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Night Vision Rifle Scopes

Reviews of the Best Night Vision Rifle Scopes in 2017

Why no high-magnification Night Vision Hunting Scopes?

One of the first things you'll notice when you start running through night vision specifications is that with rare exception, magnifications much beyond 4 or 5 power just don't exist. The reason for this is the multi-step process that infrared light must take through a night vision hunting scope to reach your eye.

Night Vision's multi-step process

While day scopes simply stream light through a series of lenses directly into your eye, night scopes have to do some pretty significant processing to turn invisible infrared light into something we can see.

Night vision hunting scopes do this by inserting a middleman in the process - either an image intensification tube or a CCD chip - that produces something we can see. Yet even then the light has to be streamed one more time through yet another set of lenses before it finally hits our eyes. Lower magnifications are the direct result of this multi-step process.

The argument against high-magnification night vision

Though the magnifications you'll find on just about all night vision hunting scopes are never large, because of the tradeoff that always has to be made between magnification and field of vision (FOV) that's not necessarily a negative.

Just as with day scopes, as the magnification goes up, FOV goes down. During the daytime this is less important as you've still got full use of your eyes to quickly scan and acquire targets prior to zeroing. During the night however you'll be depending on your night vision hunting scope as much for target acquisition as you do for final targeting.

The result? Even if you could find a super high magnification night scope, you'd quickly discover that the scope's small FOV would make target acquisition next to impossible.

The bottomline? High-magnification night scopes won't do you an ounce of good if you can't easily acquire targets. In the hands of a true marksman a 4 to 5 power night vision hunting scope equipped with an autogated Gen3 image tube or a high resolution digital CCD is more than enough.