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Jul 20, 2023 | 12:31 pm 286 0

How to buy your first-night vision scope.

How to buy your first-night vision scope.

The right decision is made by everyone who expresses a desire to acquire an NV scope. These optics will be indispensable in the dark. It will open up new opportunities for its owner to improve the efficiency of performing tasks. The choice of such a device is a responsible and challenging task. It becomes tough for buyers who choose their first NV scope. In this case, the best solution would be to study all available information on this issue.

Scope generation selection

The main thing when buying the first NV scope is deciding on the device's generation. Your choice must be made based on the purpose of the selected device, the expected operating conditions, and personal preferences. To avoid making a mistake in this matter, you need to briefly study each generation of NV scopes, their features, strengths, and weaknesses.

Gen I

As the first-night vision sight, using the Gen I generation models is entirely possible. These devices are as simple and inexpensive as possible so everyone can afford them. Such optics were used 75-80 years ago, so they are outdated and, in our time, are purchased solely for informational purposes. With its help, you can perform the most straightforward work, but you can only dream of high image quality.

Essential features of NV scopes from the Gen I category:

  1. Minimum range. For all models, it does not exceed 75 meters. At the same time, maximum performance can be achieved only in cloudless weather, when there is a bright glow of celestial bodies. On a cloudy day or under adverse conditions (fog, snow, rain, smoke), the range of such a sight will not exceed 50 meters.
  2. Low resolution. This feature is common to all first-generation night sights. Due to its presence, much noise appears in the image, which makes it difficult to distinguish objects and view details.
  3. Work only when the IR amplifier is on. This nuance dramatically reduces the options for using the scope. The light of the amplifier is visible in the dark, so the user will not be able to go unnoticed. Also, the constant operation of this structural element reduces the battery life of the optics.
  4. Blurring the edges. This effect is the hallmark of all NVDs of the first generation. Because of it, the user can typically see only 2/3 of the image. The rest of it will be blurry, and you cannot distinguish anything at the edges.
  5. Short battery life. The previously mentioned always-on IR amplifier and sufficient power loss cause NV scopes I generations to consume battery power quickly. This forces users to carry spare batteries with them at all times.
  6. Fear of bright light. All uncomplicated NV scopes are prone to blowout. It occurs due to any bright light entering the device's field of view. This leads to a decrease in the already not-very-high image quality.
  7. Narrow specialization. Gen, I cannot boast of its versatility. All sights related to this generation are pretty primitive, so they can be used to achieve 1-2 simple goals. Any additional difficulties will become an insurmountable obstacle for them.
  8. Short service life. Most first-generation night vision scopes only last around 1500 hours. Then they either break down or work with various errors. Most often, failed models can be repaired, but repairs will be expensive (finding suitable components is difficult).

Based on all the features of Gen I scopes, they should be bought only if there is no money for more modern devices. This optic will work well sometime after sunset, but it will become almost useless in the dead of night. Especially in those cases when the observation is carried out from a distance of more than 50 meters.

Gen II

The best option for the first NV scope will be the Gen II generation model. It performs much better than the Gen I optics and has features that will satisfy the needs of most novice users. This sight is suitable for a variety of tasks and is relatively inexpensive.

Essential features of NV scopes from the Gen II category:

  1. Optimal range. This indicator for second-generation models is 150-200 meters. This is enough to cope with most of the tasks. The maximum range value is typical for modern Gen II optics produced today. At the same time, outdated sights most often have 140-150 meters.
  2. The presence of constructive additions. Among them, the most important is the microchannel plate. It helps the scope to create a brighter and sharper image. This design element is missing from Gen I, immediately noticeable to the naked eye.
  3. The presence of a passive mode of operation. This important feature means the user can deactivate the IR amplifier if necessary. Thanks to this, a person becomes invisible in the dark and can freely perform any task (for example, observing potential prey on a hunt).
  4. No blur at the edges. The developers of Gen II corrected the main drawback of Gen I. Thanks to this, it was possible to expand the field of view to the maximum possible values ​​and eliminate blur at the edges of the picture. The latter immediately became better and more detailed.
  5. Dozens of hours of battery life. The ability to operate the sight in passive mode has significantly reduced energy consumption. Because of this, the duration of continuous operation of the optics has increased to 35-38 hours. Also, this indicator was positively affected by minimizing all battery losses.
  6. Resistance to illumination and other distortions. NV scopes of the second generation are no longer afraid of bright light. Therefore, even its sudden appearance in the field of view of the device does not lead to the formation of a flare. In addition, the creators of such optics could eliminate most of the noise and other image defects.
  7. Versatility. NV scopes from the Gen II category are suitable for the most straightforward and complex tasks. They are more robust, reliable, and durable than the previous generation models. Due to this, such optics are actively integrated into various fields of activity.
  8. Increased working resources. Modern and slightly outdated NV scopes Gen II can work up to 5000 hours effectively. Most often, at this time, the devices practically do not break even if they are used daily.

The features of the second-generation scopes confirm that this optic is an ideal option for a beginner. It is simple, convenient, functional, and can perform various tasks. In addition, it is much cheaper than more modern devices, so it is accessible to everyone without exception.


If you have serious ambitions, the Gen III generation model will be the best option for the first NV scope. This device has excellent characteristics and can handle almost any job. In addition, it is highly reliable and has a long service life, but you will have to collect an impressive amount to buy it.

Essential features of NV scopes from the Gen III category:

  1. Record range. Compared to models of previous generations, this figure for Gen III is a record. It varies between 250-300 meters for most devices, which will be enough to perform any task.
  2. Efficiency in low light. Third-generation NV scopes can work effectively even with a severe lack of light. The image formed by them has practically no noise and any other shortcomings. This makes it the highest quality. Under more favorable external conditions, the picture becomes bright and saturated and has optimal contrast ratios.
  3. Freedom to choose the mode of operation. NV scopes of this generation can work in active and passive ways. Thanks to this, users can independently select the best option based on the current needs and characteristics of the tasks. Turning on/off the IR amplifier is instantaneous, giving the optics' owners a more significant variability of actions.
  4. Automatic adaptation to changing light conditions. Unlike previous generations, Gen III NV scopes adjust to current light conditions. This means that even in the event of a sharp turn on a bright spotlight, the optics will quickly change the power settings of the transducer tube, thereby ensuring consistently high image quality. Remember that some Gen III models will need to do this manually.
  5. Maximum versatility. Third-generation NV scopes are equally helpful for the military and civilians. With their help, you can complete any task, regardless of their complexity. Such versatility makes this optic in demand among people who buy their first NVDs and professional users.
  6. Increased reliability. NV scopes are made from high-quality materials. Thanks to this, each component becomes as reliable as possible and can perform its functions for an extended period. This feature significantly increases the life of the optics (most models can be used for at least 8000 hours) and reduces the likelihood of sudden failure.

All of the above proves the effectiveness of NV scopes III generations when working in any conditions. As their first device, such optics should be chosen by people who know they will use it more than a dozen times.

Gen IV

The most mysterious is the NV scopes IV generations. The fact is that, officially, Gen IV does not exist. With this stamp, some optics manufacturers mark Gen III models with improved performance and extended functionality. Such a marketing ploy can be misleading for buyers choosing their first-night sight. Because of this, it is essential first to determine the feasibility of such an expensive purchase and only then make it.

Essential features of NV scopes from the Gen IV category:

  1. Reduced thickness of the ion barrier film. This structural element performs an important function, protecting the photocathode from the adverse effects of bright light. NV scopes, called Gen IV models, have a three times thinner film than previous-generation optics. This has a positive impact and does not reduce the performance of the night sight.
  2. Improved microchannel plate. In the most modern night sights, it works more efficiently. Thanks to some design improvements, the plate maximizes the flow of electrons, which makes it possible to obtain an increase in some crucial indicators of optics.
  3. The presence of an improved power supply for the image intensifier tube. NV scopes Gen IV are equipped with a particular switching-type power supply. It can operate at a lower voltage, making the optics as resistant to overload as possible. The latter arises due to a malfunction of the optics or due to an excessively bright object falling into its field of view.
  4. Increased range. If NV scopes Gen III can see up to 300 meters, then models called Gen IV can see up to 400 meters. This feature may only sometimes be helpful, but its presence gives users greater freedom of action.
  5. Maximum working resource. Fourth-generation NV scopes have been running flawlessly for over 10,000 hours. This became possible due to additional protection against overloads and various external influences.
  6. Wide range of applications. Gen IV Night Vision Riflescopes are perfect for any job. In each case, they will be as practical and helpful as possible for the user.

The unique features of NV scopes included in the Gen IV category by manufacturers make them ideal for professionals. At the same time, users who choose their first-night sight are better off with more straightforward and inexpensive models. At the same time, if you buy optics for many years to come, then such a sight will be a very suitable option.

Selection of key characteristics

The night vision scope is a unique optic for which only specific indicators are essential. It is these characteristics that users who will buy their first NVDs need to consider.

Optimal characteristics for the first NV scope:

  1. Lens diameter. This characteristic is key for any night optics. It is the size of the lens that determines the ability of the device to capture the available light. When buying your first NV scope, choosing models with an indicator of 70-100 mm is recommended.
  2. Range. Another critical parameter for any NVDs. For a night vision scope, 250-300 m will be enough for a novice user. However, a more accurate value should be chosen based on the purpose of the optics and the needs of its user.
  3. Multiplicity. The ability to visually bring the user closer to the observed object is an essential function of the NV scope. However, there is no need to chase the maximum possible multiplicity. In most cases, for beginners and professionals, 4x-6x will be enough.
  4. Viewing angle. This indicator may be less crucial for the operation of night sights. However, it is one of the keys for users and their comfort. The larger the field of view, the wider the area can be covered with a glance. The best option for buying their first scope is 5-8 degrees.
  5. Permission. The image quality seen by the user will directly depend on the resolution of the optics. Ideally, it should be the maximum. However, for beginners who plan to use scopes for hunting and other similar tasks, 64-72 lp/mm will be sufficient. It is these indicators that will become optimal for the first NV scope.
  6. Battery life. So that the sight does not turn off at the most inopportune moment, it must have an increased battery life. Everyone should consider this rule, from buyers of the first NVDs to professionals. 30-40 hours of continuous work will be enough for ordinary users.
  7. Size and weight. People who buy their first NV scope will need help handling heavy and bulky devices. Therefore, in this case, purchasing optics weighing 1-1.2 kg is the best option. At the same time, its size should be at most 250 mm x 110 mm x 90 mm. This value is indicative, so minor deviations from such a standard will not be critical.

Helpful tips

When buying your first-night vision scope, it is essential to consider all available information. It should include the recommendations of experts. They will help set the right direction and avoid the most common beginner mistakes.

Important recommendations:

  1. Be sure to buy the first NV scope in specialized stores. They will not exploit your inexperience or force you to buy the wrong model by fraud. You can order optics on the manufacturer's website after consulting the seller's representatives on various issues.
  2. Knowing for what purposes you plan to use the NV scope is essential. Depending on this, selecting the optimal set of characteristics and functions will be possible. If you buy optics unthinkingly, then, most likely, most of its capabilities will be useless for your case.
  3. Before buying your first NV scope, test several of the most suitable models. In this case, it will be possible to determine the optimal and most comfortable option more accurately.
  4. It would be best if you always considered every little thing. Therefore, before buying your first NV scope, study its characteristics, functionality, and additional features in detail. Also, pay attention to the various test reports on the scope of interest and reviews from other buyers.
  5. When choosing your first-night vision scope, please pay attention to its cost. Excessively cheap models will only allow you to experience some of the benefits of NV technologies. The most expensive optics should also be optional. Its broad capabilities will create additional difficulties for a beginner just starting to get acquainted with night sights. Therefore, the ideal option would be models of the middle price segment. They will be both valuable and easy to use.
  6. When buying the first NV scope, you should remember the prospects for your development. In this case, models with broad functionality will be a good option. At the initial stage, most of it will be useless for you. However, after some time, its presence will avoid the need to buy another sight.

NV sight is a helpful device to the military and civilians. When buying it for the first time, it is essential to know a few secrets of this process, pay attention to key indicators that affect the quality of work, and listen to the recommendations of specialists. Everything in the complex will give the buyer complete awareness in choosing an NV scope. After that, making a mistake and purchasing an unsuitable model will be as difficult as possible.

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