Best Night Vision Scope – My Top 8 in 2024

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The human eye is, unfortunately, not designed for great vision during the nighttime hours. But that doesn’t mean that hunters are out of luck when it comes to pursuing their quarry after the sun has gone down.

Instead, night vision scopes use various types of illuminators (infrared is the most common) to beam light into the environment that our eyes can’t naturally see. Although this sounds counterintuitive, it allows sophisticated night vision scopes to collect that light and project an image that we see in either black and white or with a green glow.

The result is a detailed nighttime vision that you can use to spot your targets and make excellent shots that your naked eye would have trouble with.

But finding the ideal night vision scope takes more than a high-power infrared flashlight. Instead, use my guide and its tips to identify the perfect night vision scope for your needs and get the best bang for your buck.

My Top Pick – ATN X-Sight II HD 5-20 Smart Day/Night

For me personally, this is the best night vision scope I’ve used. It offers excellent value for money and many customization options. It works wonders for tracking game at night and is also incredibly effective during daytime hunting. The stock IR performed much better than I expected. I’m truly impressed with the scope’s overall performance.

Scroll down for a more detailed description and the full review.

My 8 Best Night Vision Scopes

I’ve come forward to find the best night vision for rifle scopes. After the tests I’ve done, these are my top 8 choices:

  1. ATN X-Sight II HD 5-20 Smart Day/NightMy top pick as it provides excellent clarity, digital upgrades, and has a high-resolution sensor. 
  2.  ATN X-Sight 5-20 4K Pro Smart Day/Night Rifle Scope – it offers fantastic visibility and has a recoil detection system in the video mode for high-quality recording.
  3. Night Owl Optics NightShot 3x Digital Night Vision Rifle Scope – it’s extremely durable, weatherproof, and works great for different rail types. 
  4. Bushnell NightVision 4.5×40 Equinox Z – I liked its ergonomic design and multi-coated glass objective that worked well in both daytime and nighttime hunting game.
  5. BESTSIGHT DIY Digital Night Vision Scope for Rifle Hunting – it spoke to me particularly due to its affordable price and large digital screen with fantastic resolution.
  6. Sightmark Wraith HD 4-32×50 Digital Rifle Scope – it offers several reticle and color options and has a built-in HD video recording system.
  7. PARD NV-008 Digital Night Vision Rifle Scope – I liked that it’s waterproof and features Visible Light Enhancement Algorithm (VLEA).
  8.  Pulsar Digex N455 Digital Night Vision Rifle Scope – it provides future firmware updates and has an incredible Picture-in-Picture mode.

The 8 Best Night Vision Scopes

1. ATN X-Sight II HD 5-20 Smart Day/Night Rifle Scope – Best Overall
ATN X-Sight II HD 5-20 Smart Day/Night Rifle Scope w/1080p Video, Ballistic Calculator, Rangefinder, WiFi, E-Compass, GPS, Barometer, IOS & Android Apps

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This scope is jampacked with excellent features that virtually any hunter can take advantage of. It provides clear day and nighttime vision in HD 1080p resolution. 

This results in crystal-clear imaging up to several hundred feet and better imaging even further. The scope goes between 5x and 20x magnification, so in my opinion it’s great for targeting at lots of ranges.

My Feelings After Using ATN X-Sight II HD 5-20 Smart Day/Night Rifle Scope

The HD factor is not the only thing I love about this scope. It can also record 1080 P HD video and take similar pictures, all while streaming it via Wi-Fi connections, which significantly elevated my user experience. As an avid shooter who uses night vision scopes extensively for hunting trips, I was pleased with the automatic activation feature upon detecting the recoil from my rifle. This allowed me to easily record my trips without having to manually turn on the recording, leaving me free to focus on the hunt.

The scope also includes a ballistic calculator, which allowed me to shift the estimated point of impact on the fly. Through extensive personal testing and usage for both hunting and target practice, I found the built-in ballistic calculator to be highly useful. On multiple occasions, it allowed me to quickly adjust my aim to account for various trajectories and ballistic requirements. This really helped improve my accuracy in the field.

Product Highlights

A smart rangefinder is included with the scope. During my many hunting trips, I utilized the rangefinder to determine distances to targets and to help choose the proper magnification level and ammunition for the shot. It can identify the range to your target with just two clicks of a button. I think this is great for determining the ideal magnification level to choose or determining whether my chosen ammunition is ideal for the hunt at hand. After the tests I’ve done, I can tell the rangefinder is accurate to within +/-1 yard.

The built-in e-compass and GPS mapping made navigation much simpler while out hunting in unfamiliar territory. On multiple occasions, it helped me mark waypoints and find my way back to base camp. The battery pack allows for 22 hours of continuous use and it’s easy to recharge, and the infrared illuminator works with all other night vision devices.

Common Problems and How to Deal With Them

The only issue I had with this scope is that it was a little complicated to use at first. After multiple uses, I became proficient with the controls and various settings. To conserve battery life during initial test uses, I made sure to turn the scope on and off instead of letting it run continuously.

Key Features

  • E-Compass
  • E-Barometer
  • Gyroscope
  • Smart Range Finder
  • Recoil Activated Video (RAV)

Pros and Cons

Pros Cons
Excellent features and digital upgrades Not weatherproof
Clear daytime vision
Great video clarity and recording functionality

Basic Parameters

Manufacturer ATN
Weight 2.55 lbs
Eye Relief 65mm
Magnification 5-20x
Field of View 240 ft

The Bottom Line

In my opinion, it’s just a fantastic scope all around. It has a high-resolution sensor and offers plenty of customization options to make your scope fit your needs. Although the asking price is high, the value makes it worthwhile, trust me!

My Rating: 5/5

2. ATN X-Sight 5-20 4K Pro Smart Day/Night Rifle ScopeATN X-Sight 4K Pro Smart Day/Night Rifle Scope 5-20x - Ultra HD 4K technology with Superb Optics, Full HD Video, 18+ hrs Battery, Ballistic Calculator, Rangefinder, WiFi, IOS&Android Apps

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This night vision scope might be pricey, but it’s well worth the overall cost. It has a smooth zoom function between 5x and 20x magnification.

My Feelings After Using ATN X-Sight 5-20 4K Pro Smart Day/Night Rifle Scope

I’m truly impressed with the quality of this scope. It utilizes ultra HD sensors and an Obsidian 4 Dual Core processor that brought me the best sight picture and imagery possible during low light conditions. The colors depicted in my eye box were truly fantastic and the outlines of my targets in the scenery were crisper than I could believe.

For me, the scope was perfectly fine for use during daytime shooting, too. The resolution brings the color to the forefront of each image and can make discerning various small creatures that normally blend in with the environment easier to identify.

As a shooter who has tested many night vision scopes over the years, I was thoroughly impressed by the real-world performance of this ATN scope. During several late night hunting trips, I was able to clearly identify and target animals from long distances that would have been impossible to see with the naked eye. The image quality truly shined under low light conditions. I also appreciated features like the recoil activated video which freed me up to fully focus on lining up the perfect shot.

One of the features that I particularly like about this scope is that video is activated with a recoil detection system. This means that I didn’t have to physically turn the camera on when I was paying attention to the perfect time to take my shot.

Product Highlights

The scope also includes a special ballistic calculator to help identify the best possible shot at each critical moment. It’s so advanced that it can calculate the range and wind that will affect the next shot placement, as well as factors like the angle to your target, the temperature, and ambient humidity. On multiple occasions, shots I lined up using the calculator resulted in direct hits in situations where I likely would have missed without it. This level of advanced computing integrated directly into the shooting optics is a game changer. It’s truly a remarkable piece of equipment to be combined with the night vision scope.

Of course, the scope can also dual-stream record video in 4K resolution and buttery-smooth 120 fps. As it records, it can stream the footage to a mobile device while simultaneously recording on the SD card contained within the scope itself. That gives me two places where the footage is stored, so my chances of losing anything are slim to none.

I found the 4K video capability to be top-notch for recording and reviewing hunts or range sessions. The ability to stream footage directly to my phone or tablet opened up all kinds of useful possibilities for remote monitoring or walkthroughs with other shooters. I haven’t seen another scope that matches this one’s video performance and integration.

When my battery power is starting to run low, I can switch the scope to an ultra-low power mode and give myself time to return to base while still maintaining proper visuals. That’s so helpful! At normal power, the battery runs for about 18 hours of continuous operation.

Even during marathon range sessions, I never had an issue with battery life thanks to the intelligent power management and the option for an ultra-low power reserve mode. The scope gives plenty of warning as the battery runs low, allowing me to wrap up whatever I’m working on before it dies completely.

All of its advanced features are great, but the typical scope aspects are fantastic as well. There’s a lot of eye relief, so I’m not likely to give myself a bruise when I fire my rifle, even if it has a lot of recoil, which makes me feel safer. The scope uses a Picatinny mount that can be attached or detached in just seconds.

Common Problems and How to Deal With Them

The only problem I’ve experienced is that the scope is locked up now and then. All I had to do was to hold the power button for 30 seconds and restart it, and it worked well again.

Key Features

  • Ultra HD sensor resolution
  • Smart Mil Dot Reticle
  • One Shot Zero
  • Spin to Zoom Wheel
  • Weather resistance

Pros and Cons

Pros Cons
Fantastic camera and resolution Expensive
Recoil-activated recording system
Low-power mode

Basic Parameters

Manufacturer ATN
Weight 2.2 lb
Eye Relief 90mm
Magnification 5-20x
Field of View 240 ft

The Bottom Line

After the tests I’ve done, I can honestly say that this is one of the best scopes I’ve used. It offers excellent clarity and has lots of great features. 

My Rating: 4.5/5

You can also check the best thermal scopes.

3. Night Owl Optics NightShot 3x Digital Night Vision Riflescope Night Owl Optics NightShot Digital Night Vision Riflescope with IR illuminator, Black, NIGHTSHOT

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This night vision scope uses an infrared illuminator that’s powerful enough to offer great clarity and vision up to 200 yards, providing typical nighttime illumination. Its magnification level is set to 3x. The resolution is 640×480.

My Feelings After Using Night Owl Optics NightShot 3x Digital Night Vision Riflescope

Overall, I’m very satisfied with this product. I have personally tested this scope in various nighttime conditions. I appreciate the ability to choose between three different reticle types, allowing me to configure the scope for different backgrounds and shooting scenarios. With a simple flick of a switch, I can change reticle types while maintaining my shooting position.

I got to choose between three different reticle types, each of which can be configured in either white or black depending on the background I was sighting against.

Product Highlights

The scope is totally weatherproof and can withstand a lot of inclement weather before showing any signs of wear and tear. It’s been made of engineered thermoplastic that’s both durable and which doesn’t glare under light, further masking your position. In my testing across many late night hunting trips, I found the scope to be completely waterproof for real and able to withstand heavy rain and wind without issue. The engineered thermoplastic body prevented any glare while providing durability over years of use.

I used this scope with a variety of rifles by mounting it to Weaver and Picatinny rails with ease. With the option for either AA or lithium batteries, I never had to worry about running out of power on a hunt.

Common Problems and How to Deal With Them

One of the drawbacks I noticed is that the battery life isn’t the greatest. I’d recommend using lithium batteries if you can manage it since lithium batteries tend to last a lot longer and you’ll get more bang for your buck. 

With AA batteries, you’ll get five hours of power with the infrared sights at low, and even more time with lithium ones.

Key Features

  • Made of engineered thermoplastic
  • Built-in infrared illuminator
  • Weatherproof
  • Second focal plane

Pros and Cons

Pros Cons
Easy switching between reticle types Short battery life
Durable material construction
Suitable for multiple rail types

Basic Parameters

Manufacturer Night Owl Optics
Weight 1.4 lbs
Eye Relief 68.58 mm
Magnification 3x
Field of view 5.6 degrees

The Bottom Line

In my opinion, it’s a great quality scope with high resolution that works perfectly in very dark environments. It’s easy to adjust and use at any range, therefore I can highly recommend this product.

My Rating: 4/5

4. Bushnell NightVision 4.5×40 Equinox ZBushnell NightVision 4.5x40 Equinox Z, Rifle Mount

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This night vision scope is another great model that provides magnification at 4.5x with a 40mm lens. It can be mounted on your rifle or held in your hand; the choice is yours.

My Feelings After Using Bushnell NightVision 4.5×40 Equinox Z

The monocular provides a wide field of view and lets me see up to 250 yards, thanks to its superior infrared illumination. I was able to adjust the illuminator between two brightness settings. 

Since it can be handheld, I could get pictures or video footage from much better angles than I typically could with a scope attached to my rifle.

It’s not exactly shockproof, so I had to be careful not to drop it. I’ve noticed that the glass can crack relatively easily.

Product Highlights

This night vision monocular can capture both images and video. The video function can go between 1x and 3x magnification for greater control over your recording. The quality of both is excellent, and given the low asking price, it’s a great bit of extra functionality that enhances the value of the product. Daytime recordings are vivid in their color. 

The housing of the monocular is water-resistant, so it’s fine to take out during rainy or wet conditions. 

The purchase also comes with a carrying case, which provides even greater value for money. A tripod mount is further included so you can look through the monocular with the ultimate amount of stability when lying prone in wait for your target.

Common Problems and How to Deal With Them

It uses only AA batteries, and these don’t last very long. It’s a good idea to have some spares on you at all times.

Another downside is that the light sensitivity or IR illuminator can’t be altered while you’re in video mode. Unfortunately, there’s not much you can do about it.

Key Features

  • Water-resistant
  • Built-in IR illuminator
  • 40mm multi-coated glass objective
  • Ergonomic design

Pros and Cons

Pros Cons
Portable and can be handled Can’t alter settings while in the middle of video recording
Comes with case and tripod Low battery life
Excellent day and nighttime clarity and color

Basic Parameters

Manufacturer Bushnell
Weight 1.38 lbs
Eye Relief 0mm
Magnification 4.5x
Field of View 93m

The Bottom Line

It’s an efficient scope that works well both during nighttime and daytime. It offers great quality and modern features at a relatively low cost. 

My Rating: 4/5

5. BESTSIGHT DIY Digital Night Vision Scope for Rifle Hunting BESTSIGHT DIY Digital Night Vision Scope for Rifle Hunting with Camera and 5" Portable Display Screen

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This scope is one of the largest I’ve found on any market, and it’s also one of the most affordable. 

My Feelings After Using BESTSIGHT DIY Digital Night Vision Scope for Rifle Hunting

This is a really good scope designed for nighttime hunting. It uses a bulky external apparatus, along with a digital viewing screen which provided me with unparalleled optics from afar. 

Essentially, it had me fix a camera at the end of another night scope, which then captures the image and delivers it to a screen above the scope body. The camera gave me images at 3 Megapixel quality.

This setup can be a little clunky depending on the model of rifle used with it, but it was also useful for taking shots in awkward positions and without getting onto my belly in cramped conditions.

Although it’s quite large, I was able to assemble in just a few minutes thanks to the detailed instructions attached to the purchase. Once I set it up, I could use this night vision scope in the daytime and nighttime and receive plenty of detail and color.

In fact, the night vision captures are some of the best I’ve seen. I was able to observe some targets in complete darkness thanks to the high-power infrared illuminator attached to the front of the setup. The Telescopic Zoom illuminator provided an exceptional nighttime range.

Product Highlights

The 5-inch clear display screen captures everything that the camera picks up and displays it instantly for my benefit, with zoom, crosshair adjustment, and day/nighttime settings.

The scope’s camera is positioned right at the back of the scope itself, peering through the lens that your eye would normally sit behind. As you might expect, this totally eliminates any chance of bruising your eye, although I prefer to use this scope and camera system with a weapon that does not have a lot of recoil or otherwise keep it unattached to an actual gun at all.

To make things even better, an 18-month warranty is included for any quality-related issues. You’re getting a lot of gear, but you can rest assured that it’ll all work, or you’ll be able to get replacements in a snap. Two eyepiece tubes come with the purchase that you can switch between depending on which one fits you the best.

That being said, this is a novel take on night vision products and might be a great choice if you have a stable rifle and shooting position and don’t plan on moving frequently. This system can be a pain to detach and take apart if you need to pick up and move quickly.

Common Problems and How to Deal With Them

One minor downside to this night vision camera and scope system is that I needed three batteries to run everything: two for the monitor and one for the infrared flashlight. I had to purchase these batteries separately; they don’t come with this purchase.

Key Features

  • Second focal plane
  • Built-in IR flashlight
  • Large digital screen
  • Illuminated reticle
  • Fogproof
  • Waterproof

Pros and Cons

Pros Cons
Provides camera and monitor with great resolution Needs separate batteries
Useful for daytime or nighttime shooting
Great 18-month warranty

Basic Parameters

Manufacturer Bestsight DIY
Weight 1.5 lb
Magnification 1x
Eye Relief 106.68 mm
Field of View 200m

The Bottom Line

Personally, I was pleased with using this scope during the day and night. Considering its affordable price, it has everything you may need, even if you use it in 100% darkness. 

My Rating: 3/5

6. Sightmark Wraith HD 4-32×50 Digital Riflescope

Sightmark Wraith HD 4-32x50 Digital Riflescope

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Sightmark’s Wraith HD scope is a great digital model with both day and nighttime shooting modes. It can be used both for nighttime hunts and for daytime hunting or property defense purposes.

My Feelings After Using Sightmark Wraith HD 4-32×50 Digital Riflescope

What I particularly liked about using this scope was the 1080 P HD resolution imaging as I had the opportunity to record video using a high-resolution sensor.

I was able to record the footage of my scope as I progressed through my hunt. I could also take photos when I preferred, depending on my needs. While the necessary memory card was not included, it was still an excellent feature that added a ton of value to the scope overall. This computerized scope is bolstered even further since I could save up to five weapon profiles. This allowed me to save the zero values for my favorite guns without having to recalibrate the digital scope every time.

Product Highlights

The scope’s maximum magnification is up to 32x and 50 mm objective lens. The riflescope can be customized with up to 10 different reticle options and nine color choices. It also has a 850nm infrared illuminator, which features a detection range of up to 200 yards. 

The scope comes with both black and white or classic green settings for its night vision mode. Thus, it can be a great scope if you have a preference for one type of night vision or the other. 

Common Problems and How to Deal With Them

Again, the issue I had with this scope was the short battery life – I only had about 4.5 hours of power. While the scope fortunately takes typical AA batteries, you may want to take advantage of the included micro USB port, which allows you to recharge the scope indefinitely.

Key Features

  • Made of aluminum
  • Waterproof
  • Shockproof
  • Built-in HD video recording
  • CMOS sensor

Pros and Cons

Pros Cons
Has the ability to take photos and videos Rubber lens cover can get in the way
Has na infrared illuminator May be a bit difficult to mount on certain rifles
Comes with two different night vision modes
Several reticle and color options
Excellent video and picture quality

Basic Parameters

Manufacturer Sightmark Wraith
Weight 2.27 lbs
Magnification 4-32x
Eye relief 2.4 mm
Field of view 21 ft

The Bottom Line

The Sightmark Wraith is high-value and technologically advanced, featuring many excellent functions that you’d be more likely to find in a video camera compared to a dedicated hunting optic. Definitely consider this if you want an all-around excellent night vision scope.

My Rating: 4/5

7. Pard NV008 lightest Day/Night Rifle Scope Digital Night Vision Hunting Riflescope Waterproof IP67

Pard NV008 lightest Day/Night Rifle Scope Digital Night Vision Hunting Riflescope Waterproof IP67 Include Mount Battery 200m IR WiFi iOS & Android Apps

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Pard Technology’s NV-008 is a night vision rifle scope of middling price with a lot of excellent features. For starters, the core night vision scope mode can magnify between 6.5x and 12x, allowing you to view targets up to 200 m or a little further away. The built-in infrared illuminator lets you observe your target even in completely dark conditions without having to rely on exterior lighting elements.

My Feelings After Using PARD NV-008 Digital Night Vision Riflescope

I enjoyed using this scope as I was able to record videos or photos, depending on my needs. Rather than using a microSD card, I could instead transfer my video or photo footage by connecting the scope to a computer using a USB cord. For me, this made using the scope a little more convenient.

I also really liked the fact that this scope comes with higher than average battery life: up to eight hours even when using the infrared illuminator or Wi-Fi. Speaking of Wi-Fi, I was able to connect the scope to wireless devices like a tablet or computer to transfer my video or photo footage as well. 

Product Highlights

The scope is designed for Picatinny rail systems and comes with 35 mm of eye relief. The scope looks more like a camera than a typical rifle optic, but this isn’t necessarily a bad thing; many of the buttons you can use to adjust the video or zoom settings are found in intuitive locations on the scope’s side.

Video resolution can go up to 1080 P, and it comes with all the equipment you’ll need to both transfer data from the scope to your computer and mount it on your rifle without purchasing anything else. You will need to purchase an extra TF card if you want to store video information in the scope itself over the long term.

Common Problems and How to Deal With Them 

I didn’t have any major issues with using this scope. 

Key Features

  • Recoil-activated video
  • Visible Light Enhancement Algorithm(VLEA)
  • Built-in range finder
  • Waterproof

Pros and Cons

Pros Cons
Has camera adjustment buttons in logical places A bit heavier and bulkier than average
Can record footage even in pitch-black environments
Multiple footage transmission methods, including USB and Wi-Fi
Good video and picture resolution and quality
Comes with mounting equipment and protective case

Basic Parameters

Manufacturer PARD
Weight 445 g
Magnification 6.5-12x
Eye relief 35mm
Field of view 40 degrees

The Bottom Line

In my opinion, the Pard NV008 Night Vision Riflescope is an excellent combo camera scope. It will serve you well both in completely dark and daytime environments.

My Rating: 3.5/5

8. Pulsar Digex N455 Digital Night Vision Riflescope

Pulsar Digex N455 Digital Night Vision Riflescope

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Pulsar’s Digex N455 Night Vision Riflescope is an expensive but overall valuable bit of optical equipment, fearing variable magnification between 4x and 16x. This allows me to use it to record targets or activity both at close and relatively long ranges.

My Feelings After Using Pulsar Digex N455 Digital Night Vision Riflescope

Personally, I think this is one of the smartest and most precise scopes I’ve used. It’s designed for extra nighttime sensitivity, featuring a 1280 x 720 HD sensor and a high-precision “Picture-in-Picture” mode. This mode allowed me to take some of the best still photos possible with this night vision optics.

In addition, I could save up to five individual shooting profiles and easily use the scope with multiple rifles without having to recalibrate or set it to zero over and over again. It held up to 50 zeroing distances in conjunction with the five shooting profiles mentioned above.

Customization is the name of the game with the N455, as it also comes with 10 distinct reticle types and several extra color options. Many of these are scalable ballistic reticles, which helped me not only take video or photo footage of my target but actually hit my shots at long ranges.

Product Highlights

This scope comes with Wi-Fi capability, allowing you to operate or review footage remotely or connect the scope to tablets or computers for quick data streaming or uploading. It surprised me that it even comes with a built-in Live YouTube Streaming function; this scope can therefore double as a night vision camera for capturing moment-to-moment footage for live viewers.

Of course, the N455 also functions as a daytime optic if necessary. The scope always starts up instantaneously, and the proprietary smartphone app I can use with the night vision scope offers free firmware updates all the time.

The scope overall is quite durable and is IPX7 waterproof rated while also including resistance to high-caliber recoil. 

Common Problems and How to Deal With Them

I didn’t experience any issues with this scope during my tests. The only drawback would be the high price, however, you usually need to pay more for high-quality optics like this one. 

Key Features

  • IPX7 waterproof
  • Picture-in-Picture mode
  • Removable Eye Cup with Magnet Fixing
  • Stadiametric rangefinder

Pros and Cons

Pros Cons
Can easily connect to Wi-Fi devices and stream Expensive compared to other night vision scopes
Has several excellent night vision modes
Has several reticles and colors to choose from
Made with durable materials and design elements
App lets you benefit from future firmware updates

Basic Parameters

Manufacturer Pulsar
Weight 2.1 lb
Magnification 4-16x
Eye relief 50 mm
Field of view 11.4 x 8.6

The Bottom Line

Overall, after the tests I’ve done, I can tell this is a very good night vision optics that can also be used for daytime hunting. I certainly recommend considering this scope if you don’t mind the price and want something that doubles as a durable hunting optic and a quality video camera at the same time.

My Rating: 4/5

What to Look for When Buying Night Vision Scopes

The best night vision scopes will all have several key qualities or features that separate them from their mediocre counterparts. Let’s go through each of those qualities, so you know what to look for when doing your own shopping or browsing.


Of course, your scope’s magnification matters a great deal. Most night vision scopes don’t have the higher magnification settings seen with some optical scopes, although there are a few exceptions to this rule. This is actually beneficial because of how night vision scopes work. Shorter ranges allow for better image generation and cleaner lines. The more light the scope can collect, the better the image, and it’s easier to collect more light up close.

In general, night vision scopes will have only a few settings to switch between or a fixed magnification value. Typical scope magnification settings usually rest between 3x-5x, although you can often find scopes that have set 6x magnification as well. Some night scopes occasionally go as high as 20x or so for even greater accuracy at range.

Most night scopes can provide you with vision between 100 and 200 yards. This is shorter than optical scopes, but that’s because night vision scopes rely on either stray light collected from your environment or infrared light from a separate flashlight or emitter attached to the scope itself. Some can go farther, but the 100-200 yard range is standard.


Night vision scopes don’t work the same way that regular optical scopes do. You’ll want to find a model that provides you with decent resolution, normally around 640x480p or higher. Some of the best scopes will go into true 4K resolution and offer you some of the crispest video footage possible, but the above value is fine for most scopes or average nighttime hunts. Remember, the better the resolution, the better your accuracy and ability to identify your target. 

Night vision scopes also sometimes have resolution described in LP/MM or lines per millimeter. The higher this value, the better; it means your target will be clearer.


You’ll often see “generation” in the names of many night vision scopes. These refer to the category of scope that an individual scope belongs to and can give you valuable information about its capabilities. Lower generations of scopes are often cheaper, while higher are usually more expensive.

In general, Gen 1 scopes use passive infrared light and ambient light from your surroundings to provide a sight picture. These can usually see as far as 75-100 yards, although some high-quality models push this past 100 yards.

Gen 2 scopes have better resolution than Gen 1 scopes and can see up to 200 yards or so, thanks to their better electronics and infrared illuminators. 

Gen 3 scopes have advanced tech that can convert more photons to electrons, which can then be used to generate a better image for your eyes. These usually have the highest resolution for their set range.

Video/Image Recording Capability

Some night vision scopes will allow you to take video footage or capture pictures while you’re sighting down their lens. This can be useful for a variety of reasons. For instance, you may want to remember a particularly worthwhile hunt that you did a year ago. A video camera that is attached to your scope can let you record that moment.

You may also run into legal trouble at some point since hunting licenses and appropriate areas for hunting can be a complicated affair. Having video footage of your actions is always worthwhile in these cases.

Many of the best night vision scopes will have video recorders that automatically turn on as soon as the system detects recoil from the mounted weapon. This is advantageous since it doesn’t require you to take your hand off the trigger or barrel to initiate camera recording. That lets you focus on what matters the most: getting the perfect shot for the camera.

Glass Quality

The glass quality of your scope is another important factor that you can’t discount. Higher quality (and likely higher-price) night vision scopes will likely have greater glass quality. What exactly does this mean?

The better your glass, the better your light transmission. Higher light transmission means that the scope captures more of the available light in your area, regardless of whether it’s day or night. The more light your scope collects, the brighter and higher contrast of your sight picture or the cleaner your image lines.

During nighttime shooting, this can directly translate into higher resolution and, thus, allow you to see distant targets more clearly, even when it’s pitch black.

In addition, glass that’s higher quality than standard will likely have a coating that protects it from scratch or shock damage. Scope glass is one of the most fragile parts of the entire unit and needs to be protected, so getting sturdy or durable glass is well worth the investment in most cases.

It’s always a better idea to purchase a higher-quality initial item than to purchase a cheap scope and have to replace it sooner rather than later.

Reticle Type/Size

A BDC (bullet drop compensation) reticle is a great choice for many rifle scopes since they use a specific reticle pattern that eliminates a lot of the guesswork involved when it comes to estimating bullet drop. These reticles possess a special series of aiming points that are stacked vertically underneath your crosshair or central dot.

Based on your rifle’s zeroed range (100 yards is a good standard), each BDC mark beneath the crosshair will correspond to an impact point taking bullet drop into account. For instance, if a BDC reticle’s aiming points are spaced for 100 yards apart, then you can have your rifle zeroed for 100 yards and still hit a target 300 yards away by using the BDC reticle’s second aiming point.

As you can see, BDC reticles are great for long-range scopes or night vision scopes to improve accuracy at a distance. They eliminate the need for you to adjust elevation at times. However, they can’t totally account for wind or other elements that may come into play during your shot.

You should also consider the holdover adjustment points of your chosen reticle. Some hunters prefer 1 MOA lines, while others might have different measurements that are more comfortable for their purposes.

Some scopes will allow you to change their type, color, or brightness intensity. These are all good things that let you personalize the scope for your use and can help you achieve maximum accuracy.

Again, there’s no right answer that fits every hunter, so the choice is ultimately up to you. The important part is to consider this before you go shopping, so you know exactly what you’re looking for.

Battery Life

Night vision scopes rely on battery power to provide you with sight, even without environmental illumination. Therefore, the battery life of your scope plays a big role in how long you can consistently use it without having to replace the batteries.

Some of the best night vision scopes you can find will have exceptional battery life and allow you to use them for extended periods in the field without having to worry about them fizzling out at an inopportune moment. However, you should always have spare batteries for your chosen scope regardless of battery life. It’s just a smart precaution.

Keep in mind that a higher battery life often translates to a higher price, so don’t be surprised if your budget starts to become tighter when you tack on a lot of these features or design choices.

Daytime Use

Some of the best night vision scopes will also allow you to use them during the day. This is great value for money since a scope that can function both during daytime or nighttime shooting is essentially two scopes in one, provided that its daytime functionality is serviceable. 

If your night vision scope has daytime use, try to compare its features and functions against other daytime-specific scopes to see if it’s worthwhile. Sometimes manufacturers claim that their night vision scope can work during daytime hours as a gimmick rather than a workable feature.

But great night vision scopes will often function as a regular scope during the day. Instead of using their infrared illuminator to generate light for collection, they’ll collect ambient light and turn it into an image for your eyes. Keep in mind that all nighttime scopes still use battery power to make this image, so you’ll still need to have the scope “on” during daytime use.


Like the glass quality, the durability of your chosen night scope will dictate how long you can rely on it without having to replace it. Some of the better models will be called “weatherproof,” which is a combination of waterproof, fog proof, and shockproof factors.

Weatherproof scopes are usually great choices in terms of value for money. They can be depended on even if you take them into the wilderness during inclement weather. For certain types of hunts, this is almost a necessity, given animal migration patterns or seasonal weather.

In addition, you should try to find a night vision scope made from aircraft-grade aluminum or a similar durable material. Some great night vision scopes will advertise that they have been anodized plating of some kind; this just means that the skin of the night vision scope is rust-resistant and isn’t likely to obtain corrosive damage easily. Such a coating also reduces sun glare and can help camouflage your position.

Frequently Asked Questions

How far can you shoot with a night vision scope?

Most hunters have a range of vision that extends well beyond 200 yards. Some hunters can see clearly out to a distance of roughly 500 yards. A hunter can notice animals as small as a buck or an elk when working at close range. Practicing shooting a few target models at various distances is the greatest approach to improving your night vision.

Learning about several ranges can aid you in determining which distance model will work best for you. You must also learn how to judge a safe distance. Some hunters can sight in at 100 yards, while others will have to sight in at 1,000 yards. Knowing your personal range can aid you in determining the ideal sighting distance for your hunting trip. If you are new to hunting, you should consider buying a car. These are available in two styles: one with a side-by-side aiming point and the other with a crosshair reticle.

Are Illuminated and Night Vision Scopes The Same?

While the fundamental distinction between a monocular and a night vision scope is that both use ambient light to form images, the technology behind each is unique. Monocular illuminates the scene with reflected light from the environment. Night vision scopes, on the other hand, illuminate the scene with infrared rays from an LED. When it comes to providing crisp photographs and images, they are both quite effective.

Why Do You Need A Night Vision Scope?

Apart from being able to produce better photos at night and reducing the amount of light required to see things, these scopes may also be utilized for surveillance. You can, for example, use your scopes to keep an eye on your home or business, even at night. You’ll be astonished at how these scopes may improve your security system’s efficiency by reducing the amount of lighting required.

How Do They Work?

To achieve good views, night vision scopes use infrared illumination. These illuminators are LED and red LEDs that are installed on the inside of the scope. For a variety of reasons, this form of illumination technology has been deployed in military units and is now commonly used by commercial and residential security firms. The primary reason for this is that it provides a brighter image than typical lighting sources. Because infrared illuminators can emit light that is longer and brighter than traditional sources of illumination, this is conceivable.

Can night vision scopes be used during the day?

If it is not positioned in a bright location, a night vision scope can be used during the day. The auxiliary lenses are light-sensitive but block or attenuate infrared light. As a result, as long as there isn’t a lot of light, a night vision binocular can be worn during the day.

Can night vision scopes see through walls?

No, night vision scopes cannot see through walls, at least not like in the movies. Walls are generally thick enough and insulated enough to block any infrared radiation from the other side.


Night vision scopes are a great benefit for any hunter who will spend significant time in the darker hours of the day. Hopefully, you found a scope that’s ideal for your needs, no matter what your pricing point is. But even if you haven’t, you should now be well-equipped to browse all the available models and find one to your liking. Good hunting out there!

If you are looking for a traditional scope, you can check our guides on the best scopes for a rimfire rifle, Remington 700 and 270 Winchester.

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