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Jan 14, 2021 | 02:29 am 3278 1

Top things you should consider before buying a night vision scope

Top things you should consider before buying a night vision scope

The night vision sight is a rather sophisticated device. If we go into all the details of this tool, three such articles will not be enough. Therefore, we will tell you in short and as simple language as possible what to pay attention to when choosing the night vision sight.

How the NVD works

If we don’t go into all the details of the physics of the night vision process, it looks pretty simple. A small amount of light hits the object of observation in the open, and it reflects this light. The purpose of the night vision device is to collect and amplify the light it receives many times. The source of light can be the moon, starry sky or natural light scattered in the clouds. 

Top Factors to Consider When Buying Night Vision Scopes

First, there are two big things to think about when it comes to your purchase:


application of the device.


Everything here is simple. How much money are you willing to spend on the device? Is it 100, 1000 or 5000 dollars? Depending on this, it will be a little easier for you, because the higher the price, the higher the quality and amount of features available. You don’t have to buy the most expensive equipment for the best results however. That’s why it’s important to think about the next part of this article.

Application area of the device

Do you need the scope for law enforcement or military purposes? Then the sight should be strong, and have a very good magnification.

Will you take the sight hunting? Then it must be light, waterproof, and feature some quality reticle. 

But, there is also a difficulty. The same sight can be good for tactical operations and for hunting, if you understand the parameters of the device. And if you do not understand it, we will try to make sense of it for you.

When you have decided on the budget and the use of the sight, it is time to consider an important point - the manufacturer of night vision devices.

Scope Manufacturers

Now, along with the giant manufacturers there are smaller companies with high quality and fairly priced devices. Look for manufacturers with a service center or a support service close to you, so that you can get help at any time in case of any issues. Does the manufacturer have a warranty? You should ask this question before buying.

Finally, when you have decided on the budget, application and manufacturer of the sight, it is time to go deeper into the characteristics of the device.

Of course, at any moment you can consult with professionals on specialized forums or in social networks. But, we have already prepared for you a list of technical parameters, which you should pay attention to when choosing a night vision sight. 

Scope parameters

We will consider NVD parameters on an example of AGM WOLVERINE PRO-4 NL1 sight, as it is one of the most popular on the market. 

This sight has such parameters:

Generation - 2+;

Magnification - 4x;

Field of View - 8,3°;

Weight and Size - 1.07 kg (2.35 lbs); 215 × 95 × 82 mm (8.4 × 3.7 × 3.2 inches)

Clarity and LP/MM - 51-64 lp/mm;

Luminance Gain - 30 mm;

Batteries - Powered by 2 AA batteries.

Now let's find out what all this means, and what you should do after you have seen similar characteristics on the instructions for your sight. 


What does the number "2+" mean?

Depending on the image intensifier used, specialists divide night vision devices into generations. This is a conventional classification associated with the development of technology. Now there are 3 generations of image intensifier tube. 

Gen 1 - Affordable type NVD. Designed for a range of 100 meters, in the presence of low light or infrared illumination.

Gen 2 - It uses a microchannel plate (MCP) for acceleration. The recognition distance of objects in this generation reaches 400-600 yards, and at a distance of 200-300 can be aimed at target fire. 

Gen 3 -The design of the third generation image intensifier differs little from the second one. The main feature is a photo cathode from gallium arsenide. It creates a clear, well-designed image at a distance of up to 500 yards in very low light conditions, such as a moonless night, in starlight, in cloudy weather.


It's the zoom, to put it simply, the zoom that produces the image you see through the scope. 

4x, 6x is the multiplicity as far as the sight can "approach". If you need a tactical operation with constant movement, the zoom should be at the "1" mark. That is, it should not be there. But, when hunting stationary targets, the more magnification, the better.

Field of View

This parameter characterizes the size of the space that can be simultaneously viewed through the device. The larger the field of view of the device, the more comfortable it is to observe objects - there is no need to constantly move the device to view the part of space you are interested in.  

In our case, it is 8.3 degrees, i.e. it is a very good value.

Weight and Size

You are looking at how you will use the sight. It should be light enough and small enough for you to use it comfortably by mounting it on the rifle. Exception - if you put it on a tripod. But it is less likely in tactical operations and hunting. So choose one that is convenient for you.

Clarity and LP/MM

This resolution of the device has a greater influence on the recognition range - a high resolution value of the device allows the observer to recognize the type of the object more confidently due to a clearer image of small details of the object. 

In our case, the 51-64 lp/mm extension is a sufficient parameter to obtain a clearer, more contrasting image of the object being observed at a longer distance than the devices with lower sensitivity.

Signal to Noise Ratio

These are all kinds of noises that distort the useful signal and ultimately degrade image quality. To combat noise, digital devices use various image processing software algorithms, often referred to as noise reduction algorithms.

In our case, the AGM sight has a noise reduction mode, which reduces the number of noises in the image.

Detection and Recognition Range

The detection range is the maximum distance from the observation device to a certain object (usually a person) that can be detected when observing the device.  

Recognition distance is the maximum distance at which the observer can distinguish the type of object (human, animal, structure, etc.).

Luminance Gain

This is the number of times the device amplifies the input light. If you set the amplification of the lamp too high, the lamp will be "noisier" and the signal/noise ratio may decrease. The U.S. military's third generation image tubes work with an increase of 40,000 to 70,000.


Your device runs from these batteries. In our case, with the AGM sights, as with most others, it is 2 AA batteries. Most often-AA batteries are used, but if you can connect an external power pack to the sight, so it will work continuously for up to 40 hours. This is very important if you are working or watching for a long time.

Well, instead of conclusion we want to say that it is not so easy to choose a night vision sight. So do not rush to buy. Each device is unique in its own way. Approach the question philosophically. Read the articles and user manuals. We wish you to find your perfect scope!

You can find more advices about night vision devices here:
Top things you should consider before buying night vision goggles
How to Improve Night Vision with Night Driving Glasses
How to choose night vision devices for airsoft
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