You know having grade A night vision is important if you’re into hunting, bird watching or photography. It can also prove essential if you need it for professional use. That’s why you’re here, right? Getting the best gen 3 night vision scopes means investing a generous amount of money, so you need to be sure you’re making the right choice.
We’ve compiled a selection of seven such amazing products which you can rest assured they work. You can see them in the table below, along with their main characteristics. Because that’s we’ll discuss in this article: how to choose amongst these scopes depending on their characteristics.
|Product Name||Magnification||Reticle||Field of View||IR Wavelength||Price|
|Firefield FF16001 Night Vision Riflescope||3x||Red duplex||14°||805 nm||Check price on Amazon|
|Armasight NYX-14 Night Vision Monocular||1x||None||40°||450 nm||Check price on Amazon|
|Armasight CO-Mini-3 Alpha Rifle Scope||1x||Mil-dot||22°||850 nm||Check price on Amazon|
|Atn Pvs14-3A Monocular||1x||None||40°||850 nm||Check price on Amazon|
|Armasight N-14 Bravo Monocular||1x||None||40°||450 nm||Check price on Amazon|
|ATN Mars Night Vision Riflescope||4x||Mil-dot red and amber||9°||450 nm||Check price on Amazon|
|Armasight Vulcan Night Vision Scope||3.5x||Mil-dot red on green||20°||805 nm||Check price on Amazon|
What To Consider Before Buying
The factors you’ll need to take into account relate to your purpose and budget. Of course, a more professional, performant product will cost more. But the more customizable it is, the bigger the price. So you can choose a more basic product that does its job if you don’t have a huge budget.
What Device To Get
You can choose between scopes and monoculars. Scopes are lighter and they’re specifically designed for weapons, though they can be used on cameras too.
Monoculars weigh more, but they’re intended for a better view of minute details. They’re better for bird watching and night photography, though they can be mounted on weapons.
A bigger magnification will allow you to see further away, while a smaller magnification offers a better depth perception. Some devices have additional lenses, so you can change the factory magnification and adjust it to your needs.
Other scopes can be used on telescopes and binoculars. So even if your scope has a 1x, attached to a proper pair of binoculars, it can get to an 8x.
Field Of View
The wider the field of view, the more things you’ll see in your surroundings. A larger field of view is related to a smaller magnification. For night vision, a good angular field of view is in the range of 40°.
While a big magnification isn’t needed for night vision, since you can’t see for miles away anyway, you do need a considerable field of view, especially in search or rescue applications, hunting or boating. A smaller field of view is perfect for camping or bird watching, though.
The higher the wavelength, the more details you’ll see further away. So an 805nm is better than a 450nm in that regard. That means you need a higher IR wavelength if you’re interested in seeing more details, which is a must for bird watching.
On the other hand, a smaller wavelength can be appropriate for brush hunting, or even search and rescue applications.
A good reticle is bright enough so it can be spotted in low light. The red on the green option is the most common, though some devices have the amber option too. That means you can choose between red and amber to set the right contrast depending on your environment.
Also, if you’re planning to use this scope in daylight, make sure the reticle is visible in the daytime. It helps if the scope has multiple layers of coating so it can render a bright image during the day too.
We love versatile gadgets that can be used in different weather and environments. That means you should choose a sturdy construction. However, sometimes a sturdy aluminum build adds to the overall weight, while a robust titanium design adds to the price.
Versatility also relates to the mounting system. If you want hands free use, it’s important to make sure the scope has a head or helmet mounting capability.
Night photography requires the use of a camera, so a camera compatibility is something else to look for. The scope should also allow mounting on Weaver or Picatinny rails if you want to be hunting with it.
All the above mounting options require extra mounts, so it’s nice if they’re included in the package. We’ve also discussed additional lenses for different magnifications, so it’s good if you can find that in your package too. Other nice extras relate to lens covers, batteries and even a carry case.
Lens caps and a daylight filter are always a nice plus if you’re to use this scope during the day as well. With that said, you’ll see a selection of great products that make night vision easy. The third generation devices are renowned for their quality, and that’s what you’ll see below.
Best Products On Today’s Market
We’ve added the top notch products that are widely appreciated by today’s customers. We’ve discussed their characteristics, but we’ve also summarized their pluses and minuses, so you can decide easier.
Price: Approximately $350
Weight: 1.8 pounds
Dimensions: 9 x 3.2 x 3.4 inches
Specific features: 3 x 42 mm; Gen1; built-in IR; titanium construction; Weaver mount; incremental reticle brightness; flip-up lens covers; multi-coated
Best use: Close range shooting outdoors
The Firefield FF16001 Night Vision Riflescope is a Gen 1 riflescope, but it has the quality of a Gen 3 one. Let’s start with its optics: at a 3x magnification, you can use this riflescope for a small to medium distance range. The 42mm lens allows for enough light transmission, so you can use this scope in the daytime too, especially in low light.
The multiple layers of coating applied to the optics explain the brightness of the rendered image. You’ll even get crisp images during the night, thanks to its built-in IR. This illuminator will actually enhance the details and the viewing distance when it’s pitch black, but only up to 50-75 yards.
The duplex reticle is red, and its brightness can be adjusted according to your environment. And you can definitely use this scope regardless of weather and harsh conditions, thanks to a durable body, built from titanium. The lenses are protected by flip-up covers, and the whole construction is ergonomic albeit not so light.
You can easily set up this scope, thanks to a detachable Weaver mount. However, you can only use this scope outside. If you’re inside, there’s going to be too much reflection, messing up the image with a lot of black dots.
- Clear reticle
- Outside only
- Close range
Related: We recommend the Rayovac 815-60PPJ High Energy AA Alkaline Batteries for this scope. Although you can find AA batteries in most stores, this is a cost-convenient pack of 60 with a long shelf life. Plus, the plastic pack is easy to open and close, compact and easy to store.
Price: Approximately $3700
Weight: 0.88 pounds
Dimensions: 5.5 x 1.9 x 2.7 inches
Specific features: 1x standard; optional 3x, 5x, 8x; 40° FOV; 1x CR123A 3V lithium; IR indicator; low-battery indicator; 64-72 lp/mm resolution; water and fog resistant; head mountable
Best use: Search and rescue; hiking
The Armasight NYX-14 Night Vision Monocular is certainly worth every penny. This scope has a Gen 3 quality to it, so its optics are said to be military-grade. The design is durable too, making it resistant to water, fog, humidity and extreme temperatures.
The magnification is 1x, meaning you won’t see enhanced details, but you’ll have an accurate depth perception. You also have the option of acquiring other lenses with bigger magnifications, between 3x-8x. However, these aren’t included in the package.
The advantage for a lower magnification is a wider field of view. In this case, the angular FOV is 40°. We also appreciate the manual gain control, which means you can adjust the brightness according to the environment.
The IR and low-battery indicators are other positives, just like the head or helmet mounting capability. We also love the 64-72 lp/mm resolution, as well as how easy it is to use all the controls. There are also some weapon mounts you can select, but these aren’t included in the package either.
- Great optics
- Small magnification
- Extras not included
Related: We recommend the Streamlight 85177 CR123A Lithium Batteries to power up this scope. You’ll get a pack of 12 that can be used in other equipment too, including cameras or medical gear. And with a shelf life of 10 years, we’re sure they won’t rust in your attic somewhere.
Price: Approximately $4500
Weight: 1.1 pounds
Dimensions: 4.9 x 2.7 x 2.2 inches
Specific features: Quick day-night conversion; manual gain control; wireless remote; quick-release mount; 64-72 lp/mm; 1x; works up to 6x; 22° FOV; detachable IR
Best use: Short-to-medium ranges
The Armasight CO-Mini-3 Alpha Rifle Scope is one of the most compact and light scopes on the market, Its third generation quality can be noticed in the image intensification technology used, as well as the quick day-night conversion. We also love how easy it can be to set it up, whether on a scope, on a pair of binoculars, or on a telescope.
The 1x magnification means you won’t be able to see enhanced details, but if you’re using it with binoculars, the magnification can get up to 6x. That makes it appropriate for short to medium ranges, but the angular field of view is just 22°. Besides, there’s really no focus on this scope, which might be a problem for people who wear glasses.
The bore-sighted clip-on is great, as it will hold the zero very well. The multiple features include manual gain control and wireless remote for a user-friendly experience. We also appreciate the good 64-72 lp/mm resolution, and the detachable, powerful IR.
- Good resolution
- Powerful IR
- Easy setup
- Small magnification
- Narrow FOV
- No focus
Related: If you’re looking for a bigger magnification, you can look at the Armasight NemesisNight Vision Rifle Scope. This is a second generation device, but it has a 6x, auto brightness control, and a red crosshair reticle. It’s also waterproof, and costs almost half as much as the Armasight CO-Mini-3.
Price: Approximately $3500
Weight: 1.1 pounds
Dimensions: 5 x 5 x 2 inches
Specific features: military design; mil-spec headgear; multi-purpose system; manual variable gain control; high-resolution tube
Best use: Professional applications
The Atn Pvs14-3A Monocular is a sturdy, but light monocular, which has been designed originally for military use. The mil-spec headgear is really durable and ergonomic, not to mention versatile.
As such, you can hold it in your hand, but you also have the option of mounting it on your head, on a helmet or use it on a camera for night photography.
The manual variable gain control is another plus in terms of image quality, as is the image intensifier tube. So you can adjust the IIT brightness, and make sure you get high-resolution images. The 1x magnification doesn’t do much, but the 40° FOV is definitely a plus.
We also appreciate the complete package, which includes the head mount assembly, brow pads, helmet adapter, eye cup, carrying case, shoulder strap, lens paper, lens caps and daylight filter.
- Complete package
- Small magnification
Related: Since this monocular has such a small magnification, we recommend buying the Leupold 172830 LTO Tracker. This has a 6x, and it can be used at nighttime too. It’s a thermal device, and it’s waterproof and rugged, so it can complement the ATN PVS14-3A nicely.
Price: Approximately $2000
Weight: 0.75 pounds
Dimensions: 5.5 x 2.7 x 1.9 inches
Specific features: Built-in IR; flood lens; bright light cut-off; auto-brightness control; CR123A lithium battery; hands-free use; water and fog-resistant; 1x standard; 57-64 lp/mm; 40° FOV
Best use: Brush hunting
The Armasight N-14 Bravo Monocular is another monocular with a 1x magnification, but it can be adjusted to 3x, 5x or 8x just like the Armasight NYX-14. The flood lens and the bright-light cut-off are additional pluses that focus on user-experience. We also appreciate the auto-brightness control feature for versatile use.
You’ll also like how easy it is to mount this monocular on a weapon or on your head/ helmet. That will allow a hands-free use for hunting purposes, and the 0.75 pounds weight will prove light as a feather. You can use it with cameras too if you’re into birdwatching.
The whole construction is durable, made from composite, so it’s resistant to water, fog, and extreme temperatures. So you can get a high-rez image of 57-64 lp/mm no matter the weather and terrain conditions.
- User-friendly design
- Small range
- Extras not included
Related: We recommend this Evolva Future Technology Night Vision Flashlight Torch if you’re looking for long range illumination at a meager price. The aircraft aluminum construction renders it durable, and the built-in IR is powerful enough for a wide range of nighttime applications. And the best thing about it is you can even use it with this monocular, or any other night vision device.
Price: Approximately $3500
Weight: 3 pounds
Dimensions: 16 x 13.2 x 6.9 inches
Specific features: 4x; detachable IR-450 illuminator; carrying case included; 2 batteries included; two-color reticle; manual brightness adjustment; nitrogen-purged
Best use: Extreme conditions
The ATN Mars Night Vision Riflescope is a 4x rifle scope, meaning you can use it for short to medium distances. Its included IR-450 illuminator works well at this sort of range, and it can be detached for daytime use. The nitrogen-purging makes this scope resistant to internal fogging, which is another advantage.
We also appreciate the qualitative construction that’s said to go above military grade. That’s because it uses pure heavy glass and a computer design. Plus, the lenses are individually fitted, so you’re sure they do their job.
But the whole construction screams ruggedness, considering it’s a one-piece scope made from aircraft aluminum and titanium inserts. The only thing about this is the heavyweight you’ll get. But consider this scope is waterproof under water up to 66 feet for 1 hour.
The intensifier tube is an MX10160, and it’s hand-selected, so it can work no matter the light, rendering crisp pictures. The reticle is something else we love because it has two colors and its brightness can be adjusted. So you can opt for either red on green or amber on green, depending on the situation.
The optics are multi-coated for a clear view, and the windage and elevation adjustments are precise. We appreciate the user-experience focus too, considering the complete package with case and batteries, as well as the included mount and digital remote control.
- Great reticle
Related: For less money but the same magnification, you can choose the Sightmark Photon XT Night Vision Riflescope. This is a digital device with a 4.6x, but it’s half as light as the ATN Mars, reaching just 1.44 pounds total weight. You’ll also be pleased by the LED IR, which allows you to see minute details up to 120 yards.
Price: Approximately $1500
Weight: 2 pounds
Dimensions: 9.8 x 2.8 x 3.8 inches
Specific features: 3.5x; white phosphor tube; manual gain control; included 2x magnifier; detachable IR; internally adjustable fine reticle; multicoated; 47-54 lp/mm
Best use: Medium range hunting
The Armasight Vulcan Night Vision Scope is a compact scope, that can easily be mounted on most weapons, whether on Weaver or Picatinny rails. Plus it won’t destabilize it thanks to its dimensions, although the overall weight could be lighter. The construction is water, dust and sand proof, too.
We appreciate the qualitative construction, starting with the lenses made entirely from glass. They’re also multicoated for optimum image brightness, plus the reticle is internally adjustable. That means you’ll take accurate shots without much fiddling.
The 3.5x magnification is good enough for short-medium distances. And if you want to see minute details at a further distance, you can use the included magnifier. That will take you to a 7x really fast for a variety of hunting purposes.
We love the tactical rails for lasers or illuminators, though you will get a detachable IR. The manual gain control is also great for achieving the best contrast by adjusting the image brightness according to your environment. That said, the 47-54 lp/mm could be better.
- Durable build
- Bright images
- The resolution could be better
Related: We recommend the Armasight Vulcan 6X Ghost MG Riflescope too if you’re willing to invest more money in a qualitative scope. That’s because this scope costs almost $6000, but you can configure it however you want, and it has one of the most durable builds on the market.
What You’ll Get
With such a wide variety of choices, we hope we’ve shed some light on how and what to choose. The products above have different characteristics, and they work for different purposes. So while a product like the Armasight NYX-14 is great for search and rescue missions, the Armasight N-14 Bravo is cheaper and great for brush hunting.
In the end, the choice is yours. Just tell us what you opted for and why. And if we’ve missed something in this article or there’s another gen 3 scope you love more, let us know. The comment section awaits!