Night Vision Scope Buying Guide

Night vision scopes contain optics which amplify existing light to provide the user with a clearer picture in instances where only low light is available. Whether it's for hunting, military, law enforcement, or used for security purposes; night vision scopes are quickly climbing in popularity.

Types of Features Available in Night Vision Scopes

The rising use of night vision scopes creates a larger field of additional features made by manufacturers. From standard night vision scopes to larger, expensive scopes with all the bells and whistles; deciding which scope is best suited for your needs can be daunting.

The following list shows several different night vision scope features that are available.

Day to Night Transitioning

Being able to transition from day to night is an exciting feature available on some night vision scopes. This feature would serve the purpose of anyone that intends to use a scope day or night and does not want the hassle of changing them out.

Infrared Illuminators

Night Vision Scopes are available with or without IR or infrared illuminators. A very popular feature on night scopes is the ability to shine an infrared light which makes night vision brighter. Infrared illuminators have a limited range, but as with most features of night vision scopes, the larger the IR, the more powerful the range. Military, law enforcement, and search and rescue teams may need the larger IR versions. The buyer should consider the area the scope will be used and determine the range needed.


Another popular feature of night vision scopes is a display which includes a compass. Advanced displays have options to take pictures or video. This feature is useful if the buyer believes they will be utilizing the feature enough to make sense of the added cost. Many of the latest models of night vision scopes already include this ability.

WiFi and GPS

WiFi and GPS has become a popular feature added to newer models of night vision scopes. It is an excellent feature for buyers who know they may regularly use the scope in unfamiliar places. This feature most likely would not be as useful for buyers using the scope to hunt familiar grounds or who are using it for security purposes.

Weather Resistant

Weather resistant night vision scopes are a necessity for the buyer that plans to use the scope in any type of weather. Night vision scopes can be costly, and the buyer needs assurance the scope will be protected. Buyers interested in weather resistant scopes should look for the feature, water proof or fog proof, listed in the features section of the product.

Pay Attention to the Following Before Purchasing

Optic Resolution-Measured by lines per millimeter, higher lines equal better clarity. If the buyer is purchasing the scope for hobby purposes, a medium resolution would work fine. For law enforcement, military, or search and rescue, the higher resolution would be needed.

Recognition Range-Range is measured by the amount of natural ambient light. Manufacturers list ranges for different phases of the moon, starlight, and foggy nights. Shorter optics equal less light. Once again, for hobby purposes, shorter ranges will work fine. However, for tactical purpose, longer range may be necessary.

Size and Weight-Optics that are higher in range are also heavier and harder to aim. The buyer should weigh the pros and cons of using a heavier scope versus a lighter one The material make up of the scope should be considered as well. For example, titanium is very durable and also lightweight.

Durability-Look at all features of the scope and compare them to how the night scope will be used. If rain does not stop the buyer from using the scope, make certain it is waterproof. Buyers should decide the need for more durability before purchasing the scope. If the scope needs to stand up to harsh treatment, it will need to consist of tough materials.

Infrared Illuminator-Buyer should decide before purchase whether or not an IR is a feature needed. There are a few night vision scopes still available without IR, however, most newer models have infrared illuminators as a standard feature.

Top Brands and Product Lines

ATN X-Sight 3-12 Smart Scope This scope features Wifi, GPS, and image stabilization.

Armasight Vampire 3X Night Vision Scope This scope features CORE technology, a long range IR, and is water and fog resistant.

Firefield FF 16001 Night Vision Scope Affordable and very popular, this scope features a lightweight titanium body with built in IR.

Sightmark Photon XT 4.6 x 42S Digital Night Vision Scope This scope is designed for precision at medium range and is lighter than most other digital night vision scopes.

Armasight ORION 5x Gen 1+ Night Vision Scope This scope features 5x magnification and a detachable IR.