20 Best Night Vision Scopes (2020): Buyer’s Guide and Unbiased Reviews

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Are you on a quest to find the best night vision scopes?

Then you’re in the right place. Because I have done the hard work for you and have reviewed dozens of products to bring you the best night vision scopes.

In addition, I will introduce the following related topics.

  • Product Details (Including advantages and disadvantages) 
  • Buyer’s Guide
  • Top Brands of Night Scopes
  • Night Vision Scope Generations

I will also answer some common questions.

  • Why use night vision scopes?
  • How does night vision scope work?
  • How do you zero a night vision rifle scope?
  • Can you use a night vision scope in daylight?
  • Are night vision and infrared the same thing?
  • How does infrared work with night vision?
  • What is auto-gating?
  • How do I take care of a night vision scope?

Without further ado, let’s begin!

Chief Editor


Hours Researching

Products Evaluated

Reviews Considered

Researched Sources

Top 3 Picks ( In a Hurry? Here are the winners )

Editor’s Choice & Best Seller
ATN X-Sight II HD 5-20 Smart Day/Night Rifle Scope w/1080p Video, Ballistic Calculator, Rangefinder, WiFi,...
Professional's Choice
Armasight Nemesis6x-SD Gen 2+ Night Vision Rifle Scope w/6x Magnification
Best Value
Firefield NVRS 3x42 Gen 1 Night Vision Riflescope
ATN X-Sight II HD 5-20 Smart Day/Night Rifle Scope w/1080p Video, Ballistic Calculator, Rangefinder, WiFi,...
Armasight Nemesis6x-SD Gen 2+ Night Vision Rifle Scope w/6x Magnification
Firefield NVRS 3x42 Gen 1 Night Vision Riflescope
Our Rating
Editor’s Choice & Best Seller
ATN X-Sight II HD 5-20 Smart Day/Night Rifle Scope w/1080p Video, Ballistic Calculator, Rangefinder, WiFi,...
ATN X-Sight II HD 5-20 Smart Day/Night Rifle Scope w/1080p Video, Ballistic Calculator, Rangefinder, WiFi,...
Our Rating
Read Full Review
View on Amazon
Professional's Choice
Armasight Nemesis6x-SD Gen 2+ Night Vision Rifle Scope w/6x Magnification
Armasight Nemesis6x-SD Gen 2+ Night Vision Rifle Scope w/6x Magnification
Our Rating
Read Full Review
View on Amazon
Best Value
Firefield NVRS 3x42 Gen 1 Night Vision Riflescope
Firefield NVRS 3x42 Gen 1 Night Vision Riflescope
Our Rating
Read Full Review
View on Amazon

Best Night Vision Scopes

The night vision scopes are a useful tool for various groups of individuals. For example, the military often rely on this type of optic technology for low light conditions, while hunters know about how important these scopes are when it comes to hunting various animals when it is dark such as raccoons or hogs. If you participate in target practices or you hunt while it is dark, the right night vision scope for your rifle is vital for locating targets and to achieve the best accuracy.

Here is a guide you can use that covers all the information you need to assist you in making a more informed decision when you buy the best Night Vision Scope. We have covered different options, varying technology, and different price ranges. We have also gone over the various brands along with the type of technology that they provide.

1. ATN X-Sight II HD Smart Day/Night Rifle Scope – Editor’s Choice & Best Seller | Best Night Vision Scopes Under $1000

ATN X-Sight II HD 5-20 Smart Day/Night Rifle Scope w/1080p Video, Ballistic Calculator, Rangefinder, WiFi,...
  • Use Day & Night in HD resolution - our HD technology gives you crystal...
  • Zero range: 100 yard. Day & Night Vision in Millions of Colors - best...
  • Ballistic Calculator - shifts Point of Impact on the fly letting you...
  • Smart Range Finder - identifies the range to your target with two...
  • 1080p HD Video Recording & Photos, Recoil Activated Video (RAV) and...
ATN X-Sight II HD 3-14 Smart Day/Night Rifle Scope w/1080p Video, Ballistic Calculator, Rangefinder, WiFi,...
  • Use Day & Night in HD resolution - our HD technology gives you crystal...
  • Day & Night Vision in Millions of Colors - best hunting optic that...
  • Ballistic Calculator - shifts Point of Impact on the fly letting you...
  • Smart Range Finder - identifies the range to your target with two...
  • 3-14 Magnification - Smooth Zoom offers fine tune adjustments for your...

This innovative ATN X-sight offers advanced technology features like Smartphone control, Wi-Fi, GPS, along with tagging your location where you are hunting on your videos and photos. The ATN X-Sight II features an obsidian core that allows you to record and capture images extremely clearly in the dark. The 1080p sensor makes sure your images are always very colorful and clear.

Perhaps the very best feature about this vision scope is their patent-pending Smart Rangefinder. This outstanding feature provides you with a precise distance between your prey and you within a few seconds using its state-of-the-art rangefinder technology. As soon as your range becomes fixed, the object will be pinpointed with the scope which does away with all those calculations and guesswork. One of the other impressive features about these scopes is the 7 reticle options on offer along with 7 different color options.

These features become very useful when you conduct adjustments to match up to your surrounding environment. When every piece is set up and you are about to take that perfect shot, there is one more surprising aspect about this scope that awaits you. This includes a recoil-activated video. This means that the scope automatically activates the recording feature, which will start just before you are about to take your shot, and it shuts off once the shot has been taken.

When you out shooting for your favorite game and you would love to share your entire experience with family and friends, this is definitely the type of scope that will never disappoint you. This is one of the best go-to products produced by the popular ATN brand.

  • Modern technological characteristics
  • 1080 HD video output
  • 7 reticle options
  • 7 color options
  • Built-in rangefinder
  • GPS to tag your locations
  • Recoil activated-video option
  • Super magnification
  • The night capabilities are not the very best
  • Slightly heavy

2. Firefield FF16001 NVRS 3×42 Night Vision Riflescope – Best Value

Firefield NVRS 3x42 Gen 1 Night Vision Riflescope
  • High quality image and resolution
  • Lightweight and durable titanium body with water resistant IPX4 Rating
  • Quick detach weaver mount
  • Built-in high powered IR illuminator
  • Ergonomic design and quick power-up

This Gen 1 night vision scopes might be regarded as slightly old-fashioned yet still possesses the abilities to be a real gem when it comes to detecting long-range accuracy with the assistance of a technological advantage in a very inexpensive way. This is the reason why the Firefield FF16001 is still a top seller regardless of being classified as an old generation. This 3 X 43 night-vision riflescope offers a 3 X magnification which will assist you in achieving your long and medium range targets.

The high-power IR illuminator helps shooters achieve a clear view when going for shots at night or the late part of the afternoon. The protective and sturdy titanium body of this scope is extremely lightweight when compared to the other Gen 1 items. Another great feature is the ergonomically, well-engineered designed shape which helps you to achieve just the right grip while you are shooting.

This scope is also very useful in various types of weather conditions. The flip-up lens cover protects the multi-coated optics, and once taken off, the illuminated brightness of the red-duplex reticle is easy to adjust for all types of situations. Even though Firefield entered into the industry of scopes very late, it has still impressed with a few reliable and highly durable products. This is definitely one of these.

  • Up to 3 X magnification
  • Built-in IR illuminator
  • Illuminated Red-Duplex reticle option
  • Titanium body
  • Accurate for both long and medium range shooting
  • Quick detach system
  • One of the Best Night Vision Scopes for under $500
  • The latest technology features are not included
  • The magnification is not the best

3. Sightmark SM18008 Photon XT 4.6x42S Digital Night Vision Riflescope

Sightmark Photon XT 4.6x42S Digital Night Vision Riflescope (SM18008)
  • The extremely versatile Sightmark Photon XT 4.6x42 delivers a higher...
  • 33% longer battery life
  • 30% lighter weight than other digital night vision riflescopes on the...
  • Engineered for precision placement at medium range
  • Refer manual and "how to use" video for troubleshooting steps

The design of this scope has made it highly versatile as well as around 30% lighter in weight when compared to other available digital night-vision scopes.

The Sightmark Photon XT also delivers a much higher magnification when compared to similar riflescopes. It also features 6 different digital-reticle options which means it is useful for various applications such as varmint or hog hunting onto holdovers and rangefinding.

The large 42mm objective lens provides a resolution of up to 640 X 480. With these resolution levels, you can achieve the most detailed and crisp images from as far as 120 yards. There are some shooters that state that the clear images that this scope provides are even better than what the ATN Sight II HD can do. It also collects ample light with hardly any issues and is also resistant to exposure to bright light.

The elevation adjustment and digital windage knobs can be found on the scope’s body, will assist you in hitting targets with precision regardless of what environment you are in. You can also use the built-in Weaver rail system which provides a way to attach any other accessories which go on to improve the overall capabilities of this impressive night vision riflescope.

  • High-resolution display
  • 6 reticle options
  • Night and day use
  • Built-in 810mm LED IR illuminator
  • The profile is slightly bulky
  • The visibility during the day is not that accurate
  • You will need auxiliary IR once you pass 100 yards

4. ATN ThOR-HD 384 2-8x, 384×288, 25 mm, Thermal Rifle Scope

ATN ThOR-HD 384 2-8x, 384x288, 25 mm, Thermal Rifle Scope w/ High Res Video, WiFi, GPS, Image Stabilization,...
  • Excellent Image Performance with 384x288 Sensor - it is the ideal...
  • Ballistic Calculator - the system allows you to calculate the...
  • Build-in Smart Rangefinder - will make your life easier than ever....
  • Angle of view: 12 x 9.5. Smooth Zoom - lets you magnify to target...
  • High Resolution HD Video Recording & Photos, Recoil Activated Video...

Another top-quality product from ATN that features a 384 X 288 sensor which offers outstanding image performance. One of the standout aspects of this scope is its abilities to detect heat-energy while most only detect light. This is amazing technology which works extremely well when you are in complete darkness.

Similar to the other types of spectacular scopes, the ATN ThOR HD 384 comes with a ballistic-calculator which assists with determining the trajectory of your bullets. This helps you to locate your targets a lot easier. With the ballistic calculator, you are able to adjust the impact point which will assist you when it comes to improving the placement of your shots.

The innovative built-in rangefinder also assists with locating your targets more easily. If you are looking for a way to improve on your target-shooting skills, then this is the rangefinder for you.

Like the other high-quality ATN products, this scope also comes with the recoil-activated video option that many shooters find extremely useful. This feature will automatically start your videos before you take a shot and then switch off again once you have taken your shot. The zoom option is very smooth and helps to magnify objects very clearly. With a higher magnification-system comes a higher price tag. It is up to you to choose the type that matches your budget and requirements.

The magnification options start at 1.25- 5 X magnification all the way up to 9- 36 X magnification. You will also enjoy the high-resolution HD video-recording included with this scope along with the ability to use Wi-Fi streaming so you can share all your hunting experiences through your tablet or phone. This may just be the very best of the rifle scopes when it comes to deer hunting, and it is definitely a top contender for any shooter or hunter.

  • RAV (recoil activated video)
  • The magnification ranges vary from 1.25- 5X to 9-36 X
  • 1080p HD video recording
  • Built-in smart rangefinder
  • Wi-Fi streaming using your tablet or phone
  • The best riflescope for hunting deer
  • Weather resistant
  • GPS and e-compass system
  • Ballistic calculator
  • Pricey

5. Bushnell NightVision 4.5×40 Equinox Z, Rifle Mount

Bushnell Equinox 260140MT 4.5X40 Equinox Z Night Vision And Rifle Mount Combo
  • Country Of Origin : China
  • The Package Height Of The Product Is 5 Inches
  • The Package Length Of The Product Is 10.5 Inches
  • The Package Width Of The Product Is 3.12 Inches

The Bushnell NightVision Equinox Z is easy to mount onto your rifle without increasing the weight too much. We enjoyed that this scope is rubber-armored which adds to its durability for rugged conditions like hunting game.

The set-up was relatively easy, thanks in part to the instruction manual that came with easy to understand step-by-step instructions and images, along with a bit of prior experience with these scopes.

In the field tests, green-screen images remained acceptable even when switching the IR illuminator off, and when the unit is using its lowest setting. Yet there is a caveat, whereby there needs to be faint light in order to achieve these results.

When you turn the IR illuminator on, your images will improve significantly in quality. Your green images will now feature an improved clear black-and-white quality along with slight graininess even on moonless nights. You will be able to see your targets from as far as 750 feet. However, the lighting conditions will have an effect on the actual performance.

You can also hook the monocular up to your computer or television to capture images and videos.

We recommend adjusting the IR brightness according to the lighting conditions and to mount the scope onto a tripod to achieve the best results. We also managed to mount the scope onto a rifle thanks to its handy removable rail-mount, which makes it one of the more versatile scopes on this list.

This Bushnell scope is a fantastic unit for nature observers or avid hunters. You might need other accessories like an IR illuminator, yet it still works pretty well just the way it is.

  • This unit is sturdy along with a good-quality rubber feel which is able to withstand many rugged uses
  • The control buttons are easy-to-access
  • Excellent image clarity along with great light-gathering abilities, even in the lowest IR light settings
  • The light adjustments are automatic which match up to the light conditions
  • Limited battery life
  • An IR illuminator may become necessary if you plan to use the scope in just about complete darkness

6. Night Owl Optics NightShot Digital Night Vision Riflescope with IR illuminator

Night Owl Optics NightShot Digital Night Vision Riflescope with IR illuminator, Black, NIGHTSHOT
  • Call for mounting advice: (800) 444-5994
  • Range: 100-200 yds. in typical nighttime environments
  • High resolution, 640X480 display
  • For use with rifles up to 30 caliber (see below)
  • Constructed of engineered thermoplastic.

If you’re looking for an absolutely amazing fully digital night vision scope, then the Night Owl Night Shot just might be the one for you. And, it’s priced exceptionally well at just under $500! The Night Owl Scope comes with a Picatinny mount fully built in and it has been designed to support even up to 30 caliber rifles which means that medium game hunting rifles are covered. Additionally, the scope also comes with a another built in feature, the IR illuminator that has its very own hinged lens cap which fully protects the device when not in use.

So, if you’re interested in the Night Owl, you’ll have 3 options when it comes to reticles as well as magnification. Additionally, digital elevation dials and digital adjustable windage are one of the key functions where the scope is able to readily transition from night to day scope quite easily. However, if you’re talking about size, this scope is a tab bit big, but it stays at just 1.3 pounds. And, it is very suited for users who are new to the night vision game; the Night Owl is perfect for getting rid of pest, closed range hunting and it is extremely rugged for its price.

  • Exceptional quality that is readily affordable
  • Completely weatherproof
  • Facilitates easy transition
  • User friendly and works well for those who are new to night vision as well as new to shooting
  • Battery is somewhat lower than expected with just five hours on low IR and only two on high IR

7. Armasight Orion 5X Gen 1+ Night Vision Rifle Scope | Best Night Vision Scopes Under $500 | Best Gen 1 Night Vision Rifle Scope

Armasight Orion 5X Gen 1+ Night Vision Rifle Scope
  • Powerful 5x magnification
  • Mounts to standard weaver rail
  • Detachable IR810 infrared illuminator
  • Limited two year warranty
  • Export of this product outside of the United States of America is not...

If you’re interested in something a bit more robust, we can guarantee that the Orion scope will more than do it for you. Orion has been built to last through even the most extreme situations that come easily during endless activities as well as hunts all thanks to its housing being not only aluminium but also rubberized as well. And while this adds a bit of weight to your overall rifle, this is just a small flaw since it has been built to withstand any recoil action.

However, we strongly recommend that the scope be used for a setup that allows for fixed positions even though it can be adapted to face any type of stalking style. So, when you’re out and about, don’t forget to adjust your elevation and windage manually in order to get your desired results. If you’re interested in such adjustments, this can be done by finding and turning the elevation knob either down or up to its full setting all while adjusting the windage by moving it to the right or left. And, you’ll also be able to experience perfectly clear images within a 25 to 50-yard span as a result of the carefully designed magnification that goes all the way to 5x.

Orion’s overall performance can be readily and easily improved with the use of two illuminators. One being the built in of course and the other being and add on IR illuminator such as that of the Armasight 810mW illuminator! With this wicked combo, you’ll be able to capture both your surrounding as well as your desired target so you can achieve a precise shot. So, when it comes to money and value, you won’t be disappointed because this first gen has all the power like a fourth gen!

  • Can become slightly distorted around the edges of the viewing area
  • Produces excellent images in a rather dark setting as well as poorly lit surroundings and illuminates up to 200m
  • Can support multiple uses due to its rugged outer housing
  • Requires an additional illuminator source in order to attain better results

8. Pulsar N750 Digisight Riflescope

Pulsar Digisight N750 Digital Night Vision Riflescope
  • Fine image quality and resolution
  • One-shot zeroing
  • Long eye relied

If you’re looking for a 2nd Gen scope that packs a punch, then the Pulsar just might be the one for you. This exquisite scope was designed with a three-power built in laser illuminator, IR of course. This scope and be used in the darkest of night and any day time use will not cause any interior damages. Additionally, this state-of-the-art scope has been designed to endure quite the abuse of the hunting ground and was carefully crafted from composite material; and it has been designed to be fully functionable with the use of a wireless remote.

And, its internal focus mechanism works great for easy and quick adjustments. Additionally, this particular scope has been designed to be fully user friendly. However, your investment is fully protected since the scope comes with a flip-up cover for the lens and a neatly designed weaver rail for other accessories.

Lucky for you, this particular scope hasn’t been on too many other reviews and hits like a storm. This particular scope gives value for your money since it produces images that fit that of scopes costing within the $1000 range and it can even record any footage of your hunt if you so desire. And you can easily shoot more than 300 yards away and close to 1000 yards.

  • Produces 2nd Gen image and resolution quality
  • 6.72 zoom feature
  • Rugged, durable composite housing
  • Perfect zeroing for one-shot uses
  • Recording can be done
  • Useful for both night and day
  • Fully adjustable IR illuminator
  • Internally focuses
  • Cost
  • Heavier than others
  • Limited battery life
  • Quite big when compared to others

9. Sightmark 3×60 Gen1 Night Raider Night Vision Riflescope

Sightmark Night Raider 3x60 Night Vision Riflescope
  • Two-color range finding reticle (red or green)
  • High quality image and resolution
  • Close observational range of focus (5m)
  • Lightweight and durable titanium body
  • This item is restricted for sale to the state of California and...

Even with its simpler design, the Sightmark consists of a pretty decent number of features. Not to mention, its design has been proven to be much stronger in comparison to others during observations at night as well as hunting. And the hunter reaps the rewards of having a 60mm objective lens which is not only big but helps to provide a clear view of the desired field in even the most difficult situations.

On a bit of the downside, this device is indeed that of a 1st gen device, so you’re going to need to expect 1st gen things from it. However, that doesn’t take too much away from the overall design and device capabilities. Additionally, due to its stabilised source of power, when any recoil action is experienced, your battery isn’t interrupted. This scope is well suited for an effective 200-yard range and close to medium ranged shooting.

  • User friendly
  • Extremely clear imagery in optimal conditions
  • Excellent battery life (70 hours)
  • Powerful and affordable
  • Suffers from limited range on overcast nights due to being a 1st Gen scope

10. Armasight Nemesis6x-SD Gen 2+ Night Vision Rifle Scope w/6x Magnification – Professional’s Choice | Best Night Vision Scopes Under $4000 | Best Gen 2 Night Vision Rifle Scope

Armasight Nemesis6x-SD Gen 2+ Night Vision Rifle Scope w/6x Magnification
  • Powerful 6x magnification with 6.5 degree FOV and shock protected...
  • Features bright source protection and auto brightness control and...
  • Waterproof body with simple and easy to operate controls and...
  • Mounts to standard weaver rail
  • Export of this product outside of the United States of America is not...

This state-of-the-art 2nd gen scope gives all others a run for their money as being the best night vision scope. And, its 6x mag feature is really precise and comes in just when you’re on the run and in need of it. However, due to its whopping 6.5-degree FOV and well protected design against shock, this device is quite the charmer.

The Nemesis does exceptionally well when it comes to controlling brightness automatically and it also aids in protecting your eyes from any sudden overly bright sources. And get this, the illuminated center supports the red cross reticle, as it serves for optimal contrast. The Nemesis has also been designed to be fully waterproof in order to help tackle any type of weather condition that you’re faced with.

And, due to its user-friendly design, the OS on this device is like no other and it easily mounts to any standard weaver rail system. So, if you’re looking for a spectacular high-quality product, the Nemesis is sure to do it for you. And, you can also easily adjust the elevation and windage for any situation!

Don’t be worried about its weight because this scope has been designed to be as light as it can be. And it was carefully engineered from aircraft aluminium. Additionally, the scope also has a 2nd gen tube attached to aid hunters with a 45-511p/mm, and it more than fits your bill!

  • Produces a whopping 6x magnification
  • Waterproof design
  • Easily mounts to any weaver rail
  • The illuminator detaches easily
  • The scope has a 6.5 degree when comes to its FOV
  • The illuminated center produces a red cross option
  • Magnification capabilities could be better
  • Not exactly the latest technology at the time of production

More Products (Our Rating: 4 Stars)

11. ATN X-Sight 4K Pro Smart Day/Night Rifle Scope
ATN X-Sight 4K Pro Smart Day/Night Rifle Scope 5-20x - Ultra HD 4K technology with Superb Optics, Full HD...
  • Ultra HD Sensor-Ultra HD 4K Sensor with our Obsidian 4 Dual Core...
  • Ballistic Calculator-Hunt responsibly by making sure your shot hits...
  • Dual Stream Video Recording-You asked and we listened XSight 4K PRO...
  • Night Vision Mode-The X-Sight 4K PRO offers an Enhanced HD Night...
  • Ultra Low Power Profile-No more worries about your batteries dying in...
12. Yukon Nvrs Titanium 2.5X50 Varmint Hunter Night Vision Riflescope
Yukon NVRS Titanium 2.5x50 Varmint Hunter
  • <5mW laser output, class IIIA laser or less
  • Night vision riflescope with 2.5x magnification and 50mm objective...
  • Pulse infrared illuminator enhances image brightness and range in...
  • Durable titanium body; multicoated optics deliver brighter, crisper...
  • Long mount accommodates range of rifles, including bolt-action designs
13. Sightmark Photon 6.5x50L Digital Night Vision Riflescope
Sightmark Photon XT 6.5x50L Digital Night Vision Riflescope
  • Day and night Use. Lens Focus: 70 mm. Close Focus Distance: 10 m
  • Digital reticle with option of 6 reticle styles
  • High 6.5x magnification for extended viewing range
  • High resolution display
  • Built-in 780nm laser IR illuminator
14. Sightmark SM18015 Photon RT Digital Night Vision Riflescope, 4.5x42S
Sightmark Photon RT 4.5-9x42S Digital Night Vision Riflescope
  • WiFi remote view via Pulsar stream vision
  • Built-in video/sound recording
  • One-shot zero function
  • High resolution 768x576 cmos sensor
  • 6 reticle options with 4 colors
15. ATN Gen 2+ Night Arrow 4-2 Night Vision Weapon Sight
ATN Gen 2+ Night Arrow 4-2 Night Vision Weapon Sight
  • Light and compact design
  • Top-notch performance
  • All external surfaces are a non-reflective matte black finish (except...
16. NiteSite Wolf 330 Yards Identification Range Scope Mounted Night Vision System for Zero Light Hunting
NiteSite Wolf 330 Yards Identification Range Scope Mounted Night Vision System for Zero Light Hunting (Black,...
  • New
  • Same Day Shipping on Request
  • Best Value and Performance in its Class
  • 15-Years as premier solution provider
  • Complimentary White Glove Service - Just-Ask-We-Take-Care-of-It
17. Aukmont Telescopic Sight 4-16x50EG Green/Red Hunting Rifle Scope LLL Night Vision
Telescopic Sight 4-16x50EG Green/Red Hunting Rifle Scope Dusk & Dawn Vision
  • Illuminated red and green Crosshair reticle with 5 Brightness level...
  • Reticle Type: Illuminated Crosshair, Magnification: 4-16X , Objective...
  • 4-16x50EG scope, Multicoated objective lenses
  • Waterproof, shockproof One-piece 30mm body tube with matte black...
18. Eagle
  • Infrared Night Vision, Integrated Recording to MicroSD, Screen Dimming...
  • detection range 500 yards
  • operational run time 5 hours
19. ATN X-Sight 4K 5-20 Buckhunter Beginner Kit Battery Pack w/ DGWSXS5204KB-KIT1
20. Bering Optics D-790UW 6x83 B&W Gen 3+ Elite Night Vision Sight | Best Gen 3 Night Vision Rifle Scope

Why Use Night Vision Scopes?

In many cases, hunting nocturnal creatures have a tendency to be a hassle for many hunters. The fact that these animals have eyesight that is designed to work better in the dark than humans makes it harder to sneak up on these creatures and hunt them down.

When your rifle has a night vision monocular it can make it a hundred times easier to discover and kill nocturnal creatures than if you don’t have one. Think of it this way: you can catch your prey mainly unaware and at other times, even when they are sleeping. Talk about an effective and silent hunter, that will be you when your kit has the best night vision scope.

When to Use Night Vision

How Does Night Vision Scope Work?

Night vision goggles don’t perform magic just because they are on your rifle, although it appears to be magical.

Here is basically how it works: it takes in natural light from its surroundings and then enhances it to the maximum level to help your vision.

A night hunting scope, in fact, also can detect infrared light (which to the human eyes is invisible) and brightens it so you can see it (through the scope).

We have discovered that many individuals shun night vision scopes due to the expense and would instead prefer to choose night vision binoculars. Unfortunately, when we were talking to a group of hunters, another thing we discovered was that they considered these binoculars to be a hassle since you first need to re-adjust the eyesight and then rediscover the target before you can make your kill shot.

However, when a direct night scope is attached to a rifle, keeping your eyes on the target and taking your kill shot occurs at the same exact time. In the amount of time that is spent on dropping your night vision binoculars and then re-adjusting the eyesight on your rifle, your target may have moved by then.

For hunters, a good rule of thumb is to take less time between the point of discovery and the kill moment. The very best night hunting scopes have been designed to make the dreams of hunters into a reality.

Top Brands of Night Scopes

There are many excellent brands that make high-quality night vision scopes these days. Since you are reading this article, then most likely you are either a beginner or an expert who is looking for the very best scope at an affordable price. We have more information detailed below about the brands of night vision scopes we discussed in the beginning part of the article. That information can help you decide which scope above to buy, especially since all of them come with various enticing capabilities and features.


In the night vision technological and thermal imaging field, Armasight is a leading name. For years, they have invented and designed products such as night vision scopes. San Francisco, California is their main headquarters, and they offer incredible quality for a broad range of prices. A high standard night vision scope can be purchased from them for $10,000 or you can buy a scope as cheap as $150. It will all depend on the technology and features that you want and how much money you have to spend.


Another brand specializing in thermal imaging and night vision scope technology is ATN. ATN stands for American Technologies Network. It is also headquartered in San Francisco. The company has been in existence for more than twenty years and is very proud of the fact that all of its products are made in the United States. They produce scopes that are fairly inexpensive as well as expensive ones. Both Armasight and ATN are used extensively by the military, law enforcement, and hunters.


The night scope brand Firefield opened for business in 2009. It has built its reputation quickly among shooters. Fairfield recognized the growing need for affordable thermal imaging products and scopes within a declining economy. They saw there was a chance to serve individuals who could not afford expensive tactical products. The philosophy of the company is to offer shooters optical equipment that is of high quality but at a low price. How new a company is should never deter you from checking out the quality of their products.


Sightmark was established in 2007. It is another new company and brand that is becoming increasingly popular within the shooting community. According to Sightmark’s slogan, their technology gives users the chance to “make the mark.” The company is headquartered in Mansfield, Texas, and its products and brand have made their way into numerous outdoor retailers like Gander Mountain, Cabela’s, and Academy Sports. Sightmark provides high-quality riflescopes at affordable prices. So it is no surprise at how fast the Sightmark brand is growing in popularity.


Another excellent rifle company is Yukon. They are committed to providing their customers with the best night vision rifle scope technology that is available. A majority of people who haven’t ever shot a rifle have still heard of the name and brand, which indicates how popular this brand is. It is definitely a name you should strongly consider when looking for the best night vision riflescope that meets all of your needs.

Night Vision Scope Generations

Whenever you are looking at reviews of night vision scopes before buying a product, you need to consider the generation. That is because there are many differences between Gen 1, Gen 2, Gen 3, and the most recent Gen 4. Each of them is more technologically advanced than the earlier generation. Therefore, you need to have at least a basic idea of each of them to clearly understand the differences.

Gen 1

This is the most affordable and simple category. It provides nearly all of the basic features that people who hunt and shoot want. It was introduced during the late sixties and for a majority of shooting works, it is sufficient. It basically provides the common technology but not the best technology. There are some flaws since it is the first generation and is fairly slow when it comes to technological options.

  • Fairly cheap
  • Durability is around 1500 hours
  • 75-yard average sight range
  • Low resolution
  • Old technology
  • Shorter battery life

Gen 2

This is an upgrade of Gen 1. It provides more quality and costs a bit more than Gen 1. Gen 2 is much better than Gen 1 when it comes to technological advancements. It can help you see in the moonlight and very low light conditions.

  • Great resolution
  • Medium price
  • 4500-hour overall durability
  • Improved micro-electronics system
  • 200-yard average sight range
  • Quality could be improved
  • Average battery life
  • The resolution could be better

Gen 3

Gen 3 is so technologically advanced that these products are used today by modern militaries. Gallium arsenide is used to make them which helps with converting photons to electrons on a photocathode. A majority of products are quite expensive. But it provides all of the best options that shooters and hunters want. All of the modern technology is conveniently at your disposal.

  • Works well in all conditions
  • Best resolution
  • Best low light scope
  • 10000-hour overall durability
  • Modern technological
  • 300-yard average sight range
  • Most expensive products

Gen 4

Basically, the Gen 4 version is the same as Gen 3 but includes some automated features. The US army categorizes Gen 4 as filmless Gen 3. The major difference is the Gen 4 comes with an automated gated power sully that is capable of instantly working with any light fluctuations. It works great in all kinds of environments and light conditions.

Best Night Vision Scopes Buying Guide

Before you make the decision to purchase a specific scope, it is important to be very selective and make sure that you select the best one. To do that, it is important to know what you actually need and what different products have to offer you. You can then match your features with different offers and select from the best scopes that are available. This is also true whenever you are shopping for the highest quality night vision goggles. There are many different features that are offered for night vision that can go into your decision. Let’s take a closer look at these features.

Range Capacity of Scopes

Whenever you are purchasing a scope, you need to remember to check the product’s range. Although its range is like a rifle scope when in ambient light, it also should offer recognition range for you as well. So whenever you are checking a product, you should check whether its recognition range works with overcast light, a full moon, or somewhere in between.

The more recognition range they have the better target you will have for your shooting. So it is a very important aspect for a scope to have a really good range ability. Traditional products offer a 1-4x power range. However, the more expensive products offer up to 6x or even more.


For any scope, the resolution is really important since it helps to present you with the ideal image of your target. Generally, regular products produce the best images in the middle of the scope with some blurring the image that is around it. Scope with the most upgraded generations will provide the best resolution.

Since the resolution is measured on the basis of lines per millimeter, it can be detected on the scope’s body with a unit called LP/mm. The more lines per millimeter, the higher the image quality is.

Best Gain Settings

The way that a night vision scope works is through magnifying the imperceptible lights over a visible image via its infrared gain. When the environment is very dark, you need to have a high gain scope. Whenever you need to be able to view something from a long distance you will definitely need help from high gain. That helps in bad lighting situations. When a powerful light is used it helps with magnifying better but cannot properly transmit light.

The higher that the gain settings are the better you will be to shoot correctly. It also makes sense since magnification will not be good if it just shows darkness at a long distance. This is why a spotting scope is superior to a monocular.

Design and Weight

The best magnification is offered by the best night vision scopes. You need to have larger optics for better magnification. However, the problem with that is the night vision does become somewhat bulky. It is better to have a lighter night vision scope if you are going to be moving around a lot.

The design and ergonomics of the scope are very important as well since it helps to have it feel good when you are using it. The best user experiences are offered by the best-designed products. Scopes just have one type instead of binocular or monocular types the way that googles do. The design helps with the rail setup. You will want to have the fewest number of mounts. More upgraded generations weigh less.


In terms of the sophisticated technology that they use, night vision scopes are a very delicate type of product. They have a tendency to be a lot less durable than a lot of other products. It is common for electronic items to not be as durable and that is the main reason why long warranty periods are not offered. Always make sure to take good care of your night vision scope since you will be using it outdoors in different weather conditions. You also need to use it in such a way that no water damage occurs.


Another important factor is the budget since there are many different ranges of products that are available. If you are shopping for a night vision that costs less than $500, there are many options that are available. However, you might have to make some sacrifices in terms of features and quality. In regular conditions, however, they are sufficient for any shooter or hunter. If you are looking for a night vision scope that costs less than $1,000 then you will want to look for options that are more upgraded. Therefore, it is very important to specify your budget before purchasing a product.

Waterproof and Resilient

With NV scopes durability is a very important factor since you will be using them in environments where it may be damp and there could be a lot of insects, rocks, and twigs. Keep in mind that your scope is comprised of sensitive electronic parts that may be damaged if insects or water gets inside.

Types of Shooting

The type of shooting that you are going to be doing also needs to be specified before purchasing any products. For example, a hunting scope usually will not need to be adjusted while you are going. Various reticle options are also available that work best in various conditions. So the type of shooing you will be doing is very important, such as target shooting or squirrel hunting.

Source of Power for the Night Vision Scope. For civilian models, most are based on alkaline and lithium batteries. You need to consider the long-term costs involved with replacing the batteries. Alkaline batteries are easy to obtain and are cheap, but don’t have the same extended life that Lithium batteries have. Over the long term, you will receive more value for your money through investing in high-quality lithium batteries to use with your night vision Binoculars or goggles since you won’t need to replace them as frequently. It is also a good idea to have extra batteries when going out into the woods in case you need to replace the current ones so you don’t run out of power.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ)

How do you zero a night vision rifle scope?

Put an LED downrange and look down its bore until it is visible. Next, turn the scope on and match up the reticule and LED. It then becomes zero.

Can you use a night vision scope in daylight?

The name is night vision scope. So you cannot use this type of device during the day or it will be permanently damaged.

Are night vision and infrared the same thing?

No, in certain cases they are completely different. Infrared requires bright light, while night vision needs a low percentage of life. You can remedy infrared by cooling, but bright light is needed to remedy night vision.

How does infrared work with night vision?

Some light like infrared might not be visible to the naked eye. All light is accepted by night vision binoculars and that includes infrared light to better see objects.

What is auto-gating?

It is a system that helps to improve the quality of the image. It works in dynamic light conditions as well as both night and day.

How do I take care of A night vision scope?

Follow the points below to take good care of your night vision scope:

  • Avoid turning it into the light
  • Never touch its objective ends
  • Take out the batteries if you will not be using it for a couple of days
  • Do not toss, bump, kick or drop it
  • Do not get it wet


Purchasing a Night Vision Scope might seem like an overwhelming task. However, with the right knowledge and information, you can get exactly what you want. We have provided you with all of the important details on what to look for when shopping for a Night Vision Scope For Hunting and what to do to take good care of it. Before buying, keep the above considerations in mind to find the best Night Vision Scope for Hunting that meets all of your needs.


Best Night Vision Scopes ( Top 3 Picks )

Editor’s Choice & Best Seller
ATN X-Sight II HD 5-20 Smart Day/Night Rifle Scope w/1080p Video, Ballistic Calculator, Rangefinder, WiFi,...
Professional's Choice
Armasight Nemesis6x-SD Gen 2+ Night Vision Rifle Scope w/6x Magnification
Best Value
Firefield NVRS 3x42 Gen 1 Night Vision Riflescope
ATN X-Sight II HD 5-20 Smart Day/Night Rifle Scope w/1080p Video, Ballistic Calculator, Rangefinder, WiFi,...
Armasight Nemesis6x-SD Gen 2+ Night Vision Rifle Scope w/6x Magnification
Firefield NVRS 3x42 Gen 1 Night Vision Riflescope
Our Rating
Editor’s Choice & Best Seller
ATN X-Sight II HD 5-20 Smart Day/Night Rifle Scope w/1080p Video, Ballistic Calculator, Rangefinder, WiFi,...
ATN X-Sight II HD 5-20 Smart Day/Night Rifle Scope w/1080p Video, Ballistic Calculator, Rangefinder, WiFi,...
Our Rating
Read Full Review
View on Amazon
Professional's Choice
Armasight Nemesis6x-SD Gen 2+ Night Vision Rifle Scope w/6x Magnification
Armasight Nemesis6x-SD Gen 2+ Night Vision Rifle Scope w/6x Magnification
Our Rating
Read Full Review
View on Amazon
Best Value
Firefield NVRS 3x42 Gen 1 Night Vision Riflescope
Firefield NVRS 3x42 Gen 1 Night Vision Riflescope
Our Rating
Read Full Review
View on Amazon

Last update on 2020-05-14 / Rating by Author / Affiliate links, Images, Descriptions & Price from Amazon Product Advertising API

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