include at least one Rolls Royce of night vision hunting scopes. It probably not fair to include this scope on the same list as the other night vision rifle scopes. However, if you have come into a bag of money then this is the scope you should buy.
The Armasight Vulcan 4.5x Compact Professional Gen 3 Night Vision Rifle Scope is the crown jewel of night vision weapon sight technology. The scope has multicoated all-glass lenses and an internally adjustable fine reticles.
Wide array of IIT configurations
Bright light cut-off
Illuminated reticle with brightness adjustment
Variable gain control (optional)
Wireless remote control included
Detachable long-range infrared illuminator
What To Consider When Buying A Night Vision Scope
There are a few main things that you should consider before buying a night vision scope for your rifle. Follow these basic guidelines and you should be able to pick out the best night vision scope for yourself in no time at all.
Know Your Rifle Scope Generations
Night vision technology has been around for quite a long time now. Night vision devices were being used as early as 1939 by the German Army during World War II. As a matter of fact, the first devices were being developed in 1935.
Over such a large amount of time, night vision technology has gone through many different changes. With each new generation also came better picture quality, range ratings, and a better ability to gather light.
Understanding how generations work is quite simple, and it’s extremely beneficial if you know the basics of each. Here is a quick overview of all 3 generations:
Generation 1 optics were developed in the early 1960’s. They are not well-suited for use in extremely low light conditions. They will get you by on a dark night but they do need a bit of light to function properly. The main selling point for Generation 1 optics is that they are priced well for those on a budget. A generation 1 night vision scope is best viewed as a general use scope.
Generation 2 optics were developed in the 1970’s. This is where you will begin to notice not only better performance but also, an increase in the price tag. They do not require as much light as Generation 1 does in order to function. They give you higher resolution pictures and can perform well in extremely low light conditions.
Generation 3 is the current generation. They are state of the art in the field of night vision and offer you the absolute best resolution available on the market today. They work well in extremely low light conditions and give you better range than the previous generations. The other major difference comes in the form of a price tag. Generation 3 night vision optics are by far the most expensive available.
Night Vision Scope Price
When it comes to the price of night vision scopes, it is fairly straightforward. Simply put, the price is highly dependent on what generation scope you are planning to purchase.
The newer the generation, the higher the price. It’s as simple as that because as we explained above, with every new generation comes improvements over the previous. And these aren’t minor adjustments, they are huge changes in the overall night vision optic technology. You can easily go from $300 to $2,000 simply by jumping up to a newer generation scope.
For those on a tight budget, we recommend the Firefield FF26014T.
Night Vision Scope Weight
Weight is another factor that should have a large impact on your decision. You don’t want a scope that weighs down your barrel with unnecessary weight. But you also don’t want a scope that feels flimsy either.
For general use out on the range or late night hog hunting trips, it probably won’t matter to you a whole lot. On the flipside, if you are going from thick brush to open field and everything in between, you sort of want something that is comfortable and not too heavy to carry around on your back.
A lot of your scopes weight will come from things such as your variable knobs, extra focal lenses, and the material it is constructed from.
For lightweight scopes, look for something that is in the 10-ounce range. If you go much lower than that, you are probably sacrificing sturdy build quality to shave off minimal weight.
We hope that our review of the top 5 night vision scopes has helped you narrow down your choices significantly.
Only you can decide which of these scopes are going to fit perfect on your rifle. Between our top picks and having the knowledge of what to look for when you buy a scope, you should be good to go.
If you also do a little crossbow hunting in your spare time, you should also check out our top recommendations for best crossbow scopes as well.
Hey everyone I'm Chris. Founder and editor at Gun News Daily. This site was originally started by my father who passed it on to me. Gun News Daily has been reporting on gun news and conservative politics since 2001. We are the original gun news source. Life-long Second Amendment Supporter.