Best Night Vision Scope

Best Night Vision Scope-Our Massive Guide-2023

Night vision devices (NVD) were first introduced to the German military in 1939. The U.S. Military also used them in WWII, and the NVD used during this time was known as Gen 0. As decades passed, night vision technology improved rapidly. So much so that the best night vision scope was constantly changing. 

Today’s night vision scopes have become very useful to our military, law enforcers, and civilians. Most night vision scopes are designed for rifle mounting for hunting, surveillance, and survival tools. Due to this, many people want a night vision scope, and the market has responded.

The good news, there is a vast selection of night vision scopes to choose from in the market. The bad news, there is an enormous selection of night vision scopes to choose from in the market. So many that it would be challenging to find the best night vision scope. Never fear! Outdoor Methods is here to help! 

Why Should You Trust Us?

Okay, our whole “never fear” saying is lame. Good thing we are much better at analytics and assessing! So why should you trust us? 

For this review, we conducted hours of literary search complying data from a large pool of people who have used these sights, ranging from experts to novice. From this data and some of our team testing the sights hands-on, we determine what critical parameters people need to look at to decide which Scope is best for them. 

Best Night Vision Scope List


Best All-in-One: ATN X Sights 4k Pro Day/ Night Riflescope


  • Type: Digital 
  • Gen: N/A 
  • Eye relief: 90 mm
  • Magnifitction: 3-14x or 5-20x 
  • Lens: 42 mm 
  • Weight: 2.1 lbs. (3-14x), 2.2 lbs. (5-20x)
  • Battery Life: Up to 18 hours 
  • Warranty: 2 years 
  • IR illuminator: included

The saying, “a jack of all trades is a master of none, but often better than a master of one,” sums up this NV scope. This lightweight scope made of durable titanium can do it all at an affordable price.  

We are impressed with the high-quality night vision image the ATN X Sights 4K Pro Smart Day/Night provides at pretty long distances. A high-quality vision image is critical to see your target clearly before making your shot at night. However, we recommend you purchase a stronger IR illuminator than the one provided if you plan to shoot longer distances than 50-100 yards. Even with an excellent IR illuminator, do not expect to see must past 300 yards.

The scope is IPX4 rated water-resistant, meaning the night vision device can function in rainy conditions. 

However, the scope is not fog proof, and therefore, the lens could fog up in creating environments. 

Per ATN, the scope can function up to 18 hours on a single charge, meaning this scope should carry you through the night with a single charge in most areas.

This NVD has a pretty cool feature if recording your shot is your thing. You program it to start recording once you shoot, and it takes care of the rest of your firearm having enough recoil. On rifles such as .223, the feature may not work well because there is little recoil.  

The scope wider picatinny rail; therefore, some guns may need a new rail to mount.

The ATN X Sights Pro Smart Day/Night Riflescope is not the best at anything, but it is good at must everything you will want from a night vision scope at a fair price.


  • Image quality at closer distances.
  • Price
  • Water-resistant 
  • Auto recording shot
  • Can use during the day and night 
  • A lot of features built-in in 
  • Battery life
  • Great eye relief 


  • Not fog restaurant 
  • Weaker IR illuminator 
  • Weight
  • Known for bugs in software updates 

Best Digital Night Vision Scope: Sightmark Wraith 4K Max 3-24×50 w/ IR Digital Riflescope


  • Type: Traditional/analog
  • Gen: 4
  • Eye relief: N/A
  • Magnification: 1x
  • Lens: 68 mm 
  • Weight: 1.98 lbs. 
  • Battery life: Up to 8 hours
  • Warranty: 3 years (excluding battery) 

Sightmark’s Wraith 4k Max does one thing extraordinary, and that is being a night vision scope. As far a digital night vision scopes go, Sightmark’s Wraith 4k Max gives you one of the clearest images from a digital night vision scope.

 Enduring aluminum makes up the scope’s body that is shockproof up to 3 ft. As a result, you get a solid and durable scope. So strong that it can handle the recoil up to a .308 caliber.   

It also is IPX5 water-resistant and will withstand any rain or wet weather conditions you could throw at it.  

The Sightmark Wraith 4K Max 3-24×50 operates like normal scope. With its enhanced features easy to adjust even while looking through the scope. You can tell Sightmark put thought into the design so you can make adjustments on the fly.  

This night vision scope comes with a Picatinny accessory rail mount that allows for easy installation to your rifle. Once it is on your rifle, it looks like any normal scope. You can only tell it is a night vision scope by seeing the attached IR illuminator. 

While the attached IR illuminator does have a wavelength of 850 nm (invisible to both humans and animals), it does not illuminate longer distances. We wouldn’t recommend shooting distances longer than 200 yards with the stock illuminator. However, this scope can easily be used for distances past 300 yards with a suitable IR illuminator. 

During the daytime, this scop is okay but does not provide a color image. The daytime cap does help sharpen the image a little, but not enough for us to use it during the day. Many people prefer just to use this scope at night. It also is one of the more expensive digital night vision scopes on the market today. However, you are not paying for the brand name but for a scope that will function well. 


  • Image quality at night 
  • Size 
  • Great Eye relief
  • Can be used day or night 
  • Handles high amount of recoil 
  • Magnification 
  • Battery Life 
  • Easy to use


  • Pice
  • Digital lag 
  • Weight 

Cheapest Night Vision Scope: Bestsight DIY Digital Night Vision Scope


  • Type: Digital 
  • Gen: N/A 
  • Eye relief: N/A
  • Magnification: N/A
  • Lens: N/A
  • Weight: 3 lbs. 
  • Battery life: Up to 2 hours 
  • Warranty: 30 days return with an optional three-year protection plan for a fee. 

If you are looking for a low-budget way to see in the dark, we recommend looking at the Bestsight Digital Night Vision Scope. It works back, attaching to your daytime scope. As a result, you do not have to dedicate one firearm for nighttime and one for daytime. The night vision scope is easy to attach to your daytime scope and firearm when you need it. Bestsight’s NVD is even easier to take off when not in use. 

Once connected to your firearm and daytime scope, the latest vision of Bestight’s Digital Night Vision Scope has the function to record videos and take pictures of the image you see in the scope so you can look back and review later on. 

The digital 5-inch screen that can rotate 350 degrees makes it easy to view your target before taking the shot. Another plus about the 5-inch screen is you do not have to worry about eye relief because you will be looking at the screen instead of through the scope when shooting. The 5 inch also helps those who have difficulty looking through a scope. 

Another plus to this clip-on scope is you do not zero your firearm in again. Simply attach Bestsight’s night vision scope, and you are good to go. 

As far as durability, the scope was designed for smaller caliber firearms. This is because smaller caliber firearms have less of a “kick” that can potentially harm the scope of electrical parts. However, some people have used these NVDs on a .308. The scope will turn off for a few seconds when coupled with higher caliber rifles, then turn back on after a shot is made.  

Another shortcoming we notice with this scope is the inability to look through the scope while using this night vision scope. Instead, you use the 5-inch screen to make a shot. While this is not a significant issue on paper, it takes some time to feel comfortable shooting this way.  

The included IR illuminator will allow you to see just based on the 100-yard mark. However, without an IR illuminator on, you will not be able to see past the 100 yards mark. Bestsight recommends using a larger IR illuminator for targets over 100 yards away.

 This clip-on scope will never be the most powerful night vision scope on the market but look no further if you are looking for very cheap night vision solutions.  


  • Price
  • 5-inch screen 
  • Do not have to re-zero gun in 
  • Easy to attach and detach night vision scope
  • Can be used during the day or night 
  • Do not have to worry about eye relief 
  • Easy to use 


  • Short battery life (only two hours)
  • The included IR illuminator from Bestsight only works up to 100 yards away 
  • The scope is designed for smaller caliber and air rifle guns. 

Best Clip-On: ATN PS28-4

ATN PS28-4


  • Type: Tradtional/analog 
  • Gen: 4
  • Eye relief: N/A
  • Magnification: 1x
  • Lens: 68mm 
  • Weight: 1.98 lbs. 
  • Battery life: Up to 50 hours
  • Warranty: 2 years

One of ATN’s most popular lineup is their PS28 clip-on series. It allows you to use your daytime scope and switch it to a night vision scope in just seconds. This nifty feature allows you not to re-zero your firearm or have to adjust your scope for eye relief. 

The optional quick detachment makes attaching the clip-on night vision scope easier than ever. This has the advantage of using your rifle day and night. Typically when you use a traditional analog night vision scope, you have it mounted to a dedicated gun for nighttime shooting only. 

The scope also has an auto light adjustment of the image you see to help with eye strain. What makes this a gen 4 scope (remember, there is no official gen 4 night vision in the US government’s eyes at this time) is its auto-gated feature. In other words, the night vision will shut off if exposed to bright light that would damage traditional night vision scopes.  

The scope has even been tested to MIL-STD-810 standards, or in other words, meeting US military standards for real-life usage. It should be no surprise that this scope is waterproof and handle extreme weather conditions. 

The scope also can be used up to 50 hours on a single battery which is more than enough time for a few night hunts back to back. The scope is also very rugged and can handle most situations a regular scope would handle. It can also take the recoil of larger caliber rifles.  

One drawback to all traditional night vision scopes is recording videos and taking pictures. While this may be a deal-breaker for some, we believe a gen 2 to 3 traditional or analog night vision scope has a better image than digital night vision scopes. 

Another downside is the price tag for this clip-on scope. However, you get what you paid for with this high-quality scope. If money is not a massive factor in deciding which night vision scope to get, we highly recommend checking out this scope.


  • Resolution 
  • Easy to clip on and take off
  • Battery life 
  • Tested to MIL-STD-810 standards 
  • The life of scope is 10,000 hours 
  • Auto brightness control 
  • Optional weaver mount 
  • Auto-gated 
  • Allows you to use your firearm day or night 
  • Detachable IR850
  • Shockproof for higher caliber rifles
  • Can use the scope without an IR illuminator in very low ambient light


  • Price
  • Weight
  • Must scope already mounted to the firearm 
  • Cannot record or take pictures

Best Quality Pulsar Digex N455 And Pulsar Digex N450 


  • Type: Digital 
  • Gen: N/A
  • Eye relief: 50 mm
  • Magnification: 4 – 16 x 
  • Lens: 50 mm 
  • Weight: 2.1 lbs. 
  • Battery life: 4 hours (can switch batteries in seconds in the field) 
  • Warranty: 3 years

If you are looking for a digital scope with the best quality, the Pulser Digex is your scope. There are two models to choose from, and the only difference between the two models is the IR illuminator. The N455 IR illuminator’s wavelength is 940 nm making it truly invisible. However, you sacrifice viewing range for the higher wavelength. The N450 IR illuminator’s wavelength is 850 nm. The 850 nm infrared wavelength is on the borderline of what some animals can see. Yet, the 850 nm wavelength IR illuminator gives you a further viewing range. Does that matter? Well, let us look at the range between the two. 

The Pulsar Digex night vision scope has a viewing range of up to 500 m for the N455 and 550 m for the N450 using the included IR illuminator at night time. Both models give you some of the longest viewing ranges of digital night vision scopes on the market today with their stock IR illuminator. 

Pulsar has designed the Digex to look and work mainly as a traditional daytime scope. Therefore, the learning curve is slight, and you will be a pro at using it in no time. The durable all-metal housing ensures that your investment will last for years to come. The Pulsar Digex N455 and N450 are IPX7 waterproof rated and can handle any wet conditions you face in the field. 

It is also a little never-racking when shooting a sophisticated night vision scope on a high-power rifle, and that is something you do not need to fear with the Digex. Both models of digital night vision scopes are rated to handle the recoil of 12 gauge, 9.3×64, and .375 H&H.   

The magnification is on par with most digital night vision scopes on the market today. However, the Pulsar Digex pulls away from others due to its shape crips image. Based on our assessment, these NVDs give some of the clearest pictures of any digital scope out there. Allowing you to determine your target quicker and make the best judgment call on when to take the shot. 

We also like how Pulsar has designed the Digex to stream video to your smart device in real-time. Pulsar also made it where any firmware updated needs for the scope can be performed wirelessly using your smart device. The app you will use for all these cool features allows you to safely store your images and videos from your scope into the cloud. 

One of the very few downsides to the Digex is its battery life. However, Pulsar has come up with a solution for this. The Digex has an internal battery that the scope automatically switches to once the external battery is depleted. You can also switch out the spent external battery with a fully charged one in a few seconds out in the field. The scope will automatically switch to using the external battery without turning off. So while one rechargeable battery will only last 4 hours, Pulsar has made it easy to use this digital night vision scope all night long. 

The Pulsar Digex N455 and N450 are both some of the best digital scopes on the market. Again the only difference is the IR illuminator. We would go with the N450 because it is cheaper, and if using the stock IR illuminator can see a little further.  

However, you run the risk of some animal possibly seeing the IR illuminator’s beam slightly. So if that is a concern for you, we recommend the Pulsar Digex N455.    


  • Great resolution 
  • Longer range at night
  • Durable 
  • Easy of use
  • Can be used day or night 
  • Firmware update over WiFi via smartphone
  • Price
  • Durable
  • Waterproof
  • IR illuminator 
  • Auto shut-down
  • Handle recoil of high caliber rifle  
  • Easy to change the battery


  • Weight
  • Need the IR illuminator to use at night
  • Battery life

Budget-Friendly: Night Owl Optics Nightshot Digital Night Vision Riflescope


  • Type: Digital 
  • Gen: N/A
  • Eye relief: 68 mm
  • Magnification: 3x (fixed)
  • Lens: 22.8 mm 
  • Weight: 129.7 grams 
  • Battery life: up to 11.1 hours with IR illuminator on and 17.5 hours with it off
  • Warranty: 1 year

Night Owl claims their Nightshot night vision riflescope is just as good, if not better than scopes priced 3x more than it is. That might be stretching it some, but not by much. 

The Nightshot is constructed of a lightweight but rigid polymer. As a result, where most scopes’ weight on our list is measured in pounds, this scope is so light it is measured in grams. While we all want to think we are tough and strong when we are out in the field, the weight of our rifle feels heavier and heavier as time goes on…

The night vision device is waterproof and will handle all weather conditions you will throw at it. It is also reasonably easy to use and only takes a minute of “playing” with it to understand operating it. 

Like most scopes on our list, the scope mounts to weaver or picantinny rail mount directly as far as attaching it to your firearm. Nightowl’s Nightshot night vision scope works with up to 30 caliber (not a magnum) rifles. Meaning you can use this scope with rifles you would use to coyotes at night. 

As far as magnification, this night vision scope has less power than most scopes on our list, but it has enough power for you to see out 100 to 200 yards. This is more than enough range for many night hunts.  

The Nightshot also does not have that excellent resolution of the image you see. Most higher-end night vision scopes give you 1080p or 4k images, but Night Owl’s Nightshot only gives you a 640 image. However, a 640 image is enough for what we would use it. 

Nightowl’s Nightshot night vision scope could be for you if you are looking for an uncomplicated night vision scope to use for not long distances that has a reasonable price.


  • Price
  • Waterproof 
  • Easy to use 
  • Can be used in daylight
  • IR illuminator included 
  • Lightweight
  • Durable 
  • Image quality (for the price)


  • Stronger IR illuminator needed for longer distances
  • It can only be used on 30 calibers (not magnum) and below
  • It does not have a recording feature, or it cannot connect to your smart device like most digital scopes

Best Traditional Night Vision Scope: AGM Global Vision Wolverine Pro-6 

AGM Global Vision Wolverine Pro-6


  • Type: Traditional or Analog 
  • Gen: Gen 3 Auto-gated (some call Gen 4)
  • Eye relief: 30 mm
  • Magnification: 6x 
  • Lens: 100 mm 
  • Weight: 3.25 lbs. 
  • Battery life: 40 hours
  • Warranty: 3 years

Another what some consider Gen 4 traditional night vision scope is AGM Global Vision’s Wolverine Pro-6. It is built of an aircraft-grade aluminum body, making it very rigid and durable. The outer lens of the night vision scope is coated with a scratch-resistant film increasing its durability. 

This night vision device can be mounted up to a .308 rifle, making it a perfect scope for hog hunting at night (follow all hunting laws and regulations where you will be hunting). The scope is shockproof and should, and we mean it should hold up to a short distance drop. The auto-gated features help ensure you do not damage your scope when looking at a bright light source.  

The battery life of 40 hours means you will get plenty of scope use before needing to replace the batteries. Another plus for this military-grade night vision scope is the white phosphor image you see. This results in a more natural image for your eye and less eye strain. 

The scope is very intuitive to use and operates like most traditional scopes. It only takes a few minutes of tinkering to understand how to use this night vision scope. 

While this is an excellent night vision scope, it does have some shortcomings. For example, you will have to sight in your rifle at night with this boy. It would be best to consider the price and realize that until digital night vision scopes, the Wolverine can not take pictures, record videos, let alone stream images to a smart device. 

However, if you are looking for a proper night vision scope of the highest quality, look no further. 


  • Auto gated 
  • Warranty 
  • Battery Life
  • Shockproof
  • Waterproof
  • It runs off of 2 AA batteries 
  • White phosphor image
  • Easy to use 


  • Cost
  • Weight 
  • Lack of features digital scopes have 

Our Dependable Night Vision Scope Guide

Outdoor Methods has put in a lot of research and hands-on testing to create this guide for you. We put our money on that you will find helpful. We want to note that most night vision scopes on the market today are digital NV scopes.  

What is a Night Vision Scope (Device)?

As the U.S. Government puts it, an NVD (in our case, night vision scope) enhances one’s vision in little to no light environment. The NVD allows you to perform the following in this environment:

  1. Detect 
  2. Recognize 
  3. Identify

How Does a Night Vision Device Work?

In general, night vision devices amplify traces of light for us. The device uses low light (including infrared light), ordinarily invisible to human eyes, to create the image on the screen. How does it do this? By converting photons (light particles) into electrons. It gets a little more in-depth, but this is not chemistry or physics class… it gives me chills thinking back to college.

Types of Night Vision Scopes

Image enhancement: There are two main ways night vision scopes enhance an image once the light enters the 

  • Traditional or analog night vision (scopes) devices use optoelectronic image enhancement to create the picture you see. The device uses infrared light, which is ordinarily invisible to human eyes. 

We can break traditional NVDs into different generations classified by the U.S. Military

  1. Gen 0: Developed in WWII, Gen 0s would project a near-infrared beam from an IR illuminator source at an object. This is called active infrared. The beam would then bounce back into the objective lens of the NVD and intensify. The image enhancement method caused these NVD to have a short life span and distorted the image. Gen 0 products are no longer on the market. 

  1. Gen 1: Work the same way as Gen 0 does with one significant difference. They can use ambient light to create the image without needing an IR illuminator source. Life span and distortion are similar to Gen 0. The average sight range is 75 yards depending on available light. Life expectancy is 1,500 hours.

  1. Gen 2: This generation improved NVD’s life span and image distortion thanks to the microchannel plate (MCP). The MCP controls the electrons in the Scope producing the image. As a result, it can work in very low-light situations (moonless nights). The average sight range is 200 yards. Life expectancy is 4,500 hours.  

  1. Gen 3: We then come to the most current generation acknowledged by the U.S. Military. Again, just a few minor changes from the previous generation. They are adding a more efficient photocathode (what takes photons and changes them to electrons) made of gallium arsenide. The improved photocathode results in better resolution and sensitivity. An ion barrier was also added to the microchannel plate. The addition of the ion barrier increased the life span of NVD substantially. The average sight range is 300 yards. Life expectancy is 10,000 hours.

  1. Variations: There are some variations, but the official category set by the U.S. Military is Gen 0-3. Gen 2+, Gen 3+, and Gen 4 labels manufacturers only use. One exciting improvement of self calmed Gen 4 night vision scopes are that they can move from areas of low light to areas of high light without the sightless (nothing on the screen) image you get with the other generations. 

  • Digital Image Enhancement Night Vision (scopes) devices use have taken over the market. The fundamental difference between traditional and digital night vision scopes is that a light that comes into a digital scope is converted into a digital image for you to view. A digital night vision scope can also offer recording and picture-taking features. Some even have WiFi capabilities for remote viewing.

Thermal Imaging

The fundamental difference between a night vision and a thermal imaging scope is the wavelengths detected on the electromagnetic spectrum. NVD detects near-infrared (700-1100 nm) wavelength (bands). As a result, night vision devices must have some light to work.

On the other hand, thermal scopes detect the difference in the temperature of a target compared to the surrounding environment. The wavelengths it detects on the electromagnetic spectrum are medium wavelength infrared (3,000 nm) to long-wavelength infrared (14,000 nm). 

If you ever found yourself in complete darkness, you would want a thermal scope since it does not need light to operate.  

Essential Questions to Ask Yourself Before Buying

What is Your Shooting Range?

What is Your Price Range? 

How Detailed of an Image Will You Need?

Do You Prefer Black and White or Green for Night Vision?

**For Traditional Night Vision Scopes, military and law enforcement prefer green images (P22) because it has a wider visible septum. In contrast, night vision devices with yellow-green images (P43) decay faster than P22. In other words, the image fades quicker from the screen. White images (P45) have a similar decay time to P43 images and cause less eye fatigue than P22 image night vision scopes.**

Can You Handle the Weight?

Does the Scope Need to Be Detachable?

Do You Want to Switch Between High Levels to Low Levels of Light with the Same Optic?

How Much Battery Life do You Need Scope?

Optics & Clarity (Resolution):

Clarity is the resolution of Scope during night conditions necessary during tactical operations or in hunting. In other words, if you cannot identify your actual target, that means clarity is at stake. Resolution for some night vision scopes is listed by lines per millimeter (LP/MM). The higher the LP/MM, the clearer your target.

Using pixels (yes, just like your tv…) to measure a night vision’s scopes resolution is more familiar to most people. The typical affordable range nigh vision scopes have pixels ratings ranging from 384×200 or 640x480p. While the more costly can reach 4k   

 Lastly, you need to ensure that the scope you decide to purchase has an eye relief you can handle. Eye relief is the distance the image travels from the lens of the scope to the time of your eye. If the eye relief is not accurate, it can lead to blurry images or dark rings in your field of view. As a result, many people naturally move closer to scope, but this increases your risk of the scope hitting you after firing your weapon.  

Range & Optics 

NV scopes are not as powerful as daytime rifle scopes in terms of range. When deciding on which scope to purchase, check the scopes what recognition range capacity is based on ambient light availability. The more light the scope can gather at night, the better you recognize your target.  

The higher the recognition range, the more light your scope needs and the farther it can reach with better clarity. The typical range for a commercially available night vision scope is 100 yards. We recommend looking for a range of 50 to 200 yards. 


Magnification is how much more significant an image is to the naked eye. So, for example, at 3x, the image is three 3x larger than it would be to the naked eye. More affordable night vision scopes have magnifications range between 3-5x, with the more costly having a magnification range between 6x to 20x

Just remember, magnification does not always mean a clear image. So make sure the scope will keep the picture clear at the desired magnification you need. 

Objective Lens 

The objective lens is where light enters the scope. Typically the larger the objective lens, the more light it will allow. Just remember, this will add to the gun’s weight and how bulky it is. We recommend looking at scopes with an objective lens size of 40 to 42 millimeters first and going from there. 

Battery Life

Traditional night vision optics use less power than digital scopes. Typically, the longer the scope’s battery life, the more you will pay. However, around 8 hours of battery life will cover you an entire night. We recommend you start there.   

It is essential to prep for your night shoot beforehand. Checking your battery’s charge needs to be part of this prepping process. 

Construction and Durability:

In general, anything involving electrical components is less durable (does anybody remember walking with a portable CD player?!) Night vision scopes (NV scopes) have the same issue. While your higher-grade night vision scopes are durable, they are not as durable as most daytime scopes. 

Typically clip-on and digital NV scopes are more durable than your affordable analog night vision optics. This is due to all the mechanics of traditional night vision optics.  

Make sure your selection is shock-resistant or proof. This will not only help if you hit it against something while out in the field or if you drop it (God forbid!), but it will also help with recoil when firing your weapon. 

For construction, most NV scopes on the market today are made of steel, carbon fiber, aircraft-grade aluminum, or high-impact plastic, and these are fine for what you will be using them for. You will also want to look for a scope with an anodized outer coating because this will combat rust on the NV scope. 

We recommend finding a night vision optic that is rated IPX4 waterproof. This will help with any condensation that may occur while using it.

Since you will be out at night, and the environment will be colder, we also recommend that you have a night vision scope that is nitrogen charged or has another way to keep the optics from fogging up. 


The scope’s weight will vary, but typically digital or analog night vision scopes weigh around the same. It will be up to you to determine how much weight you can handle. Like hiking, though, one of your main goals should always be to reduce the weight of your firearm. 


If using an infrared illuminator, find an IR wavelength higher than 850 nm so all the animals will not see it.   Digital NV scopes can take pictures, and some can record.

In comparison, others can connect to WiFi and view the image on a screen.Traditional or analog night vision optics have a more natural image but do not have the bells and whistles of digital NV scopes.

FAQ About Night Vision Scopes

Below are some of the most frequently asked questions folks have about night vision scopes. 

Which Is Better Analog (Traditional) or Digital Night Vision Scopes? 

Both types of night visions have their pros and cons. So it will be up to you to decide.  

Analog (Traditional) Night Vision Scope: 


  • Better resolutions
  • May not need an infrared illuminator
  • Better at Seeing Moving Targets
  • Better Range
  • Less Power Consumption 
  • More natural image 


  • Newer Generations are less affordable 
  • Less Durable 
  • Smoke, fog, and dust can obscure th image
  • Older Generation scopes can ruin if exposed to a high light environment.

Digital Night Vision Scopes


  • More affordable 
  • Some can record videos 
  • All can take pictures 
  • More durable 
  • Can work in high and low light settings 


  • High power consumption
  • Image quality is not as good as traditional night vision 
  • It needs an infrared illuminator (plants can distort the image) 

What are the Distances that Night Vision Scopes can Cover?

The distances that night vision scopes cover varies. Typically you are looking at a range of 50-200 yards. 

How do You Zero in Night Vision Scope?

Zeroing in a night vision scope is the same in principle as a daytime scope. Out method is to start low and go slow. Meaning, start zeroing in a reasonably close distance to your target, and then slow (10-15 yards) at a time back up to the desired length you want your rifle zeroed to.

Typical targets will be challenging to use. You can find unique night targets here or make your own. Just remember the coloring and texture of the rings need to be different from the target. 

How to Use a Night Vision Scope?

Using digital night vision scopes is like using a regular scope either day or night.  

For analog or traditional night vision scopes, it is a bit different. Be sure not to operate the scope around bright light sources or risk ruining your NVD. 

You also want to take breaks from looking at the screen to help combat eye fatigue.    

Practice with your scope regularly, and start a routine on how you use it. If you are using an IR illuminator, be sure to practice with it as well. 

How to Mount a Night Vision Scope?

You mount most traditional night vision optics just as a regular scope with standard scope rings and a typical mounting base. However, some analog night vision scopes may need special mounting tools. 

Digital night vision optics can be bulky and may need a special mounting solution. Typically the mounting tools required for a digital scope come with it at purchase. If the mounting tools do not come with the NVD, reach out to the manufacturer for recommendations on what to buy. 

How Long do Night Vision Scopes Last?

Typically, digital night vision scopes will last longer than your traditional or analog NV scopes. Earlier generations of analog night vision scopes would only last a few hundred hours before failing. The newer generations can last around 10,000 hours. 

Can I use Night Vision During the Day?

You can only use night vision during the day if the scope is rated for day and night use. Typically digital night vision optics are the ones that can be used day or night. Most analog or traditional NV scopes can be ruined if exposed to daylight. 

Can You See in Complete Darkness with Night Vision Scopes?

No, you need some light source for night vision optics to work. Near-infrared light is one of these light sources. An infrared illuminator creates a light source if needed. If using an illuminator, make sure the wavelength is higher than 850 nm. 850 nm is the wavelength where animals stop seeing the infrared.  

It is legal to own a gen 3 night vision scope. You do not need a permit for this type of scope. These scopes usually have a high price tag, though. 

The short answer is it depends. Typically night vision scopes are not allowed to be exported. If you are ever in a situation where you are trying to export a night vision scope, contact the US Department of State or the US Bureau of Industry and Security for guidance on exporting night vision scopes.


We are a huge fan of night vision scopes here at Outdoor Methods. There is nothing like being about to see your target clearly under the cloak of darkness. While there are many night vision scopes on the market, we have narrowed them down to what our research shows are the top night vision scopes for you to review. 

While digital night vision scopes are the way of the future, we still prefer traditional night vision scopes. Therefore our top recommendation would be ATN’s PS28 for a traditional night vision scope, and the Sightmark Wraith for digital scope.

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