There’s something so thrilling about being out in the darkness of night, and when you add to that thrill the excitement of hunting then you’re bound to have about as much fun as you can handle.
Being able to expertly see in the dark and enjoy the world under a whole new light is one of the most thrilling things you’ll ever do, provided you have the best night vision scope working for you.
These scopes are crucial if you plan on heading out in the dark as you simply won’t be able to do it any other way. They attach easily to your rifle or weapon and allow you a glimpse at how the world looks when you’re normally asleep, and the results can be seriously amazing.
If you’ve never tried night time hunting before or want to upgrade your night vision gear, you might have already realized that the range of products out there is overwhelming. Looking through the best night vision scope reviews and trying to decipher exactly what is the best night vision rifle scope can be enough to put you off the venture altogether.
For that reason, we’ve made this thorough buying guide that can show you exactly what features matter when you’re investing in night vision gear like this. We’ve found the top-rated scopes in all different categories and price ranges so there’s bound to be one that suits everyone.
With this one handy device added to your hunting gear, you’ll experience your favorite hobby in a new and exciting way that you never thought possible.
Best Night Vision Rifle Scope Under $1000
Best Night Vision Rifle Scope Under $500
Our Picks For The Best Night Vision Rifle Scope Under $1000
It’s no surprise that hunting gear and accessories for our weapons can be expensive, and if you’re someone who wants to be able to rely on their gear at all times then money is probably no object. We’ve found the best rated scopes for under $1,000, with each of them offering the highest quality and most modern features around.
Winner: ATN X-Sight 4K Rifle Scope
Anyone who knows anything about scopes will know the ATN name and be able to vouch for its quality, and if you’re someone happy spend a little extra then this is the brand for you. This is the best day night rifle scope around that will work just as well during the daylight and night time, so it’s perfect for those longer hunting trips.
Using a super powerful ultra 4K HD sensor and a dual-core processor, this is a seriously high tech device. You’ll get to see everything in the most vivid colors and with a bright resolution which makes it one of the clearest digital scopes we’ve ever witnessed.
Because it’s a digital scope you have to be prepared to find a few bugs within the hardware, and that was certainly the case with the ATN X-Sight 4K Scope. Although these are constantly being updated by the manufacturer when you’re spending this amount you would rather everything comes installed and in working order.
The bugs aside, there are really no complaints to find with the scope. For those who prefer the modern touch to their hunting expedition, this will be right up your alley as it comes with features like a ballistic calculator and the ability to record and stream everything it sees.
This means you can watch back your hunt and relive the glory as if you were there again.
The battery is pretty impressive with the ATN X-Sight 4K Scope and it should get you over 18 hours of use in the field. The quick detach mount makes it easy to take on and off as well, so it seems that ATN has really thought of everything when designing their premium product.
Runner-Up: Armasight Vampire Scope
When you think about creatures who stalk the night and do so with absolute stealth, the vampire might be one that springs to mind. Armasight has created a night vision scope that can help you hunt as smoothly as the mythical creature that’s tougher than you might expect.
The Armasight Vampire Scope has been designed for those people who like to get out and about into the great outdoors and don’t want to have to worry about sand, dirt, water, and rain getting into their belongings.
It’s completely shockproof and weather resistant so there’s not much it can’t stand up against, so you don’t need to worry about damage.
Using the CORE platform (ceramic optical ruggedized engine), the scope has double the picture resolution quality of normal Gen 1 devices and rivals the image quality of even the best gen 2 night vision rifle scope options out there.
This scope delivers flat and clear night vision images that you won’t have to squint to make out, provided you can afford something in this higher price range.
Although the Vampire comes with its own detachable IR illuminator, some of the reviews found that it didn’t really match the quality of the scope itself. You might want to upgrade and get a separate illuminator to give yourself the best image and see farther at night. They can make a huge difference! For more information and reviews of the best infrared illuminators click here.
Another issue that some customers mentioned was the weight of the device, as they found it had the potential to add quite a bit to their platform. When you think about potentially having to add another illuminator as well, you can expect even more weight, so this might not be the best option for those who like it light.
Alternative: ATN X-Sight II 5-20x
Another great product from this legendary brand is the ATN X-Sight II which is the second generation model of their previously popular scope. This is another one of their scopes that works just as well in the day and night so if you’re thinking in investing in either one or the other there’s no reason you can’t get them both with this device.
One of the coolest things about this scope is the ballistics calculator, and it seems to be quite common in the newer versions of digital scopes.
While aiming at your target, the calculator can show you exactly where you need to shoot in order to get both long range and up close shots. This is a nice little extra that can certainly help when you’re out hunting.
If you’ve ever wanted to relive one of your favorite hunting experiences or share with friends and family exactly what you go up to, you can do this with the ATN X-Sight II. Offering 1080p HD streaming and recording functions, this scope can actually record everything you’ve done and saved it for you to enjoy later.
The problems that most customers found with this device is that the buttons and knobs just weren’t adequate for the price of the scope. Some found that the adjustment knobs were incredibly stiff and hard to turn, and others noted that the buttons on the device were too sensitive.
Although these don’t affect the scope while in use, it can take up a lot of your time when you’re trying to set it up.
There is a light that comes with this scope, but as you can imagine you might want to upgrade it to something better. People have found that is was adequate enough but if you’re serious about night vision and want the absolute best, it’s better to use it with an illuminator that’s far more powerful.
Second Alternative: Firefield NVRS Tactical Scope
This is one of the best Gen 1 night vision rifle scopes on the market and one that’s incredibly priced even though it’s in the higher budget range. The Firefield NVRS Tactical Scope is a no-fuss approach to night vision and would ideally suit someone who doesn’t want a digital touch to their scopes and hunting gear.
Made from a durable titanium alloy housing you don’t have to worry about whether or not it will hold up out on the field. Some might find this material to be a bit heavier than they’re used to but the bonus of it is that it’s been built to last years, so putting up with a little extra weight is definitely worth it.
With a built-in focusing function there’s very little that you have to do with it in order to get a clear view, so if you’re someone who likes to do their own focusing then this isn’t the scope for you. You have to trust that the device knows what it’s doing, which at most times it does, but you have very little control over how the picture turns out.
The Firefield NVRS Tactical Scope comes with a built-in infrared pulse illuminator which means you probably don’t have to invest in another light. This can save you quite a bit of money from adding more accessories, so it’s definitely one of the strong points that it brings to the table.
Although good and clearly made with quality craftsmanship and materials, people might be torn about how they feel about the simplicity of this.
For those traditional shooters and hunters who like things simple then it will be the perfect match, but if you want features like digital imaging and the options to record or stream your experience, this won’t cut it.
Our Picks For The Best Night Vision Rifle Scope Under $500
Those shopping on a budget might be looking for the best night vision rifle scope for the money, and have found that so many products out there are exceedingly priced. We’ve done the hard work and found the ones that are great value for money, proving you don’t have to spend a fortune just to enjoy the night hunting experience for yourself.
Winner: ATN X-Sight II 3-14x Rifle Scope
It probably doesn’t come as a shock to see another ATN product on our top rated list, and this time it’s thanks to their X-Sight II Rifle Scope.
As one of the cheaper options around this scope just proves how you don’t have to spend a lot to get quality, and with its durable case, easy to use design, and amazing optics you’ll quickly see why it’s a winner.
The ATN X-Sight II Rifle Scope can be used day or night with just as much precision no matter the time or conditions outside. With the Recoil Activated Video (RAV) you can easily record and watch back your best moments on the field without needing to worry about whether or not it’s turned on and keeping watch.
If you’re someone who normally carries a rangefinder with you, there’s really no need when you choose the X-Sight II. It has a very high-quality one built in and it does a pretty decent job helping you find the perfect aim. One problem is that there’s no illuminator built in, so this is another cost you have to think about.
For those who want the absolute best images though you will definitely want to get yourself an IR illuminator to attach to the scope. This added bonus of extra infrared light can improve the quality of the X-Sight II even more, and will give you the best hunting experience of their life in the dark.
One huge downfall comes with the battery that it uses, and although there’s a power pack available it still doesn’t help.
You can only expect to get about an hour of use with four standard batteries if you’re recording, so it’s probably not a function that you want to use that often. Packing extra batteries is definitely a must when plan on taking this hunting.
Runner-up: Firefield Gen 1 Night Vision Scope
When you’re looking through the budget-friendly scopes on offer you might not expect to find something as reasonably priced as this, but Firefield has managed to create a cheap and quality night vision scope with this device.
The Firefield Gen 1 Night Vision Scope can give you everything you need for the perfect night shooting experience and it does so at just a fraction of the cost of the rest.
Although marketed as a lightweight product, there are quite a few reviewers who believe otherwise. With a titanium body, it’s certainly strong and you can probably trust it to last for years, but in terms of how much weight it will add to your setup, you might need to reconsider.
One nice addition to this scope is the IR illuminator that’s been attached, and it’s quite a surprising one to find at this low cost. This makes the Firefield Gen 1 the perfect choice for anyone new to hunting or those who want to try our night vision shooting without breaking the bank, and it has everything you need to get started.
The design of the scope seems smarter than a lot of the more expensive options, with all of the buttons, knobs, and adjustments well placed and easy to use. This means when you’re out on a hunting adventure and need to think quick, you can easily adjust your scope to give yourself the best view possible.
Firefield has succeeded in creating one of the best Gen 1 night vision rifle scope choices out there, and to do so at such low cost is even better. For a simple and tactical approach to night vision and a scope that’s been designed to last, this is by far one of the better options you’ll find.
Alternative: Night Owl Optics Night Vision Scope
Another great contender for the best and cheapest scope comes from Night Owl Optics with their Night Vision Scope, and it’s got a simple design that will appeal to so many traditional types of hunters.
If you’ve been waiting to try out night vision with your shooting but found the bells and whistles of other styles too much, this could be just what you’ve been looking for.
The Night Owl Optics Night Vision Scope has quite a good range compared to others, able to get you 100 – 200 feet of clear views. It comes with a built-in IR illuminator which makes it even better value for money, however depending on how bright you need to see then you might want to upgrade to a separate illuminator.
The battery life on this scope isn’t that great which could explain the lower cost, but this is really the only downside worth mentioning. You can expect to get about two hours with the light on high powered before it starts to die, so you’re not going to be enjoying long hunting trips through the night unless you’ve packed some spares.
There are three different types of reticle selection to choose from which is a nice feature that allows you more options depending on your environment. You can also configure it to black and white which helps you adapt to the surroundings even faster, making your aim significantly better and clearer.
With an objective lens, you’ll be able to get 3x magnification and a focal length of 52mm. You can focus from around 3 meters away to infinity, according to Night Owl Optics, so it might be ideal to test out how far it can actually go.
For a simple and affordable entry-level optics choices, the Night Owl Optics Night Vision Scope is certainly one of the better options out there.
Second Alternative: Armasight Orion Night Vision Scope
If you’re a hunter who really likes to zoom in on things and get the most magnification possible when you’re seeking your game, the Armasight Orion Night Vision Scope might be for you. This powerfully impressive device allows you to get up to 5x magnification so you can zoom into just about anything and give yourself a chance at success.
This Gen 1+ scope comes with a detachable IR illuminator light so you can even use it with other products, but in terms of quality, it could probably be better. This would be one of those purchases that warrant an investment in a separate light which will only make the scope itself work even better.
Some users also found the weight of the night vision scope to be a little hefty, but it all depends on your personal preference. Consider adding 3.7lbs to your current platform and see if you’d be able to handle it, keeping in mind you’ll need to add another IR light as well. If you think it wouldn’t be an issue, then this is definitely great value for money.
With shock protected optics and a water-resistant design, you can take this out comfortably without worrying about how it’s going to hold up. For those hunters who like to trek through water and mud, you will have peace of mind that your optics are going to hold up, and the rubberized body can put up with just about anything you throw at it.
Armasight definitely knows how to make a quality scope for cheap, but their lights leave something to be desired. As long as you’re willing to upgrade to a Gen 2 or get a better IR illuminator for the scope, you will be seriously impressed by the images you get from this one affordable night vision scope.
What To Look For When Buying A Night Vision Scope
Although we’ve shown you our recommendations for the best night vision scopes on the market, you still need to understand for yourself about what makes these products so good. Here are some of the common features and specs you’ll find on a night vision scope and what they mean for its quality.
Type Of Technology
Traditionally, scopes were all made one way, but today you have more options. There are digital scopes that can record and offer HD images or simpler ones that do nothing but enhance your view.
Both Gen 1 and Gen 2 scopes are available, with the latter having upgraded features, clearer images, but a much higher cost. There are Gen 3 and 4 available but these are generally reserved for military use.
Image Quality And Gain
The quality of your image is crucial as you need to be able to see your target. The resolution of a night vision scope is usually measured by lines per millimeter with the higher the lines amount the clearer the resolution.
Being able to zoom in on your target or surroundings is crucial at all times of shooting but especially when you’re hunting at night. A standard amount of magnification is about 3x but they have the ability to go much higher.
Most modern night vision rifle scopes come with extras that make them easier to shoot with and more fun to use. There are things like rangefinders built in, recording and streaming capabilities that help you relive your best moments, and ballistic calculators to give you the most accurate shot.
Many night vision rifle scopes come with a built-in IR illuminator that’s designed to make your image clearer. However, as the product you’re buying is the scope these are usually made to lesser quality, so it’s better to invest in an additional IR light to connect to it.
There are different mounting options depending on what weapon you’re using it with. Some people use their scope for hunting and others for activities like paintball so there’s no one scope to suit them all. Two common options are Weaver rails and Picatinny rails, but it depends on your weapon of choice.
Getting Your Night Vision Setup Perfected
Hunting at night and taking a look at the world in a completely new and exciting way is one of the most thrilling things you’ll ever try. However, being out and about when it’s pitch black outside mean you need accessories and gear that you can truly rely on.
Night vision scopes can be hard to buy as there are so many different levels of quality out there. As we can see though, there’s no need to spend a fortune just to get one of the better brands, but it will usually mean that you have to invest in an IR illuminator that can help it shine even better.
Any one of these devices would make a great addition to your arsenal, and you’ll probably find that after just one experience in the dark you want to keep using your night vision scope whenever you can.
Provided you have one of these recommended devices by your side and an understanding of how hunting at night differs, you’ll be set for one of the most exciting experiences of your life.