16 Of The Best Night Vision Rifle Scope Reviews – Buyer’s Guide

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Best Night Vision Rifle Scope

Before you can make an educated decision about the best night vision scope, you’ll need to understand a bit more about night vision.

You might think, as many people do, that you can naturally see well at night, but the truth is, you’re missing a lot when your eyes don’t have help.

First, a thought or two about how human beings see at night, with no help from special equipment. In the back of the human eye, there are rods and cones.

Both are sensitive to light but work differently.

Rods help us see in very dim light but don’t allow us to see color. Cones are the opposite – they allow us to see color but don’t work well in dim light.

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Top 4 Best Night Vision Rifle Scopes (Summary)


Image Product Details  
Firefield NVRS 3x42 Gen 1 Night Vision Riflescope, Black Most DurableFirefield
  • 3x magnification
  • Built-in infrared
  • Titanium body
Bushnell 260140MT 4.5x40 Equinox Z Night Vision and Rifle Mount Combo, Box,Black Longest Battery LifeBushnell
  • Excellent clarity
  • Wide viewing field
  • Tripod capability
Sightmark Wraith HD 4-32x50 Digital Night Vision Riflescope Excellent MagnificationSightmark Wraith
  • Budget-friendly
  • Great clarity
  • Durable
ATN X-Sight II HD 5-20 Smart Day/Night Rifle Scope w/1080p Video, Ballistic Calculator, Rangefinder, ATN X-Sight II
  • Image stabilization
  • iOS/Android app capability
  • Wi-Fi

For more detailed and complete product reviews on benefits and features, keep reading.

With help from night-vision goggles or a night-vision scope, you can see more detail, though the color is not there. Night-vision equipment intensifies the available light. A different sort of help is available from thermal equipment, which measures the difference in heat between an object and the surrounding area.

This is a very basic explanation, but it should give you enough to understand what you’re trying to accomplish with the best night vision scope. Night vision products are sometimes referred to as I² and, as with other electronic equipment, there have been outstanding improvements in recent years.

Technology has made it particularly easier to carry out different activities at night. Before technology became readily accessible and applicable for hunting at night, for example, all you could do was to use a lamp. 

Now, there are a variety of tools that have been applied for hunting at night. A night vision scope is a tool designed to make hunting at night as successful as hunting during the day. Night vision scopes are also aimed at other activities, with civilian and military applications.

The need for accessible and affordable optics equipment for shooting at night has made night vision rifle scopes readily available. The world’s best night vision goggles can be bought online as well as from shops that sell sporting goods and rifles. 

With the variety of options, you will be presented with when you decide to buy a night vision rifle scope, you should educate yourself properly on the subject. This article provides extensive information on night vision rifle scopes and is aimed at ensuring that you are well informed.

What Is a Night Vision Rifle Scope and Benefits of Using One

What Is a Night Vision Rifle Scope and Benefits of Using It

A night vision rifle scope is a tool that enhances vision at night. The human eye is highly limited after daytime hours. A night vision rifle scope makes up for this deficiency by applying technology in illuminating dark areas.

The human eye is grossly limited. Activities can’t be carried out in the dark without proper illumination. You need a night vision rifle scope because you need proper illumination at night. The other lighting options aren’t suitable for activities for which night vision rifle scopes are designed.

For hunting, for example, the use of other lighting options, such as a lamp, will scare quarry and make hunting unsuccessful. Animals adjust to situations quickly and will easily associate lamps with danger. While hunting, a lamp could give your location away and jeopardize your safety.

In tactical operations, night vision rifle scopes are the most suitable form of lighting. They keep you safe and give an advantage over the enemy. The world’s best night vision goggles apply technology in different forms to make activities at night productive. Night vision rifle scopes generally make activities carried out in dark areas manageable.

A Short History of Night Vision Rifle Scopes

Night vision rifle scopes have been around for a while. They were even applied during the second World War. However, the scopes that are currently available are a major improvement over what was initially available.

The first night vision rifle scopes were heavy. You had to carry batteries around in backpacks. Early night vision rifle scopes were also very expensive. Thus they were limited to tactical applications.

Special skills were required to operate early night vision goggles. They were also particularly difficult to use because of the numerous cables that frequently tangled. One of the earliest rifle scopes is the scope for the M3 rifle. 

This is an American rifle scope issued during the Korean war. Currently, scopes are available for a wide variety of rifles. These scopes include scopes for 308 rifles. Now scopes are available for applications in different settings. For example, you can hunt with a crossbow at night by using a scope.

How Does a Night Vision Scope Work

How Does a Night Vision Scope Work

Now, to look more closely at night vision scopes. The question is, “How Does a Night Vision Scope Work?”

The basic answer, mentioned earlier, is this: A night vision scope intensifies available light to allow human eyes to see more detail. A thermal unit detects the difference in temperature between an object and the surrounding area.

For the illuminating products, there must be some light available (moon, stars, artificial sources). These products use this available light and amplify it with a special tube so the human eye can see when it’s dark.

High-quality units may also use infrared light when the available light is not enough to form a usable image. The infrared ray is almost impossible to detect, but the lens picks up this light source along with any available light to give you a brighter image. Light gain can vary from 15,000 times actual light to 40,000 times actual light.

Allso, the image you see is not the “real” object but an amplified electronic image on a phosphor screen. This is why the view looks green, which the human eye can see in more shades than other colors. Keep in mind that these screens may have a limited life, though they should last for thousands of hours.

After the light is amplified by the lens, it is sent to other components of the scope. One such component is the intensifier. When light is sent to the intensifier from the lens, a photocathode within the lens receives electrons and generates an electric current. The intensifier is responsible for improving the brightness and clarity of the image created.

The image is created on the phosphor screen which is another component of the scope. The different components of the scope are usually located within a compartment that is water and shatterproof. Other similar devices apply a similar technology. These devices include cameras and monoculars.

Types of Night Vision Rifle Scopes

The development of night vision scopes has gone through different phases. Night vision rifle scopes are thus categorized into groups known as generations. 

The types of night vision rifle scopes are thus first-generation scopes, second-generation scopes, third-generation scopes and fourth-generation scopes. Although all generations of night vision rifle scopes are available, the technology of scopes progressed from the first generation to the fourth-generation.

Generations of scopes are distinguished by the intensifier technology, which influences the quality of images.

Geneartion 1

First-generation night vision rifle scopes are the most common type of scopes. These scopes, which are also the most affordable, provide decent vision at night and in dimly lit areas.

There are, however, several downsides to these scopes. These scopes create images that may be blurry. First-generation scopes could also make a sound when they are activated. First-generation night vision rifle scopes are aimed at hobby activities. They are also commonly used by predator control professionals.

The basic components mentioned above are found in first-generation night scopes. A first-generation night scope could be likened to a television. In higher generations, the intensifier is modified to create clearer images.

Geneartion 2

These scopes are the next tier up. The quality of images of second-generation night vision rifle scopes was improved over the first-generation scopes. Professionals prefer the second-generation scopes to the first-generation ones.

Second-generation scopes are, however, more expensive. If you need aprofessional image quality and are ready to spend good money, a second-generation scope is a good option to consider.

The intensifier of a second-generation scope contains a microplate, a modification that greatly increases the number of electrons that reach the phosphor surface. With that modification, second-generation scopes thus deliver images with better quality.

Hobbyists tend to stick with first-generation or second-generation scopes. Reviews of spotting scopes usually highlight the best first and second-generation scopes as they are readily available. The first and second-generation scopes are also the most preferred types by a wide range of users.

Genearation 3

Gen 3 night vision rifle scope

These scopes are  further improvement over the second-generation scopes. The quality of the image was improved. The quality of the images is better because the application of special chemicals and technologies.

The intensifier of a third-generation night vision rifle scope has a gallium arsenide photocathode. This added component further increases the number of electrons that get to the phosphor surface. This type of scopes is not readily available. It is also very expensive, aimed for application in highly professional settings.

Generation 4

Fourth-generation scopes are the top range of night vision rifle scopes. With a fourth-generation night vision rifle scope, you can see images with significant detail. As changes occur in the environment, these scopes also pick up the variations.

Because they are not readily available and are expensive, these scopes are used applied in tactical situations. Because these scopes are built for specialty operations, they are typically custommade for the military. They may be built with other features that make them suitable for raids by the military.

These scopes are not available on the civilian market. Civilians don’t need this grade of night vision equipment. Even sportsmen usually stick with first, second and third-generation scopes.

How to Choose the Best Night Vision Scope

How to Choose the Best Night Vision Rifle Scope

Choosing a night vision scope can be a bit confusing, especially if you do what some beginners do – buy the scope with the best magnification. While it may seem like a good idea to have maximum magnification, the truth is less magnification is usually better.

If the image is increased too much in size it can become blurry. This makes close shots difficult to judge. So you may want to focus on scopes with 3x or 4x magnification, with adjustment up to about 9x if that’s what interests you.

It’s also important to choose a scope that fits your budget. The amount you invest should be determined by how much you’ll use this tool. You may also come across night vision scopes for rifles that have interchangeable lenses.

You’ll be able to use your scope for different conditions, including day shooting and night shooting. The most popular tube size seems to be 25mm, though 30mm allows for windage and elevation adjustments for long-range targets.

You’ll also need to consider the type of shooting you’ll be engaged in, so the scope is right for your specific conditions. For example, a hunting scope generally has a capped turret, which is fine when you don’t need to make adjustments as you would for target and tactical shooting.

These scopes usually have exposed adjustment scale. There are also a few different reticles to choose from, which should be one of the key factors in choosing your particular scope.

There are great night vision rifles across different categories. While shopping for a scope, you should carry out research, comparing the features that should be in an efficient scope.


With thermal equipment, judging quality is all about the resolution delivered, measure in numbers such as 640×480. Judging I² equipment is different. You’ll be looking at the quality of optics and the image-intensifier tube, and should avoid anything with distortion or “fish eye” effect.

Remember that most of the high-quality products have been extensively tested before being placed on the market. You should be able to trust these test results. There are cheaper alternatives, so you should also look closely at these to determine if you can get what you need for less.

Gen3 products should give you thousands of hours of use. Keep in mind you can also get something other than the traditional green and black most people associate with night-vision systems. It may be possible to find something that delivers images in black and white, which may not cause as much eye fatigue.


Your budget is a factor that should guide you as you begin shopping for a scope. Regardless of your budget, you will find a variety of options. You should compare the features in the scopes within your budget range to get the best option.

It is important to begin your search with an idea of the cost of scopes with the features you desire. You may also get a feel of the kind of scopes you’re considering either by renting one or using a borrowed one.


The clarity of a night vision rifle scope determines the quality of the image you will see with it. Although, night vision optics do not provide as much clarity as conventional optics, a lot of the available night vision rifle scopes provide decent clarity.

You should be able to spot coyotes from 200 yards with a lot of the scopes that are on the market. Standard scopes could get a blurry image of a human from about 500 yards away. Close shooting with red dot sight requires a scope with at least a decent level of clarity.


You should consider your shooting range while shopping for a night vision rifle scope. The range of a scope is particularly important because little to no magnification is achievable with a night vision scope. The range of your scope will thus play a major role in determining whether you will be able to make a shot. Simply put, illumination is of little value if the scope doesn’t have the required range.


The types of reticles include BDC reticles which are known for accuracy. This type of reticle is known for its) efficiency, especially as they estimate bullet drop. However, the zeroed range of your rifle influences the application of BDC reticles.

BDC reticles are somewhat a rare find in night vision rifle scopes. The kinds of reticles you will find in a lot of the scopes are red dot optics and simple duplex. There are magnifiers and other tools that can be attached to a lot of the standard scopes, though.

Battery Type and Life

Night vision rifle scopes are powered by batteries. The type and size of the battery that powers a scope are important factors because they determine how well you will be able to use the scope.

The battery life will determine the length of time you will be able to use the scope and how often you will need replacement batteries. The type of battery will determine how easy it will be to find a replacement battery. You may also need extra batteries hence the need to choose a battery that is readily available.

Military-grade night optics use batteries that are not rechargeable and may not be available for sale to civilians. If you opt for military-grade night optics, you might want other items such as a military tactical watch.

Depth Perception

Images seen through a night vision riflescope are typically flat. Night vision optics lose a lot of depth. Thus, shadows and differences in perspective cannot be picked up with a scope.

Because of the change in depth of images seen with a scope, it is advisable that you do not drive with these tools until you are very experienced in using them.

Night Vision Scope Depth Perception

Day and Night Use

Some scopes can be used during the day, as well as at night. Scopes that work during the day and night usually require a manual change of the modes. Some of the scopes automatically switch between the two modes.

However, it is important to mention that the scopes with day and night modes are bulky. Consider this bulkiness as you choose a dual-mode scope. Even when you use the world’s best night vision goggles, you shouldn’t drive while wearing them until you get used to them.

You should especially confirm that scope will work during the day and night before you buy it. This is because scopes that do not work effectively during the day could be tagged as scopes suitable for daytime and nighttime use by manufacturers.

If a scope works during both day and night, during the day instead of infrared.

Quality Glass

The quality of the glass of a scope is a major feature that determines its effectiveness. The quality of glass determines the quality of light transmission. A night vision rifle scope collects light that is collected and converted into an image.

When the scope has a good quality of glass, it will be able to collect a lot of light and create a high-quality image. Even when a scope is used during the day, the quality of the glass still influences the quality of the image.

The durability of a scope is also influenced by the quality of the glass. The glass is one of the most fragile parts of a scope. A durable scope uses a high-quality glass.

At nights, pictures are sharper and target seen clearly, even from a reasonable distance, with a scope that has a high-quality glass.


You should confirm that there are coatings on the scope that you choose. Durable scopes have a high-quality glass that is usually coated. The coating serves as a shock absorber for night vision rifle scopes.

Generation Class

As mentioned above, there are four-generation classes. First and second-generation scopes are the most common. These scopes also have good features and are used by sportsmen as well as hobbyists. First and second-generation scopes are also cost-effective and can be used for tactical purposes.

Third and fourth-generation scopes are high-tech tools that provide images with a highly impressive resolution. These scopes are especially expensive with limited availability. Fourth-generation are especially limited in circulation and are designed with the application of state-of-the-art technology.

With a first-generation scope, you can see objects that are up to 100 yards away, and with a second-generation scope, you can see objects that are located up to up to 200 yards away. Third and fourth-generation scope apply highly advanced technology in creating high-quality images.


Night vision scopes especially differ from optical scopes because of features such as magnification. While optical scopes can magnify images severally, night vision scopes only magnify images for a few times.

There are even night vision scopes without magnification abilities. Night vision scopes have limited magnification abilities because they work at shorter ranges to produce sharp images. Night vision scopes thus sacrifice magnification for clarity. A lot of the available night scopes can magnify images 3 to 5 times. The high-quality ones can magnify images up to 20 times.

The operational basis of night vision and optical scopes is behind the distinctive magnification abilities. While night scopes collect light from the environment to create images, optical scopes rely on ambient light.


The resolution of a night vision rifle scope determines the quality of the images it makes. The clarity of the picture a night scope makes is a major indication of its quality. Thus, you should aim for a scope with decent resolution. A decent resolution for a night scope is 640X480p.

Depending on your preference, you could also go for a scope with 4K resolution as there are those with such features. With 4K resolution, you’re sure of pictures with excellent quality. The unit of the resolution of night scopes could be lines per millimetre or LP/MM. The higher such resolution is, the better the quality of images.

To make the most of the resolution of your night scope, you could install a trail camera.

Image Recording Capability

There are night scopes with image recording abilities. Some night vision rifle scopes even record videos. You may need to consider getting scopes with such abilities. Scopes with the ability to record images and videos have several benefits.

With such night scopes, you can create memories of moments when you found especially interesting quarry. You may also need to make videos as evidence of activities which could be done only with scopes with these image recording abilities.

Since this is a feature that is not commonly found in scopes, night scopes with image recording capabilities cost a lot of money.

Night vision rifle scopes with image recording abilities could begin recording automatically the moment recoil is detected. That way, in the heat of the moment, you do not have to think about activating the recording feature. This automatic recording feature is available in the high-quality scopes that are very expensive.

Thermal vs Night Vision

Thermal optics and night vision technology are typically assumed as similar. However, the fundamental principles behind the operation of thermal scopes and night vision scopes differ significantly. Night vision involves the application of technology in improving vision at night Light energy is applied for night vision. Thermal vision involves the application of thermal energy in creating an image.

16 Best Night Vision Scopes – Reviews and Guide

1. Firefield FF16001 NVRS 3x42mm Rifle Scope... – Best for Clarity in Price Range

This is one of the most popular scopes offered, with 3x magnification that’s suitable for almost every use.

It comes with built-in infrared and a titanium body for durability. It’s also a mid-price product that delivers quality image and resolution. Features a quick-detach Weaver mount and works well with AR-15. 100-yard + accuracy is a nice benefit.

Firefield NVRS 3x42 Gen 1 Night Vision Riflescope, Black

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2. Bushnell NightVision 4.5x40 Equinox Z... – Best for Battery Life

This is a mid-price scope from one of the most recognizable names in the industry. Key features include long battery life, excellent clarity and wide viewing field. You also benefit from image capture, video recording and daytime color.

Convenient use thanks to AA battery operation and tripod capability. Magnification at 4.5 is right in the comfortable range for most uses.

Bushnell 260140MT 4.5x40 Equinox Z Night Vision and Rifle Mount Combo, Box,Black

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3. Night Owl...

The range of Night Owl Night Vision Rifle Scope is an impressive 100 to 200 yards. It also has a high-resolution of 640×480 to give you a clear view.

There is also a weatherproof option. So, even if you’re scouting on a rainy night, you don’t have to worry about this scope getting damaged.

The scope also won’t get damaged during daytime use. This goes a long way in increasing its usefulness and durability.

It has a mounting system that is compatible with both Weaver and Picatinny rails. It’s best to use it on rifles up to .30 caliber.

Night Owl Optics NightShot Rifle Scope, Digital Night Vision Riflescope with IR illuminator, High

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  • Range of 100 to 200 yards
  • Weatherproof design protects it from rough conditions
  • Daytime use won’t damage it


  • Daytime use is sometimes difficult due to glares on the scope

4. Sightmark Wraith Rifle Scope... – Best for Overall Performance

Versatility is the key with the Sightmark scope, with excellent magnification and long battery life. It’s durable and delivers great performance in spite of being considerably lighter than many of night vision scopes in this category.

Medium-range placement is outstanding. Two AA batteries provide power. Great versatility, allows for accurate day usage as well.

Sightmark Wraith HD 4-32x50 Digital Night Vision Riflescope

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5. ATN X-Sight II 5-20 Rifle Scope... – Best for Extra Features

If you’re looking for a scope with several amazing “extras” this might be the way to go.

The ATN offers 1080p video, Wi-Fi, GPS, image stabilization, range finder, and iOS/Android app capability. It also comes with a two-year warranty. When you want a solid scope and the high-tech features in one package, this could be your selection.

ATN X-Sight II HD 5-20 Smart Day/Night Rifle Scope w/1080p Video, Ballistic Calculator, Rangefinder,

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6. Pulsar Trail XQ50...

With one of the most perfect base magnifications, Pulsar Trail XQ50 is known for thermal imaging and its accurate placement at far distances. It can sense heat signatures as far as 2000 yards.

It has a built-in recording with an internal memory of 8 GB. The battery of the device can last up to 8 hours and it’s known for its high definition video and sound recorder. Unique white-hot and black hot modes, with 13 digital reticle options and 50Hz refresh rate offer smooth imaging, thermal mapping and a perfect field of view.

The product is waterproof, dust-proof and fog-proof. It works exceptionally well in temperatures between -13 to 122 F and offers an ultra-easy user interface with easy-to-handle buttons. The E-zoom is up to 4x.

The user can connect the scope to the stream vision app through Wi-Fi for a distant view. The propriety picture-in-perfect enhances continuous precision.

Pulsar Trail XQ38 2.1-8.4x32 Thermal Riflescope

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  • Allows the user to stream live and record
  • Includes a stadiametric rangefinder
  • B-pack power unit and can be interchangeable with IPS10 battery packs


  • Regular users say it is not as good as the XP50 mode

7. Yukon NVRS Titanium...

Yukon Scope is an affordable option that offers the user very comfortable viewing and high-quality performance. It uses advanced optics, a strong, titanium body and a smooth design, which makes it distinct from other rifle scopes.

The product has a very powerful 50 mm lens that provides a high resolution and light-gathering abilities. The flip-up lens opens up to show a good multi-coated optics and a brightened reticle. The flip-up also protects the image tubes from extreme brightness that might destroy them.

The buttons and overall design make it very easy to use. The long mount, coupled with the sleek design, helps the hunter during shooting. It also allows the scope to hold the widest range of rifles, bolt action styles included.

It has a built-in pulse infrared illuminator that can be activated easily to enhance the brightness of the image and let the hunter see a long distance in complete darkness. Its other additional features are precision windage, elevation adjustment and remote.

Yukon NVRS Titanium 2.5x50 Varmint Hunter

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  • Allows the user to see a long distance, which improves shooting accuracy
  • Clear field view in darkness and a clear image of the intended target
  • Powerful battery


  • Eyecup is fashioned to fit your eye only if you are right-handed

8. Bestsight DIY Digital...

Bestsight is regarded as one of the best amongst night vision scopes for users. It has a CCD plus a flashlight for an accurate shot at night. With this product, images are clearly visible in dark conditions.

Some of its unique features are its monitor screen, infrared flashlight, night vision camera and a Telescopic Zoom 850NM IR illuminator. It’s very easy to use with a straight forward installation. The size of the target, IR flashlight and riflescope affect the shooting range.

If the target is far away, adjust the camera with the aid of the crossed reticle, after which the eyepiece of the scope should be adjusted together with the lens until you get a clear and perfect shot.

It’s very good for nighttime hunting, security surveillance and other hunting activities. The screen is measured at 5.3 inches for a clearer image.

BESTSIGHT DIY Digital Night Vision Scope for Rifle Hunting with Camera and 5' Portable Display

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  • Can be used at any time of the day
  • Flashlight for clearer vision
  • Camera and a monitor with fantastic resolution


  • Needs separate batteries

9. ATN Night Spirit -2...

ATN Night Spirit -2 is best used for combat and hunting. It can be handheld or head-mounted for hands-free use. It has an infrared illuminator that enhances the capability of the user of the rifle to read maps and cope in remote and dark conditions. It’s also waterproof.

It uses one 1.5 V AA size battery and it is lightweight, so it is quite easy to handle or carry.

Coming with all-glass optics that are purposely covered to absorb light or extreme brightness, it’s perfect for law enforcement and other militarized professional applications.

Its optics are multi-coated, which allows for highly suitable light gathering. The product should only be operated at temperatures between -40 to 50 degrees Celsius.

ATN Night Spirit-2 Gen 2+ Night Vision Multi Purpose System

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  • Very powerful and waterproof
  • Can be handheld or put on a helmet
  • Very clear vision in the dark


  • Sale is restricted to certain locations

10. Primary Arms Silver Series...

Primary Arms Night Vision Rifle Scope is equipped with an Advanced Combined Sighting System reticle. This product functions well and is accurate from 300-800 yards. At all magnifications, the SFP design sustains the reticle at the same size for a fast acquisition at slightly low power. The SFP enhances the effectiveness of the reticle at 6x maximum power.

The ACSS reticle offers a chevron center aiming point instead of the dot. All the lenses are multi-coated for suitable light transmission. It has a 6063 aluminum scope body that is nitrogen purged, fog resistant and IP67 waterproof.

The item is well trusted amongst its users. It is easy to use and extremely fast from around 0-300 yards.

The manufacturers have added an extra 10 MOA of internal adjustment, unlike the previous model. It’s lighter than the previous model, which makes it more comfortable to handle.

Primary Arms SLX 1-6x24 SFP Rifle Scope Gen III - Illuminated ACSS-5.56/5.45/.308

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  • More affordable compared to other brands
  • Durable
  • Water resistant


  • From a far distance, the ACSS may not be very precise

11. Barska 1-4x28 IR...

Barska is very efficient and attachable with rifles for various shooting ranges. It can be used with Ruger 10/22 rifles depending on the weaver trail system, but it could also function with a 7.62x 54r sniper rifle.

The red and green recital aids help for the perfect spotting of the target. The illuminated reticle will enable the user to get a perfect aim at the target during dark conditions. It has a zooming capacity of 1-4x.

The scope is quite effective under any kind of weather or light condition. Some of its unique features are an illuminated Mil-Dot reticle, external turrets and a durable one-piece cantilever mount. It is waterproof, fog proof and shockproof.

The lenses are fully multi-coated, which helps for suitable light transmission. Illuminated mil-dot reticle has red, green and black colors. It’s got a built-in sunshade that helps reduce glare, windage that’s lockable and elevation turrets.

Barska 1-4x28 IR Hunting Scope Black

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  • Can be used with various rifles
  • Effective in all light conditions
  • Quite easy to mount on


  • Some users complain that it’s too heavy

12. Sightmark Photon...

Sightmark Photon Riflescope is a digital device that can be used during the day and at night. It is designed to be used for hunting, security and general observation, among others.

With a built-in LED IR illuminator, it provides enough light for night vision. The illuminator’s wavelength has a visible and invisible range that makes the product useful in total darkness.

It has an in-built recorder that lets you take clear videos as well. The internal storage of up to 8gb helps you wirelessly transfer videos to your smartphone and other devices.

You can also stream videos live with the Stream Vision app, available on Android and iOS. With up to 9x magnification, you can zoom in on your target without losing clarity.

Sightmark Photon RT 4.5-9x42 Digital Night Vision Riflescope (SM18016)

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  • Great night vision
  • In-built recorder and internal storage
  • 9x magnification


  • Batteries might not last long

13. Megaorei...

Megaorei Digital Riflescope has a mounted 4.3 inch LCD display monitor that produces high-quality images at all times of the day. It has a CCD camera that can be adjusted up to 360°.

This device uses an infrared laser light that covers a lot of distance. This feature makes it useful, especially during low light conditions.

It displays images in color during the day and in black and white at night. Two rechargeable batteries can be used for more than four hours.

Special night vision monocular can be easily mounted and customized. It comes with an IR flashlight for additional coverage.

【2020 Upgrade】 Megaorei Digital Night Vision Scope Video Camera for Riflescopes Hunting IR

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  • Infrared laser light
  • Amazing night vision
  • Adjustable CCD camera


  • Batteries might get defective

14. XopingABC...

XopingABC Riflescope is specially designed for wide range shooting. Its reticle has adjustable brightness intensities, allowing it to provide a clear picture regardless of environment or lighting.

A rangefinder reticle is illuminated in red and green. Both colors have 5 levels of light adjustment for better night vision. The red and green laser and dot sight have a reaching distance of up to 500m.

It has 16x magnification that can work at 200 to 1000 yards. Fast focus eyepiece and adjustable elevation and windage provide better focus.

This product is made of high-grade aluminum and its optical lens is fully coated. It is waterproof, shockproof and fog proof.

Rifle Scope Combo 4-12x50EG Dual Illuminated with Laser Sight 4 Holographic Reticle Red/Green Dot

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  • Adjustable brightness for different lighting conditions
  • Laser dot sights have up to 500m reaching distance
  • 16x magnification


  • Might provide inaccurate targeting

15. Bestsight Digital...

Bestsight Riflescope features a 5-inch display monitor mounted on top of it. This feature makes it easier and more comfortable to view targets.

It uses a fill light modulator to provide enough illumination at night. This device doesn’t produce a light beam. Its HD IR device can be adjusted up to 360° to get a clear picture every time.

It makes use of rechargeable batteries that provides a substantial runtime. A shooting range of more than 100 yards for both small and large game is yet another great feature of this item.

It displays images in full color during the day with high clarity. It can also work with an optical sight for better focus.

BESTSIGHT Digital Night Vision Scope for Rifle Hunting with Camera and 5' Portable Display Screen

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  • 5 inch display screen
  • Rechargeable batteries provide up to 6 hours runtime
  • Optimized for night vision


  • Screen has a high level of brightness which can’t be adjusted

16. ATN ThOR...

By magnifying your target without losing on the image quality, ATN ThOR Night Vision Scope provides you a very clear view of your target.

The thermal sensor it features doesn’t detect light, but heat energy instead, allowing you to see the prey even in total darkness. There’s also a ballistic calculator and you should only enter environmental data to get all the needed calculations.

A rangefinder is in-built and calculates the distance perfectly, without the need to carry any additional equipment.

Finally, you’ll find an HD video recording and photos feature very useful, as well as Wi-Fi streaming since it allows you to record all your hunting adventures and share them with your friends.

ATN ThOR-HD 384 1.25-5x, 384x288, 19 mm, Thermal Rifle Scope w/ High Res Video, WiFi, GPS, Image

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  • Detects heat energy and allows a clear view in total darkness
  • Ballistic calculator that helps hit the target with great precision
  • Built-in rangefinder and high-resolution video recording


  • A little on the expensive side

Thermal Scopes vs Night Vision Scopes

As you search for night vision optics, you may have to consider both night vision scopes and thermal scopes. These two scopes are known for different features and apply different forms of technology.

Thermal scopes work with a newer form of technology. These scopes can be used in different lighting conditions including daytime and nighttime. As the name suggests, thermal scopes utilize the heat emitted from what is being viewed to create an object. The heat emitted by an animal, if applied for hunting, will determine the image.

The heat given off doesn’t change with the time of day, hence the application of thermal scopes in different lighting conditions. Thermal scopes do not require light from the environment to create an image.

Night vision scopes, on the other hand, are known for their application of light in creating an image. The light that is applied by night scopes can either be natural light or artificial light.

If you’re hunting in complete darkness, for example, the artificial light band will be applied by the night scope in creating the required image. Because they apply light in creating images, too little or too much light could affect the image created with a night scope. That is not the case with thermal scopes.

Despite their fundamental differences, thermal scopes and night scopes and similar. Firstly, they can be used in environments that are dimly lit.  Night scopes and thermal scopes also have a similar lifespan as they are both durable items. Both items can also be used in collaboration with tools such as compass apps for iPhone or Android in different situations.

Apart from the operating technology, another notable difference between night scopes and thermal scopes is the cost. Since thermal scopes apply a newer form of technology, they are expensive, more expensive than night scopes. The cost of the average thermal scope may leave you settling for a night scope with decent features.

If the main purpose of getting a scope is hunting, then you will need both a thermal scope and a night scope.  This is because a thermal scope is suitable for spotting game from a very far distance. However, thermal scopes do not offer a lot of clarity.

You can spot game from over a mile away with a thermal scope. However, the image wouldn’t be defined enough for you to take the required action.

Night scopes, on the other hand, do not offer a lot of magnification but they offer a lot of clarity. With a night scope, you can get an image that is clear enough for you to take the required action.

It is also important to mention that it is unethical to shoot game with a thermal scope as the guide. If you would be carrying out serious hunting at night, a thermal scope will spot game from far distances, while the night scope will provide a detailed image and act as the guide.

Night Vision Scope vs Similar Devices

You may also have to compare a night scope with other similar devices apart from thermal scopes. In comparing these devices, you should note features that specifically cater to your needs.

Night Vision Scope vs Monocular

Night Vision Scope vs Monocular

Monoculars are other devices which you may consider as an alternative to a night vision rifle scope. However, a monocular differs from a night vision scope in that it is a regular device that is used to see objects that are located far away.

Monoculars act as a form of magnifying glass without any special abilities. They are not aimed to improve vision in areas and situations of low lighting. Monoculars are also not adapted for situations for which night scopes are adapted. For example, while hunting, holding a monocular and aiming quarry will be especially unfruitful.

Night Vision Scope vs Clip-On

A regular night scope is a dedicated tool that is attached to one’s gun. The fixed nature of a regular night scope poses inconveniences when using a daytime scope. This is because you have to adjust the scope whether you change a daytime scope for a nighttime scope and vice-versa.

To eliminate the inconvenience associated with changing scopes when using a regular night scope, clip-on was invented. Clip-on allows you to add a night scope to your existing scope and eliminates the need for switching between scopes and perfecting their settings.

If you need to eliminate the inconvenience associated with changing scopes, you should get a clip-on. However, you should that the quality of clip-on is lower than the quality of regular scopes.

Night Vision Scope vs Goggles

Night Vision Scope vs Goggles

Night vision goggles are other options that are highly considered when searching for tools that improve vision at night. Night goggles are worn over the head instead of mounted on rifles. You wear them, and they make you see in the dark.

There are plus sides and downsides to night vision goggles. The plus sides include the fact that night goggles are easy to use. It is also noteworthy that a night vision goggle provides a high level of depth perception. The downsides to a night vision goggle include the fact that the viewing angles are limited. Also, the extra weight on one’s head could be a mild source of inconvenience.

Having mentioned both sides of night vision goggles, it is important to mention that they are suitable for situations where you will walk around a lot. Otherwise, a night vision riflescope is a better option. The world’s best night vision goggles incorporate features that reduce the downsides of these tools.

To make the right decision between a night vision goggle and a night vision scope, you should consider the scenarios where you need a night vision. For scenarios that involve staying in a particular position for an extended period, a night vision riflescope is a better option to night vision goggles.

Night Vision Scope vs Green Light

Greenlight and night vision goggles are other night vision tools that are considered. With a green light, you reflect light into the surroundings to illuminate it. With a night vision rifle scope, an image is created by the application of light energy which could be infrared rays.

The limitations of green light in comparison to a night vision scope are linked to the fact that its application involves sending out visible light. The light that is sent could ward preys off if the green light is applied in hunting. The application of green light as night vision option is thus influenced by its appropriateness for the scenario where it is applied.

For hunting, for example, you may need to consider factors such as the effects of the green light on animals you intend hunting. That information, however, may not be readily available.

It is also noteworthy that the application of green light could present complications. When the green light is mounted on a gun, for example, the setup becomes more complicated. Thus, the application of green light could make operations difficult.

When compared with a night vision rifle scope, it is noteworthy that green comes at available significantly lower prices. Once again, when comparing a night vision rifle scope to green light, you should note factors such as the suitability for operations and cost.

Does More Spending Mean More Quality

Scopes are available in four generations. The types of scope are thus the first generation, second generation, third generation and fourth generation scopes.

The features of night vision rifle scopes improved over the generations with first-generation ones having basic features and fourth-generation ones having the most advanced features. The cost of night scopes also increases with the generations, from the first generation to the fourth generation.

First-generation scopes are the most common types of scopes as they have basic features and are the cheapest. Fourth-generation night scopes include military-grade scopes and cost a fortune. Fourth-generation night scopes are also very limited, especially to civilians.

Having established the fact that scopes cost more like their generation increases, it is important to mention that within a generation, the cost of scopes could differ. Thus, in answering the question, scopes in different generations have different prices.

The quality of scopes in the different categories differ. The higher the category, the better the quality. Across different categories, spending more means more quality

Within a category, spending more may not mean more quality. Manufacturers of the different generations of night scopes could include different features and offer the scopes at different prices.

It is thus important to conduct in-depth research on scopes within your preferred category to find those that offer the best value. The features you should compare include those that have been mentioned above.

How to Zero a Night Vision Rifle Scope

Although a scope comes with all it needs to function accurately, you would need to learn how to use to efficiently. The process of calibrating a night scope simply involves getting the scope to aim targets accurately.

You would need information specific to your scope to calibrate it. That information would be available in the accompanying instructional manual. You should consult the instructional manual of your scope for information on how to use it maximally.

With the information you gather from the manual and other sources, if available, you should practice using the scope. You could practice in the daytime using the pinhole that is usually in the lens cover of a lot of scopes as a reference. Line shots up and with the reference point, keep practising until you hit your target.

You could also practice during the night. However, calibrating a scope at night may be a frustrating process since you may not be able to tell the accuracy of the scope in the dark. You may need to buy targets specifically designed for night scopes by manufacturers if you would be calibrating the scope in the dark.

Calibrating a scope is somewhat straightforward. However, it may take several trials for you to get it right.

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How to Mount a Night Vision Scope

Night scopes can be mounted in different ways with the application of different types of materials. The steps for mounting a scope are usually included in the instructional manual. As regards mounting a scope, it is important to carry out research beforehand to understand the basics.

It is because it is especially difficult to unmount certain scope because of the methods applied. Also, scopes could be mounted on only specific guns. Thus, you should be sure that your gun will be compatible with the scope you intend to buy.

The methods of mounting a scope include the use of clips which could be easily removed. Scopes could also be mounted with screws. Scopes mounted with screws are usually difficult to unmount.

A common tip for mounting a scope is to ensure that the gun is not loaded. It is also particularly important to follow the instruction outlined for the scope in the manual. Even if you have a similar scope, you should follow the instructions outlined for the scope you’re mounting.

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How to Use a Night Vision Sope

In terms of operation, night scopes are similar to regular scopes. The processes involved in using a night scope also differ according to the type of scope. Digital night scopes are automated. The required quantity of light is automatically inputted.

For traditional night scope, you would have to ensure exposure to the appropriate quantity of light. Excessive light could damage the scope.

Depending on your activities, you may use a scope with other essential tools and items such as a wireless trail camera and a mountain bike that works on electricity. Depending on the length of the period when you will be using a night scope, you may need special protective materials such as warm, heated socks. You may also need to install a trail camera.

Quick Tips For Using a Night Vision Scope

It is important for you to know as much as possible about your scope, or about using scopes in general. Here are some of the top tips you should note when using a night scope.

Firstly, it is important that you use the scope in areas that are familiar, especially if you’re hunting. A night vision riflescope helps you see better at night but doesn’t change the surroundings to their daytime nature. The natural changes that occur in the dark remain when you use a scope.

Thus, to use a scope maximally, you should be quite familiar with the surroundings. That way your perception with the scope will be highly accurate. Changes associated with the dark include changes in distance. When you’re aware of certain distances during the daytime, you would be better aware of their changes at night.

When you’re very aware of your environment, your safety is also enhanced. You would be aware of the changes in terrain as well as nearby ditches and roads.

Quick Tips For Using a Night Vision Scope

If you would be hunting with a scope, you shouldn’t act like you’ve become invisible. You are still very much visible, and preys will be aware of your activities if they’re not controlled. Activities during daytime hunting should differ from nighttime hunting. Animals are especially alert during the nighttime and would easily detect unusual activities.

You should also be properly protected against the elements with items such as warm heated socks.

Even when using a night scope for recreational hunting, you should be aware of the regulations binding their use. Be sure that every item you would be using, from the night vision optics to the mountain bike that works on electricity, is allowed in the location you would be hunting. You should be particularly aware of these regulations if you are hunting abroad and using military-grade optics.

In all 50 U.S states, there are regulations that guide the use of thermal and night vision scopes for hunting. These regulations exist to discourage overexploitation of available technologies.


Can a night vision scope be used in daylight?

Night vision scopes are not suitable for use in daylight. The night vision scopes that can be used in daylight are those with dual functionality. You can switch between daytime and nighttime modes automatically or manually with these scopes.

Is night vision better than thermal?

Thermal vision and night vision apply different technology. Thermal and night vision also have different applications.

Night vision provides a lot of clarity with little to no magnification. Thermal vision provides a lot of magnification with a low level of clarity.

Thus, night vision is better than thermal vision where the focus is clarity rather than magnification. Thermal vision and night vision could be combined for the full effect that combines the best features of both forms of technology.

Are night vision scopes safe to use?

Yes, night vision scopes are safe to use. They do not emit harmful radiation. However, using a night vision scope doesn’t make you immune to the environmental factors. Thus, it is important to limit the use of a night vision scope to familiar surroundings.

Can I use a night vision scope in pitch black conditions?

A night scope amplifies light. You cannot use a night vision scope in pitch black conditions. In such conditions, you could get an illuminator.

What will happen if I use a night vision scope during light?

You could damage your night vision scope when you use it during light because of the excessive light exposure.

Why do night vision scopes seem to have less magnification than other scopes?

A night vision scope sacrifices magnification for clarity. This is because night vision scopes amplify light. The higher the magnification of an optic device, the lower the quantity of light available to it.

Thus, if a night scope has a high magnification, it will receive little light that will not be sufficient for creating a clear picture.

Although night vision scopes generally do not see very far away, there are models that can see very far into the night. Such models are usually expensive.


These are some of the finest night vision scopes available. Each of them should give you the image brightness and detail you need. If you want extra features, there are a couple of options to satisfy the tech guy in you. These products can be used with confidence for game hunting, for night surveillance and for range shooting as well.

Obviously, the ATN product stands out for extra features. The Armasight scope may be the best choice for the lowest light conditions. If you’re concerned about battery life, most of these should deliver suitable performance, though the Bushnell scope is among the best in this category. Sightmark might be the choice for those who are concerned about weight, as it comes in at a slightly lower weight while still delivering top performance.

There are less expensive options, and there are more expensive options. But, for overall performance in a comfortable price range, any of these products should give you what you need. Remember that 3x or 4x magnification should be just fine for most conditions. You should be able to find a scope on this list that will greatly improve your night-shooting success.

Night scopes provide excellent vision that can significantly improve productivity while hunting at night. Night scopes also possess features that make them suitable for hunting. Night vision rifle scopes are available in different specifications.

Since night scopes are aimed at productivity, you should ensure that your chosen model and brand is tailored to your needs.

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Sammy Garrard

I am the Founder and Chief Editor of soutdoors.com and a prepper with over 15 years of experience. I’m excited to my knowledge and the things I learn while travelling in British Columbia, Canada where I live and around the world. Feel free to follow me on Twitter!

4 thoughts on “16 Of The Best Night Vision Rifle Scope Reviews – Buyer’s Guide”

  1. Hello Sammy,

    I am Aleena From India, I want to buy Binoculars for Birds but need to know best one for this, can you suggest me any best? not for hunting purpose!

    Waiting for your response!



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