Best Night Vision Scope – Generations Explained and Reviews

When considering what are the best Night Vision scopes to you,  the buyer needs to consider technology and budget first and foremost. Night vision equipment has advanced by leaps and bounds in recent years and as such both price tags and also performance have taken a major leap up the ladder regarding tails sales.

When I was asked the question what are the best night scopes or systems to use in the field? I had to consider several factors. Because everyone is not made of money now a days selecting good night vision systems in both light gathering systems.  Also thermal imaging units was necessary because just thermal designs are off the charts expensive and the general use shooter can get by with far less in terms of systems cost, and at the same time have a good solid system in hand for field application.

In night vision selection stay way from first generation night vision systems. Nothing less than generation two or even at best, generation three will do the best job for you in the field. The advanced second or third generation systems have better internals and light gathering abilities and in general.  This is very basic, and covered in terms of a lucky guess. The units we are talking about here are about half the cost of the thermal night vision systems.

My Picks for Night Vision Scope

First Through Generation Five Night Vision Scopes What You Need To Know

Best night vision scope

With the development of the night vision scope systems that date back to the early 1960’s there has been some major advancements in these sighting systems. Each time the scope advances in technology the performance level of the scope increases. When the term generation I through V is used within the industry, it means the level of advancement contained in an individual night vision scope.

Generation I

This is the birth of night vision systems in terms of actual field use on a firearm. As a sight it collects all available light ( starlight ) and amplifies it 1000 times for use in the after dark rifle scope sight. In truth these scopes in the generation I are low level in terms of performance, only workable with some available light source on the outside, and even at that only to about 75 yards. I use this system on one setup for coyote hunting at night and to be sure it is limited at best in terms of target image quality and range. Bright stars and moon light are best used with this system.

Generation II

Moving to the second generation night scopes we find advancements in terms-of the newer S-25 pohotocathodes being used. This system integrates a micro channel plate (MCP) into an image intensifier which also improves the ability of the scope to pull in ambient light. This system is about 20 times better than the Gen I system.

Generation III

The third generation in night vision scopes makes use of the Gallium Arsenide Photocathodes. These photo-cat’s massively increase the imaging ability of the scope and are beyond about 50.000 times greater than the first generation optical systems.  This model of night sight also makes use of a special iron coat that produces a better level of intensifier tube life on the unit. One draw back to the system is the high level of power consumption.

Generation IV

Night Vision and Electronic Sensors Directorate is a body that names night vision generations. To date this has not taken place with generation IV. The simple truth is that the generation lV night scope carries  modifications and upgrades that improve image quality. This level of night scope is in the development stages for the most part. In the real world the generation lll is the level most of the night vision work will be the package used afield.

Generation V

The generation V night scope is all theory at this point in time. It is not an applied system, but rather laboratory research and development levels of completion in terms of a working advancement in night vision. 

At this point in time in the event the hunter/shooter wants more scope than a Gen III, it is wise to search out  thermal scopes which are included in this review. So as to save confusion the night vision starlight systems and thermal scopes are not anywhere close to being the same systems. Also as generations in starlight options move up so will the price giving way to taking a look at a thermal options before buying

Best Night Vision Scope

1. ATN X-Sight 4K Pro Smart – Best Day/Night Optic

This is a smart sight that is not dependent on systems other then ambient light available on location. This sight is filed with add on elements that can take into account ballistics and other related smart application so popular today. The ATN X-Sight is a day/night rifle scope and will  full additional neds then just thosse f shooting after dark.

The scope takes  120 fps video, it has 18+ hour s battery life, and also retains a rangefinder WiFi, E-Compass, Barometer and IOS as well as Android apps.

The scope retains an ultra HD sensor and an ultra HD 4K sensor with the obsidian 4 dual core processor. The scope retains cutting edge tech, it is a solid example of a “ starlight” actuated night scope.

It is a solid hunters scope that is calling in varmints or hunting free range hogs. Moving much beyond this type of night vision technology will increase basic costs by a factor of four. 

2. ATN Thor 4, 640X480 Thermal.  2.5 X 25.

This scope is professional grade and as such retains the advancements of about a generation 4 system. These are very advanced systems and as such retain stabilization range finding abilities, ballistics calculators, and ISO as well as Android apps.

The manufacture states that this scope will function at a low power level giving way to better battery life than some models in the past. This unit will adjust ballistics in terms of covering wind speed, target angle, temperature, humidity measurements, and can be regarded as a “ Multiple Weapons Profile system” in terms of target quantitation and sighting aids.

Professional hunters that are making their living off a fur market, meat market or other applications covering animal control can consider this scope among the best of the pro series night vision systems.

ATN offers four different models in this scope with varied power settings and also very different price points as well. There can be as much as $1000.00 difference between the model on one end of the list or the other. Buyers need to be informed when selecting one of these very advanced ATN scope systems.

3. Sightmark Night Raider 3X60

This Sight mark scope is a variation of the Starlight scope system in that it uses available light with a booster infra red system as well (IR illuminator .)  This is again a hunters scope for called varmints inside 100 yards and for the most past much closer. Product measure 12X3, 9 X 3.5 inches, and a carry weight oif 2.2 pounds. Battery power is made up of two Lithium metal batteries.

This scope is not full of added toys, but built for one purpose and that is sighting a target after dark period!  At a time when toys out number effectiveness as a scope this scope is refreshing and is built to be affordable to the average Joe that wants to hunt after dark.  I rank this scope high on the last of working glass for working hunters and shooters.

4. Trijicon Reap-IR 60mm Night Scope

Here is a scope that is off the charts in cost but as such is designed as a scope first leaving the toys behind again. This is a hunter killer glass sight, military and police directed, only the pros can affod such a sighting system. Trijicon is know to build for the military and almost all ACOG glass in combat is made up of their development and design.

This thermal sight is advanced to the latest points in night vision technology. Heat seeking systems locate targets and bring them to full view with heat signatures alone.

The sight allows the shooter to swap out the glass on different weapons without loose the zero from the weapon just releaved of its sights.

Resolution on this sight is 640×480 12um micron / LWIR thermal core. The sight is ideal for military combat applications, boarder guarding details, night sniper activities, and the elite hunter that is a professional and is taking out sheep killers or barn yard damaging varmints in the dead of night.

The scope uses quick mounts Weaver rail design. Fast scope changes on AR / mini 14 tactical class weapons is a snap.

5. Trijicon IRMS352 Tri EO

The Trijicon IRMS-35-2 is a mini thermal riflescope that is light weight and very powerful as a heat seeking night scope, this scope will allow very precision engagements of both man or beast. The unit runs on simple CR123 batteries ( 2 ),and and the 35mm model retains an easy zero function.

This scope is built for rugged field applications, with Weaver pattern rail mounts it carries a fast on and off mounting system.

This is a professional night system with a very high cost attached to same. Government hunters, police, and military units are right in line for this system.

6. Pulsar Digisight Ultra N455 Night Vision Scope

This Starlight based system has a 550 yard detection target range  ( not sighting range ) and uses the HD CMO% 1280×720 sensor with a 1024×768 AMOLED display.  The scope can be connected to smart equipment for recording and makes use of a rechargeable B pack that will last eight hours in the field.

The unit is waterproof ( completely ), it uses a wide angle eye piece for position targt converage.

The unit is high caliber recoil resistant and come with a battery charger, carrying case, protectior covers for illuminator. IR illuminator’s port plug, lens cloth, and warranty card.

This is a hunters field unit and sold at about 1/8th the cost of some others using Thermal imaging systems.

7. Flier RS64 2-16x.

The Flier night scope I have selected here is current somewhat hard to get. Well my friends, it is about everything else in shooting sorts now a days with the C-19 taking control of the USA. However, if this brand is of interested the detisl I have selected regarding a review of this scope appies to all other Flier systems as well. This is a heavy werght brand in night vision, and when the Apache gun ships roll in with their heat seeking vision system turned on to aid the gunner Flier is there. I rest my case in terms of the products background.

This scope retains a 640X480 Vox display resolution giving very effective results for night hunting. The scope has three different reticle settings so as to assist a wide number of shooters,  the unit will pickup multiple images as far away as 355 yards down range.

With long battery life, solid internal elements and built like a tank, this is a go to system for the hog shooter, coyote hunter, or government control hunter as well. Designed to mount on Weaver rails the scope is a quick disconnect if required,

When zeroing the scope it is repeatable giving way to that element of the sighting systems quality.

A Word About Night Scopes For Hunting

During about four decades, I hunted a great deal at hight for gray fox and coyotes in Minnesota. I hunted the deep woodlands of southeastern Minnesota, as such used the winter snow as added light, when there was no snow I used the full moon as an aid to bring up by generation one scope or other related sighting systems. The point here is simply this. Use what ever edge is available to you in the field. At times a simple sight system is affordable and best.  A snow background or bring moon is a free gift to the hight hunter. Take advantage of the free tools when you designed to move on targets at night.  In effect, at times less is more. 

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