HUNTING

Best Night Vision Goggles: Piercing Through the Cover of Darkness

man holding night vision goggles
Shawn Harrison
Written by Shawn Harrison

Hunting, while a very popular daytime activity, can yield little to no result most of the time, mostly due to the time of day that the hunter usually chooses to hunt in. The truth is that the vast majority of wildlife is actually a lot more active at night, especially predators and high-value game.

This naturally poses a lot of problems for the hunter, usually because of the lack of vision that he will have to deal with. One great way to overcome this hurdle is by using night vision goggles, which are designed to allow the wearer to see in the dark.

Night vision goggles rely on infrared technology in order to let the wearer see in the dark, and even though they might be a bit on the bulky side and a bit uncomfortable to wear and use, they manage to get the job done.

That being said, it is only logical that you would want the best pair of night vision goggles on hand if you decide to go hunting in the night.

Product NameField of ViewBattery LifeMagnification LevelsPrice
Armasight N-15 QS-HD60 degrees48-50 hours1x, 3x, 5x, 8xCheck price on Amazon
Yukon - NV 1x2490-95 degrees50-55 hours1x, 3x, 5x, 8xCheck price on Amazon
Night Optics USA AN-PVS-7-3AG40 degrees40-45 hours1x, 3x, 5xCheck price on Amazon
Armasight Vega40 degrees12 hours1xCheck price on Amazon
ATN PVS7-345 degrees12-24 hours1xCheck price on Amazon
Armasight PVS-7 3P40 degrees40-45 hours1xCheck price on Amazon
Armasight Nyx7-ID40 degrees60 hours1x, 3x, 5x, 8xCheck price on Amazon

Things To Consider When Choosing The Best Night Vision Goggles

It might be hard to believe but there is quite a large selection of night vision goggles currently on the market. So large, in fact, that it actually covers the entire spectrum of needs and conditions that the hunter would have to deal with.

And with everything from amateur grade goggles to elite military standard equipment on the market, you will have to know the exact things that you are looking for.

By default, the simplest way of going about this is to compare the field of view, the battery life and the magnification levels of each pair of goggles. While there are a lot more details and specifications that you can take into account, these 3 are the most basic and can be deal breakers if chosen wrong.

Field of View

The field of view is the total angle of vision that the goggles provide you with. Measured from the middle and towards the sides, the field of view value more or less lets you know how much you can see to your sides before you are forced to move your head.

field of vision for Night Vision Goggles

For example, if a pair of goggles has a field of view of 40 degrees, it means that you can see 20 degrees to your left and 20 degrees to your right before you have to move to turn your head in order to see more.

Night vision goggles, because of the way in which they are designed and constructed, they generally have a very small field of view, averaging out at around 40-45 degrees. However, there are some cases, for example, infrared binoculars, where you can obtain a larger field of view all be it for slightly reduced infrared capabilities.

Battery Life

It goes without saying that night vision goggles are not naturally found in nature, they rely on batteries, usually AAA batteries however some use 9V ones as well, in order to grant the wearer access to their infrared capabilities.

batteries on night vision goggles

Depending on the make and model, battery life tends to vary wildly, some lasting for around 12 hours and others lasting for as long as 60 hours.  The pairs with longer battery lives are generally better for extended trips however they tend to have slightly reduced infrared and field of view capabilities.

Magnification Levels

There are night vision goggles on the market with absolutely no magnification capabilities and there are night vision goggles on the market that have the same magnification capabilities as binoculars or sniper rifle scopes.

Ranging anywhere from 1x to 8x magnification, these infrared night vision goggles can not only help you hunt but also scout out large stretches of land ahead of you.

night vision binoculars

This is a bit of a double-edged sword though. While it is generally considered helpful and versatile to have decent magnification capabilities on your goggles, the more magnification capabilities they have the bulkier they are. This makes it uncomfortable to wear and downright difficult to aim and fire your rifles.

The Best Products On The Market

Now that we know what we are looking for, we can start checking the market in order to find the right pair of night vision goggles that fit our hunting needs.

While there are a lot of options and a lot of goggles to choose from, here are the most popular night vision goggles currently on the market.

Armasight N-15 QS-HD

Armasight N-15 QS-HD

Price: Approximately $4200

Weight: 1.5 pounds

Dimensions: 1 x 6 x 12 inches

Specific features: Second generation infrared system with quicksilver lined lenses, square framed design, shock-absorbing padding

Best use: Long range scouting, target spotting, night time hunting

The Armasight N-15 QS-HD, at first glance, might seem a bit more on the classical side, and for good reason. The overall design of the goggles follows the more traditional square frame design, however, it still carries with it a lot of advantages.

First of all, it is a bi-focal system, similar to binoculars, which not only make it so that the goggles can possess magnification capabilities, but also the field of view that it offers is a generous one when compared to other night vision goggles. The field of view that the wearer can enjoy is 60 degrees wide, similar to the average standard binoculars.

As mentioned earlier, the goggles actually possess magnification capabilities, from x1 to x8 to be more precise, being able to provide the wearer with a lot of coverage when it comes to long distance scouting.

Something worth mentioning here is the fact that the unit itself comes with all the straps, belts and harnesses that you will ever need. Each and every one of these attachments is adjustable, making the size or shape of the wearer’s head a non-issue.

Not to mention the fact that, because of the square frame shaped design that the unit sports, it can easily be worn with hats and helmets alike. The massive downside that this unit has is the fact that it takes a long time to get used to, being rather complicated, uncomfortable and overall not beginner-friendly.

Al in all, it is a handy and versatile unit to have for your next hunting trip.

PROS:

  • Traditional square frame design
  • 60-degree field of view
  • Long battery life

CONS:

  • Can be uncomfortable to wear
  • Not beginner-friendly in the slightest
  • The controls are located in difficult to reach positions

Related: In order to help hunters overcome their night time vision obstacles, Armasight also makes it possible for them to purchase the Armasight Drone Pro 10X Digital Night Vision Rifle Scope.

Check the price on Amazon

Yukon – NV 1×24 Goggles

Yukon - NV 1x24 Goggles

Price: Approximately $800

Weight: 1.8 pounds

Dimensions: 6.9 x 4.8 x 2.8 inches

Specific features: Eclipse lens cover system, multi-coated optics, high-resolution infrared sensor and receiver

Best use: Night time hunting, scouting in very dark areas

Following the same binocular design, but this time with an overall more comfortable and ergonomic design, the Yukon – NV 1×24 Goggles are quite a sight for sore eyes.

One very interesting thing to note about these goggles is the fact that the manufacturer himself refers to them as night vision binoculars instead of goggles. This is because they are, in fact, binoculars that have been more or less converted into goggles.

The main advantage here being the fact that it gives the wearer a lot more magnification capabilities and a great field of view, however, it has a slight disadvantage.

While it has a long lasting battery that can go around 2 days without having to be recharged, the main problem that it brings to the table is the fact that it is just a bit too bulky to be properly used with a rifle. Aiming down sights and scopes is extremely difficult while wearing this night vision unit.

Its bulkiness aside, this is still and interesting and useful unit to have around for when you decide to go night hunting. Just remember to leave your scope at home.

PROS:

  • Easy to use
  • Comfortable to wear
  • Long battery life
  • Large field of view

CONS:

  • It can feel a bit bulky at times
  • Very hard to aim rifles with

Related: For the more experienced hunters out there, Yukon makes it possible to purchase the Sightmark 30-30 Boresight, making it a lot easier to calibrate the sights on your rifle.

Check the price on Amazon

Night Optics USA AN-PVS-7-3AG

Night Optics USA AN-PVS-7-3AG Generation 3 US Grade Autogated Pinnacle Military Issue Night Vision Goggles

Price: Approximately $4000

Weight: 3 pounds

Dimensions: 6 x 3 x 6 inches

Specific features: Modular design, allows for multiple diverse attachments to be used with it, Generation 3 image intensifier grade A

Best use: Long range scouting, difficult night time hunting, extreme darkness conditions

Right out of the box what you will notice about the Night Optics USA AN-PVS-7-3AG is not that it is a single unit but rather a complete kit.

It does come with all the attachments for it, and for the price that it is advertised for it is a bargain, however it brings with it a small problem.

Because of the sheer number of attachments and options that it makes available to the wearer, it is at the same time very hard to master and even grasp by new users or beginners. Even the very sight of such a pair of goggles is enough to send the inexperienced running.

Experienced users, on the other hand, will have the time of their lives using this pair of goggles. It is able to handle anything and everything you throw at it, making it possible to see in the darkest places that you might encounter, as well as, at the same time, with the right attachment, being easy to use and aim with.

Make no mistake about it, it will still require some time in order to get used to and to figure out what you will be using and when however once you get the hang of things you will discover that it is both a versatile and durable piece of equipment.

PROS:

  • Modular design with a lot of attachments
  • Lightweight
  • Can handle even the harshest conditions

CONS:

  • Can be difficult to use by inexperienced hunters
  • It takes some time to get used to
  • Not as portable as other options on the market

Related: Night Optics USA understands the needs of hunters all over the world, thus making it possible for them to purchase the D-300M-3AG monocular in order to accurately scout and spot their targets.

Check the price on Amazon

Armasight Vega

Armasight Vega

Price: Approximately $$350

Weight: 0.54 pounds

Dimensions: 5.8 x 3.2 x 1.8 inches

Specific features: 20.6 mm objective lens diameter, Diopter Adjustment +4 to -4 dpt, 1 x magnification

Best use: Scouting, night hunting

Right out of the box, the first thing that you will notice about the Armasight Vega is the fact that it is not an actual pair of goggles, but rather a single goggle. This monocle design can be of great use, especially for long range shooters and scouts.

The fact that it is only one goggle means that it only takes up one eye, leaving the other one free to do things like aiming or scoping.

That being said this night vision monocle works great in conjunction with a night vision infrared scope.

Another thing to note about this night vision eyepiece is the fact that it comes with quite a few improvements and features of its own. For starters, it can be easily modified along its harness to fit over either the left or the right eye. Again, great for aiming.

The diopter adjustment range is also an interesting one, with a range of between -4 and + 4 dpt, making it able to be adjusted to within the comfort levels of the eye.

There is one drawback to it though, and it has a lot to do with the overall design. The monocle itself, while easy to use, can cause certain issues that the wearer will have to deal with.

Things like dizziness, nausea and even random loss of balance are to be expected because of how the brain reacts to it, however, once you get used to it this all becomes a thing of the past.

PROS:

  • Compact and portable
  • Lightweight
  • Easy to use
  • Great for situations where you have to aim your weapon at the same time.

CONS:

  • Requires a bit of time to get used to
  • There are physiological responses that are expected to take place

Related: Armasight also offers a solution to go in conjunction with this night vision monocle, the Armasight Vampire 3X Night Vision Rifle Scope.

Check the price on Amazon

ATN PVS7-3 Night Vision Goggle

ATN PVS7-3 Night Vision Goggle

Price: Approximately $3500

Weight: 2 pounds

Dimensions: 7 x 7 x 3 inches

Specific features: Standard military issue, momentary or continuous infrared, combat proven

Best use: Extreme hunting situations, pitch black night hunting

There are night vision goggles and there are night vision goggles, and then there is the ATN PVS7-3 Night Vision Goggle which often times surpasses them all. It is well worth noting here that these are standard military issued night vision optical units and are combat tested and combat proven.

That being said, these goggles are made to take a beating, to say the least. The harshest conditions, the toughest environments, the most chaotic and volatile conditions are where these goggles truly shine.

Alongside their impressive durability, they are able to bring a host of other features to the table, First and foremost, they are very versatile and can be mounted on pretty much anything.

Helmets, hand-held, even weapons if you have the knowledge to do so, and there are still stories about soldiers in Iraq using these goggles as short range scopes on their rifles.

Another thing worth mentioning here is the fact that it allows the wearer to choose between continuous and momentary IR, making it a lot more adjustable and a lot better suited to handle situations where bursts of light are expected to occur.

The only downside of these goggles is the lack of magnification. It is locked at 1X magnification level, meaning that while it is great for scouting over short distances, it fails to meet the expectations for long distance scouting.

PROS:

  • Very durable
  • Able to thrive in extreme conditions
  • Can be mounted on pretty much anything

CONS:

  • Locked at 1x magnification level
  • Relatively short battery life (12-24 hours)

Related: Another interesting solution that ATN offers is the ATN ThOR HD 640 Smart Thermal Riflescope, which can help the hunter track his target through some of the densest and most challenging environments.

Check the price on Amazon

Armasight PVS-7 3P

Armasight PVS-7 3P

Price: Approximately $4500

Weight: 1.5 pounds

Dimensions: 6.4 x 6 x 3.0 inches

Specific features: Automatic brightness control, bright light cut-off function, GaAs Photocathode

Best use: Night hunting, short-range scouting

Yet another product from Armasight, the Armasight PVS-7 3P is a more recent addition to the market that has proven to be a rather popular choice among hunters.

While it is more in the high-end price range, it does has a plethora of features and advantages to going along with it.

The first thing that you will notice as soon as you put it on is the fact that it is very comfortable to wear and use. The controls are always within comfortable reach and intuitively placed, so there is not much of a learning curve when using it the first time.

Another great thing to mention about this night vision piece of kit is the fact that it also sports an automatic shut-off system, meaning that if you encounter a situation where you have to deal with intense brightness, the IR shuts off, preventing any vision damage from being done.

The only actual drawback that this unit has is the fact that it is a bit difficult to calibrate. The initial calibration requiring the wearer to find a way to be in complete darkness with no traces of light whatsoever. However simply going down into your basement late at night and calibrating it usually solves this issue.

PROS:

  • Very easy to use
  • Easy to reach and intuitive controls
  • Has built in automatic safety measures

CONS:

  • The initial calibration can be a bit of a pain to do
  • Can feel a bit constrictive when worn

Related: Another great solution that Armasight offers are the Armasight CO-LR GEN 3 Alpha MG 64-72 lp/mm Night Vision Long Range Clip-On System which helps you convert your normal scope into a night vision scope.

Check the price on Amazon

Armasight Nyx7-ID

Armasight Nyx7-ID

Price: Approximately $1900

Weight: 1 pound

Dimensions: 5.9 x 4.0 x 2.7 inches

Specific features: F1 lens system, built-in infrared illumination, minimum focus range 0,25 mm

Best use: short and long range scouting, night hunting, difficult weather conditions and low visibility

Simple, lightweight, elegant and versatile are some of the adjectives commonly used to describe the Armasight Nyx7-ID, and for good reason.

It was designed and built to be as small and as versatile as possible while at the same time able to bring impressive performances to the table.

The first thing that you will notice is the fact that it is relatively short when compared to other night vision goggles, so short in fact that it is among the very few that can actually be used while aiming and firing a rifle.

Another thing that you will notice about it is the fact that the controls themselves are as rudimentary and as basic as possible. This is so that the actual size of the unit can be kept to an absolute minimum, the wearer needing to only concentrate on the target rather than fiddling with the goggles.

It still sports a lot of failsafe options and a lot of safety measures, it is as capable and as advanced as the other goggles in its category, however, it is packed so neatly and so efficiently that it manages to bring something that others can’t, actual agility and adaptability.

The only drawback that this unit has is the fact that it runs on a lithium battery which requires recharging, there is no way you can have spare batteries on you in case you run out. However the battery life is rather generous, so making sure that you recharge your goggles before leaving for your hunting trip solves this issue immediately.

PROS:

  • Lightweight
  • Very versatile
  • Compact and easily adaptable
  • Allows the wearer to accurately aim and fire a rifle while wearing it

CONS:

  • Relies on a lithium battery
  • Can prove to be difficult to calibrate for a beginner

Related: One of the products that are frequently used along with these goggles is the Armasight Zeus 336 3-12×42, a thermal scope that allows the user to pinpoint his target by its thermal signature.

Check the price on Amazon

In conclusion

While there are a lot of options for you on the market when it comes to night vision goggles, you can easily narrow your choices down. As long as you know what you are hunting for, the conditions that you will be hunting in and what you will be using as a weapon, you will know what to look for in terms of the right goggles.

ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Shawn Harrison
Shawn Harrison

Shawn Harrison is our expert in hunting. He was born in Alaska, so hunting was his hobby since high school. Later, Shawn took a Hunter Training at Alaska Department of Fish and Game to structure his knowledge and now he is open to share his knowledge with our readers. Shawn is taking ‘Safety First’ approach on all of his trips, especially is some people are going hunting for the first time.

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