Are Night Vision Goggles Legal: A Beginners Guide

Are Night Vision Goggles Legal: A Beginners Guide

Are Night Vision Goggles Legal: A Beginners Guide

Many people want to buy night vision goggles. However, some hesitate to purchase one as they often ask, “Are night vision goggles legal?” If it is your first time to buy one or is still thinking twice of getting one for fear that doing so is illegal, then here is a guide on what one needs to know about the device.

What Is a Night Vision Device?

Many people get confused on what to call goggles or binoculars with night vision capabilities.

This device is often called night vision device while others refer to it as a night optical or observation device. Some also call it as night vision goggles. All three are the same as they are an optoelectronic device that can produce images to be produced in a level of light that is almost of total darkness.

This device comes in two types, namely the infrared or thermal ones and the image intensifier tube devices. The former uses an infrared system that measures the difference in the heat and the production of an electronic image that is causing the radiation of the heat. The latter takes whatever is the available light and even intensifies it.

What Is the Night Vision Device For?

It is often used in military operations, and law enforcement, which is why many people ask, “Are night vision goggles legal?”

This device is great for surveillance work, SWAT operations, sniper overwatch, searching in darkness and just viewing what people do at night. Those in the search and rescue missions and even evidence searching use the thermal systems while the image intensifier tube devices are excellent tools for everyday people watching.

Both have their disadvantages as the image intensifier tube devices are often hampered by light sources such as streetlights and other lights found nearby. Neither can this type of night vision see through fog, smoke, snow or heavy rains. Other obstructions can also hamper its performance.

On the other hand, the thermal devices can see through the smoke and other weather conditions but are hampered by windshield glass and windows. It can lead one to a particular person radiating some heat, but it will not help in identifying the person or its features.

Are Night Vision Goggles Legal?

Buying and selling night vision devices are both legal activities for many countries unlike guns and ammunition, where one does need a permit to purchase and carry. However, some countries have restrictions on the use of the device.

For example, in Iceland, one can use night vision devices when hunting but is free to use it for other purposes. In France, a particular type of night goggles is illegal for civilian ownership as well as the mounting of the device on another object like tripod, helmet or rifle. Similarly, the government of Germany also restricts the use of certain kinds of night vision devices by the civilians.

Other countries also allow the use and ownership of this tool only for observation purposes. Some countries also restrict the importation and exportation of such devices.

As such, it would be best to check with the laws of the country or the state before purchasing any night goggles.

How to Care for the Device?

Night vision devices or goggles do not come cheap, which makes it an investment piece. And as with any investment, one should take proper care of it.

  • Never drop it. This is the number one rule for these devices to last long. Doing so might result in irreparable damage.
  • Avoid storing it with the batteries for a long time. Users should observe this as cells left on the device that’s unattended will affect its performance.
  • Always keep the covers on when the device is not in use. Most devices come with some protective cases, and it is highly recommended that the protective case is used.
  • Cover the device’s optics with a clear glass filter. As much as possible, owners should do this to protect the lenses from dirt and scratches.

Some Good to Know

Special Training

One can buy a night vision device and go off in adventures in darkness. However, given the high costs of the equipment, it is best for the owners and users to make the most out of it by taking some training. Many product makers or sellers offer some instruction on how to use the item, and some agencies give training and seminars on the proper use of night vision devices.

If training is out of the question, then reading the manual carefully and following what it says to the letter T is an excellent way to make the most out of the device.

Life Expectancy

One of the most commonly asked questions about night goggles is how long it will last? The answer depends on what kind of night vision device one has.

Thermal goggles can last a lifetime with proper care and storage. On the other hand, the image intensifier tube device has an expiration due to the tube coatings. The best way to extend the life of the image intensifier tube device is to turn it off when not in use.

A Myth

Many people are confused about how night goggles work because many popular beliefs are not based on facts.

For example, some people say that thermal night goggles can only be used at night. However, this is not entirely true since the highlighting ability of this device can be used and is very much valuable even during daylight. Keep in mind that the thermal device measures the radiation of the heat of the source, which means that it can pick up the temperature of an object regardless of whether the sun is up.

Useful But Be Careful

Night goggles are nice to have and can be very useful. Luckily, many countries and states allow for the ownership of the item by civilians. However, some laws restrict the use of the night vision devices as well as the ownership of a particular kind.

It is always best to check with the requirements of your country or state before buying one. Night vision devices can be quite pricey. And it is best for an owner or user to learn how it works to make the most out of the device as well as to take proper care of it.

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