An AR-15 is one of the best rifle to accessorize for a lot of gun owners. And, if you are looking to shoot at night, a high performing night vision scope should be on your list of potential choices. However nowadays, there are a huge range of these scopes to choose from that are currently available on the markets. Having said that, it can be time-consuming and comes with a fair amount of effort to choose the right one.
Ever since that night vision devices hit the market, it has turned your shooting experiences into a 24-hour activity. Night vision devices are generally used among gun owners for hunting. Military operations, on the other hand, have other uses.
Finding a good night vision scope with optimum capabilities is an intimidating task sometimes. To help you resolve this “daunting task”, we have come up with a list of some of the best night vision scopes for your AR-15 rifle.
Night Vision Scopes: The Benefits
In all honesty, there are quite a few reasons you may want to get yourself a night vision device. For obvious reasons, it lets you see things in the dark. It’s not exactly like how it is in broad daylight. Instead, you usually have a mild greenish tinge to the vision – which is very closely resembling what you see in movies.
Their use is strictly regulated by law in different American states. You just have to be sure to check what rules apply. For example, using illuminated night vision devices for hunting is prohibited if you are staying in California.
Mounting a night vision device on your AR can be really helpful for home defense. In such dire situations, you will definitely have an advantage over the invaders.
Night vision riflescopes are extremely helpful in eradicating any pesky animals and varmints. Critters such as raccoons and skunks prefer not to come out in the open during daylight hours. These and other nocturnal varmints that pose a problem for crops and grain dumps on a ranch can also be removed with ease. Even if you don’t own a farm, they may still be a nuisance around the house in general, especially when it gets into garbage cans.
Another more protuberant use of night vision rifle scopes is hog hunting. With the increase in the population of wild hogs across parts of the American country, hog hunting has become as much a safety measure as a free time activity. The population of wild hogs has surpassed 2.6 million in the American state of Texas alone.
Hog hunting season is open almost for most of the year, if not the entire year in many American states. The wild hog is a nocturnal animal and is quite aggressive at times. You definitely do not want to face a screaming hog coming towards you at 30 miles per hour.
Wild hogs are diurnal during winter, fall, and spring and become nocturnal during summer because they don’t really have much sweat glands. They also make this adaptation to protect itselves from potential predators. However, since they have become pests in some areas, we also have to up our game and make our own adaptations.
Aside from these shooting purposes, night vision scopes can also be used for wildlife observations, camping, night fishing, boating, night hiking, and other shooting activities.
The Criteria for a Good Night Vision Scope
A night vision scope is quite similar to an optical riflescope with just a few differences. Let us have a look at some of them in detail. We have also put in a review of one thermal imaging scope. Thermal imaging scopes have quite similar features to a night vision scope but uses a different way of identifying targets.
Easy to Mount
Night vision scopes usually use a Picatinny rail to mount to an AR-15 rifle. A good night vision scope should be easy to mount over your rifle, if anyone should tell you that. After all, you are most probably going to want to use your gun during the day too.
Optical power is the aptitude of your scope to zoom in the target image. Generally, a night vision scope under 10x power will let you attain or change targets easily. Anything greater than 16x will be more expensive, delicate, bulky, and probably quite useless to you unless you are dealing with pretty distant targets.
Weight and Eye Relief
A good night vision scope must be light in weight and easy to carry. Carrying a heavy load while hunting may be quite a problem for you. At the same time, you will not want your bulky night vision scope to add more weight while you are trying to aim at your target.
Apart from all that, long eye relief is vital while you are using the scope. It protects you from any recoil, but it also gives you some peripheral vision just in case something unexpected is nearby.
With a solid night vision scope, you should be able to see well enough to hit your mark at 150 yards to 200 yards. However, there will be a small difference between target detection and target recognition.
Scopes with ranges of more than 300 yards are quite heavy in weight and expensive too. Furthermore, they require quite an amount of special attention to protection from any potential damages. It really depends on what your resolve is, but we assume that in most cases you will most likely be in the shorter ranges.
This category of scope tends to be more delicate than other scopes comparatively. You have to take special care to avoid jolting it unnecessarily. However, it is still important to look at the sturdiness of your potential purchase and try to get one that is at least a bit forgiving.
Since night vision scopes are needed to shoot at night, properly-illuminated reticules are an important feature to look for. They can also feature IR (infrared) light illumination, which is helpful in spotting targets from far, far away.
Last but not least, you will not want your night vision scope to cost you a whole lot of money. There are numerous night vision scopes for your AR-15 rifle that meets optimum standards and are not as expensive too. To help you in your decision, we have outlined some of them below in our article.
The Best AR-15 Night Vision Scopes In the Market Today
Now that we know a bit about what you should be on looking for in a night vision scope, let’s get into some specific models that are still on the market currently.
1. Burris AR-332 Scope
This scope was a hit with a lot of newer gun owners. They are able to see through it at normal settings with the image quality being really clear (which is a good trait). They were also satisfied with the red and green illumination and were able to conveniently cycle through and set their illumination settings to their preferred level. This scope was a perfect fit for any gun owners who usually do low-light or even night-time hunting.
This rifle scope is built like a tank and does a really great job of holding its own, especially when it is dealing with multiple amounts of a shock coming from preceding recoil. The scope is also used not just in night time or dark settings, but it does a good job giving you accurate and precise shooting during the day time. Simply put, it is a multi-purpose scope with the capability to work around the clock in any given situation and at any given time.
Manufactured from industrial-grade aluminum and with all components encased inside a hard-coat anodized coating, the Burris AR-332 is an amazing night vision scope for your AR-15 rifle. This is a prismatic scope with a 3x fixed optical power to let you focus on your targets accurately.
Suitable turret adjustments allow you to adjust its windage and elevation with a ¼-inch minute of angle (MOA). The scope features a fixed focal plane for any quick and easy target acquisition. The large objective lens size of 32mm offers you a wider sight picture.
The scope features an illuminated ballistic reticule which makes it more convenient for you to spot your targets. A long eye relief of 2.5 inches offers you the liberty to get a better perceptive view of your surroundings.
The scope measures 5.3 inches in length and weighs only 14.20 ounces. It is powered by a CR-2032 battery, which has a life of 500 hours on low illumination settings and 200 hours on bright illumination settings. The scope is priced decently for a lot of gun owners on a budget and is good for hunting and home defense purposes.
This scope will likely be used in a night-time hunting setting, especially if you are using something to ward off any varmints or predators that may terrorize your property, livestock, and whatever else you hold dear. In the daytime, it is a great scope to have if you want to shoot at your favorite hunting targets or paper targets at the range. Either way, it will have its uses no matter what time of the day it’s going to be.
The bottom line is that thus Burris AR-332 3x Prism Sight is the kind of scope you will definitely want on your AR-15 rifle if you are looking for something versatile, easy to install, and which provides you with a great deal of illumination power. This scope proves itself to be one of the best night vision scopes there is, even if you need a night vision scope.
2. ATN THOR HD 384 1.25 – 5x Thermal Rifle Scope
As expected, a lot of new gun users were quite blown away with this scope itself. They were able to get perfect and precise shots in both day and night-time settings. Even better is that gun owners were stoked when they found out they were able to record their proudest hunting moments using the night vision scope’s built-in video system. One gun user said he recorded his latest hunt where he bagged a couple of hogs. He said watching it over and over again didn’t send him to dreamland at all.
This is more than just a night vision scope equipped with thermal imaging. It is the kind of scope that comes with features like an e-Compass, geolocation, and a built-in video feature (which may all come in handy later on). This is great to use, especially when you are deep in the woods and want something that will pick up targets from some pretty extraordinary distances. You will know exactly when you have encountered the target and where.
This amazing thermal-imaging scope from ATN is the capital of features in itself. The night vision uses its surrounding lights to illuminate the images, whereas the thermal images pick up heat signatures from objects and beings.
This scope is almost automatic in operation. Featuring a variable optical power of 1.25 – 5x, it has a built-in rangefinder with a ballistic calculator which lets you make changes to your point of impact without target turrets.
You can record photos and videos of your shots with the built-in camera using a micro-SD card. The patented Recoil-Activated-Video feature eliminates the need to turn the video on and off every time you shoot.
Apart from all this, the ATN scope has a 348×288 thermal resolution with a full-HD display, Wi-Fi, Bluetooth, e-Compass, 3D gyroscope, and geotagging features. The scope is also firmware-upgradeable, letting you match your optic functionalities with the latest technologies and trends too.
The scope can be mounted on the Picatinny rail of your AR-15 rifle. The fully-automatic functionality of this thermal scope makes using it almost effortlessly and 100% accurate. With all these features in a small compact body, the ATN Thor HD Thermal Riflescope has been priced appropriately.
This will stand out as the ultimate hunting scope for AR-15 gun owners, especially those who cannot get enough of hunting hogs, varmints, predators, or anything else that is considered legal to hunt during the night. Not to be vanquished, it is a scope that can be used around the clock. So if you are a hunter in need of a scope that can give you an unfair advantage over your targets, then this night vision scope is it.
The bottom line is that this ATN Thor HD is probably the most high-tech night vision scope on the market for an AR-15. But it has got some of the coolest features, which make this one of the best scopes to use at any given time of day.
3. Pulsar N750 Digisight
New gun users who bought this scope got their money’s worth. Most gun users said this night vision scope was durable and stand out as a product that can withstand a great deal of shock and recoil. One gun user said he was also able to sight-in the scope within a few minutes before using it for a hog hunt. The image quality was really clear and satisfying in both day and night-time settings.
This night vision scope has one feature that stands out to a lot of people (including us) the most. It was the long eye relief feature that blew a lot of people. This makes it not just a great scope for AR-15 rifles, but also for rifles that tend to come with a lot of recoils. For a lot of obvious reasons, we cannot forget some of the really fun high-tech features that come along with this – like the picture-in-picture. It gives you an even closer and more accurate look at your target while you have your crosshairs drawn on it. This makes your chance of hitting it exactly where you want even well.
The Pulsar N750 Digisight is probably the best night vision scope a run for your money on our list. It features 9310-style rails on the base and sides – just in case you need to attach a flashlight. The scope is similar to a Gen 3 night vision scope, with the biggest difference being its digital operation and grayscale images. The N750 has an amazing range of more than 800 yards. A good shooter can hit a 10-inch target, round after round, at 800 yards.
The scope can be used in broad daylight (if you need or wish to) due to its bright-light resistance. It features wireless remote control and an instinctive easy-to-use interface. The built-in flip caps protect the lens from any possible damages while the scope is not in use. The scope is somewhat bulky, however, with its jam-packed set of features it offers a good deal for your rifle.
This will be a really great scope that will fit most hunting applications both during the day and night. However, this stands out as a really good daytime scope for target shooting at the range. If you do either or both, you are probably going to be one of the many gun owners who will use this scope often.
The bottom line is that this Pulsar Digisight Digital Night Vision Scope is the kind of scope you’ll want to use some if you want the best cutting-edge technology for your scope. Whether if it is day or night, this scope will prove itself useful in almost any application. It is also the kind of scope that will outshine in any hunting situation regardless of what time it is.
4. Armasight Vulcan 4.5x 3P MG
A lot of gun users were really satisfied with this night vision scope for a few good reasons. First and foremost, they are happy with the wide range of illumination settings that comes in handy in either low-light or night-time situations. One gun user said he couldn’t decide between a couple of settings since they gave him the best image quality possible at night when he went out hunting. Ultimately, he settled on one image quality after knocking down a couple of hogs.
This night vision scope is probably one of the most shock-proof scopes that is currently on the market. That’s because it is made from high-quality materials that made it resistant to all kinds of recoil shock. That is good news for those gun owners who have long suffered from the issue of trying to re-zero their scopes and keep the settings in place. Not to be outdone by other night vision scopes, it is also waterproof and weatherproof. So if you are out in the field caught in some nasty weather, this scope will take on the elements that most other riflescopes won’t (and cannot) stand a chance against.
The Armasight Vulcan features a fixed 4.5x magnification with a removable long-range infrared illuminator. With a military-dot reticule and red/green illuminated (adjustable brightness) reticules, it is easy for you to spot and shoot your target accurately.
It features a ½ MOA adjustment that comes with target turret knobs. The scope has a quick-release mount for easy attachment and detachment to your AR-15 rifle too. The scope is powered by CR123 or AA batteries with a battery life of up to 60 hours, hence you do not have to worry about it running low on battery life. You will get a low-battery warning anyway, when the battery is about to run dry. The auto-shutdown feature allows you to save battery power if you forget to turn the scope off.
The long eye relief is helpful in locating your target while maintaining different positions. The scope is waterproof and weighs less than 1 kilograms (0.97 kilograms to be exact), which makes it easy to carry while hunting. All components are sealed in a high-grade anodized aluminum shockproof case. The manufacturer offers a 2-year warranty on this device, which protects you from malfunctions for a good solid amount of time.
Of course, you will have a lot of hunters who can overly rely on this scope, especially if they hold quality to a very high standard. On top of that, it is a night vision scope hunters will love if they are hunting either during day or during night-time hours. During the night, they will have all kinds of illumination settings at their disposal. It will mostly benefit night hunters more than daytime hunters so to speak.
The bottom line is that this Armasight Vulcan is built like a tank and is accurate and effective against all targets situated from some really impressive distances. If you want to turn your AR-15 rifle into a force to be reckoned with, then this is the kind of night vision scope you will want with you.
A night vision scope has a lot of solid and versatile uses, even though you will probably be using it for hunting. Like a normal rifle scope, a night vision scope relies on several basic (but non-complicated) features like resolution, magnification, and reticules.
Choosing a good scope depends entirely on your needs and intended use. With a lot of amazing and technologically-advanced choices available, night vision scopes can make hunting a 24/7 activity for any gun users including you too!
Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)
Here are some frequently asked questions (FAQs) some gun owners and gun users may have.
Q: What is the best night vision scope?
There are a lot of really great night vision scopes that are available on the market. It all depends on your needs, your budget and the amount of money you are willing to spend on one, to many more other factors that can affect your final choice.
Q: Can you use night vision goggles with a scope too?
Night vision goggles can be used with optics, however they are picky about the goggles. The optics must have a long or infinite eye relief and do not work well with magnified optics, frankly speaking. They work best with red dot optics. However, these optics need to have night vision settings and compatibility too. This may also need you to mount the optic a little more forward than normal.
On top of that, it can be tricky to get an eye relief with a low mount so you may need to mount the optic higher than usual to accommodate the night vision goggles.
Another option is getting a separate night vision scope for your night-time shooting.