Life is different after dark. You do not believe me ? Take a look there. Of course, to really see it, you better have a good pair of military night vision binoculars.
A flashlight does not work. It projects artificial daylight where you point it. While night vision is the least intrusive way to see the world and actually see how it exists and moves.
There are tons of night vision devices out there, like hunting cameras for example. But today we are going to talk specifically about night vision binoculars.
Like any set of binoculars. You get magnification in addition to your night vision device. This allows you to keep your distance and let the world unfold without your intrusion.
How do night vision binoculars work?
Night vision binoculars are powerful observation tools and before we talk about our favorites, we need to talk about generations.
Not that millennials are better than boomers. But generations of night vision. When you buy your night vision goggles. You will most often come across 4 types of generations:
Gen 1 :
The first generation to be a serious competitor for night vision. It is the most affordable and common type of night vision. Gen 1 devices provide a decent image at closer distances, but nothing very bright.
Gen 2 :
This is where the real fun begins. The clarity of Gen 2 is a massive leap and this is where we see professional use begin. Adding a micro channel plate allows you to have a clearer and brighter picture than anything a Gen 1 can do. There are several types of Gen 2, including Gen 2+ and Gen 2 HD. . They provide an even better and more vivid image. But which are not Gen 3 devices.
Generation 3 military night mink binoculars:
Generation 3 aircraft are those currently used by combat forces . They provide a better image, better low-light performance and last longer.
Gen 4 :
Gen 4 devices are the cream of the crop and the most expensive units. They usually provide the clearest picture possible. A Gen 4 device is extremely clear, and its low-light performance is unbeatable. However, Gen 4 devices are a bit difficult to find. In addition, their price makes them very little in demand.
You will find more details on how night vision works. As well as our top picks of non-magnification night vision goggles in our guide to the best military night vision goggles!
Magnification with these devices is tricky. In addition, if you have used day vision binoculars. You will probably be curious as to why the magnification seems so low.
High magnification on these devices is tricky. Due to the sensitive nature of night vision devices.
High magnification will erase the image. Even Generation 4 devices cannot see as far as normal binoculars during the day. High magnification is simply not useful or necessary with night vision devices.
How to get the most out of your military night vision binoculars?
Night vision devices need some form of ambient light to provide you with a picture.
This is because they amplify this light, as well as infrared light, to provide a brighter visual image. The most common form of nighttime ambient light comes from the moon and stars.
The amount of light from the moon and stars will greatly influence the image you get. This light affects the clarity of an image as well as the distance you can see with your night vision binoculars. When you follow night vision binoculars you should know that they are not magic and need some light to work.
If the light is weak, you can use an infrared illuminator.
This device can be integrated with night vision binoculars or be hand-held. Most night vision binoculars have it. Of course, you can always find more powerful models separate from the device for longer range viewing.
Correctly adjusting your night vision goggles
When you turn on the device for the first time. You need to focus on it. Different night vision binoculars have different ways of focusing the image. In general, you will need to focus on two separate elements.
Start in a low light area. Or if you have a protected lens, in a lighted area. Focus the eyepiece until the image becomes clear. Focusing is generally reserved for a rotating ring. Rotating the ring focuses the optics on your eyes.
The objective lens (s) will also need to be adjusted depending on what you are looking at. You will need to change the focus to see things near and far away from you.
Manual brightness control can also be found on the optics. Believe it or not, some nights are quite bright and dimming the picture makes things a bit more comfortable.
If you have variable magnification. You may need to refocus when changing the magnification. However, most night vision binoculars have a fixed magnification.
Now… let’s move on to our pick of the best military night vision binoculars!
Comparison of the best military night vision
Jumelles Sightmark Ghost Hunter 2×24
Sightmark is a company that produces a variety of optics for guns and daylighting.
Most people are surprised that they have dived into the realm of night vision. Their Ghost Hunter line is made up of a few different night optics. Of course, there is a set of binoculars in this line.
The Sightmark Ghost Hunter binoculars are low powered with only 2x magnification. They are also remarkably compact for night vision binoculars. They weigh only 400g, and the body is made of glass-filled nylon which keeps things light but sturdy.
You get a resolution of 36 lp / mm. Which is appropriate for a generation 1 device. Your detection distance will be between 44 and 100 meters. However, at 100m you would need a clear night with impressive coverage of the moon and stars.
GHOST HUNTs have a built-in infrared illuminator. Which will help you a bit on dark nights. Battery life is only 72 hours without IR. If you activate IR, the battery drains even faster. The good news is that GHOST HUNTERs use common AAA type batteries.
Ghost Hunters are quite inexpensive and have a good warranty should anything go wrong.
Bushnell Equinox Z 4×50
The Bushnell brand makes a ton of different optics. This includes night vision devices.
The Equinox line consists of binoculars and monoculars and offers a higher level of magnification than the Ghost Hunters. The Bushnell Equinox is a four-power lens set with large 50mm objectives.
These are digital night vision devices and they are great because they can be used as day and night vision devices. One of the best things about digital night vision is the ability to use them during the day.
The Equinox Z series has two integrated color LCD screens. This allows for better definition than with a single screen. The devices can also function as a camera. Which makes them perfect for nature viewing.
They can accept a MicroSD card and capture JPEG images. They even have a video output so you can connect them to a monitor. Again, all good reasons to go digital if you have a video monitor.
Digital night vision isn’t the best for long-distance viewing, and you’ll cap the detection range at around 150 meters. The four-power magnification will give you a much closer image.
The Equinox Z binoculars are quite affordable and perfect for beginners.
Night Owl NOBX3
The Night Owl NOBX3 is a great little set of Generation 1 night vision binoculars. The NOBX3 series offers a lower resolution of 35 lp / mm, but the resolution is consistent, and when you factor in the magnification. You get one of the best night vision binoculars sets under 1000.
They provide an image clear enough to easily differentiate between animals and objects about 150 meters away on a beautiful, clear night. If you’ve never hunted at night, this distance may seem small. That being said, I wouldn’t take a night shot from 150 yards.
Disclaimer attention night hunting in France is prohibited with some exceptions
Anything over 100 meters is a bit of a stretch in my opinion. The NOB3X has a three-power magnification. Which is perfect in this 150 meter reconnaissance range. The lenses are made from an impact resistant molded thermoplastic housing for added strength and rigidity.
One feature that hunters will appreciate is the lightness and small size of the design. They are quite compact and very practical and easy to transport. They can be worn around the neck with comfort and are far from bulky.
The NOBX3 works with a single CR123 battery and can last 40 to 80 hours depending on infrared usage. Speaking of infrared, the NOB3X comes with an IR illuminator for very dark nights.
ATN BinoX HD 4-16X
ATN is a reputable company in the field of night vision. BinoX HD models are designed for civilian use, especially for hunting. These digital night vision binoculars are incredibly high-tech and very affordable. BinoX HD binoculars are more than just binoculars, they are a complete heads-up display.
They can be used day or night, and their magnification is rather strange. This is a 4x optical zoom, but an image zoom up to 16x. 4X is original magnification and up to 16x is like zooming in on your phone.
Night vision compatibility allows switching from green to black and white according to user preference. The image is clear and because it is digital you can quickly snap them to a monitor and watch through it. In fact, through an app, you can stream to a cell phone or tablet.
The ATN BinoX system can take photos and videos, making it perfect for animal watchers. You can even record your shot if you’re tech-savvy. It even has an electronic compass built into the screen and a gyroscope for image stabilization.
The coolest thing of all is that these binoculars allow you to geolocate an area to find it easily. This is a set of super high tech binoculars that are great for hunting, and if you love gadgets, it’s hard to get more gadget than that.
Not to do
Do not expose your night vision to bright light sources. Bright light blockers can’t do everything, and pointing your night vision directly at a bright light source will damage you and the optics.
Do not try to use your device in daylight. Some devices are equipped with daylight protection, others are not. If you have daylight protection, use it to check device operation in a lighted environment.
Do not leave batteries in the system for more than three days without using it.
Never disassemble a night vision device in any situation. NEVER !
I broke it
You after trying to disassemble your night vision gear (2018, colourised)
Hobbyist grade night vision binoculars Hobbyist
grade is the cheapest in the night vision world. These binoculars are generally not used for severe applications. These more affordable and easier to find optics are perfect for a variety of less serious roles.
You can observe nature at night with ease and see the world around you. They are also perfect for people new to night vision. Apart from that, you also have a sturdy night vision set for airsoft and paintball games.
Night vision for amateurs is generally in the top 100 prices and anything cheaper would look suspicious to me. The good news is that there are a number of companies making some really nice night vision binoculars for hobbyists.
Our opinion on military night vision binoculars
Night vision binoculars aren’t magical devices, but they can often look like them. Especially the first time you use one. They change the way you see the world.
They take on a veil of darkness and show you what’s behind it. My experience with night vision has mostly been linked to my military period, but in the civilian field I have seen a real increase in popularity and a decrease in prices.