6 Best Night Vision Scopes of 2020

First introduced in 1939 to the German military, night vision scopes aimed to add advantages to soldiers when they tackled missions at night.

Nowadays, night vision devices come to the hands of civilians with more improved features. Most of them serve the hunting hobby, surveillance and survival.

Though this kind of optics is common today, buying one is still a challenge for many amateurs. I'm trying to pile up general information to make it easier for beginners to understand. And of course, there will be a list of the best night vision scope for you to browse.

Whether you are a first-timer or an experienced, don't miss this list.

Here are the best night vision scopes you can buy in 2020:

  • Best Overall: ATN X-Sight 4K Pro Smart Day/Night Rifle Scope
  • Best For Medium-Range Targets: Firefield NVRS 3x42 Gen 1 Night Vision Riflescope
  • Best For Long-Range Shots: ATN ThOR 4, 384x288, Thermal Rifle Scope
  • Best For Beginners: Sightmark Wraith HD 4-32x50 Digital Riflescope
  • Best For Angled Shots: ATN X-Sight II HD 5-20 Smart Day/Night Rifle Scope
  • Best For AR: Night Owl Optics NightShot Digital Night Vision
Top 6 Best Night Vision Scopes
Best Overall
ATN X-Sight 4K Pro Smart Day/Night Rifle Scope
    Read Our Review
    Best For Medium-Range Targets
    Firefield NVRS 3x42 Gen 1 Night Vision Riflescope
      Read Our Review
      Best For Long-Range Shots
      ATN ThOR 4, 384x288, Thermal Rifle Scope
        Read Our Review
        Best For Beginners
        Sightmark Wraith HD 4-32x50 Digital Riflescope
          Read Our Review
          Best For Angled Shots
          ATN X-Sight II HD 5-20 Smart Day/Night Rifle Scope
            Read Our Review
            Best For AR
            Night Owl Optics NightShot Digital Night Vision
              Read Our Review

              Best Overall: ATN X-Sight 4K Pro Smart Day/Night Rifle Scope

              ATN X-Sight 4K Pro Smart Day/Night Rifle Scope
              ATN X-Sight 4K Pro Smart Day/Night Rifle Scope
              9Outstanding
              Pros
              • Ultra HD Sensor
              • Lightweight
              • Great battery life
              • Come with multiple accessories
              • Built-in ballistic calculator
              Cons
              • Require firmware upgrade at first use
              • A little glitchy

              The optics itself looks sleek and handsome. It comes with a variety of accessories including eyepiece extensions for the rear and sunshade for the front, 330mm scope rings, ATN IR Illuminator, batteries, and charging cable.

              When I picked it up, I was pleasantly surprised that although it's a fairly large, the optic is extremely lightweight for its size. The knobs are nice and sturdy, and the buttons are tactile. Furthermore, it feels smooth and straightforward at the zoom dial.

              In a night test, I was shooting a record in my backyard to see how the scope functions. The audio quality was decent. And for the image, within 125 yards on high mode and IR Illuminator on, everything looked perfectly lid up and extremely clear.

              This optic works just as well during the day as it does at night because some night vision technology can be damaged by bright light.

              ATN X-Sight 4K Pro Smart Day/Night Rifle Scope Specifications

              Magnification

              3-14x

              Field of View

              460 ft (9°)

              Close Focus Distance (feet)

              N/A

              Eye Relief (mm)

              90mm

              Highlight Features

              4K Sensor for higher resolution

              Images are more vivid

              Low power profile uses less battery energy

              Verdict

              The scope with the cutting-edge technology of night vision will get you to aim and shoot with accuracy both at day and night.

              Best For Medium-Range Targets: Firefield NVRS 3x42 Gen 1 Night Vision Riflescope

              Firefield NVRS 3x42 Gen 1 Night Vision Riflescope
              Firefield NVRS 3x42 Gen 1 Night Vision Riflescope
              8.6Great
              Pros
              • Bright reticle
              • Easy to use on gloves
              • Long-lasting AAA batteries
              • Durable construction
              • Pretty clear image within 100 yards
              • Easily visible reticle
              Cons
              • Heavy
              • Dots appear on the tube

              Because the magnification is not significant on this Gen-1, it focuses more on medium-range targets which don't exceed 100 yards. At 150 yards and more, things are harder to aim.

              However, the 42mm lens makes it up with excellent quality pictures in a slightly reflective environment. You'll be able to detect and target accurately in low conditions using the IR Illuminator. Within 30 lines per mm, the resolution is tremendous.

              Apparently, this optic does have a sleek yet solid construction. All parts are engineered to be friendly to users. Buttons are strategically placed in easy-to-reach positions, yet they are controllable in case you wear gloves. The battery on this device can last 15-20 hours with the illuminator on, and 50 hours when it's off.

              Firefield NVRS 3x42 Gen 1 Night Vision Riflescope Specifications

              Magnification

              3x

              Field of View

              66 ft

              Close Focus Distance (feet)

              7m

              Eye Relief (mm)

              4.5mm

              Highlight Features

              Rock solid

              3x magnification offers clear picture in medium to long range

              Multi-coated optics and an illuminated red duplex reticle

              Verdict

              If you usually tackle with targets at 50-100 yards away, this Firefield NVRS is a no-wrong option.

              Best For Long-Range Shots: ATN ThOR 4, 384x288, Thermal Rifle Scope

              ATN ThOR 4, 384x288, Thermal Rifle Scope
              ATN ThOR 4, 384x288, Thermal Rifle Scope
              8.6Great
              Pros
              • Ultra sensitive thermal sensor
              • Lightweight
              • Low power profile
              • Easy to mount
              • Suitable for Picatinny rails
              Cons
              • A bit bulky
              • Firmware updated required

              In contrary to the Firefield NVRS, this ATN ThOR 4 is a monster in getting coyotes, deers, and more preys to your range from afar.

              The optic is a no-brainer. It's actually a 1.25-5x power using a 384x288 sensor. It's an ultra next-gen thermal sensor that is capable of capturing the crispiest images at a large range. In total darkness, the resolution is denser and smoother in gradations. You can actually see your handprint when touching a wall.

              It was really interesting to see everything just based on temperature. You can clearly distinguish the hot and cold spot through this very sensitive sensor.

              When mounted on a rifle, this thing sits at a little bit over a 1 foot at 13.8 inches long. Although it looks big, it only weighs 2.2 pounds which is quite impressive for a unit that bears several features.

              The eye relief is 30mm which converts to a little bit under 1 ¼ inch. However, I have not noticed any discomfort. It feels just right for shooting off the platform.

              ATN ThOR 4, 384x288, Thermal Rifle Scope Specifications

              Magnification

              1.25-5x

              Field of View

              267 yards

              Close Focus Distance (feet)

              N/A

              Eye Relief (mm)

              90mm

              Highlight Features

              Super sensitive thermal sensor for the sharpest images

              Power saving

              Verdict

              This scope is jam packed with features. If you hunt hogs or whatever runs at night, you'll feel satisfied.

              Best For Beginners: Sightmark Wraith HD 4-32x50 Digital Riflescope

              Sightmark Wraith HD 4-32x50 Digital Riflescope
              Sightmark Wraith HD 4-32x50 Digital Riflescope
              9Outstanding
              Pros
              • 10 reticle options
              • Removeable eye-cup
              • Easy menu button manipulation
              • External power slot
              Cons
              • Bulky

              For starters, it's important to get familiar with everything with fewest confusions. I've tried some of the other Sightmark digital photon night visions and got impressed at the price points and ease-of-use.

              It's got 1080p digital night vision imaging. The daytime color mode allows you to cite this during the day, letting you not worry about finding a range at night.

              For the night vision mode, it does have a built-in HD recording. Now, it's the 4x optical zoom linear, meaning it uses the lenses. But it's 8x digital zoom, so when you're citing it in, you can zoom and see your target really well. There are 10 reticle options anywhere from crosshairs, CQB, dots, to Chevrons.

              This unit is very nice for longer hunts as it comes with a micro USB input for external power. If you're on the back of a tailgate or setting up in a blind, you are going to drain your batteries. So, having an external USB power supply is a truly remarkable feature.

              Sightmark Wraith HD 4-32x50 Digital Riflescope Specifications

              Magnification

              Digital zoom 8x

              A 4x optical system for up to 32x

              Field of View

              100m

              Close Focus Distance (feet)

              12ft

              Eye Relief (mm)


              Highlight Features

              High definition sensor

              Day/Night/Green mode

              Support with 10 reticle options

              Verdict

              My experience tells me that beginners will find this scope easy to break in, laying a solid foundation for more advanced optics.

              Best For Angled Shots: ATN X-Sight II HD 5-20 Smart Day/Night Rifle Scope

              ATN X-Sight II HD 5-20 Smart Day/Night Rifle Scope
              ATN X-Sight II HD 5-20 Smart Day/Night Rifle Scope
              8.8Great
              Pros
              • Good night vision at 150 yards
              • Decent reticle option
              • Simple-to-use UI
              • Accurate GPS
              Cons
              • Munch battery
              • Tricky to hold zero

              This ATN X-Sight incorporates both day and night operation capability. With 4 AAA batteries in the scope, it weighs 2.4 pounds.

              The main body of the X-Sight is extremely sturdy metal construction. And the buttons are rubberized and protected for a damp environment.

              This unit can zoom to 14x. It's got the parallax wheel on the top to bring things into focus. Though it's a bit stiff to turn, you only need the slightest adjustment to zoom. At the end way where your eye goes, you can also use the knob to focus.

              When the scope is on, on the left hand-side, you've got a spinning gauge which tells you how much you're counting the gun by.

              Besides, there is also an actual digital readout below that. On the right-hand side, you can see where you zoom into and a gauge to tell you how much you're tipping the gun up and down. The angle view is up to 5° that makes it easy for high-angled shots which require skills to target.

              ATN X-Sight II HD 5-20 Smart Day/Night Rifle Scope Specifications

              Magnification

              5-20x

              Field of View

              240 ft

              Close Focus Distance (feet)

              N/A

              Eye Relief (mm)

              65mm

              Highlight Features

              Large field of view

              Wide angle of view

              Patented day and night HD resolution

              Built-In rangefinder

              Verdict

              This scope is a nice recommendation for those who are interested in night hunting with the need for features to serve high-angled shots.

              Best For AR: Night Owl Optics NightShot Digital Night Vision

              Night Owl Optics NightShot Digital Night Vision
              Night Owl Optics NightShot Digital Night Vision
              8.6Great
              Pros
              • Affordable
              • Easy to use
              • Engineered thermoplastic construction
              • Built-in IR
              • Weatherproof
              Cons
              • Some design flaws

              Using an AR, sometimes it's quite challenging to find a night vision to fit in. The vital factors are the compatibility with the rail and the ability to see within 150 to 200 yards.

              There are only three buttons on the body simplifying the whole using process. You can adjust the screen brightness and turn on the IR just in one click.

              The focal is at 52mm streaming on a screen of 2.05 inches. The field of view is at 5-6 degrees. On top of the lens, you can see where the infrared light is coming out and bouncing off objects back into the main lens on the front.

              Looking at the bottom, there is a flat on the back with a screw for Weaver users. The front one is rounded off to fit both Weaver and Picatinny rail.

              Night Owl Optics NightShot Digital Night Vision Specifications

              Magnification

              3x

              Field of View

              5.6 degrees

              Close Focus Distance (feet)

              10ft to infinity

              Eye Relief (mm)

              2.70 inches

              Highlight Features

              High resolution

              Built-in IR

              Operate in both day and night

              Can use for rifles up to 30 caliber.

              Verdict

              This scope is not the best scope for AR, but it's among the most affordable scope with lots of features for you to reap joy off your gun.

              How To Choose The Best Night Vision Scopes?

              Buying the right night vision scope is a hard task, especially when you are new to the field. There are a lot to look in a night vision device, but here are the essential factors.

              Magnification

              • It is the zooming ability that makes the scope valuable. However, it's not necessary to pursue the highest number in magnification. It depends on the distance you want to scan your eyes, thus making differences in this rule.
              • The shorter range allows better resolution of images because it can collect more light. You can find scopes with 1.25x to 5x work best in this range.
              • For longer shooting, a scope that sets from 6x to up to 20x can cope with situations far better in terms of accuracy.
              • If you are a newcomer who seeks targets within 100-200 yards, a low magnification will tackle well.

              Resolution

              • Some high-end scopes can provide 4K resolution, the clearest pictures and footages. But those values may not be vital for average nighttime hunting. Something around 640x480p or a bit higher already serves you well both in the image quality and saving your bucks.
              • Of course, the higher resolution offers you the ability to target more precisely. However, try to consider your money first.

              Battery Life

              • Since night visions rely on battery power, it's a huge consideration for battery life. Most of the choices I provided come with excellent power life sources which can stay alive up to 20 hours when the night vision is on.
              • AAA batteries seem to perform well is lasting the device. If possible, you can pick a scope with rechargeable lithium-ion. It will provide you with a device of extended life. Even better if the optic has an external port for direct power supply.

              Which Brands Make The Best Night Vision Scopes?

              ATN

              • ATN is the leading brand in the optics industry, producing market-leading scopes with revolutionized technology. They own the 4K Resolution Digital Smart Optics for Day and Night operation. Along with that is the Smart Thermal Imaging optics for ultimate Night Operations. It's widely seen that ATN night visions serve a range of users from hunters, to the military, law enforcement, and hobbyists.

              Sightmark

              • In 2007, Sightmark came to the shooting market and started gaining popularity with a goal to produce state-of-the-art optics and accessories in mind. Currently, Sightmark represents their growth in more than 40 countries, with optics on the shelves of quality retailers. Notably, users of Sightmark are all over, loving and approving night visions from the brand are the top of the line.

              FAQs

              How much magnification does a spotting scope need?

              The maximum magnification of a spotting scope can be from 15x to 60x. to determine how much zooming power you need, you have to consider the application you are tackling. With the optical strengths lie at 20-40x range, you can see things are crispy within 100 yards. Low power from 8-30x works between 25-75 yards, suitable for close-range hunting or sighting-in.

              For more than 200 yards, 60x will add more sharpness to the images. You can see a significant difference in resolution and clarity.

              What's better: night vision or thermal?

              The best is both of them. Thermal and night vision both offer the ability to look into the darkness, which is not viable by naked eyes. Though there are huge differences between the two, these technologies still get you to the same point: seeing things in low-light conditions.

              While thermal is better at detecting, identifying objects that emit heat, night vision is best at targeting, getting you to aim with better accuracy.

              So, it's impossible to declare which is better. Only when you bring the scope to use and decide whether detecting or targeting is more important, you'll know which one is better.

              Do you really need a night vision scope?

              It's hard to answer if you need something or not. It depends on the application you want to perform. Obviously, for night hunting and activities that occur in low-to-no light source, yes, you need a night vision scope.

              Can you look through a scope with night vision goggles?

              Yes, you can, but the experience won't be as pleasant. With both of your eyes seeing through one single lens, you are not able to make a line with the scope.

              How long do night vision scopes last?

              As much as I know, a Gen 2+ system can stay alive for 5,000 hours before it dies. Gen 3 can live roughly 12,000 hours of operation. You can extend the scope's life by shutting the night vision when not using it.

              Conclusion

              I can talk forever about night vision, but I'll leave my answer to other questions in the comment box. So, have you got your best night vision scope down the road?

              I'll keep this list updated along with my experience on more different scopes. And let me hear from you, share with me your knowledge. See you soon.

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