Jump Straight to Your Topic
- Best Night Vision Scope at a Glance
- Types of Night Vision Scopes
- Night Vision Devices and How They Work
- Generations of Night Vision
- Generation 0 Night Vision
- Generation 1 (Gen 1) NVD’s
- Generation 2 (gen 2) Night Vision Technology
- Generation 3 (Gen 3) Night Vision Tech.
- Where Can You Shop for Night Vision?
The Best Night Vision Scope will allow you to take advantage of the same technology that our Military and our Police use to find what you are looking for in the dark.
Night Vision Scopes are no longer just for elite military teams or for covert operations. There was a time when hunters like you and I weren’t even able to purchase the hi tech night vision products that are available to us today. Starlight scopes and thermal imaging was something we could only wish for a few short years ago.
However, welcome to the 21st century. Night vision scopes are now used by hunters and shooters nationwide in all facets of hunting and recreational shooting.
Best Night Vision Scope at a Glance
Here at Hunters Pulse, we understand that some people don’t have a bunch of time to spare, So here is a quick look at some of the best night vision scopes on the market.
Pulsar Phantom Gen 3 Select 4×60 MD Night Vision Riflescope An extremely versatile scope (Export restrictions may apply)
Pulsar Digex N455 Digital Night Vision Riflescope Export restrictions may apply:
Wolverine Pro 4 3NL2 Mil Spec Gen 3″Level 2″ Night Vision Rifle Scope For Sale in The US only.
Types of Night Vision Scopes
In order to help you make an informed decision when you do decide to buy a night vision scope, You need to understand the different styles, types, and generations of night vision technology.
My first experience with night vision came in the very early 70’s when I was in the service. I was trained to use what was called a “Starlight Scope“. At the time, I had absolutely no clue what a starlight scope was, Not to mention the fact that this type of night vision scope was actually a Second Generation version.
Night Vision Devices and How They Work
Night vision devices all use what is known as an electro-optical image enhancement technology system. The system uses an image intensifier tube that gathers and collects the ambient light from the moon and the stars and any other low light source and amplifies it. Night vision devices take the ambient light they gather through the front lens and funnel it into a photocathode tube. This light is made up of photons, (most all light is made up of photons). Once the light is in the cathode tube, the photons are turned into electrons and amplified to a much greater number through a chemical and electrical process.
These electrons are then slammed and bounced off of a phosphorous screen that changes them back into a visible light that you can see when you are looking through the eyepiece of your scope or other night vision device.
Generations of Night Vision
A good quality gen3 nvd is going to be an expensive undertaking.
However, given the multitude of uses, and situations where a good night vision device is needed, the prices can be justified. Prices will most likely come down a bit as time goes on and more advances are made in the field of night vision optics.
Night vision technology was first used in WWII. The technology was widely used during the Viet Nam War, and since then has gone through several changes and upgrades. Night vision scopes that use the Image Intensifier tube are placed into classifications of generations ranging from Gen 0 to gen 3 +
Generation 0 Night Vision
This generation got its start way back in WWII. The US Army developed and used gen 0 technology in WWII as well as the Korean war. These NVD’s were bulky and somewhat fragile compared to the devices we have available today.
Generation 0 devices require active infrared light, a beam that is projected downrange, and bounces off of targets and back to the lens of your NVD. This system required an infrared illuminator, a cathode tube to accelerate the electrons, and slam them against a phosphorous screen to produce a visible image.
Gen 0 NVD’s had a couple of big drawbacks. 1’st, the images were relatively low quality, and the infrared illuminator could be seen by enemy soldiers with an NVD of their own. (Not a good thing)
Generation 1 (Gen 1) NVD’s
A (gen1) night vision scope was also known as a Starlight Scope. This is the type of scope that I trained with when I was in the service. At the time, these were pretty high-speed night vision devices. Starlight Scopes were widely used in the Viet Nam War.
Gen 1 NVD’s migrated away from the active infrared illuminator to a more passive infrared which no longer required a projected beam that could be seen by enemy soldiers. Starlight scopes gathered and used the ambient light from the moon and stars. Gen 1 devices still use an improved version of the cathode tube and image intensifier. However, they still don’t really work all that great on cloudy and moonless nights.
Generation 2 (gen 2) Night Vision Technology
Major leaps and bounds in intensifier tube technology and the addition of an MCP (micro channel plate) resulted in much higher resolution and sharper images than the gen-1 devices could produce. The MCP (micro channel plate) increased sensitivity by not only accelerating the electrons, but by exponentially increasing the number of electrons being slammed against the phosphorous screen.
Thus, resulting in sharper, clearer images.
I think that biggest change in the Gen 2 scopes is the ability to see in extremely low light conditions. On nights that are cloudy and no moonlight is available, the Gen 2 scopes can still function very well.
Generation 3 (Gen 3) Night Vision Tech.
Now we are talking Serious Night Vision capabilities 🙂 Generation 3 Night Vision Scopes and binoculars are currently being used by our Military and Elite groups of police and security professionals. Third generation Night Vision Scopes still utilize the (MCP) microchannel plate but also incorporated a new and improved version of the photocathode tube that is made with gallium arsenide to further enhance image resolution.
Where Can You Shop for Night Vision?
I have tried to put together a group of the best places to find, shop and compare the best night vision scopes, binoculars and monoculars. I figure the more options you have, the better off you will be when it comes time to pull the trigger on making this kind of investment. Please be advised, most of the following links will result in Hunters Pulse making a very small commission if you decide to make a purchase through one of them.