If night hunting has piqued your interest – great! It’s one of the most exciting and demanding types of hunting that adds a whole new set of challenges. Compared to most animals, our night vision is pretty poor, and traditional scopes just won’t do. Luckily, compared to most animals, we’re much smarter and technologically advanced, so we’ve come up with night vision devices like night vision scopes to even the field.
But as is the case with most hunting equipment, buying night vision devices requires careful consideration in order to pick the right one that will suit your specific needs. Things like magnification, field of view, size and weight, batteries and signal to noise ratio can impact your choice when it comes to buying night vision scopes.
Generally, the magnification on night vision scopes goes up to 10x. The greater the magnification, the bigger the scope will be. However, bigger is not always better. Although bigger scopes can come in handy in a couple of applications, the size and cost make them a not so attractive option. Night vision scopes with 5x magnification are the most sought-after option for most hunters. You can also find scopes without magnification, but those are reserved for close-range shooting and general use.
Field of View
The field of view of the scope represents how wide you can see at a specific distance. The distance with most optics is usually 100 yards (90m). As the scope’s magnification increases, the field of view decreases. That being said, you usually scan at lower magnifications for movement, then zoom in to confirm what the movement is.
Size and Weight
Night vision scopes are usually larger and heavier than conventional scopes. With that said, fatigue can become a problem if you’re carrying the rifle and scope for a long time period, which is why, as aforementioned, you want a lighter scope. However, you might not have an issue with the size and weight at all if you’re camping a specific spot instead of walking around looking for game.
They say tactics win battles, but logistics win entire wars. The number and type of batteries your night vision devices use is an important consideration. If the optics have weight listed without the batteries, then it isn’t an accurate piece of info. Similarly, if it uses rare, expensive 3V batteries, you should stay away from it as well. Pay attention to how long the batteries usually last, and see whether you can find a scope that uses rechargeable batteries for a better value.